We're going to take a look at how you can go from zero to 5,000 email subscribers and climbing! And before you say it - no, email marketing is certainly not dead.
Far from it!
I'm going to show you why you have been underestimating email subscribers as a means of growing your site's traffic and revenue and share the tried and trusted strategies I am using to get you to your first 5,000 subscribers.
You may be wondering, what is an email subscriber?
If you're new to email marketing, an email subscriber is simply someone who has typed their email address into your site so that they can receive regular emails and content from you.
These are people you can legitimately contact with information about your site and the products you are promoting for as long as they choose to remain subscribed.
You keep a list of these names and email addresses within a dedicated email software programme (ESP) that allows you to send bulk emails to your subscribers - more on that later.
Do you have an email list somewhere gathering dust?
When you are building up your website/s, the people who subscribe to your blog can be left on the back burner whilst you put your time, effort and money into content, SEO, and social media signals.
Often spending hours and hours doing things that just don’t move the needle when it comes to growing your business or income.
But those visitors to your website thought the content you were sharing was worth handing over their email address and an invitation for you to engage with them directly, without the search engines or social media platforms!
They sometimes need a nudge or a little encouragement to handover their email address in the form of a free product or great advice.
Basically, give them something great in return for gaining their trust and allowing you to contact them directly via email.
I’ve found that in the unpredictable and fast-changing world of affiliate marketing my list of emails is one of the few things I can completely own and control.
And it’s not just me, seasoned affiliate marketing pros like Pat Flynn and Spencer Haws have clocked on to the potency of what is really a wholly owned direct marketing channel without any of the noise and competition that comes with other platforms.
Watch me share more on how I am building an email list to take back control from Big Tech Giants
Why you need to build an email subscriber list
5,000 visitors, let alone 5,000 subscribers might seem a long way away from your starting position with your website.
But it’s really important to build a decent subscriber list early on as you develop your blog or website.
I think a lot of bloggers and online business owners only catch onto the importance of an email subscriber list late in the day, but once they see how much impact they can achieve with email marketing they are quickly converted.
I have seen first-hand that making a healthy email list a priority can bolt on serious uplift in your web traffic and revenues.
Other reasons why I believe building an email list is important are:
● Your email subscribers have confirmed that they genuinely want to hear from you. Most email subscribers will complete a double opt-in, meaning that they have verified their email by clicking on an email link. That shows that they are keen.
● Your email subscriber list goes with you. As I mentioned above, if Google, Facebook and even your web hosting pull the plug on your site, your subscriber list is your own ready-made audience that you can communicate with directly via your ESP or take to a new site.
● Your content goes straight to your subscriber’s inbox. With email subscription, you have direct, personal. and totally private contact with your audience. What more could you want? Email is always at your subscriber’s fingertips, on their laptop or on their phone - day or night.
● Your email subscriber list can outdo your social media marketing. Look at it this way. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all going to ask for your email address. Why? Because they know they can get in touch with you directly. Users may not log in to social media accounts every day, but they will check their email multiple times per day.
● You can be incredibly targeted with the content you deliver to your subscribers. And we are going to take a closer look at this. I am confident that you will be very impressed at just how focused you can keep things with email and the outstanding results you will get for your efforts.
● Email subscribers have a high potential to convert to being paying customers. Because subscribers are already interested and receptive to your email communications, they can be converted to paying for products and services from your site.
What’s the significance of 5,000 email subscribers?
There is a reason why Big Business will spend a lot of money on campaigns to sign up subscribers and if it is good enough for big business, it is good enough for us.
Email marketing is one of the income streams I am actively nurturing right now, you can learn more about my affiliate marketing income streams in this video:
Marketing pros use a key email marketing metric called Email Subscriber Value (ESV) and it can help us stay focused on the bottom line when it comes to email subscribers.
ESV is the monetary value that each email subscriber is worth per month in income for your business. It can be as much as $1 per subscriber - per month - meaning a list of 5,000 subscribers can bring in as much as $5,000 per month ongoing!
Now that's got your full attention, hasn't it?
Let's take a look at the tools you'll need to get a fast-growing email subscriber list underway.
To build and maintain my email subscriber lists, alongside my website I use the following 2 essential bits of kit.
● My email software provider (ESP)
● Some well-targeted opt-in forms
This is where you will want to start the journey to 5,000 users and the great news is you can set up everything yourself, for FREE no less, and still get some great results.
I want us to take a closer look at choosing an email software provider because I found that it makes all the difference in developing and managing a large email list that you can properly segment and engage with.
If you’re serious about reaching your first 5,000 subscribers, an ESP is critical. This is not the same as a blog subscription plugin in your site that forwards blog content to anyone who is signed up.
These software companies provide a platform you can use to create and send bulk, customized, PRIVATE emails to your list of email subscribers.
I’m talking about thousands, tens of thousands of emails or more; numbers that your regular Yahoo or Gmail simply can’t handle!
ESPs also have powerful automation and CRM to ensure that your email campaigns remain legally compliant, and you don’t get labeled as a spammer, or worse still, land yourself with a blacklisted IP address.
In addition, most professional email marketing services have these advantages:
● All names and email addresses are securely stored for you to access whenever you want.
● You can really comb through your subscriber list and group them according to their preferences and responses to your emails. This means you can use your subscriber list in a much more focused way.
● The best email software providers will provide useful analytics that provide insight into subscriber activity, like location, views, and the devices used to read your emails.
● These ESPs give you a very high level of control when creating email campaigns, including adjustments for time zone so you can optimize your email opening rate.
● Hone your campaigns with A/B split tests to see what content works best for your subscribers.
● You don’t have to worry about GDPR it’s all taken care of by the email marketing tool
● They offer FREE landing pages. So you can start building your list - even without a website.
Let me explain how I grow my email subscriber list with ConvertKit.
When I was researching the best email marketing service, I wanted to make sure that I had a full-featured email service provider that would not only be easy to use but would actively manage my list of subscribers help me build my list faster.
I finally picked Convertkit thanks to watching Pat Flynns videos on his automated email structure using this provider.
Some more about ConvertKit
ConvertKit was created by a software developer and app builder called Nathan Barry, who used it to run his email marketing newsletter. His approach in creating ConvertKit was to make it as user-friendly as possible, and I have to agree that he has achieved that.
ConvertKit is definitely popular with its target audience of bloggers, YouTubers and affiliate marketers and compared to its competitors it is stripped back from a lot of the confusing and unnecessary features that can make ESPs hard to use.
A lot of the big ConvertKit is definitely a grower, you can sign up for free for your first thousand subscribers, paying more as your list grows.
I’m using ConvertKit because:
● I can create professional-quality landing pages and forms. They have a massive range of landing page templates that are fully customizable and responsive. Great for attracting sign-ups!
● As well as one-off email broadcasts, I can create autoresponder sequences. It’s great that I can set up multi-part email campaigns that can keep my subscribers engaged.
● Automations mean that I can be super-focused in my email delivery. I can send different emails to subscribers depending on what they are specifically interested in or the content they are responding to. This means I can keep both my opening rate and conversion rate high.
● I can schedule delivery. I can tell the software when and to whom the emails should go out. It figures out the best time to send out emails based on real data. When are people opening your emails around the world?
● Send to unopened. This is one of the coolest features. If you send 5,000 emails out and only 3,000 open and read your broadcast (that’s an email planned and sent) then a few days later you can send the email out again without it hitting the inbox of the people who have already read it. This way you’re not upsetting them and wasting their time, which will lead to people unsubscribing.
Another reason I started using Convertkit was the fact that they offered a FREE trial period. Click here for more details.
Anyway, let’s get into how you can generate your first 5,000 email subscribers.
Here are some of the strategies I am using with ConvertKit that should help you boost momentum in getting your subscriber list to 5,000.
More and more I am finding that having a clear plan that can be easily adjusted, will make all the difference to generating a pipeline of subscribers that can be leveraged for long-term profit.
And of course, the right email marketing software will make implementing these strategies simple.
These are my top takeaways from using Comvertkit
1: Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation
Right from the outset, you need to do everything you can to segment your website audience. Without this, your email marketing strategy, cannot be properly targeted and is unlikely to generate significant results.
For example, a pet care site I own covers animals ranging from tiny rodents to giant parrots. Visitors to my site are all interested in pets, but emails about parakeets delivered to a guinea pig owner will completely switch them off and get me unsubscribed.
From this, I am sure you can now see where segmentation is going to prove useful.
Email marketing is all about making a personal connection with your audience. Each subscriber will have a different reason for connecting with your brand, so to encourage visitors to your site to sign up for your emails you really need to know what they are looking for.
Make it easy for visitors to your site to find the content that is relevant to them. Well thought out menus and navigation, will convey visitors to relevant content and sign-up opportunities quickly.
One of the easiest ways to target your subscribers better is to simply ask them what they are looking for or are interested in - at opt-in - when the subscriber is going to sign up.
Don’t just aim to gather up a load of emails. Ask your subscribers what they are interested in and what type of emails they want to receive (e.g. special offers, discount codes, etc.).
2 : Put some serious effort into researching your audience and targeting them better.
I spend a lot of time working out what visitors to my site are looking for so I can serve them better. I’m also finding that this can help in converting visitors to my site into email subscribers.
And I really put the time in to analyze the rich user information and data on Google Analytics to guide the creation of targeted content and landing pages that will convert specific groups of subscribers.
3: Keyword research is also your friend.
As you will find that mopping up relevant long-tail keywords can help you achieve better conversions for your subscriber list as you bring in subscribers from unexpected places.
4: Make it your goal to turn every visitor to your site into an email subscriber.
When you are building a high traffic website you can go through thousands of people who visit once and basically, never return.
Unfortunately, this is the vast majority of your visitors - up to 90%. However, you can use your email subscription to stop the hemorrhaging of unique visitors who could easily become followers of your digital content.
Bagging as many visitors as possible with an effective opt-in will provide you with opportunities to woo them back to your site via email.
To achieve this it is absolutely essential that you create strategically positioned, high converting opt-in forms. ESPs like ConvertKit and OptinMonster will definitely give you an edge in doing this.
Those standard sidebar subscription fields are easily missed. Professional email marketing software assists you in creating attention-grabbing, absolutely unforgettable opt-in forms and CTAs in a whole load of formats including:
● floating header bars
● footer bars
● slide-in scroll boxes
● lightbox popups
● inline forms
● full-screen welcome mat
Stay on the right side of irritating with exit-intent popups that track a visitor’s mouse movements on the page and catches them just before they hit the “X” with a targeted email subscription sign up form.
Never hide the ‘close button‘ on popups. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world to have a full-screen popup that you can’t close.
5: Use your ESP to create hyper-focused campaigns for new subscribers
One of the great things about ConvertKit is that I can use it to make an unlimited number of targeted landing pages to capture and convert email subscribers without even touching my website!
This is a landing page I created and is hosted on Convertkit for FREE. It took minutes to set up using one of their free templates. I'm running the giveaway to win Helpfulmonk.com website from it.
This feature really sold me on ConvertKit for my email marketing because I can add videos, images, text and other custom fields as part of my subscriber landing pages, save them and publish them straight to my site or social media account.
6: Encourage visitors to subscribe by making them an offer that they can’t refuse.
Powerful, pro email marketing software needs to be backed up with a real value proposition and incentives that will really draw in visitors and motivate them to subscribe.
For a lot of sites, a simple CTA (Call To Action) is not going to be enough, and you will find yourself struggling to capture emails.
I encourage you to think outside the box and come up with an e-book, video or audio content or content upgrade that is 100% tailor-made for your target audience.
Giveaways like helpfulmonk.com are a winner, voucher codes and special offers can also work too. If your offer catches on, your subscribers will share, share, share on social media and you can seriously ramp up your subscriber list within days.
AppSumo founder Noah Kagan used premium software giveaways to boost his email list by over 150K subscribers in just ten months!
By raffling premium subscriptions to some of the world’s most popular apps and sharing the competition widely, the subscriptions simply poured in.
I’ve also seen that if your offer is good, you don’t even need to directly ask for an email. Instead, you can have a CTA button like “Yes! Get me my FREE email marketing resources” or something similar.
I have been using my Website Giveaway to build my list. I am creating a website and building it to a point where it’s making money and then I will give the site away in a randomly generated draw.
Giving something like a website, worth possibly thousands of dollars, is a great incentive for them to give you their email address.
7: ConvertKit and other ESPs support A/B testing to make your landing page campaigns the best they can be.
For me, mastering email marketing is all about the learning curve, and a big dose of experimentation is needed to establish what will optimize your conversion rate for email subscriptions.
A/B testing allows you to test different versions of your landing pages to see which pages have better conversion rates, so you can always have the best-performing pages at work in your campaigns.
The legendary Brian Dean of Backlinko, being a stickler for data, used super-diligent A/B testing with content upgrades to boost his email signup conversion rate from 0.54% to 4.82%.
As your ESP will equip you with all the data and insights you need for evaluating your landing pages, you can really hone your email sign-up strategy with no need to get by on hunches.
8: Sticking to opt-in form best practices will mean you don’t lose potential emails.
You want to make it as easy as possible for your site visitors to subscribe. According to HubSpot, “where friction is low the dollars flow” and I’m inclined to agree!
Sign up forms with loads of fields slow down the sign-up process and lose your subscribers. With ConvertKit, I’m able to customize form fields to get the balance just right.
You don’t need to attempt to gather every bit of information upfront. Be strict with yourself and prioritize. You can always catch up on information further down the line with surveys and other interactions with your subscriber list.
I ask for their first name and email address. I like to call people by their first name in my email broadcasts.
Convertkit allows me to customize and personalize each email
9: It’s controversial but a double opt-in will ensure you get quality subscribers
When you’re building an email subscriber list, the last thing you need is a large number of flaky or frankly spammy sign-ups to inflate your list.
At best, these subscribers won’t stick around long and at worst, your legitimate emails can end up in spam folders or even blacklisted.
Professional ESPs offer a double opt-in as a way of filtering subscribers, so you get people that are genuinely interested in what you have to say. It can also, in certain circumstances, satisfy the proof of consent you need for GDPR compliance.
This type of sign-up sends a confirmation email with an activation link to the subscribers account before they are added to your list.
Around 80% of major websites use the double opt-in, if it’s good enough for Big Business, it should be good enough for our growing lists!
10. Delete non users
It seems crazy to delete people from your email list. But you have to remember it will eventually cost you to send emails out to people when you grow to a certain size.
Then every email sent to someone who doesn’t open it, is just like throwing money down the toilet. This can soon add up.
So, every 3 months I clean up my list. If someone hasn’t opened an email of mine in the last three months, I delete and remove them from my list. I only want to send emails to people that want and enjoy reading them.
I hope you will join me on my email marketing journey on YouTube and here on the blog!
I am definitely seeing my list grow through using a number of these strategies and testing, testing and testing again.
It takes time to get everything set up and optimized but I am confident that in the coming months we are going to see real traction on breaking the 5,000-subscriber barrier.
I have a lot to learn still, and I’m starting to look at email funnels and automation even more.
Creating powerful email campaigns that, once setup correctly, can bring you an income on autopilot.