Still nowhere near your first 1,000 email subscribers? Ready to give up on growing your list?
It seems like no matter what you do, your list size never changes.
Maybe you still have no subscribers at all.
Either way, that initial climb to 1,000 subscribers can feel painfully slow, maybe even impossible.
The good news is, there are some straightforward, but not-often-shared, ways to grow your email list that can make all the difference.
The three steps I’m going to share with you might seem simple, but make no mistake — they’re the keys to unlocking the exact kind of growth you’ve wanted.
But before we get into that …
You need to know something first, and it’s this:
If you don’t understand who your ideal customer is, you’ll fail.
Sorry to be blunt, but it’s the truth.
Unless you intimately understand your audience, what they’re struggling with, and what they want, you’ll never see the growth you want from your business, let alone from your email list.
So before you follow any of the three steps below to get your first 1,000 email subscribers, get clear on your ideal customer first.
Step #1: Follow the 10-Person Rule
One of the easiest traps to fall into when growing your list is thinking too big too fast.
You have to start small because, well, you are small right now. You have to walk before you can run, that kind of thing.
Enter the 10-Person Rule.
This comes from my friend Nathan Barry, the founder and CEO of ConvertKit.
Here’s what you do:
First, identify 10 people who you know would enjoy and benefit from your writing, from the information you share.
This could be anybody — friends, co-workers, family members, anyone you have even a thread of connection to.
All that matters is that your topic is relevant and useful to them.
Next, once you’ve written down those 10 names, message them personally and ask them these three questions:
- What’s your biggest frustration when learning about [topic]?
- Which websites, blogs, or forums do you currently visit to learn about [topic]?
- I’m starting a new site to teach [topic]. I’d love for you to be one of my beta readers. Interested?
These questions are gold.
Like I said before, the better you know your customers, the more you’ll win, and there’s no better way than by asking them these types of direct questions.
You might even consider sending the first two questions on their own, and if you get detailed responses, ask them the third.
Ideally, you’ll come out of these conversations with 10 new email subscribers, a list of exactly where your target audience hangs out, and your next several blog post topics.
From here, you simply rinse and repeat. As you gain new subscribers, you can ask them the same questions and get whole new sets of responses and suggestions, which in turn helps you grow strategically.
I can’t understate the power of doing this. I know people who have taken it even further and reached out to hundreds (even thousands) of people in a week. It helped them grow their lists from zero to up to 1,200 people. In just one week.
It really works. If you take away nothing else from this post, just make sure you do this.
Step #2: Teach a specific topic
Customers today are savvy, and much more protective of their email addresses than they used to be.
It’s personal information — something they’ll only give out to someone they trust and if they believe they’ll get value from the exchange.
That’s why I recommend you steer clear of asking people to “join your newsletter.”
It’s too vague and often doesn’t clearly present any value. In fact, all it does is promise that they’ll get more email, which I’m sure is at the bottom of their wish list.
Instead, teach them something. Offer something of value, like a course or guide.
“Get a free course on writing great content” is far more powerful than “join my newsletter.”
People want help solving their problems, and I’ve found that if you aren’t getting the email sign-ups or sales you wish you were, chances are people don’t truly understand how you help them solve their problems.
When someone truly wants their problem solved and you offer them a solution, their resistance comes crashing down.
Instead of begging someone to sign up, they’ll be begging you to get in (except the door is already open, so your list will just keep growing and growing).
If you aren’t sure how to implement this, here’s a tried-and-true method:
- Think about your audience. What problem might they be experiencing right now in their life, related to your topic?
- Can you help them solve that problem? I bet you can. Write down the steps they need to take. It could be five or 10, doesn’t matter.
- Now write emails on each of those steps and bundle them together as an email course.
- Offer it for free on your blog or website, and set up the emails as a drip sequence after someone signs up.
- You’re done! You just made an email course.
That’s all it takes.
It might seem small, but that adjustment can mean the difference between an email list bursting at the seams (and money in the bank, if you’re selling something) and a digital ghost town.
Step #3: Build relationships (and relationships aren’t just numbers)
When you’re building your email list, don’t forget it isn’t just a “list.”
There are real people behind those email addresses. Real people reading your blog and choosing to sign up. Don’t blindly grow your list just for the sake of the numbers and your ego.
A massive list full of the wrong people is not only useless, it’s frustrating, and expensive. You won’t get results. Your emails won’t get opened. Your business won’t grow.
I’ve seen it over and over again.
The “growth at all costs” mindset leads great business owners to resort to gimmicky list-building “hacks.”
It’s not worth it. I promise.
Instead, focus on your audience. Be intentional. If you focus on serving, giving value, and solving their problems, you’ll grow faster than you ever imagined.
Just keep showing up (and email those 10 friends).
What about you?
Can you think of 10 people who you could reach out to right now?
Do you have a course in mind to replace your “join my newsletter” button?
What are your biggest struggles with building your email list?
Let us know in the comments below, so we can help.