List building as a new blogger can be VERY intimidating, but the reward is SO worth it if you’re ready to put in the work. Here’s how we grew our email list to OVER 1000 subscribers in just four months!
Do you remember your very first email subscriber?
We do! It was the fall of 2015, and we were a few weeks into launching our first-ever blog without any type of strategy to make it successful. It was the textbook definition of ‘winging it.’
The truth is, our first subscriber was a random person from Twitter that only wanted us to subscribe to their blog in return.
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We had no lead magnets to capture email addresses, and we definitely didn’t know our avatar, not to mention know what an avatar was!
Now, we knew it was important to have an email list. We just didn’t know what to do or how to go about building it.
Even after learning about list building, opt-ins, and welcome sequences, we still fought for every subscriber.
We couldn’t help but wonder, what were we doing wrong? There had to be an easier way!
REMEMBER THIS POST LATER! PIN IT TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!⬇
When we were ready to launch Simplifying DIY Design at the end of October 2017, we knew our very first goal was to get 1000 subscribers.
We didn’t care that we had zero traffic. We set a (very) big and scary goal for us, but we were determined to do it and do it RIGHT.
And by March, we exceeded our goal!
Fast forward just 60 days. We launched our first product, generating five figures with an email list of only 2,077 subscribers.
Table of Contents
- 1 KNOW YOUR AVATAR
- 2 STALK YOUR AVATAR
- 3 PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WORDING
- 4 DON’T UNDERESTIMATE A SPECIFIC LEAD MAGNET
- 5 DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN
- 6 TRY AND TRY AGAIN
- 7 UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGY
- 8 THERE ARE MANY MOVING PIECES INVOLVED WITH LIST BUILDING.
- 9 RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
- 10 TRY CANVA PRO FREE FOR 30 DAYS
KNOW YOUR AVATAR
You MUST know your avatar. So much so that it becomes sort of creepy.
This was the biggest mistake we made when we first started blogging. We thought we’d be successful by talking to everyone.
Related Post: The Honest Truth About Making Money with a Blog
We thought if we talk about this and share that, more people would be interested versus focusing on one specific thing.
We NOW know how detrimental that is to list building.
For this, we cannot recommend Date Your List enough. You’ll learn the art of creating a fool-proof avatar which makes blogging let alone writing emails, a breeze.
STALK YOUR AVATAR
To offer your avatar something they really need, you MUST pay attention to what they say. Join Facebook groups where your avatar is likely to be hanging out and go a little undercover.
Pay attention to their questions and read the frustrated vents they share.
Keep a list of their problems handy (we use Google Sheets) even if you don’t know how to solve them yet. See how those problems relate to your blog and your top posts.
We’re no strangers to thinking an idea is a winner and then putting it out there just to get crickets. They’re telling you what they want! You just have to listen.
Once we launched, we started actively replying to any questions about design and Canva. That way, we could send them straight to a blog post or freebie landing page if they wanted to learn more.
We eventually became so well known in these Facebook groups that members were tagging us in the comments on design-related posts.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WORDING
While you’re in these Facebook groups, pay attention to the wording your avatar uses, especially when they’re frustrated.
This will help you write sales copy in their language so they KNOW your lead magnet is meant for them.
We can’t tell you how often our subscribers have said, “It’s like you have a camera on my computer because this is exactly what I needed.”
For this, we recommend the queen of sales page copy, Amanda Genther’s Sales Page in a Day.
You’ll know exactly what to say and how to say it that has your avatar reaching for the credit card every single time.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE A SPECIFIC LEAD MAGNET
Getting specific is how your avatar will be attracted to your lead magnet. For example, “The Ultimate Budget Guide” vs. “The Ultimate Budget Guide for Busy Moms.’
You’ll get everyone under the sun signing up for your very generic budget guide.
While that may sound enticing, what happens when you send mom-specific emails? What about launching a mom-specific product? Low open rates, low CTRs, and very minimal success, if any.
Your email list gets more expensive the bigger it gets. Get started with ConvertKit totally FREE here!
Having a massive list won’t put you anywhere except in debt unless you’re making money with your email list.
Related Post: 17 Freebie Ideas to Grow Your Email List Fast
Because our lead magnets were so specific and the copy we used on our pages was from our avatar research, we had subscribers actively promoting our blog, lead magnets, and products in Facebook groups.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to create, take a look at your most popular blog posts.
Could you expand on the topic with a worksheet, checklist, workbook, challenge, template, or maybe something different?
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DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN
While we believe content is more important than design in the long run, it does play a part in getting your lead magnet noticed.
It also plays a part in usability. People can’t get value from your freebie if it’s so disorganized or messy that they can’t even use it, no matter how good your lead magnet is.
Frustration: 1 | List Building: 0
Related Post: Lead Magnet Design | Anatomy of the Perfect Printable
Another reason that conquering design is important is that it causes a lot of bloggers to freeze up.
They’ll have an idea of what their avatar wants, but they’re unsure how to create it. You can’t see if it resonates with your avatar if you never put it out there!
Use our FREE Lead Magnet Template Pack to get started. Swap out the colors and fonts to match your brand, add in your content, and download. That’s it!
TRY AND TRY AGAIN
Not all of your ideas will be winners, and that’s ok!
Even those people with the “How I Got 500 Subscribers in My First Month” have also experienced failure. We guarantee it.
They’re also most likely not brand new to blogging or online business but fail to mention that in their content. They have a network of people that they can drive to their offer and are not beginners to list building.
Give a new lead magnet a few weeks to see if it gains traction. And definitely promote, promote, promote!
Related Post: How to Design the Perfect Pinterest Pin
Create Pinterest pins that lead to your landing page. Put it out there on social media. Talk about it in Facebook groups or wherever your avatar hangs out.
Be loud and proud of what you just accomplished!
UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGY
Strategy is so important when it comes to list building. And not only that, but a lack of one can greatly affect the other.
- Welcome sequence
- Ads (Facebook, Pinterest, Google, etc.)
- So much more
You can spend all the money in the world on ads. But if your lead magnets aren’t specific to your avatar, are disorganized, etc., you won’t get subscribers.
The same holds true for a killer lead magnet without any type of promotion!
Once we converted visitors to subscribers, we nurtured them with a well-designed welcome sequence. We ensured every email provided value that they could apply to their blog and see results.
Results equal trust. When subscribers trust you, they’re much more likely to open your emails, take action (ie., click to read a blog post), and purchase your products.
ConvertKit made automating our email list so simple. Because everything delivers automatically, we were able to focus on creating more lead magnets to pair with our most popular blog posts.
THERE ARE MANY MOVING PIECES INVOLVED WITH LIST BUILDING.
This can make it overwhelming when you’re just trying to conquer the email list hurdle of blogging.
Use Date Your List to get to know your avatar inside and out. Create a lead magnet specific to them based on their biggest pain points.
SIDE NOTE: Use our FREE Lead Magnet Template Pack to give you the perfect jumping-off point!
Design Pinterest pins that lead to your freebie landing page. Promote, promote, promote! Nurture your list with an awesome welcome sequence, and be sure to keep the love coming even after that!
Remember, don’t sweat the size of your email list. As we said earlier, we made almost $10k with an email list of just over 2000 subscribers.
Focus on writing quality content, designing specific lead magnets, promotions, and nurturing your subscribers. You’ll be a pro at list building in no time!
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
- The Honest Truth About Making Money with a Blog
- Date Your List
- Sales Page in a Day
- 17 Freebie Ideas to Grow Your Email List Fast
- Lead Magnet Design | Anatomy of the Perfect Printable
Don’t forget to grab our FREE Lead Magnet Template Pack! These fully editable Canva templates will help you create lead magnets that build trust so they’re ready to buy!
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To be honest? It’s the best $12.99/mo OR $119/yr we spend on our business because that time we save with every design is put back into making MORE money in our business!