Back in 2006 I decided it was time to build my first email list.
I had been blogging for just over a year at that point, and had over five years experience running websites already under my belt, yet I had never created an email newsletter or list of any kind.
Finally, after repeat recommendations from countless internet marketing experts stating that the “money is in the list” and similar comments from successful entrepreneurs, claiming your “business is only as good as your database”, I realized there might be something to this idea.
I went out and did some research on what methods I could use to create an email newsletter. I concluded after reading forums and blogs that using a third party service was the best option if I wanted to minimize spam complaints and maximize deliverability. Deliverability, which means how good your email list service is at actually getting your messages out to your subscribers, turned out to be a very critical component for successful email marketing, so this became my top priority.
Although there were many reputable providers in the email autoresponder market, including GetResponse and Constant Contact, AWeber consistently demonstrated the best reputation based on my research.
I made up my mind and paid the roughly $20 to register an AWeber email autoresponder account, which I still use to this day.
My First Newsletter
My very first newsletter, the blog traffic tips newsletter branded under the blog traffic king name (which I ended up retiring because I got sick of the jokes from my friends), started off well enough. I had my blog redesigned to include an opt-in box, and created my first landing page at BlogTrafficKing.com, coding the entire page myself, making the process much more painful and slow than it needed to be.
My blog had over 1,000 RSS subscribers when I launched my list, and roughly 500 to 1,000 unique visitors dropping by each day as well. This translated into 10 to 20 newsletter opt-ins a day, which I considered pretty good, though at the time I hadn’t optimized the opt-in area of my blog with good copy or video like I have today.
I continued to write my blog posts and started to write one email newsletter a week as well.
Slowly but surely my list grew. At the start of 2007, about a year later after adding the newsletter to my blog, I had 3,000 email subscribers. It was a good start, and I had a platform to grow my business from.
Ramp Up Lead Generation
I don’t like the term “lead generation” because it dehumanizes the relationship between you and your subscriber.
People who join your list can be considered leads, and when you talk business talk with business folk, this is the language people understand. However I believe it’s much better if you look at each of your subscribers as a real person who has stuck up their hand as interested in forming a relationship of mutual benefit with you. These people are “members” of your community, not leads.
Regardless of the terminology, you’re going to need to figure out ways to increase the number of people who join your list. This was the challenge I faced, though at the time I was happy that I could simply keep blogging and people will continue to find me and join my list.
In 2007 I launched my first product called Blog Mastermind, which you very likely know about already as it’s plastered all over this blog and promoted by my affiliates on countless other blogs in the internet marketing and blogging industries.
As part of the launch process for this course, I wrote what has become the most well known report on how to make money from blogging, the Blog Profits Blueprint. To this day I continue to receive feedback from people that the Blueprint is the best document they have ever read about the subject of profitable blogging. Considering it’s three years old now, that says a lot about how foundational the Blueprint is – it really stands the test of time.
I wrote the Blueprint in five weeks, spending a couple of hours every single day writing one to two thousand words of the report. Once I released the Blueprint, the number of people who joined my email list ballooned. I went from 3,000 people at the start of 2007, to about 5,000 in the next few months leading up to the release of the Blueprint, to 15,000 subscribers after the launch of Blog Mastermind and the Blueprint.
What I didn’t see coming was the impact after I released the report. Having never done a launch before I didn’t understand the ripple effect post launch. Prior to launch I was maxing out at 30 to 50 new opt-ins a day. After the launch I was up to 100 to 150 a day.
Enter Social Media
In 2007 Twitter didn’t exist and Facebook wasn’t on my radar. Social media as a marketing force didn’t come into play for another year or two. From my perspective I was content simply writing blog posts and leveraging my free report to bring in new subscribers.
Over the next few years the online marketing landscape, and the blogosphere, became a whole lot more crowded. Facebook and Twitter became significant new sources of email subscribers, not to mention LinkedIn and other niche specific social community sites. Social recommendation tools like Digg, Stumbleupon and Delicious, which have the power to send hundreds of thousands of eyeballs at websites in a matter of hours, surfaced as powerful exposure tools.
And let’s not forget the mother of all social media sites – YouTube. Video wasn’t common when I started building my newsletter, but today it’s almost a mandatory requirement for every blogger and internet marketer to make use of. In fact it’s so powerful, you can leverage just exposure on YouTube, by publishing a consistent stream of videos and driving the viewers back to your blog to opt-in to your email list, as your main lead generation method.
(If you want more details on how to do this, I highly recommend Gideon Shalwick’s Rapid Video Blogging report and three-part video series. Gideon breaks down the marketing process for you in very finite detail. If you’re not capturing new subscribers from YouTube, this is the resource to check out.)
Did You Read Between The Lines?
It’s now four years since I started my first email newsletter. Today I have almost 70,000 email subscribers and I continue to attract an average of 100 new subscribers every day.
These people come to me by conducting a google search, coming across one of my blog articles and then opting-in for my report and newsletter. Or maybe they get referred by one of my affiliates. Perhaps a friend recommends my blog or report in real life in the traditional word of mouth fashion. Maybe they watch one of my videos on YouTube at my Yaro.TV channel and then come to my blog. Perhaps they read one of my tweets spread by my followers, or stumbleupon my content, or follow a facebook share, or read about my work in a forum.
Online lead generation – or list relationship building – is a very holistic process today. This is a good thing, as there are countless channels of traffic you can get in front of if you’re willing to do the legwork. There are fundamentals you have to lay in place in order for the machine to work, but there’s never a shortage of audience if you’re in a niche people care about.
You truly can diversify your exposure points and construct a very stable source of new subscribers that requires very little effort to maintain. I’m living proof of this concept, as our countless other bloggers who have followed similar content and marketing strategies.
If you read between the lines in this article (actually I made it blatantly obvious), I’ve talked about 14 methods to attract new subscribers to your email newsletter. In case you can’t figure it out, I’ve listed the methods for you below.
14 Methods To Grow Your Email List
- Register an AWeber account and start your first email list
- Add an opt-in box to your blog
- Create a dedicated landing page for your newsletter
- Giveaway a free report
- Create a product and promote it using a launch process
- Recruit affiliates to promote your resources
- Create a Facebook fan page with an opt-in landing page
- Build a Twitter following and release great content to encouraging retweets
- Create a LinkedIn profile and interact in the community to build your network
- Become a quality user of Digg, Stumpleupon or Delicious to build your reputation power
- Start a YouTube video marketing campaign to drive traffic back to your blog and newsletter
- Buy a specific domain name just for branding your videos (like Yaro.TV)
- Encourage word of mouth and viral distribution by creating content that changes your industry
- Participate in on-topic conversations in leading forums in your industry
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