It took me a long time to get my first 1,000 email subscribers.
Way too long, if you ask me.
And there is no single reason to explain why it happened the way it did.
I was studying part-time, and looking after my two young boys (2010). My blog started off as a hobby and I had no idea that I would eventually turn it into my livelihood.
My blog wasn’t very good in the beginning. I didn’t have a viable niche or market. I was just doing it because I loved doing it – there was no way I couldn’t not do it.
Much like most people out there, isn’t it?
And round about this time, or should I say this number (1K); things really started to take off for me.
Clients found me (instead of me having to chase them). Lo and behold, I was making a pretty decent income as a result of my blogging efforts. It gave me credibility, showed my skills and put me in front of all the businesses.
And that this why I feel that it is crucial to set this goal for yourself and reach these numbers as soon as possible.
Now, you might say that you don’t have a relationship with the big bloggers, nobody knows who you are and so on …
Let me tell you something, I have grown my own list substantially without having any relationship with the A list bloggers. I am an introvert and I hardly spend any time on social media. I find it very hard to engage in small talk, so you’ll never see me sharing personal stuff on Twitter or Facebook, either.
So, if I can do it, so can you.
If you are more social than I am, you will find it much easier. The trick is to try and naturally build a relationship with others by leaving comments on their posts and interacting on social media. But don’t let this be the starting point for your list building.
Having relationships with popular bloggers is not a pre-requisite for reaching the magic number. Let’s look at what is:
- You need a clear goal for your blog. Do you blog as a hobby, or are you building a popular blog? Do you want your blog to support your business? (This is why I do it now.)
- Your initial impressions shouldn’t be less than – impressive. It must not across as amateurish, tacky or worse, as if it has a spammy feel to it.
- A blog with a wordpress.com or blogger extension doesn’t work. Come on, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to get yourself a self hosted domain.
- Does your site pass the 3 second test? Meaning, the first time visitor isn’t able to answer these 3 questions within a few seconds of landing on your site.
1. Who are you? (Have a brief author bio on your sidebar and a killer About page)
2. What is your blog about? (Title and Tag line)
3. Why should they care? WIFM: What’s in it for me? (Spell the benefit)
- You need to be writing for a targeted audience. If your visitors are not sure that the blog is for them, they are not gonna stay for long. (Having an ideal reader profile and a niche helps tremendously.)
- Don’t be like anyone else. When you don’t have a unique selling proposition, people don’t see why they should read your blog over someone else’s. You need to stand out.
- Display social proof. If you have a good amount of comments and social shares happening, it is a good idea to show off your numbers. Not so much, when you are new or not getting much traction.
- Have an incentive for people to sign up like an ebook, report, white paper or a webinar. I actually sign up to blogs regardless, but I reckon I fall into the minority. People are rushed and they forget. You have to remind them.
- Make it easy for them to subscribe. Add a feature box under your header or an opt-in form on the top of your sidebar. People are used to seeing the subscribe boxes in these locations. Don’t ask for too much information, either.
- Always focus on the reader. Tell them why it would be in their best interest to sign up. Don’t assume they know.
- Give people a reason to trust you. Add credibility with the display of testimonials, sites you have guest posted on or featured in and a clients list if you have some big names on it.
- Create high quality material. At the end of the day, people subscribe to read your content. If you are giving them generic content devoid of any human voice or perspective, they are going to dump you. Make it scannable and easy on the eyes to get brownie points.
- Every now and then, attract people by writing ‘epic’ posts. Display your best posts on the sidebar to help them find your most popular content.
- Let people know that you exist. In the beginning, you need to spend 20% of your time writing content, and 80% promoting it. The best and the most profitable way of doing that is through guest posting. It doesn’t require any financial investment, but it does require a lot of time. (Remember, there is no such thing as free traffic, you have to pay with time or money.)
- Stop spending too much time on social media or reading articles that say you should. Stop reading other blogs (“for education”), obsessing about game search engines, scratching your head about analytics, latest plug-ins, testing and what not. In short, you are procrastinating – big time. You should be creating content and promoting it instead.
- Learn the basics of copywriting. If you are running a blog, some things are mandatory: clear benefit (niche and audience), professional looking site and copy that converts. With so many bloggers writing about consumer psychology and conversion (Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers, Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics, Greg Ciotti’s Sparring Mind or Amy Harrison, Copywriter’s site for example, there is no excuse for writing bad copy.
- Get over your negative view of marketing and don’t feel icky when you self promote. Let’s just think about it for a sec – you have services that help solve problems. Aren’t you doing people a disservice by not telling?
- Have the right mindset. Learn from others, change your mind when warranted, take responsibility and stop blaming others for your lack of success.
So there you have it. The secret to getting your first 1,000 subscribers.
If you feel confident that you are doing most things right then reaching your first 1,000 should not be an issue for you.
It will happen. One subscriber at a time.
If it’s not happening, you just need to know why not. And fix that.
Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome!