When I learned how to start an email list, it became one of the most valuable assets in my business.
The secret weapon of digital marketing is one’s newsletter. Yes, we’re talking about building an email list – your golden ticket to creating a loyal audience base.
Nowadays, having an email list is like having a goldmine of potential customers at your fingertips.
But how do you start from zero and skyrocket to your first 1,000 subscribers?
😎 Heads up, this is a super long post, so I made a PDF version of the post for you to download, save, and read whenever your busy schedule allows it! With bonus list-building tips! Just let me know where to send it, below:
Allow me to give you the step-by-step strategies that will transform your email list from a barren land into a bustling marketplace of engaged subscribers.
Whether you’re a content creator, a budding entrepreneur, or a curious marketer, get ready to uncover exactly how to start an email list, and watch your subscriber count soar!
Starting an email list is a task that creators are bombarded with constantly. But why would you want to build an email list and add another thing to your to-do list?
Quite simply because email marketing is the most lucrative way to make money!
Sometimes called a mailing list, your email list is where you cultivate a tribe of people who love you and your brand, and are therefore way more likely to buy from you.
So it is as important as everyone says to start building your email as soon as possible.
I’ve grown 5 different email lists to over 200,000 subscribers over the years, and built a solid business from the revenue my newsletters generate.
I teach a popular email marketing course (see all the details about the class here if you want to build a revenue-generating email list!)
But in this guide below, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know to get your first 1,000 subscribers!
Download the guide now by filling out this form:
1. First You Will Need An Email Marketing Service
You’ll need an email service provider to collect email subscribers. Your ESP should be able to manage newsletters, tag/segment subscribers, and provide opt-in forms, landing pages and automations.
Don’t worry, it isn’t as scary as it sounds. An email marketing service (aka email service provider) is just a company that allows you to collect email addresses and then send emails to those addresses through their software.
Before anything else, you need the right tools for the job. Picking an email marketing platform is like choosing your best ally in the battle of digital marketing.
Consider user-friendliness, automation features, and scalability. ConvertKit is my #1 pick for its ease of use and comprehensive features.
Features Your Email Service Providers Need To Have:
- Ability to create signup forms: So you can actually get those email addresses in the first place.
- Ability to send regular newsletters: They all do this.
- Ability to create automations: So that when people signup they will automatically receive their freebie and welcome emails (more on these later).
- Tagging and segmentation features: This is crucial for when building funnels.
This lets you to ‘tag’ or group people together who have clicked on certain links, or completed certain actions in your emails, allowing you to target these people again.
For example, say I had an affiliate link in my email for a course I wanted to promote, I could ‘tag’ everyone who clicks on this link.
Then if there was ever a sale for that course I could just send an email about it to those subscribers who have shown interest.
This is perfect for when you need to send lots of sales emails but don’t want to annoy your whole list!
2. Crafting an Irresistible Lead Magnet
A lead magnet (aka opt-in freebie) attracts your subscribers and persuades them to sign up to your list!
This could be a free eBook, a discount code, a webinar, or an exclusive video – anything that adds value. The trick is to understand your audience’s needs and offer something so irresistible that they can’t help but sign up.
It can be anything, so long as its something that your audience would want enough to hand over their email address for.
People won’t just give you their email address to receive updates or newsletters because they are probably already subscribed to a ton of these already, so why would they want to be subscribed to another?
Instead, you need to give them a good reason to subscribe to your list by offering something awesome for free!
What Makes A Good Opt-in?
I teach how to create valuable high-converting lead magnets more in-depth in my list-building course, (you should enroll in it!) but in a nutshell, a lead magnet should…
- Solve a problem
- Easy to use
- Provide a quick win
- Give plenty of value
- Be about the topic you will be discussing in your email newsletter and somewhere on your blog
Offering a free introductory course on a platform like Thrivecart is a perfect opt-in freebie because it provides loads of value.
Plus as long as your course genuinely solves a problem your subscribers will get a quick win and see you as an awesome mentor and trust you more, which is what email marketing is all about. Trust.
You won’t make many sales without trust…
Here are examples of an excellent opt-in freebie:
How To Decide What Your Opt-in Should Be About
Your email list should be super niche.
So if you blog about recipes, parenting and home décor, you would want to choose one of those topics for your email list, but then maybe niche it down even more, or combine slightly.
You could start an email list about different recipes for busy Moms. That would work.
But on that email list, you wouldn’t be sending parenting tips or home décor ideas, just things related to recipes.
Of course, you could have multiple email lists for your blog. But start with one and then when you feel confident, introduce another one later on down the line.
3. You Will Also Need A Landing Page For That Opt-in Freebie
Your opt-in page is your welcome mat. It needs to be inviting and clear about what you’re offering.
A landing page is a page that informs about the product (freebie or paid) you are offering, only.
You can easily create landing pages with both FloDesk and ConvertKit as part of your subscription, and they have awesome tutorials to show you how.
Include a compelling headline, a brief description of the lead magnet, and an easy-to-fill sign-up form. A touch of creativity and a dash of honesty can go a long way here.
Make sure you include Pinterest-optimized images, and other social media images (e.g. Facebook images if you have a page) as you will need these for promotion later on down the line!
4. Once You Have A Free Opt-in You Need To Provide A Signup Form So You Can Collect Emails
You can create signup forms on Beehiiv, FloDesk and ConvertKit.
I recommend you use your email marketing provider’s own signup forms, rather than a third party, and then if there is any issues they can it sorted. Otherwise, things can get a bit complicated when lots of different tech is involved…
Also make sure you create a thank you page, don’t just use the generic option that comes with the email service provider of a little pop-up thingy that says thank you for subscribing.
That way you can personalize the page with other popular posts on your site and encourage them to stick around, more pageviews equals more potential earnings. Plus it will come in super handy if you ever decide to run ads (trust me)!!!
What makes a good signup form?
- Information is easy to read
- It’s clear what they are getting
(You can see my sign-up box below as an example… It was made with ConvertKit)
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Where Should You Put Your Signup Forms?
The most important place is your landing page or post of course.
But you also want to include them in other similar topic blog posts (once or twice in the actual text), your sidebar, maybe your footer and an excellent place, if your theme allows, it is in the header of your site.
A note on pop-ups and welcome mats:
Yes, they do convert very well, but they also annoy your readers and Google hates them (so goodbye SEO).
I do use them but only when I’m actively promoting something for a limited time. A really good alternative that’s far less intrusive is a bar at the top of your site.
That seems to get a good number of conversions without affecting user experience, although I don’t know if Google still views it as a pop-up.
ConvertBox is an excellent option if you want to add a high-converting bar at the top of your website. It can also do a lot more, too!
5. Promoting Your Email List: How To Get People To Signup To Your Email List
Now, let’s get the word out! Promote your email list across your website, blog, and social media channels.
Use eye-catching images and banners on your website.
Don’t shy away from mentioning your newsletter in blog posts or social media updates. Collaboration with influencers or appearing on podcasts can also amplify your reach.
Promoting your lead magnet is done the same way you would promote any of your blog posts. Just think of your landing page or post as a special blog post, and promote that.
The best way I’ve found is to create multiple Pinterest pins for that landing post/page and then make sure you are promoting them on Pinterest every single day, in group boards and on your own boards.
Another great place to promote your freebie is in Facebook groups.
Make sure to promote on any other social media platform you’re on, plus sites like Quora and Reddit can be great places to gain valuable subscribers.
Once you get into the swing of things you can create promoted pins and Facebook ads to bump up your subscriber numbers.
Offering Exclusive Content and Incentives
Keep the fire burning by offering exclusive content to your subscribers. This could be insider tips, additional discounts, or first dibs on your products or services.
These incentives not only encourage sign-ups but also make your subscribers feel special.
6. What To Do Once You Have An Email Subscriber (Engaging Your Subscribers from the Start)
First impressions matter! Kick things off with a warm, welcoming email series.
Introduce yourself, set expectations for what your emails will offer, and deliver on your promises.
Depending on what your freebie is you may need to send them an email immediately to get their freebie.
For example, if it’s a PDF you will want to automatically send them an email with a link to download it.
Regular, valuable communication is key to keeping your subscribers hooked.
But regardless you should still be sending at least one welcome email, this should include:
- Welcoming new subscribers to your email list and reminding them how they signed up
- Give them their freebie (if you haven’t already) and any instructions necessary
- Explain how often you will email and the sorts of awesome things you send your subscribers
- Talk a little bit about yourself, possibly linking to your ‘About ’ page
- Give a call to action, for example, you could ask them to join your Facebook group or to reply and tell you something they’re struggling with (you can get future blog post ideas by doing this)
Now, we wouldn’t just be sending one welcome email, rather we would be sending a welcome email series over a few weeks.
This is because those first few emails will be among the most opened you will ever send, therefore it’s a great opportunity to provide lots of value and build trust with your subscribers.
Just don’t create an email welcome series if your freebie is an email course because that will just be way too many emails for one person to handle.
What To Include In Your Email Welcome Series:
I normally advise you to send around three to five emails in a welcome series, it seems to work well for me.
Those include the initial welcome email that I outlined above. However, if you’re sending an email welcome series you will also want to add these two things to that email.
- Tell your new subscribers that they will be receiving some welcome emails from you in the next few days, how many emails they will be receiving and what sort content they can look forward to
- Include a P.S. at the end reminding them of the awesome stuff coming their way
Email two should be the most valuable sent. This way, you encourage your subscribers to open the rest of your email welcome series and give them an idea of the awesome content you will be sharing in your future newsletters.
An ideal subject is a free, really in-depth tip regarding your niche.
For example, in my second email, I talk about my best free traffic-building tip (you can sign up for my email list if you want to find out that tip)
Again make sure you include a P.S. tempting them with the next day’s offerings.
In email three I think it’s good to do a broad overview of your niche, including how you got involved, why and your favorite resources.
Don’t forget to disclose if you use affiliate links at this point and you can’t use Amazon affiliate links in emails, FYI.
In my third email, I give a brief guide to blogging, explain why I started, and list the resources that I find most useful in my business.
Email four is where you need to bring out an incredible offer. This can be free or paid.
You could give them access to another freebie you have created, or let them have a taster session of a service you provide.
If you have your own products you could give them a mega discount code but really you don’t want to be selling to them straight away, so I would go with a free offering if you can.
The last email, number five. Because the majority of people skim emails I like to use the final email to summarize all the main points from the previous four emails.
Make sure to highlight the offer from email four, but don’t ‘sell’ it.
Also, let them know when they will next be receiving an email from you and thank them for allowing you into their inbox.
Remember, it’s a privilege and you should treat it as such.
But whether it’s one welcome email, or an entire email welcome series make sure you set this up as an automation. That way these emails will be sending out to your new subscribers without you having to lift a finger.
7. Analyzing and Optimizing Your Strategy
What’s working? What’s not? Dive into your email analytics to understand your audience better.
Keep an eye on open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
Use this data to tweak your strategy, experiment with different types of content, and keep improving.
How To Start An Email List – Conclusion
You now have the blueprint to build your very own thriving email list and charm your way to your first 1000 subscribers.
By now you should have a really thorough understanding of how to start an email list.
It’s super easy to do, and once it’s all set up you can just sit back and let it happen, perfect.
Remember, each subscriber is more than just a number; they’re a potential customer, a future advocate, and a vital part of your brand’s journey.
So, start crafting those irresistible lead magnets, set up your opt-in pages, and get ready to welcome a wave of engaged followers.
Here’s to your first 1,000 subscribers – and many more to come! But now, you need to learn how to actually nurture, grow and MONETIZE your list. And for that, you’ll need the Email Marketing Solution program.
Introducing: Email Marketing Strategy Solution!
It’s Time To Boost Your Revenue with the HerPaperRoute Email Marketing Course!
This program is ideal for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and digital marketers looking to boost their marketing strategy.
- Proven methods to gain your first or next 1000 quality subscribers.
- Techniques for building and nurturing a list
- Tips for writing compelling newsletters and boosting engagement.
- Advanced techniques for personalized and targeted email campaigns.
- Secrets to writing irresistible subject lines and email content.
- Exploring automation tools for efficient email marketing
- Strategies to turn emails into a profitable revenue stream.
Why You Should Enroll In This Course: It’s perfect for those who want to leverage email marketing to increase sales and customer engagement effectively!