19 Ways to Get Your First 1000 Email Subscribers (Mostly for Free)

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So, you’re ready to take your business seriously and grow that email list.

As you begin to grow your email list, keep in mind that these are not just numbers in a list. This is your audience. they are people who understand your value and who WANT to hear your message, so remember to treat this list with the respect it deserves.

I have 19 different ideas listed out here, but you don’t have to implement all these ideas at once. Pick and choose which ones appeal to you and which ones are easiest to implement. Once you try a few new things, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t, at which point it’s easy to make a change.

Now it’s time to tell the world about your awesomeness. And get you on track to get your first 1000 email subscribers.

Take Action

No more wishful thinking and hoping that Google will send you tons of organic search traffic. No more telling one friend about your business and your opt-in freebie and hoping they tell some of their friends.

The first idea on this list isn’t a specific tactic. It is about you taking action. Right now. Because really – doing (almost) anything is better than doing nothing.

You have the tools and resources you need to grow this email list so now put those into action. Aim to tackle at least one action step per day to start and as it becomes more of a habit, add two action steps to your day. You won’t move toward your goals if you’re standing still waiting for things to happen.

MAKE them happen instead of waiting.

get your first 1000 email subscribers

Plan Your Content

Remember – emails are a form of content, so if you have an editorial calendar to plan your blog posts or social posts, you can use this same calendar for your email marketing efforts.

Coordinate your blog posts, social posts, and emails based on season, big industry events, or simply on topics that your audience finds useful. Even if the email is a reminder to check out your latest blog post, your audience will get used to hearing from you and you’ll drive traffic to your website.

Tell Stories

Stories sell. They also warm up your audience to show that you’re a regular person, just like them, with regular everyday problems, just like them. It’s just one step in the process of getting your audience to know, like, and trust you before they buy from you.

Infuse stories into your emails when appropriate. Not every email needs a story nor do your stories need to be 500 words. If a funny thing happened over the weekend that reminded you of something business related, your audience may get a chuckle when you share it.

Step Out of “Feeling like an Imposter” Mode

SO many business owners – both online and those with physical locations – have admitted that they felt like an imposter at some point during their business career. They felt like they didn’t have all the knowledge they needed or they didn’t have the right (or any!) degrees, so why would anyone want to listen to them (or sign up for their list)?

You have value because of your experiences. 

You are qualified to share and teach your message because you have the knowledge and the tools, which stems from what you’ve learned from your experiences. Those words like “guru” and “expert” don’t require any qualifications, so don’t limit yourself by saying, “Oh, I’m no expert.”

And if you don’t have all the answers, chances are that you know where to find the answers, so that puts you in the “expert” category.

The more you embrace your experiences, the more your confidence will build, which will bring you out of your comfort zone and into the world, promoting your business (and your opt-in link)!

Host a Webinar or Master Class

There’s no better way to showcase your expertise online than to host a webinar or produce a series of videos. If your prospects are worldwide with little chance of them attending a live meetup, video is the next best tool. They can still see and hear you as you present and they can gauge whether or not your style works for them.

Consider using an evergreen webinar host, such as EverWebinar, which keeps offering your recorded webinar as many times as you like. Host the live webinar once, then continue its replay at the frequency you choose. In order to gain access to the webinar, viewers will have to enter their email address.

get your first 1000 email subscribers with a webinar

Share a Free Video Demo or Presentation

You don’t have to be on camera to make a video valuable to your audience. Consider shooting a video demonstration or a presentation. Demos are perfect if you’re showcasing a software or tool you use all the time. If you have a membership site, give a tour using a screencast software.

If you ever give live speeches or presentations, ask the host if they’re recording it. If so, ask for a copy so you can share it. If no recording is available, take those same PowerPoint slides and turn those into a video slide show. Add your voiceover, if you prefer. Use these video options as content upgrades or as your general opt-in bribe.

Create a Quiz

Quizzes are a fun way to capture your audience’s attention while granting them instant gratification with your analysis of their problem. Using a quiz creator such as Interact, you create the questions and sort out their answers ahead of time so everything is automated when visitors take your quiz.

If you’re feeling unsure, Interact offers a Free plan where you can create as many quizzes as you’d like. When you’re ready to capture leads you can seamlessly upgrade to any Interact plan and still get a 14 day free trial!

Look at Live Lean TV’s quiz on their site. The reader answers a few questions related to their fitness, goals, and access to equipment, and then they enter an email to receive their results of which fitness program they should follow.

Dump Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is aptly named because it keeps you comfortable and safe, which means it’s keeping your business at a constant hum but you’re not growing. You’re likely to feel frustration at this point or feel like you’re on the hamster wheel to nowhere.

Step out of that safe zone and take a risk. A calculated risk that will help your business, of course, but something that you’ve never tried or a strategy that you dumped before seeing it to fruition. Breathe some new life into your business by trying new things.

Ask What Your Customers Need

When it comes to creating new programs or products, why guess about what your customers want or need when you can simply ask them.

Build a feedback email into your monthly or quarterly series. Create an online survey and promote it on social media. Or ask them to simply hit the Reply button to your email for more direct feedback. Once you get those answers, you can properly build a program that you KNOW they need.

Get Inspired by Your Competitors

It’s time to do some reconnaissance on what your competitors are doing in their marketing efforts. Not that you’re going to copy them but getting inspired to try a new strategy is fair game.

Check out their website; look at their social profiles. What are they offering as an opt-in gift? How does that compare to your opt-in gift? How can you make yours better than theirs? Now look at their programs and products through the same eyes. How can you make improvements to YOURS that your audience will love?

Answer Questions & Participate in Groups

Don’t be a fly on the wall in your Facebook and LinkedIn groups. The same goes for any membership forums you belong to. As we discussed earlier, people won’t know you’re a member of a group unless you make yourself known.

Answer questions, especially those regarding your specialty. Ask questions or ask for feedback. Follow the group’s rules regarding links and promotions so you don’t get kicked out. On promo days, promote your opt-in freebie. If you find your current groups are negative or aren’t serving your needs, search for others to join.

Use a QR Code on Your Printed Materials

If you know how to scan a barcode on a package at the supermarket, you understand the basics of using QR codes. These black and white symbols are used in mobile marketing and store large amounts of information. To get that info, the user just needs to scan the QR code with a scanner app on their smartphone.

QR codes can redirect people to websites, YouTube videos, or a Facebook page. Or to email opt-in landing pages. In-store QR codes can also alert customers of special promotions. Many people print QR codes on their business cards and/or their printed company brochures. Companies also use QR codes to direct fans to their app, which eliminates the hassle of searching for the app and possibly running the risk of the prospects getting distracted.

If you want to create a QR code for your business, you’ll need to use a service such as QR Code Generator.

Be Approachable & Authentic

You hear the word “authentic” used an awful lot these days in the business world but it’s an extremely vital part of doing business with integrity. Sure, you’ll find the sleazy hustlers who will do or say anything for a sale but if you want to form true relationships with your followers and prospects, then being authentic and approachable are important traits.

Being approachable simply means acting like a regular person, willing to answer questions for those who view you as an expert. Truly authentic people don’t pretend to be perfect; they often show their weaknesses through their stories sent to their email lists. These stories can endear the author to their audience even more, because they want their followers to learn from their own mistakes.

Add a “Share with a Friend” Button on Emails

What better way to grow your list than by word of mouth. Check with your email provider about how to add a “Share with a Friend” or “Forward to a Friend” link in your emails, then actually ASK your subscribers to do so by ending with a clear Call to Action.

Not everyone will forward your email but it never hurts to ask, especially if you’re writing about a hot topic in your niche.

Host an Email Challenge

Challenges (both free and paid) are very popular these days and they are super easy to host. Simply plan out your challenge – including the number of days – then write your emails in an Email Marketing Service like MailerLite or ActiveCampaign, set up a Facebook Group for live interaction, and start promoting.

Of course, the only way people can join the challenge is to opt-in to your email list; and, if you continue sending valuable information, they will remain loyal followers and potential customers.

Write Your Emails in a Conversational Voice

Do you like to be preached at? Not many people do, especially when reading an email. Tone of voice definitely matters when people can’t see your face or hear your voice, so choose your words wisely if you truly want to form relationships.

One simple tip is to write your emails as if you’re speaking to your best friend (or mother, sister, uncle, etc.) Don’t get caught up in the formal writing we were taught in school; online writing (depending on your market, of course) is generally much more casual, especially for emails.

Have a Conversation, Not a Sales Pitch

Making sales – or adding new subscribers to your list – isn’t about making a sales pitch. Instead, consider this process as just having conversations with other people, some of whom will need what you have to offer.

This idea rolls back to the idea of forming relationships instead of just closing sales. If you nurture the relationship and genuinely learn how you can help your prospect, then they will remain loyal for years to come. If you just hit everyone with a sales pitch, you’ll sound desperate and the prospects will wonder if you’ll disappear after the sale. In this case, the sales person only cares about their own sales, not about your needs.

Don’t Forget to Network at Live Events

The online world is amazing but don’t forget to look right in your own backyard for networking opportunities. Print a QR code on your business cards and then visit your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI groups, or any number of other events meant to bring local business owners together.

Even if your business is 100% online, you can still connect with potential clients in-person. You just have to get out there and meet people to find out their needs. You never know where your next client will come from and it may be from your own local area.

Practice Consistency & Keep on Giving

Consistency breeds a new habit, so set up an email schedule that works for you and your audience and then STICK TO IT. Staying in touch is really a win-win for you and your subscribers: They will remember you and you will get to know them better.

Also, continue to find ways to give your audience what they want, whether that’s free information or paid products. When they see you working hard to find what THEY need, that will make a lasting impression.

Provide offers that are relevant. Share social posts that make a difference to your community. Look for ways to better serve your tribe and they will become loyal fans – and email subscribers.

Growing your email list is not just a numbers game: It’s all about building that sometimes elusive relationship with your tribe. While a list with a huge number sure makes your ego feel good, even small lists of qualified buyers can be profitable. It all depends on how much YOU put in to help your target market achieve the results they want.

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