If getting emails was easy, every single blogger out there would have lists overflowing with subscribers.
However, it’s not.
The secret to getting your very first subscriber is to be able to offer something so irresistible that they would normally pay for it… but you’re giving it away to them for free.
This is the key to list building, but it’s also one of the hardest things to do.
Let’s brainstorm some ideas to help you find that irresistible opt-in!
The trick is to keep trying new opt-ins to see what works with your audience.
Some ideas aren’t always the best ideas. I’ve had plenty of those that totally flopped, but it’s more important to persist and see what works for you and your audience.
Never give up after the first attempt (or even the second, third, and so on). This is a rule that applies to almost everything.
Although many stellar ideas exist, there isn’t just one fit for every blogger and their audience.
In this post, we’ll talk about multiple ways to find your best opt-in. However, after we go through them together, it’ll be your job to test them out and see which one works best for you personally.
1. Use ConvertKit
You’re going to need a service to help you collect emails.
Seriously, if you don’t have some sort of email service provider, you’ll need to get one.
ConvertKit is a fabulous way to dramatically, exponentially, and quickly increase your email subscribers.
How do they help?
- Landing pages – you can create these directly within your email service provider and collect emails everywhere such as on social media.
- Opt-in forms – you should have at least one opt-in form per blog post so that you’re at least giving people the option to sign up and stay connected to you.
- Tracking – without data you’re blind. An email service provider will track every single movement of every single subscriber. What’s different about ConvertKit is that it also tracks everything each subscriber has bought from you so you can be really detailed with your marketing efforts.
2. Distinguish yourself with your opt-in
In other words, distinguish yourself from spam.
We live in an increasingly digital age when almost anything can be published, it’s safe to say people are wary of the kind of emails pinging in their inbox.
You don’t want to produce junk mail; the internet is replete with it already. But just as important, you want to avoid looking like junk mail.
How you choose to use words matters even more.
When customizing your opt-ins, curate each word you use with special attention.
- Spam mail is general. It doesn’t come from a real person with a real mission.
- Real mail is specific. Specific doesn’t equal wordy. Be straightforward but clear about the kind of mail your readers will receive.
Here are some elements to include:
- The resources your readers will receive – What exactly can your readers expect?
(LadyBossBlogger Ex. “Weekly Entrepreneur Resources”)
- How said resources will help your reader – Why do those resources help them?
(LadyBossBlogger Ex. “To help guide you in the right direction.”)
- An assurance – People don’t like to feel stuck or committed to something they might no longer want.
(LadyBossBlogger Ex. “We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.”)
Passion versus Purpose
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While it’s good to have a generic form, it’s more important to include one with a FREEBIE.
3. Give an irresistible incentive
Almost always, a special gift or resource is the nudge you need to push your readers to sign up for your list.
The best kind of incentive on a blog post is a content upgrade. Meaning it’s something extremely relevant to the text on your post.
For example, if I were to give you a downloadable guide on How To Create The Most Irresistible Freebies and include 10 potential freebie ideas across 12 different niches, would you think that was valuable? If so, sign up to receive it below!
Offers are only potent if they can reach/benefit your audience, and the best way to know if it will be beneficial is from your headline. You have already drawn them into reading your post, meaning they are interested in your topic. Therefore, they will more than likely be interested in more info, hence a content upgrade is the best option.
Just make sure the rest of the content you deliver to their inbox is relevant to what they initially signed up for. Otherwise, they will probably unsubscribe.
Here are some general ideas:
- eBooks: This is a great option because you can give it as a freebie to new subscribers but also sell it to non-subscribers on Amazon.
- Digital Workbook/Tutorial: A step-by-step walkthrough for anything.
- eCourse or Workshop: “How to _____” in a visual, audio or written form.
- Checklist, To-Do List, Cheatsheet, Templates: For specific tasks or challenges.
- Coupons: Especially effective for small businesses who specialize in local sales.
- Video series/webinars: Whether live or pre-recorded, these can be instructional, motivational, or conversational.
- Email course: These are great for getting people used to receiving your emails as you teach them something. This is especially great if there is a lot of content to digest, it’s best given over the course of a few days or a week.
- Consultation: To give advice, critiques, opportunities for growth.
- Quiz: People love quizzes and learning more about themselves. This is also highly shareable so make sure to give them the option to share their results!
- Audio file/transcript: More and more people are wanting to learn on the go, so make it easy for them to digest your content while they are working out or on the go.
- Basically anything downloadable or printable: As long as it’s off your main blog.
4. Drive traffic to your blog from social media
This last step is mainly about bringing traffic to your blog so that you get get subscribers!
The first 3 steps polished your perfect opt-in to prepare for this vital and final step.
In this section, we’ll brainstorm not only 3 super-essential social media platforms, but also how to best use them to lead people to your blog.
Add a clickable link in your bio that links to more than one link.
Linktr.ee is a great and convenient way to direct readers from you Insta profile to your site and content as well as to a landing page to opt-in for your freebie.
When you post your next story, make sure to link to your latest post. Yes you need 10K followers to make it clickable/swipeable but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it to direct people to your content.
Track your links and facilitate access to them.
Bit.ly helps shorten URLs and also tracks their success. Consider bit.ly when you add (non-clickable) links to your Insta posts so people can still find the post, even if it is no longer available through your linktr.ee account.
Now, let’s be honest. Pinterest is more of a search engine than a social media app, which is a good thing!
As you post on Pinterest, make sure to link the article that belongs to your pin so the user can have easy access to your blog.
Tailwind is a really great way to schedule pins at optimal times, and you can also link post URLs to pins through this app.
Twitter is fairly straightforward and simple but just as effective. I use SmarterQueue to schedule my Twitter content.
Through Twitter, you can easily tweet and retweet your posts so users can be led to your blog with one click!
Now go get your subscribers!
It’s time to experiment for yourself! I can tell you what works for me, but I can’t give you an algebraic formula for subscribers, which is a good thing.
You know your audience, and by customizing these 4 steps so they work for you, you’ll be more than well on your way to getting your first 100 email subscribers.
Let’s not let this journey end here. Try, try again, and let me know what worked best for you!
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Giselle Gaytan is a sophomore at Wheaton College (IL) studying English Writing and Journalism. For the past three years she has served as Marketer at Los Tres Manantiales, a restaurant in Wisconsin. Her creative nonfiction work has been published in two issues of the Kodon literary journal. She currently serves as Special News Reporter at the Wheaton Record.