List Growth Strategy: How I Grow My Email List by Hundreds of Subscribers Every Single Month
In this post I share about the strategy I’m currently using to automatically grow my (previously stagnant) list by 400 – 600 new email subscribers every month.
I clicked the big, green “buy now” button and cringed. So Much Money. I’m a saver, not a spender, so I never really feel good about letting money go — even if I think it’s for a good reason.
I’d just spent $2,000 to buy an online course. It was the most I’d ever spent on a course, and close to the most I’d ever spent on anything. (My car, at that time, had only cost me $1,800, so I think I’d only spent more on my house.)
But this is an investment, I told myself. Even though I don’t like spending money, I’m a strong proponent of putting my money where my mouth is and not being afraid to invest in my business.
The course was supposed to teach me how to get 10,000 email subscribers — something that I didn’t even know I needed just a year before.
But, ever since I started my first online business I’d been hearing how important list-building was, and how valuable of an asset email subscribers were to a business. And it made sense! Having a big list of people who are interested in what you offer and whom you can easily contact surely would be valuable.
So after that first year of trying to grow my list with minimal nonexistent success, I decided to get serious about growing my business by investing in my education.
I soon received a confirmation email with my login information, and immediately set to work executing each lesson of the course.
Let me first say: the course was full of many good ideas for how to grow one’s list. There was plenty of tactics that I’d never thought of before, and some of them did help me earn a few subscribers.
But, after spending another whole year working through the course, I only had about 500 new subscribers to show for my efforts. It was disappointing, to say the least. After all, not only had I invested monetarily in my business, but I’d also invested a huge amount of time.
I finally sat down and took a good long look at exactly what was working to grow my list — because at that point I’d tried a lot of things. I figured that most of my growth had probably come from just a few of the tactics (80/20 rule), so I should figure out what those were and double down on them.
Here’s what I realized: Since starting my business, nearly 80% of my list growth had come directly from efforts I’d made while launching products.
i.e. All my tactics directed exclusively at “growing my list” had only resulted in a few hundred subscribers. However, when I focused actually advertising to sell a product, I added several thousand subscribers to my list almost without thinking about it.
Why is this? Because, when we are selling something, we are willing to actually invest in advertising. In order to be willing to invest, we need to be able to see a specific ROI, not something as vague as “my list will grow.”
(To say this another way, I’m happy to invest $500 into advertising if I know it will earn me $1500. But I’m not willing to invest $500 to “grow my email list by a couple hundred.”)
This is partially because the monetary ROI is more tangible and seems more valuable, but it’s also because when we are selling something our advertising earns us money+subscribers, which is obviously better than paying for advertising to earn just subscribers alone.
All this to say… Focusing just on “growing your list” is like trying to just “get skinny” without changing your lifestyle to improve your overall health and fitness. You might see some progress towards your goal, but you’ll be missing the foundation and big-picture perspective that can allow you to get exponentially better results.
So, these days, rather than focus on “growing my list” (which, really, is kind of a vanity metric), I’m focusing on making great products and effectively advertising them to make sales, generate exposure, and grow my brand.
A happy side-effect? My list is growing by 400 – 600 new subscribers every month with no additional effort from me.
No longer am I spending dozens of hours trying to promote my blog by simply sharing on social media. My time is more valuable than that (after all, it’s the one resource we can’t ever replace). I’m not spamming links or begging my friends and family to join my list.
I used to be so focused on growing my list for free. I thought, “With so many free ways to promote my blog, why would I possibly want to pay?” Also, I was broke and my marketing budget was basically non-existent.
I know that you might think that paying for advertising isn’t an option for you, since you can’t afford to advertise. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I was in that place for a long time.
But, that’s the beauty of advertising to make sales. Your advertising dollars aren’t an expense — they’re an investment! You spend the money today, but soon it returns to you — and there’s a lot more of it!
We live in an age of super-affordable digital advertising. Facebook ads and Google ads start at just $5/day (I used to think even this was too much — but it’s only $150/month. If your business is making any money at all then it’s worth spending $150/month to get more customers and grow your profits!)You can’t afford to NOT advertise. Click To Tweet
So, to be completely honest, when I finally started implementing this strategy (outlined below) to grow my list, I still “couldn’t afford” to pay for advertising. Even $5 – $10 per day was a bit of a stretch. BUT, I did it anyway and quickly started to see results.
What kind of results? Well, my email list started growing by 3 – 10 new leads/day (approximately 3X my previous rate), my blog traffic grew by 10 – 30 pageviews/day (not a whole lot, but these were new and very targeted readers that I was reaching, so it made a big impact) and even my first [small] launch more than paid for my ad spend.
(Specifically, when I did execute my first launch after I started investing in advertising, I’d spent about $500 so far. My launch brought in over $2000 in profit, clearly covering my costs.)
And, finally, let’s talk about what my advertising strategy for growing my list (and making sales) actually looks like:
1) First, I’m running “warm-up” Facebook ad campaigns. These campaigns have the “video view” objective, and I run them for about $15 – $20/day (although I started at just $5/day). I pay $0.03 – $0.05 per view, which is an extremely affordable rate, in my opinion. Basically, I’m paying to be introduced to new potential customers.
2) My second campaign has a conversion objective and promotes a free opt-in offer. Right now, I’m promoting my Sales Funnel Playbook that includes visual outlines of my 5 most profitable sales funnels. I generally pay $1.00 – $2.00 per opt-in (new lead). This is the campaign that’s directly growing my email list.
2b) When new subscribers sign up for my free download, they are taken to a Thank You page that offers a low-priced ($27) product. This helps to cover most of my advertising costs.
3) Finally, I run a third campaign, promoting whichever product or program I’m currently launching. Most of my offerings range between $197 – $2,500.
Considering that I’m only spending $600 – $1000 in advertising each month, it doesn’t take very many sales to more than cover my ad spend. And that means all the subscribers I get in the process are effectively “free” — and I’m attracting them with so much less hustling!
The difference between my previous list-growing strategy of constant hustling to promote my blog (which not only took a whole lot of time, but also was really draining) and this new strategy that works way better and generates profit at the same time is crazy to me. And it also makes me wonder why there are SO MANY articles out there about “how to get email subscribers” that promote the hard way.
What has your experience been? What have you done that’s grown your list the most effectively? What have you tried that hasn’t worked? Have you considered investing in paid advertising?
Every week I share the behind the scenes of exactly how I'm growing my online business with my email subscribers.
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This article was sponsored by ConvertKit, a service I love, use every day, and highly recommend. Want to learn how to better market your business with email? Download their free Complete Guide to Email Marketing.