I may earn a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Learning how to grow your email list is a tough business. If you’re anything like me, you spend tons and tons of time investing energy into list building strategies and it almost always feels like you’re not moving anywhere.
Sometimes it sort of feels like you’re spinning your wheels without any headway. That feeling sucks. It just completely sucks.
But, we do it anyway, because we’re told that building an email list is important.
As bloggers, putting all of your eggs in one basket is a death sentence. Instead, you need to diversify. Get your traffic and followers from many different areas.
Instead of relying solely on building your social media accounts, you need to also focus on building your email list.
That way, if for some mysterious reason Twitter, or Pinterest, or Facebook suddenly changes their algorithm or goes away entirely, at least you’ll still have your email list!
My friend Krista from BlogBeautifully.com is an excellent example of this.
She spent months building up a great Facebook group, one of the most popular Facebook groups actually, until one day Facebook deleted it without warning!
Bam. Just like that, her entire Facebook group filled with around 8,000 people just disappeared within a second.
But Krista rebounded quickly from it because she had an email list! When her new group was created, she was able to notify her email list and get people back in the group.
Now the group is nearly at 1,000 members and counting!
If that wasn’t reason enough to grow an email list, think back to the Myspace days.
Yes, myspace still works if you go to it but it’s as good as obsolete. Back in the day, bloggers used to make a lot of money on Myspace, but when things started changing and Facebook became the place to be, those bloggers started seeing a major dip in their income and traffic.
Those bloggers who relied solely on Myspace and didn’t build an email list suffered astronomically. It put many bloggers out of business.
So while you might be thinking to yourself, “How could Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook go away anytime soon?” just remind yourself that the Internet world changes quickly. You’ll want to be prepared when it does.
So start growing that email list. Don’t put it off!
Now, moving on – let’s talk about May and my insane subscriber growth that month.
I coined May 2017 as list building May.
What the heck is listbuilding May, you ask? Good question, friend.
Well, it’s a self-coined term. But essentially it means that I spent all of my energy in May trying to grow my email list way more than I’ve ever grown it in the past.
The result? It worked.
My effort in May resulted in 725 new email subscribers. For me, that was an incredible victory and it’s one that I’m still working to meet or exceed sometime soon.
For the rest of this blog post, I’ll tell you all the different things I tried and tested during List Building May so that I could grow my list by over 700 subscribers in 31 days.
Are you ready?
I decided on a whim to host a webinar.
Yes, I’m a whim type of gal. Not much forethought goes into anything I do. I’m a go-go-go person, so if I have an idea, I just run with it and hope to hell it works!
That’s exactly what happened with this webinar.
I was sitting in Panera, my usual go-to work location, with a cup of cappuccino and I decided what the heck, I’m just going to go for it.
Literally, I started planning the webinar that second.
When I started this blogging thing, I was incredibly camera shy. Despite being a well spoken individual in crowds, for some reason the camera freaks me out. So hosting a webinar was always one of those “I’m NEVER going to do that” things in my mind.
But 2017 is the year of self growth and challenges, so I forced myself to pick a date and advertise it.
And I did it!
I won’t spend too long talking about how to host a webinar. That’s another blog topic that I’ll be covering shortly, but I WILL tell you a few things:
Hosting a webinar is FREE. It only takes time, but no money. I hosted the webinar using Google Hangouts and Youtube and embedded the youtube video on my site. It was incredibly easy to do and I didn’t spend a single penny doing it.
Hosting a webinar is incredibly profitable. Not only did I not spend any money on the webinar, I also generated a profit of over $400 in the span of 10 minutes when I shared one of my courses with the audience.
Hosting a webinar allows you to provide FREE value to your audience for a long period of time – while interacting with them. This helps establish yourself as an expert, as someone who’s willing to be there for your audience, and as someone who has TONS to offer.
The webinar generated 200 NEW subscribers within 1 week of advertising it.
To sum it up: webinars are budget friendly to run, they are highly profitable, they help you get closer to your audience, and they help grow your email list like a weed.
Let’s just say I’m really happy that I got over my fear of webinars. Since then, I hosted another webinar with Krista Dickson and have another one coming up with Meera Kothand.
I’ll be planning several new webinars myself, too!
Despite having a growing Facebook group and a handful of exceptional freebies, for some reason I never really thought about sharing those freebies with my Facebook group.
Instead, I shared links to my blog posts hoping people would then subscribe to my list when they saw my freebies advertised on the site.
It went like this...
Facebook group >> Blog post >> freebie >> email list
Then the lightbulb clicked in May and I realized that I could probably do well to share my freebies in my Facebook group. It skips a step (which saves a whole lot of time), and goes like this...
Facebook group >> freebie >> email list
I suppose I never thought of this before because I didn’t want to appear spammy promoting my own freebies right in the group.
But here’s the thing: if your freebies offer value, your group members now only will sign up, but they’ll be grateful to you for the gift.
Here are some snapshots of what people say when I share my freebies in the group.
Now chances are you're scratching your head wondering what you should do if you DON'T have a Facebook group.
Number one: consider starting one. Do some homework to see if this is something that you're interested in and/or something that could benefit your blog.
Number two: figure out other ways that you can share your freebies in Facebook groups without being spammy or breaking any rules.
We often think of ways to share blog posts creatively, but forget that the same logic can be applied to sharing freebies, too. So just keep that in mind the next time you go to grab a link to a blog post... could you somehow figure out a way to share a freebie instead?
There is great power in positive testimonials. I learned this in May and truly can’t emphasize this enough to you.
One of my original Blogger Insights Facebook group members shared her experience with one of my freebies in the Facebook group.
She wrote, “If y'all haven't gotten Eden's freebie of 80 grab n go blog titles, you need to get it. It gave me so many ideas and I published one yesterday and in 36 hours I've gotten over 6,000 views of the post (6x more than my biggest post) and almost 100 sign ups! Eden, I'm recommending it to all my blogging friends. Can't wait to use more of your titles. Thanks for the ideas!! The title was ‘Tell-tale Signs You're Going to Fail at X.’ I used it as a humorous post for RVers.”
Within 24 hours of Liz writing this in the group, I had over 50 new subscribers sign up for my email list so they could gain access to the freebie. That number just kept growing over the following days.
What's the takeaway?
You can toot your own horn however loud you’d like however often you’d like. But your voice will never be louder or more influential than the voice of another person who has used your products/services with success.
For the record, I never asked Liz to post this. Nor did she receive any sort of commission in return for writing it. I honestly had no idea Liz was going to post this! But this just goes to show you how powerful testimonials really are.
Encourage people to share your freebies by writing testimonials. Give them the idea to share their testimonials if they feel inclined – you never know just how many incredible new subscribers you could get!
I find that a lot of times, bloggers overthink growing their email list. The truth is, it's not rocket science.
Basic strategies implemented on a regular basis will help you set the foundation for an email list that will grow steadily with time.
A webinar, a few Facebook posts to my group and a genuine testimonial generated hundreds of new subscribers within one month. If that worked for me, it will definitely work for you.
Keep in mind, these are not niche specific strategies - so go ahead and try some new things and don't be afraid to fail!