Building a list when you have zero subscribers feels like staring up at the peak of Mt. Everest from sea level.
You know it’s been done before. You also know not everyone makes it all the way. Some get caught in a snowstorm and are forced back down to basecamp. Others don’t bring enough oxygen.
The successful climbers are able to make it all the way to the top in spite of everything working against them.
And just like building a list, everyone starts at the bottom.
Unless you’re famous. In which case you have a ready-made audience.
Aside from that.
As a non-famous person who’s built a list of over 22,000 subscribers, I wanted to share what worked for me. These tactics may work for you, too.
First, it’s important to know why you need a list when you have an online business:
Your list isn’t one thing. It’s everything.
You may hear otherwise, but those who attract a large following of customers without a list typically spend a ton of money on ads.
And building your audience on social media sites is rife with its own pitfalls.
Mainly that those platforms can suddenly disappear overnight and you’re left with a giant void of nothingness.
Building an audience on social media sites like Facebook may happen faster, but it puts you at the mercy of their ever-changing algorithms.
Remember Periscope and Vine? Neither does anyone else. Except for the people who put all their eggs in one of those baskets.
When you build a list yourself, though, those names are on your list.
Zucks can’t swoop down and claim them for his own.
These are your peeps (provided you’re using legit opt-in methods and not spamming).
They value what you have to say.
Here’s what I learned that worked to create a large subscriber list.
[NOTE: The 22k list was within my fitness website. I’m using the same strategies to build this audience as well, however…]
I found my niche
Your value proposition is what people get when they work with you. On the fitness site, I was all about helping women over 50 get fit. Not 30- or 40- year olds. Not men (although there were a few). Women over 50. Period.
My value prop for this writing site is broader. I’m focused on online entrepreneurs in the health, wellness, fitness, nutrition space and coaches.
So find a niche and bask your subscribers in awesomeness.
I guest blogged
Finding a good guest blogging gig isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago. I say this because many sites, including mine, do not accept guest bloggers and I get requests almost daily.
However, if you find a website open to guest blogs, and you can prove you can offer their audience value, they can be invaluable.
Look for websites that target a parallel audience from yours. In other words, don’t pitch a site that offers the same exact product or service as yours. (I know this sounds obvious, but it’s not.)
For example, if you sell a fitness product, look for health sites that don’t necessarily focus on fitness but on another, related, item or service.
In my case, I guest posted on a humor site hosted by a woman over 50.
She was not a fitness blogger but her audience was definitely in my wheelhouse.
She had a huge audience. My first blog earned me 300 new subscribers. And without stepping on any toes. I promoted her as well.
Another was a dating site for women over 50. You get the idea.
What types of sites can YOU think of that could use your expertise as an add-on to their offering?
I wrote with personality
I was going to talk about using humor here, but that can be a slippery slope. If you’re naturally funny, and can get that across in your writing, go for it.
People love to laugh. However, if you try to be funny and it flops… it can have the opposite effect.
However, you can still add personality, humorous or not. Be YOU. Talk about something silly that happened to you or someone you know that relates to the blog topic, for example.
See my other posts below on writing conversationally.
I gave / still give VALUE
I don’t know a single person who has time to waste. It’s one reason why so many websites now show the number of minutes it takes to read the article.
Readers can then decide if they can spare two minutes to read your stuff.
If they’re reading your post, article or other content, make it worth their while.
Provide real-life tips they can benefit from right away and they will know you’re an expert. And how you may be able to solve their problem.
I bought ads on Facebook
Yes, ads. In fact, chances are you probably found me through a Facebook ad. AmIright?
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to spend gobs of money on ads. Even a few dollars a day can get the subscriber ball rolling.
Offer a small opt-in, which may be a checklist, an eBook or any other valuable piece of content. Create a quick opt-in landing page so you can capture emails.
This also ensures you attract people who may be interested in your product or offer.
If you’re not versed in setting up Facebook ads, I strongly suggest investing some money in an expert to help you. They’re worth their weight in gold.
I admit up front this is not my strong suit. I post my content across several sites but mainly LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and sometimes Pinterest.
The more places you post the greater your reach, so make this a regular practice.
And one final BONUS UMBRELLA TIP:
I was super consistent
I set up a regular routine and scheduled at least a weekly email to my subscribers. As long as you offer value, your audience will know you’re there to help them.
You can’t send an email every few months and expect people to remember you.
In the dating world, this is called “breadcrumbing,” where you keep in touch just enough so the person doesn’t drop you completely.
Not a good way to earn karmic points either way.
And when it comes to creating a list of engaged subscribers, you’ll likely end up in their junk folder.
What are YOU doing to capture more leads and subscribers? Will you use any of these tips this week.
Remember to TAKE ACTION!
Other posts you may like:
How to Make Your Copy Conversational… so people actually read it
How to Write Ridiculously Captivating Headlines
How to Write Stories that Spark Intrigue, Joy… and Sales
Get to it,
P.S. Want to add some good karma to your karma piggy bank? Then I’d love if you’d please forward and share this blog post with friends you think may benefit from these tips. Thank you in advance!