You have a new online business and are having a hard time building your email list? Find out 5 best tips to grow your email list when you have a little blog.
I’ve used these list building strategies to grow my email list fast when I had only 5 blog posts.
This post is the second one in a two-part series on promoting your online business when you have little content:
- Post #1: How to Grow Your Traffic when you have little content
- Post #2: How to Grow Your Email List when you have little content (current post)
I’ve created the series “When You Have Little Content”, because I couldn’t find quality posts on the subject. It seems a lot of the strategies I read about online are spammy tactics (you won't see me do that!) or are built for people that already have several posts up on their blog.
Since I couldn’t find what I needed online, I decided to create my own marketing strategies. Hey, I’ve been a professional marketer for 14 years so I was pretty sure I could figure this one out!
Out of all strategies I tested, these are the BEST 5 list building strategies I use to promote my own online business (even though my blog is little).
I trust you’ll also find them helpful to promote your own biz.
This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend things I love and would tell my best friend to use. It comes at no additional cost to you if you choose to make a purchase. For more details, read my full disclosure.
How to Build an Email List from Scratch
Getting traffic to your site is one thing; the next thing is for those visitors to trust you with their email addresses.
You don’t need thousand of page views to build your email list.
What you really need to be focusing on is attracting quality traffic to your site, and optimizing your strategies to convert those visitors into email subscribers.
While this might sound daunting to do, I’ll make it easy for you. Here are my best tips to optimize your website to grow your email list like gangbusters.
Strategy #1 - Create a free email course
Creating a free email course has been one of my top list building strategies. While it took me time to write it (each email is about 2,000 words), it has now become my number #1 source of email list growth.
My free 5-day course to Grow Your Traffic converts at almost 50%.
Not only the conversion rate is great, but engagement from my audience has significantly gone up.
I’ve received great feedback and was even told that it is better than some of the paid courses out there. Sweet!
It truly feels great to be making a difference in people’s lives and their business success.
To launch your own free email course, you’ll need to follow these 7 steps:
1. Choose a subject.
Pick a subject that will serve as the foundation to paid products and services. Think of it as the first step in helping your customers.
Your course needs to quickly solve their problems, as well as address the emotional aspect that comes with that problem.
For example, my course Grow Your Traffic helps solve my audience problems with increasing page views while addressing the feelings of overwhelm that often comes with struggling to grow an online business.
If you’re unclear about what your customers are struggling with, follow the steps in this article about How to Read your Customers Minds.
2. Create a sales page that converts.
Your sales page should include at the very least details of what the course includes, who the course is for and a great opt-in form that converts (I use ConvertKit on my Squarespace site).
3. Build a “you’re almost done” page.
I ask subscribers to confirm their email addresses before sending the first lesson. I use this double opt-in feature to prevent bots and more importantly to create an engaged list.
4. Create a confirmation page.
Once the subscriber confirms their email address, they are directed to this page thanking them. It also includes an option for them to share the course with their friends on Pinterest or Twitter.
5. Write the content of the course.
Think of it as putting together a series of blog posts that teaches your readers a specific subject in an ordered and logical manner.
You’ll most likely need to create the content from scratch.
The good news is that you can sparingly reuse the content throughout future blog posts or to inspire entirely new blog posts based on the feedback you receive from your course.
6. Set-up a delivery mechanism with an email service provider.
ConvertKit makes this part a breeze. I'm not personally aware of any other software that does it as easily and quickly as ConvertKit does.
All you have to do is set-up a sequence. ConvertKit takes care of automating the delivery for you. It's that easy. Sweet!
7. Promote, promote, promote.
The last step is by far the most important one. You should spend at least 50% of your time promoting (80% is even better).
Related article: How to Promote Your Online Business like a boss
Strategy #2 - Create Irresistible content upgrades
Content upgrades can be tricky, but when done right can convert at 20-30% or more. The secret is mainly 3-fold:
- have a highly relevant content upgrade,
- that adds value to your blog post,
- and that quickly solves a problem for your reader.
For example, in my blog post How to Promote Your Online Business Like a Boss, my content upgrade is a No-Fluff Marketing Planner. I created this planner for myself years ago to promote all kinds of businesses. I still use it to this day and it works great.
It’s highly relevant to my post that is read by online business owners wanting to take their marketing game to the next level.
This content upgrade works because it quickly solves a problem for my audience by making it quick and easy to create a marketing plan for the next 3 months on 1 page. Nobody wants a 10-page long marketing plan… So the fact that it is a plan-on-a-page is something my audience appreciates.
It converts at 30%.
When creating your own content upgrades, think of how you can create additional value to your posts by making your customers' lives easier.
Strategy #3 - Create opt-in boxes that convert
I use ConvertKit opt-in forms as they’ve been designed and optimized for conversion. While other forms may look somewhat more aesthetically pleasing, they don’t convert as well. So I stick with ConvertKit tried and tested forms.
Your opt-in forms need to succinctly do the following:
- entice your reader to take action and provide their email address.
- address the emotions attached to the problem you’re solving for your reader. If you’re not convinced emotions are important to growing your business, you need to read this article.
If you said the white one at the bottom, you're right! The ConvertKit landing page converts better. About twice as much.
While the Squarespace one might look more visually appealing to some, the message in ConvertKit allows for more details. The structure of the page also makes the message come across as clearer.
Strategy #5 - Create a resource library
Once you have enough content upgrades (let’s say 4 or 5), put them in a free resource library.
It’s a great way to grow your list using existing content.
It’s also amazing for offering more value to your existing subscribers, as they don’t have to continually re-subscribe each time you create a new content upgrade. It’s a great way to wow your readers - I've received great feedback from mine!
To create your own free resource library, you’ll need to set-up 3 pages:
1. A sales page that converts.
2. A password page to gate access to your resources.
3. A resource library page to host all your content upgrades.
Remember to regularly add your new content to this page.
Growing Your Email List
In this article, I’ve shown you how to grow your email list by:
- Optimizing your website for conversion
- Creating content that converts
- Creating best-in-class opt-in forms
I implemented these tips in my own business to build my email list fast.
But most importantly, it has allowed me to create an audience that opens and replies to my emails, and is engaged - and that's what matters the most to me. Quality over quantity!
Give these strategies a try and let me know!
Got any questions for me? Let me know in the comments. I personally reply to all comments!
Author: Isabelle Paquin
After working as a professional marketer for some of the world's largest corporations for 14 years, I now focus on helping online business owners promote their biz, increase traffic and grow email list. I strive to provide you with actionable, step-by-step tips & resources for your business success. Follow me on Pinterest.