List Building 1000 Subscribers

Image Credit: Pixabay

List envy. We’ve all had it.

Your competitor who attracted 1000 subscribers in her first week. The big shot with an email list of over 100,000.

You want to be like them.

I used to think that way too. Until I realized something. When it comes to list building numbers aren’t the most important thing.

It costs money and time to manage a large list. Why have 100,000 subscribers if only a small percentage read your emails?

There’s a better way to build your list.

What You Need Instead

I ignore a lot of emails sent to my personal account. Like the ones from a local car dealership I can’t unsubscribe from. It drives me crazy!

However, I open every email from Moxie Jean.

You probably don’t know Moxie Jean. They’re an online consignment store for kids. I love shopping for my daughter and I love bargains. Yet I hate shopping malls.

Moxie Jean regularly offers me a solution to my problem. Which I’m grateful for. I’m their ideal customer.

You see. It’s all about attracting the right subscribers.

List Building the Right Way

This may sound obvious. Find your ideal customers and get them onto your email list.

But putting this into practice is tough. Over the years I’ve tried various tactics to attract more (ideal) subscribers. Some have worked. Others have failed miserably.

There’s one strategy that has worked time and again. It comes down to two steps:

STEP 1: Identify your ideal customer and their biggest problem

For example, imagine you’re a fitness trainer. Your ideal customer might be new Moms who want to get rid of their post pregnancy weight.

I wrote more about identifying your ideal customer and what they want here.

STEP 2: Hang out where she is and offer a solution for free

In the fitness trainer example, you could reach out to local Mom groups and offer a free group class. (You would need to require email registration first).

This strategy has a couple of key nuances:

  1. The solution must give your ideal customer immediate results. It can be in any format: downloadable cheat sheet, how-to-video, free webinar, group session, etc.
  2. The solution must be accessed behind an email opt-in form.

How I Applied The 2-Step List Building Process

I’ll walk through an example to show how this works. Here’s how I started building my list at

STEP 1: Identify your ideal customer and their biggest problem

My ideal customer is a solo business owner. She has a website and writes blog posts. She’s frustrated because her efforts aren’t translating into revenue. She wants more email subscribers and more customers.

STEP 2: Hang out where she is and offer a solution for free

I was already active in several online groups. I offered to do FREE Website reviews. Below is my exact post.

NOTE: Please don’t copy this post word for word. I’ve added comments in [brackets] so you can use this as a template.

Hey everyone – Happy Friday! Do you want to get more website visitors to sign up for your email list?

[The problem I can help with.]

I’ve decided to do something special. And offer FREE website reviews.

[Here’s the free solution.]

I’ve had success using email marketing in my first biz. In about 6 months, I grew my list to 1000 subscribers (over half of whom are now customers). I want to share what works with others.

[Establish credibility.]

Here’s how the review works:
1. You sign up here.
2. I review your website.
3. I send you 2-3 actionable steps to get more subscribers and customers.

I test all my methods first. So you know they work AND fit into a busy schedule.

Why am I doing this? As well as helping you, I gain insights into the challenges you face. This will help me develop the best paid programs in the future.

[Be open about what you’re doing.]

For now, I’m limiting to the FIRST 10 ONLY. As I want to provide quality information and that takes time!

[Establish scarcity so people sign up quickly.]

Why This Worked

Let’s dig a little deeper. There’re some important details in my offer:

  1. I helped solve a deep pain – how to convert traffic into subscribers.
  2. It was easy to take me up on the offer. All people had to do was provide a name, email address, and website url.
  3. I made my offer in a public group. As people thanked me for my help, others were encouraged to sign up.
  4. I over delivered by giving personalized website reviews. Each report was 3-4 pages long with detailed action steps.

Of course doing personalized reviews doesn’t scale. After 25 reviews, I stopped offering this service. I now give my subscribers a Website Conversion Cheat Sheet. I follow this up with ongoing training on email marketing.

If you’re interested, you can download my cheat sheet here. It’s the same sheet I used to do the personalized reviews.

This strategy not only got my email list started. It also helped me understand my ideal customer. Especially the challenges she faces. It gave me ideas on posts to write, products to build, etc. In the words of John Russell (President of Harley Davidson):