How to Build an Email List to 1,000 Subscribers – Who Are Your Ideal CUSTOMERS & CLIENTS

audience building

If you’re building an online business you’ve probably heard this phrase a hundred times:

“The money is in the list.”

You KNOW you need to grow your list but...

How do you do it – quickly and efficiently, while attracting the RIGHT people who will ultimately be interested in your course, service or product?

In today’s video, I’m showing you STEP-BY-STEP how to build your list from SCRATCH to your first 1,000 subscribers: 

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn some money if you click on one.

I’ve grown my own email list to over 10,000 subscribers for my online course business, and my goal here is to help digital entrepreneurs and course creators like you get the most out of creating and marketing your online course business.

But before we jump into the how-to, first we need to answer a super important question:

Why You Need an Email List in Your Business

Why do you need to have an email list in the first place when you could just build your audience on social media, on YouTube, or somewhere else?

I’m sorry to say that, as great as these platforms are, you’re taking a BIG risk by relying on the audiences you’ve built there for your business.

And that is because you DON’T OWN YOUR AUDIENCE on social media.

What would happen to your business if Instagram shut down tomorrow, or your account got hacked or shut down?

Algorithms change all the time, and what one day could be a great source of traffic and sales for you could dry up instantly.

Just look at Facebook.

Brands built up huge audiences on their Facebook pages, and got great reach just a couple of years ago.

Now? Reach on a Facebook page is something like 2% on average, and you now have to pay to reach your own audience.

You can almost see the same thing happening on Instagram with all the hysteria about “Shadowbanning”, losing followers, and lost engagement as they shift to a pay-to-play business model.

But you DO own your email ist.

No matter what happens to Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or even Google SEO, you can still contact and engage with your audience through email.

Nobody can take that away from you, which is why your email list is one of the MOST important assets you have in your business.

So how do you turn your social media followings, blog readers, and YouTube subscribers into email subscribers?

You'll need to follow four simple steps...

Step 1: Your Freebie

So what’s the best way to get people off of social media or your blog and ONTO your email list?

First, what NOT to do:

Posting a "Sign up for my newsletter!" with a form on your site isn’t enough in this day and age. It may have worked in the past, but not anymore.

A form on your site isn’t compelling enough on its own, because your potential subscribers are asking themselves "what do I get out of it?".

You need to offer something of value instead – in the form of a LEAD MAGNET, OPT-IN OFFER OR FREEBIE.

This can be…

  • a PDF
  • cheat sheet
  • guide
  • ebook
  • video training
  • webinar

Whatever you choose, play to your strengths. Pick what works best for you.

Whatever format your freebie is in, the KEY thing is that it...

...SOLVES A PAIN, PROBLEM, OR DELIVERS A QUICK WIN – in exchange for an email.

This should cover a topic that your IDEAL audience member is desperate or hungry to solve or achieve. It has to be enticing enough to get them to give you their email in exchange.

Don't make it general -- it should be VERY specific to your target audience's needs.

This is KEY to attracting people who are in your ideal audience, AKA the people most likely to become paying customers and clients.

For Example:

I have a course that teaches business owners how to grow their audience on Instagram to 10k followers and monetize. So my freebie is a short email course that shows them how to get started on Instagram and attract their first 1,000 followers.

People who sign up for my freebie are highly likely to want to buy my paid program because it takes things a step further in solving their problems and helping them achieve their goals.

Tell me in the comments… what niche is your business and what type of freebie are you planning on offering to grow your list?

STEP 2: Setting Up Your ESP

Once you’ve created your freebie or lead magnet, you’re going to need a way for people to give you their email address in exchange for the goodies.

For that, you’ll need to choose an Email Service Provider to host your email list, create opt-in forms, deliver the freebie, and send emails to your entire list.

Most beginners start with Mailchimp – it has a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers and is a great place to get started if you aren’t ready to spend.

I personally do all of my email marketing with Convertkit.

Convertkit is a super easy to use platform with simple interfaces, so you can get your email out and focus on the more important aspects of your business.

You don’t want to spend all of your time fiddling around with features you don’t need, and Convertkit makes it super easy to get your email list set up and working for you in the blink of an eye.

You can sign up for a free 14-day trial of Convertkit when you sign up through this link.

STEP 3: Creating Your Signup Form & Landing Page

Once you’ve chosen the right ESP for you, you’ll be able to create signup forms for your email list. 

You can design these to fit in perfectly with your brand, and incorporate them into your website, blog, and individual landing pages.

I highly recommend creating a landing page for your freebie, where you can direct traffic from your blog and social channels to get people to sign up.

You can create landing pages right inside Convertkit if you've signed up, or you can make them in WordPress or Squarespace where your website is hosted.

But one of the easiest and quickest ways to get your landing pages up and running is to use a dedicated landing page building software like Leadpages to create your landing pages on the fly. 

I absolutely LOVE Leadpages, as it allows me to whip up a gorgeous high-converting landing page in a matter of minutes with their visual page builder.

Automate the delivery of the freebie to be sent out immediately upon subscription (set this up inside Convertkit or Mailchimp), and you’re good to go!

You can start promoting your freebie and growing your list!

Which brings me to...

STEP 4: Promote Your Lead Magnet to Grow Your List

There are TONS of ways to promote your freebie, so stick to the methods that work best for you.

Again, play to your strengths.

If you have a large social media following, you’ll focus on promoting it there. If you get lots of blog traffic, you’ll want to utilize that.

But here are the top 5 most powerful places to promote your lead magnet to grow your list:

#1 - Signup Forms on Your Blog 

Sprinkle signup forms for relevant freebies throughout your blog posts. I usually put one midway through each post, and another at the end of the article.

That way, people who actually read your content are the ones who see your free offer and you'll end up with a list full of quality prospects who are more likely to buy from you.

Make sure the freebie or lead magnet makes sense with the content of the blog post!

You can create a different lead magnet for each of the major topics or categories you talk about on your blog, so you ALWAYS have a relevant offer to promote at the end. 

#2 - Popups & Scroll Mats

I know I’ll get some pushback on this because everyone thinks popups are annoying – but they’re so prevalent on the internet because they WORK.

I quadrupled my email opt-in rate when I added a “welcome mat” popup to my blog.

This has a great ROI if you have good blog traffic.

Add an image, a little blurb about the outcome they'll achieve through the freebie, and a signup form. That's it.

#3 - Instagram 

There are two main strategies for growing your list via Instagram:

A) Use your bio and bio link to point to your freebie. Mention it frequently in your posts and in your Stories to drive your followers to sign up. 

B) Influencer shoutouts - This is SUPER fast and powerful! I did this to jumpstart my email list to several hundred subscribers with a brand new business.

Just make sure you shop around for good rates and STICK TO INFLUENCERS & PAGES in your niche! This is KEY. You don’t want to get your offer in front of a bunch of random people, but the people most likely to become paying cusomers.

#4 - Facebook Ads

You can run Facebook ads to drive traffic to your landing pages with your lead magnet, opt-in offer, or freebie. 

Facebook ads targeting is incredibly powerful – you can send ads to people interested in a certain thing, living in a certain area, with a certain job, etc.

This is a fantastic way to get super specific and target the exact people who you know your freebie would help the most.

#5 - Youtube 

I'm doing this right now!

If you have a YouTube channel with a good following, you should be mentioning your freebie in your videos and linking to it in the description of all relevant videos.

Create different freebies for each of the main topics of your channel to truly optimize this strategy, to convert YouTube subscribers into email subscribers.

Choose the promotion strategies that best fit in with your business and your current strengths, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can reach that 1,000 subscriber mark.

I know this whole process can all be a LOT to remember, so I’ve gone and created a freebie to help you simplify the process!

You can grab my free toolkit to rapidly build your list to 1,000 subscribers by signing up below.

With this toolkit, you’ll get my step-by-step process for creating a freebie, setting up your email list, and promoting it to grow it from scratch: