How I Grew My Email List by 3000 In 3 Months

Jan 16 2016
Want to grow your email list. Here is the one simple strategy that helped me go from 100 to 3000 subscribers in 3 months. Thats a growth of 2250% - Whoa! Click to read now!
If you run an online business, you’ve probably heard a lot about how important it is to build an email list. Unfortunately, for a long time, growing my email list wasn’t a priority for me and I did not put much effort in that area. But I wish I did! – from my experience during the last 3 months, I’ve realized that the people in my list are people who truly care and are truly interested in what I do. These are the people who will support you and are with you in the long haul. In other words, they are your community, they are your best business buddies.
When I relaunched my brand in October, I really wanted to focus on growing my email list. At this point, I had around a 100 odd email subscribers, (137 to be precise) and had never sent an email to my newsletter list – so my email marketing was practically non-existent. But since October, my email list has grown to 3220 subscribers in the past 3 months i.e a growth of about 2250% which is totally crazy to me. And this exponential growth comes down to just one simple strategy which I am going to share with you today. My intention of writing this post is to show you how you can do this too 🙂
 Want to grow your email list. Here is the one simple strategy that helped me go from 100 to 3000 subscribers in 3 months. Thats a growth of 2250% - Whoa! Click to read now!

So what is that one simple strategy?

You’ve most probably heard of it. You can call it anything from a lead magnet, a content upgrade, an opt-in freebie – they are all the same. I ll go with content upgrade. Basically, a content upgrade is bonus useful content that you give your audience in return for their subscription to your email list. Sounds simple, right? But wait, here’s the twist. Any content upgrade will not work. I have 8 different content upgrades on my website and all of these do not bring me email subscribers at the same rate. You know those 137 email subscribers I had at the beginning? These were a result of content upgrades I had in the posts that I wrote between February – September.  These brought in 137 subscribers in 7 months – that is like an average of 20 subscribers/month. So then, what really worked for me that I now average a growth of about 30 new subscribers/day ? Here’s my story:
In a nutshell: Creative Convex. Going back to October 2015, with the relaunch of my brand, I also launched Creative Convex – a photography resource for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs. With this, I released free photo packs consisting a total of 20 photos that could be used for anything from blog post graphics to sales pages to e-book covers, etc. I gave away these photo packs in exchange for the email address of my audience. Now when I started Creative Convex, I definitely expected to see some growth in my email list, but no way did I expect it to grow so much, so quickly. About 85% of my email list subscribers are due to Creative Convex, while 15% are from the rest of the content upgrades put together. Here is a screenshot of my LeadPages dashboard that shows the number of opt-ins through my photo packs.
Want to grow your email list. Here is my one simple strategy that helped me go from 100 to 3000 subscribers in 3 months. Click to read now!
 So what was different with this content upgrade? Here are some things to keep in mind while creating your content upgrade so it will result in exponential growth:

Create your content upgrade with a strong intention than a goal:

When I started Creative Convex,  more than the goal of adding subscribers to my email list, I had a strong intention of helping my fellow creatives solve a problem – the problem of finding the right visuals for their blog or business. I feel that when you have a strong intention, it will help you create an awesome and insanely helpful product that will blow your audience away. And when you create something so valuable for your audience, they will spread the word about your product for you. I have been so touched and amazed at how Creative Convex has grown so fast, and a major part of the growth is due to my audience talking about it to their friends and community. So awesome right? It is kind of a snowball effect: my existing subscribers were bringing in more subscribers 🙂
Before you create your content upgrade ask these three questions to yourself:
– What are the biggest challenges/ problems of my audience right now?
– Out of these challenges, which ones do I have the skill to solve?
– Which of these challenges will I enjoy solving?
Your answers to these questions will help you create that ultimate content upgrade that your audience will LOVE!

Create a super charged content upgrade packed with an insane amount of value:

Now that you know what you want to create, give it your ALL. Put in your best work in creating the content, and don’t hold back anything. Pack an insane amount of value that people might actually be willing to pay you for it. Help them solve their problem in the easiest and quickest way possible.

Create an exclusive content upgrade:

Sure my other content upgrades did bring in new subscribers to my email list but most of them did not convert as well as my photo packs. Why? Because they were not exclusive. Probably my other content upgrades, although packed with useful information, weren’t really exclusive. For example, my editorial calendar workbook, people could easily find something similar on many other websites as well. So create something that is exclusive to you and your brand. Create something unique and of ultra-high quality that people cannot find else where. Then see the magic happen!
As you can see, more than just creating a content upgrade, what really worked for me was creating an exclusive content upgrade. And its not hard for me to see why. With all businesses trying to grow their email lists, your audience is probably bombarded with millions of opt-in forms that promise them amazing value. So with so much competition around you, how are you going to stand out? How are you going to make your value, your content upgrade irresistible?
If you are looking to grow your email list, I recommend that you take a deep and honest look at the content upgrade that you are offering. I really hope that reading about my experience was useful to you and you can takeaway something from my mistakes that will help you explode your own email list! 🙂

What are your favorite list building methods? Please leave a comment below!


    This was really hopeful! Thank you so much 🙂

    Check out my blog:

    • So welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading @ninety8ight:disqus

  • I created am e-book book and I was shocked at how much my email list grew.

    • That is SO awesome Hilary! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • While I agree having a “hook” to draw people into signing up to your mailing list, this has its pros and cons. Offering a freebie is great.. but you have to make sure you’re attracting the right people to your list and if they’re only signing up to nab a freebie then are they really the kind of people you want to attract?

    Cleaning out a mailing list is really important too and it helps you see whether people are really just signing up to get the freebie and then ignoring all your other mailouts or they are engaged subscribers. It’s all about getting the right balance.

    • I completely agree with every single point you’ve mentioned. I indeed follow some housekeeping activities to make sure my mailing list consists of the right people and a very engaged audience. I am going to write a post on that soon, so stay tuned for that!

      Thanks for reading Sophie! 🙂

    • I completely agree with this. That’s one reason I lean toward giving away education and informational “freebies” that are designed to help your ideal audience rather than something free that anyone might want and once they get it that’s all they want from you.

      Cleaning up your mailing list is definitely a must after every few months! After all if either of you aren’t getting any value out of it then it’s best to remove (not to mention you’re paying for it)!

  • Oh no—I had a super long comment but then went to log into disqus and it deleted my comment! I think the most important thing I said was from Sean McCabe who said the best way to grow your email list to ensure it was full of engaged, invested subscribers, was to have them purchase something from you. I’m finding that to be true tenfold with the pre sale of my ebook, Getting Started with Brush Lettering.

    I’d love to read your post about tidying up your mailing list and keeping only super invested subscribers. I cleaned out my mailing list once and it felt icky. I even accidentally deleted my mom from my list through the methods I used!

    • I totally agree Jenn! Its very important to have a small list with engaged audience than a huge list of disinterested audience. I ll definitely write that post soon 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

    • I have cleaned out my list at the beginning of the past two years and I think it’s totally ok. There are so many people that sign up for a freebie but never open a single email from you. I just made sure to only remove those that hadn’t opened an email in the past 6 months or more. I think those people would be glad to receive one less email 🙂

      • Great point Marianne! 6 months seems like a long stretch. When I cleaned out my list before I think I removed anyone who hadn’t opened one of the last 10 campaigns, which would equal to about 2.5 months for me. I think next time I clean out my list I will split the difference nad change that to filter out anyone who hasn’t opened in the past 15 campaigns! 🙂

        • I think I did the last 20 just to be sure, but I still went through each one one by one because i wasn’t sure i could trust MailChimp. Turns out I didn’t end up bulk deleting everyone who fell under the segment. Time consuming yes, that’s why i’m only doing it once a year 😉

          • Ah yeah. I definitely should’ve done a one-by-one check, too 🙂 Good tips!

  • I created a free 7 day photo challenge as my main email opt-in magnet and it’s worked great so far. I love using a series of automated emails to develop a relationship with the person so it’s offering more value over time. I also create guides, cheat sheets, checklists, etc. specific to certain posts!

    • Hi Monica! I am just getting into automated sequences – I completely agree that they help in building that relationship. What do you use to create these sequences? And how do you structure them? It would be super helpful to know your process! 🙂 Thanks! x

  • I’ve got a library of freebies as my content upgrade, but I need to do a better job of calling out specific freebies to certain posts related to the topic. I think you’ve done an amazing job with your freebies Chaitra and it will only help you to build up your own photography skills as well as clients!

    • Hi Marianne 🙂 Sorry I ve just seen this! I think adding blog post specific content upgrades will really help boost conversions. Thank you so much for your kind words, you are doing an AMAZING job too! love it xx

  • Can’t agree more. I recently started offering PSD templates as incentives and I have seen a rapid growth in my email subscription and I honestly haven’t even started putting as much effort in as I should. This has helped me form a new ‘2016’ plan for my blog where I plan on adding more incentives and hope for the list to continue to grow with it 🙂

    Thanks for sharing such an insightful post! Really helps you gain some perspective.

  • I think I ended up here from Pinterest, anyway I’m happy I did. Lovely site and lots of great content 🙂 Since I’ve added a private library page for all my freebies, I’ve seen a consistent daily increase in subscribers.

    • That is so good to know Zara! Private content library isa huge plus for sure – it converts like crazy! x

  • Tiffany Allen

    I just discovered your site and I’m working on different ways now to engage more customers. Your post and the comments gave me such inspiration. Thank you!

    • That is so good to hear Tiffany! I hope its coming along well, I d love to hear your update!

  • Pingback: How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades()

    • Thanks so much Jill! 🙂

  • Angela Mary

    Hello Chaitra,
    I offer free Printables as an opt in. I blog about Art and Lifestyle. Initially, this worked for me. But the growth has dwindled over the past two months. I recently started a new venture of creating websites, logos and such and listed it on the same blog. I’m still having trouble growing my subscribers. I guess I have a lot to work on. Thank you so much for the lovely post. It was really helpful!


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