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 :)
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.
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:
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!
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.
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! :)