Getting Your First 100 Newsletter Subscribers

getting your first 100 newsletter subscribers

Hitting the milestone of 100 newsletter subscribers is a nice feeling. It can mean the idea for your product is gaining some interest, or your blog content is useful enough for people to want it on a regular basis, or maybe you are getting better at providing value through lead magnets.

Early on with a blog or website, it’s important to know that you won’t get any newsletter subscribers if you don’t take an active approach. So, here’s how to get your first 100 (and beyond):

1. Write Quality Content

Quality content is content that provides value to the reader. When you have blog posts that are well written and useful, they get shared, which brings traffic to your site, which gives you an opportunity to capture another subscriber. For me, my most shared posts are ones that are honest to a specific experience I’ve had, and posts that provide actionable advice. People read to learn, so teach them useful things, and you’ll have an easier time getting your posts shared, giving you an opportunity to use lead magnets (the masters of email subscriptions).

2. Use Strong Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is something you give away for free in return for a visitor’s email address. For example, in your sidebar or at the end of a post, you have a subscribe box prompting the visitor that they can get X for free, and have a box for their email address with a subscribe button (Note that the least amount of information you can ask for, the better. I typically ask for just a first name and an email address—sometimes just an email address.)

In order for it to be considered a lead magnet, you have to be giving something away. Having a box that says “sign up for newsletter” is not a lead magnet. Some good examples are things like a free pdf guide with really useful information, access to a webinar, an email course, or an entry into a giveaway.

A method that has worked well for me is to make a variety of lead magnets so that you can tailor which ones are used on which pages/posts on your site. For example, I wrote a post on writing a business elevator speech, and at the end of the post, I have an opt-in offering a free worksheet that guides people through writing their own elevator speeches. It gets great results because it directly applies to the content.

People can tell when you have a poor lead magnet. They can also tell when you put a lot of time into it. Don’t be afraid to spend a good amount of time on creating useful lead magnets. The point is to provide a lot of value so it’s hard to pass up. My two most successful lead magnets are my free book, and my free 4-week course on starting a side project. I spent over a hundred hours creating the content for those, and it’s paying off.

Capturing email subscriptions should be looked at like a transaction, but instead of money, visitors are paying with the email addresses.

3. Find Your Audience

You have great content and great lead magnets, so now you just wait, right?…no. You have to get targeted traffic to your posts and/or landing pages. Marketing gets romanticized, but after all the roses and ball-room dancing, it boils down to finding the right people, at the right places, and providing them the right products.

Your customers are humans, not numbers. Think about where your customers hang out online. Specific forums? Websites? Social media platforms? Find the specific places. For example, don’t waste time trying to market your online marketing software using Instagram or Pinterest—your people probably won’t be there. The term “social media” is not all inclusive. You shouldn’t have a presence on all of them, because your target audience will not be on all of them, and you don’t have the time to keep up with all of them. Pick 1 or 2 to start with that you know house your audience, and focus there first along with specific forums and online communities. Get involved, post your content where it’s useful. The more targeted your outreach is, the better conversion rates you’ll have on your landing pages and posts.

4. Use Good Tools

Using good tools on your website to catch people at the right time can be crucial to growing your list.
Read my post on 4 Free Tools to Increase Newsletter Subscriptions to see which ones I use.

If you focus on good content, strong lead magnets, finding your audience, and using good tools, you’ll get your first 100 newsletter subscribers in no time. Leave a comment below with your experiences so we can all learn new methods!

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About The Author

Dustin Lien

@dustinlien has a passion for helping people start businesses that are profitable by implementing content strategies, smart marketing, and good business.


  • Dave

    Reply Reply July 23, 2014

    So Dustin,

    You’re on a desert island with only a computer and internet connection and you have to get 1000 people to your website to subscribe to a newsletter within 3 days or you die of thirst what do you do? That is with no lead time or access to any other resources or prep.

    What do you do Dustin? What do you do?

    • Dustin Lien

      Reply Reply September 8, 2014

      Alright Dave, this took me long enough to get back to, but – challenge accepted.

      Day 1 – (assuming I have some cash to spare) I’d set up a giveaway requiring email opt in, and give away something really generic and untargeted like a flat screen TV or an iPad. I’d use King Sumo to encourage shares, giving extra entries for each referral. I’d send an eblast to my current list. I would also set up a pop-up on my site to get people visiting via past blog posts to enter and share.
      Day 2 – I’d email everyone who already entered, and sweeten the pot by offering to give another prize to the person with the most confirmed referral entries.
      Day 3 – If I hadn’t hit it yet, but I’m sure I would with such a generic prize, I would beg and plead via facebook telling them I was about to die.

      Getting subscribers isn’t hard, it’s getting targeted subscribers that’s hard ;)

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