How I Grew my Email List by 11K in One Month. I sat down to analyze why this month was such a successful one for email signups, and I’m sharing all my tips with you!
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If you want to be nitpicky with numbers, I was technically one subscriber short of 11K. During the month of January, I grew my email list over on my main blog, Dawn Nicole Designs, by 10,999 subscribers, bringing my current total to over 50k.
I didn’t start an email list until after a few years of blogging. Not starting one right away is the number one thing I wish I’d done differently in my business, so if you’re reading this and haven’t started one, do it NOW! You own your email list. You’re getting right into your reader’s inbox. It’s your single most valuable tool for blogging as a business. (I’ll be talking about this in more detail in my upcoming Blogging as a Creative Business course.)
Side note: My emails are Powered by MailChimp. I’ve been using them for years. In short, I love that I can make pretty emails, templates, automation and that MailChimp integrates with nearly everything.
How I Grew my Email List by 11K in One Month
I Created a Game Plan
Knowing that January is always one of my highest traffic months of the year, I sat down to think about how I could capitalize on that traffic. Here’s what I came up with for my game plan:
I Didn’t Re-Invent the Wheel
In other words, I re-created a new version of popular content. My top post of 2017 was a 30 Days to Better Brush Calligraphy Challenge. I had created a landing page on my blog and updated it daily with links to the new worksheets.
For 2018, I opted to do a 30 Days of Spencerian Script Style Challenge, but this time I created a landing page and published a daily post to share each set of worksheets. So, a new blog post went up on the blog every day in January.
I Used SEO to my Advantage
I used my Keyword research tool KeySearch to find a lettering-related keyword that was easy to rank for and had a high search volume. That keyword was “Spencerian script” so I based my entire challenge on that keyword phrase.
In the screenshot below, you can see I’m already ranking for that keyword phrase in the number two and three spots!
Note: You can use code KSDIC to get 20% off the KeySearch starter plan.
I Kept Things Cohesive
I think a big part of why so many people signed up for my email list is so they could get more of the freebies I was sharing in the free challenge. This is common sense, really, but worth noting!
I Made Templates
Posting 30 days in a row is a lot. I normally only post 2-3 times a week and in 2018, I’m only posting once a week so I can focus more on my email peeps and e-product creation. To make it easier on myself, I created templates in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and even the blog post HTML so make creating graphics and each day’s blog post a faster process.
I Included an Email Signup Section in the Blog Posts
More on this in the next section of this post. ⬇️
How I Grew my Email List by 11K in One Month. I sat down to analyze why this month was such a successful one for email signups, and I'm sharing everything I did and learned!Click To Tweet
Well-Placed Email Signups
The following list details all the places where I have email signups. I use a combo of hosted forms, links, and buttons.
Top of my blog
I use the “Genesis -eNews Extended” widget for this form. The ability to add this via widget is built into my WordPress theme.
I use the same “Genesis – eNews Extended” widget to have a hosted signup form in my sidebar.
I added a custom photo using the “Image Widget”. Again, the ability to add this via widget is built into my WordPress theme. This appears at the very bottom of every blog post.
When people are reading a post, they often tune out the sidebar and other ads, so including the email signup section in the blog post was key to gaining so many signups. I used the colorful graphic in some posts, but not all. Most posts included just a basic link since I knew many people were coming back every day to get the latest set of worksheets.
For my pop-up, I use MiloTree because it’s small, pretty, and Google-friendly (even on mobile!). I set it so it only shows up once every 5-7 visits and alternates showing visitors different things (email, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc).
This is a screenshot of how it looks on this website. Unobtrusive, yet effective!
That handy “Genesis – eNews Extended” widget at work again in the footer at the very bottom of my website. On the main page of my blog, this is the only email sign up that shows unless I have the head form active.
For Instagram, I used the “swipe up” feature of stories to get signups and I also use LinkTree for my profile link. It allows you to turn the link in your profile into a menu, making it easier for Instagram followers to access your content. This is how it looks when someone clicks my Instagram profile link:
I changed my header image on my Facebook page to an on-brand, eye-catching graphic to encourage signups.
Sound like too much? It really isn’t because readers don’t see them all, depending on what kind of device they’re using, what page they’re landing on, how far down they scroll, and because people just don’t read everything.
Even with all of this, I still regularly have people tell me they couldn’t find where to signup to get my emails. 😝
Now that the challenge has ended, I’ve removed the top sign up form and moved my sidebar form to the top of my page. I like to constantly play with options and layout to keep things fresh and test what works best.
Make Your Emails Fun for your Readers!
We all get too many emails, so you really have to make a focused effort to create emails that make your readers excited to open them. This is a big part of why I’m so anti RSS feed email lists. I want to give my email subscribers helpful content they can’t get anywhere but my emails. It shows them I value the fact that they’ve let me into their inbox.
- I created a happy and colorful new logo for my email club and changed all my signup forms to reflect this new branding.
- On many of my signup areas, I explain what they’re getting by signing up: “Sign up for instant access to my free Happy Email Club, a resource library full of exclusive Art + Lettering worksheets, shareable quotes, coloring pages, mockups, video tutorials, and more. New freebies and fresh content are sent via email and added to the Happy Email Club content area each week on Mondays!”
- The Happy Email Club resources live on a password-protected page on my blog, so even new subscribers can access past freebies and content.
Make Use of the Power of Pinterest
A whopping 90% of my social media traffic comes from Pinterest. So it only makes sense to focus the bulk of my social media efforts there. (Even though Pinterest is technically not social media Google Analytics lumps it in with social traffic).
- In every daily challenge post, I created a section in which I asked reader’s to “Share the Lettering Love” and pin that day’s post. People love to help, especially when you’re giving things away free. Sometimes, it really is as simple as directly asking them to help you pin or share something.
- I created a long 600×1500 pinnable image for every post in the series and schedule it to a Pin Campaign (using Tailwind).
- I submitted some of my long pins to my best in-niche Tailwind so everyone in my Tribe would pin it too. Tribes are the new group boards, in my opinion. Find some to join and use them (more on that coming in the Blogging Course as well)!
- I created an email landing page to give people a sneak peek into my Happy Email Club. Then I created two long pins (that match my new branding, of course!) to promote that page on Pinterest. They’re both 600×1500 and you can check them out them below.
Homework: Make it Work for You
I hope you found this post on How I Grew my Email List by 11K in One Month helpful. Now, make it work for you! Brainstorm ways you can work on re-creating my email signup success in your own way. Come back to tell me your ideas in the comments.
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With Heart + Hustle,