How to Get Your First 1000 Blog Subscribers and More
Optimize your blog for lead capture and grab your first 1000 subscribers.
1 – Start Here
Message from the Author
I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years now and I’m thrilled to be your guide throughout this Execution Plan.
I’ve run blogs for multi-billion dollar companies like Salesforce.com and a small SAAS company called CrazyEgg.com.
I’ve successfully built and managed B2B and B2C blogs for dozens of companies – large and small.
In this Execution Plan, I’ll share everything I know about building blogs that generate money.
But more importantly, if you follow this Execution Plan carefully you’ll learn something far more important than how to make money blogging.
You’ll learn the Digital Marketer system.
A system that you can not only apply to your blog but to every digital marketing tactic you can imagine.
It’s the system that makes money. It’s the understanding of the PURPOSE of the blog that makes money.
I carefully designed this Execution Plan so that even beginning bloggers will get tremendous value. And, if you’ve been blogging a while and have had trouble making money – you’ll see the light. I promise you that.
It will be up to you to “execute” on this Execution Plan.
But if you do the hard work, the sky is the limit.
Director of Content Strategy
Understand WHY You Are Blogging
A blog is not a business. It is a channel — and a powerful one.
Watch this quick introductory video to make sure you understand WHY you are blogging.
2 – Optimize Your Blog for Lead Capture
Create a Lead Magnet
A compelling Lead Magnet is tied for 1st place (along with traffic generation) for the most critical component to generating leads and subscribers quickly.
If you are a Digital Marketer Lab member, you should access the How To Create Your First Lead Magnet Execution Plan. This Execution Plan will walk you step-by-step through the Lead Magnet creation process.
If you are not a Digital Marketer Lab member, this case study from Ryan Deiss will help you with the Lead Magnet creation process.
9 Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples (And ONE That Generated 28,507 Subscribers In 45 Days for Digital Marketer…)
This little baby generated 28,507 leads in 45 days…
It’s called a Lead Magnet and if you don’t have one — or don’t have a good one — this article could literally change your life.
Lead Magnet – noun – an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.
The goal of the Lead Magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer.
It’s the first step in my Customer Value Optimization process.
We’re going to look at 9 different types of Lead Magnets in this article and the absolutely WRONG question most businesses are asking about generating leads.
But first, you must understand the single most important element of a successful Lead Magnet…
I have great news.
Lead Magnets don’t have to be lengthy. Or complex. Or time-intensive to create.
In fact, a long and complex Lead Magnet will likely convert poorly.
You simply need to solve a specific problem with a specific solution for a specificsegment of your market.
Here’s the key…
Your Lead Magnet must be consumed by the prospect for it to have an impact.
The perfect Lead Magnet will offer tremendous value within 5 minutes of the opt-in.
This is a “rule of thumb”, of course, but we don’t recommend, for example, a mini-course delivered over 14 days or a 300 page ebook as a Lead Magnet.
These Lead Magnets take too long to consume and are unlikely to be specific.
Notice how simple and specific this Lead Magnet is…
On the other hand, this Lead Magnet is non-specific and takes 20 weeks to receive the full pay off…
Shoot for the former and not the latter when creating your Lead Magnets. The good news is that the first one is much easier to create than the second one — and it will convert better.
Let’s look at some Lead Magnet types (with examples) that do it right…
1 – Guide/Report
Reports and Guides are amongst the most common types of Lead Magnets.
If you use a Lead Magnet of this type — be careful. You could easily violate the specificity rule with this kind of Lead Magnet.
Here’s an example Free Report Lead Magnet opt-in from Joe Polish at Piranha Marketing.
2 – Cheat Sheet/Handout
Cheat sheets and handouts work well.
They have a different “feel” to them than Reports or Guides.
They are generally very short (one page or so) and cut straight to an ultra-specific point.
You can deliver these as checklists, mind maps or “blueprints.”
Here’s an example mind map used as a Lead Magnet…
Notice how the mind map is blurred out to build curiosity.
In one case, we actually used a NAPKIN (or the image of it) as a Lead Magnet,
3 – Toolkit/Resource List
A Toolkit or Resource List can make a great Lead Magnet for the right business and market.
This company is offering a Time Management Toolkit in exchange for contact information,
And this is one of the tools that is delivered after the Lead Magnet is taken by the prospective lead,
4 – Video Training
If it makes sense and you have the skillset, video can be a very effective way to deliver on your Lead Magnet.
This first video delivered one Facebook Marketing tactic and made a pitch to receive a second Facebook marketing tactic if an email address is entered.
5 – Software Download/Free Trial
Software companies often offer a Free Trial of their software as a Lead Magnet.
Here’s how Bidsketch, a SAAS proposal building application, asks for an opt-in to start a free trial,
6 – Discount/Free Shipping
For those selling physical products on or off-line, discount clubs or Free Shipping offers can be an effective Lead Magnet Type.
Here’s how New Egg generates new leads using an offer of Promo Codes sent to the email inbox.
7 – Quiz/Survey
A quiz or survey, the results of which are delivered via email, can be a very engaging way to generate new leads.
You can use a quiz building tool like Interact to create these quizzes.
This is what the Lead Magnet offer looks like on the home page of a home improvement company,
The quiz is a fun and interactive way to capture new leads. Here’s a question from this quiz…
Once all the quiz questions are answered, the prospect is presented with this opt-in form…
8 – Assessment/Test
An assessment or test, particularly if it is delivered online to increase the speed of consumption and gratification, can make a powerful Lead Magnet.
Hubspot, a company that sells marketing software, has been generating leads with their “Marketing Grader” for years,
9 – Blind/Sales Material
In some cases, the most desired piece of information for the market is pricing and descriptions of products or services.
Ikea harvests contact information in exchange for their catalog. And they can deliver it digitally to speed up consumption and gratification.
But how do I get traffic to my Lead Magnet?
The fact is that traffic is all around you.
Google, Facebook and LinkedIn (just to name a few obvious sources) have
millionsbillions of users they’ll happily send to your Lead Magnet.
You just need to cut them a check.
The right questions to ask are:
- What offers will I make to new leads?
- How well do these offers convert?
- How much is a visit to my Lead Magnet landing page worth?
- How much is a new lead worth?
- How much is a new sale worth?
What if I told you that every time you generated a visit to your Lead Magnet landing page you made a $10 profit? Could you get traffic to that page?
Sure, you could spend up to $10 to generate that visit without losing money.
It isn’t difficult to answer these questions.
Start by understanding the complete Customer Value Optimization (CVO) process. The Lead Magnet is Step 1 of the 5-step process.
Then, understand these two simple metrics that determine what traffic, leads and new sales are worth to your business.
You don’t have a traffic problem.
With the right Lead Magnet in place and a strong funnel behind it… your business will become a lead and sales generating machine.
To complete this step, create your Lead Magnet.
Install Opt-In Boxes
Create a Squeeze Page
This is the opt-in method that will get you to your first 1,000 blog subscribers very quickly.
The Squeeze Page.
At Digital Marketer we highly recommend that you use a dedicated landing page (called a Squeeze Page) and drive traffic directly to this page asking for the opt-in. (Don’t worry, there is an entire module of this Execution Plan that will teach you how to drive the traffic to this Squeeze Page)
Click here and here to view example squeeze pages used at Digital Marketer. Notice that there is nothing else to do on these pages (no sidebar, no navigation, no distractions at all) except opt-in for the Lead Magnet or leave the page.
These are Squeeze Pages and, in this step you’ll build your squeeze page.
You’ll need an email marketing software like…
… to execute this step.
In this video, Richard Lindner will show you how to create a Squeeze Page usingLeadPages.
Create a Thank You Page
3 – Drive Traffic to Your Blog
IMPORTANT: Choose a Traffic Source
Reaching 1,000 subscribers isn’t difficult if you focus.
It’s all about running traffic from a source to your Lead Magnet squeeze pages and building your subscriber base.
I can’t stress this enough. This is the #1 reason you aren’t getting subscribers.
You MUST begin driving traffic…
- From your blog posts
- From your social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc)
- From paid sources (Facebook ads, AdWords, Dedicated Email Drops, etc)
- From speaking engagements (Webinars, In-Person events, etc)
- From print, radio, television advertising, etc (if applicable)
… to your Lead Magnet squeeze page.
The more traffic you send to your Lead Magnet squeeze page… the more subscribers you will get.
A typical Lead Magnet squeeze page will convert at 40+%.
That means 40 out of 100 visitors to that squeeze page will convert to a subscriber.
Remember, it looks like this…
Over the next few steps, we will outline some good traffic sources to use to build your subscriber base quickly.
Choose one or two of these traffic sources and focus on making them work.
You’ll notice that I don’t recommend things like SEO or organic social media as traffic sources. That is by design.
SEO and organic social media are not tactics for quickly ramping subscribers. These tactics absolutely pay dividends long-term but they are not a good way to get a blog off the ground quickly.
The most consistent way to build your subscriber base quickly is to pay for traffic.
Are there exceptions? Absolutely. One of your articles might go viral on Twitter and send 1000’s of subscribers overnight.
Don’t count on it.
That said, a few of the traffic sources outlined over the next few steps are low or no cost. These traffic sources will require a LOT of hustle on your part to see significant results. If possible, pair these low or no-cost options with a paid traffic source.
Over the next few steps, choose one or two traffic sources you will use to grow your subscriber list.
Traffic Campaign: Facebook Social List Building
Our goal is to reach 1,000 blog subscribers during a 7 to 14 day period.
One of the most inexpensive and measurable ways to accomplish this is through social advertising on Facebook. Facebook has the most advanced targeting options and low cost-per click.
The following videos come from the Facebook Social List Building Execution Plan…
Here’s how to create your first Facebook Ad Campaign:
Here’s how to find your market on Facebook:
Here’s how to scale your ads on Facebook:
In this article, I break down for you how to scale your Facebook campaigns by targeting audiences similar to those that have already converted. Audience Insights is a revolutionary tool for scaling your Facebook campaigns! Find the original articlehere, and join the conversation in the comments.
Looking to scale a Facebook ad campaign?
Facebook just made it drop-dead simple.
I’m going to show you how we’re using a new tool to profitably scale our Facebook ad campaigns from warm to cold traffic.
But before I show you how to use the tool you need to know this…
It’s all about TARGETING.
No matter how captivating your image or copy – if you’re not putting your ads in front of the right audience your campaign will FAIL.
We explain how to best reach your target audience and explore Facebook’s targeting options in this free resource: Ultimate Guide to Facebook Targeting.
This article takes it a step further.
You’ll learn to use this new tool to find your audience on Facebook but more importantly…
…you’ll learn to SCALE your Facebook campaigns by locating and advertising to audiences similar to those that have already converted.
In May, Facebook released “Audience Insights”, an intelligence tool that allows you to uncover demographic and behavioral data on audiences before you ever target them with ads.
Audience Insights allows you to do research on your custom audiences including…
- Email lists
- Website visitors
- Customer phone lists
It also gives you interest targeting data including…
- FB pages of competitors
- influencers in your niche
- … and even a combination of both.
Audience Insights allows you to leverage Facebook’s data to discover other pages that your target market is most likely to “Like”… these are pages that you wouldn’t have thought to target before.
This allows you to find other people similar to those that
- Converted on your web pages
- “Liked” your fan page
It will allow you to do something very important in media buying, SCALE…
In this blog post, I’ll show you exactly how we’re using Audience Insights to scale our Facebook campaigns. Don’t worry, it’s easy.
You’ll find Audience Insights on the left hand side of Ads Manager:
The first step for using Audience Insights is to input your custom audience or group of interests.
If you’re running an ad campaign to your custom audience and want to scale that ad, you’ll enter that.
Running the ad to a group of interests? Enter that list of interests.
The first arrow below is where you’d input your custom audience; the second is where you’d input your list of pages.
In this example, I’m showing you data from digitalmarketer.com and how we went about scaling an ad that we were running to our website custom audience.
As you can see, this gives demographic information on your existing audience including…
- relationship status
- education level
This is important data when targeting a cold audience.
Your goal is to identify the demographics of…
- Site visitors
- Email subscribers
- Members of targeted interest groups
From there, you’ll know how to refine your targeting when advertising to a cold audience.
Some of the most actionable data is under the “Page Likes” tab.
The first section, “Top Categories” displays a wealth of targeting information you can use to scale your campaigns including…
- Websites they “Like”
- Magazines they’re reading
- Software they’re using
- Public figures (actors, politicians) they follow
- and a whole bunch more
… this is KEY when finding other people that are most like your audience.
Even better, when you scroll down the page, you’ll find a list of Facebook pages that are MOST LIKELY to be “liked” by your audience.
This is a gold mine.
Facebook is giving you a list of pages to target…
In a recent campaign for our 212 Blog Post Ideas lead magnet, I used Audience Insights to find a list of Facebook pages to target.
We were already targeting a group I called “Our People” — this is a Facebook custom audience of people that had visited our website.
I used Audience Insights to generate a list of pages to scale this campaign.
After three weeks, the Audience Insights targeting group was converting at only 46 cents more per lead than those who had visited our website.
That means we are converting COLD traffic at only 46 cents more per lead than people who have visited our website and had generated 2,012 leads that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
In most cases the Cost Per Lead (CPL) doubles (or worse) when scaling the audience from warm traffic to cold traffic.
With Audience Insights, Facebook is handing you a database of information for you to create the most targeted campaigns possible.
Don’t take it for granted. Use it.
Traffic Campaign: Drop an Email
Remember, the goal is to drive people from a traffic source (in this case, email) to your Lead Magnet landing page.
Watch this Office Hours call with Amber Ewart, the media buyer at Survival Life and DIY Ready (two of our companies) that spend over $100,000 per month on dedicated email drops.
Traffic Campaign: The Facebook Contest
If you have a Facebook page that has built up an audience, run a contest to increase subscribers to your blog.
Here’s a low-cost option,
On Free Digital Reads, one of our properties in the Kindle book niche, we ran this simple contest on our Facebook timeline. We picked up 250+ email subscribers running a contest for a $25 Amazon gift card. That’s 10 cents per subscriber. That’ll do.
A Facebook contest doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s the status update we used to generate 250 subscribers for $25.
If you plan to run lots of contests we’ve had great success using two paid Facebook Contest applications both of which integrate with MailChimp.
Traffic Campaign: Deliver a Presentation
This is a low-cost way to drive subscribers but it will require a lot of hustle on your part.
Create a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation that is connected to the subject matter of your Lead Magnet. Don’t skimp on the visuals or the value of the content.
Be sure to include a call-to-action at the beginning, middle and end of the presentation that tells people to visit your Lead Magnet Landing Page. Make the link to the Landing Page very simple to remember like http://yourblog.com/gift
You can use the Pretty Link WordPress plug-in to create this simple link and have it redirect to a longer, “uglier” landing page URL.
The key is to have a link that is easy to remember (and type into a browser) for someone that hears it verbally.
Now, it’s time to hustle.
You need to find audiences to which you can deliver this presentation and make your call-to-action to opt-in for your Lead Magnet. This presentation could be delivered in person or over a webinar service like GoToWebinar.
- Call in favors from your existing network of bloggers and influencers with email lists
- Cold email and call bloggers and influencers with existing email lists
- Contact Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs and other clubs in your local area
If you live in a larger town, use MeetUp.com to find groups of people that are meeting up about just about everything under the sun.
This is a numbers game. You will get a lot of NO’s and many will not respond at all. Keep hustling because, if you position it right, you will get some takers.
Positioning it right means understanding two things,
- People that have built audiences only care about what’s in it for them
- People that have built audiences constantly need to feed content to that audience
So, what’s in it for them? You’ve created an AWESOME presentation that will be of great value to their audience, thus solving a problem for them. You are providing a valuable piece of content that they don’t have to create.
Isn’t this a lot like guest posting? No. We’ll talk about our take on Guest Posting in a later step.
Making a presentation directly to an audience is very powerful. It establishes you as the expert and allows you to build trust and credibility with the audience.
So, how does it grow your subscriber list?
If you’re delivering via GoToWebinar, use one of two methods
- Upload all registrants – Use your own instance of GoToWebinar or ask that the list owner give you a download of the registrants. Upload all the registrants to your email service.
- Make Calls-To-Action – If you’re not comfortable uploading all registrants, make calls-to-action throughout the presentation to visit your Lead Magnet Landing Page.
If you’re delivering in person bring a clipboard with you with a Lead Magnet registration page. Pass the clipboard around about mid-way through your presentation (after you have established authority) and ask that people sign up to receive your Lead Magnet.
Traffic Campaign: “Slam Dunk” YouTube Campaign
This is another low-cost method for building subscribers and, again, it will require a lot of hustle on your part.
Watch this What’s Working Now webinar call to learn this system…
Traffic Campaign: Guest Post?
Guest Posting has been heralded by many digital marketers as the #1 low-cost method for growing your blog.
Sure, you can get some subscribers by putting a by-line on a post that you poured your blood, sweat and tears into.
But there’s a better way. We recommend that you take advantage of this guest posting phenomenon not by “guest blogging” but by “host blogging.”
Ryan Deiss wrote a series of articles that teach you the “host blogging” system we’ve used to grow a number of blogs in different niches and mainstream verticals.
Read the 3-part series by Ryan Deiss here.
4 – Email, Measure and Optimize
Send Content and Promotions
Now that you are gaining subscribers, don’t let them go cold.
Send two types of emails…
- Content Emails – When you publish new content, send it to your email list.
- Promotional Emails – Send your own offers and affiliate offers to the list to make money from your subscriber list. Watch this video from Ryan to learn how to make $1 per subscriber per month.
Set Up Google Analytics
Now that you’re generating subscribers, it’s time to start measuring.
For that, you’ll need Google Analytics.
If you’re using WordPress you can use this handy plug-in: Google Analyticator
And Google’s thorough instructions are here: Set Up Google Analytics Web Tracking Code
Set Up Goals in Google Analytics
To accurately measure how your blog is performing, you’ll need to set up goals in Google Analytics.
Watch this video from the How to Master Google Analytics Execution Plan in Digital Marketer Lab.
Use UTM Parameters in Google Analytics
Lastly, if you’d like to pinpoint the traffic campaigns that are driving the most subscribers you’ll need to start using campaign parameters in Google Analytics.
Watch this video from the How to Master Google Analytics Execution Plan in Digital Marketer Lab.
5 – Conclusion
Bonus Presentation: How to Create a Blog Content Plan
This is a fantastic Digital Marketer Lab Office Hours webinar on creating a blog content plan…
Bonus Presentation: How to Write Better Blog Posts
Another fantastic Digital Marketer Lab Office Hours webinar on writing blog posts that get consumed, shared and commented upon.
Wow! You’ve come a long way! Congratulations!
I bet you’re asking… now what?
Here are the Digital Marketer Lab Execution Plans we recommend you checking out next:
The Tripwire Offer – Learn to turn new subscribers into customers with a Tripwire Offer.
Boomerang Traffic Plan – Learn to retarget the traffic you are getting to your blog.
How to Create Your First Lead Magnet – Create a better Lead Magnet to drive MORE leads and subscribers to your blog.