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I can’t believe that I’ve been using email marketing for almost two years and didn’t make a conscious effort to grow my email list until July, 2019!

Well, it goes to show that sometimes things just happen when you’re ready. Most other times though, you just have to dig in your heels and do the hard work if you want to see progress.

Before we begin, let me clarify that I am one who believes in organic, engaged growth. That specifically means numbers that matter. There is no point in substantially growing an email list if you don’t get subscribers who actually stick around and open your e-mails.

This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.

When I launched my Newsletter in November 2017, I started with a very humble number of around 50 subscribers.

Most of them were family and close friends. Over time, I began to dive deep into the idea of e-mail marketing as a way to connect with readers, touch base with clients and yes, sell my affiliate products.

And very, very slowly, I began to see an increase in the number.

But it wasn’t phenomenal or anything. I managed to gain about 500 followers in a little over a year, I think.

Then, last month, I did 5 of these tips in today’s list and saw my list grow by over 250 new people in just 2 weeks! 😀

Ready to learn what I did to make it happen? 🙂 Here are the steps I followed.

Switch to a better e-mail service provider

As a beginner blogger on a tight budget, I didn’t want to be shelling out too much money on maintaining an e-mail list. I mean, who knew if anyone would even sign up for the list, right?

So, I played it safe and went with MailChimp, since their free plan allows up to 2000 subscribers.

For the longest time, this worked perfectly fine. Contrary to what most people think, I actually find Mailchimp relatively easy to navigate and even conduct training sessions on how to use it for your email list.

But there were definitely some limitations when it came to actually converting readers to subscribers.

I kept hearing glowing reports about ConvertKit, but the pricing model was a serious setback. I wasn’t ready to shell out that much money ($29 per month) on a relatively small list. Oh and they have no free plan available; just a free trial.

Recommended Read: A detailed comparison of MailerLite vs MailChimp Vs Convertkit

Then, in early July I heard about MailerLite and I was intrigued. Their free plan was fantastic and their paid plans were way cheaper than ConvertKit. Could a different service provider actually make a difference?

Well, that image above should tell you the answer. And the best part? I got that many subscribers while on MailerLite’s Free Plan.

Sign up here for a FREE trial of MailerLite. It remains free as long as your unique subscriber count per month is under 1000 people.

It was such a runaway success, though, that I finally ended up paying for their second-tier plan ($15 for 1000- 2500 subscribers). 🙂

MailerLite’s free plan has many advantages over MailChimp: multiple sign up forms, free automation sequences, a much easier interface and very good e-mail support on the free plan.

There HAS to be a catch though, right? Turns out there are a couple of them.

  • Well, for one thing, MailerLite has an approval process that you have to pass, in order to start using your account. Nobody actually knows what the criteria are, when it comes to this approval, so your best bet would be to submit it and keep your fingers crossed.

I’ll do an even more detailed review of why I love Mailerlite, on the blog, so watch out for it.


Create Targeted Opt-in Freebies

This is one of the best decisions I made, after switching to MailerLite.

Mailchimp only gave me the option of creating a single sign-up form. Mailerlite, on the other hand, gave me the ability to create multiple opt-in freebies that I could place on different posts on my blog!

Why does this help, you ask?

Because, this way, you are giving that reader exactly what they want when they land on your page.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

Here is a post I wrote on 12 best apps for bloggers. It’s one of the posts that attracts the highest-traffic on the blog. But I wasn’t getting any conversions from the post.

Until I created a specific, targeted lead magnet like this one:

Or there’s this other post on 10 Pinterest tips for beginners that does very well in terms of traffic. But, no conversions at all, until I added this opt-in freebie!

Once I created these freebies, my subscriber conversion was incredible! 😀

Effectively, when you give people exactly what they need instead of a generic ‘sign up for my newsletter’, you’ll notice a marked difference in your subscriber numbers.


Create Landing Pages on Your Blog

What’s the number one thing people want to know when they have to sign up for your list?

Details.

They want to know exactly what they’re getting into, what you’re offering them and how they will benefit from it.

Landing pages are perfect for ticking all these boxes.

Mailchimp and Mailerlite both have dedicated landing pages, but the problem? You can’t embed them on your blog.

It’s always better to direct people to your blog instead of a landing page on another server. That’s free traffic that you’re giving away.

The workaround that I did was to create a page on my blog and then embed the opt-in freebie’s sign up form directly on the page.

So simple, right? 🙂

Here’s an example of a landing page on my blog:

29 Free Stock Photo Resources that Every Blogger Needs!


Promote your opt-ins on social media

The only way you’d get subscribers is if you’re actually talking about your opt-ins on your social media channels.

Depending on whether your audience is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, create graphics and promote the lead magnets on these channels.

My highest traffic referrer is Pinterest, so I created graphics for my lead magnets and scheduled them out on this platform. (See below)


Launch a free Course

Everyone loves free things 🙂 It’s human nature.

Create an irresistible item like a free course or a free e-book and target your audience just right.

I did exactly that when I launched my Free 5-day Email course on growing your Instagram page organically!

The response was phenomenal and the conversions skyrocketed my list! 😀


Create a Resource Library

You know all those lead magnets and opt-in freebies that you created earlier in the list?

Well, you can house them all in a single page on your website and create a password that only your subscribers can use to access the page.

I actually did this when I was with MailChimp itself, but it only started converting better after I switched to MailerLite.

That’s because of the targeted landing pages and the pop up forms that I created for specific pages, telling people about the treasure trove of free resources that awaited them.

At the end of the day, you have to understand that getting email subscribers depends as much on writing good copy as it does in creating high-quality content.

Use these tips to effectively grow your list. Let me know if it makes a difference to your own list. 🙂

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Image of a laptop open on a table with text overlay on how to grow your email list in two weeks

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.

2 Comments

Suha Vijay · August 2, 2019 at 7:36 pm

As usual another informative post and no point of denial actually, this post of yours is tempting me to start my own Email list. But still doubtful mainly based on the niche of my blog

    Shailaja V · August 25, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Yay! Good to hear that, Suha 🙂 Do read my post on if you need a newsletter or not linked in the post above. It’s very useful depending on which stage you are as a blogger.

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