Questions like this one are asked all the time in forums and Facebook groups.
Maybe it’s because we like the idea that there’s a set amount of time for things to happen or a yardstick to figure out whether we’re doing better or worse than other people.
The thing is, there’s no specific amount of time for most things. Just as different babies take a different amount of time to walk or speak. Or different cars take a different amount of time to make a journey.
With email list subscribers, it’s even more variable.
Much as in Animal Farm, whilst in theory all emails on your list are equal, some are (much) more equal than others.
Which means size isn’t everything.
You can see this over and over again on leaderboard competitions – people with relatively small lists often out perform those with bigger lists.
But first, let’s take a look at a few of the ways you could get to 1,000 subscribers.
The list isn’t complete (no list ever is) and not all the methods are ones I use or recommend. They’re here because you’ll come across them.
- Solo ads. These are more common in the internet marketing industry but are available elsewhere with a bit of searching. The list owner sends out an email (sometimes written by you, sometimes by them) and guarantees a specific number of clicks through to your squeeze page. It’s then your job to convert them to subscribers but typical numbers with a reasonable squeeze page are probably between 25 and 50% of the clicks. So you could reach your 1,000 subscriber target with upwards of 2,000 solo ad clicks. What the quality of those subscribers would be like is anyone’s guess but remember that your list would be built with click-happy freebie seekers so monetising them in the longer run, whilst not impossible, may be fraught.
- Subscriber acquisition programs such as Opt-Intelligence. With these programs, you pay a set amount of money per subscriber you get. Which is good from a budget point of view – you know exactly how much each subscriber will cost. The sites are generally quite vague as to how they get your new subscribers for you. And they don’t work with all autoresponder companies. Notably, Opt-Intelligence doesn’t work with Aweber, which is probably the strictest mainstream autoresponder company and that makes me question their acquisition methods. But you could test this method and some people have built their lists this way.
- Giveaway events. These have been around a long time and pop up in different markets at various times of the year. The logic is that you join, add one or more free gifts to attract subscribers (often with an extra charge for offering more gifts), send people to the giveaway event (so unless you buy some traffic it’s chicken and egg) and then get new subscribers to your list who are attracted to the offers you’ve placed on the site. Years ago, these apparently worked quite well, Nowadays, I’m less convinced. The number of new subscribers seems to be quite limited and personally I’d question the quality of any subscriber who deliberately wants even more emails in their inbox. I suspect most are either “spies” (competitors joining your list to see what you’re doing) or perpetual freebie seekers. I did a case study recently about an internet marketing giveaway.
- Free or almost free products. I quite like these. They’re almost the same as a standard giveaway product but the pitch is slightly different. Instead of the fairly in-your-face “sign up to my list” squeeze page, you often get something closer to a regular sales page with a buy button at the end. The buy button is either free or very cheap – I’ve successfully used $1 as the price – for example in this product. Because the sales page is closer to a traditional sales page than a regular squeeze page, you don’t get as many people sign up but they’re a bit more committed. And if they’ve spent even $1 they’ve proven that they have money and are capable of spending it.
- Full priced products. Full price will depend on your market and your sales page – anything from $7 up to thousands. Arguably an even better quality of subscriber than the $1 product because they’re spending more money. The product will probably work better as well – even if it’s close to identical to a free or cheaper product. One of the shortcuts we use is to judge the quality of things by the price. Unless it’s an open road, a new Tesla won’t get you there much faster than a ten year old, sluggish, vehicle. But the perception is that it will. That coffee shop coffee may or may not taste better than one that’s brewed at home and one in an artisan coffee shop may or may not be better again. But chances are you’ll perceive it is, therefore it will be better. The same goes for products. You’ll probably take a $5,000 coaching product more seriously than a free coaching offer. Even though if you put in the same effort, the result will be the same. But, deep down, it won’t feel that way. Full price product buyers can be the best subscribers ever, even if there are far fewer of them.
Some of this comes down to personal preference.
But, for me, a smaller list with people who like my style, read my emails and react to the things I write is much better than a list full of people where I’m just another email in their inbox that may or may not get read.
The choice is yours but take the time to decide whether you’re in the internet marketing business for vanity or profit.