πŸ’₯ Establishing your origin

Every legend has a beginning, and every publication starts at zero. When making the tall leap to run your own blogging business, things can feel a bit up in the air. You've got the skills, the content, and the personality, but you don't yet have the members. This week's newsletter is about laying the foundation for your founding audience, reaching your first 1,000 followers, and getting them to stick around for the long haul. Let's go!

In this week's issue πŸ“¨

  • Find your founding audience
  • Reach your first 1,000 subscribers
  • Ways to build customer loyalty

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Zero to hero

For new publishers, collecting emails to grow your subscriber list from scratch can feel like a giant mountain to climb. Building a sustainable online business comes with a lot of pressure, but nabbing your first free members isn't as serious as it sounds. There's much to learn and plenty of action to take, but your first signups can quickly become your most loyal customers.

Let's examine some proven ways to attract your first 100 free subscribers so that you can start your publication on the right foot.

Your site

  • Prominently display a signup form on your site's homepage to make subscribing as easy as possible. You can also feature signup forms throughout your site, like on "members only" posts and content, to encourage curious visitors to join your cause.
  • Create a strong value proposition to give readers and visitors a good reason to subscribe. If much of your content is protected, consider sharing screenshots, previews, or samples of your newsletter to give them a taste of what they're missing out on.

Your first 10

  • Begin with friends and family when starting your membership-building journey. People who already love you are the most likely to support your work from the get-go. They're also the most likely to provide constructive feedback so you can make things better from the very beginning.
  • Don't be intimidated when starting from the bottom. It's okay if your first members aren't a perfect match for the content you're creating. Onboarding your loved ones is the perfect way to practice your business pitch in person and experiment with different ways to communicate your work.
Use these circles of influence to grow your audience quickly.

Your first 50

  • Social media followers can be potential subscribers, but you don't want to spam them. Reaching out to your friends on Facebook or Instagram requires a more personal touch. Take the time to write only a few personalized messages daily to the ones you think will be the most interested in your content.
  • Be patient and prepare yourself to be ignored by some. The social media strategy takes time, but the benefits can be worth the wait. It will allow you to refine your message, receive and apply valuable feedback, and reignite relationships that can help with networking.

Your first 100

  • Build relationships with people connected to your niche by attending conferences, meetups, or digital events. This will allow you to speak to other creators and build a personal support network with like-minded people. Who doesn't like gaining a few more friends?
  • Ask current members to share your work using word-of-mouth marketing. Your first signups can be the ones who trust you the most, and they're more than happy to leverage their trust in your favor. Try adding a call-to-action to the bottom of your newsletter to encourage subscribers to share.

Interesting stories & ideas πŸ“š

Bam! Pow! Growth!

Now that you've gained your first 100 members by leveraging the relationships and connections within your circle of influence, how about adding an extra 0 at the end and making it a cool 1,000? To conquer this, you must expand your horizons by exploring new digital spaces, building fresh strategies, and consistently creating quality content.

Let's review how you can reach your 1,000-member milestone to help solidify your following and brand.

100 to 250

  • Create lead magnets to attract a more attentive audience. A lead magnet is a free item or service offered to your readers in exchange for their contact information. The best ones are built in response to your members' needs and wants, so it's good to wait until you have at least 100+ signups.
  • Contribute to niche communities regularly to find potential customers interested in the topic(s) you cover and the unique work that you do. You can hang out in online spaces like subreddits, Facebook groups, and Discord channels to help build momentum.
"Access" is where lead magnets fit into the creator funnel.

250 to 500

  • Submit to online directories that expose your newsletter or publication to new audiences. You can participate in searchable databases or share your content directly on aggregator platforms. Each benefits a different type of business and consumer, so research what's best for you.
  • Choose one social media platform and double down on it. You don't need to be Everything Everywhere All at Once to reach new readers. Mastering one social network will allow you to focus on deeper connections and take advantage of specific trends.

500 to 1,000

  • Create a pillar page and ask your followers to share it. These pages are informative and extensive, providing enormous value within your niche. This will cause your work to be shared widely online and your publication to rank well in online searches (SEO).
  • Experiment with contests and giveaways to inject some energy into your growth strategy. People are naturally competitive and love gifts. Just ensure that they're interested in the great work you're doing and not just free stuff. Whatever prizes you're handing out should make sense for your business.

The power of love

You're starting to see your hard work pay off, and you've matured to over a thousand members, but how do you ensure they stay put? Customer loyalty doesn't just happen overnight; it has to be thoughtful and intentional. Your followers are the reason all of this is possible, so it's essential to incorporate them into everything you do.

Sean Peek, senior analyst at Business News Daily, outlines how to cultivate customer loyalty to give you an audience for life.

#1 Get to know your members and allow them to know you. Send them a special deal on their member anniversary, keep them updated on any publication changes, and open up to them about any negatives. Just be human, and they'll return the favor.

#2 Launch a referral program to reward faithful followers. A referral program allows your members to receive unique benefits if they refer your publication to a friend or loved one. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your mailing list and customer base.

#3 Stay true to your values, and your customers will do the same. Whatever sets your soul on fire, inject that into everything you do. Focus on what your business is best at and what makes your brand unique, and you'll have a loyal following in no time. Being someone else is hard; being yourself is easy.

Bonding and advocacy are a vital part of building member loyalty.

#4 Engage with your readers on a personal level. You don't have to treat them like a best friend, but they should feel a bond with you, whatever that looks like for your brand. Use social media to interact with them, share behind-the-scenes scoops, and offer VIP deals.

#5 Encourage member feedback to ensure high happiness. Asking for their thoughts, gripes, and ideas makes your customers more willing to invest in your publication. Be sure to implement their feedback in productive ways to build trust. If you're dedicated to them, they'll be devoted to you.

By removing your mask and showing your readers who you truly are, they'll trust your work. Quality content is excellent, but if it's not wrapped in the sweetness of the human spirit, your subscribers won't fully connect with what you're trying to achieve. Let your guard down, and they'll support you indefinitely.

Curator's pick ✍️

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