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How to get your first 1000 email subscribers (in a month!)

email subscribers

Email subscribers. Everyone wants more of them, but most bloggers don’t seem to know how to get them?

So, I’m just going to put it out there.

One of the best things I did when I started both my blogs, was to focus on building my email list.

And to focus on it almost to the point of obsession.

Yes, I of course also dabbled (quite a bit) in social media, and SEO and every other item on the massive “ways a blogger can get their content out into the world” menu.

But my main focus was always on growing my email list. 

And to be honest it wasn’t even really on purpose the first time around. It wasn’t like I chose this strategy over the others because I was some sort of online marketing savant. Or even because I had a choice in the matter.

Rather my first blog actually started out purely as a newsletter, or e-Zine as it was called back in the day (and only got it’s own website/blog about nine months later).

So, of course, I HAD to make growing my email subscriber list a priority. It was pretty much all I had!

Which was lucky, because if I hadn’t I probably would not be anywhere near where I am today.

You see I grew that list to over 25,000 subscribers in under a year.

And it was because I had such a massive list that I was able to make the switch from full-time employee, to full-time boss blogger in under 12-months as well.

So the second time around, when I launched this blog, well this time it was very deliberate.

I already had a few tricks up my sleeve, but I was also more than happy to experiment with a bunch of new stuff, too. Because I knew just how crucial building my email list was to the success of my business.

And the craziest thing is that most bloggers actually have “set up an email list” somewhere way near the bottom of their to-do list.

Or not on it all.

Rather than as priority numero uno.

Including bloggers who have been blogging for years (not looking at anyone in particular… ahem… you know who you are!).

And it’s absolutely nuts.

As in crazier than Honey Boo Boo on a sugar-high kinda nuts.

Sure, growing an email list can feel a bit scary, complicated or just like “too much work” at the start.

Most things in life can (when you first try them anyway!)

And you’re all busy, I get that.

But this is exactly why you should be fan-girling over all things email.

Because as far as getting the best return on your investment, the biggest bang for your buck, growing your email list wins every, single, time!

OK, OK, so have I got you convinced?

Are you ready to put down the hashtags, and step away from the pins for even just a couple of weeks so you can get this all set up and running?

Awesome, now let me share a few of my favourite ways for a blogger to grow their email list… fast (aka exactly what I do to get thousands of new email subscribers every single month…. without using pop-ups… unless you want to use them of course!)

It’s a two-step process. And it’s one that will probably take a little bit of time to get set up (maybe a few hours over a couple of weeks?), but once you do, it is going to change your blog for the better. Significantly. I promise.

Step 1: Mastering Opt-In Bribes to get more email subscribers

#1a – Create an AMAZING evergreen opt-in bribe.

OK, you can’t be shocked by this one.

I bang on about it ALL THE TIME.

And yes, I could (and probably will) dedicate an entire blog post to exactly what goes into creating an amazing opt-in bribe (so watch this space). But for now, it really comes down to knowing one key pain-point of your readers (and a seemingly simple and desirable small step towards helping them out with a said issue).

The key words here are:

1 – SIMPLE – aka a checklist, planner, 5 best XYZs, worksheet, guide etc.. not an entire eBook

2 – DESIRABLE  – your suggested solution for fixing that problem needs to be something they want to do, aka not too hard, complicated or time-consuming.

3 – ACHIEVABLE – it can’t sound too hard, or too unrealistic either. Sure they might want to earn $1million dollars in a week, but it’s not very likely to happen. But $1K in 30 days, sure… sounds like something they could do, right?

Free Template - Get More Email Subscribers For Your Blog

FREE BONUS – Keep on reading right to the bottom of this post because I actually have a FREE planner printable for all my lovely SBB readers & subscribers that you can simply download, customise and then use as an opt-in-bribe on your own blog!

You also need to have a killer headline for it (expressing how it is all the three things above), AND a nice image or screenshot of what this opt-in bribe is, so it seems like a real, tangible thing (Fivrr is great to get these done), AND you need to promote it absolutely everywhere.

On your homepage, in your heading, on your social media. Everywhere.

Yes, you can use a pop-up to promote it too, but you actually don’t have to if you are spruiking it everywhere else (and following the next few steps as well).

PRO TIP: Once you have your evergreen opt-in setup, and it’s working well, I’d recommend also creating a special page dedicated to it. So that you can easily link to and promote your opt-in via guest posts, Pins, on social media etc.. as well.  You can even play with running Facebook ads to it if you have the budget.


When it comes to ROI for bloggers, growing your email list wins every, single time#secretbloggersbusinessClick To Tweet

#1b – Add content upgrades to your content schedule & emails

OK, so you have your bread-and-butter, awesome opt-in bribe. That is great, that will get you a pretty decent stream of new subscribers (especially when you follow the promotion ideas in part 2 below). But, if you really want to ramp it up, you’re going to need to make creating these opt-in bribes part of your monthly blogging schedule.

You can, of course, do it more often if you like, but I think it’s better to keep your work-load on the lighter, more achievable and realistic, side (or you just won’t do it!).

So you need to add “Create An Opt-in Bribe” to your monthly to-do list.

And it’s not just any opt-in bribe, you want something that relates to one of your blog posts, so you can promote it in that blog posts (this is called a content upgrade), as well as send it as a little present to your current subscribers (I call these subscriber-only bonuses).

Again, follow the steps above and keep it really simple.

If you don’t want to have to come up with a new idea each month you can even have something that ties in with one of your recurring posts.

On DDG we used to have a monthly meal plan & printable recipes, here on SBB I send my subscribers a  monthly blog planner worksheet and blog post-prompts.

And of course, there are lots of different ways to deliver these monthly opt-in bribes too.

My two favourite ways to get more email subscribers (because they are just the easiest!) are:

1 – Via Content Lock – You can use a plugin like Thrive Leads to hide the download button or link in your blog post until someone subscribes (see the end of this post for an example!).

2 – Via a Resource Library – Upload all of your opt-in bribes to one custom page on your blog, or even just a shared Dropbox folder, and share the link to that page/folder in your welcome email that people automatically get sent when they subscribe.

OK, so you have these awesome opt-ins ready to roll, and your existing readers and subscribers are loving them. Now it’s time to get MORE email subscribers.

So, how do you make sure new people are loving all over them as well?

Time for Part 2: Promoting your email list & growing your email subscribers – on autopilot!

#2a – Update popular posts for more email subscribers

This one is super fast and super effective. Just jump into your Google analytics, find your 10-20 most popular posts over the last 6+ months (these are ones that are getting traffic all year round, not just when you publish them), and add links to your opt-in bribes in that post.

Do a combination of simply adding links to related text, adding opt-in boxes into the post (you can do this with Thrive Leads also very easily), and highlighting a call to action and a link at the end of the post such as;

#2b – Promote on social (again & again) to get more email subscribers

Remember how I said you’ll want to have a special page set up that you can link to for your opt-in bribes so you can easily promote them? Well, this is where you are going to need that. You’ll also need all the links to those most popular posts you just riddled with opt-in offers and links.

And then, you want to go and use a FREE tool like Recurpost, and set up a recurring schedule to share (and re-share and re-share) links to your opt-in offers and also the posts containing them, at least 2-3 times a week on your Facebook and Twitter (if you use it). I normally upload at least 2-3 versions of each post share (aka using a different image from the post, a different heading or post text too).

You can use Board Booster to do the same (but maybe a bit more often) on Pinterest.

And you can use to do the same for Instagram (just include the link to your main opt-in bribe page in your bio too).

#2c – Guest posting for email subscribers

I am actually not normally a fan of guest posting, as usually, it’s far too time-consuming for far too little reward. BUT if you combine guest posting with a few links back to a related opt-in bribe, not only will you increase your chances of driving some serious traffic back to your blog, you also will get a whole bunch of that traffic onto your email list too (so you can keep them coming back again and again).

Free Template - Get More Email Subscribers For Your Blog

Phew, you made it. Now as promised here is your gorgeous (and totally easily customisable), Planner Download that you can now update and use as a content upgrade on your own blog. 

Just click the link below for instant access!


Want to learn more of my tried & tested strategies for growing your email subscribers, and your blog?




    October 12th, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Love this! Thank you Kate!

  2. Kate McKibbin

    October 13th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Awesome, yay! x

  3. Melissa

    October 12th, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Awesome useful information. Thank you

  4. Kate McKibbin

    October 13th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    My pleasure 🙂

  5. Torey N

    October 13th, 2016 at 1:14 am

    This post was exactly what I needed today! Thanks!!

  6. Kate McKibbin

    October 13th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Glad I could help! x

  7. Shevy

    October 14th, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Love your stuff

  8. SBB Carly

    October 17th, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Absolutely – anything you can do to list build is great. Every month or so for existing subscribers – reward them for being loyal!

  9. Kate McKibbin

    October 17th, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Absolutely, it means you can have a whole bunch of people ready to read your when you publish your first post! 🙂

  10. Shevy

    October 17th, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you Carly and Kate!
    I’m so lost but trying to make myself start haha! Thank you ! 😀

  11. SBB Carly

    October 24th, 2016 at 9:15 am

    It seems really overwhelming but you’ll get there eventually!

  12. Natalie

    October 18th, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Some great tips here Kate, thanks a lot!

  13. Shannon

    October 18th, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Kate, I just registered for tomorrow’s webinar but I am unsure I’ll be available as I’m working at the same time. Will there be a replay available for 24 hours afterwards, by chance?

  14. SBB Carly

    October 24th, 2016 at 9:16 am

    We always try to record it but sometimes it just doesn’t work out so it’s best to attend live. We do them very regularly though so don’t stress – there will be another one soon!

  15. Briohny

    October 25th, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    This is definitely something that I need to learn more about but am feeling somewhat freaked out by how and where to get started. Your post provided some great suggestions to get started. Combine this post with the one about pop-ups and I feel at least you’ve pointed us in the right direction.

  16. Kate McKibbin

    October 25th, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Awesome!! I know it can seem complicated (but if you just try to break it down, do it bit by bit, you’ll have it sorted in now time 🙂 x

  17. Kami

    February 18th, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! And, what service provider or key words would I search on Fivver to create what you were talking about in the post? Thanks!

  18. Stephanie

    October 16th, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Absolutely loved these tips! I’m going to implement them this month. Thank you!


  19. Sarah SBB

    October 18th, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Stephanie, that’s awesome!

  20. Lisa

    May 8th, 2018 at 5:40 am

    This post is great! I’ve been brainstorming for a while now about creating a lead magnet but I guess I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on by not having it. Thanks for the information!

  21. SBB Team

    May 9th, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    We are glad you found it useful 🙂 x

  22. Thomaskutty

    May 10th, 2018 at 5:13 pm


  23. Martinha

    January 21st, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for this amazing tips… I just discovered your site today and I’m in love with all the tips. =)

  24. sbbteam

    January 23rd, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    So pleased you’re enjoying Kate’s tips Martinha! Lauren x

  25. Emilie

    April 26th, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    I always see posts like this about how to get more subscribers but nobody addresses what to do when starting completely from scratch. What if I am 100% new and have no social media following, no traffic to my blog and no email list?


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