Get your party pants on, friend. Today’s post is a celebration! And a walk down recent MailChimp memory lane.
After about four months in existence, my VIP list hit a big milestone on July 30th:We hit (+ crossed over) the 1,000 mark! AHHHH!
For a couple of reasons, I’d like to document this madness before I forget how it happened (although, to be honest, I’m still not totally sure how it happened):
REASON 1: I’ve been asked about it a LOT over the past couple of months, so it’ll be handy to have a timeline (link) for future reference.
REASON 2: I’m a sentimental cheeseball. It may seem like a weird thing to be mushy about, but I know this is the first 1,000 of many. It is (YOU ARE) extra special :)
All that to say: If you want to see the nitty gritty details (I’m talking exact numbers and screenshots) of how I got my first 1000 subscribers, you’re gonna love this post. (2014 UPDATE: If you want the nitty gritty on my first YEAR, you’re gonna love this one.)
March 19: Creation (List Count: 1)
I created my list (and my opt-in box) when I learned that in the world of online marketing, the most important factor to online success is quality list-building. If you do NOTHING else on your website, you should create an opt-in box so folks who love your content can join your list and get free updates. So literally. I did nothing else.
I had one lovely subscriber in the month of March: my friend Ashley, who tested it out for me ;))
April 18: First Newsletter (List Count: 41)
By mid-April, I had 12 subscribers. A few friends and a sprinkling of clients from my free “Bright Start” sessions I’d offered in late March. Then, after posting in the Facebook group about an epiphany I had on April 10th, my list TRIPLED in size overnight, from 12 to 41. WOOHOO! (And in case you’re wondering, the epiphany was about the feature of my business vs. the benefit. Hear more about it here in this video at :50.)
After seeing the numbers fly, I thought, “Whoa. That’s a lot of people. I won’t have a site up for a while, but I don’t want them to forget why they signed up. Better send ’em something!”
On April 18th while sitting at my parents’ kitchen table with my sister April by my side, I said a little prayer and clicked send on my first newsletter, sent to 41 people.
Next Stop: Crazytown (List Count: Lost Count)
It’s hard to give a quick summary of what happened next, because it’s ridiculous. It deserves its own blog post. (There’s a little more detail here in this video.)
In the most BASIC nutshell: I knew my value, knew exactly who needed it most, and I met them where they were (Facebook) to let them know I could help.
The response was insane. And the response to the response was insane. Hundreds of comments and likes. Hundreds of subscribers. In that span of about 10 days (from first mention 4/21 to final day of the offer 5/1), my list grew by over 500 subscribers. My (paying!) client list grew by over 60. (Remind me to write another post about that side of the coin!)
I sent my offer details via email a few times a day as more and more folks signed up. Since it went out in smaller segments (those who’d subscribed since the last campaign went out), I don’t have a good screenshot of this period. You can just imagine: It was nutty.
The funniest part is that from March through April 29, over 500 people signed up for my VIP list when my site looked like THIS:
April 29: Splash Page Upgrade (List Count: 500+)
After realizing I could use some help in the digital brand department, my amazingly talented friend, dream client, and digital branding guru Suzi Istvan offered to help me upgrade my splash page. Until I launched the first draft of my site on June 7, new subscribers were treated to this lovely edition:
May 21: The Art of Woo (List Count: 743)
Yeah. You read that right. Still no website, but after the crazy (unexpected) launch in late April, early May, my list got to a comfy point in the 750 range. I settled into writing actual (helpful) content as opposed to just sharing the offer. I got to work actually HOLDING all the appointments that I’d booked during the whirlwind, and put up some copy on my site.
Launched the humble “first draft” June 7, just in time for my birthday weekend:
June to mid-July: Slow ‘n’ Steady (List Count 750-850)
For most of the summer, my list held steady in the 750-850 range. There were even a few dips from week to week! (Say it with me: It’s OKAY when people unsubscribe. It’s okay when people unsubscribe…)
July 26: Pre-Freebie (List Count: 857)
Let’s rewind a little bit. I started creating my first opt-in offer, The Conversational Copy Cheat Sheet, back in May. I didn’t have any intention of sharing it until ….now…when I launched my swanky new site design. In June, I visited with the lovely Jenny Shih, superstar business coach. She told me about her Get Your First 1000 Subscribers program, which sounded fabulous. I already had 75% of my first 1000, but who knew how long it would take to cross the 1k milestone?! (Plus, I had a hunch the tips would be helpful not just for the first 1000, but for every 1000 after that.)
Jenny’s Get 1000 program includes step-by-step action plans and guidance on anything and everything you can think of when it comes to list-building – from guest posting to marketing, free calls to freebies. I can’t wait to put them all to use! For now though, I’ve just focused on the freebie. At the start of July, I used her tips to beef up my little PDF. Then last week, I updated my subscriber forms in preparation for this week’s big reveal.
What I forgot is that some people would be signing up between now and then. I didn’t even think about people seeing mention of the freebie before I actually posted it. I got a few notes Friday morning saying, “Hey Nikki – the download link isn’t live!” OOPS! I stuck the PDF up there, and that was it. My e-baby was out in the world.
July 29: Premiere of The Conversational Copy Cheat Sheet (List Count: 1011)
Despite sharing the “big premiere” at what is probably the worst strategic time of the week (Friday night), I got about 50 new subscribers each day over the weekend. By Tuesday I eeeeeeked over the 1000 mark.
Today, August 2: Premiere of the Swanky Site! (List Count: 1021+)
That brings us to the present, friend. Kinda unbelievable, right?
Today is the day I finally get to share this BEAUTIFUL new site with you. (What do you think?!)
I’m so ridiculously excited that I can now proudly share my power-packed lil freebie with anybody and everybody who comes to visit my digital home sweet home.
Today is like a digital ribbon-cutting. So glad you’re a part of it!
Behind the Numbers
Whether you’re aiming for your first 10 subscribers, your first 1,000 subscribers, or your first 10,000 subscribers, it’s ALL TOO easy to get caught up in the numbers. But here’s what I’ve learned and what I try to remember:
- Behind every “number” is a real-life person.
- In a world of spam and way too many emails, that person voluntarily invited me to her inbox.
- She trusts me to deliver content than informs, inspires, or entertains her in some way.
- THAT is a privilege.
I’m sharing all of this with you because we’re in this TOGETHER. We’re putting ourselves out there, trying to add value to the world by doing whatever it is we were created to do, and that’s pretty stinkin’ amazing. It’s really brave, actually. (Even if it doesn’t feel like it!)
Keep plugging away. Check out the resources out there for intentional list-building (I’ve got my eyes on guest posting next!). The numbers will come.
In the meantime, we’ve got a beautiful day ahead of us. Let’s make it count.
Speaking of YOU…
This really is about YOU as a reader (and probably subscriber). As a thank you for inviting me to your inbox, I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below: What would you LOVE to read in a future blog post? (See #3 above.) I take requests! I’d also love to hear any of your FAVORITE list-building tips, so spill those too!
Thank you, thank you, thank you – mahalo – gracias – and THANK YOU for being part of this journey with me. The fun is juuuust getting started.
Like this post? Share it with your friends, fam, and fans using one of the fancy new icons on the left and click here to check out the 2014 version with some SERIOUSLY crazy updates.