The Marketing Examples alien spacecraft went past the 7,500 mark last night. Here's the good and bad:
I wish I could say I've found a silver bullet to growing my email list. But there isn't one. Every new 500 subscribers comes from somewhere different:
Sharing on Facebook groups, Linkedin, Slack, Zest, Twitter, Podcast appearances, Indie Hackers, sending detailed email replies, getting to know other share, from (trying) to help others with marketing, I could go on ...
I thought when I crossed 5k it would be less manual. But it's not. And that's great. I love taking a few hours to share each articles. I don't see the day when that stops. I'm still be posting them on Reddit / Indie Hackers / Linkedin etc ...
The easiest way, hands down, to 5x your rate of subscribers is taking your conversion rate from 1% to 5%. I can't stress enough how much easier that is as opposed to 5x your volume of traffic.
All it takes is some simple changes such as, adding an exit intent popup, explaining clearly the value of signing up, adding some social proof, multiple email boxes, asking like a human etc.
My traffic is much much lower than other sites out there. But my conversion (around 10%) is the reason why I pull in subscribers (around 50 / day). If you'd like more details on this I wrote a case study outlining the process.
I had a period over the last two weeks where I didn't produce a single article. Which is not cool, given the only thing I have to do is write articles! I got so swept up in perfectionism that I froze and couldn't string anything together.
It got to the point where I had multiple versions of every sentence and would read each of them to my brother and he was like, "What are you wasting my time for. The sentences say the same thing. Why are you stressing over this?"
The article finally came out and funnily enough it got one of the worst receptions to date. This was the best thing that could happen to me.
It was proof that all this sweating over the perfect sentence counts for nothing. It made me more cut throat and reminded me that first and foremost I'm a business. But, that was 2 weeks where the site didn't grow too much haha!
@yungrollneck shared a line from Paul Graham which changed the way I ran the site, "It's easier to expand userwise than satisfactionwise".
The point, essentially, is that it's far easier to double your userbase, than to turn a 5/10 satisfaction into a 10/10. So you've got to focus on satisfaction from the word go.
Since reading this, I've allocated more time to emails, fixing user bugs, responding to questions properly etc. If that means I grow a little bit slower then so be it.
Every startup is a tree and if you let it rot at the base, it's game over. It might grow tall, but sooner or later the rot will tear it down. Facebook is a prime example of this. I want roots as healthy as a Coast Redwood.
That's all folks. I'll be back at 10k email subs. Hopefully I get there before 2020. The email list is here for anyone who wants to learn from some real world marketing examples. Over and out.