6 Steps to Your First 100 Email Subscribers (The Easy Way)


If you want to maximize your business’ profit, there’s one thing you need to know: email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) that beats any alternative—by a lot.

I mention it fairly often, so you might already know that. But then why haven’t you started?

Or if you have started, why aren’t you getting great results? It’s not necessarily your fault; in fact, it probably isn’t.

The fault lies in the fact that you don’t have the right system in place. Every blogger will tell you how important email subscribers are, but few will actually give you an actionable strategy you can follow.

Now, there are many ways to get email subscribers.

Some are better than others. For example, you can run contests and get hundreds or thousands of subscribers, but most of them will just be looking for something free.

All those successful companies profiting from email marketing have email lists that are not only large but also high quality.

A good portion of those subscribers will actually buy something at some point if the offer is good.

Today, I’m going to teach you one single strategy. You can use this strategy to get your first 100 subscribers. And the best part is: it’s simple.

Not simple in the sense that it won’t take hard work or any knowledge, but simple in that if you have the knowledge and tools needed for success, this is about as straightforward and practical of a strategy as you can get.

Throughout the post, I’ll highlight why this is a great starting strategy and how you might want to adapt it so you can continue to use it effectively once you have your first subscribers.

Sounds good?

Let’s start… 

Step 1: One piece of the right content

Think about everything you’ve read about getting email subscribers.

Most tips or strategies focus around continuous content creation.

It’s a bit overwhelming to think that you need to produce 25-50 pieces of content just to get started.

Yes, consistency is important, but more so down the line. Right now, you don’t need to worry about that.

It’s like trying to run before you’ve learned to walk.

Baby steps. Let’s keep it simple.

With this strategy, we’re looking for one post.

Seriously, one fantastic piece of content.

Even on a brand new blog, you can get hundreds of subscribers with one post if you have the right content and a few other things (which I’ll show you later).

The guys at Groove were able to get over 5,000 subscribers from their first post in just a few weeks:



Those results aren’t typical, but they show you what one great post can do.

But I’m not just going to tell you to create a great post. I’ll take you through the whole process. 

First, pick your topic (an appropriate one): Something that content marketers don’t mention very often is that different types of content have different purposes.


A full content marketing strategy will do all those things.

But here, we’re concerned with one thing and one thing only:

Getting subscribers (leads).

Certain types of posts will establish you as a thought leader or help you establish your brand, e.g., writing about controversial topics.

Sometimes they also produce subscribers, but it’s typically not their main purpose.

Other content is more sales oriented, e.g.,  case studies. And while these might produce some very high quality leads, they usually won’t produce as many as most other types of content will.

So, what we want to focus on are types of content that will help you gain as many subscribers as possible with your post.

This includes:

  • In-depth list posts – I have found these to be one of the best types of posts when it comes to getting email subscribers and traffic.
  • “Definitive” guides – Incredibly in-depth and useful guides that attract a lot of traffic and subscribers.
  • Interesting, unique research and analysis – In some niches, audiences are hungry for unique analysis.

I highly suggest that you focus on the first two here because doing interesting, yet high quality, research and analysis is difficult. It’s also much less consistent than the other two.

To find ideas for these posts, you have a few different options.

Option 1 – Look at commonly asked questions on forums: Definitive guides are great because they cover every single aspect of one particular topic.

They are also best written about topics that are commonly misunderstood.

One way to reverse-engineer the best guides is to visit forums in your niche.

For example, say you wrote an SEO blog. You’d probably go to the SEO section of the Warrior Forum.

Then, you’d look through the first few hundred threads:


What you’ll notice is that there are a few questions that keep coming up over and over again in slightly different forms.

In the picture above, it’s clear that people want to learn how to create more backlinks.

Here’s a good title for your guide:

The definitive guide to building high quality backlinks

If you look in the Quick Sprout sidebar, you’ll see that I created a resource for this very topic in the past:


That doesn’t mean you couldn’t create your own in-depth guide.

As long as it’s really high quality, people will appreciate it. Some just need to hear things in different ways, so even if your guide isn’t the first one on the topic, it can still be useful.

Option 2 – Look at top posts on Reddit: Unlike forums’ posts, Reddit posts are voted on. You can see the most appreciated content in each subreddit (category).

If you’ve never used Reddit before, read my definitive guide (what a coincidence!) on Reddit marketing. It’ll walk you through all the basics.

Once you’ve done that, you will know what subreddits are and how to find a relevant one.

Then, sort it by “top” to see the most upvoted posts:


That picture is from the social media subreddit.

People upvote for two reasons:

  • to appreciate a submitted resource 
  • to agree with something

I put a box around a top thread “A guide for the new Social Media manager?”

In this case, it’s someone looking for help. More importantly, there are at least 13 other people (it has an overall score of +14 on the left) who want to know this information.

Now you have a great topic idea:

The complete guide to social media for the new social media manager

Alternatively, you might see a link to a really good post that someone else created.

Then, create a better one, or create a guide on a closely related topic.

Option 3 – Look at your competitors: Another way to find content that produces email subscribers is to look at your competitors.

Just search for “top (your niche) bloggers”, and you’ll find a ton.

Go through their blogs, and look at their sidebars.


You’ll often see that they highlight 2-3 pieces of content:

The higher up on the sidebar it is, the more likely that it’s performed really well on the blog.

Again, you can create a better version of it or create a guide on a similar topic.

Brian Dean (Backlinko) isn’t the best competitor to look at because he spends a ton of time on every piece of content. It’s going to be hard to make things better.

However, you could still create related resources. He has a high converting guide to ranking any keyword. You could create:

  • The definitive guide to ranking any local keyword
  • How to rank any longtail keyword

You’ll often find some competitors that produce good, but not great, content.

So when you find a good guide, you can create one on the same topic, but make it way better:


For example, that Instagram ads article above got thousands of shares and several comments, which are okay indicators of the number of subscribers it attracted.

It wouldn’t be too difficult to create a “Complete guide to Instagram ads.”

Do you have one solid idea for a guide now?

Great, let’s move on…

Second, write your content (make it great): Some of you reading this are already pretty good writers.

If you don’t think you are, you can learn. Here are some great resources on writing better:

Remember when I said that this was a simple guide? It is, but this step in particular takes some experience and effort to execute well.

To truly create a top-quality definitive guide, expect to spend at least 10 hours.

It may take you well over 20 or 30 hours, depending on the topic you choose.

Don’t get discouraged because this is one of the most important steps in this process. The better you make your content, the more you will get out of it.

I expect that for most of you, those first 100 email subscribers will be your minimum.

If you go all out and create an absolutely epic piece of content, you might be able to get hundreds, or even thousands, of subscribers over time from this single piece of content.

So, don’t worry about how much money you’ve spent or how much time it’s taken to write this in-depth post. Just focus on creating the best piece of content possible.

Finally, take its design to the next level: Part of how readers receive a new piece of content, especially from a blog they don’t know, is how it looks.

The value of the content is the most important factor, but design is also significant.

If you haven’t yet, take a couple of minutes to scroll through my Quick Sprout guides. You’ll find them in the sidebar:


I hired a professional designer to create the layout, and it’s pretty much as good as it can get.

Notice how the design makes the content feel even more valuable:


Again, more is always better if possible.

If you can afford to hire a web designer for your content, that’s great. It will earn you extra subscribers consistently over time.

However, if you can’t, that’s okay.

You can do a lot of simple things to improve your formatting, which will result in better user engagement. Your post will stand out from the average post, which is the main goal of formatting.

Here is a post I wrote on 9 different simple formatting tactics.


If you’ve already done those simple things and are looking for something more, refer to my post on 5 advanced formatting tips. In it, I show you, step by step, how to implement a lot of the formatting you see in my guides.

Step 2: One incredible lead magnet

Given how long it can take to create content of this level, you may not get to Step 2 for a week or two.

The good news is that the remaining steps take considerably less time to implement.

Now that you have your content ready to go (don’t publish it yet), you have to start optimizing it for email conversions.

If you just have a box in your sidebar asking people to subscribe, you’ll most likely have a conversion rate of under 1%.



That means that to get 100 email subscribers, you would need 10,000 visitors.

That’s quite a bit.

But what if I told you that you could get a conversion rate of 5-10%, without much trouble?

All of a sudden, you only need 1,000-2,000 visitors to get your 100 subscribers.

That is a lot easier, especially for a new blog.

How do you do this? You use a lead magnet that is optimized for the piece of content you just produced.

The most effective type of lead magnet: A lead magnet is simply something of value that you give away in exchange for information (usually an email address).

The more valuable something is, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Many websites offer one lead magnet to all their visitors, which is a mistake.


Because readers are interested in different things.

For example, let’s say I write about Facebook advertising and Adwords advertising. Some readers will be interested in both, but many will not be.

If I offer a lead magnet about Facebook advertising to readers of both posts, which post will convert higher?

It’s pretty obvious that the Facebook posts will convert higher.

A relevant lead magnet is automatically more valuable.

Value is defined by the readers. You want to give them something they’re interested in.

And you’re going to leverage relevance as much as possible by creating a post-specific lead magnet, also called a content upgrade.

When you get readers to go to the post you just created, they’ll be the ones interested in that specific topic.

If you wrote a guide to becoming vegan, you’d want to create a lead magnet that takes it further. Maybe it’s a summary of vegan tips or a helpful free tool for vegans.

Let’s look at an example of a content upgrade in action.

Bryan Harris wrote a post about lead magnets:


Later in his article, you’ll see a light blue box that stands out to his readers.

It offers them a free download of content upgrade examples. Anyone who is new to lead magnets would be interested in examples to help understand them better.


When readers click the link, they must enter their email addresses into a pop-up to get the download.

The best types of content upgrades: In order to maximize your conversion rate, you need to create the most valuable bonus possible.

Bryan Harris has claimed to have gotten over 20% conversion rate with his content upgrade, but that’s not typical.

If you’re able to get that conversion rate, you only need 500 visitors to your website to get your 100 subscribers, which is fairly easy.

The two things that determine how effective your lead magnet is are:

  • relevance to the topic at hand
  • value of the type of upgrade

A simple checklist is probably the easiest content upgrade to make. And while it will do okay, you won’t be maximizing your conversion rate because people don’t value checklists highly.


It’s an option if you have nothing else to offer, but try to offer something more useful. Summaries of guides fall under a similar category.

One type of highly effective content upgrade is something exclusive—templates or other content.

For example, in a post about how to design really attractive sidebar icons, Harris offered a slide template that readers could download and edit to use on their own sites:


Do you understand why this would be really effective?

First, the reader reads about how these icons in the sidebar have performed really well for Bryan.

Then, Bryan offers to give the reader the icon template FREE.

When most of the readers read the post, they get excited about the results these icons could generate for them on their own sites.

There is just one problem—they look difficult to make.

By solving that problem with a free template, Bryan not only made his post more actionable (always a good thing), but he also saved his subscribers time and frustration figuring out how to make one.

Whenever you solve a real pain, people will be willing to pay for it. Give it away, and you’ll get an incredible response.

If I wanted to maximize my conversion rate for this very post, I could I offer:

  • A checklist of the 6 steps – Would do okay. It would probably convert around 4-6%.
  • A detailed case study of how I applied this strategy on a new site – Would do amazingly well. One detailed, cohesive example would answer any remaining questions that a reader might still have after reading this post.
  • Access to an exclusive list building tactic to get 100 high quality subscribers for $20 – Would do even better! Although I don’t think I could deliver this.

Get the point?

Create a relevant high value lead magnet—specific to the content you’ve already created—and you’ll have a very high chance of success.

Step 3: A conversion optimized layout (that anyone can use)

The lead magnet is the biggest key to a high conversion rate.

Do that right, and you should be okay.

If you want to maximize your opt-in rate, though, you’ll want to make a few easy changes to your content layout.

You probably don’t have the traffic to test your best layout yet. However, you can still implement some general best practices to see good results.

Part 1 – Make content the main focus: You’ve gone through the effort of making a really good piece of content.

You need people to read it in order for the content upgrade to be as effective as possible.

First off, make sure that your content is the first main thing that a reader sees when they load the page. If it isn’t above the fold, many will close the page right away.


On top of that, although sidebars are effective elements for certain things, you don’t want them attracting too much attention.

Make your actual content stand out by including an attractive picture or a headline in a color that stands out. On the NeilPatel.com blog, the featured picture draws the reader to the content right away:


Part 2 – Make your offer(s) in the content: The lead magnet is highly related to the content, so it makes sense to offer it in the content as well.

The reason why this is so important is because most readers nowadays are sidebar- and header-blind. While some still look at them, most will automatically try to find the content they came for and ignore the rest.

Since your offer is going to be embedded in the content, you can be sure that almost everyone will see it.

You should try to highlight it with a box that stands out and put one both near the start of the post and at the end:


The top one will convert at a higher percentage; however, those subscribers may not be as high quality as the ones who read through your whole post first.

Either way, you want to capture both groups of quality leads (even if one’s better than the other).

The great thing about these opt-in calls to action, as opposed to others, is that they appear natural. They fit right into the text at appropriate times, which helps them get a high view and click rate:


Part 3 (optional) – Use extra opt-in forms: In addition to the options I described above, you can also use pop-ups or other lead collection tools to grow your subscriber list.

These are more controversial because while they do often improve conversion rates, they can also detract from the reader’s experience.

It’s up to you if you want to try them. You’ll be perfectly fine with implementing just the first two parts of this section.

Pop-ups are the most extreme option They are usually triggered to take over your reader’s screen after a set time period:


If you want a less invasive option, you can use Hello Bar, which adds a simple sign-up strip along the top of the screen:


Step 4: Four sources of traffic to start with

You’ve done most of the hard work at this point. Congratulations!

But you are not done yet.

If you don’t promote your post, not many people will see it. Remember, you need to get about 1,000-2,000 visitors to your post.

This can be done in multiple ways within a fairly short period of time.

The tactics in this section are tough to scale, but they are great if you’re just getting started.

Feel free to try any or all of them, and you can combine them all if you want to maximize your traffic (and email subscribers).

Source #1 – Forums: Almost every niche has at least one active forum with your target readers.

Since you can easily add content to a forum, it’s a good opportunity to drive traffic back to your site.

Just Google “top (niche) forums,” and pick the 1-3 best ones:


It’s really important that you avoid being seen as a spammer when linking to your post.

First, become an active member of the community. Make at least a few dozen helpful posts.

When you finally do post your link, make sure to give it context.

Explain that you noticed that a lot of the members of the forum were having trouble with a particular problem, and you wanted to solve it.


Alternatively, you can also format the entire post for the forum and just leave a link alongside it. You won’t get as many clicks, but some forums are very strict about how you can post your link.

Source #2 – Individual email outreach: If you take a random group of 100 readers in your niche, you’ll get that 5-10% conversion rate we were talking about.

But if you emailed the most interested ones, you could double or triple that rate easily.

The good news is that it’s easy to find these readers because they are the most likely to share or comment on posts.

First, enter the main topic of your post into Buzzsumo’s top content tool:


Then, click on “view sharers” on any recent relevant article, which will bring up a list of people who shared that article on Twitter, for example:


Find these people on Twitter.

Look for a website address in their description, where you might find an email address to contact them.


Alternatively, click on the post itself before viewing the shares, and look at the comment section.

For example, here are a few comments from one of my posts on Quick Sprout:


You could click on the names to go to those readers’ sites, and then contact them.

You can either use their “contact” form or sign up to their email list to get their email addresses. The second option is better, but it’s not always possible:


When you do email them, use a message like this:

Subject: Hi (Name), I thought you’d like this…

Hi (Name),

I noticed that you commented on (author’s name) post about (post topic) a little while back.

It was a great post, and it actually led me to creating a related post about (topic).

It’s very in-depth and features (something that is interesting like a secret tactic).

If you get a minute, check it out. I think you’d enjoy it.

Here’s the link: (URL)


(Your name)

Source #3 – Reddit and other aggregators: Reddit is a great source of ideas. But even more valuable is the fact that most of its communities are capable of sending hundreds of visitors to any good post.

If you find 2-3 fairly large subreddits and your content is upvoted a decent number of times, you can get more than 100 subscribers just from this.

Again, read my guide to using Reddit for marketing properly if you want to be successful.

The key part of a successful post is to genuinely try to add to the community. Add a detailed summary along with the link in the post:


In some subreddits, you are required to paste your entire post.

Source #4 – Guest-posting: Finally, if you’re not a huge fan of promotion, you can get your first subscribers using guest-posting.

Instead of posting your content on your site, you’re going to post it on a leading site in your niche. I’ve written many times about guest-posting successfully; here is a very thorough strategy.

With guest-posting, you leverage the natural traffic that other sites already have to convert those readers into your subscribers.

Ideally, you want to post a link to your content upgrade offer somewhere near the end of the post in the author bio:


That link should point to a landing page on your domain that offers the content upgrade.

There are a few things to note here.

First, not all blogs will allow you to post links to landing pages. Clarify this ahead of time.

But they’re getting free content, and it makes sense that you should get something out of it as well (and not just “exposure”).

Secondly, since you’re limited with where and how you can post the content upgrade, your conversion rate will go down.

If a blog is popular enough, you may still end up with more subscribers, but just be aware of that.

Step 5: Plan ahead – don’t waste your first 100 subscribers

If you’ve done everything up until now, you’ll have your first 100 subscribers within a month.

It may take a few forum posts or emails on a consistent basis, but you’ll get there if you’re willing to put in the last bit of effort.

This is where I see many new blogs make a huge mistake.

They go through all the effort of getting new subscribers, and then they don’t do anything with them.

There’s not much of a point of collecting email addresses if you don’t email those subscribers.

And I understand that you don’t have a full email sales pipeline set up yet, but at the very least, send all subscribers a welcome email so that they get used to your name.

Additionally, these 100 subscribers are your first chance to learn about your target audience. In the welcome email, you should include some sort of survey or question you want them to answer.

For example, Derek Halpern links to a survey in his welcome email and also tells subscribers to expect new content in the future:


This is your chance to tell them what to expect.

Step 6: Where to go after your first 100 subscribers

Your first 100 subscribers is a big milestone.

It takes some bloggers many months to get there.

If you follow this strategy, I don’t think it’ll take that long.

But now that you have a few subscribers, you have a few different options.

Option #1 – Rinse and repeat: Although 100 subscribers is good, it’s not a huge number.

One option is to simply repeat this strategy 5-6 times.

By the end, you’ll likely have over 1,000 subscribers. Your first posts will mature and continue to collect leads. But the more you create, the better your chances of producing one that will perform extra well will be.

This is a good option.

Option #2 – Start blogging consistently and using your audience to grow: The other option is to treat this first piece of content as “pillar content.”

It forms the base for writing about other related topics you know your email subscribers (from that first post) will be interested in.

You can start focusing more on producing consistent content for your blog and then sending an email to your subscribers each time you publish a new piece.

You might already know what my emails notifying my subscribers of a new post look like. They are quite simple:


If your content is good, your subscribers will share it, and your following will grow.


There is no wrong way to get email subscribers.

But some methods are better than others.

The best one for you is the one that works.

I’ve outlined a pretty straightforward 6-step process in this post.

If you follow it, you should be able to get your first 100 subscribers (at least). It will take hard work, but it will pay off over time.

Think of it as an investment.

And although it’s a fairly simple strategy, I realize that there are some tricky parts. So, if you have any questions, just ask them in a comment below.


  1. Rob @ Womplify :

    The money is in the list, as they say, which sounds simple on the surface but building that list is the tricky part – this post certainly makes that part easier!

    • Rob, glad you found the list helpful.

      Once you get a good grove and have figured out how your target audience operates it’s much easier.

      • Hi Neil,

        Content upgrades and exit intent popup’s did the trick for me. They work like charm in converting readers into subscribers into sales.

        Another idea to quickly boost your signups is to give away freebies every single month and make them premium after a month. So people will sign up to get your stuff when they are free.

      • Leonardo "List Builder" LaVito :

        Indeed, Neil. 🙂

        Figuring out your target audience really makes things a whole lot easier.

        I think it also helps to speed things up a lot if you yourself are also a part of your target audience. 🙂

  2. Great Guide to get first 100 visitors. I’ve tried all the things 🙂 These things have been working great so far.
    Guys build the mailing list don’t miss this wonderful opportunity. And thanks for choosing Shouterbuzz as an example in Outreach section 😉

    Keep the great work up 🙂

  3. I haven’t tried any yet but I will start doing it (x after having enough contents.

  4. Hey Neil,

    If you were starting a new blog, would you prepare a lead magnet first or just stick with a normal opt-in that has a subscription form and go on delivering great contents?

    The initial days of starting a new blog is always a tough job- writing contents, managing affiliate accounts (if any), creating social accounts, advertising, outreach, or so.

    If you could share more details about how you got your first 100 subscribers at QuickSprout, that would be awesome. Did you start with some lead magnet or was it just the normal opt-in asking readers to subscribe?

    What I generally do with my niche blogs is run a ‘giveaway’ campaign. That does pretty nice and has a great conversion.

    Anyway, this should really help bloggers who are struggling to gain subscribers and increase their mailing list.

    Thanks for the wonderful post.


    • I would start off with a lead magnet and then go from there. It will convert better and that is how I skyrocketed my email collections with Quick Sprout when I first started.

  5. This is a really priceless blog post on how to easily capture subscribers (the easy way) I knew some of them but using forum’s never thought of that, thank you for the tips in this blog post sir, you are awesome!

  6. My website is 2 months old and right now i have only 5 subscriber. And now i can also feel that i can get 100 email subscriber with in 1 month.

    Step no 2 is always saw in so many blogs but i was never aware about what is that.

    Now its clear and i am goona same tactics for my blog

    Thanks Boss (Neil) 🙂

    • Mukesh, I am sure you can with the right amount of planning and hard work.

      They key is to focus on your niche and pin point a strategy that resonates with them.

      Let me know if you need any help along the way!

  7. As a dedicated, LinkedIn-obsessed marketer with 6,000+ potential leads to cover, I’ve generally ignored the advice I give to my clients aaa-aall the time; “Always extend your digital influence via website/blog email signups”. But that comment of yours at the end of your piece – “Think of it as an investment” – touched a nerve with me.

    Hmm, it really isn’t a royal pain/extra workload/kind of unnecessary since I rely on LinkedIn-based comms/whatever crappy excuse I can think of… It’s AN ONGOING INVESTMENT in the FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS dummy! (Sorry; going through a small personal epiphany here. Had to shout a bit.)

    Thanks for an excellent piece (as per usual).

    Quick question: do any of your eye-wateringly useful Guides deal specifically with measurement of ROI on SEO and SMM?

    • Andrea,

      Not a problem. I go through moments like that all the time 😉

      I like to think of everything I do as an investment towards better results in the future. It’s always great to give people free advice without expecting anything return.

      As for the guides:

      Google: quicksprout + whatever topic you want to focus on

      There will be a lot of results !

  8. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for sharing this information. Facebook is still my favorite but I am going to try this method as you have mentioned – email subscription the way you explained and I really hope to have decent results, thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks for this logical and detailed post, Neil – a real treasury which I shall keep for guidance.

    Hope you have recovered from your jet lag and enjoyed Lithuania – (saw you on FB last night but forgot to leave an encouraging message – and I’m not even jetlagged!)


    • Zarayna, I am still in transit — I am fine now. Took a nice rest.

      Thanks for all the support. I always see you commenting 😉

  10. Hey Neil,

    when is the update on the nutrition blog coming?
    Looking forward to it!


  11. Ivailo Durmonski :

    Hi Neil, this is huge. Thanks for the great article. I made my own in-depth guide, but still I am not close to the first 100 subs. Can you check my guide and tell me how I can make it better: http://bit.ly/1PiFK6KK

    • Ivailo Durmonski :

      Sorry this is the link: www.narrowem.com/why-give-up-on-free-wordpress-themes/

      • Hi Ivailo – just had a look at your post! I actually think the content is brilliant – you’ve broken the checklist up perfectly. But a few suggestions:

        – spelling mistakes like ‘codding’ instead of coding
        – the use of the word ‘section’ (not needed – just the number would do)
        – lack of images – could you include screenshots of some beautiful premium themes?
        – there was nowhere to comment! just seemed a shame not to be able to leave a message/engage with your readers

        Just my two cents!

      • Chetan Kulkarni :

        Hi Ivailo,

        1] Reduce the width of the content-layout, may be by bringing in sidebar. Its difficult to read through such wide text lines.

        2] Instead of listing links at the end of each section, try to include them inside the content or make few more sentences to make them more relevant.

  12. Great guide Neil!

    This is just the kind of content for someone like me who’s struggling to get his/hers first subscribers.

    Thank you very much!

  13. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years and have implemented your teachings on my sites. Thanks for another great read Neil! Going to try the Reddit tactic now. ???

  14. I knew about all of these tactics before, but I’ve never seen them explained in such a clear, step by step way. This is going to be extremely helpful with my initial listbuilding for the Storage Warrior blog. Thanks Neil!

  15. Thanks once again for great post about getting email subscriber easy way.I always like your post due to very useful information.In the past few days, i was unable to comment you due to problem in internet browser.Due to my bad English some part of your article i could not understand every time.Please ,Can you tell me any English to Hindi good translator online .I know google but it doesn’t gives proper result.


    • Sudhir, I don’t know of any good translation tools – I can understand you fine here though 🙂

      Let me know if you need help with anything else!

  16. Warning: Dumb question coming at you ( I really want the answer) :

    Ok, so we make a lead magnet with a relevant offer as far as the page/post goes… I wish I would have thought of that before, and now that I have read it, duh, I should have known.

    So, does the different lead magnet go to a different/separate list or to the main list? I could see benefit of both, which is best?

    The main list would have a mix of topic lovers, but a different list would have very targeted subscribers.

    • Usually different so you can send different offers. Unless your lead magnets are all similar, in which you would just use 1 list.

  17. It’s very helpful for me.. I will try it my best to do this.. I like the way you describe your experience with users. Thanks

  18. Neil,

    Thanks again for another great post!

    I have one question:

    Is there any ways to get around forums that block you from promoting an outside blog?

    I’ve participated for a good amount of time (40+ useful posts), but recently tried to slip in a link and got emailed by the administrators of 3 different forums saying it was against their policy. Does this mean I need to find another way to drive traffic? I would love to be able to work around this since the golf forums provide access to so many potential leads!

    • Zach, I completely stay away from forums now. The alternative for you would to focus solely on content creation that is contextual — then optimize to get the best results.

      Let me know how it goes!

    • Leonardo "List Builder" LaVito :

      Are there any forums in your niche that allow you to have the link in your signature? 🙂

      I think slipping in a link is tough for most forums, unless it’s not against their guidelines.

  19. Where would I find instructions for making a downloadable pdf as a lead magnet and then have it download when they enter their Email? Thanks,

    • Hi again Neil,
      Okay, I figured out how to turn a blog post into a pdf. How do I get it to download when they put in their Email? Is there a way to do it for free? Thanks,

    • Janice, you’d have to either get a plugin that does the trick or create a custom opt in form. Let me know if you need specific help along the way.

  20. Luke Fitzpatrick :

    Brian Dean has one of the best organized blogs jam-packed with great content. For anyone looking to create (or improve) their blog, I highly recommend checking out how Neil has designed his site (incl. the lead magnets) & Brian Dean’s little yellow boxes that provide extra resources – that you really want!

  21. Another awesome post Neil!

    You’re my favourite blogger so far, all your content are really awesome and I’ve learnt a huge deal from all your post. Recently set up blogging in my site for content marketing, and wasn’t really sure how to use content to ultimately drive sales. Saw this post on Facebook, and was the perfect timing for me!

    I’m gonna implement your strategies right away, hopefully will get some high quality emails from it. Haha.

    Love your blog, awesome work!


    • Rain, glad to help. I think it all comes down to educating and informing your audience. If you need help with anything specific please don’t hesitate to ask.

  22. Nice information there! Hopefully my accounts will increase more online traffics with those tips. Thanks!

  23. I had been waiting a long time for this
    Will try !!
    Thanks for sharing Neil 🙂 🙂

  24. Hey Neil, Great information. I will optimize the lead generation for my company using opt-in form on blog that what i missing in my current strategy. Thanking you 🙂

    • Rohit, glad to help. If you need help with anything else don’t hesitate to reach out. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  25. Hello Neil Sir,

    This is really a fantastic post. As a new newbie in the industry, Feels like I am so behind and I have no email subscribers!

    I will try to follow your steps to get my first 100 subscribers 🙂

    Thank you very much for the knowledge you’ve shared. I think most people who visit this post benefiting this some way or another.

    Keep it up the good work!

    • Aryan, glad to help and happy to see you got value from the post.

      Let me know how it goes — would love to be informed and updated along the way 🙂

  26. Awesome, Neil.

    Thanks for clarifying the content updates technique, I am trying to figure out what it would be for my blog post that can further help the readers and be relevant to the post itself. (I also read Bryan’s blog, great guy!)

    I am curious about the ROI per $1 you graph you showed on top, what is the source of those statistics?

    • I have to ask my editor who put in the image… but internally we get an ROI. Either she made the image based on our internal data or found it on the web… if she found it we should be linking back to the source. :/

  27. As if this guide was specifically written for me considering the fact that I launched my blog today. Thanks for sharing these steps boss 🙂

  28. Fantastic guide to the first 100 subscribers! Email newsletters are getting overlooked due to twitter and FB.

  29. Super and well detailed post

  30. Hello Neil,

    Nice Post…


  31. Adam Lundquist :

    Hi Neil,
    Great post, very thorough and detailed. I had actually not thought about Reddit as a source of ideas and have always used Quora myself. I do want to say how important it is to immediately begin emailing users once they join the list. If you wait weeks or (dare I even say!) months they will have forgetten about you, The Internet moves increadibly fast. I actually made that mistake awhile ago. Got a bunch of email addresses for an opt in, but didn’t quite know what to email them and when I finally did get the email out most people had forgotten they had even signed up. Again, great article1
    – Adam

    • Adam, glad you liked it.

      I agree on the timing — you want to be fresh in their head and provide relevant information.

      Thanks for the feedback and tips!

  32. Love the idea of building momentum by getting your first 100 and then going from there. I reached 100 quite a while ago, but now trying to find new ways to grow exponentially. Great strategies outlined in this post! I would have to say what helped me the most was creating separate lead magnets for some of my posts, made a huge difference!

    • Chris, that’s great to hear 🙂 sounds like you are doing everything right.

      It’s important to segment – glad to see you are doing that.

  33. Great post, again! I think you could mention HubSpot in this post. They’re doing a great job with offers. It’s a good path for everyone who want to collect e-mails.

  34. An useful post as usually.

    I’m curios, what is the source of the numbers from the top image? (The one with ROI / $1 cent spent).

    Numbers are talking 🙂

  35. Benjamin Carter-Riley :

    Wow Niel, this post is truly amazing!

    This will guide will certainly help me in getting email subscribers.

    Blogging truly is about networking and connecting with other bloggers, and is clearly something I need to do more of to achieve success in building up my email list.

    Thanks for the article, it’s already helped me just by reading it! 🙂

    Keep up the good work Neil. 😀

    • Benjamin, glad to help. I am sure if you follow these suggestions to a T you’ll see some great results.

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  36. Rajkaran Singh :

    Hi Neil
    This is an awesome post about things I am working on right now- a lead magnet and outreach for back links. I do need to improve my writing skills and speed as well.

  37. Neil; as always fantastic material. I love the way your content makes it easy to understand for newbies like myself. Hope our path cross one day. Always look forward to the nutrition updates for that site case study in action.

  38. Brilliant post Neil.

    And just at the right time too as I am planning a blog now.

    I have the following steps planned so far (including the ones gained from your post):

    1. Create a definitive guide as outlined above.
    2. Create a content upgrade. I have a perfect idea for this and a couple of potential ones.
    3. Create an opt-in page.
    4. Find a suitable email company. Any suggestions for newbies? I am considering Mail Chimp.
    5. Put welcome email in AR sequence.
    6. Write some more e-mails in the sequence. Now this is where I am a bit stuck. Any ideas on what should I put in those other e-mails? I don’t want my leads to go cold while I am on attracting traffic. I can simply go on and create more posts and notify them as you do. This will eliminate the need of AR sequence, I think.

    Besides, I don’t personally like the idea of sequence. It’s kind of robotic to me.

  39. Wow Neil! I am huge fan of yours bud. Thank you sooooo much for including a link from the Small Business Sense blog concerning Lead Magnets in your post. It is a truly an honor 🙂

  40. I have recently started a new blog on Health. I am done with all the setup. My next step is to build email subscribers. This article is a perfect recipe to get started with. Thanks, Neil.

    • Sadesh, glad to help. Email subscribers are vital — I think once you figure that angle out you’ll see some great results.

  41. Email marketing is effective for customer engagements but I think SEO is more effective.

  42. Where is this October stats of nutritionsecrets.com ??

  43. Hallo, I am just a beginner and you are so knowledgeable. I want to be respectful and considerate of your time and knowledge. However, I would truly appreciate it if you can tell me what now.
    I did build my list from 170 to 1990 in ChimpMail. I used many of the advices here presented and all worked. However, I need some landing pages. I read a lot and see that I need to buy maybe leadpages or so. However, it is too expensive and I need to learn all that to have a magnet. How else can I have a magnet without buying that? Also, I cannot generate more emails if I don’t start making money. Chimpmail only permits me to have 2000 for free. What do I do now to generate some income? I’m a writer. How do I sell using the emails now? How do they generate money for me?

    • You can always find a template or a free design on the web and use that. As for the 2000 plus emails, I am not sure as most email tools cost money. 🙁

  44. Hello Neil,

    Which email autoresponder you will recommend? What I found that those cost huge money if you have good list. I ended up in paying money money to email responder than earning from those email list.


  45. Hariyaksh Mehta :

    Love the idea of building momentum by getting your first 100 and then going from there. I had actually not thought about Reddit as a source of ideas and have always used Quora myself.
    Thank you for sharing these tips. As a newbie in blogging space I have a long way to go and these steps would help me.

    • Hariyaksh, glad to help. Just keep writing and you’ll see positive momentum build — it’s all about staying consistent.

  46. I’m going to use this right away. Thanks for the great post!

  47. Solid post.

    The bar graph feature image (showing the ROI of email marketing) is great. Do you have an attribution for the image? What’s the study?


  48. Neil thank you soo much! This is an awesome post! I’ve taken tons of valuable information from you! Keep up the amazing job!

    I’ve just started a blog and I feel by listening to you I am defiantly taking it in the right direction. Take care, your friend from Guam

    • Isaac, glad to help. If you need anything else please feel free to reach out — thanks for all the support 🙂

  49. Hello Neil,
    Thanks for awesome help. I have just follow your steps for 20 days & made it from 61 to 141 in 20 days. I know this is very bottom score but i have started serious blogging one month back. For me this a wonder to do so. Moreover, most of the subscribers i have made through one post. Now, i am working on SEO to grow organically. And, my new target it to publish quality content as you always guide.

    Next Target is: https://www.quicksprout.com/2012/04/16/the-real-secret-to-1000-blog-subscribers-in-60-days-or-less/

    My Subscriber’s Chart: http://excelchamps.com/Images/ExcelChamps.com.png


    • Puneet, you are definitely on the right track. Keep up the great work and let me know if you need any other help along the way.

      I like how you have outlined your strategy specifically as well 🙂

  50. Hello Neil,

    Thanks for your motivational words. I just hitting for organic. If you refer some content of you SEO bank, it will be a great help. Moreover i am reading some core books as well.

    Will update you with progress report.


  51. Hey Neil,

    as always amazing content! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.

    However… haven’t you forgotten the easiest way of them all to 100 subscribers?

    I’m talking about buying traffic, from my expierence this is usually the fastest way when it comes to building quality lists.

    – Max

    • I agree with you Max, but this was mostly for the newbies who don’t have much to spend yet.

    • Leonardo "List Builder" LaVito :

      Buying traffic is indeed easy. 🙂

      But I think the easiest way of them all is:

      1) ask your friends or family members in the same niche to join your newsletter.
      2) ask them to ask their friends or family members

  52. Leonardo "List Builder" LaVito :

    Thanks Neil for the awesome post! 🙂

    It indeed makes list building to your first 100 email subscribers, easy and affordable.

    Something else I like to do with the “1 Great Content Masterpiece” is to create a short teaser version of it, and distribute it across certain platforms. With a link back to the original piece.

    Something like book marketers who distribute the first few pages of their book as a teaser, stop halfway with a cliffhanger, and link back to the original book for purchase.

    • Yeah exactly! Lots of clever things you can do in order to get someone to convert into an email subscriber.

      With so many crappy lead magnets these days, you need something legit

  53. Arbaz Shaikh :

    Hi Neil,
    Buying backlinks for our websites is harmful? Some people says that is harmful but i will like your suggestion.

  54. Thanks for the great Tips and Advice, I will definitely have implement some of these tips to grow my list.

    Great Post, Thanks!

  55. simple wedding :

    I do not know if it’s just me or iif perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your blog.
    It appears as if some of the text in your content
    are running offf the screen. Caan someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?

    This mmay be a problem withh my internet browser because I’ve
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    • If you can email any screenshots and details of your browser set up to neil@neilpatel.com I will look this over. Apologises.

  56. Paul Orfali Insurance :

    It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this paragraph
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  57. Neil, what a great article!

    I was just wondering if these are still relevant in 2016? Especially cold outreach on Twitter? Does it still give the 5% – 10% results?

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