Get Your First 100 Subscribers
Step seven, get your first 100 subscribers. And like I said, zero to 100 is one ball park, 100 to 1,000 is a different ball park, 1,000 to 10,000, different. So what got you to one point won't necessarily get you to the next point. And at that same time, don't be thinking about how do I get my first 10,000 subscribers, be thinking about how do I get my first 100. So, this is gonna be practical. We're gonna workshop this. Here's how you get your first 100 subscribers. It's not by finding 100 strangers. How many friends do you have on Facebook?
1,600. Anybody else?
1,000, I thought you said nothing. "I don't have Facebook. (laughs) Don't do that crap. That's a waste of time." So you all have more than 100 people that you know. Now, are all of these people gonna be interested in your blog? Absolutely not. Can we find 100 of them? Maybe. Can we find 50 of them here, and 25 from, you know, I don't kno...
w, people from church, or synagogue, or your neighbors, or these community clubs you're a part of. You can find 100 people. So here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna make a list of everybody that we know. People that just come to mind. And if you don't ... I don't know 100 people, go to Facebook, and just start going through. "Ah, I guess I do know this person, and this person, and I actually don't know that person, I don't know why they're there." Make a list of everybody that you know, just make a list of 100 people. It will take, what, 30 minutes? It will take a little while, right? So write that down, do that later. Make a list of everybody that you know, then text or email them, and ask them to join your email list. Very simple. This is something that if you do the work, you'll see the results. If you don't, you don't. And so, it takes a little bit of work, but if you do this, it works. So here's the email that you'll send them. "Hey John, I just started a newsletter about such-and-such. Every week I share yada yada. Can I include you?" And they'll go, "Yeah." Or they'll go, "No." Or they'll say nothing. A few years ago, I was sort of testing whether or not this stuff still works. And a friend challenged me, he's like, "You keep talking about this stuff that you did years ago, how do you know it still works?" And I was like, "It works, I know." And he was like, "Do it again, but do it anonymously." He says, "You can't use ... pretend like you're a regular Joe." I was like, "I gotta pretend pretty hard to do that, 'cause I'm pretty extraordinary." (laughs) And I said, "Okay." Like it was a good dare. And so what I did was I started a coffee blog, 'cause I love coffee. Big coffee snob. And I had this idea, I want to get into roasting coffee. And I had a bag ... remember when I said I went to Africa and I met this guy in the bush with an email address. Well, while I was in Uganda, I got these two bags of green coffee beans from Uganda and Kenya. And I brought them home, and I was like, "I'm gonna do something with these." And months later, almost a year later, they were just still sitting there. And I was like, "I want to get into coffee roasting." And so I was like, "I'm gonna start a blog, and I'm gonna build an audience from scratch." And I started coffeesnobber.com. Still around today. Has one blog post on it, and an about page. And the rules were this, my friend was like, "You gotta have rules." The rules were, I couldn't email about it, I couldn't tweet about it, I couldn't share on my public Facebook stuff about it. Anything that would give me an unfair advantage based on the years of being a professional writer. I couldn't do that. But I could text friends, I could use real life relationships that predated my life as an author. And so that's what I did. And it was actually kinda ... it was a dumb time to do it because it was the weekend that we potty trained our son. And so it was kind of a stressful weekend anyway. And one Sunday after church, in between him peeing everywhere, I started texting friends. I was like, "Hey, I love coffee, I'm starting a coffee blog. Would you be interested in getting a weekly update on what I'm learning about coffee roasting." And I texted maybe 25 people. Sure, sure, sure, sure, sure. And I was like, "Okay, cool. Do you know of anybody else that would be interested in it?" Yeah, talk to so-and-so. And I created a free email list on MailChimp, and when you get people's permission, you an automatically opt them in. It says do you have this person's permission? Yes. And I was adding these people in, I got like 50 people doing this. And I was like, "How do I get more people?" Because the goal was, in 48 hours, I needed to launch a blog, get it at least 100 subscribers, and then sell something to them. Because I wanted to prove that this whole process actually works for anyone. I was like, "I got 50, how am I gonna get 100? How's this gonna work?" And so then I was like, "I know what I'll do, I'll do a contest." And a friend of a friend owns a coffee company ... I also gave myself a budget of $25. I couldn't spend a bunch of money on it, I couldn't throw money at the problem. And so I was like, "What do coffee drinkers want?" I dunno, a year's supply of coffee. Like, that would be awesome. And so, I texted a friend, I was like, "Hey, could you introduce me to your friend, the coffee roaster?" And he did, and I started talking to the coffee roaster. I said, "Would you be willing to donate a year's worth of coffee? Like one bag of coffee per month?" Which is not how much ... me, it's like one bag per week, but like, you know, I was trying to make it more economical. And he goes, "Yeah, that'd be cool. We could be like a PR thing, or whatever." I was like, "Okay, cool." He said, "We'll do like six months." And I was like, "All right, great." And so then I ran this contest. And I said, "Hey, if you sign up for this email list, you get entered into the contest. If you tweet about it, you get entered again. If you talk about it you get multiple entries." And so we sort of gamified it, and got like another 100 subscribers in the next 24 hours. So here I am at like the 36 hour mark, and I've got 150 subscribers, and I roasted the coffee beans, because the other thing is I had to learn how to do something. I roasted the coffee beans, put it on Periscope. And I had these two bags of burnt coffee beans, because I roasted it in my skillet, you know. I just did it in the kitchen. My wife was like, "What is that smell?" This was at midnight. And then I emailed the list on Monday morning, and I said, "Hey, I've got two bags of coffee, who wants them? $12 a piece." And one person bought one, another person bought another one. Sent one email in the morning, set another one ... It was a deadline, and I was like, "These are going away." (laughs) 'Cause there's only two of them. And so they went away. And the contest lasted through the end of the week, and by the end of the week I had 1,000 subscribers on that email list. Yeah, it was bizarre. But it was really cool, because I realized this stuff really does work. You just have to focus on something that can help people, find out exactly what they want, and then incentivize them to join your list, and eventually give them what they want, and it's through dialog. "Hey, so-and-so, this is what I did," I said. "I started a newsletter about coffee. Every week I'm gonna share tips," or maybe one week, for one time. "Every week I'm gonna share a tip about coffee roasting that I'm learning, can I include you?" And they said, "Yeah." And I said, "Cool." And so then you add those people that say yes. As I mentioned, you can ask them to share, find new people. You can say ... and this is through text or email or whatever ... "Hey, thanks. Do you know anyone else who might be interested?" And you're bootstrapping, you know. You're scrapping, you're trying to find five or 10, or 15 people, here or there, and then you're stopping roughly when you reach 100. 'Cause now, it's time to take the next step, do the next strategy. And if you think this is not possible, I did this at a conference one time, this conference that I host, and one of the speakers issued a challenge, says, "Who can get 100 subscribers be the end of the day today?" And if they do, we'll give them some prize. And they did ... they just wrote people's names down, they walked around to other conference attendees, "Hey, I wrote about such and such, you want to be on my email list?" They texted their friends, they emailed their mom, and the winner of that contest, it was a tie between a couple of people, they got over 200 email subscribers in like 4 hours doing this. 'Cause you know a lot of people. You know more people than you realize. You just have to tell them what you're doing, and it needs to be ... they need to be somewhat interested in you and what you're doing, but you could say, "Hey, I've always wanted to write fiction, I'm taking this more seriously. This guy that looked like Ron Weasley told me to do this, it's his fault. Would you be interested in just hearing about it? Can I put you on my email list?" It's a little bit scary, but that's what we can hide behind, you know, the anonymity of screens and just email and text people. It's not that hard. So that's step seven. Get to 100 subscribers by just scrapping it, finding friends and friends of friends who are interested in what you have to share.
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