How To Build A Newsletter List In 2021

How I Built My Initial Email List In 2020: What Worked Well & What Didn't

When I started my blog in 2020, I came up with a free giveaway to build an email list. I was giving away a free "Productive Stack" for Notion & Roam.

I was using the following Framework:

1. Generate Traffic To Your Website

Website visitor visits my blog via organic search. I put a lot of time in Q1 last year to write high ranking articles. I get almost all of my organic website traffic from two articles. If you're interested in more about how I did this, shoot me an email and I'm happy to put together an article / guide if there's enough interest.

2. Create a "free giveaway offer" that resonates with your audience

Website visitor resonates with Productive Stack offer

3. Set up a simple email capture form on your website

Website visitor enters email to get Productive Stack

4. Send the free offer via email

I send free Productive Stack via email

5. Give the subscriber the option to stay on our newsletter or unsubscribe

I send a quick follow up welcome email introducing myself & I tell the subscriber what I'll be writing in my newsletters about each week. But ultimately, I want them to know they have the option to unsubscribe if they're not interested. Whatever you do, don't spam people.

The Change I Made In Jan. 2021 (A Mistake)

I'm all about using Keevin O'rourke's Experiment Framework to test assumptions.

My assumption was that if I set up an opt in more specific to a newsletter opt in, then I would have more engaged subscribers.

But my conversion rate went WAYYY DOWN.

In 2020, I was getting on average 1-2 newsletter subscribers per day just from organic search through the SEO work I did. This was happening on auto pilot without me doing anything after the initial work I put in to get an article ranked at the top of the first page.

I sent out a request for feedback last week and one thing was certain - people stayed on my newsletter for "The Learning Section."

One reader told me he expected to find a "golden nugget" in the newsletter, so my light bulbs went off.

I changed my opt in form to be the following. But it simply hasn't been converting.

How I'm Building An Email List In 2021

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to set up the original Productive Stack offer.

I'm going to set it up where I give away my best material.

And I'm going to start sharing 1x per week in my newsletter for "The Learning Section."

That's all for this morning.

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Interested in entrepreneurship?

Consider joining 437 other entrepreneurs who get a regular email from me containing useful tips, insights, and strategies I've learned from building businesses over the last 4 years.

These emails contain things like:

-My thoughts on questions like "Should you start or buy an existing business?" and "should you bootstrap or raise money?"

-Buying and selling businesses


-Real world mistakes I've made when structuring deals

-Useful frameworks I've developed for logical decision making

I don't bombard you with spam or a weekly cadence. I simply write when I have something that can help save you time, money, or a headache on your current or future entrepreneurial journey.

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