🦊 Sendfox vs Mailchimp review, lifetime deal & pricing

There are a bunch of email marketing tools out there from different Email Service Providers. The most famous is probably Mailchimp. New in the field of email marketing is Sendfox. Created by the Sumo group owned by Noah Kagan.

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In this review we’ll walk through both platforms and how much dough you’re getting for your cash.

First the obvious part

Mailchimp has been around for years. Sendfox has been around for… months. You’ll immediately see the difference in user experience and options.

Sendfox Dashboard

Mailchimp Dashboard

Mailchimp gives you some ideas what you can do with their software. Sendfox does have a small step-by-step guide to get you started with your account.

The biggest difference is probably “cool” graphics πŸ™‚ The visuals definitely help you get a better overview of how you are doing. You can zoom into a list or look at all the emails you’ve sent to your audiences.

Mailchimp Audience Growth

If you click on the “View reports” button you can see how all your different lists performed.

Mailchimp Campaign Engagement

So Dashboards-wise Mailchimp is a clear winner.

Basic functionality of an ESP

Automation, campaigns, list building. I see those as the core functionalities of any Email Service Provider. Let’s compare those between Mailchimp and Sendfox.

At first glance Mailchimp is a winner here too

Lots of options here. Send them updates when they:

  • subscribe to your list
  • you created a new blog post
  • when someone has its birthday
  • etc.

Mailchimp also has a special tab for e-commerce.

I think these are great options if you have an online store. Who wouldn’t want to:

  • reward your best customers
  • send a thank you note to a first time customer
  • reactivate abandoned carts
  • etc

Probably the most basic form of automation is welcoming someone to your list once they’re subscribed. Easy to do in Mailchimp:

But once you want to send multiple emails, a series, you have to pull your wallet out.

And plans start at… 29.99

You can only use the automated series or e-commerce automation when you’re on a plan. You can’t buy credits for this or use the forever free plan.

Sendfox pricing & lifetime deal

Here’s where Sendfox has the clear advantage. They have a lifetime deal. You only pay 49 USD and can send an unlimited amount of emails to up to 5,000 subscribers. I don’t know how long this deal will last though. It’s still available at the time of this writing.

OK, so yes you do have to pay. It’s not free. But you only pay $50. That’s the same as 2 months of the cheapest Mailchimp plan.

Before you can figure out what’s working for you with email you need a lot more than 2 months. So I think this is a great deal.

Even when you get more subscribers, you still don’t pay a monthly fee. You just pay an extra $10 once for every 1,000 extra subscribers.

The reason Sendfox is doing this (I think) is because they want to create a funnel towards their money making (subscription based) tool: Sumo. Sumo (which I mentioned in the first paragraph) is a list building tool.

Sendfox has more automation options

For a small (one-time!) fee. Creating a new automation with Sendfox is easy. Just click the automation link and click “Create Automation Series”

This will open up a window that ask you which list to watch for the automation.

 

Once you choose the list you can add an email based on the trigger that someone was added to a list. You can add an infinite amount of emails in stead of just one at Mailchimp.

Just click the envelope and add your first email.

Don’t forget to set the delay to 0 hours. You don’t want people to wait at all when they first signup. You want to give them the email they subscribed to immediately.

If you have a drip campaign you can just set the delay for your next email(s) to 24 hours after the last one was sent.

Mailchimp only allows 1 automated email with their free plan

With Mailchimp you can only send one email based on a trigger. You can’t create a real (automated) drip campaign. You can of course have a few campaigns ready and change the recipients you send it to but that’s a pretty big detour.

I do like their UX here. You can see everything that’s important about the automation here. You can see what still needs to be done before you can start the Automated Series.

Sign me up Scotty: These are the signup options Sendfox and Mailchimp offer

Sendfox currently has 2 options. Either you create an embeddable form or you direct your audience to a landing page hosted by Sendfox. Mailchimp also offers a popup form and they also have 2 integration partners to collect signups with.

 

Sendfox obviously doesn’t offer the popup list building option because they have / are Sumo.com. Probably the number one Sumo.com USP is the popup / welcome matt list building option. Free to use until you start getting some real revenue.

Mailchimp offers these signup (form) options:

  • Landing pages
  • Embeddable forms
  • Popups
  • Integration partners

Which one should you choose?

Look, Sendfox has clearly been made to be a tool to use with Sumo. If you’re a small business who’s looking to grow their list and doesn’t do a lot of crazy stuff with email my advice would be to go for Sendfox. The lifetime deal is great value. There’s no other ESP that offers UNLIMITED emails for a single payment of $49 to up to 5,000 list subscribers.

The free version of Mailchimp isn’t great. Yes you can use pre-built templates. Yes, the graphs are a great addition. But in the end you just want to send emails that get opened and make you money.

Mailchimp free is too limited to really do that. So you’d have to buy a subscription. But then the question becomes: is it worth 30 bucks per month? If you’re just starting out with email marketing and your list is smaller than 2,000 people: probably not. If you already have thousands of list subscribers you can’t use the $29 month plan. You’ll almost pay double. The question then becomes: can I get enough value from Mailchimp. Can I make a 4x – 10x on my investment? Because you’re also investing time into setting up and managing your campaigns.

If not… Keep building your list with Sendfox and pay nothing every month. Enjoy the Sendfox lifetime deal (don’t know for how long) here. It will save you thousands of Dollars over the years. Once you’ve managed to get a large list and you want more options like abandoned cart emails, welcome emails, automation you’d otherwise have to programme yourself in order to send emails with Sendfox… That’s the moment you should choose Mailchimp.

Sendfox SPF, DMARC & DKIM records

Sendfox is a new Email automation tool from Sumo group. They’re still very much in the building stage and don’t have all the great stuff other automation tools like Convertkit and Mailchimp have, but Sendfox is great for small business owners because you only pay ONCE and email FOREVER.

Sendfox has set up their DKIM records.

You don’t need to do anything DKIM wise. They have a public and private key on their server and in their email signature. So no negative points there…

The DMARC record you have to add yourself though.

Take this screenshot as an example.

Add a _dmarc DNS TXT record to your domain with

v=DMARC1; p=none

as the data in the TXT field.

Sendfox doesn’t actually send from your domain but from a Sendfox server. That’s why you don’t need to add extensive records.

The SPF record is also set by Sendfox

Their server is authorized to send emails on their behalf. I am wondering when this will change though. Because they are very much dependent on the quality of the emails sent by their users.

If they allow a few spammers to join Sendfox their servers (and domain names) might get blacklisted fast. So I hope they have a good defence against spammers.

Email marketing: the ultimate guide to success

There’s one thing you need to be doing when you’re building your own business: build an asset. An asset is something that gives you value. The most important asset for an online business is your own database/list of people / customers. Create your own audience. Not just someone who visits you through a search engine or social media channel. No. You’re dependent on these Giants. If they change their algorithm you could sink in the search rankings or lose visibility on social channels.

This has had a big negative impact to a  lot of businesses already and will continue to be in the future. The tech giants always want more and more. They’re slowly squeezing out more and more businesses from their platforms in favour of their own content / services, etc. Luckily the authorities are also seeing this happen and are investigating these alleged anti-competitive action from these tech giants.

Email marketing lists are the most important asset you should build apart from your website

Because you own it. You control it. Getting people from external sources like search and social is hard work. That doesn’t come in flying in. Once you do get visitors from those sources you have to “capture them”. That’s what you do with email marketing.

I started this blog from scratch for a challenge because I want to show everyone that it’s possible to start something out of thin air and make it work. (Read more about my challenge here). One of the things I’m going to need to reach my goal is email marketing. I won’t rank high in Google yet. Won’t have a large following on social media yet. I need to “reuse” the visitors I do get.

I’m starting with a list of zero subscribers and show you how to get to 1000 subscribers in 1 month

I have never done this before. Never built a list this quickly with so much pressure behind it. But it should be doable. I’m doing it to show you that you can do it too.

Step 1: get an email marketing tool

Do you know Noah Kagan? He’s my secret hero. He gives great advice. Built a great company called Sumo and just launched an email platform called Sendfox.

Registering is easy. Fill in your name and email address. I entered list size 0 and “other” as current provider because for this website I don’t have one.

 

Yeah, I qualified to send emails with them.

Love the I will NOT spam part btw πŸ™‚

They have a lifetime deal right now because they just started. You pay 49 Dollars ONCE and you can keep sending emails to up to 5000 subscribers untill you die. Niceeee.

Confirm your email address and the registration process is done. Next up is filling in your contact details fo the canspam act and you’re ready to start.

If you’re worried about ending up in a SPAM folder read this about Sendfox DKIM SPF and DMARC records.

Strategies to get email list subscribers

It depends on what kind of website you have… Ecommerce websites can implement different strategies than a website from a consulting firm. A blog like this one has different strategies than a dating website.

Strategies to get more email subscribers for ecommerce websites

The number one method to get more list subscribers for ecommerce website? Give a discount.

This is a popup you get when you’ve visited a few pages. Not the most user friendly way of getting more subscribers but one that works very well.

If you signup for Adidas’ newsletter, you immediately receive a 15% discount code. See how they differentiate only on gender? They don’t even ask for your name.

Be careful with interstitials / popups

Using popups to capture subscribers is something you should be a bit careful with. Google has advised against it for example. It’s not user friendly and can hurt your rankings. Especially if you immediately show a popup when someone visits your page. Or use an interstitial that covers a big part of the screen and is hard to click away.

Below are strategies you can implement “if used responsibly”.

The above examples are a little more relevant when you display ads. But asking for a newsletter signup is still a form of interuption. Luckily for us email marketers popups that add something to what people have already seen is not seen as spammy.

At the bottom of their page is a different subscribe box.

If you click on the input field it getsa little more “text heavy”. Just the basic legal stuff. 

The only thing I think they could’ve done better was to focus more on what kind of news or just be more sales driven and say:

Want 15% off your order ? Signup for product updates.

With news I think about CNN. Product updates I think: newest stuff I want to wear.

Incentives to use to get people subscribed to your ecommerce list

Courtesy of 250Ok

Giving a percentage off is the most popular incentive to add as a way to get people to signup. If its also the most successful way to get people to signup is something you have to figure out.

Refer a friend and give both parties an incentive

This isn’t actually legal in The Netherlands, so check if it is in your country… πŸ™‚ If it is… You can incentivize someone who’s already a subscriber to invite a friend to also subscribe.

You can give a bonus to your subscriber and match the bonus for the one who’s being referred. $5 each. Free month of your service. Something like that.

Dropbox became huge with this model. This is from their lessons learned deck.

Encourage Word of Mouth through 2 sided incentive. You could earn extra storage space if someone else signed up through your refferal link and the other party would also get bonus space. Brillant. Simple. Effective.

Now as I mentioned, this isn’t legal (anymore) in at least one country. There’s a different strategy to get more out of your current email subscribers. You could use click to tweet or click to share to get similar results.

KingSumo is a tool that does exactly that. Add incentives to your (current) email subscribers so they get off their chair and make your life easier by sharing your stuff.

Do giveaways to grow your list

It still works… Giving stuff away for free.  You can also email your current subscribers with a giveaway. Beste moment? Just after they ordered something. Their trust in you is highest. They like your brand because they just ordered something from you. Give them an incentive to order more / earn free stuff.

Make different levels of rewards for people that signup for your email through your current subscribers. The best thing that works is actually giving something in stead of giving people hopes that they might win something. So you could have a grand prize that you can win, where the chances to win get higher the more people you refer. But the best way to get more subscribers is to also incentivize smaller wins.

  • 1 referral: 10% off your next purchase
  • 3 referrals: Make a donation in their name to …
  • 5 referrals: 25% off your next order
  • 10 referrals: BIG reward
  • Fore every referral get a chance to win EVEN BIGGER reward

The virtual loyalty card to grow your list and gain loyal customers

Now this will take a little bit of effort to create. But you can do this with any email automation tool like Sendfox. Or you could go full monty and create a custom system.

Everyone is always complaining that they, as loyal customers, don’t receive anything extra. There’s that one time signup bonus where you get the 15% off, but then you have to look and search for more benefits / discounts.

How about we create an email automation sequence with 12 timed emails. One a month with a percentage discount that keeps rising month after month. It’s a different method of gaining subscribers than the one time method and probably works best when people haven’t responded to your earlier 15% off incentive.

This is something you can implement at the end of your checkout flow. After people paid for their order. You already have their email address. They could subscribe to the loyalty programme with one click.

You should experiment a bit what kind of customers are more likely to stay on the programme. My guess is that completely new customers don’t go jumping up and down when they receive their first email with a 1% of 5% discount for that matter. Rewarding your already loyal customers costs you a bit of margin but you could increase their LTV (Life Time Value) by making them purchase more in a shorter time span.

Strategies to get more email subscribers for blogs

Blogs are more depended on what they “create” in order to get more subscribers.

  • An ebook
  • A course
  • Newsletter
  • Presell / preregistration
  • A content upgrade
  • Bonus tip YOU HAVE TO KNOW: comment below to get it

The ebook method to get more subscribers

Probably the easiest method of publishing an ebook is by copying what you already made.

Backlinko does a great job at this. Brian Dean’s linkbuilding guideline is a massive guide and he makes good use of that fact.

So, if you have any massive posts on your blog, make sure to copy them to Word and make a pdf out of them. Easiest way to make an ebook I guess.

The more advanced way of doing ebooks is creating a blog post and an ebook, where the ebook is giving even more value than the blog post. So you have to keep some secrets out of your blog post and put them in the ebook.

Create a free course to land you even more subscribers

People love courses. Everyone want to learn new things. That’s why a gazillion video’s to YouTube get uploaded every day that explain how to do things. Just the frame of a course gets people interested. You could also cut your ebook in smaller byte sized portions and create an email sequence with your course. People who weren’t interested in the ebook might be interested in you course.

If you really provide value you could even charge money for your courses. But I would only start doing that after you’ve reached 10,000 monthly visitors. Free = no risk. Paid = risk. And you need more authority to be able to sell a course. What course are you missing out there? What do you want to lear a lot about? Comment below!

The tried and true method to get more subs: The Newsletter

This is the oldest form of improving your list size. The newsletter. It still works today. It’s just another form. There are ways of getting more from just a newsletter. What are you really selling in your newsletter? Your daily routine? When you went to the toilet? No. You are selling knowledge. Free knowledge in exchange for your audience’ email and your chance to get them back to your blog.

First tip I can give you: avoid the word newsletter. Everyone uses it. Use Useletter in stead. Use a word where people see more value in than a newsletter. Newsletter == send. People want to receive.

The best way, but also the most time consuming way, is to create custom automated email flows based on what people have read. A basic start to this would be to categorize all your blog posts (which is good practice anyway) and to show a different “subscribe” form based on the category of you blog post. That way you can personalize the onboarding of your new subscriber. You make it more enticing to subscribe when people see that they can read more about the topic they just read about in stead of a more generic message.

Are you or do you want to become an influencer? This tip is for you

Snapchat allows anyone to post links in their Snapchat stories. So if you use Snapchat or want to start to use it, it’s actually a pretty good way to also get more email subscribers on your list.

Basic tips to get more subscribers

  • Show social proof. How many people have already signed up to your newsletter?
  • Create scarcity around your signups. “Signups close tomorrow because…” Free this or that for the first 250 subscribers. Join the waiting list.
  • Don’t call your newsletter newsletter
  • Offer exclusives that are not found on your blog

Besides from different ways to get people to signup, you also have different types of forms/techniques to entice people. We already discussed the popup and “normal” in-content subscribe box. (Use the normal in-content box more than once throughout your content!) There are lots of other ways to get people to signup.

The notification technique

Everyone knows the “red dot”. The “you have a new message” dot.

There are only a few websites out there that leverage the urge of clicking on the red dot. To find out what new message you have.

It’s only barely visible (top right). But because of its high contrast and recognizable look you just HAVE to click on it. Might not be the message you hoped for but lots of people will click it either way.

I love how they don’t put the subscribe now box in peoples faces!

In-your-face techniques

The “welcome mat”. A full page in-your-face-ad that directs you to signup for a newsletter. Not very user friendly. Punished by Google for using it on mobile devices. My guess is they punish you on desktop too but less.

This might not be an actual welcome mat (technically) it looks like one :).

Highly converts people to your email list. But in my opinion you should only use this if you’re OK with being aggressive and the possibility of losing visitors. For one because some people just don’t like a message like that. For one because they don’t know where they “arrived”. They clicked on something but get a totally different message. The other reason is more indirect. I think whether you’re doing this on mobile or desktop, you will get lower rankings because of this technique. Your page will get less engagement as a percentage of total visitors. You will definitely get more email subs, but the question you should ask yourself (and so some research for is) is this worth it if I look at my total user/traffic growth.

In your face is great for conversion but not for user experience

You have the scrolling bar that’s always in your face. The sticky bars that stick at the bottom or top of the page. For me those are all too much in your face techniques. It too much shouts that you are the product. I need your email address. I try to focus on delivering good in content on page value. That might not give me the most signup but I think it gives me the most value long term.

Think of the welcome mat as this: you step into a grocery store for the first time. The moment you step inside the store you immediately get handed a flyer that says buy this buy that. You haven’t even had the chance to look around!? You haven’t even decided whether or not you like this store yet they ask you to buy something.

Keep giving value. Keep focussing on what your users want in stead of what you want. In the end that will give you the most (loyal) subscribers.

The presell or preregistration method to get more subscribers

If you’re planning to launch a new product or service, it’s an interesting moment to capture more subscribers. People are always interested in new things. Your earliest customers are your most valuable. They’re also the most enthusiastic about you. Probably your biggest fans. Use that!

By telling them they’ll get extras other people won’t you’ll incentivize them to subscribe to your launch email.

Pieter Levels example of how to do a preregistration is probably the best one ever. He wanted to write a book about how to create, build, grow and monetize something you made. He started with a simple tweet and asked people to pay money for something that didn’t even exist yet.

 

The people who paid for it, only received a link to Workflowy (like an online Notepad) to suggest topics to him. People were actually helping make Makebook. I bought it a couple of months ago. Has really nice tips! you should buy it too and read it.

Anyway. Besides the fact that he was generating revenue before he even launched something he was already collecting a big list of (potential) customers.

If you haven’t launched your online business yet or if you plan to launch a new product or server on a new url, you could use something like Launchrock to create your landing page with. It’s a pretty much drag and drop interface. You’ll have a homepage ready in a couple of minutes and you’ll be ready to start collecting emails.

The content upgrade is a great way to get more loyal email subscribers

If you write a lot of in depth articles, there are always things you save for last. A bonus tips. Something you might write about in your next post. Something extra. Use that in your live blogs. Insert special “content upgrade” boxes to incentivize people to fill in their email address in order for them to download / gain access to the bonus content.

Could be a button with cool offer that opens subscription box

Could be a more extensive box you created with a WordPress Shortcode that you can (re)implement again and again in content. 

The most important thing you need to offer is a good content upgrade. Be honest and to the point about what people will receive. Don’t make vague statements. People don’t subscribe to vague stuff.

Bonus tip: comment to find out how to get more email subscribers

This ons sells itself, doesn’t it? Comment now and come back to continue reading!

Examples how other people increase their email subscribers

  • Welcome mat
  • Floating signup boxes
  • Exit intent signup boxes
  • Signup after purchase box

Follow these tips so your emails don’t land in the SPAM folder

#1: DO NOT BUY EMAIL LISTS!

Always build your own list of subscribers. You have no clue where the bought list came from. To how many people it has sold. How old the the list of subscribers is. They didn’t consent to you sending them emails.

Don’t touch lists that are for sale. If you upload them to your own email lists and send them along with your regular emails, your reputation will go down. If you really want to use someone else’s list: rent it. Pay some money to go on the newsletter. This way your reputation doesn’t get hammered. 

#2: Watch your open rates

The open rate of your emails should be well above 15%. Anything higher than 25% is considered good. If you’re just starting out you should have a lot higher rates even.

If they start slipping you need to get your game together. 

  1. Your emails aren’t as good any more. Create more interesting newsletters that people want to open
  2. Do A/B tests with different email titles and preview texts. You can easily double your open rates with more interesting titles. Emojis work great. Titles that immediately communicate value. Titles that surprise or are really personal (We have something great for you {First name})
  3. If people don’t open your emails for 5-6 times in a row, it’s time to reactivate them or kick them off your list. If you keep your open rate above 20% (1 in every 5 opens it) you will be in a great position to keep your emails from landing in the SPAM folder. To reactivate someone, send them a completely different email than they are used to getting. Or something like “Have I don’t something wrong” or “What can I improve so you’ll read my emails more often?

#3: Choose a credible email sender

Don’t do this yourself with a WordPress plugin or with your own hosting provider. There are quite a few services that specialize in email marketing tools. For this guide I use Sendfox and ConvertKit. But you can also use Aweber or Mailchimp.

These services have all the technical requirements to send mass emails in order. They monitor the quality of the traffic. Have good unsubscribe options. Trusted IP’s that send emails. 

It’s a lot of work to set this up yourself and you’ll never recoup the costs you make by doing it yourself. Most hosting providers allow for some emails to be sent from your own servers but they cap it heavily because there’s so much SPAM in the world. And that comes from people who blog and leave open POP3 email ports, who’ve been hacked, etc.

#4 Double opt in is an option but will cost you a lot of initial subscribers 

Double opt in is when someone tell you they want to subscribe, you send them an activation email to them before they start to receive your newsletter. Not a lot of companies do this. What’s more important is…

#5 Send a welcome email and send regular emails if you can

If you subscribe to a newsletter and you don’t receive a confirmation / welcome email in the next 24 hours (I send them immediately) it’s really bad for open rates. Did you know what you did yesterday? People have really bad memories and they might be doing something totally different today than they were doing yesterday.

Reminder people immediately why they subscribed. In the welcome email tell them what value they get from your newsletter. You’ll create recognition. Ah, this email looks like this. With this avatar. This layout. So the next time people scroll through their inbox they still know who you are.

#6 Only send authenticated emails

As I mentioned before: SPAM is a big problem with email. Who doesn’t receive a sh*tload of SPAM everyday? I do… To identify SPAM easier there are some techniques you can (HAVE to!) implement.

If you use an external email marketing tool you only need to setup a SPF record and DKIM record. Both settings are done in the DNS settings at your domain name provider.

How to setup an SPF record

Basically find out what IP or host name your emails are sent with. Usually your email tool will mention it in their FAQ or in their knowledge base.

v=spf1 ip4:1.2.3.4 include:thirdpartywebsite.com -all  

If your service provider mentioned an IP (which they probably didn’t) change the ip4 part

v=spf1 ip4:123.234.345.456 -all  

If they mentioned a host name (more likely!) do this:

v=spf1 include:service-provider-sending-url.com -all  

Add a text record to your dns settings at your domain name hosting provider.

How to setup a DKIM record

DKIM is a little bit harder. It works the same way as an SSL certificate. There’s a secret key on the senders host and there’s a public key in the dns settings.

You should be able to create a DKIM record at your email marketing provider. You’ll get the public part. They’ll keep the secret part private. Add it to your dns settings the same way you did the spf-record. The only difference if that you have to give this dns record a specific name. 

#7: Send to active email addresses only

This one speaks for itself I guess. If you see hard bounces in your email reports, remove the email addresses immediately. Most email providers do this automatically. But if you host your own or use a simple email tool check the sender report. If your percentage unactive vs active is too high, your entire campaign is at risk.

If you’re sending to a lot of inactive accounts this sets off SPAM detection alarms. This usually happens when you buy lists or upload lists that didn’t give you proper consent. If you do this too much your (domain) reputation drops too much and you’ll start landing in SPAM folders.

Setting up a new account with a fresh reputation score is only a temporary fix. Remember that you’re screwing with your domain reputation score and that you can’t just buy yourself out of that mess or change domain names easily.

#8 Don’t mislead people (no brainer really)

Titles where you express that you know someone while you have no clue where they live are clearly misleading. 

Stuff like: I left my phone at your place while you have a mobile phone repair company who’s never been into contact or doesn’t know the subscriber is in violation. It’s real bad clickbait. Don’t do it. You will get a lot of SPAM complaints and this will hurt your reputation.

There’s a big difference between pulling a joke and being misleading. Try to stay clear from the dark side.

#9 Send an email to my trusted friend

I use mail-tester.com a lot. I use it for my own blogs for my consulting clients. It’s such a neat little tool. 

Once you visit their website they only thing you need really is the unique email address they give you. Add that address to one of your lists and send them an email you would normally do to any subscriber who’s on that list.

Use your own unique address!

Once you’ve sent the email refresh the page and voila, you’ll get a score. it’s important to test all your emails. They’re all different and should all give off different SPAM signals. The content is analyzed and given a score. The email settings like DKIM, SPF, IP blacklist etc. is also checked.

This might just survive and not land in the SPAM folder. You really want to be aiming at 8+/10.

#10 Mention your physical address in every email you send

Speaks for itself. Part of a lot of legislation as well. You are obligated by law to mention your physical address. Also something which is real easy to check for a SPAM filter.

Want loyal subscribers who don’t unsubscribe? Diversify!

Make specific email flows! If you start out with a new website it’s not a big issue if you have just one flow. You have very little content. You’re still learning what your target audience wants. You don’t have enough traffic to make it worthwhile to setup different flows. But once you start getting some traction, differentiating your email campaigns is crucial.

If someone enters your list through a bonus tip about linkbuilding, you don’t want them to be included on emails about email marketing. You might be talking to an SEO marketer who doesn’t give a cr*p about email marketing. That’s probably the same with your niche. So think about what different “User personas” your website reaches and targets and create different flow for different personas / interests. Someone who’s into knitting might not be into painting even though these are both in the same “creative” arts niche.

Leverage external platforms to create momentum for your own subscriber list 

When you start anything, you’re nothing. But I think you’re everything! Keep at it. Keep going. Cross the chasm. You will make it. Don’t give up.

That being said… It’s always better to have more traffic sooner than later. And where can you find lots of traffic? NOT on your website πŸ™‚ But on:

  • Facebook
  • Medium
  • Pinterest
  • Quora
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Other websites in your niche where they accept guest blogs

How to use Facebook to gain more subscribers

The most effective way to gain more subscribers is paid advertising on Facebook. The so called lead campaigns are specifically designed to gather, for example, email newsletter subscribers. Unfortunately it’s only pay to play. If you’ve got some cash to burn, try it out.

If you already have a Facebook page you can leverage your existing audience. Even if it’s small. For one, you can just directly target your followers. Make sure you exclude your current subscribers. So export those users from your email marketing tool and add them to an audience to  exclude from your campaign.

You can something similar to get a greater reach on Facebook by creating a look a like audience of your current page followers + from your current subscribers.

Upload your current audience first by going to (From Facebook.com/adsmanager) Audiences -> Create audience -> Custom Audience

On the next screen select Your Facebook group and create a custom audience with it. Do the same thing and select Customer file.

Next up, create a lookalike audience.

Go to -> Audiences -> Create audience -> Lookalike audience. Select the audience you just uploaded. Keep the audience size to 1% to get the best results. The new audience that you’ll create resembles your custom audience the most if you keep it at 1%. If you select 2% create a new custom audience. You can A/B test the difference in effectiveness. It should be less effective but if you’re looking to get a bigger reach this is an easy way to expand it. 

Before you can finish your leads campaign you have to first build a form that you can “connect” to your lead campaign.

Go to (from Facebook.com) Your Page -> Publishing tools -> Forms library -> Create

Create a new form. Add your own custom info to the form. Here it’s already important to think about how you’ll be targeting your audience and what your message will be. Will you offer a free download of one of your ebooks? Will you let people directly subscribe to your newsletter with a great offer of content? 

The best approaches are:

  1. Downloads (ebooks)
  2. Subscribe to course (for free)
  3. Wait list

A personal touch to grow your list on Facebook

If people start following you / send you an invite to become your friend on Facebook, it’s a great moment to connect with them. Ask them what you can help them with. If you have an email course / a newsletter that can help them with that problem, give them the url to subscribe! you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll increase your subscriber list.

How to use Medium to grow your email subscribers 

Medium has grown tremendously in the past few years. There’s a lot of great content on it. It’s very easy to connect to other like minded people. The quality of the content is high and the right stuff surfaces. 

1. The easiest way to get more subscribers via Medium is through your bio.

I removed the subscribe link because of my challenge

People who read your posts will also see your bio. Make it interesting enough to subscribe to your newsletter. Only problem here is that you have to be broad. In your posts on Medium (we’ll talk about that strategy in a minute) you can lead people to specific email campaigns. In your bio you can only let them subscribe to a more general campaign. Only problem with the bio on your article pages is that you can’t click on any links in your bio from there. You first have to click through to your profile page.

2. Engage with your (potential) Medium audience

It’s a cliche but still works. If people give you claps, if someone follows you, comments on your article… Engage with them. Thank them for their support.

If you see great articles do the same! Build a relationship and once you’ve built some trust between the two of you… Make the ask. Tell them you have a newsletter that might be interesting for them to signup too. Either send them the signup url or ask them to share their email address directly. Be upfront about what your newsletter is about and what they can expect. It’s ok if you send them the occasional promotional message. As long as people know it’s coming.

3. Embed a subscribe now box on Medium

Years ago Medium allowed forms to be embedded in your content. In stead of linking to your blog (or to a direct signup link) you can add a form directly in your Medium article. This greatly increases your conversion rate to subscriber. Even though it has been possible to embed forms directly in Medium, it’s not being done a lot. Don’t know why because if you’re even the slightest bit an active contributor on Medium and have a subscriber list to grow, it’s a great way to do so.

Use a service like Upscribe to create a signup form which you can easily integrate on your Medium articles. Signing up is free. You also get 100 form views per month for free. A form view is when one of your forms is on a users screen. So a page load doesn’t count. The actual form has to be visible.

Once you created a form, you can integrate it directly with the biggest email service providers. If you use an email marketing tool that isn’t listed, you can use Zapier. Zapier connect thousands of apps with each other.

4. The content upgrade also works on Medium

Save some of your best tips for your email subscribers. People who like what you’ve written so far and want to know more will definitely signup. Most important thing to remember: The WIIFM. Whats In It For Me as a Subscriber? What am I getting (myself into). One time email? Newsletter? Be up front. People hate to get fooled.

Make sure the content upgrades are extremely related to the content itself. Otherwise probably no one will be interested.

Use your social channels to gain more subscribers

Make a sticky Facebook & Twitter post that directs people to subscribe to your newsletter.

Facebook has a special “action” button you can add and use to get people to subscribe.

Twitter and Facebook both have leads campaigns. Problem is: campaigns as in paid campaigns. So you can only capture leads / email subs if you pay for it. There’s no “organic post type” which allows you to capture organic leads. It’s pay to play.

How to use Pinterest to grow your email subscribers

Basically a bit the same as Medium.

  1. Create a freebie / email magnet
  2. Create a “tips” board
  3. Add tips you really like to the board + add your own freebie
  4. Comment on + like other peoples pins / boards
  5. Try to get invited as a contributor to someone’s board

The visual part here is of course the most important. People come to Pinterest not knowing what they’re looking for. They are in the exploration phase mostly. Surprise them. They want to see and learn new things. Focus your freebie on DIY. On helping Pinterest users. 

Create a board that’s full of great matching resources. Add a pin at least every week. Pinterest rewards board that add pins more regularly in stead of creating a board and adding 20 pins. Add a few when you start the board and have a boatload ready to add to the board every week. Add the pin about your freebie last. That way people will see it first.

Start following other people who’ve shown an interest in similar pins. Comment on their pins. Start a conversation. Build a relationship. If they like your stuff, invite them to join your (main) newsletter.

How to use Quora to grow your email subscribers

If you’ve never heard about Quora, you’re missing out on a unicorn startup. They’re valued above 2 Billion. The only thing they do is let people ask questions and have others give the answer. 

There are millions of questions on Quora and there should be a boatload of questions that you can answer. 

  1. Find the right Quora questions for your niche.
  2. Look at the answers that have already been given
  3. Make something better
  4. Add content upgrades and direct signups
  5. Do not add affiliate links directly in the answers

Find the right questions on Quora

There are more than 15 millions questions on Quora. Knowing which ones to answer is the most important task to start with. Answering questions that nobody follows is a waste of time really. You want to spend your time wisely. I answer Quora questions with answers that contain at least 2000 words. So I invest quite a bit of time in them. But with good reason. If your answer gets upvoted and shared a lot, you can get hundred thousands of fews in a matter of days / weeks. 

To make your life a bit easier, you can use a tool called “Find Better Questions“. It’s a small software kit you download and connect to your Quora account. Once you’ve connected it to your account you can start creating lists. Just goto Quora and lookup the topics that relate most to your niche / where your knowledge is. Add the url of the topic to the Sources input field. Enter any title you want to give this list.

For big topics it takes a few minutes for the indexation to finish. Once it’s finished you can click the Show icon.

The most interesting topics for me are the ones with the highest followers to answers ratio and the answers that have the highest total views. 

For every 10 answers I look at and investigate whether this is something worth my time I only answer 1. Click through to the questions you think are interesting and are in the core of your knowledge. Only answer questions where you know you can add value. (Yes there we have the word again… value)

On Quora the answers that get most upvotes are the answers that are visible the most. The velocity of upvotes given is a big part of the algorithm. Quora will show new answers a bit more the first few hundred impressions of a question. When it doesn’t get any upvotes it will show it less and less. 

Before you can grow subscribers through Quora you first need views and upvotes

There’s a simple technique I use that helps me with increasing my views and by that also my upvotes. Use an image almost at the top of your question. Something that really drives interest. Don’t make it too clickbaity. Make it interesting. I sometimes use one of my earning reports in the entrepreneurship Topic. It’s also a way to show people on Quora you’re a credible person who doesn’t make stuff up.

Like I said before: investigate all the answers that where previously given in the topic. Only add an answer if you think you have something new to add. Answers that go like: Yeah I think the same as *answer above* won’t score a lot of home runs. You have to make a different approach. People are coming to Quora to learn new things. Tell them new things.

My best answers consist of 1500 words or more and have at least one image. My worst have just one paragraph and don’t add a lot of value. Too quick to answer. Also didn’t look at how many answer views the question got… I started on Quora back in 2011. No clue what I was doing back then πŸ™‚ But now, I try as much as possible, to answer my posts with stories. A personal story.

I have a little less than 2000 followers as of this writing. I’m hoping to increase that 10 fold over the next 7 months through my challenge. People follow you because of a certain level of expertise you are showing. If you dilute your expertise to other topics that have nothing to do with the topics you got your followers from, those followers will start to ask themselves: Why am I following this guy again? Your followers are what gives you a head start over other people answering on Quora. Use them by giving them related valuable content.

In short on how to get more views / upvotes on quora

  1. Use a prominent and thought provoking image
  2. Be personal. Write from the hart (be funny)
  3. Add real value
  4. Choose topics that have a high number of views
  5. Share a story when you answer a question
  6. Stick to a few niches (so your followers know what to expect)
  7. Always add a picture to the top of your answer that people want to know more about

How to use Twitter to grow your email subscribers

Most starting businesses / people don’t have a big following on Twitter. Neither do I. I don’t do a lot with Twitter. There are however plenty of ways to grow your email list with Twitter. I would just not use it “the normal way”. Meaning: Tweeting a lot and gaining followers. Use a service like Click to tweet to have other people increase your website’s  / profile’s visibility. Just make sure you’ve made recent tweets. Your profile is active. 

Create your email magnet landscape

I have created a mind map with some ideas about lead magnets. You should do the same. This is my map after 4 weeks.

I have thought about 10 different lead magnets. The first one has already been created. This one:

Download the free Blog Promotion checklist to get more traffic now!

Always be on the lookout for lead magnets

It doesn’t matter that other people have already created a similar tool. You can always make a better version of something. Or a better ebook with more tips. Or a better looking one. 

Just write down everything you come across that can act as a signup method for your email list.

If you don’t know how to build it… Use Upwork and ask a freelancer to programme it for you.

If you can’t think of anything… You’re not really submersed in your niche and in your audience. At least give a coupon code or something.