That’s an eye catching headline, isn’t it?

Last year I grew my list by 4000%. Okay, I lied… its actually 3,941%.

How do I know? I started a spreadsheet tracking the growth of my email list, social media, Google Analytics and a few other things. Every Monday, I update my spreadsheets and make a note of what I did to make that happen.

One could say I’ve been waiting a year to write this post, not knowing where it would go.

Farideh 4000%What’s that old saying “What you measure grows”? I knew that an online business is only viable with a platform: a platform of followers. So, I set about building mine.

In real numbers, here’s what “4000%” looks like (My husband is an Economist. I didn’t make that percentage up.):

  • Email list growth: 44 subscribers to 1707 subscribers
  • Facebook Fan growth: 564 fans to 1178 fans
  • Twitter follower growth: 310 followers to 1361 followers
  • Instagram follower growth: 124 followers to 489 followers
  • Monthly website visitor growth; 282 visitors to 3325 visitors

By no means is mine a story of “break out success” or “holy cow, how did she do it?”. This is really the more common story of sloooow growth that takes persistence and experimentation.

Word of Warning:  What has or hasn’t worked for me may or may not work for you. I think we’ve all got our “thing”. I’ve tried some list building efforts that others SWEAR by. Those people aren’t lying – they totally work. Just not everything works for every business.

Guest posting

Estimated list growth: Unknown? Perhaps 100

In July, I started guest posting. My goal was not to grow my list but to gain expert status. I knew my new website needed an “as seen in” section that could provide some social proof for me.

By those measures, it was successful. I have been published in FEA, Design Sponge, Coaching Blueprint, YFS. I’ve also been interviewed on MANY podcasts.

By list growth and social growth though. I didn’t see much return on investment for my time. There was a link to my freebie at the end of every article, but that was likely not enough.

I know many people who use guest posting as their #1 list builder. It hasn’t been for me, but I’m so grateful I tested it.

Video songs

Estimated list growth: Unknown? Perhaps 100

You might have noticed that I write songs about business on my ukulele. Hopefully,  you find them catching and fun.

I had thought that these little songs would make me famous.

Sadly, they haven’t and they likely won’t in the future.

People like them (and by people I’m including myself) so much that I’ve devoted a whole tab on my website to host all the songs. I just keep doing them because 1. They are dang fun  2. The create connection with my audience and 3. It helps me stand out from my competition.

It may be a list building dud, but there is something to be said for staying with something just because you love it.

Podcast

Estimated list growth: 200 subscribers

I had a podcast called the “Tribe Finder Podcast” for about 6 months. I had many guests on the show including Michael Franti, Mayi Carles, Laura Belgray. I got to meet some of my favourite people who I still keep in touch with. I had about 1000 monthly listeners.

When I launched the podcast, I also engaged a local publicist to grow my audience on a local level. I was featured in quite a few papers and local television shows.

As a platform, podcasts weren’t all that effective for list growth. People aren’t ON the internet listening. They are on their phones. Being a podcaster has many benefits including expert status. If you love to talk and connect, this is a perfect platform. For my hermetic self that is constantly interested in new things, it began feeling like a drag.

I quit the podcast mainly because it took up the time that I wanted to spend on experimenting with other list growing activities.

Webinars

Estimated list growth: 350

I did 5 webinars in the last year. I heard it could be a crazy list builder. I started with my “Concertinar”, where I talked about marketing and played the ukuelele.

30 ppl signed up. 12 ppl attended. With this webinar, I added NO new subscribers. They were people already on my list.

Here’s what I learned: Gimicks aren’t enough. I had to make sure I wasn’t just performing but also adding REAL value.

I regrouped, found my niche as a launch strategist and did 4 more webinars in the fall that had a persistent theme.

However, the webinars themselves were not what got me the list growth. It was the Facebook ads I ran to promote the webinar that brought in 300 of the 350 people who were added to my list.

Free Opt in “30 Day Launch Checklist & Calendar”

Estimated list growth: 1000

Dingy ding ding. This one is my favourite. I made it once and my list keeps growing. With all the work that guest posting, webinars and the podcast took, this is by far the winner for biggest return on investment.

This 30 day checklist was inspired by what people asked me for. In a FB group one day, I asked“what would help you with your launch” and someone said I’d love a checklist and example calendar. It took me roughly 4 hours.  I posted it back in that group and had about 240 sign up immediately.  WHOOT WHOOT!

So, how did I get to 1000? I’ll be honest. This opt in has actually been downloaded 1800 times. Only 1000 of those people are still on my list. I got that many downloads through promoting this opt in through Facebook ads. I was able to get people to sign up for this opt in for .23 and .54 cents last year in the spring and fall. Since about half of them have dropped off, the price of those ads to keep those leads was about .50 to $1.

Pssst. Want this? Sign up for my newsletter.

Facebook Ads

Estimated list growth: 1100

The webinars and opt ins and even the launches I did last year were all supported by Facebook ads. As far as time, money and effort goes, they were the best thing I could invest in. Of course, I had something that was worth promoting (i.e. a webinar or opt in). Once I did, these made all the difference for me. If I hadn’t used FB ads, I’d still be hovering around the 400 subscriber mark

 

4000% list growth in 1 year? @faridehceaser did it and reveals her secrets here. – Tweet this.

 

How did I celebrate a 4000% list growth?

By getting rid of some subscribers! I “scrubbed” them.

I was getting dangerousy close to 2000 subscribers which would mean I’d have to pay for Mail Chimp. Gasp, horror! My open rates were struggling at 20-30%.

I deleted all the duplicates. All the people who hadn’t opened in the last few months. I purged 200-400 people off my list. WHAT A RELIEF! I enjoyed 40-50% open rates again and I saved myself a few bucks.

 

Whats next for 2015?

I’ll be doing my video songs, Facebook ads and trying out some new opt ins. I’ll also be continuing my experiments. The internet is always changing and so am I. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

If you’re interested in trying out Facebook ads but find them confusing or need an update. Here are a few more blogs about what has worked for me. Oh and I do have this little course all about FB Ads for Launching.