When I first started building my email list, I had just graduated from college and was offering services as a coach and freelance writer. I’ve always loved books and learning from a young age, and I discovered a passion for nonfiction writing in 2012 after reading a James Altucher article.
I thought to myself, “Hey, if I make myself accountable by posting summaries of what I learn every day, maybe that’ll give me the discipline to stick to it.”
That’s when I decided to build an email list around summaries of non-fiction books.
Fast-forward 9 months and I’d built an email list of 2,707 subscribers.
I’ve since published a book summary almost every day since January 2016.
My affiliate income has been $1,280 in the last 3 months from promoting my book summaries.
How did you do it?
I got my first 100 subscribers by doing one thing. I created a launch plan for my site, Four Minute Books.
Here’s what my launch plan consisted of:
#2: I got my site listed in a bunch of startup directories (via Startuplister) and pitched PR sites about it.
Total investment: $80.
#3: I used this guide to optimize a bunch of SEO things for Google to list the site as quickly as possible.
#4: I emailed my existing list of about 2,000 subscribers, from my personal blog and social media, about the project.
This got me to 100 subscribers within the first 9 days (by January 20, 2016).
Currently my list is at 2,707subscribers.
I went from 100 to 2,707 subscribers by doing two things: 1) creating an upside-down homepage, and 2) installing pop-ups.
From Day One I wanted to make sure I was getting as many email list subscribers as possible, so I optimized my homepage.
Here’s what the top of mine looks like:
You’ll never get email subscribers unless you ask. That’s why I ask often.
Sometimes a visitor won’t see my upside-down homepage because they came from a Google search, so I created 2 pop-ups to ask for their email address:
Pop-Up #1: Welcome Mat
This isn’t your average pop-up. A Welcome Mat is a full-screen pop-up that’s easy to dismiss, yet highly effective.
Here’s a screen clipping of my current mat:
Pop-Up #2: Exit intent pop-up. These pop up when you signal with your mouse that you’re going for the back button or to close out of the tab that my site is open in.
Here’s what mine looks like:
I recently joined the affiliate program for an app called Blinkist that I use on a daily basis to read books, so I decided to share it with my subscribers.
When you sign up using my affiliate link, you get a discount and I get a small part of your monthly subscription if you decide to sign up.
I’ve earned $1,280 in the first 3 months since promoting the app.
What has building an email list changed in your life and allowed you to do?
It’s allowed me to pay my bills without taking a corporate or part-time job. Working for myself has been a lot more fun than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. It lets me balance my work with the rest of my life and gives me the freedom that most other people don’t have.
I’m not yet at the point where I could support a family, but I’ll get there. I dream of being in a position where I don’t have to rely on a single person to pay my income and can walk away from any crappy job or opportunity if I want to without having to stress about paying my bills.
What’s next for you?
Moving forward means focusing on 3 things:
Non-Fiction Book Summaries
I've always been dreaming up ideas, but I never felt I had the tools to execute them. After I discovered Videofruit I finally had something to help me cut through all the clutter and excuses, always focusing on the very next step I could execute. I've taken this mentality with me ever since and I've been more productive and focused than ever before. I wouldn't be able to live on my own, free of a full-time job, without the things I've learned here!