The Ultimate Guide to Your First 1,000 Subscribers (in Just 90 Days)

“The money is in your list…”

How many times have you heard that one?

I know when I was starting online I used to hear it ALL THE TIME and yet, it was a mystery for years to me how to actually get my list up and running..

Fast Forward after adding tens-of-thousands of people to my email list, I think I’ve learned a thing or two that I’d like to share with you today.

The goal of this post is to take you to your first 1,000 subscribers on your email list in the next 90 days.  It’s not EXACTLY how I did it, but it’s what I would do NOW knowing what I know.

Oh and if you decide that you wanna take it to the next level with this post, I’ve got a short little FREE checklist that goes with it right here.

So if you’re ready… let’s dive in!

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0 to 1,000 In 90 Days - The Basics

So before we dive into the “exciting” part of developing content and promoting what you create, we have to step back and talk about the basics of list building and an outline of our 90 day plan.

Why are we starting with 1,000 subscribers?

I believe that 1,000 is the first MAJOR benchmark in your list - it’s where you REALLY start to see things happen.

It’s where people are actually opening your emails and clicking reply.

It’s where your emails are starting to drive more traffic to your website.

It’s where you’re actually converting a good chunk of people within a launch.

In short - it’s the first major tipping point with your list.

Now in order to build your list you’re going to need some software….


Listbuilding Software

As you start to build your list there are two pieces of software that you’re going to want:

  1. Autoresponder Software

  2. Landing Page Software

Just to be clear, there’s about a million other pieces of software that an online business can use - but for your first thousand, this is all you need.

Autoresponder Software is basically where the list is held, and what you use to send out emails to everyone.  

There are a ton of options out there, but I recommend ConvertKit (changing it's name to Seva in 2018) to my students that are just starting out.


Well, at $29/month it’s a good price for up to 1,000 contacts.  And compared to some of the other software out there at similar (and even lower) price points - it’s got a ton of features that just plain ROCK!

Now, I AM an affiliate for ConvertKit, but I do think they are the best for beginners. However, I think it’s only fair to link up a few other options so you can do your own research too.

Some other entry level autoresponders that you may want to explore include:


You’ll find that there are a LOT of options out there - but these are (in my opinion) the best of the best with which to start.

The second piece of software you’ll want is Landing Page Software.

A landing page is the place where people go enter their name and email to get your “freebie” that is design to add names and emails to your list.

A LOT of beginners ask me if this software is necessary.

In short? Yes. Absolutely.

While you don’t NEED the software to add people to your list, it’s going to make it about a million times easier to do, and it helps you create a professional image online (which helps get more opt-ins to your list).

The software that I’ve been using for years and LOVE is LeadPages

Why do I recommend LeadPages?  

They have been around for YEARS and they are basically the gold standard in the industry.

They are easy to use, simple to learn, and just plain WORK!

Other entry level software that you may want to explore includes:

I like to give you a number of place to explore - but seriously - check out LeadPages, it’s the best of the best!


The 0 to 1,000 Game Plan

Ultimate Guide to 1,000 in 90.jpg


So you’re probably wondering exactly how we’re going to get to 1,000 subscribers in the next three months - I get it, it can feel daunting and there are BIG promises all over the internet - so here’s how it all shakes out.

Month 1: We’re going to focus on the foundations of your list.

This first month our goal is to just hit your first 100 subscribers (which breaks down to reach about 25 new people a week).

We’re going to make sure that your freebie is strong, and that you understand the basics of getting your list off the ground.

Our goal in the first month is not rapid growth. Instead, we want to build a strong foundation for our list.

Month 2: We’re going to take your list to the next level.

At this point, you’re starting to really see what list building feels like.  You’ve got a good offer, people are joining your list, and now it’s time to add fuel to the fire.

In the second month, we’re going to focus on new ways to drive traffic to your freebie so that you can continue to reap the benefits of building a list.

By the end of month two, our goal is to have you at 500 subscribers.

Then finally, in Month 3, we’re going to take it to the next level.

I’m going to give you some strategies (both free and paid) that are designed to help you create a massive influx of leads to your list.

Remember that we’re building on what you’ve already created so you’ve got strong foundations, traffic generators, and now we’re focusing on quick spurts to push the needle.

By day 90, you should have your first 1,000 people ready and excited to learn from you.

If you’re ready, let’s dive into your first month!


Month 1 - Fundamentals and Foundations

Goal: 100 Subscribers By Day 30

Before we can just dive into build your list, we need to talk about some of the basics of how building your list works.

If you have ever been offered a pdf, worksheet, checklist, discount, or something else in exchange for your name and email, you’ve joined an email list before.

We’re going to create something FREE to give to your audience in exchange for their name and email so that we start to build your list!

But before we can make something free, I think it’s important that we talk NUMBERS behind your list building efforts.

The big thing I see a lot of people skip over is the MATH behind building an email list.

As you may know, we’re going to send people to a FREE landing page in exchange for their name and email, but not EVERYONE that visits that page is going to convert…

Generally speaking, you want to follow these rules of thumb…

For everyone 100 people that visits your landing page 20-40 should sign up. (Click to Tweet)

For everyone 100 people that visits your website 2-5 should join your email list.

Now, we’re going to focus on driving traffic to a landing page this month. Thist means our goal is to get about 250-500 people over to your landing page to get about 100 of them to sign.

Note: In the first month I like to focus on organic (aka not paid) traffic, but if you want to run FB ads to make it quicker, you totally can!



This Month's Action Plan….

I want to lead in with what your primary tasks are for this month - and then we’ll break each of these down in depth!

  • Do research on what your market would want in a freebie

  • Create your first freebie

  • Sign up for an autoresponder (I recommend ConvertKit/Seva)

  • Build your Landing Page (I recommend LeadPages)

  • Drive 250-500 people to your Landing Page with organic traffic

So now let’s break down each of these tasks a little further.


Researching Your Freebie

Promise me you won’t skip this step, okay?

Listen, I get it! Research is NOT the most fun part of running  an online business, but it is critically important.

Before you create a freebie, we’re going to do the work to determine what it is that people would want to get for free.

To do this: we’re going to use Facebook Groups to find out what issues people are experiencing within your market.

(Note: I love using FB groups for research - BUT you can also use things like Reddit, industry forums, blogs, or other places where your ideal customers are hanging out and engaging)

So here’s what you’re going to do.  Pull out a piece of paper, split it into three columns and write down the following at the top of each:

  • Common questions people are asking

  • Major problems people are sharing

  • Gaps that I’m seeing.

Common Questions - Under this section write down questions that you’re seeing asked in your niche within the group.  Don’t write down EVERY question you see - instead focus on questions that are being asked on a regular basis, but perhaps in different ways.

Major Problems - Under this section write down what problems, issues, concerns, or roadblocks that you’re observing inside the group.  These should be problems that members are outright sharing, not problem that you’re inferring from the group

Gaps I See - This is the fun section!  At this point, you now have information about the questions your audience has, and the problems they are facing.  In this section, brainstorm the “missing pieces” that you’re seeing which could potentially become your freebie!

Go through the last 2-3 months of a group and fill out these columns, we’ll use them in the next section.

Audience Research Tool


“But Zach,” you ask “Where do I find these groups…”

Don’t overcomplicate it.  Go to Facebook, type in a keyword at the top, and search for relevant groups… You want to focus on groups that:

  • Have at least 2,000 members

  • Have regular engagement from members (not just the person running the group)

  • Are not flooded with spam

  • Are CLOSED (not public)

I recommend joining 5-10 groups TODAY, wait to be approved, and then picking the best one or two for your research!

ACTION ITEM: Set aside 1-2 hours for audience research and create your three columns list.


How To Create Your First Freebie

After you’ve done the research for your freebie, your column with the “gaps” that you’ve noticed is basically a list of ideas for things you can share to create value for your audience!

Before you start thinking about freebie ideas, let me impart some wisdom….

More Time Spent Creating a Freebie DOES NOT Mean More People Will Download (Click To Tweet)

I’ve watched far too many people spend HOURS creating these elaborate workbooks, and ebooks when in reality most people would rather just have a short worksheet, checklist, or mini-workbook.

Rather than trying to create an advanced resource, answer this question:

Based on the gaps that I see, what’s ONE major problem that I can solve for my audience and what’s the easiest/fastest way I can do it?

A few ideas to help get the creativity flowing for a perfect first opt-in:

  • A Checklist

  • A Worksheet

  • A 10-15 Minute Audio

  • A 10-15 Minute Video Training

  • A Mini-Email Course


Remember: more “content” does not mean more value.  The bigger the problem you solve, and the bigger the gap you’ve noticed, the better your freebie will convert.

If you’re still not sure exactly what to do and want the “Zach just tell me” version, do this…

  1. Pick the biggest gap and problem you see

  2. Decided on a checklist or a Worksheet

  3. Create a simple ONE PAGE checklist or Worksheet for FREE with Canva (or another design program if you’re savvy)


Remember - the biggest challenge with building your email list is just DOING IT - so take action and get moving!

ACTION ITEM: Spend 1-2 hours deciding on the best freebie for your audience, and then create it with Canva or another program!


Freebie Setup

Let me be SUPER clear about this section.  I want to walk you through the key steps to getting your freebie in place, but I don’t know EXACTLY what software and tech you’re using, so I’m going to just explain each step.

That being said you may have to consult my favorite two teachers to get exact (and current) technical steps.

Google & Youtube University ;)

So from a high level, here’s what you need to do:


Create Your Landing Page

First, we need to create a landing page for your freebie.  This is the page where people can drop their name and email.

Make sure your landing page including the following elements:

  • A strong headline that highlights the problem you’re solving from your research phase

  • 2-3 short points about what is inside your freebie (based on the gaps and problems you saw)

  • An image or visual that shows/represents your freebie (if you did a checklist or workbook - you can create a really simple mock up of it with

The big key with your landing page is focus on your AUDIENCE and their problems along with the BENEFITS of downloading your freebie.  Don’t get hung up on what you’re giving them; focus on what problems you’re solving.

ACTION ITEM: Set up a landing page for the freebie you’ve created


Set Up Your Autoresponder

Once you have a landing page setup,  set everything up inside your autoresponder so that they get the freebie you’ve created.

Since we’re just getting started, let’s keep this straightforward.

Create ONE email that goes out when people sign up for your freebie that includes the following:

  • A quick thank you note for signing up

  • A link to the freebie that asked for

  • A brief intro about who you are and what to expect

  • A link to any social media profiles you want them to follow you

Take that email and set it up so that when people sign up for your freebie, they get sent that email.

(Note: It’s slightly different for every platform, but you’ll likely be setting up a FORM within your autoresponder.  Then you link that FORM to an EMAIL MESSAGE.  Again, it’s a little different for each platform, and software is always changing so check your software)

Once you’ve got an email set up, and a form created for them to fill out - it’s time for the last step.

ACTION ITEM: Set up a form and welcome email inside your chosen autoresponder email.


Connect Your Autoresponder & Landing Page

The last step is to connect your autoresponder form to the landing page you’ve created.

This is usually called “INTEGRATING” so in order to find the “how to” for your software just do a quick google search for:

How to Integrate [Autoresponder Software] With [Landing Page Software]

If you decided to use the software I recommended (ConvertKit & LeadPages), there’s a tutorial on how to do that right here.

ACTION ITEM: Connect your landing page to your welcome email


Tie Up Loose Ends

Once you have all of that done you’re ALMOST ready to start promoting your freebie. First, double check to make sure things are running like you want them...

  • Check to make sure you’ve connected your sign up page to a thank you page

  • Sign up for your freebie BEFORE you promote it to test your autoresponder

  • Test your email links to make sure everything works

  • Ask a friend to test everything to see if you’ve missed anything


I’ve gone through the pain of promoting a “broken” freebie - it sucks.

ACTION ITEM: Test that you freebie is ready to go!

This is a sample landing page so you can see where you want to be sending most of your traffic! (Done in LeadPages)

This is a sample landing page so you can see where you want to be sending most of your traffic! (Done in LeadPages)



Your Organic Promo Starts NOW!

Now the fun stuff finally starts: this is where you get to flex your hustle muscle.

I want to say this….

I know that some of this might seem simple, trite, or overplayed - but it works if you do it.  

Commit right now to doing AT LEAST 3-4 of these activities to drive new people into your offer - if you don’t do the work now, it’s not going to work for you.

Social Media Share - Create 4 social media images and posts related to your freebie and schedule them to go out over the next 4 weeks.  This way you’re promoting your offer at least once a week to any audience you may have.  Bonus Points: Create a version for Facebook and for Instagram and double dip your traffic - of course you want to make sure you format each image to match the platform you’re using.

Ask A Friend - So many people are afraid to just go for it, but at this point, if you’re reading this post, I guarantee you know at LEAST 4-5 people that would be willing to share the link on their Facebook Page or Profile.  Send out a request to TWENTY people asking if they would be willing to just share to Facebook that you created this resource.  Bonus Points: Make it really easy for them to share by letting them know you have images, text, or anything else they may want.

Update Your Profile Links - This is a broad one, but it makes a difference over time.  Update your Instagram profile, update your Facebook cover photo, update your Twitter bio.  Anywhere that you have a social media profile, including a new link to the freebie you created. Bonus Points: Create really nice graphics for your FB cover photo that lead right to the Landing Page you built.

Add Links to Your Sidebar - If you have a website with a blog, add a link in your sidebar to your freebie.  This way, any time that you drive traffic to your site or blog posts, people are exposed to your freebie.  Bonus Points: Make your link above the fold, which means that they don’t have to scroll down at all to see it!

Add a Desktop Pop-Up - Consider adding a pop-up on your website that shows up after 20-30 seconds of being on your site that invites them to join your list.  You only want to have this happen for those on a DESKTOP as mobile pop-ups can get you penalized in google searches according to the latest algorithms.

Do a Weekly Livestream - Once a week using Periscope or FB Live, share a tip or exercise related to the freebie you’ve created and give them a link to go sign up for it.  Bonus Points: Use the problems list from your research to develop relevant topics for your audience.

Share in Facebook Groups - I don’t mean go dropping your links in every group you’re in.  I mean start engaging in that group you joined and share your resource WHEN IT MAKES SENSE and people ask for help!  Also, check to see if your group has a weekly promo thread where you can share.

Note: If you wanna just get the ball rolling with money vs. elbow grease you can run FB ads - but I promise that if you do these, and consistently do them, it’s possible to get your first 100 people!

ACTION ITEM: Pick the items from this list that resonate with you and put dates on your calendar as to when you’re going to take action!


Check In - What You Should Have

I’m going to “flash forward” and imagine with you that it’s day 30, when you look down (aka before continuing to the next month) you should have….

  • A complete sheet or research for your ideal audience

  • A completed freebie, landing page, and email when people sign up

  • Your first 100 people on your email list

It takes some time and some hustle, but you can get this done in about 30 days and be well on your way to your first 1,000 subscribers!  

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Month 2 - Kicking It Up a Notch

Goal: 500 Subscribers By Day 60


At this point in the game, you’ve got a list of 100 people, which is AWESOME.  It means that 100 people stood behind you and your vision and are excited to learn more!

This month, we’re going to start kickin’ it up a notch and really add some fuel to the fire of your list building, we want your list rate growth to quadruple.

Lofty? Totally.

But if your primary focus for the 3 months is list building? Totally possible!

This section focuses on three primary areas.

  1. Creating New Promotional Channels

  2. Creating Ads and Building Your List With Paid Traffic

  3. Creating a Source of Revenue to Cover Ad Costs

Something else worth noting is that as you're building your list you don’t want to just let that list sit there.  Take some time to create simple content that you can send to them at least once a week so that your list doesn’t go “cold” on you!

So with that being said, let’s dive into the next level list building….


Creating New Promotional Channels

Capturing the “magic” to building your list is simple - it’s a numbers game.

If we want to increase the number of people on your list, we have to increase the number of people that are seeing your offer. Easy right?

In this module we’re going to create a “content machine” that you can simply drive traffic into and get leads on the other side.


LeadGen Blogs

I love creating blogs with the intention of creative MASSIVE value for my audience, along with the goal of converting my readers into leads.

How do I do it?

You’re reading an example RIGHT NOW!

Within this post you’re going to find:

  • Content Upgrades - Checklists, Workbooks, etc that enhance the reading experience

  • Links to other posts on my site, which also encourage opt-ins

  • Links to my top freebies in the sidebar

As you’re reading this blog, two things are happening.

First I’m creating reciprocity by leading with a TON of value that makes you want to return the favor, possibly with a name and email.  Generally speaking this tested psychological phenomenon is MASSIVELY important in business because it works.

Translation - I gave you massive value BEFORE requiring an email so you’re more likely to sign up!

Second I’m making it easy to get more value by sharing your name and email.

Now for your second month of massive list building you DO NOT need to go insane and create a ton of freebies, content upgrades, etc., but you can if you want!

What I would recommend is that take a look at the freebie you’ve already created and write a blog that is incredibly valuable to your audience!

Then take that blog and fill it up to link to your freebie if they “decide they want” more!

A few “epic” posts that I’ve written can be found here

ACTION ITEM: Write a 2,000+ word blog post on a topic related to your freebie.

Note: You’ll want to email this blog post to your existing list and ask them to SHARE IT so that you can leverage the audience your building to continue to expand.

Don’t stress about how you’re going to get a ton of readers yet.

In the next section we talk about how you can use a cinch (tested) formula to turn your blogs into lead machines with a little ad spend!




Facebook Live is HUGE right now and it’s 100% not going anywhere!  So we’re 100% going to use it for our advantage.

Even if your audience is small - I recommend you livestream from your business page.

Not only is streaming for business from your profile technically a “gray area” of Facebook Terms of Service, you can’t run ads to a livestream on your personal page.

Trust me, okay? ;)

All you’re going to do is a weekly livestream that 5-10 minutes and focuses on a topic related to your blog AND the freebie you’ve nested in the blog.

Each week simply reference that they can get more at the blog, and link it back up.

Now if you have a small audience, this might feel like it’s not moving the need much - but don't worry because the value of FB live is creating video content we can run as an ad!

Just do a weekly stream, link to the blog (or direct to the freebie), and in the next section we’ll talk ads ;)

ACTION ITEM: Brainstorm 4 topics related to your blog and freebie, and map out a super simple livestream script.

Notice how I've used this Facebook Live to drive traffic back to a high quality blog post with the intention of generating more leads!

Notice how I've used this Facebook Live to drive traffic back to a high quality blog post with the intention of generating more leads!


Pop-Up Classes/Masterclasses

One more way that you can drive a TON of people into your list is with masterclasses & webinars.

The webinar is not dead, promise!

They don’t work quite the way they used to, but our goal with these webinars isn’t to make money - it’s just to drive more people into our list.

You can check out how to set up a webinar with just LeadPages & ConvertKit over on this podcast I did (episode #20) to get started.

The goal with these classes is to just provide 1-2 hours of valuable content without a pitch!  Believe it or not, just having a pitch free class will increase your sign ups! This just goes back to the concept of reciprocity we discussed earlier.

Refer back to the list in Month 1 of organic ways to promote your offer, and just duplicate those with a FREE masterclass.

People tend to value live training, especially when they know you’re not going to sell them anything.

This tip is short, simple, and sweet, but it works!

ACTION ITEM: Consider planning one LIVE class this month, map out some promotional ideas, and maybe even considering running ads to it.


Fuel to the Fire - Facebook Ads

Now that you have your freebie getting sign ups, your list is growing, and multiple promotional channels in place, think of Facebook Ads as the “energy drink” for the machine!

We’re going to use these ads to take your promo to the next level, and I’m going to give you THREE ads that I would start running this month…


Ads For Cold Leads

Once you have your freebie set up, a landing page that works, and you’ve verified your audience wants it, you can start running ads for “cold leads”.

Cold leads are just people who are not familiar with you, but sign up for your free offer.

I like to spend about $5-10/day running ads directly to my freebie!

With our current lead costs, that means we’d be adding about 5-8 leads a day to our list, or 150-200 over the course of a month.


When you combo this with some other stuff I recommend, you will see it’s easier to fill out the 400 leads you want for the month!

If this is something that you want to do, but you’re not totally sure where to start you can sign up for a FREE 5-Day Training I offer on FB ads right here.


Ads For Your Livestream

Now, remember that I suggested that you do a weekly livestream to promote your content and your freebie?  There’s a reason, and it has to do with ads…

Video ads from a livestream are some of the cheapest ads you can run on Facebook.

If you have $15-20 to pour into a video, it’s worth it.

You can get video views from $0.02-$0.03 each when you run the video to a cold audience, so at the proposed budget, you’re looking at 750+ views on your content, PLUS the organic reach that’s generated based on engagement! That’s an incredible return on investment!

Just to make it PERFECTLY clear how I would run this ad, it looks like this….

  • You do a livestream video with a link to your content or freebie

  • You take that video and spend $5/target and run it to 2-3 related “pages”

  • You let the video generate traffic to your blog or LeadPage

Seriously - it’s that simple, and it works!  

Try it!

ACTION ITEM: Spend $15-20 on your livestream video to boost it to cold audience to expand your reach, drive traffic, and grow your list.


The “Covert Operations” Ad

The final ad that you’re going to run is one that I like to call the “covert operation” ad - because up to this point, we’ve been secretly building this “traffic source” that we can target with your ads.

Remember that blog post I had you create?

If you install the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can run ads directly to people that have read that blog post!

Think about the power behind this!  We know that if they read the post that you specifically created for your freebie, people who were interested in the post are interested in the freebie!

All you need to do is going into The Facebook Ads Manager and create a custom audience based on website traffic for…

  • Include People Who Visited - URL Equals =

  • Exclude People Who Visited - URL Equals =

  • In the Last: 180 Days


That’s going to spit out a custom website audience that you can use to target people who have read your blog, but didn’t snag your freebie!

You’re officially a Facebook Ads power player once you do this!

I recommend spending $5-10 per day as your BUDGET, but know FB normally won’t spend that much until you’re getting HUNDREDS of visits.  So don’t panic - just trust!

ACTION ITEM: Create your Facebook Custom Audience and start running ads to it at $5/day.

This is a way to take all your “missed opportunity traffic” and turn it into free leads - and it works ASTONISHINGLY!

BOTTOM LINE WITH ADS: I would shoot to make 200+ of your 400 leads in month 2 come from a paid source!  It can be done with a reasonable budget, and it’s a great mindset to start developing early.


Seed Launch or Flash Offer Time

So at this point you should be closing in on 500 on your list, but up to this point you haven’t necessarily generated any revenue.

That can be a bit scary!

I HIGHLY recommend that you get to at least 300-350 on your list BEFORE you do this step so that way you have an audience to whom you can sell.

Now at this point, I don’t think you need to go CRAZY with this massive, insane, high value offer.

Instead I would ask, what can I create for $97 or less based on the problem and gaps that my audience has let me know exist?

All we want to do at this point is generate back some of the money we are spending so that you can see and validate that this is working!

Just a few ideas of what you could sell…

  • Check out episode 20 on how to use a masterclass to sell

  • Create a simple workbook and price it under $47 to create more “volume” of sales

  • Build out a simple $97 video course and throw it online

The goal at this point is to start getting your feet wet with a VERY IMPORTANT CONCEPT in online marketing that often gets skipped.

The goal of building your list does not make you money - what you do with that list does.

I don’t want to get glaringly side-tracked and start talking about launching or selling products.

I want to encourage you to do a seed launch (meaning only to your list) or a flash offer to your list to see the power you’re building.

ACTION ITEM: Brainstorm piece of cake, no sweat, manageable offers you can create massive value with to your audience and package them up to sell to the list you’ve built to offset your ad cost.

ProTip: Not sure how to sell your offers? GumRoad is the easiest solution.  They will handle your payments, content delivery, and more!  They take 9% of your sale BUT they are a fantastic place to start!


Check In - What You Should Have

I’m going to “flash forward” and imagine with you that it’s day 60, when you look down (aka before continuing to the next month) you should have….

  • Several “traffic drivers” to your content including a blog and weekly livestream

  • Facebook Ads up and running to your freebie and retargeting your blog readers

  • Tested a low cost offer to your list to get a sense for what they want

  • At least $100 in PROFIT after ad costs and your internal launch

  • Your first 500 people on your email list

It takes some time and some hustle, but you can get this done in about 60 days and be well on your way to your first 1,000 subscribers!  


Month 3 - Wrapping It Up

Goal: Your First 1,000 Subscribers By Day 90

Interestingly enough, this is going to be the SHORTEST section of this post.


Because the reality is once you are at this point, it’s all just a numbers game!

Want more leads? Drive more traffic

Want more Traffic? Running More Ads

What more Money for Ads?  Get More Leads & Sell To Them

It’s very cyclical and all you do at this point is increase your content and advertising output!


Now, don’t worry I’m not gonna cop out that easy in the last section, I want to introduce a couple of ideas to help you continue to grow.

At this point you can get your final 500 in two ways (there’s more, but we’re gonna cover these tried and true ones to keep it simple)...

  1. Use a launch to build your list

  2. Increase your traffic and build up

Each has their own benefits and both work - so let’s dive deeper on each one!


Your Launch Builds Your List

Take a moment to soak that statement in, because for years I resisted it as truth.

But it is true. Profoundly.

Your Launch Builds Your List.

In our most recent launch, we added over 2,000 new leads to our list, so yes, it clearly does work!

Now I’m going to run on the basis that you know what a launch is (if you made it this far, read the post, and found me, I know it’s not the first time you’re hearing that word) - so let’s dive right into the pros and cons of a launch.


The Pros of a Launch For Listbuilding

The big “slap you in the face” benefit of building your list with a big launch it’s building your list WHILE you’re making money!

Because you can launch with a webinar, challenge, video series, or just with an email series - you have a new “freebie” that you can promote to your existing audience, AND new audiences.

There’s nothing better than driving people to a freebie knowing that in the next 1-2 weeks you’ll be converting to paid customers and building your list, your business, and your reach.

Seriously, it’s heaven!

The other major benefit is that when your launch is “bigger” you get noticed and people tend to approach you for features, interviews, case studies, etc.

A great launch can be the springboard for some epic PR.

So just to recap, the benefits list is short (but strong) for a listbuilding launch:

  • Getting paid while you’re building your list

  • Allowing you to expand your audience, brand, and reach

  • Putting you in the public eye for a great PR opp!

Before you get too excited, let’s play devil's advocate and talk about the cons of of a Launch for listbuilding.


The Cons of a Launch For Listbuilding

If you want to make a big splash with a launch, you need a big audience to drive traffic from or deep pockets to run ads from.

It’s not to say that you can’t spend $500-$1,000 on a modest launch and make a decent profit, but it is to say…

If you’re looking for a six-figure launch, you probably need a five-figure ad spend.

Now don’t panic! I didn’t tell you that to freak you out, I told you that to be real with you!

My first launch only made a few hundred, and the next a couple thousands, and so on up to our first six-figure launch.

There is no law that says your first launch has to make millions. (Click To Tweet)

But it can feel like a lot of pressure - just know that it does take a bit of money to get some decent results.

The other major con of a launch is that it takes a lot of time, planning, and setup if you want it to go well.

Webinars require a decent amount of technology.

Emails require the time to set them up, and daily check ins

Challenges require a well thought-out structure.

The biggest costs of a launch are time and money.  If you’re limited on the these two, you can see where you might be hitting a snag….


So You Want to Launch?

So the basic gist of it is this: a launch is amazing for making money and building your list, but it is a major undertaking that you’ll need to commit the full month to!

Now, if you’re still down and totally want to do it, I suggest starting with a challenge launch!


They are, in my opinion, the easiest to set up, the lowest cost, and require the least amount of technology.

Challenges have made me upwards of $100,000 in a single launch.

I’ve spent less than a week building challenges that made me over $20,000.

I’m not throwing these numbers out as a promise or a guarantee, but rather to show you that challenges are simple and can also be powerful!

If you want to learn more about how to run a successful challenge launch, you can check out my related posts and podcasts here:

And if you want even more, you can snag my challenge planning workbook


Before we wrap up talking about launches, I want to end with this:

If you wanted to launch, and keep running the organic and paid promo you created from last month, you would only need to generate about 2-300 sign ups for your challenge- more than enough to make it profitable.

Your first launch can be scary, but with all these resources and the list you’ve built up to 500, you’re in a great position to crush it!

ACTION ITEM: Check out the resources I’ve given you on challenge launches and decide if it’s something you’d like to do in month 3 of your list building.


Not Ready for a Launch?

If you’ve got this far and you’re saying…

“Zach, I get how great a launch can be, but I’d rather get 1,000 people first…”

I get it, and I respect it, so let’s talk about how you would do that!


Ramp Up Your Ad Spend Or….

Last month you generated about 400 new emails. If you wanna figure out what it would take to move that up to 500, there’s an effortless way to get a good estimate of what to spend this month to take it to the next level.

Note - this isn’t an EXACT formula, but it gives you a way to look at what works and what doesn’t for your business.

Let’s crunch some numbers (I’m including sample numbers in parenthesis so you can visualize the process better)…

First, check how many leads came from your ads. (200)

Second, check how many lead came organically. (200)

Now, add them together for your total leads (200 + 200 = 400)

Now divide your PAID leads by your TOTAL Leads (200/400 = 0.50 = 50%)

At this point, we know what percentage of your leads you paid for last month. This just gives you a sense of how much work you versus your ads are doing.

Now, answer this question: are you willing to work to generate just as many organic leads or do you want to switch the focus to paid?

If you want to use the organic leads, you take 500 minus the leads you did last month to get the number of paid leads you need to generate (500 - 200 = 300 Paid Leads Goal).

If you don’t wanna focus on organic leads, just use the number 500 as your Paid Leads Goal.

Now, take your total ad spend last month, divided by your ad leads from last month and this will give you your CPL or Cost Per Lead.  ( $300 / 200 Leads = $1.50/Lead)

Finally, take your paid leads goal and multiply it by your Cost Per Lead to get your proposed month 3 budget.  ( 300 PLG x $1.50/Lead = $450 Target Budget).

In this case, I’d want to spend about $450 this month, generate 300 paid leads, and 200 organic leads.

ACTION ITEM: Play with these formulas to calculate your potential month 3 ad budget.  Have fun and see what different combinations look like…


Don’t Forget to Get Paid….

Just a note that if you decide not to launch that’s totally okay, but you still want to be getting paid.  Remember your list is a tool - don’t forget to use it!

Even if you don’t want to do a full launch, a few ideas to turn your list into revenue include….

  • Internally launching a “beta” of a digital course you want to develop

  • Sending an email with applications to work with you one-on-one (coaches and consultants)

  • Create new low ticket offers, ebooks, etc

  • Inviting your list to a PAID webinar with amazing high level content

  • Promoting affiliate offers to your list, so you get paid as someone else launches

There are a million ways to use your list to get paid (these are only a few ideas) so don’t get so wrapped up in building the list, you forget to use it for your biz!

18 Things To Think About In Order to Get your First 1,000 Subscribers.png

Check In - What You Should Have Day 90

I’m going to “flash forward” and imagine with you that it’s day 90, when you look down you should have….

  • Several “traffic drivers” to your content including multiple blogs and weekly livestream

  • Facebook Ads up and running to your freebie and retargeting your blog readers

  • Facebook Ads for a launch or paid offer so you’re profiting on your list

  • A new offer released to your list of 1,000 so you’re expanding your brand and products

  • At least $1,000 in PROFIT after ad costs and your internal launch (Note: the $1,000 is arbitrary, it’s more important to make sure your profit is growing, not just your list)

  • You’ve hit 1,000 subscribers!

And just like that… you crushed it!

1,000 Subscribers - Now What?

Getting your list to 1,000 is a HUGE milestone in your business!

It’s when affiliates start to approach.

Doors seem to just open!

And everyone seems to want to connect!

Your list is just ONE part of your business, so the next step is to answer this question:

What do you I want to do with my business and list next?

That’s it - it’s that simple.  

If you followed this blog over the last few months you’ve developed skills, tested out multiple strategies, and of course, grew your following.

Now it’s about what felt good, what felt bad, and what you feel like doing next!

Here’s to your continued to success!


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