Why You Need 1,000 Email Subscribers to Launch Your Online Course and the Strategies to Get Them

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It’s time for some real talk.

If you want to launch an online course (and have people buy it), you need to have about 1,000 email subscribers on your email list.

Yes, you can make sales if you only have a few hundred people on your list. (We’ve had clients have success with small email lists, for sure).

But trust me.

It’s so much easier to reach your launch goals when you have an email list of around 1k people or more to launch to!

So if you want to launch your course, you need to get to 1,000 subscribers… and you need to do it fast!

Your first order of business is to get to 1,000 email subscribers as fast as humanly possible. :)

You don't want to be wasting time on tiny little tasks and "tricks" that get you one little subscriber at a time... I’m talking about pulling BIG levers here, where you get hundreds of email subscribers at once.

In this post, I’ll be talking about three PROVEN strategies for building your following and getting email subscribers, stat!

My clients are using these strategies every single day… they WORK!

Let’s dive in.

Let’s Do Some Math: Why 1,000 Email Subscribers Is Your Sweet Spot

First of all, let’s talk a little bit about why having 1,000 subscribers is so valuable if you want to actually make sales of your online course.

When you launch your course, you want to make sales. (“Duh, Mariah,” you’re probably saying.)

But in order to make those sales and enroll those students, you need to have people to sell to!

You can typically count on converting about 1-2% of your list into paying customers during a course launch.

Obviously these numbers fluctuate - sometimes, you may convert higher! Sometimes, lower. (Your chances of converting higher go way up if you have a proven, tested idea…learn more about how to validate your course idea in my article on our unique Rapid Validation System).

But, on average, we see clients converting at around 2% of their email list.

If you only have 100 people on your list, converting at 2% means you’ll get 2 students at best.

If your course is priced around $297, a couple of students are barely enough to justify the cost of running your program.

If you have 1,000 subscribers, on the other hand, you may enroll between 20-30 students which translates into anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000+! Now, those numbers make it worth it to spend the time and effort to run your course.

So you need to aim for around 1,000 subscribers to launch your course to. Anything lower, and you put yourself at risk for not having enough students to truly meet your goals with your online course idea.

List not quite there yet?

That’s TOTALLY fine.

We all start at zero!

To get you your first 1,000 email subscribers you will need to leverage Foundational and Blitz strategies.

  • Foundational strategies - like setting up a freebie, are ones you set up and then bring in steady subscribers day after day.

  • Blitz strategies - like webinars and giveaways - bring in a bigger burst of subscribers all at once!Strategy

Let’s look at some strategies for getting more subscribers FAST.

#1: Giveaways

Giveaways have quickly become the #1 way that our clients are able to add hundreds (yes, hundreds) of new subscribers to their email lists in just a few days.

  • Susan grew her list by 700 people with a giveaway of watercolor supplies.

  • Cami grew her list by 250+ people giving away software to build your website.

  • Christina had over 1,000 people enter her giveaway.

So yeah - they work really well. :)

We usually run the giveaways through Kingsumo, which allows you to have a "viral sharing" effect so that every person who enters the giveaway is incentivized to share it with their friends.

People enter the giveaway with their email, so that's how it grows your list.

The key here is picking the right prizes, having the right promotional strategy while your giveaway is live, and knowing what emails to send to people after the giveaway ends in a way that makes sales or gets them ready to be future customers.

Strategy #2: Webinars

You guys knew this would be on the list. Hands down, webinars are the best way to grow your list really quick, especially if you do a few joint venture webinars with a partner.

Even if you do these webinars "pitch free" and don’t sell anything, they are amazing list-builders.

I remember when Megan did her first solo webinar (nobody else promoting it, just her), she wasn't sure if anyone who wasn't already on her list would sign up.

Well, she added more than 100 new subscribers by promoting the webinar on social media and on her website.

Here's the thing: you probably have people who follow you on social media or visit your website who haven't opted in to your email list yet.

Promoting a webinar is the best way to get those people to become subscribers instead of just followers, since it has a high perceived value and is a special live event.

You will be surprised that doing just a webinar or two can grow your list so quickly, whether you do it on your own or with a partner!

Strategy #3: Have an Awesome Freebie

The most basic strategy for growing your email list to 1,000 or more is to of course have a great lead magnet.

The key is picking a lead magnet that is actually valuable to people - something they can really use! You want to create something they can print out, hang up on their wall, keep at their desk, bring out to the workshop...you get the idea!

It can be 1 simple page, but it needs to be useful and preferably printable so they see it and think of you, and it doesn't just get lost in their downloads. Keep your freebie to just 1-2 pages (do NOT make a 100 page eBook as a freebie! Nobody wants that).

Think about what kind of checklist, cheatsheet, materials or tools guide, calendar, pattern, diagram, etc. you can create that people will really use!

My favorite example is from Megan - she downloaded this laundry symbol cheatsheet that she printed out and hung above her washing machine and now she thinks of this blogger she got it from every time she does laundry!

Once you have the awesomely useful freebie - you need to get it out into the world. You need to start using it for lead generation and getting traffic to it.

That means using it as a content upgrade on blog posts, guest blogging and linking to this freebie, setting up Pinterest pins to drive traffic to it, and lots of other "foundational" strategies to get traffic flowing to it every day.

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