From 100 to 1,000: Accelerate Your Email Subscriptions

July 14, 2020  •  Marketing Strategy

The first 100 subscribers are the hardest part. But once you’ve got your momentum started, it’s time to leverage the power of your new audience to multiply the growth of your email subscription list.

Want to see exponential growth? It’s time to create a viral loop.

Viral Growth (The Good and the Bad)

If you’ve so much as glanced at a computer in the last 15 years, you’ve heard one of the internet age’s most buzz-worthy terms: viral. From videos to social memes to news, “going viral” is the dream of content-creators the whole world over. The reason is simple: no amount of marketing can match the power of people telling their friends about something they enjoyed.

In 2020, the world is being reminded why we call this content viral as we’ve watched a coronavirus, COVID-19, develop from an outbreak in Wuhan, China into a global pandemic. In a little over three months (at the time of this writing), this new strain has circled the world and infected over 100,000 people. While this is a serious matter, we are reminded of the terrible, yet awesome power, of a viral force.

Here’s the thing. No one can predict what will go viral. It’s an organic reaction to a piece of content being in the right place at the right time. What you can do, however, is leverage the highly relational nature of viral content as you build your email subscription list. That’s what Dropbox did.

Grow Like Dropbox

Today, it’s hard to imagine our digital life without Dropbox. The file storage and sharing service has empowered a generation of creators, business owners, and even families sharing photo albums.

But back in 2008, hardly anyone had heard of Dropbox. Even fewer people used it. The notion of storing data in the “cloud” was weird, maybe even unsafe. But in the 15-month period between September 2008 and January 2010, Dropbox grew from just 100,000 users to four million.

That’s 3,900% growth in just 15 months.

Dropbox now boasts over 500 million users, roughly 1 in 15 people on Earth. But unlike the viral success of a video like “Charlie Bit My Finger,” 3,900% growth was no accident.

What Dropbox did has been documented extensively, and modeled by countless companies across industries from financial services to travel lodging to mobile gaming. PayPal, Airbnb, Candy Crush, and countless others all used the same growth technique: they created a viral loop.

Every time a new user signed up for Dropbox, they were seeking cloud storage, and they were immediately prompted to “Get More Space” by inviting their friends to use Dropbox as well.

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To create a viral loop for your platform, you would want to publish one email magnet that people could see, opt-in, and then immediately have a reason to share.

Like Dropbox, you need more than just a share button, you need a secondary reward a subscriber can get for their share. There’s some tricky technology stuff to work out on the backend (more on that below), but if you can get this right, the growth cycle will feed itself after an initial nudge.

Create Your Viral Loop Today

We’ve partnered with Growth Tools to create a viral loop software for your platform—and we’re giving it away for free. Appropriately, it’s called GoViral. It’s a plug-and-play software designed to turn any landing page into a referral generation machine, and you can get it here.

Here’s how to create your own viral loop using GoViral:

  1. Identify your primary email magnet, and ask yourself “What’s next?”
  2. Create a secondary resource that complements your email magnet, taking the promised transformation up a notch.
  3. Create a GoViral landing page with your secondary resource as the reward.
  4. Make that landing page the opt-in confirmation page on your form in ConvertKit, so every new subscriber lands there.

For an example of what this looks like in practice, visit our Blogging Empire ebook landing page.

About John Meese

John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University and lives in Columbia, Tennessee, with his wife and three beautiful children. You won't find him on social media, but you can connect to him personally on his blog: