I think what Brian and the testers are missing is that 15k is neither big enough to be impressive nor small enough to be inviting. It’s not a number that works effectively as social proof, and while I can’t test it out myself, I believe, based on evidence for social proof around the web, that DIYthemes would have had much better success with a combined number in the 50k+ range as mentioned above.
SendGrid helps you focus on your business without the cost and complexity of owning and maintaining an email infrastructure. We help with all technical details (from domain authentication to DKIM) and offer world-class deliverability expertise to help your emails reach the inbox. And with a full-featured marketing email service that offers a flexible workflow, effortless list segmentation, and actionable analytics, all of your email needs are met in one reliable platform.
Don’t read everything at once. There is a lot of great information in here, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed after reading through all of the content in one sitting. Instead, take incremental steps. For example, if you want to find out where or how to ask people for their emails on your site, read the content in chapter 2. Implement it, then come back later for the next steps.

Just because your email list is an online marketing tool, it doesn't mean that you only have to solicit emails online! If you have a retail location, you can collect emails when customers purchase or visit the store or other location. If you market by attending festivals or concerts, you can collect emails at those locations. Offering to raffle off a prize but requiring an email on the raffle ticket can also be an effective way to grow your email list. Of course, you'll have to dedicate the time to retyping all of the emails that you collect into your system, but it's often worth it. Don't overlook offline opportunities to grow your email list.
Also important for the growth of your business is that you’re always adding new customers. That’s what’s going to grow your revenues and make your business profitable. You can never stop generating new leads, because old leads will fall off the list or start ignoring your emails… and many will never buy. So it’s key to not let your list stagnate: Keep it fresh with an infusion of new names, all of whom are potential buyers.

My suspicion is that our initial surge of subscribers has to do with what I mentioned at the top of this post: Our journey is compelling.  Plain and simple, people want to see if we can hit these numbers or not. (By the way, if you want to read our current articles — all which are very in depth articles with case studies and examples in each one about content marketing for real businesses, join our email list.)
If you don’t wish to adopt any of the above-mentioned strategies to build your email list, you can also use blogger outreach programs and software that help promote your company, product or service. They post about you on their site in exchange for product, payment or any service, as a result of which you get mentioned in several places online which is likely to create email traffic for you.
It’s important to note that you won’t be collecting names or sending out emails by hand, one email at a time. You’d soon be overwhelmed by the volume! You can use systems like Constant Contact, Get Response, AWeber, and Campaign Monitor to manage your email lists and broadcast your emails. Systems like this can also track leads, opt-in rates, sales, open rates, click-through rates and other important stats.
One of the first dilemmas that you'll need to deal with when you begin to build email list is the quality versus quantity debate. Obviously, the larger your email list is, the more potential you have to generate revenue from it. However, as with most marketing activities, the quality of your leads is equally important. If you create a large email list by porting over old contacts or by buying or renting a large list, you may have a great number of email addresses. However, you may have very few email addresses that are actually leads who are interested in interacting with your product, company, or brand. That's why it's often a better idea to start slowly and build email list over time. Focus on getting the best quality leads on your email list and then let the numbers grow as your business grows. While you ultimately do need to grow the largest email marketing list possible, you also need to grow a quality list that will respond to your offers and increase your company revenue.
For effective and actionable results, you should do A/B tests, which test two (or more) different approaches. For example, you could send half of your list one subject line, and an alternate subject line to the other half. You could also A/B test the two approaches with a small subset of your list, then send the winning headline to the rest of the list.
“Developing the right relationships with the right people is the long game. This is how legacies are made and preserved. The new album that is suddenly everywhere and being talked about by everyone? This doesn’t just happen—it’s the result of assiduously courting the right influencers, and maybe having brought on a producer who already had those relationships.”
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