4 days in and I've got a whopping 7 subscribers.

Woohoo!

(And when I say woohoo, I mean it quite sincerely.)

Why?

Because I haven't done a heck of a lot but am 7 subscribers ahead of where I was on Monday.

That's 700% growth! And that means I'm 7% of the way to hitting my “good” goal.

As a reminder, here are my goals for the first 90 days of this project:
goal setting method for the next 90 days.

  • Good goal: 100 subscribers (1.11 subscribers per day)
  • Better goal: 300 subscribers (3.33 subscribers per day)
  • Best goal: 500 subscribers per day (5.55 subscribers per day)

So, let me break down what I've done to-date and the results so far.

From a promotional standpoint…

This is where I've done the least amount of work.

In the past 5 days, I've:

1. Sent one email to the Bixa list with a link to the first TMP Report: Month 1, Day 0.

Buried at the end of that report was a hidden treasure (a link to the start of the site), for anyone who made it that far. Not surprisingly, no one subscribed from that link.

Moral of the story? If you want someone to take an action, you have to be Captain Obvious. Don't put something important in a hidden or hard-to-get-to place. (Although for demonstration purposes, that was my intention in this case.)

2. Posted twice on Instagram.

The first was a lengthy post that again buried the link to the site at the end of the paragraph.

Plus, because Instagram doesn't allow you to link within posts, my followers had to REALLY want to check out the site, because they'd have to close Instagram (nearly impossible), open up Safari or Chrome on their phone and then type in the URL to the new site: l-a-u-r-e-n-p-a-w-e-l-l-.-c-o-m.

That's over 16 finger taps! And let's be honest, humans are inherently lazy. It's sad but true. The more taps (or clicks) you make someone do, the less likely they are to create the path you set out for them.

The second post was a bit cooler if I do say so myself. My fiancé and I recently did some exploring of Denver parks and I begged him to create a video for this project with his new drone. Fortunately, as he's really digging experimenting with this new toy, it didn't take too much convincing.

I didn't mention ANYTHING in the Instagram post about the new site, but I did include the URL in the closing shot of the video. I also experimented with including a hashtag about the drone model (#MavicPro) which resulted in some engagement on the post from strangers who also like drones.

I linked this second post automatically to Facebook, using this nifty Instagram feature.

So how many new subscribers did I get from posting on Instagram? 5. Cha-ching!

The takeaways from this effort?

  • Again, burying the lead results in a low volume of subscribers. If you want more subscribers, be more obvious with your ask.
  • Drones = engaging content that people want more of. I'm definitely going to consider leveraging this (and my fiancé's skillset) for future content. Also on the to-do list: brainstorm other types of media that might encourage a lot of interaction.
  • Begging for favors goes a long way. While you might not know someone with a drone, there are ways to cash in on favors from friends, family, coworkers, etc…that will allow you to add to your marketing assets without paying a small fortune.
  • The potential for subscribers on Instagram could be really good for my niche. Further experimentation required…

3. 2 posts on Facebook.

As I mentioned above, the second was an automatic posting of the drone video.

The first, interestingly, was an exact copy of my Instagram post…but with the image re-sized for Facebook (that's 1200x630 pixels if you were wondering).

The resulted in 2 email subscribers, 7 comments AND 1 private message about future content collaboration (you know who you are, you special unicorn you.)

More learning lessons here:

  • Re-sizing images for various social channels is not the lazy man's way out, but it does result in more views / engagement.
  • You NEVER know who in your network might be interested in your new venture. Quite frankly, I was rather surprised by who interacted with my posts! (Well, except for that one comment by my dad…thanks for the fatherly support.) Here's the thing: it is vital to leverage your network, especially in the early phases of your new venture. They may not be your target audience, but they certainly are connected to people who are…whether you know it or not. Equally as important, I've barely leveraged my network by doing this. Later today I've tasked myself with the most uncomfortable part of building a subscriber base which involves far more network leveraging…more on this in my next report.

Over the past 4 days, I received minimal traffic to the new site…a whopping 41 sessions.

(Which is not that surprising now that you've read about my efforts to “hide” the URL so that only the most persistent individuals would become subscribers.)

But, my conversion rate (the number of subscribers divided by the number of sessions) was fabulous. 17.07% to be exact!

Now, I don't anticipate maintaining this conversion rate as my traffic volume goes up, but it certainly means I'm doing something right.

I mean, I barely even have a site! It's pretty much just a coming soon page, which brings me to rest of the work I've done since launching the TMP.

Thinking about creating a new site? Or refreshing an existing one? Review these 6 simple tips to save you time and money on your next website.

From a creation standpoint…

Here's where I find clients and prospects make THE BIGGEST mistakes when launching a new site.

They spend months working super hard on the design and right before launch, slap a few half-a**ed words together right before launch, and after putting the new site live, they promote once on social media (maybe even shoot an email to their list) and then get confused when the traffic, subscribers and sales don't come pouring in by the bucketful.

Sound familiar?

Well, this doesn't work because it's all wrong!!!

Before you do any design, you first need to:

  • Work backward, plan out what you ABSOLUTELY need on the site based on the actions you want users to take. In technical speak, this is called mapping out the user flows.

  • Scrap any other features that are “nice-to-have” but not crucial for the desired actions.
  • Write all your copy first. Copy is crucial for conversion. Its importance is too significant to save it for the end of your website creation. Furthermore, your site design should be dictated by your copy and not the other way around.

Now, let me walk you through what this meant for me:

For a soft launch, I knew I needed: a way for people to sign up for my email list on the website.

And that's really about it! Yes, truly!

So right now what does the site consist of?

  1. A full-screen opt-in connected to my email marketing software.
  2. A thank you page that new subscribers see after opting in.
  3. A welcome page that new subscribers see after confirming their opt-in, a second time.
  4. A “Coming Soon” home page.

Nothing more. That's 3 pages with almost no copy and design + one opt-in.

It truly is that simple to get 7 new subscribers. And it didn't take months or even weeks to create. (Hint: it took days.)

In the next TMP reports…

…I'll be sharing a description and the results of today's task to hit hard on my personal network. (It's going to be a fun Friday!) I'll also be going into more detail about what I included in each web page above, how I set up my email marketing system, and what tools I used to power all of this.

Get excited!

(If you aren't already subscribed to receive email updates about our Transparent Marketing Project, make sure to sign up here.)

In the meantime, share your feedback / questions / concerns about this report in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you think.

Thinking about creating a new site? Or refreshing an existing one? Review these 6 simple tips to save you time and money on your next website.