Beyond the sign up form: 10 places driving new subscribers to Mypodnotes

danielle geva podcast call to action union square

Finding the right call to action for growing my newsletter took a couple of weeks to refine, but I’ve finally settled on the copy. Here’s what I decided to go with:

“Get weekly notes from the podcasts everyone is talking about”

It starts with “Get” because verbs put people in the mood to act. In this case, it encourages them to type in their email and click the subscribe button. The idea of receiving value is also more enticing than a statement about the newsletter’s content.

Then there’s the frequency to set their expectations. People who don’t have time to listen to podcasts are probably too busy for a daily email, so I wanted to eliminate their concern of being bombarded with emails. This is just an assumption, so let me know if you’d prefer to receive a daily email, an email for every new Mypodnotes post, or an email for specific podcasts. (Update: due to popular demand, daily emails are now available. Enjoy!)

The last part of my call to action appeals to people’s fear of missing out, as the final push to motivate them to subscribe. I bet while you were reading “podcasts everyone is talking about”, it immediately triggered a flashback to a podcast recommendation from your friend or a story your coworker heard in an episode you need to hear.

Your call to action might not follow the same formula, and that’s okay. Find what works for your audience by asking friends or an expert copy writer. After you’ve crafted your own call to action, here’s where to get your first email signups.

1. Website Header (Smart Bar or Welcome Mat)

mypodnotes welcome mat

2. Navigation Bar

mypodnotes subscribe navigation bar

3. Call to Action Button (Button or Widget)

mypodnotes website button

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The beginner’s guide to beginning by a beginner

The beginner’s guide to beginning by a beginner by Danielle Geva

If you’re thinking of launching a new project, here’s how I got started with Mypodnotes.

 

The Idea

A few months ago a friend suggested I write summaries for podcasts. The idea sounded interesting since podcasting is on the rise, and there’s no way anyone could keep up with the constant stream of new episodes. The best part was that I could test the idea without dropping anything. I started Myponotes as a side project, but after deciding to think like an entrepreneur I realized that it had the potential to become a business.

How to find ideas

Side projects, businesses, and high growth startups all start with an idea and don’t go far without commitment to pursue them. Even though you need both to succeed, it doesn’t seem to matter which comes first. The idea for Mypodnotes found me, but if you’re itching to build something of your own stop thinking up solutions to problems that don’t exist, and answer the following questions:

  1. What’s a problem that many people have?
  2. What’s the solution?
  3. How can I help these people solve their problem?

Think of as many problems as you can from your own life, and then ask your friends about anything that bothers them or wait for them to complain about it on Twitter. In the beginning it might be difficult to come up with ideas, but after you train your mind to think in this framework you’ll spot new opportunities everywhere.

When to commit

The bar for side projects is much lower, since resources can be restricted and failure doesn’t dramatically impact your life. So if you find an idea that intrigues you, go for it. This is an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing and learn some new skills.

Starting with a side project is also a good way to validate an idea if you have grander plans. If you’re unhappy at your full-time job, you don’t have to quit to find out if you’d be happier having your customers be your boss. I’m not a lawyer, but you should probably check your contract first to make sure there’s no conflicts so that you’ll have full ownership if you decide to leave.

After chatting about Mypodnotes with friends to gauge demand and the work involved, I found many people who were interested in Cliff’s Notes for podcasts. There just isn’t enough time to listen to every single episode, and no one likes to miss out. I also relate to people who remember key insights better by reading text over listening to audio. This was enough to take the side project seriously, but I only decided to fully commit to Mypodnotes once I saw actual traction on the blog.

It will take much longer for me to figure out a business model that works, but I’m in it for the long haul. All you need for building a company is time and determination, because you only fail when you give up on your idea.

How to name your business

The name Mypodnotes came to me randomly, and is pretty straightforward because that’s what appeals to me. Ignore the pressure to spend time searching for the perfect name, because you can always change it later on. Finding a name that’s unique and playful isn’t as crucial as making sure people can pronounce properly so that it catches on. Once you come up with a name, don’t get too attached to the spelling before you secure a domain and a Twitter handle. Try adding words like “The” and “App”, switching up vowels, or experimenting with new top level domains.

The Website

If you’ve ever heard of Lean Startup Machine workshops, then you know a business can start with a single piece of paper. Remember that when it’s time to create a website for your new idea. Instead of spending the next few months learning how to code, or figuring out WordPress.org again, I decided to go with Tumblr so I could focus on growing an audience for Mypodnotes. Your site is just a means to end, and the functionality you need to test an idea is usually offered by a third party platform. You can always build a custom site later on, when it’s time to scale. As you probably figured out, this section isn’t about how to magically create something out of thin air or how to hire a web developer. I’m a bootstrapped non-technical founder, so it’s all about distribution.

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You learn to improvise

Many moons ago, my friend turned to me and asked, “but what do you do when you are bored?” She was referring to the fact that I rarely called her or any of the other girls to chat. I don’t remember ever being bored as a kid, and the thought of picking up the phone for some small talk had never even entered my mind.

As a teen, my room was full of books, art work, and many little creations. I could spend hours upon hours alone cutting up old clothes, painting furniture and redecorating. Later on, most of my creations were online. Rather than learning how to code, I played around with illustrator, wrote pages and pages of (mostly private) blog type entries and figured out this social media thing.

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