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Want know the fastest (and best) way to get subscribers in 2021?

If you’re ready for a list explosion in 2021, and are over doing a new challenge or a new quiz, read on for 4 1/2 tips to leverage other people’s audiences to exponential list growth & big-time profits without running ads.

Rather listen then read this post? This post is based off of Episode 122 of the Inbox Besties PodcastListen on iTunes| Stitcher | Spotify


If you’re like me, you want want people who are as passionate about your topic as you are on your email list. 


Of course I love freebies and quizzes to get subscribers.  Challenges and paid traffic work too.  But the absolute fastest (and best) way to get subscribers in 2021 isn’t about wishing and hoping that you go viral on Pinterest…


So what’s the fastest way to grow your list in 2021?


Collaboration is the fastest way to go to find new subscribers who are as passionate about your topic as you are

Borrowing other people’s audiences is still, without a doubt, the number one way to get the most and highest quality subscribers in 2021.  Bar none.

get subscribers in 2021 inbox besties podcast

Collaboration is the fast-track to:

  • Get known & stand out in your niche
  • Gain authority as the expert
  • Attract new subscribers who are serious about your topic

Before you reach out to potential people to collaborate, I want you to realize that you don’t have to be the end-all, be-all expert when it comes to your topic.

When we think about collaborating, the first thing that comes up for a lot of people is “imposter syndrome”.  You feel like you’re not worthy and try to talk yourself out of putting yourself out there.


If you are called to help people, all you need is a love of the people you are trying to get behind and the results of actually doing what it is that you’re talking about.

That’s it.

No degrees or 100,000 subscribers on your email list.


If you’re passionate about home décor because it lights you up and makes you happy and you want to help other people create happiness in their homes, you don’t have to have a degree in interior design.  Go ahead and share your passion and your tips with other people!


Always remember that it’s a privilege to be in your energy and on your email list.  You’re not an impostor.  You are worth and you are brave for actually putting yourself out there.


So many people are what I call “couchers”.  Couchers are people who sit on their couch and do nothing.  They talk a big game.  They are always “going to do” something.  But when the rubber meets the road, they are just sitting on their couch (usually complaining that things aren’t going their way).


The good news is that the more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets.


The more people you help, the more you speak up and stand up as someone who can help, the more confident you will be.


Below you’ll find the best ways to grow your email list in 2021 starting with the easiest going to the most complex. 

Keep mind while the last couple ones on this list might take a couple weeks to put together they will have the BIGGEST impact on your list size.



Best way to growing your email list in 2021 #1 – Be a guest on a Podcast.

get subscribers in 2020 kate doster inbox besties podcast

Of course, you’ll get a trickle of new subscribers from guest posting on someone else’s blog, but honestly, you’re going to see huge growth in your subscribers by being a podcast guest.


Every single time I’ve been a guest on someone else’s podcast, I’ve seen an increase in traffic to my website and an influx of new subscribers.  Not to mention sales of my programs like Email Marketing Fairy and Trello Magic!


Maybe you’re not a “talker” or you’re a bit of an introvert.  That’s ok!  Elna Cain is an expert on creating viral content and blogging but she was so nervous when it came to doing a podcast with me.  Once she started talking, everything flowed and she was fine.  Remember, all you’re doing is having a conversation.  When you’re passionate about a subject, your love for it can’t help but shine through once you get to talking about it.


Being a guest on a podcast has a bigger bang for your buck time-wise than any other method of collaboration.  There’s very little you have to do except for show up and talk about what you’re already passionate about.

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Get subscribers in 2021 with Facebook groups


Facebook groups are a goldmine when it comes to getting new subscribers on your email list. 

By being a guest expert in someone else’s group, you’re able to tap into a whole new group of people who are actively participating in conversations around your niche.


Being a guest expert is easy.  All you have to do is go live in someone else’s group and start talking about your subject. 

The live element helps you connect with your new subscribers, answer questions in real time and share what you’re passionate about.

Every time I am featured as a guest expert in someone’s Facebook group, I always get a ton of sales, recognition as an expert and have people tagging me in other groups as the go-to expert when it comes to email marketing.


You can do the same thing with groups focused on your niche.  Ask yourself how you can share what you’re passionate about with people who are already interested in that subject.  What Facebook groups are they hanging out in?  Are you already an active member in a Facebook group that would be a good fit for you to go live in?


Make sure you have a freebie or easy yes offer to promote or tie in with your training to get subscribers and buyers.


Get subscribers in 2021 by swapping freebies

This is a strategy that’s super-effective and no one talks about.  Swapping freebies is as simple as it sounds.  A freebie swap is when you find someone in a complimentary niche and email each other’s freebie out to your own lists.


If you talk about budgeting for families, you could freebie swap with someone who talks about meal planning for families on a budget.


You want to make sure that your audiences share the same interest but you’re not competing for sales.


With a freebie swap, sometimes people can be a bit nervous about promoting someone else’s business to their list.  Make sure that you’re swapping with people on your same level so neither of you is getting the short end of the stick.  If done right, this will not only benefit both of the businesses that are swapping freebies but will also benefit the readers too.


Always ask yourself how your freebie can help someone else’s audience before reaching out to collaborate.  Then, when you find the right person, just say something like:


“Hey (name).  I notice you do an amazing job with (subject) and I’d love to help your audience out with (compatible subject) because I realize that (something that could help their audience).”


If you’re active in Facebook groups, try to find other people who are at your same level list-wise by making a post saying exactly what you’re looking for.  You might post something that says “I’m looking for someone who talks about (topic) who has about (number) of email subscribers for a freebie swap”.


If you’re the type of person who loves templates to go by when it comes to pitching ideas to people, check out Ditch the Ish where you’ll find all kinds of templates to follow to get more sales and make more connections.


Remember when you’re offering to swap freebies to focus on their people.  Let them know that you have their audience in mind and take the focus off of what you get out of it.  Dig in and show them that their people are suffering and you’re happy to help them with your freebie.

get subscribers in 2020 kate doster

Similar to swapping freebies, JV webinars is a good way to get subscribers in 2021


JV (or Joint Venture) webinars are are like swapping freebies because you’re sharing your audience with someone else and they are doing the same thing with their audience.  The difference is that unlike swapping freebies or being a guest on a podcast, you’re openly selling your product or program on the webinar.


Generally, when doing a JV webinar, you’ve already connected with the person you are joining up with and have a good relationship with them.


This is a level up from the freebie swap since you’ll be sharing profits from the sales you make.  A 40% commission or profit share is pretty normal when it comes to JV webinars.  That means for every sale you make from the webinar that someone else promotes to their list, you give them 40% of the ticket price for sharing your webinar with their audience.  In return, you’ll do the same thing by sharing their webinar to your list and get the same commission back when someone from your audience purchases from them.


In order for a JV webinar to work, it needs to be profitable for both of you.  It’s a two-way street.  JV webinars may not be the best strategy to grow your list in 2021 but it’s certainly an amazing way to grow your list of buyers by leveraging someone else’s audience.


Get subscribers in 2021 by hosting a virtual summit

2021 is definitely a year for making connections.  Bailey Richerts, founder of Virtual Summit School, has proven that summits are an amazing way to get subscribers on your email list.   Not only are summits great for getting new subscribers, they are super-effective when it comes to attracting people who are ready to buy your latest offers.


Hosting a summit or contributor giveaway will automatically set you up to be seen as the expert in your niche while borrowing other people’s audiences.


The reason hosting a summit or giveaway is last on the list is because there is a lot of work behind the scenes.  There’s tech set-up, scheduling interviews, pitching potential collaborators, dealing with rejection when people say no (and they will)… basically it’s a lot of time and effort involved but it’s worth it.


You can use virtual summits to boost your subscriber count for an upcoming launch, to grow your list or to position yourself as an expert for an upcoming launch.


The way a virtual summit works is you assemble a group of experts, anywhere from 5-25 (or more) people who serve the same audience as you.  Each one of these people will be interviewed by you or create a video, essentially like a video podcast, with content and training.  The videos are only available for 3 or 4 days and people can upgrade to lifetime access for a fee.


To promote the virtual summit, you’ll have affiliate links, contests, and other promotional material to generate a buzz around it.


If you’re interested in adding virtual summits to your online marketing toolbox, Krista from Summit in a Box has a great resources on her website to help you organize and launch your own virtual summit to get more subscribers and be seen as an expert in your niche.


get subscribers in 2020 collaboration

Contributor giveaways to get subscribers in 2021

One of my favorite ways to get subscribers who are high-quality and engaged on my email list is contributor giveaways.  I was part of a giveaway last year and loved it. That is what inspired me to host my own contributor giveaway in 2019 called the Back to Business Bundle.


One of the good things about contributor giveaways is that they are not overdone.  You really don’t see them that often which helps you stand out from the crowd.


Essentially, what you’re doing is collaborating with 10-15 people who have something amazing to share.  This isn’t a basic freebie like a PDF or quiz, this is more meaty content like a mini-course or video training.


In order to access the contributor page, everyone is sent to a landing page that acts like a gateway to the “freebie mall”.  Once they enter in their email address (hello, new subscribers!), they are able to choose from all of the other freebies.


Each person who is contributing the the “freebie mall” will be promoting it to their audience.  That means you’re exponentially expanding the amount of subscribers you’re getting.


If each person who is contributing has 1,000 people on their email list and you have 10 contributors, that’s 10,000 people who will potentially be signing up for your email list!


There’s a lot of back-end work that goes into organizer a contributor giveaway.  You’ve going to need to reach out to people, set up all the tech, create swipe copy to promote your freebie mall and more.  That’s why I’ve created a mini-course with the templates you need, swipe copy, a toolkit and more at

A contributor giveaway or “freebie mall” is like a freebie swap on steroids.  Last time I did this, I had thousands of new subscribers on my email list and multiple thousands of dollars in new revenue!  It’s like an exclusive tag sale where everything is free.  People get super-excited about all the different offers and everyone who contributes gets new subscribers who are interested in their freebie.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.


Collaboration is the Key to New Subscribers in 2021

When it’s all said and done, the most effective way to get new subscribers in 2021 is connecting and collaborating.


Collaborating with other people in your niche will get you the highest-quality subscribers without paying for ads or being a spammer in Facebook groups.  Not only will you get new subscribers, you’ll also make new connections with people who are just as passionate as you are about your topic.


Remember to take care of your mindset work first and tackle impostor syndrome before it tackles you.  Even though you may not feel like an expert, there are tons of people out there right now who wish they were where you are.  It’s up to you to stand up and stand out so they can find you!

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