How To Generate Leads On Social Media

How I Used Social Media To Generate 439 Subscribers For FREE In Just 2 Weeks

Mike Appleton Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing 5 Comments

Over the past 2 week’s I have been working away in the background on a strategy to build a list of subscribers for free I wanted to share this with you so you can get more email subscribers.

I wanted to see if was possible for ANYBODY to start an online business for the cost of a web host and an autoresponder.

What Will Be Covered
  • How I built a list of 439 highly targeted subscribers in 2 weeks without spending a dime
  • How to position yourself on Twitter & Instagram
  • How I automated some of the tasks
  • Which plugins and applications I use to makes the whole process child’s play

The whole process was based around gaining new followers and then redirecting them to a squeeze page where I would give away a free report.

I redirected users using a mixture of auto messaging, punchy bio’s and sharp graphical call to actions.

Over the two weeks I gained over 3000 new followers and 439 new email subscribers.

how to get more email subscribers for free

Creating my give away

To entice people to join the mailing list I had to create a give away.

To cut this corner I used a high quality PLR product and simply branded it as my own.

If you do not have the time to sit down and create your own I would also suggest doing the same.

ID PLR is where I go for all my PLR.

Important: Be sure that the PLR licence allows you to give the product away for free.

Once I had my report, I simply re-branded using a new ecover and credited myself as the author.

Ecovers can be created for peanuts at Fiverr, simply search for ‘ebook cover‘ or something similar.

Creating my squeeze page

Once I had my give away created I went on to building the squeeze page.

I did this using a WordPress plugin called Thrive Landing Pages.

I always keep my squeeze pages to the absolute bare minimum as I find these convert best.

  • Heading
  • Headline
  • Called to action
  • Opt-in form
  • Privacy statement

In my heading I thanked the visitor for ‘following me’, I found by adding this personal touch really improved opt-in rates.

My headline followed a very basic format, ‘_________ Reveals The Secrets To __________ Success‘.

The call to action was simple, ‘Enter your email address below so I know where you to send your copy‘.

Then my opt-in form is where I asked the visitor to enter both their name and email address, for this I used AWeber.

My privacy statement, ‘Your information is 100% secure and will NEVER be sold to anybody‘.

Creating your social media profiles

During the case study I stuck to only 2 social media platforms, Twitter & Instagram.

I created two accounts on each platform, one for my brand (the website) and one for myself as the owner of the brand.

This gave me 2 Twitter accounts and 2 Instagram accounts, doubling my exposure on both platforms.

I set up 2 brand new Gmail accounts to register the accounts with.

Twitter Profile

With my profile pictures I got creative and used images which were appealing to my target audience.

I then created a punchy bio, this was key to driving traffic from my profile to my squeeze page. I opened using an intro about myself / company and my experience and then closed with a call to action.

Note : with a Twitter bio’s it is possible to include a clickable link.

The call to action was used to encourage the visitor to click the link to my squeeze page.

[su_quote]Example : Weight loss expert and father of 2. Love all things soccer. Visit my website to grab your free copy of my paleo diet guide[/su_quote]

I then included a link to my squeeze page in the website field.

Using the header I also created a large graphical call to action for anybody who visited my page.

I have included the exact template I used but removed my web address and ecover.

get more email subscribers twitter call to action

I have included the editable Photoshop file within the resources file so you can easily modify this exact template for yourself, or outsource this step again over at Fiverr.

I then went ahead and posted 10 tweets to create content for my profiles.


Thank you for sharing … To download my Twitter header templates simply right click here and choose save from the pop out menu.


Instagram Profile

It’s worth noting that using Instagram is available on a PC or Mac but is designed for mobile devices such as phones or tablets. I stuck to setting everything up on my phone.

I again created 2 accounts, one for the company / website and another as the owner.

I added the same profile pictures I had used on the twitter account and added the same bio.

Note : For the website link to be clickable on Instagram it must be entered into the website field and not within the bio itself.

how to get free email subscribers

I then added 8 posts to each Instagram account.

I used a mobile app called Repost for Instagram (FREE) to do this quickly and effortlessly.

Unlike Twitter, Instagram doesn’t allow a header so no cool graphical header here!

Automating Twitter DM’s

Once I had my Twitter accounts up and running, I set up automatic direct messaging (DM) to new followers, I used a website called CrowdFire (FREE) to do this.

This is under the Automate option shown below.

Note: Auto messages will only be triggered once daily but I have a little trick I found and I will share this with you in a minute.


In my automated DM I thanked the user for following me and included a link to my squeeze page.


[su_quote]Hey! Thanks for following me. All my followers get a copy of my paleo diet guide[/su_quote]
Automating Instagram tasks

Next I automated most of the manual tasks on Instagram using Instagress (FREE).

Every new account gets a free 3 day trail and I found this helped hugely in building a following for my new accounts.

Instagress automated the liking of other users images and the following of other users based on hashtags which really helped me laser target users within my niche.

Using Instagress grew my new Instagram accounts quickly and effortlessly.

Building a following on Twitter

As mentioned previously, I had already made a number of posts to my accounts.

To start, I created a new list, this is where I added authority accounts which I would use to gain new followers.

start building a mailing list

Using the search bar I searched for accounts within my niche with plenty of followers, retweets and favorites.

This is how I determined if an account is an authority in my niche or not.

Once I had 5 accounts added to my list I then did the same for my other Twitter account.

Note : I did not add the same accounts on both lists, this would defeat the object of having two accounts.

Once I had my lists I then had a starting point for building my following.

To do this, I followed anybody who would retweet or favorite a tweet from my list of authority accounts.

I also made a note of the time the authority accounts tweets were getting the most interactions, this gave me a window to work with so I knew when my time was best spent on Twitter.

Tip : Turn on notifications for the authority account’s so you are notified whenever they tweet.

I found there were two distinctive time periods and tweets were getting anywhere between 100 & 500 interactions, this gave me plenty of users to follow.

A little trick I found was to login to Crowdfire 30-45 minutes after following a bunch of accounts. This triggered my auto DM to be sent to any new followers and I found this is where I had the greatest success as these users had just followed me and were more engaged.

I followed no more than 250 users per day per account.

I used UnfollowStats (another free resource) to unfollow users who did not follow me back. Unlike CrowdFire, this service allows you to unfollow unlimited accounts per day but I kept it to no more than 250 again.

Aggressive following and unfollowing will get your Twitter account banned, be warned!

I also posted twice daily on Twitter. For inspiration and ideas I looked at the tweets from the authority accounts with the most interactions and replicated these tweets.

I found this strategy worked really well … if it’s not broken, don’t fix it is my motto!

Below I have included the stats for one of my tweets, this was posted 8 days into the case study and I had roughly 400 followers at the time of posting.


I also pinned a tweet to both of my profiles promoting my give away.

Note: Pinned tweets appear at the very top of your profile feed.

Here are the stats for one of these pinned tweets.


I included a picture of the product and a short sentence letting the user know they can grab a copy of my give away for free.

Building a following on Instagram

After the 3rd day, my Instagress trail had finished I had roughly 500-600 followers on each account, not a bad start.

I then started manually following users to build this number further.

Instagram has an hourly limit for both following users and unfollowing. I was careful not to not to hit this limit to often as I didn’t want to get any of my accounts banned.

Tip: I believe that the current follow/unfollow limit in place with Instagram is 160 per hour.

Instgram doesn’t have the same list feature has Twitter so I created a list of authority sites and saved it to my phone and used this to search users each time. This wasn’t as easy as Twitter but wasn’t to much of a hardship.

To unfollow users who were not following me back I used Crowdfire, unlike with Twitter, Crowdfire’s only restriction when using with Instagram is Instagram’s hourly limit.

Again I added two new posts everyday to Instagram and made sure I included the most common hashtags.

Tip: Hashtags on Instagram can bring you a flood of engagement, be sure to research keywords properly.

Rinse and repeat

After I had everything up and running, all I did was continue to add new targeted followers to my accounts each and everyday.

I did this using the steps above in Building a following on Twitter & Instagram.

I even managed to take two whole days off where I did nothing, I still gained 20+ new subscribers on these days.

I took a day off and still managed to get more email subscribers

Did I make any money?

Yes. Not that I tried very hard to be honest.

How did I do it?

Using PLR I added 10 daily follow up message’s with AWeber and let them run their course.

At the end of each follow up message I added a banner ad to a Clickbank product related to my giveaway.

In total I made 3 sales totaling $44.95.

Not bad considering I did nothing else to promote these offers, just a simple banner ad at the end of the 10 emails.

Wrapping it up

I wanted to run this case study to show you that it is possible to start building a list and a business online on a shoe string budget.

There are so many courses available that point you in the direct of paid traffic but the truth is that social media is a great resource and one that I believe is under utilized.

In hind sight I could have made A LOT more $$$ but simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to split testing offers and researching offers for broadcasts.

The key to making this strategy work is consistency, it is important to keep building your social media following each and everyday and keep posting fresh content to keep your audience engaged.

Go and get more email subscribers!

Comments 5

  1. Timothy Gagnon

    Wow, that was a really detailed case study! I just subscribed and I look forward to reading more articles. I was thinking about promoting my website with Twitter DMs but I thought it wouldn’t be effective because it seems like most people don’t check their DMs. I guess I was wrong though!

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      Mike Appleton

      Hi Tim,
      I have actually continued with this strategy and although it has quietened down the past few months due to the time of year I am expecting an uplift in the next few weeks once Christmas is out of the way.

      Nice work on your site by the way and glad you found the case study useful.

    1. Post
  2. H.V.

    At last I find something that is really useful not all the *10 things* articles that are filled with common sense. Thank you for this article, really nice information!

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