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7 Strategies to Supercharge Your Email List Growth

The bigger your email list is, the more money you will make. It only makes sense that you should focus on strategies for effectively growing your list since your revenue grows with the size of your list.

Thankfully, growing your email list doesn’t have to take a ton of time. There are countless opportunities available to help you boost your opt-in rate.

This article outlines 7 strategies that you can use to increase your list size in a few hours. There are no ninja tactics or guru secrets when it comes to growing your list effectively.

The only thing that is required is that you spend your time doing stuff that everyone knows works (but most don’t do).

If you cut out all distractions and focus on what you have to do, you will be able to implement these strategies in a couple of hours. Do this on a regular basis and your list growth will explode.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

For you to build your email list effectively, you’ll need a library of quality lead magnets as well as content upgrades.

If you don’t know how to create the perfect lead magnet for your audience, then this post will provide you with some proven ideas to get you a higher conversion rate than most other blogs.

So the first strategy on our list is to…

1. Create New Lead Magnets

The most uninspired call to action you can have on your site is ‘Subscribe to our Newsletter’.

If you really want those conversions you have to give people a very compelling reason to opt-in to your email list. This means that you have to offer them something that they really want (a lead magnet) in exchange for their email.

For most marketers, the concept of lead magnets isn’t anything new, but there’s so much more to consider.

For instance, how many lead magnets do you have?

If you only have one or two, then you better get busy because the more of them you have, the easier it will be to grow your list.

It only makes sense because not everyone who comes to your site will be interested in the same stuff. Ideally, you want to have a whole library of lead magnets for the different people in your audience.

This means that whenever you publish a piece of content on your blog you will have to find a lead magnet that is relevant and attach it to the call to action for the post you’ve written.

While this may seem like a lot of work, the good news is that it’s usually the shortest lead magnets that convert the best.

Things like checklists, resource lists, and maybe some short tutorials. So you don’t need to use a 50-page ebook that your prospects will never read anyway.

Some ideas for creating awesome lead magnets include:
  • Converting one of your top-performing blog posts into a well-formatted and downloadable PDF using a service such as Beacon.
  • Having a page on your site that has a list of resources or reviews for your readers to apply something that you covered in one of your posts.
  • Creating a worksheet or checklist to go with a blog post you wrote.

You aren’t limited to just PDFs for lead magnets. You can also create your lead magnet on one of the pages on your site.

Just make sure that you hide it in your site’s navigation.

You must also use your SEO plugin (for example Yoast SEO) to ensure that the page is private and won’t be indexed by the search engines by setting the index settings to “no index” and “no follow”.

2. Create Content Upgrades For Popular Posts

I’m a very big advocate of the long-term use of blog posts, and there are many posts on our blog that cover the topic of content upgrades.

A content upgrade is simply a bonus download for a particular blog post that you offer to your readers if they opt-in.

It’s a lead magnet that is highly specific to one blog post and it’s a great way to grow your list as it converts very well.

Just ensure that you set up your opt-in in a way that doesn’t distract your audience from the post they are reading. For example, you can allow them to opt-in even in the middle of reading the post and not be taken to another page.

The first thing you must do is to find out which of your posts are the most popular.

The simplest way of doing this is to use Google Analytics to see which pages people arrive on your site through. You can find this information on the list of ‘top landing pages‘.

If a page is popular on your site, it will also be great for growing your list.

3. Begin Split-Testing Your Top Opt-Ins

Begin split-testing one of your top-performing opt-ins, and don’t feel bad if you’re one of the marketers who is not doing split-tests on their opt-in forms regularly (if at all…).

Split-testing will help you to raise your opt-in rates.

No matter how small, any amount of improvement in your opt-in rates counts and will be a step in the right direction.

Remember, you want to test your forms against a control all the time, not to get some wild ideas and change everything.

This is the only way that you will be able to improve your opt-in rates.

Some of the things you can test include:
  • Different and more compelling lead magnets
  • Different form designs that stand out more
  • Different titles for your lead magnets
  • Different images for your lead magnets

Depending on how much traffic you have coming to those pages, it may take some time for the test to complete, and for you to gather enough data for a meaningful analysis.

Set it up and let it run for a minimum of at least 100 opt-ins.

If you have a clear winner early on, then you can stop the test and launch the winning version. Continuous split-testing will help you learn what actually works with your particular audience so you can improve your opt-in rates.

4. Use Quizzes as Lead Magnets

Quizzes are unique and powerful tools to build your list.

In the old days, creating a quiz would have been quite a technical challenge, but thanks to the tech advancements these days, there are lots of quiz builder tools that make this easy.

You can use a quiz to create a segmented email list that offers your prospects different lead magnets according to the answers that they provided.

Your main challenge here is simply coming up with ideas for a quiz. Look at this from a marketing perspective. Your goal is to create a quiz that gets people to look at the problem that your business solves.

Make sure the quiz gives them a score on a specific thing that they can then work to improve.

5. Experiment With Opt-In Form Placement

We have discussed split-testing your opt-in forms, but something else that you should do is to test the placement of your opt-in forms.

This can make a huge difference to your opt-in rates. A lot of blogs place their primary lead magnet in the sidebar, but this actually happens to be one of the worst performing locations you can place your opt-in.

While the header and post footer usually perform better, there’s still an even better option, and that is placing your opt-in form right in the middle of the content itself. This is what typically converts the best.

This totally makes sense because your audience is there for the content and not for what’s in your sidebar. Try as many different placements as you can, such as the post footer, or an exit popup.

You can even test a slide-in that triggers as they scroll down and so on.

The placement of your opt-in form is as important as anything else that you’re doing to grow your list, so don’t just fall back on the sidebar because that is what everyone else is doing.

If you really want to grow your list fast, you’re going to have to do more than just the bare minimum.

6. Optimize for Mobile

So many people are browsing sites on mobiles these days and if you want to take advantage of mobile traffic then you have to ensure that your site is responsive and works on smaller screens.

Your opt-in forms may appear fine on desktop but invisible or annoying on a phone.

For example, your sidebar may be pushed to the bottom of the screen on mobile devices and this will negatively affect your opt-in rate.

Also, if you use an exit pop or any other kind of popup, the settings for triggering it may not work properly on mobile. It can also be extremely irritating to have an opt-in completely take over your screen while you’re on a site.

That’s interruption marketing at its best.

So make sure that you change up your strategy for opt-ins on mobile devices and display forms that will work the right way on small screens.

You could have an exit pop that shows on desktop only and on mobile screens, you could use a less obtrusive ribbon bar.

It’s always a good idea to test your posts and your site, in general, to see that they display properly on mobile devices.

You can test your site by using your own phone or using the Firefox or Google Chrome built-in inspector tool to preview your site on various devices.

You can also use ScreenFly, MobileTest.Me, or other similar online tools to test your site.

7. Create New Landing Pages For Your Lead Magnets

If a content upgrade that you’re running is converting well, in addition to having it available on the blog post that you created it for, you can also use it as a stand-alone lead magnet.

Just create a single-purpose landing page that will allow you to promote the lead magnet in lots of new ways.

This includes the potential for paid advertising.

That landing page will be just like a homepage for the lead magnet. If your lead magnet already has a landing page then the next step is to create a new version of that page and split-test it.

Set up ways to use the landing page in your campaign such as:
  • Sending existing subscribers who haven’t already opted in for the lead magnet to that landing page (you can segment your list based on that information). It’s also a great way of re-activating people or getting them into a sales funnel.
  • Setting up a re-targeting campaign which runs an ad to people who visited certain posts but didn’t opt-in. You could have the ad direct them to the landing page for the lead magnet that’s most relevant to the post they came to your site for. This is a great way to get opt-ins from visitors who have already bounced from your site.
  • Putting social media updates pointing directly to this landing page and putting that into your regular maintenance marketing rotation across all social networks. Use a tool such as Buffer or MeetEdgar to automate the process.

Send out lead generation links to all your social profiles on a regular basis.

Landing pages are vital in growing your list and you should not just depend on your blog for all the heavy lifting if you want to increase your opt-in rates significantly.

In Conclusion

For you to successfully increase your opt-in rates you will have to do more than just create lead magnets and hope for the best. These simple strategies will help you grow your list but in order for them to be effective, you have to do them consistently.

The best way to ensure that you do this is to schedule the time for working on these strategies each week. In the long run, list building will prove to be more important than writing your next blog post.

Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published June 6th 2018

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. justin

    Hey this is a really good article, i have not made an email list yet but i really need too. I am not sure what program to use that would be free at first to make an email list. I have published my first ebook i was going to offer to people for free who did give me there email. So i still have a lot more work to do.

    1. Steven

      Many email providers have free trials. I have used aweber and was happy. There is also MailChimp and many others, but, I haven’t tried them personally.

      Thanks for the comment Justin!

  2. Grant

    Great post, Steven. I’ve bookmarked it for future use. Right now I don’t have an email list at all for my site. My traffic is still pretty low, so I haven’t started one yet. In your experience, about when should I start compiling an email list for my business? I’ve heard several different opinions, but overall most think that you should be getting significant traffic before getting going with it.

    1. Steven

      You can start immediately if you want. Keep in mind email list services aren’t usually free…

      This is up to you though. You would be adding an expense for the email list service like aweber or MailChimp. There might be some advantage to waiting until you have a bit of steady traffic to justify the added expense.

      Thanks for the comment Grant!

  3. Michael

    These are some great strategies to help build email list faster.

    I think basically like you said it boils down to split testing and trying new things to see what converts the best.

    That way you can keep getting the same amount of traffic — but you’ll end up getting more people to your email list.

    1. Steven

      Split testing should be an ongoing experiment. Your conversion rates can always be improved whether you are trying to sell or gain email followers. A seemingly small 1% gain turns huge over time.

      Thanks for the comment Michael!

  4. Derek Marshall

    Hi there Steven,

    Thank you kindly for creating and sharing this awesome post and your 7 strategies to increase our subscriber list. It is appreciated, thanks.

    I tend to slightly disagree with one very minor point that you make, simply the use of PDF on your site to access the lead magnet. I actually love this and I do always set up a page where subscribers can access the PDF there, the reason being that most will not read the document in one go and will continue to read later, thus increasing return rate of visitors which is an overlooked but important SEO metric as it is an indication of user experience.

    Also, it increases the average time on site, another good metric related to SEO efforts. Having the content indexed for me, kinda mixed in regards to it, but you can rank for tons of keywords and get loads of traffic to the PDF and thus your site.

    To combat the organic traffic to the PDF (that has not subscribed already) one could always apply another of your techniques (thanks for that!) of adding treating it like a long post and adding in an optin form on the free ebook. Those that have already subscribed will ignore it, those that have not have the option of subscribing!.

    This is why I am an advocate of indexing PDF’s.

    great article and thanks again for creating it.

    Interestingly, do you have some tips on improving our open rates and click through rates?

    1. Steven

      If you are referring to email open rates, here is an article that could help.

      Thanks for the input Derek!

  5. WMP

    This is a very informative article, I added a lead magnet to my site about six months ago in an effort to get more of my visitors to sign up for my mailing list. However, it’s not working out very well for me. I can’t remember how long it’s been since someone signed up for my mailing list. Obviously, I’m doing something wrong, I think I may have to implement some of the things that you suggest here. I don’t have a landing page for my lead magnet so I’m going to create one asap. How many lead magnets would you recommend?

    1. Steven

      You only really need one good quality lead magnet per list. The better the quality, the more trust you will build and retain users longer.

      Thanks for the comment WMP!

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