If there is one thing that online business owners and expert bloggers will recommend that you do (aside from creating evergreen pillar posts), it’s building an email list early on.
An email list can be considered as a valuable asset for most sites and they can be used for many reasons:
- filter out the people who are genuinely interested in your craft
- provide an audience for new posts, products or services
- give a more guaranteed reach for your blog, compared to social media
- get instant feedback for posts, products or services
Because people who sign up for email list are more likely to be interested in what you do and trust you at providing value, they also tend to have a higher likelihood of purchasing a product or service through the email.
But, the truth is that building an email list is difficult.
After all, would you entrust anyone with something as valuable as your personal email?
We all have so many things to tend to every single day, so why would a person allow you to take away a few minutes of their time just to read your email?
The reason? Because you have high-value content that is just too hard to resist.
[bctt tweet=”People let you into their inboxes because of your expertise and HIGH-VALUE.” username=”createstretch”]
With so many similar sites fighting over one email, how did the big sites succeed?
Here are among the top strategies that they did to increase their subscribers…
1 / FEMTREPRENEUR
Win: ~800 in 2 months
Their secret? Make your offers extremely hard to resist.
Mariah is awesome at creating hard-to-resist offers to go along with her blog posts. Also called content upgrades, these downloadables can be an ebook, printable, worksheet, checklist and so on — that usually summarizes your points.
Admittedly, I’m a lazy ass and would sometimes prefer reading ebooks on my Kindle while lying on the bed, instead of hurting my back when I’m on the laptop. And, guess what? So many people are like me!
Mariah also specifically creates landing pages that only focuses on one thing: invite your reader to sign-up and download. Taking away all distractions is usually enough to get your readers to give your their email addresses.
If you can’t afford a landing page just yet, simply sprucing up your download button to make it stand out from the rest of the content can already make a lot of difference.
Win: 6000 in 20 months
Their secret? Use social media to your advantage.
A huge chunk of Melyssa’s site traffic comes from Pinterest. How does she do it? Extremely attractive images!
While most of us would only pin, tweet and share images that are directly linked to our posts, Melyssa does something more: she pins beautiful images that go directly into her landing page.
She usually does this for her free email course and paid courses but she also does the same technique for all other content upgrades in her site.
Another extremely simply but game-changing technique? Add a call to action and a link to the sign-up page to get followers to join your list — right in your social media bio!
3 / GROOVE HQ
Win: 1000 subscribers in 24 hours
Their secret? Turn to influencers for help.
If you are just starting out, reaching out to a site or a person with a larger audience (in the same niche, of course) can do wonders.
You don’t necessarily have to pitch ideas right away. Simply engaging with them via social media or commenting on their blogs should be a good start at getting their attention.
Once you get their trust, it may be time to send in an email and ask them about your idea. Providing them with early access and asking for feedback will also help fine-tune your content/product/service before you get it out to the public.
And, guess what? After five weeks, Groove HQ got over 5,000 subscribers and 535 trial sign-ups through their blogging efforts.
4 / BUFFER APP
Win: x2 email signups within 30 days
Their secret? Make it extremely easy for people to sign-up!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: people are lazy.
The moment they look for something and can’t find it in…let’s say, a minute…they give up.
And that’s basically what happens if you only have your email signup in one place (and one that’s extremely hard to find, too).
What Buffer App did was add all possible sign-up places that they could on their site — and even on social media!
They added nine email capture opportunities: the slide-up, hello bar, feature box, sidebar, hosted sign up, twitter, a postscript, Slideshare and more.
In just a month after implementation, they were able to grow their list by 130 percent!
5 / WP BEGINNER
Win: ~3,200 sign-ups in 1 week
Their secret? Force your readers to take action when they plan on leaving.
We all hate pop-ups because they can be really annoying — when not implemented well, that is.
Among the biggest pop-up peeve that readers complain about is when they see these annoying boxes the moment they get into a website, even BEFORE they had the chance to read anything.
I mean, exactly how are you able to convince readers when they don’t even know what you’re all about?
What WP Beginner did instead is let these pop-ups show up as soon as there is an exit intent.
“Whoops, before you leave, why don’t you signup for our list so you can read more of these awesome posts in the future?”
That way, your reader will have already known who you are and what you write about, which increases the likelihood of them joining your list.
And, yes, pop-ups DO work!
6 / BLOG TYRANT
Win: added 10,000 subscribers
Their secret? Come up with a strategy to tackle your biggest struggle.
The magic in building a solid email list is that there is none.
You need to come up with a plan and study all your moves before you move on to the next phase — because, hey, email lists do cost you!
Ramsay also suggests things like doing split testing to see which landing pages and opt-in forms convert better and that you also post more on other blogs than you do on your own site.
There are basically so many things that you could try. Be prepared to become endlessly tired if you want to see results eventually.
7 / APP SUMO
Win: 0 to 150,000 in 10 months
Their secret? Giveaways are your best friends.
Giveaways are and will always be a huge source of emails.
Who wouldn’t want to win anything in exchange for nothing but their emails, anyway? I know I would.
If you plan on doing giveaways to help boost your email list, go for prizes that are smaller and more related to your niche. You would certainly want to be attracting people who will be interested in what you offer, right?
And, of course, don’t be too disheartened about unsubscribes. These are all part of the game, especially since the signed up through a giveaway.
Just think about it this way: unsubscribes are nature’s way of weeding out your list. Then you’ll be left with those who are genuinely interested in you.
8 / MATTHEW WOODWARD
Win: increased conversion by 431%
Their secret? Nothing complicated! Use free yet effective tools.
Matthew made use of a strategy that Neil Patel has been using as well.
What is it?
The welcome mat from SumoMe!
Crazy, right? But the best thing about this highly effective tool is that it’s a free plugin so even if you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a fortune, you can always use this resource.
At a 431 percent conversion, Matthew just proved everyone that you don’t need all those complicated tools and paid programs to start growing your list.
9 / COSCHEDULE
Win: increased list by 552% in 1 year
Their secret? Try all means possible.
I love Coschedule and I probably have some bias here.
I devour their content and read it multiple times and sign up for every email course they have.
And reading their post just made me realize how much effort they put into trying to grow their list.
Coschedule is the KING of content upgrades with all of their posts having, at least, one of those. Aside from their free tools such as the headline analyzer and Click to Tweet plugin, they also provide awesome resources for editorial content planning, headline writing, content creation and more!
They’ve experimented with webinars, bundled content upgrades, email courses and training, lead boxes, sticky sidebars and navigation bars, videos, welcome gifts and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Although following expert tactics and strategies can be of really great help, you need to remember that the whole technique still entails you tweaking and refining the process to make sure that it fits your site, your audience, and your goals.
There is never a one-size-fits-all solution.
For example, you might rather want to avoid pop-ups and giveaways to grow your email list — and that’s perfectly fine.
The bottom line is: plan, measure, analyze and strategize based on the behavior that your site’s audience is telling you.
The email list may be for you but what you give them through email is ultimately for them.
Happy list building!