If you’re not building your email list, you’re making a foolish mistake.
For most marketers, the real money isn’t made through your blog. It’s made by promoting products to those who have opted-in to your newsletter. Therefore, your main goal should be to get people onto your email list and into your sales funnel.
This is where you can build trust, bring people back to your site, and repeatedly sell products to the same set of customers over and over again.
It is one of the few marketing channels in which you have total control, and it’s extremely powerful – probably even more powerful than your blog itself.
However, this is easier said than done. Convincing readers to part with their email is harder than ever before and you’ve really got to go above and beyond your competitors if you want to win your visitor’s emails.
Here are 25 guaranteed ways to increase email opt-ins from your blog.
1. Use A Good Email Marketing Service
First and foremost, you’ve got to use a good email marketing service. Everything else from here on out will be pointless if you’re using a horrible, free service such as MailChimp.
The single most important thing you can do is use a great email marketing service like ActiveCampaign. GetResponse is another solid choice, but I prefer ActiveCampaign because they have more features that I actually use. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking them out. It would be a real shame if your list was wiped out because the free marketing service you chose decided to shut you down, without warning!
ActiveCampaign in particular has a lot of powerful targeting and segmenting features that will come in handy later – while still being very approachable for a beginner.
2. Use Single Opt-In
Single vs double opt-in has been an ongoing debate for years now. It’s argued that double opt-ins lead to a more engaged audience and less spam complaints. You’ll also pay less using double opt-in, because you won’t have to deal with the issue of fake emails.
However, these really aren’t as important as they are made out to be. Using single opt-in, you not only get all the people that would’ve taken the time to verify their email, you also get all the extra people that would not have.
Let’s be realistic – people are busy. They forget things. Many people will not take the time to go searching through their spam or junk folder to find your opt-in verification if it ends up there.
You can avoid spam complaints by making it clear that they can unsubscribe easily at any time.
Finally, if you’re using a service like ActiveCampaign, you won’t pay any extra charges for fake emails.
Important note: Since publishing this article, a lot has happened in regards to consumer privacy – notably GDPR. Because email deliverability is more of a concern than ever, I now use double opt-in for my websites.
3. Multiple Opt-in Boxes
Having only one form on your website is a huge mistake.
If you look around my site, you’ll see that I have up to four, depending on the device you’re browsing on.
One at the top of the page, one on the sidebar, one at the bottom of each post, and one pop-up that activates once you scroll all the way down the page under certain conditions.
These opt-in forms convert at 0.8%, 1.97%, 1.9%, and 4.22% respectively, although the pop-up isn’t displayed very often. This brings the opt-in rate for a new visitor that triggers the pop-up to an incredible 8.89%.
Every single opt-in form contributes significantly to this percentage. Could you imagine how many less subscribers I would get if I just used one opt-in box?
Make sure you have opt-in forms in plain sight at all times on your website. You never know when someone will be convinced to opt-in, and you want to make sure they have the opportunity to do-so the second they make that decision.
4. Use A Pop-up
People can not opt-in to your email list if they can not see your opt-in form. Pop-ups are effective because they aren’t blindly scrolled over- people WILL notice them.
It’s foolish to not be using a pop-up on your website. They don’t have to be annoying or intrusive to be extremely effective.
Just make sure that you use a tool that can split-test your pop-ups. I’ve ran variants on some of my sites that led to 4x as many opt-ins just from changing the headline – even with the same lead magnet!
5. Offer An Irresistible Lead Magnet
If you want people to opt-in to your email list, it’s absolutely vital to have an irresistible lead magnet.
Remember, it’s tough for most people to give away their email address, especially when they’re bombarded with incentives on almost every website they visit. You’ve got to give them a good reason to opt-in.
A lead magnet alone isn’t good enough anymore. ‘Free’ doesn’t have the value it used to because they can find free information everywhere. ‘Good’ isn’t good enough. You have to provide them with something they can not refuse. Convey the idea of exclusivity – the idea that what you offer can not be found anywhere else.
Putting in your email address and subscribing to a list takes time. Consuming a lead magnet takes time.
If you want people to subscribe, make it worth their time.
6. Consider Email Courses Instead Of eBooks
I personally believe email courses are far more effective than eBooks as lead magnets, unless the eBooks are really short.
When you give away an eBook, it only takes a moment for your visitors to grab the freebie and then unsubscribe.
When you offer a course, you ensure that they are on your list longer, giving you a larger amount of time to prove your value.
Additionally, you give people time to actually use the information you provide, preventing what’s known as “information overload.”
I’ve seen many marketers release 40-page eBooks as their lead magnet. These may be tremendously helpful, but to your subscriber (who may not know or trust you yet), this is a huge time investment many are not willing to make.
So, the eBook is never consumed.
Courses aren’t for everybody, but in some instances they are way more effective than eBooks.
7. Ugly Opt-in Boxes
I first took note of this idea from Stuart Walker’s website, NicheHacks.com. In the past, he had deliberately made his opt-in boxes bright and ugly to draw attention to them.
I have tested this on my own site and the results are clear. After changing the color scheme of the opt-in box below my posts, the opt-in rate doubled from 1.4% to the 2.9% it’s at now.
The opt-in box after my posts used to be skimmed over mindlessly by viewers. Changing the color scheme of the opt-in form drew attention to the box which has led to the increase in opt-ins.
Note: I since reverted back to more traditional looking opt-in boxes, though this is something I will split test again in the near future.
8. Opt-In Boxes In Middle Of Posts
Speaking of getting your opt-in boxes noticed, many people have had success placing them right in the middle of their articles! This makes sense after all – the reader is already engaged with your content and is clearly enjoying it if they’re still reading through it, so what better time to ask for their email, right?
I haven’t tried it yet but I know this method works, especially for longer articles.
You may also consider adding relevant content upgrades for even higher conversions.
9. Tailored Bonuses
Tailored bonuses work extremely well, especially for opt-in boxes placed in the middle or after your posts.
A tailored bonus is essentially a bonus report/eBook that is closely related to the topic of the post it is offered on. For example, on a post like this I could offer a number of bonuses including:
- 10 MORE Ways To Get People Onto Your Email List
- How To Double Your Email Open Rates In 7 Easy Steps
- How Many Email Subscribers Does It Take To Make Money?
- How To Turn Email Subscribers Into Cash!
Heck, you could even just offer a PDF version of your post and it will be a convincing enough lead magnet to win over a few extra opt-ins.
I implemented this on my baby product brand’s website, and received more opt-ins for our content upgrades than we did for all other opt-in forms combined.
If you want to implement this strategy, I recommend checking Google Analytics and implementing content upgrades for your most popular posts first.
10. Split Test, Tweak, Repeat
Split test EVERYTHING.
You’d be surprised how changing seemingly small things can have huge impacts on your opt-in rates.
Split-testing allows you to try a bunch of different ideas and see what converts the best. After you collect enough data, you can keep what ever opt-in form works the best and get rid of the one that doesn’t.
Making simple tweaks to your opt-in forms can easily double or even triple your opt-in rates. It’s a heck of a lot easier to split test than it is to try and double your traffic, so it’d be incredibly foolish not to be continuously improving your opt-in forms.
That being said, start with the big things first. Usually, this will be headlines or positioning on your page rather than something like the color of a button.
11. Social Proof
If you already have a large amount of email subscribers, it may be beneficial to add social proof to your opt-in forms.
Adding a message stating to “join 15,000 other bloggers” for example portrays a few important things.
First of all, it shows you’re an authority and that you must really know what you’re talking about.
Secondly, it plays on people’s desire to do/be like others. People do not want to feel left out of something.
Finally, it plays on people’s competitiveness. Nobody wants to feel like their competitors or peers know something important that they do not.
Now, it may not be beneficial if you only have 40 subscribers but if actually have a decent sized list adding social proof will definitely be something you’ll want to split test.
12. Add Opt-In Forms On Important Pages
My best converting opt-in form (other than the ones on my squeeze pages) is the form on my About page.
If people are going to take the time to visit other pages of your site, they obviously like what you have to offer and are interested in learning more about you and your business. Why not make this easier for them by adding opt-in forms to those pages?
13. Create Better Content
This should really go without saying, but if you create awesome content people will want more. You’ve really got to go above and beyond your competitors. People won’t give their email out to anyone who creates great stuff – only to the best.
It’s far better to create one piece of incredible content than five pieces of mediocre content. Especially these days, when internet marketing is so competitive.
Make your visitors desire more from you. Then give it to them in your email newsletter.
14. Get Personal
If you’re branding yourself on your site, you may consider using your image to your advantage when encouraging people to subscribe to your email list.
This is especially useful if you are a well known authority in the niche and are renowned for a specific skill, which you can then teach through an email course.
However, if a large percentage of your visitors come from search engines and do not know you personally, it may actually lower your opt-in rates. This is why I recommend split testing if you decide to use this idea.
15. 99 Cent Kindle eBooks
It blows my mind how few people are utilizing this tactic.
It is extremely easy to create a short 3-5000 word eBook and sell it on Amazon’s Kindle store for extremely easy leads.
The goal isn’t to make money off of the book itself, but to provide people with valuable information and then convince them to sign up for your email list for more. If somebody spends 99 cents to download your book and read through it, you bet they’ll sign up for your email list without hesitation.
While Amazon doesn’t allow you to give away your book for free right away, you can distribute it on other platforms for free and Amazon will match the price. This is useful for getting even more downloads to your book!
Alternatively, enrolling the book in KDP Select will allow you to run promotions for it every 90 days. With a large number of books, you could have promotions going frequently.
Free webinars are extremely effective for capturing new leads. If you add in the exclusivity factor (limited number of participants, only available at this time, etc.) you will play on people’s fear of missing out and people will be more likely to sign up immediately after finding out about it.
If you have a product to sell to the webinar audience, this can offset the cost of advertising. I know marketers who have built lists of hundreds of thousands of people solely off of Facebook ads and webinars.
Even if your webinar is not profitable the day you run it, all of those new subscribers can be warmed up and sold to for years to come.
17. Use A Squeeze Page
Some say squeeze pages are dead. I say that’s bulloney 😉 .
In case you’re not familiar with squeeze pages, they’re essentially pages designed for the sole purpose of squeezing something out the visitor. In this case, it’s their email.
Squeeze pages are a vital tool to every email marketer’s arsenal. Most marketers will find that their best converting page will be their squeeze page. If it’s not, something’s seriously wrong.
Now that’s not to say that you should be directing your visitors to your squeeze page at every opportunity. In certain instances however, a squeeze page makes a lot of sense.
18. Utilize Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
One of these instances is pay per click advertising, which is one of the most effective methods for growing your list quickly.
Of course, if you’re going to pay money for visitors you’re going to want to make sure that your squeeze page actually converts well. Nobody wants to waste money and the entire point of pay-per-click advertising is to get the best return possible.
I know paying for advertising can be scary, but if you can profit from it, it doesn’t make any sense NOT to utilize this extremely effective method to build your list.
If I made an average of $15 per subscriber and I could acquire a new subscriber for an average of $1, it would make absolutely no sense NOT to be paying to get those subscribers on my list, right?
You really don’t need a lot of money to start. Small ad campaigns can be ran on Facebook for as little as $1 a day. When you begin turning a profit, you can scale this up nearly infinitely and grow a targeted list extremely quickly.
Why not give it a try?
19. Use Hello Bar
Despite being my worst opt-in form, the bar I run across the top of the screen accounts for just under 10% of my opt-ins, on the pages in which it’s there. Over time, that really adds up and it’d be foolish not to have it on the site.
Hello Bar is great because it’s free, allows extensive split testing, and integrates easily with every major email marketing service.
Check it out at HelloBar.com!
20. Use Video
People connect easier with someone they can see or hear.
YouTube is an incredibly effective tool for capturing entirely new leads who have never even heard of your website before.
Best of all, most webmasters aren’t taking advantage of YouTube’s incredible potential so you’ll instantly have an advantage over most of your competitors by being active on the platform.
21. Ask Commenters To Opt-In
Your commenters are already some of the most engaged people on your site. Why not ask them to hop onto your email list?
Yoast’s comment redirect plugin redirects first time commenters to a custom thank you page where you can engage with your commenters further, and remind them of the benefits of joining your newsletter.
22. Get Your Best Work In Front Of Other Audiences
Publish your best work on other people’s websites in the form of guest posts.
Guest posting allows you to get in front of somebody else’s audience, where many people are likely reading over your work for the first time. Try your best to ‘wow’ these new readers and turn them into loyal readers on your own site.
You really only have one opportunity to impress this new audience so you’ve got to make the most of it.
23. Have A Clear Call To Action
Don’t let people decide what to do after reading your post, or their decision may be to just leave. Instead, TELL them what to do. Create a call to action.
If you want these people to come back to your site regularly, encourage them to sign up for your email list. You’d be surprised how many people will opt-in when you simply ask them to.
Speaking of which, why not do yourself a favor and opt-in to my email list right now? You must like what I’m giving you, or else you wouldn’t still be here reading this article, right? You won’t be disappointed!
24. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Fields
The more information you require visitors to fill out, the less likely they will take the time to opt-in.
Most people know you’re using an autoresponder so there’s really no need to address them personally. The only thing you really need from them is their email.
Asking for their first name can be beneficial, depending on the niche. Though people will often put in fake names anyway so keep that in mind.
25. Give Your Visitors What They Want
Last and most importantly, give your visitors what they want!
Don’t try to convince people to want something, give them what they already desire. Continue doing so with your follow up emails, and before long you’ll have a large, engaged, happy bunch of email subscribers.
I can not stress enough how important it is for you to be building your email list. If you take the time to implement all of the tactics mentioned in this article, you will already be far ahead of the majority of your competitors.
Of course, all of this is useless if you do not actually know what to do with your list. I highly recommend enrolling in my email marketing course and not only learning how you can build your list further, but make the most out of those subscribers.
Finally, if you have anything to add to this list or have any questions, I’d love for you to leave a comment down below letting me know exactly what’s on your mind.