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There’s no doubt that email marketing is the most effective and profitable instrument for your online business.

Just check out the chart, coming from a survey by Ascend2 and its research partners:


See? Email marketing: most effective & least difficult.
With a massive email list you can reach out with your messages to a huge number of your potential customers on email directly, or use it in social media advertising campaigns with Twitter Tailored Audiences and Facebook Custom Audience.

Sounds nice. But there’s just one question:
Where can you get the email addresses of people, who may be interested in your product or service?

And the answer is: from your own blog subscriber’s list.

Want to show you the most actionable ways to transform your blog visitors into email subscribers, without being intrusive.

And for those of you, who still have not launched your blog to support your business online, I will take upon myself to remind you “Go get a blog!

So let’s get started!

I want you to ask yourself the most important question in email list growing philosophy:

Why should anyone give you his or her email address?

There are just two possible answers to this question:

1) People will give you their email address if they voluntarily want to get updates from you.

2) You can get your blog visitors’ email addresses in exchange for something. It’s like buying, but with no money involved (directly).

#1 Good Old Subscription Forms

Some of you might say that a standard subscription box is a dinosaur of email collection strategy and that “Subscribe to my updates” forms are the worst performing ones. They are, indeed. Most people today developed some kind of “opt-in blindness.”

But consider the following:
A. Your blog must have an easy way for subscription

B. There are people who are eager to get updates from you, just because they want more awesome content from you in the future. And these people are your most loyal audience, the ones who share your ideas.
Such subscribers are more valuable, than the ones, who got “a bribe” to subscribe (we’ll get back to bribes soon). Subscription forms bring the highest quality subscribers to your list.
Adding a subscription form to your blog is easy. However to get subscribers this way you must create good great GREAT content.  And that’s the hardest part. But you won’t get far with your blog without a high-quality, useful and engaging content anyway.
Just take a look at a couple of top blogs in your nieche. They all have an easily accessible subscription box, don’t they?. If it made no sense, they wouldn’t use it, right?
Let me show you a couple of examples


Subscription box at Hubspot blog
If you scroll down any of Hubspot blog posts, you will notice that “Subscribe” box will follow you, floating on top of the screen in the navigation bar, always ready for you to subscribe.
A “classic” location to put your subscription form is a sidebar.

Rand Fishkin, offering subscription on a sidebar.


At Social Triggers blog subscription offer is the first thing you see when you get there.

There are lots of other locations on your blog to place your subscription forms. Check out this post at social triggers  for more cool ideas. There’s no “ideal place. ” All depends on your nieche and your audience.

#2 Lead Magnets at Your Service

The following tactics of collecting email addresses is based on a single simple principle:

You give away something valuable to your readers and get email addresses in return.
Such offers, used to collect emails, are usually called “lead magnets”, “lead generators” or “bribes.” Although I don’t like how the latter sounds. “Bribe” has got some negative flavor. And IMScalable in one of their posts even called these an ethical bribe.


I consider this tactic as a fair deal between you and your blog reader. Your reader gets some valuable material while you get a new email address. And everybody’s happy in the end.
You can offer tons of things as a lead magnet: an e-book, a free report, a discount, a free trial, a list of tools or resources, email series (free course) and may other. And I’m really upset that the only single lead magnet most blogs have is an e-book.


C’mon! I understand that ebook is usually the most valuable material the one as created. But people are getting blind to tedious free e-book offers as well as they got blind to banners.


Although, when duly served, free e-book offers do work like hell to get new subscribers


Free E-book lead magnet at Copyhackers.
Let me show you the best places for your lead magnets.

1) Display a full-screen call to action before showing anything else


Matthew Woodward presented a case study, showing 431% increase in conversion rate from using this tactics.

In his study Matthew used a free tool called Welcome Mat from SumoMe. You can also try Welcome Gate plugin for WordPress. They offer a free trial.

2) Place a lead magnet in your sidebar
That’s something you can see, for example, on Social Media Examiner.


Along with the opportunity to join a 400,000+ subscribers community, they offer their famous Social Media Marketing Industry Report in exchange to your email address.

3) Put your free offer to a “hello bar”

The first blog that comes in mind, which uses a kind of a hello bar is Problogger.

Such bar can be fixed on top of your page or can float at top as your reader scrolls down. It can also contain various offers.
Hello bar doesn’t look too impressive at first glance, but at DIYthemes Derek Halpern showed that such little bar can gain over 1,000 email subscribers in one month.

Here’s a short list of tools, that will help you to add a hello bar to your blog:

4) Place a feature box “above the fold”
“Above the fold” or “above the scroll” is a portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling. Similar to the item 1) above, this box is visible to your visitors in the first place before any other content.

See the example of Boostblogtraffic.

At Bluewiremedia, for example, a similar Feature Box converts at 9% rate. And Bryan Harris has even improved this tactic and came out with his Upside-Down Homepage, which increased the number of new subscribers to his site by 35%.

If you need a handy tool to create awesome opt-in feature boxes, try PlugMatter Feature Box plugin for WordPress. Thrive Leads can also create awesome feature boxes to help you grow your email list.

5) Put your lead magnet offer under each post

That’s something we can see at Socialmouts blog.


By the end of your post, a reader will make up his or her opinion of you and your blog and is more likely to give you an email address. So that’s one of the best places for your lead magnet.

6) Use Exit Popups for Your Lead Magnets

You’ve heard that pop-up is the most annoying and hated form of email opt-in forms, right? They say that it interrupts people from consuming your content and makes them leave your blog.

While some people cry and stamp their feet about how much they hate pop-ups, expert bloggers just keep on growing their email lists, using pop-ups. And Case study after case study shows that pop-ups are extremely effective in collecting email addresses for you. In fact, isn’t that why you’re reading this post?

I’m a fan of exit pop-ups as they don’t interrupt your readers from consuming your content. I recently hit upon a cool article, explaining the  effectiveness of exit pop-ups from scientific point of view. When your visitor is about to leave your page, it is just appropriate time to come up with your offer.

Here’s a fine example of an exit pop-up at Kissmetrics blog.


#3 Use Content Upgrades to Bring Lead Magnet Strategy to a New Level


Content Upgrades or “post-specific bonuses” is actually another form of a Lead Magnet strategy, but it is quite different as well. That is why I decided to present it to you separately.

My good friend, Tim Soulo from BloggerJet, for example, used feature boxes, hellobars, etc. to grow his email list and his conversion rate never went beyond 3%. Which was actually not that bad. Now can you imagine his surprise, when he found out that this simple strategy was able to improve the site-wide conversion rate by 300% in just a few weeks!

What stands behind a “content upgrade”?

Content Upgrade is not just “offering something” to your readers in exchange for an email address. It is “offering the right, valuable thing, in the right place at the right time.”

A single lead magnet, used to capture email addresses on your blog, cannot appeal to your visitors all the time. It may often be irrelevant. For example when yo read an article about email list building, a free e-book with writing tips will not appeal to you at this moment.

For content upgrades you create or pick a piece of bonus material, that will be highly relevant to the content of your article. Such additional material “upgrades” your content and gives readers, who opt-in to get this bonus, more value than from just reading your article alone.

Unlike the regular freebie offers, content upgrade has less chances to remain unnoticed, because your reader comes upon it while consuming your content.

And one of the strongest points that make content upgrades so effective is that they are not annoying.


How it works:
1. You write a blog post.

2. For this particular blog post you create (or pick from your archives) a bonus content, which can bring value of information in your blog post to a higher level, and place a call-to-action link to it in your article.

3. As your reader takes interest and clicks this link, a pop-up will be shown, explaining that in order to access this bonus material, he has to enter his email address.

3. You get a new email subscriber while your reader gets a valuable bonus material.

It is a truly mutually-beneficial opt-in method.

Let me show you a prefect example of a content upgrade strategy, demonstrated by Brian Dean. Take a look at this post at Backlinko about the actionable SEO Strategy. Alongside with the article Brian created a checklist, that complements and expands his article and makes using this SEO strategy easier. And then he just placed a link to this checklist inside his article.


And as you click the download link in this yellow box, a pop-up will appear, asking for your email address to download this material.

An irresistible freebie! It is offered in the right place at the right time. All the readers, who download his bonus, get a better experience of using Brian’s SEO strategy.
That’s why Brian’s readers give their email addresses without any hesitation. Brian says that he managed to increase conversions by 785% in One Day just by implementing content upgrades on his blog.

What can you offer to your readers as a bonus?
Creating bonuses for your content upgrades can be quite easy and should not take a lot of your time. Although you might want to invest some time and money into an astonishing infographics, video or an e-book.

You actually have almost no limitations here. Just keep in mind that your bonus must be relevant to the content of your blog post and have an engaging call-to-action link.

Here are just a few examples of content upgrade bonuses:

  • E-book or mini E-book
  • PDF version of your article
  • Checklist (my favorite one)
  • Instructional video
  • Audio recording
  • List of tools or resources
  • Sample or template
  • Anything valuable and relevant

And why limiting your bonuses to content only? Think what your readers would love to get from you.

A discount maybe? A free email course? A free shipment offer?

Creating a bonus for a content upgrade does not have to take a lot of time. And there should not be too much information in it, only the necessary for your reader, so that he can use it as quick as possible.
One of the most well-known tools for implementing a content upgrade campaign on your blog is LeadBoxes by LeadPages software. Adding content upgrades to your blog is only one of the awesome features, offered to you by LeadPages. However for some bloggers their subscription plan can be too pricey.

You can also consider a cheaper solution, focused on content upgrades solely, Content Upgrades PRO plugin for WordPress. It also has a free version with a limited set of features.

Over to you

I’m sure this article will help you grow your email list and get the best results from your email marketing and social media advertising campaigns.
Would you like to share your own experience on email list building? Or maybe you have something to share about list targeting? We are eager to learn from you. The comments are all yours.
And don’t forget to share this post! It is very important for us.


unnamed (1)Nick is a copywriter as well as an experienced Content & Social Media marketer. After several years of working for different companies, he is finally on his own way to success. Let’s wish him luck!
You can always drop him a message on Twitter @NickChurick


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