There are hundreds of tricks to building
an email list. Before you begin, do this:
Sign up with an email service provider. An email service
provider houses your list and gives you tools to design, send,
and track emails. Once you have an ESP account, you are
Create incentive for people to subscribe. You need to offer
people something to entice them to give you their email
address. Incentive can range from a tangible giveaway (free
eBook) to a special offer (product discount) to an exciting
explanation of how valuable your emails will be.
Add an opt-in form to your blog sidebar
Adding an opt-in form to your blog sidebar is a great place to
start. If you have an active blog, this is a traffic-heavy area and
a great place to attract new subscribers. You can add a signup
form to the sidebar of a WordPress site with this plugin or
develop a custom sidebar. Your form should include a message
telling visitors why they should sign up.
Take a look at how writer
Jeff Goins uses his sidebar
to promote his newsletter:
Add a Hello Bar to the top of your website
Hello Bar is a simple bar that runs across the top of your website.
Within the bar, you can add a custom message and encourage
email signups or direct visitors to a landing page where you can
capture emails later on.
See how B2B marketing expert Diana Huff uses Hello Bar to get
Add an opt-in page to your main menu
Add a “Subscribe” or “Updates” or “Connect” page to your
main menu and give your opt-in form a home of its own. A
page dedicated to your email updates can help reel in your
more easily distracted visitors.
See how the blogging
mastermind Blog Tyrant
does it here:
Create a custom opt-in “slider” on your homepage
One of the best pieces of real estate you have on your website
is the slider section right below your main menu on your home
page. If your main call to action on your site is your email
subscription, consider building a custom email signup slider. This
is especially popular for bloggers.
Derek Halpern from
Social Triggers does
Prompt visitors with opt-in form popups
There is a lot of evidence to indicate that popups, when
tastefully done, can grow your email list. Popups collect email
addresses or provide visitors with a link to important content
where addresses are collected later on.
While popups can be annoying and are not a fit for every
business, there are many thought leaders that swear by their
results. To add a popup to your site, you can use a WordPress
plugin like Popup Domination or build something custom.
Remember to give visitors ample time or a few clicks before
triggering the popup, or you might scare them off.
Add an opt-in form to the footer of blog posts
Adding a signup form to the footer of your blog posts is an
excellent way to transform new and returning blog readers into
engaged email subscribers. We know from experience. By
adding a custom HTML signup form to the footer of our posts,
we experienced a 156% increase in our email signup rate in just
30 days. Here’s our form:
Creating a custom signup form requires contracting a graphic
designer and a developer. Check out oDesk or Elance for
developers and Dribbble or Behance for designers.
Add an opt-in form to every page on your site
Adding signup forms to every website page gives visitors a call
to action that follows them through their full-site browsing
experience. Websites can be noisy and this prevents potential
subscribers from falling through the cracks.
Write amazing opt-in form copy
The headline should grab
attention and tell people exactly
what they get by signing up for
your emails. Example: “Get Your
Free Content Marketing Toolkit”
The body should qualify people
and nudge them to take action.
Example: “If you’re serious about
content marketing, enter your
email address below to receive
the Content Marketing Toolkit.”
The call-to-action should be
simple and immediate. Example:
“Get The Toolkit.”
Here s a great opt-in form
example from Michael
Aagaard at Content Verve:
Add something extra to your opt-in forms
Include the dollar value. If you’re offering an eBook or Toolkit or
online course in your opt-in form, add the dollar value. Example
“Get The Free Content Marketing Toolkit (Valued at Over $300)”
Add a testimonial. A testimonial is great for boosting business. If
this wasn’t true, Yelp would be out of business. If you don’t have
any testimonials, survey your favorite subscribers.
Add social proof. Include a message about how many people
currently subscribe to your emails. If you have thousands of
subscribers, people will want to find out what all the hype is
about. Example: “Join 25,000+ of your peers!”
comforting. Example: “We respect your privacy (link).”
Neil Patel really adds something extra on his Quicksprout opt-in
form, and it works:
Keep submission fields limited in opt-in forms
We all want to know as much as possible about new subscribers.
It’s tempting to ask for more than an email address but people
have grown weary of the ask.
Give people comfort and eliminate unnecessary custom fields
from opt-in forms. You can always survey subscribers once
you’ve earned their trust.
Customize opt-in forms for anticipated traffic surges
Let’s say you’re about to get featured on a major site and
expect significant referral traffic. You want to transform the
guest readers into email subscribers. Check out the opt-in forms
on the website you will be featured on and shape your form
messaging to their audience.
Optimize opt-in forms to improve conversion rates
Test small changes in opt-in forms to improve conversion rates.
Make one small change and test its impact. You can test form
location, design, copy, call-to-action, and more. Small changes
such as mixing up your voice from first to third person or testing a
new color scheme can be effective. Results will help you tailor
your entire signup process.
Develop an original, interactive opt-in form
Businesses have experimented with everything from 3D graphics
to animation to gamification to spice up signup forms. Coming
up with something completely original and interactive is a great
way to grow your list. One example we spotted at Get Elastic is
an engaging game developed by Sephora in fall 2013. Visitors
entered email addresses to follow a ball that traveled Pinko-style
into a slot where a unique prize was revealed.
Use double opt-in and create
a custom confirmation email
Once a visitor signs up for emails via one of your conveniently
located and brilliantly designed opt-in forms, you should send
them a confirmation email. This confirmation step, referred to as
“double opt-in”, is important to maintaining a quality email list.
A confirmation email is your first direct communication with new
subscribers. It should reflect the look and feel of your brand.
Design a custom newsletter with ExpressPigeon in minutes. Keep
it simple. Your design should prime them for future emails but not
distract them from your main call-to-action: Clicking a
Create an inviting confirmation page
It’s amazing (disappointing?) how many subscription
confirmations lead to a dead end. When a new subscriber
confirms subscription, you have an opportunity to redirect them
to any URL. Why settle for a simple thank you?
Design a custom confirmation page on your site that welcomes
subscribers to the community. Looking for content to include on
the page that is applicable for your business? See these ideas:
• Welcome subscriber to community and thank them for joining.
• Encourage subscriber to add your email address to contact
• Give subscriber option to connect with you on social media.
• Offer subscriber a link to engaging content on your site.
• Prompt subscriber to tell their friends about your email
Here’s a great example from blogging expert Amy Lynn
Create a welcome email to remember
A welcome email is your first email to new subscribers. Give
them something that excites them for what’s to come
next. Deliver your free giveaway (as promised), thank them for
subscribing, and prepare them for what’s coming next.
This is also a great time for a surprise! Consider offering a special
“thank you” discount. See how getting-things-done expert
Gregory Ciotti does this at Sparring Mind:
See how getting-things-done expert Gregory Ciotti does this at
Notice how Gregory includes links to his best articles and gives a
warm welcome that gets you excited for what’s to come next.
Figure out what works for you and keep it authentic!
It’s not easy to build an email list, but with a strategic opt-in
process that fits your business, you can build a very profitable
email list in just a few months.
What opt-in tricks do you use to convert visitors into subscribers?