When I started building JustReachOut almost a year ago I knew that my email list for my blog would be a big part of its success or failure. At the time I only had 90 email subscribers to my blog but I saw that 60 percent of them were paying users of JustReachOut.
I knew I needed to grow my email list if I wanted to grow my revenue. I watched a webinar from Tim Paige on how they built LeadPages from 0 to 15,000 paying customers in 12 months and was hooked on the idea of replicating their efforts.
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I listened to a lot more podcasts and webinars and read a LOT of blog posts. My email list did not grow much. I was procrastinating. I wasn’t actually doing anything directly to grow my email list.
This was when I read a post by Bryan Harris which sprung me into action.
On Feb 1, 2015 I had 697 email subscribers for my blog and I wanted to have 10,000 by the end of the year. I contacted Bryan Harris of Videofruit and hired him to be my coach for a few months to help me achieve my goal.
(when you’re paying someone to push you and hold you accountable for the goals you set you are much more driven)
I set a goal to have 2,500 subscribers by March 31, 2015, here is my email to Bryan dated Feb 2, 2015 with this exact goal:
On March 31, 2015 I had close to 3,000 subscribers.
In two months I grew my list from 700 to 3,000 email subscribers and my traffic to 17,000 visitors:
Here are all the methods I employed to accomplish growing my list from 700 to 3000 email subscribers in two months. Copy these ideas, they work!
METHOD #1: GIVE SOMETHING AWAY IN RETURN FOR AN EMAIL ADDRESS
The very idea of giving something away with every blog post I wrote seemed foreign to me at first before I realized that my readers want a quick summary of what they just read.
Listening to how LeadPages grew their business to 15K paying customers it was clear that people who read instructional blog posts such as mine want a PDF checklist or summary to follow along in implementing the steps.
I also added the very same call to action with the same pop up after Step #1 or around 25 percent through the blog post on every article as well and finally added a HUGE call to action with the same pop up at the very end of the article with the same gigantic button as Bryan Harris uses on his blog:
I created a PDF summary, checklist, or useful template for every blog post I had on the blog and when people gave me their email I sent the PDF to that email. I used LeadPages to set this up, it was really easy.
I did this for every blog post, it took some time, but it was well worth it.
Here are the analytics behind these calls to action on all my blog posts:
As you can see my lowest opt-in rate is 29 percent which means that 29 percent of people who viewed my blog post gave me their email. My highest opt-in rate is 69 percent. On average 45 percent of people who view my articles give me their email, that’s pretty incredible!
METHOD #2: USE A BY-LINE AND REMOVE PUBLISH DATES FROM BLOG POSTS
The next thing I did is remove the publish date from the top of my blog posts. Some first time readers who visited my blog left without reading the post just because it was published a few months ago. They thought the content was old and therefore they should not pay attention. In reality just because my post is a few months old it does not mean the information in it is no longer pertinent to the reader.
It’s the content itself not the publish date which should decide whether the reader should read the article. So I took the date off and instead added the following call to action right under the title of the post:
When you click it you see the following:
I just started tracking the effects of this change a few weeks ago, here are the LeadPages analytics:
It’s a very small sample but so far it looks like I am converting 30 percent of people who see this call to action to becoming my email subscribers.
METHOD #3: CHANGE YOUR HOMEPAGE TO BE AN OPT-IN
This was the most extensive change I made to my site: I scrapped my entire homepage and turned it into a welcome gate (an opt-in page for my blog).
I was skeptical and a bit nervous about scrapping my entire homepage for two reasons:
1. It’s the most trafficked page on my website
2. I get all inquiries for my consulting business through my website which describes my services, my past clients and accomplishments.
Email subscribers however are MUCH more valuable to me than website visitors. Here is why I decided to change my website to an opt in page:
1. I can stay in touch and correspond with my email subscribers any time I want, I can send reminders and newsletters and engage with them at any time. A visitor which comes to my site and likes my content can forget about me very easily and I have no way to get back in touch with them.
2. My goal was (and still is) to get as many email subscribers as I can to grow JustReachOut.io and wind down my consulting. Email subscribers are vital to reach this goal.
3. I can hardly handle all the current prospective clients asking to work with me right now and I have a very large pipeline of clients who are waiting with me. I don’t need to worry about client inquiries.
So it made perfect sense to turn my homepage into a welcome gate.
Here is how it used to look above the fold:
Here is how it looks above the fold now:
I chose a page narrative which gets folks hooked and wanting to hear more. I learned this technique from Bryan Harris: share the results of what you did but do not tell your readers how you achieved the results, ask for their email address and then share everything.
This is precisely what I did, feel free to look at the live version to see the full copy.
What are the results of this change? I get 19 perecent of all viewers of my homepage to leave their email address. Here are LeadPages analytics:
I’m using LeadPages for this homepage, it works insanely easy with my WordPress setup. LeadPages hooks right into my WP install with their plugin and I have the flexibility to change what the page looks like and which template I’m using from a very easy drag and drop editor.
METHOD #4: GUEST POST WITH OPT-IN CALLS TO ACTION
This was by far the most email subscribers I’ve gotten in a 24 hour period.
I wrote a guest article titled “How I helped take a startup from 0 to 40M+ pageviews and got it acquired by Google” on TheNextWeb and created a download accompanying the article which was a must for anybody who read the post.
Here is call to action at the very end of the article on TheNextWeb:
When you click “nice PDF” or “complete set” a form pops up asking you to enter your email so I can send you the templates. I let you know that you will be subscribed to my blog and will receive periodic emails from me.
Feel free to try clicking on the link in the live version of the article to see how this works.
This guest article alone brought in 911 email subscribers to my blog in a matter of 24 hours, here are the analytics from LeadPages:
Since my bio on TheNextWeb points to my homepage which is a big opt-in page as well I got close to 800 new email subscribers from readers clicking over to my homepage and subscribing there:
This guest post was so successful that I wrote another guest post for KISSmetrics blog titled How to get 60 Leads in 24 hours with a Landing Page and a LinkedIn Group and the clicks from my bio on their site brought me another nice uptick in subscribers.
This very article was syndicated by Entrepreneurship magazine so I got even more subscribers from readers clicking over to my homepage on my bio there:
My homepage opt-ins are tracked separately in LeadPages so I can see how well this works day to day:
Here is another example of the same tactic implemented: my buddy Noah Kagan’s guest article on Huffington Post titled Why Content Goes Viral has a bunch of opt-in calls to action.
METHOD #5: USE SUMOME SHAREBAR & SCROLLBOX
SumoMe is da bomb! I say that not because Noah is an old friend but because it really works!
The first thing I did is add SumoMe share bar on the left hand for my blog, took just a few clicks, you can see the bar on the left of this article.
The sharing went up immediately just by having the share bar on the left. Here is the SumoMe analytics for the past 6 days:
I then added a ScrollBox on all my blog posts, it looks like this:
In a little over a month I was able to collect 180 extra email addresses with this scrollbox:
METHOD #6: LIMIT FREE TRIAL AND COLLECT EMAILS
I run JustReachOut.io which helps startups find most relevant journalists to pitch their stories to. My tool used to give away all the search results for free without asking visitors to sign up or provide their email address.
I decided to limit the free search results to three and ask my website visitors to subscribe to my blog in order to see more results:
In a little less than a few months I got 400+ email subscribers:
These subscribers are extremely valuable since they are actually interested in JustReachOut and therefore I can send them very directed and custom tailored emails.
METHOD #7: GIVE AWAY A COURSE
Bryan Harris gave me this advice: If you see a piece of content performing extremely well, you should turn it into a lead magnet for email optins.
In my case the concept of JustReachOut was doing really well and my guest article on PR did insanely well, so I started giving away my PR course on how to Build Relationships with Journalists for free for anyone who subscribed to my blog.
You can see this here on the footer of JustReachOut:
When you click on “free pass” you see this:
I added the same CTA throughout my blog content wherever it made sense, if I was writing an article about PR and it made sense to share free access to my course I would add a CTA to it.
This call to action alone added a total of 229 email subscribers to my list with a 46 percent opt in rate, meaning 46 percent of people who saw the call to action for a free pass to my PR course in return for subscribing to my blog gave me their email address. Here are the analytics:
Bryan Harris published an AMAZING blog post titled How to use a Giveaway to get 2,239 email subscribers in 10 days which takes this idea even further, you should definitely check it out.
METHOD #8: MENTION OTHER BRANDS AND TOOLS YOU LOVE
Not too long ago I wrote an article titled 50 Growth Hacking Tools which mentioned a LOT of tools, one of which was Outbrain. It just so happened that Outbrain got some good leads from the initial article and reached out to me to ask if they could promote the article.
That article was the highest trafficked post on my blog when Outbrain was running a promotion with it and I got a few hundred blog subscribers from that article alone.
This does not happen all the time but it’s something you should keep in the back of your mind. If it makes sense and you genuinely like a product or service and mention them in your blog post, try to track how many leads you bring to that website or how many clicks the link gets. They may promote your article because it’s bringing valuable leads to them.
Make sure to email the company to let them know you featured their product in your article, at the very least companies may be open to sharing your article on social media.
And that’s a wrap!
These are the exact methods I used to grow from 700 to 3000 subscribers in two months.
Nowdays I set a monthly goal for how many email subscribers I want to have and track how I am doing with ListGoal from Bryan Harris. It’s the best way to hold myself accountable and as a bonus Bryan sends you actionable tips on what to do to reach your goal. I love it.
I hope these methods help you grow to much more than 3,000 subscribers! If you have any unique ways you used to grow your email list please don’t hesitate to share!
Image credit: Shutterstock
This post first appeared on Criminally Prolific.