From Beginner to Pro: A Complete Guide to Tripling Your Email Conversion Rate

emails

You’re building your email list, right?

If you’re not, you need to start today. 

Email is by far the most effective marketing channel we have today. Capterra found that the average return on $1 spent on email marketing is $44.25. Nothing else comes even close. 

Think about it: email gives you the ability to reach your current and potential customers whenever you want. An incredible 91% of people check email at least once a day. 

Having a list gives you more influence over your subscribers’ behavior and allows you to drive page views, sales, reviews, or anything else you’d like. 

Here’s the thing though: it’s not a secret anymore. More and more people and companies recognize the power of email and are gathering email addresses of their customers more aggressively. 

Buy something from a major retail store, and they’ll likely ask you for your email address. 

Regalix reported that 48% of the marketers they surveyed believe that investment in email marketing will only grow in 2015 and beyond. 

In addition, two-thirds of companies are already combining email marketing with other marketing strategies such as content marketing and social media marketing. 

All this competition is making it harder to earn the email addresses of your average Internet browser. Reports of email opt-in rates dropping across the board are increasingly common, and we will see hard data on it soon. 

Nonetheless, I firmly believe you can outperform the average, which consists of all sorts of poorly run businesses. 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to:

  • determine what your audience values
  • ask for email addresses in the right way
  • use tools to quickly gather email addresses from visitors
  • determine the optimal places to ask for email addresses

Download this complete guide to tripling your email conversion rate.

Throughout this post, I’m going to be pointing out dated and ineffective techniques so that you can develop a strategy that works. 

Learn what your audience craves

Back when email was first created, you could just ask for emails, and people would happily give them to you. 

But as I said, inboxes are getting more and more crowded. People will get 204 emails per day in 2015, and it’s projected to increase by about 3% in each subsequent year. 

This has led everyone to become more cautious about handing out their email address. If you want your audience to give you their email addresses and then engage with the emails you send, they have to do it happily and voluntarily. 

How do you get them to do that? Offer them something they want.

The concept of a lead magnet isn’t new. Give your audience a free e-book or a white report in exchange for their contact information.

What is relatively new, however, is creating a lead magnet the right way. Too many businesses blindly make the first lead magnet that comes to mind thinking that it doesn’t make a difference. But it does. 

The biggest difference between websites that get a 20% opt-in rate (although that’s rare) and those that get 3% or less is how targeted their lead magnets are. 

Create something that your visitors crave, and they’ll practically be forced to give you their emails. Create something that only some of your visitors want, or only want a little bit, and you’ll be left almost empty-handed.

I want you to create content and lead magnets that your readers will love, so I’m going to show you three different methods to determine what they crave the most. 

Method 1: Validate that your audience is interested in a topic

If you have a blog that gets consistent traffic, this will be extremely easy. 

If you want to see what your audience is most interested in, simply look at the number of times they’ve viewed each article. Additionally, you can look at the number of comments and social shares generated by the articles. 

Create a spreadsheet with all your top posts and their traffic stats over a reasonable period (at least three months).

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Sort by traffic, and you will see the topics that your specific audience cares about the most.

Then, you can create an offer around those topics. You can use this offer as a content upgrade, or you can promote it around your website. 

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Article: “22 Gmail Plugins That All Content Marketers Need to Know About”
  • Offer: Get the exact templates I use to reach out to influencers 
  • Article: “How to Make Custom Images for Your Blog Posts Without Hiring a Designer”
  • Offer: A private list of 10 designers who will create custom images for $5 per image 

Method 2: See what your competitors are offering

If you have a new site or one with few posts and low traffic levels, you can’t use Method 1. What you can do, however, is look at your competitors. 

Your most visible competitors have likely been blogging for years. You can take advantage of their experience by seeing what their audience likes the most.

Start by identifying 5-10 competitors. 

Add these to a blank spreadsheet. Next to each competitor, create a column for their main lead magnet and 5 more columns for their 5 most popular posts.

To find the main lead magnet, visit the blog (usually the Home page), and look for a highlighted area:

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Record the title and a short description (optional) in your spreadsheet.

Next, we need the most popular posts. Some bloggers will include a “Popular Posts” widget in the sidebar. Personally, I don’t trust it because it can be manipulated (and often is). 

Instead, use BuzzSumo (a free account will do) to find the most shared posts. Enter your competitor’s URL into the content explorer, and sort by total shares. 

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Record the headlines of the top 5 posts into your spreadsheet: 

Here’s what your sheet should look like. Keep going until you’ve filled it in.

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This spreadsheet has a few extremely practical applications.

First, it tells us what lead magnet each blogger has found to convert the best—at least for now (further testing could prove otherwise). 

If you were starting a blog in this space and had the background to write a short e-book titled How to Get Your First 10,000 Subscribers, you can be confident that it would convert well based on the Social Triggers’ lead magnet.

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The second application is just as useful in my opinion. One danger of simply creating a lead magnet along the same lines as the existing ones is that you could be perceived as a copycat. 

In scenario, if I’m a blogger looking for traffic and subscriber advice and come across both your site and Social Triggers, I’m probably not signing up for both. I’ll pick the one that looks most credible, which is the one on an established authority site. 

Now go back to your spreadsheet. 

You have a list of posts that resonate with the readers of your niche. Categorize all the posts to reveal the most popular general topics:

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With the limited selection of posts in my spreadsheet, I identified 4 categories:

  • Writing better (4 posts)
  • Learning why blogs succeed (2)
  • Selling online (2)
  • Increasing traffic and subscribers (2) 

Now, look at the top categories that you just identified, and look at the lead magnets offered by your competitors. Find the gap. 

It’s clear from my very limited analysis that bloggers currently care a lot about writing better. This makes sense given the shift towards higher quality content. 

Boost Blog Traffic’s Headline Hacks is about writing great headlines, but you could focus your offer on a different area of writing. You could base a lead magnet on those popular posts you recorded in that category. 

For example:

  • The 20 Words All Successful Bloggers Use in Their Writing
  • 51 Essential Time-Saving Resources for Any Blogger
  • Free e-book: The Simple Way I Write 1,000-Word High Quality Posts in an Hour 

Don’t just create another lead magnet

The biggest mistake marketers make when creating lead magnets is that they make offers that are too vague. 

You must create a useful offer that solves one specific problem in your reader’s life. 

Otherwise, you won’t make a lasting impression on your new subscriber. They’ll throw out your freebie once they go through it, and there’s a good chance they’ll unsubscribe the first chance they get. 

But if you do make a great first impression and deliver something that makes a difference in their life in the short term, they won’t forget you.

Your lead magnet can be in any format. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it:

  • is about something your reader cares about,
  • delivers massive value (high quality), and
  • accomplishes (at least) one specific thing in your subscriber’s life.

To make things crystal clear, let’s look at some examples. 

Example 1: E-books

While e-books can be great lead magnets, they can also be terrible. They don’t need to be long, but they need to address a specific topic. Too often, e-books are filled with fluff for the sake of filling pages. 

That being said, a good e-book allows you to dive into a fairly complex issue in a way that a checklist or worksheet can’t.

Michael Hyatt offers a free e-book with a very specific claim: take 10 hours off your work week. This is a great topic because you’ll see the results almost immediately.

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In addition, he’s a best-selling author and a successful person, which he highlights just before he offers the book. It’s always a good idea to establish credibility to help reduce friction.

Example 2: Free Courses

I love using free courses as a giveaway. Not only do you get your subscriber to continuously refer to your material and get more familiar with you, but you also get them into the habit of reading your emails. 

One other advantage of giving away a course is that subscribers usually perceive courses to be more valuable, so they take them more seriously. 

I give away a course on Quick Sprout in the sidebar. 

It solves one problem—getting more traffic—by showing you how to double your traffic. Note that I made a specific claim—“double your traffic”—which gives my subscribers a way to measure their progress.

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Also note that I value the course at $300. Most subscribers find this to be a reasonable amount for the value I give away in the course. 

Putting that number on the opt-in form makes the future readers more likely to subscribe. Wouldn’t you want to pay for a $300 course with an email address, which costs you nothing?

Example 3: Lists

If you’re an expert in some field, you can use your expertise to deliver massive value without spending a lot of time on an offer.

On BloggerJet, Tim Soulo offers a list of his personal top 15 tools for getting traffic and subscribers from Twitter.

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A list is easy to write as long as you know what should go into it. Since Tim has a ton of experience with Twitter marketing, this probably took him an hour or two to put together. 

There are two great things about a list like this.

First, everyone loves tools. They make life easier and often produce more reliable results than tasks done manually. 

Second, if a subscriber uses just one tool on that list, they are going to think of Tim every time they use it. It’s great for building your personal brand and getting high email open rates in the future. 

Example 4: Free Trial

What if you don’t run a blog-based business? Don’t worry—lead magnets can still work well for you. 

Any company with a product, particularly a scalable one such as software, instantly has something of value to offer: a free trial. 

Not only will this increase your initial sign-up rates but it will also increase your conversion rates down the line because people don’t like losing things they already have. 

When you express interest in Groove, for example, you don’t even have to provide any credit card information. All they ask is for your contact information in exchange for a 30-day trial.

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How to ask for email addresses in 2015

If you walked into your favorite clothing store and a sales person ran up to you screaming and waving the store’s latest deal in your face, you’d run away. The offer is important, but so is the way you present it.

The truth about pop-ups

Pop-ups are an amazing way to increase your email sign-up rate, but they can also easily piss off your visitors if you’re not careful.

The average pop-up conversion rate is 1.66%. That’s pretty good for an average. If your blog has a low to medium amount traffic, you should be able to achieve at least double that number after some optimization.

Look at how using pop-ups affected email opt-ins on a cooking blog:

image19

Can you spot when they were first introduced?

But you might be scared that pop-ups will make your visitors instantly hit the back button on their browsers. You don’t need to be. 

Some blogs find that pop-ups don’t change their bounce rate or the average time spent reading a post. 

What that says is that when implemented correctly, pop-ups aren’t annoying enough to scare away interested readers. They may scare away people who didn’t really want to read anyway, but that’s not a big loss. 

The question then becomes: how do you use pop-ups correctly? 

It comes down to 3 factors. 

Factor #1: Time until pop-up is displayed

Some readers, even if they’re loyal fans, will immediately close the window if they see a pop-up right away. 

One test found that the optimal time to show a pop-up was at 10 seconds after the page loaded:

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These are the results that you would expect. If you get surprised the second you walk in the store, you leave.

But you must test this on your own site. The guys at Authority Hacker found a different result. A test revealed that the optimal time for a pop-up on their site was right as the page loaded.

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That being said, at the time of this writing, their pop-up appears to load about 12 seconds after the page is loaded. Perhaps they had an insufficient sample size for the first test. 

Either way, the main takeaway is to always test what’s best for your business. 

Another option that can work great is to display the pop-up only when someone is about to close the page or tab in their browser. This is called exit-intent technology, and it is usually a premium feature of pop-up software. 

XeroShoes used exit-intent activated pop-ups and were able to increase their overall opt-in rate by 2.5%.

image22 

Factor #2: Frequency

If you really want to scare away your readers, show them the same pop-up every time they load a new page. 

With all pop-up software, you can set a cookie for a certain length of time. As long as a visitor doesn’t clear their cookies, they won’t see another pop-up on your site for that length of time. If you set it for at least a week, you should be fine. 

Factor #3: Ease of closing

This is arguably the most important factor. If you make it difficult to close the pop-up, people will abandon your site in droves. 

It’s not always on purpose, but any pop-up with only a small hard-to-see “x” will be hard to close. It’s mainly because readers can’t find the button. 

Even worse, some pop-ups have no obvious close button at all, only a hard-to-read link.

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Not only are these links hard to close on desktops and laptops, but they are often nearly impossible to close on mobile devices. If your blog has a large mobile audience, double-check how your pop-up shows up on mobile devices.

A safer alternative: Slide-in forms

If you’re really against pop-ups, which I do understand, you can still harness a lot of their power with slide-in offers. 

Once you scroll down a certain amount, a nifty little pop-up in the bottom right corner slides in displaying whatever text or links you choose. They only take up a fraction of the screen and don’t interfere with reading the post. However, because they move, they still draw attention based on pattern interruption. 

The best example of these are on HubSpot blog posts.

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When HubSpot first tested these slide-in forms against their standard static form at the bottom of each post, they found that the slide-in forms increased their conversions by 27%.

But be careful: these can also be a pain on mobile devices, so check them too. I’ve seen a few comments by HubSpot readers who’ve had problems with them:

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Designing a high-converting opt-in form

Regardless of whether you’re designing a static opt-in form or a pop-up of some kind, you have to apply the same principles if you want to create an opt-in that converts well.

In general, you have to consider three essentials factors: your offer, your headline, and your call to action (CTA).

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Factor #1: A valuable offer

There’s a reason that this was the first point we looked at in this article. You need something that your readers will care about enough to give their email addresses for.

Factor #2: A clear headline

This is simple but important. This is not a typical headline where you might incorporate clickbait tactics. Clearly state the title of your lead magnet, possibly preceded by “Download”, “Get a copy of”, or a similar phrase. 

Factor #3: A first person CTA

First, you need a CTA. Once your visitor inputs their email address into the text form, tell them what to do to get their freebie. 

To boost your conversion rate, write your CTA in the first person. 

Content Verve tested the first person versus second person CTAs and found that the first person CTA attracted 25% and 90% increases in clicks in two different tests.

image04

Try to write your button CTA in terms of the benefit your offer will provide. For example:

  • “Yes, I want more traffic”
  • “Show me how to get more subscribers”
  • “Give me your secrets”

On Social Triggers, Derek Halpern swaps the traditional close “x” for an entire close button. Instead of hiding it, he uses first person CTAs for both the yes and no buttons.

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Notice that in order to close the pop-up, you have to read “I reject the free e-book”, which sounds silly if you say it to yourself. This is just the latest test in a series, but I suspect it’s performing quite well.

The most effective email collecting tools

If you want to use a static opt-in form, you’ll need to have a developer design it, or you can modify templates provided by your email marketing provider (Aweber, MailChimp, etc.). 

But the most effective email collecting tools by far, as we’ve seen, are pop-ups. To implement them on your site, you will need to use a specific tool designed for this purpose. 

To cover all price ranges, I’ve chosen three options that work with WordPress. Be aware that as the price goes down, the amount of work you have to do typically goes up, and the tools become less convenient.

Option 1: Hello Bar

Hello Bar offers a lot of features to capture more emails.

Cost: The free plan covers most features. 

The pop-ups that this product makes are very simple and minimalistic. That being said, they’re fairly attractive and non-intrusive.

hellobar

The neat thing about this tool is that I use it on my blogs. It’s how I was able to grow them to over 100,000 subscribers.

Option 2: OptinMonster

Created by Syed Balkhi and Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster is an affordable mid-range pop-up tool option. 

Cost: Minimum $49/year (about $4/month) for basic features.

You can quickly create a pop-up using any of the several templates available. In addition, you can also do A/B testing, which is a great feature. This feature is included in the basic plan (typically in advanced plans in other tools).

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Option 3: LeadPages

It’s one of the most comprehensive email collection tools out there. 

Cost: Minimum $25/month for basic features. 

LeadPages software is very well designed, but it costs a lot more than other pop-up options because you’re paying for other features as well.

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Originally, LeadPages existed to help you create high-converting landing pages. They only expanded to pop-up technology once they saw the need for it.

If you go with the basic plan (you can’t just get the pop-up tool on its own), you also get unlimited landing pages. If you have many domains or regularly create landing pages, it’s a solid option.

The best places to ask for email addresses

There’s one last piece of the puzzle missing: where to ask for your readers’ email addresses.

The traditional way is the sidebar. You don’t need a sign-up form in the sidebar. Most forms placed there will get a subscription rate of about 0.4%. Even a well done sidebar form only converts at about 1%. 

I’m not saying you can’t have one, just be aware that it isn’t really necessary and will only make up a small fraction of your signups. 

1. The Home page

A large portion of your traffic will end up on your Home page. Most of that traffic will come from other parts of your website, which means that the visitors were interested in exploring it further. 

These readers can be converted very easily with a “feature box.” A feature box is simply a large area near the top of your homepage that stands out and clearly asks for a reader to opt in.

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2. In blog posts

Most of the traffic a website gets is to individual blog posts. So, it makes sense to ask for email addresses there.

The problem with sidebar forms is that they are often ignored. But content isn’t.

If you make your offer somewhere within the content, it will get seen more often and convert higher. 

The first place to start is after your post. If someone reads it to the end, they are clearly interested in what you have to say. This makes it the perfect time to offer them something more, whether it’s more content or some sort of bonus.

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But you don’t necessarily have to wait that long to ask for a signup. You can configure your pop-up to show up after a certain amount of time, or you can simply use a link in the content to trigger your pop-up manually:

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This way, you can mention your bonus when it’s most appropriate.

3. The About page

Look at your site analytics. The About page often gets a significant amount of traffic. 

Like with the Home page, anyone who navigates to your About page usually likes what they’ve read. They’re just looking for some more background on you and the site to make sure you’re credible. 

This is a great time to ask for their email address. In fact, often you don’t even need to offer anything other than your content and expertise in order to get high conversion rates.

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The secret to exploding your conversion rates

One word: relevance.

When we came up with lead magnet ideas in the first section of this article, we looked at the topics that were most popular with your readers. That’s because the more popular a topic was, the relevant it was to your readers’ issues. 

But what if you could achieve that level of relevance for every post?

This is the principle behind content upgrades and the reason why they can achieve conversion rates of 20% or more on certain posts. 

You create a highly relevant offer for the topic discussed in your post and then offer it somewhere in the post as well as at the end.

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For example, I could create either of the following upgrades for this post:

  • “See the exact conversion rates of all existing and past Quick Sprout opt-in forms”
  • “Free video: Walkthrough of the exact layout I use to get 10%+ opt-in rates”

Those are just hypothetical examples, but wouldn’t you want to give me your email address at this point for either of those (assuming I don’t already have it)?

The upside is an increase in your conversion rates. The downside is that you need to spend more time creating your lead magnets. 

If you create simple content upgrades, they won’t provide much value. They won’t be as effective at keeping you in your subscribers’ minds as targeted content upgrades would, possibly leading to lower email engagement later on. 

If you really want to maximize your conversion rates, you’ll have to spend a decent amount of time creating content upgrades for each post. If you’re putting in 10 or so hours into creating each post anyway, spending another one or two hours for a lot of extra subscribers is worth it. 

One compromise is to create a few different comprehensive lead magnets (e.g., a free course) on the two to four most popular topics that you’ll be writing about often. That way, you’ll always have a relevant offer without having to create a new one every time. You’ll still get great conversion rates, but they’ll be a bit lower than if you had a specific offer for each post.

Derek Halpern has caught on to this strategy and developed three comprehensive lead magnets on different topics that he can promote when appropriate.

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Finally, you can always combine the two strategies. There are no fixed rules on what you can offer.

Conclusion

Optimizing your email opt-in rate is not easy—I never said it would be. 

But those of you who take the concepts and strategies in this article to heart—and apply them—will get rewarded. 

If your blog gets 10,000 visitors a month, even a modest 2% increase in your email opt-in rate would be an extra 200 subscribers a month, or 2,400 a year. 

If you treat your list right, that could easily be worth over $10,000.

That should really be the only incentive you need to spend a few hours evaluating your current set up and improving it. 

Remember to use your judgement. Always consider how your audience might react to any specific tactic you implement, and test! Find what works on your site using the guidelines I’ve given you in this article. 

One last thing: I’d appreciate it if you left me a comment below, letting me know what your current email opt-in rate is. Then come back in a few weeks after you’ve implemented this advice to let me know how much it’s increased.

If you want to break through to real profits online, you need some serious firepower. For a limited time I’m sharing some select tips and tricks Amazon, Microsoft, NBC & Hewlett Packard paid thousands of dollars per hour for, FREE.
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Comments

  1. Hey Neil, thanks for the mention and allow me to reply on the pop up timing. First of all the 2 graphs are ours, second the 2nd one is the most accurate and was tested on 5000+ opt ins.

    On page load works better if the pop up is the only opt in form you use to capture emails.

    If you have opt ins like we have on the top of most posts, 10 seconds gets lower conversions from the pop up but higher conversions overall as a lot of the people that would opt in on the “page load” pop up opt in on the top of post offer.

    Hope that makes sense and thanks again for featuring us.

    • Gael, it was so helpful for you to elaborate and share some more insights. Looking forward to hearing much more from you. If you have anything else you’d like so share please let me know.

    • Julie Syl Kalungi :

      Thanks Gael , this is great, answers my Qn n Pop ups. I have tried avoiding them for a while yet cant really completely ignore their use.

      Wow Neil What a comprehensive Article. Indeed a lot of people keep asking why they aren’t getting many optins via their sidebars. I always tell them they must leverage their content…add an optin or 2 what’s the point of giving great content and not asking for that email! And where you suggest we put the optin makes sense. If someone is not just perusing…they will optin as they get to the end of riveting Post like this 🙂
      Cheers

    • Leonardo "List Building Master" LaVito :

      Thanks Gael for the insight and clarification for that. :O

      That really explains it. 🙂

  2. Eric @ HowYouMakeMoneyOnline.com :

    As always thanks for this useful information Neil. I am starting out my website and following your advice and it makes a difference! I love online marketing and learning all these topics. Building a list I can see is the biggest reward for internet marketing, I will follow this guide for sure.

    • Eric, glad you found it helpful. If you have any other feedback or have some insights please let me know.

  3. Nice post Neil was just wondering if you can get a glance on my site I used these trick so you can analyse nd guide me make it more good not receive much emails yet!

  4. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for sharing, it’s a great post, and definitely give me ideas in building multiple lead magnets.

    Rayner

  5. Rajkaran Singh :

    Hi Neil. Great information as usual.
    I planned e-books as give away but liked your suggestion for the free course. Also, I had doubts about pop-ups but now it is clear. I hope to do well with these improvements. Thanks.

  6. Thanks a lot Neil. I am not using Email Marketing. After reading I got lots of ideas about Email marketing. Your expatiation is too good and easy 2 understand.I got new thing about sale, reviews and more .. One again thanks for sharing useful post..

    Thanks
    Webleonz

  7. Alex Schulko :

    Neil, this is beyond informative and of great value! I made sure to share this with our internal CRO team as were always avid followers of your content, or at least I am, then jamming it down their throats to read 😉

    Please keep more great content like this coming. And personally, I cannot wait for your next $100,000 per month blog post!

    Kind regards from an avid follower!

    Alex Schulko

  8. Hi Neil,

    Great stuff as usual.

    1. Would you recommend double optin to build a list or should I take that option out? Pehaps it all depends on the lead mangnet or how badly your new subscriber wants it…

    2. In one of your earlier posts used there was an animated screen shot. What tool you used for that

    All the best,
    B

    • Mr Bela, great questions.

      1. I would honestly just test to see what works best.

      2. I actually had a designer set up a custom template.

  9. Syed Balkhi :

    Thanks a lot for the love for OptinMonster Neil. This is a very comprehensive write up that I’ll definitely be referring a lot of new users too 🙂

  10. Hello neil Thank you for sharing, it’s a great post

  11. I had to take a deep breath when read about the return of $44 per $1 spent. It’s a wow. I knew e-mail marketing is a big hit but this number is really really big. I have to dive into this marketing channel.

  12. Ricky @ PurePirate.com :

    Neil, This is really helpful info (as always)! Just installed HelloBar about two weeks ago and offered a discount code / email opt-in combo since my site is an ecommerce site and people like to shop with coupons. The opt-in rate was 2%, though I would say it was closer to 10% who applied the coupon code and didn’t input their email in to HelloBar. I’m still testing it and have increased the % on the coupon code, which will be delivered once they opt-in. Hopefully this work and I will follow up with another comment here in a couple of weeks. Thanks again!

  13. Mohit Chauhan :

    Loved the post and very well told…!
    Thanks

  14. Nathan Argenta :

    WOW this is a great post on improving your email conversion rate and most important improving your email subscribers from the # of people who visit your website. I will be implementing these tips and tools for sure… Thank you! 🙂

  15. Hi Neil,

    It´s like you read my mind and always cover the topics where I´m at! Almost like you read my blog for inspration 🙂 The upside is that I learn A LOT, the downside is that you´ll out rank my posts easily even tough I´m getting better at creating quality content.

    This was exactly what I was looking for now, some guidens on how to monetize my blog for more subscribers. I have all the optin forms mentioned in place but what I needed was some tips on what to offer in exchange for their email.

    Thanks man!

    I would be honered if you paid a visit to my site and maybe left some feedback if and when you have the time. http://meandyoumarketing.com

    Will work on creating an irresistible lead magnet right away. My current optin rate is somewhat 0,5% on page. I recetnly switched from pop up to slide in form and does not have enough data on that one yet. The pop up optin rate was just under 1%

    Thanks again Neil!

    • Jesper, it looks like you are doing a lot of things great. I would consider checking out your conversion funnel to see how you can optimize.

      • Awesome, thanks for your reply! Feels good to hear when it sometimes feels like walking in the dark.

        I had a sales funnel for an e-book I created a while back where I gave it away for free. The e-book was a complement for an affiliate offer I was promoting.

        Right now i´m just working on building my list and to create good content that I can reconstruct into a product later.

        I just have a small follow up series for now and notify them about new posts and occasionally on a new product launch.

        It feels like it´s only one small part missing, “the revenue part” and having a hard time figuring it out.

  16. Abdullah saeed :

    Hey once again you have done it again Email marketing is like a hidden treasure 🙂 Thank you Mr big guy !

  17. Tara Jacobsen :

    Wow! Thank you so much for including a link to my “pretty leadpages” page!! This is an AMAZING resource…SOOO sharing it with all my peeps!

  18. Hi Neil,

    thanks, once more for very informative post about e mail marketing .I always getting good knowledge from your post and am learning new thing every times.

    thanks

  19. David Throop :

    Neil,
    As always you hit it out of the park. I’ve read a lot of your stuff and you’re consistent with the importance of email – yet for some reason I haven’t really explored it.

    I did have an email sign-up for a couple weeks on a new blog but did about everything possible wrong – no lead magnet, no real positioning other than in the side bar. My results? Surprise! Nothing.

    I’ll have to plan a better strategy, figure a lead magnet and I really like the idea you shared of positioning an opt-in at the bottom of the content.

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. Shubham Dubey :

    Very Informative and a lot of takeaways. I’m sure above recommendation brings more traffic and create better ROI for the business. Thanks, Neil.

  21. Great post, Neil! I’m using Optinmonster. The exit-intent pop up converts at around 6% for me. I have e banner in the sidebar which triggers a pop up after a click and it converts at 35%. Mobile pop up (showing up at 50 seconds, but will now try at 0 and 10) converts at 4,50%.

    I have a question though..

    What is the ideal (minimum) number of visitors needed to test efficaciously an opt-in form before taking a decision? 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 visitors or even more?

    Thanks.

    • Gabriele, it all depends on your niche and what you are comfortable with — just go from there and figure it out.

  22. Adam george :

    Great timing on this post. Just started to concentrate on getting more email subscribers, so the post is a big help.
    Thanks Neil.

    All the best Adam

  23. Opt-in rate is about 1.5%. Having a simple sign-up form at the bottom of each page got no subscribers, so I set up SumoMe which provides pop-ups. I don’t have anything to bribe readers with currently so I’ll probably cruise right around 1%-1.5%.

  24. Justin Bryant :

    Excellent post as usual, Neil! I actually use categorized opt in forms, hello bars, etc.

    I love your idea of taking your post popular posts and categorizing them using a spreadsheet instead of just guessing or winging it.

    Combining that with popups, hello bars, and in-post lead magnets that are relevant by post category, you can get a ton of emails!

  25. I actually just started tracking (1.5 months ago) my e-mail conversions using Google Analytics and I am right around 2%-3% for my website.

    What has worked REALLY well for me has been content upgrades and a pop-up that currently shows up around 20 seconds. I played around with the 10 seconds a month ago and noticed my overall Bounce Rate going up when I did this so I switched it to 20 seconds about 2 days ago.

    I’ll test if this has an effect on my Bounce Rate.

    This is one of those posts I need to print out and frame … and it certainly looks like something Bryan Harris of Videofruit would write. I love both blogs anyway !

    Thanks Neil.

  26. Woooo..!!!

    you are the best neil… 🙂 really it is awesome.

  27. Great article Neil. Your article are always very informative and each time I read the blog I get amazed by your ability to write such meticulously researched articles.

  28. Waqar Ahmed :

    Hi Neil,
    Great Post. It’s time to have optinmonster now.
    Best regards,
    Waqar

  29. Hi Neil,Great post as always
    i have been using thrive leads plugin for a while now and i also found that page load popup works better than 10 sec delay and exit intent combined.need more testing though.
    Also you forgot to mention Thrive Leads.It is a great plugin

  30. Hey Neil,

    Would you mind sharing the tool you use for your screenshots (e.g. for the Buzzsumo screenshot)? What editing tool do you use to put the arrows & text in?

    Thanks! (Great post, btw.)

    Cheers,
    Jonatahn

  31. Dennis Seymour :

    Love the tips Neil!

    I can attest to most of the things you mentioned, except the homepage as I haven’t gotten the opportunity to play with that yet.

    A custom lead magnet for each post has definitely performed the best for me besides using popups. Also, a dedicated optin page where they voluntarily click converts the best though it is lesser in terms of volume.

    Sharing this out. Top QUALITY as always 🙂

  32. Rahul Sharma :

    Hey Neil,

    I don’t have a knowledge about “Email Marketing” but after reading your blog i really wondering to use your email conversion tips. Thank for sharing this wonderful techniques. I am going to use your “Hello Bar” on my personal Blog.

    Have a Good Day!

    @AMRahulSharma

  33. Nathan Williams :

    Hey Neil,

    Great post as always and provided tons for me to think about. I stopped being excessively dumb a few weeks ago and finally created a lead magnet (25 page eBook). My site-wide opt in conversion has gone from 1% to 4%. I can probably increase this further by experimenting with popups but the increase is dramatic and of course I am kicking myself for not creating the LM years ago!

    • Nathan, it’s okay — as long as you start doing the right things now you are good. Keep me up to date on progress!

  34. Hi Neil,
    Usually I don’t like to comment unless it is necessary. Your post has made me to do so. Am glade enough to come across this post. It’s completely fascinating. Your detailing to these stuff is as it’s best. Would you like to make another post rather of the same sense but different purpose ? I run a website regarding online news portal. This website is full of day to day news and in the same time I would like to increase it’s revenue. I don’t want to advertise my website on others but would like others to advertise on my site.

    I would be glade if you post a blog something like “How Can I Get Businesses to Advertise on My Website?” or “Free Ways To Get Businesses to Advertise on My Website”

    Last word sorry for putting some grammatical error in my comments.

    Have a nice day (-_-)

    Cheers,
    Kazi Sayan

  35. Thanks for sharing a well written and easy to understand step by step article. You are amazing! I would like to ask your opinion on this optin; I have an online business that I sell my own Organic Skincare Range.

    My lead magnet was to receive ‘free’ samples of my products to try before the customer would buy. What happened was that all these freebie sites found me and started sending my link to all their subscribers that look for free stuff. The result was that I received approx. 3000 subscribers the first time and about 2500 the second time requesting free samples. They weren’t interested in buying, just interested in receiving the free samples. How could I overcome this problem? I really want to have my lead magnet as the free samples for my potential customers to try but am afraid this will happen again as it has happened twice already. Any advice would be grateful as I have now taken down the optin box.
    Thanks,
    Jeannette

    • Jeannette, if the free samples are physical products then it’s hard to overcome this. Sometimes that’s why it’s best to offer e-books or things that don’t cost you as much to produce.

      • Thanks for the advice Neil. I will be sure to try this out! It’s a shame that it’s difficult to use my physical samples as a lead magnet! 🙂

  36. Tim Felmingham :

    I use the Thrive Leads plugin.The Pop-up is currently converting at about 2.5%, and the end of post optin converts at about 1%. The old favourite top-of-sidebar form is less than 1%.

    I also use Thrive Content builder to build opt-in landing pages as I find this far better than LeadPages if you’re a WordPress user — I wrote about this in detail here: http://timfelmingham.com/leadpages-alternative-thrive-content-builder-wordpress-landing-page-plugin/

    One thing I have observed is that when testing, you need to run a LOT of data before you can make meaningful comparisons of the effectiveness of different pop-up delay times as visitor behaviour fluctuates quite a lot anyway because of the variations in traffic. I recommend testing with at least 50 signups before making any judgements. Thrive Leads does this split-testing for you automatically though.

  37. Trevor Page :

    Hey Neil,

    What plugin / app do you use to create your popups on QuickSprout? I can’t find any software that has the two-step optin process.

  38. Hi Neil, the timing of your post is perfect. I am about to start my list building efforts and this article is a good guide for me. I am thinking of creating an e-book as an offer but your other options are all great. Maybe I would test what will work like what you suggested.

  39. Hello Neil,

    I have a question. It might look silly. I am collecting email address on my blog and I was wondering how much email subscribers should I have to start mailing them. Is there any number for that like 100, 200, 300, 500 or 1000?

  40. If someone responds to a newsletter e-mail, the sender will automatically added to a semi-whitelist, so inbox rate increases a lot in the future.

    I saw Kris Gunnars from authoritynutrition.com asking his subscriber to respond to their e-mail “in order to make sure they really received it”.

    What do you think about this strategy?

  41. Nilantha Jayawardhana :

    Very informative and step by step guide for beginners. Thanks Neil.

    E-mail marketing is the modern day version of the traditional method of advertising through mailers and fliers sent through the post to multiple recipients. Physical mail has now been replaced by the broadcasting of emails in both B2B and B2C areas of business. Eventually, E-mail marketing promises potentially high results if executed flawlessly.

    The first step of Email marketing is cultivating an email list full of targeted, engaged subscribers. According to my experiences, OptinMonster and Bloom are the best WordPress plugins to collect subscribers quickly and easily.

    http://www.woblogger.com/6-highly-effective-email-subscription-plugins-for-wordpress/

    • Nilantha, those are all great tools — thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  42. Love this post! I hope this helps me with my new site 🙂

  43. Filip Van Houte :

    Thrive leads is also a very inexpensive plugin (about 50 dollars) and has a lot of great options.

  44. tejas gavhane :

    great post sir however I will like to see you writing on tpoic how to hire bloggers as I don’t know how to write please sir. thank you

  45. Hi Neil,
    very nice post. Through this post I got some effective tool. Thank you.

  46. This is just an awesome post.

  47. Paul Anderson :

    For me Email marketing is very important but in eCommerce industry it doesn’t give that much conversion as expected

  48. Your blogs are always informative and interesting. I really enjoyed while reading your post. Thanks for sharing your views and tips with us.

  49. Hi Neil,

    Again a great post by the industry expert. I am constantly working to increase my email opt-in rate and have got quite good improvements in it. As your marketing strategy is rock-solid so i am surely going to follow the above mentioned strategy and points. Thanks for sharing such informative post.

  50. Murtaza Saeed :

    Has anyone found out a way to ensure that the subscribers get the emails via mass mailing sites (e.g. mailchimp) do not end up in the Promo folders or get filtered out by the ISPs?

  51. Neil, this is more than great and step-by-step, I always come to this site knowing to grow every skill I need for keeping my blog alive. Thanks Neil

  52. You give me some ideas about Email marketing.
    Thanks a lot Neil.

  53. Healthcoach Cathy :

    Hi Neil – This post is perfect timing, since I am in the process of moving my list over to AWeber because of it’s greater flexibility than MailChimp. In the process, I want to focus on adding subscribers. I found your advice to ditch the long newsletter format and send a simple text email wiht your latest posts to be absolutely liberating! Now I am sending one out every 2 weeks (certainly an improvement over every 2 months) and I am implementing your other suggestions. Can’t wait to see the results. You’re the best!

  54. Thanks for another great post Neil! We are currently going through some major changes and your post convinced us about the importance of building a list so this is definitely something that we’ll implement asap. Keep it up with these gold nuggets!

  55. Mohammad Naeem :

    As usual amazing post, posted by amazing man!
    At first i thought that E-Mail Marketing is a flop idea. But now after reading your article it just cleared my misconception. You always helped me and you always gave me response when i message you. Now, I am getting some knowledge in blogging. Keep it Up and Post more Articles that help us to increase our blog traffic as well as revenue.
    Regards,
    Mohammad Naeem Ramzani

  56. Cloris Kylie :

    Neil, thank you for another post filled with useful information. No matter how full my inbox is, I always look forward to receiving your blog post announcements!

  57. Sherman Smith :

    Hey Neil,

    This is great bookmarking and reference material here. I’ve read quite a few posts about increasing your subscriber rate but you put it all in one post which is great so that we all don’t have to spend a lot of time all over the internet to piece it all together. We can do it all in one shot.

    Thanks for sharing Neil ! Have a great rest of the week!

  58. Bill PerouKaneas :

    Hi Neil,

    It’s well written and easy to understand article. I think email conversion rate really matters for any business.

    Thanks
    Bill PerouKaneas

  59. Scott McDonough :

    Hi Neil,
    Another great post as usual.I can’t believe how many ways there are to create popular content from careful research and use it to influence a person to join my list.
    I will be trying these strategies from tomorrow to grow my business.

    Thanks for your insight, Scott

  60. Nilantha Jayawardhana :

    Thanks Neil. Very useful post.

    Email marketing is a powerful one to many online marketing strategy that can generate amazing results at relatively low costs. Email marketing can be broken down into transactional emails, direct emails and trigger emails. Each type can be very effective and be part of a highly successful campaign.

    The first step of email marketing is cultivating an email list full of targeted, engaged subscribers. But, without a highly effective email subscription plugin, ability to build an effective email list is going to be seriously hindered.

    http://www.woblogger.com/6-highly-effective-email-subscription-plugins-for-wordpress/

    After, we selected the right optin tool, we should design the optin forms to get more productivity.

    I like your step by step guidance to create an effective, highly converting optin forms.

    In my blog, I offer a free ebook to my new subscribers. It increased my daily subscriber rate. I got about 10-15 email subcribers per day, before I offer the ebook. I could increase my daily subscriber rate to 20-25 subscribers per day.

    • Nilantha, glad you found it helpful. I think it’s important to record and mark KPIs to sustain future success. Thanks for the tips.

  61. Hi Neil,

    What a brilliant article, thank you! It’s given me so many ideas of what to do with my website. I’ve been trying with email marketing for a while but not had much success. I’ve just added a pop up so your article has given me what I needed to take that further, including what to actually offer! I’d never have thought to have an opt in on the about page so that’s my first change.

    Thanks again!

  62. This must be the most detailed guide I’ve seen yet,
    Thanks so much for this! It’s opened up a lot of doors for me to work with.

  63. Great post Neil sir. I have just launched http://www.designertale.com as a blog for graphic designers and web developers. I have just created an account with Aweber and implememted it. But how will I get more subscribers. Please help.

    Amiya

    • Amiya, create lead pages and work on getting great content out.

      • Sir I have signed up to aweber and also integrate those on my posts. Can you please suggest me how will search my niche because I am a logo designer and I want to share tips,tricks,guide and freebies. Please help to find the niche keywords. I use goodle adwards tool and I found hardly any competition on keywords like ‘ Questions to ask your client as a logo designer’. No one searches for this but its crucial to know become a sucessful freelancer. My main problem is what keyword should I use for this type of posts I think to create. Please help sir.

  64. Leonardo "List Building Master" LaVito :

    Great post on maxing your your email conversion rates. And tons of cool tools, tips and tricks for me to implement too. Thanks so much! Always amazing! 😀

  65. Neil,

    Thank you a lot for taking the time for you to share such a good information. I in fact choose to reading your post.

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