What have I learned after spending dozens of hours reading dozens of posts on list building?
I have learned that Money is in the list.
You might have also read this many times…
You have not started building your list yet….
Because you are growing your audience on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest, right?
First, you will build your audience there and THENNN you will pay attention to building your email list.
This is what Jon Morrow wrote in one of his posts,
“Ignore social networks entirely in the beginning.
Wait until you have 1,000 blog subscribers
before you even think about building up a following somewhere else.“
What are you waiting for?
The biggest regret of most bloggers, which I have come across, is that they started building their email list TOO LATE...
The good news is that…
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel….
Just do what works for other people and you’ll most likely get the same results.
I going to show you insanely practical list building strategies and techniques that you use to grow your email list exponentially.
But First, let me ask a question.
Why you must build an email list?
You may already have a full-time job…
And the thing is….
You don’t have freaking time and you certainly don’t have time to send newsletters to your subscribers.
This is what Neil Patel says,
“Out of all the channels, I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.“
I read a post on SocialTriggers in which Derek Halpern says,
“If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.“
When it comes to blogging and online business, building an email list should be your top priority.
But let me tell you…
Building an email list is worth it because you will be in constant contact with your subscribers even if some social media platform makes changes to algorithms.
Think of this in this way, when you are growing your audience on social media then you are building your house on someone’s land. You don’t own it.
And nobody would want to do that…
The thing is that when you build your email list then you are the one who owns it….
And one thing that I want to admit right off the bat is….
I have read that it is freaking hard to build an email list…
So, I would recommend writing your WHY down on a piece of paper.
Whether it is to quit your full-time job or it is to support your family by making some extra money online, WRITE IT DOWN.
So now know you know your why so let’s get to the next step.
The Necessary Step
The thing is…
We all are surrounded by distractions….
It is very easy to lose focus…
Now to keep yourself focused, you need to set goals and deadlines.
I like to write all the things on paper. So I have written my goals and deadlines on paper.
I read this paper every single day. Once when I wake up in the morning and once when it is the time to sleep in the night.
But there is an easier way to keep yourself focused, just install Listgoal. It is a google chrome extension by Brian harris.
It helps you set goals and keeps track of your progress. I would highly recommend installing this.
30+ List Building Strategies
1. Perhaps the most popular list building strategy nowadays
Literally, everybody is using it.
Content upgrades work extremely well. This is by far the best list building strategy for many bloggers.
For those of you who don’t know what exactly a content upgrade is, It is the post of content that is offered as a bonus in exchange for the email.
It can be a;
2. Extra resource
4. Cheat sheet.
There is another way and that is if your post is long like this one, then cut it in half and offer the other half in exchange for the email.
Let me give you some examples of content upgrades.
1. This one is from Brian Dean of Backlinko.
Brian wrote a blog post on google ranking factors and then he offered a checklist as a bonus.
This post is really long (almost 6000 words) and it must be difficult for people to remember these factors and so Brian offered a solution to them.
This box was at the top of the post.
And this box was at the bottom of the post.
2). This one is from Melyssa Griffin. I was reading her post on writing About Page and she offered worksheets to work with.
There were two identical boxes and again one was at the top and the other one was at the bottom of the post.
3). This one is from Mariah Coz from femtrepreneur.co
The title of her post was Course Launch Collateral.
The thing I liked about this content upgrade was that she was actually encouraging people to download cheatsheet.
Now you should go to google analytics and identify your top 10 blogs post.
Then create content upgrades that are specific to each of those blog posts. Meaning you’ll need to create 10 content upgrades.
But if you don’t have time then add content upgrades to at least 3 to 5 blog posts.
You can read detailed post on content upgrade plugins by Adam Connell.
Now take a look at my Content Upgrade. You will get a checklist and 7 more list buildings hacks not mentioned in this post.
2. Write Epic content
Well, I have to admit….
I am not Seth Godin and neither do you….
So, don’t try to copy Seth Godin. Nobody is going to read your blog if you are publishing 300 words long post.
You need to produce epic content. Just take a look at the posts that you have bookmarked.
What is so special about them?
One thing that I can say for sure is that these posts have been really helpful to you. These posts have taught you something or they have solved your problems.
These posts are not 300 hundred words posts that nobody wants to read.
Jon Morrow said in the same post, the one which I mentioned earlier,
“In my opinion, no beginning blogger
should be publishing anything under 1,000 words.
And really, 2,000 words should be your goal.“
Conclusion: Stop producing crappy content. Create long form content that is actually helpful to your targeted audience and don’t forget to add content upgrades to posts.
3. Full-Screen CTAs
This is the CTA which covers the whole page when someone visits your site.
Let me give you some examples,
This is one from QuickSprout. This was created using Hello Bar.
Neil was using exit intent technology so this CTA appeared when I was about to leave the site
This one is from Backlinko.
I am using Welcome Mat by SumoMe.
You might have seen that when you visited my site.
It is very easy to setup. Just install SumoMe and activate Welcome Gate.
You can choose from free templates. In the description, just write something that speaks directly to your ideal audience.
These two Welcome Mats are from Jeff Bullas. He was doing split testing.
Take a look at this.
4. The Usually Misunderstood Popup
Many bloggers don’t use popups because they think that they will be annoying visitors by showing these popups.
I just recently read the study done by SumoMe and published by Aweber.
It shows that the ideal time to ask people for emails is 5 seconds after they visit your site. But if you show the popup after 10 or 20 seconds then far fewer people signup.
So, if you fall into the category of people who do not use popups out of fear of annoying visitors then you should stop fearing because data is showing the opposite.
5. Exit intent popup – Less intrusive one
If you still think, you’ll be annoying your visitors by showing them the popup 5 seconds after they land on your site.
Then use this strategy…
This is the popup which appears when the visitor moves their mouse towards the back button.
These popups are called Exit intent pop-ups. These pop-ups are less intrusive ones.
You can easily setup this kind of pop-up using MailMunch.
I am also using this Pop-up on my site.
Here’s how that looks,
6. Scroll box – Lesser intrusive one
If you are still unwilling to use the pop-up on your site, you can use this one.
This is even the lesser intrusive one.
This is the scroll box from CoSchedule.com
Scroll box usually appears when the visitor has scrolled down a certain percentage of the page.
Most list building plugins offer this type of form including SumoMe.
7. Upside-Down Homepage
Now you may be wondering what an upside-down homepage is?
It is a homepage which has navigation bar only in the footer.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean by this…
Look at the homepage of Noah Kagan from Okdork.
Shane from Thrive themes created a replica of the Upside-down homepage of neilpatel.com.
You can also create homepages like these using thrive landing pages.
8. Offer irresistible incentive
Let me show you an example of an irresistible incentive.
I was reading a post on CoSchedule’s blog when I came across this,
This is certainly an irresistible incentive. The key here is to give them a very strong reason to join your email list.
Give your readers something that they would even be willing to pay for if you were not so generously giving it away for free.
9. Do guest posting wisely
People spend hours and hours on writing guest posts and when I click on the links in the author description, they almost always lead me to the homepage. This really frustrates me….You spent hours and hours just to increase your page views…
Wiser approach would be to add a link to a landing page. You should offer something as a content upgrade.
Let me give you an example of this,
I was reading a post on copyblogger on Pinterest marketing by Beth Hayden and I came across this.
This is the link to the landing page.
So whenever you write a guest post don’t forget to do it wisely.
10. Invite everyone you know to join email list
In Pat Flynn‘s 0 to 100 emails challenge….
In the webinar hosted by Bryan Harris…
Literally, I feel like everyone is asking me to ask my friends and family to join my email list.
He told this strategy there. It works like this…
Tell everyone you know that you have started a newsletter and ask them if they will be interested in joining it. You just simply need to email them.
These will be your greatest supporters as all of them already know you.
11. The “Poster Boy” formula
A few days ago I read a post on video fruit and I really liked it.
Here’s how it work, (This is written in the post on videofruit.com)
1. Pick a target – Choose a company with your target audience
2. Document Everything – Record one big win with their product or service.The more details the better.
3. Let them know – Let them know your results. Give them the detailed information on your success.
4. Prepare for traffic – Give away a high value downloadable on your site in order to the traffic.
You can read the detailed post here.
12. Ask your subscribers to share to get more from you
SmartBribe is yet another amazing product from Brian Harris.
Here’s what the site says,
1. Identify the most popular awesome free thing you give away on your website.
2. Setup a SmartBribe to give away something even more awesomer on the thank you page in exchange for people telling their friends about you.
3. Once your peeps tell their friends about you (via Twitter and email) they’ll get the more awesomer thing.
13. Hello bar
It is an amazing tool to grow email and it also happens to be free.
Hello Bar lets you create a full-width bar that is placed on the top of your website.
You can use that bar to promote your newsletter, ebook or just your best content.
You can also create a full-screen CTA, a popup and also a scroll box using Hello Bar.
What else do you want? Is this not enough to convince you to start using this tool?
Let me give you some examples of full-width bars.
This one is from Jeff Bullas. Look at the top of the site. You can see a green button with some text on it’s left side.
Jeff Bullas created this bar using SumoMe.
I am also using this bar on my site.
I am already using SumoMe for Sharing Buttons and Welcome Mat so I did not use Hello Bar.
If you have SumoMe already installed on your site then you don’t need to use Hello Bar.
But there is one downside. SumoMe gives you far less free templates than Hello Bar does.
I would say that you should give Hello Bar a try and don’t forget to try all of its features.
10 Website Tweaks You Should Make
Next 10 list building strategies also happened to be simple website tweaks.
Scroll down to read them.
14. Add Social Proof
Have your ever wondered why almost everyone shows some form of social proof?
The answer is….
It increases conversion rate.
But what if you don’t have big numbers like this to show,
This one is from SocialTriggers.com
And what if you have not been featured on sites like these,
This one is from Meera Kothand.
Then what would you do?
The answer is….
You can use comments on your guest posts or on the posts on your site as testimonials.
You can also use twitter mentions as well.
But don’t forget to ask for permission.
15. Get More Subscribers by Changing this Thing
If I tell you that you can get more subscribers by just changing the color of one element on your site…
Will you believe me?
You just need to choose a different color for the CTA buttons. This color should pop up better on the background of your web page. I would recommend that you choose a color for CTA that has not been used anywhere on the page
Take a look at my site. I am currently testing with Yellow color.
You can also watch this video by Derek Halpern.
16. Create a dedicated newsletter page
Here is list of things you should include,
1. Tell them what they can expect to receive in return for their email address. Don’t forget to mention an opt-in freebie if you are offering one.
2. Show them social proof
Here are two examples for you,
The first example is of BlogTyrant.
This example is from Robbie Richards.
17. Add Link to newsletter page
What is the point of creating a separate page for the newsletter if you are not going to send visitors to that page?
Just link to the newsletter page from the navigation bar.
18. Stop Using these words
“Join my Newsletter“
The Internet is flooded with these words so these words do not really catch the attention of the readers.
Also, these words do not speak directly to your ideal readers so it will be better to replace them with words that speak directly to your reader.
Lastly, don’t you feel that these words demand some sort of commitment from the person entering email?
19. Use these instead
“GET FREE UPDATES“
“GiMME THE FREE EBOOK“
“LET’S DO THIS!“
“SEND ME NEW POSTS“
“JOIN FOR FREE“
“Get INSTANT ACCESS“
These CTAs are weird but fun and enticing and your readers also don’t feel like they are going to commit to something.
Also, notice how these words speak directly to the reader. Tell your readers exactly what value are you offering in exchange for their email and make a CTA around that.
20. Add this button to comment section
I was reading a post on Entrepreneurs-journey.com and I noticed this:
Follow the simple rule:
“Make it insanely easy for people to sign-up to your email list”
A Very small fraction of people comments on your blog.
Those who leave comments are mostly the people who liked your post so they are very likely to sign up to your email list.
You just need to give them a right push.
With Newsletter Sign-Up plugin you can add this option to the comments. You should be using native WordPress commenting system.
I have also added tick box in my comment section. You can scroll down to see that.
21. Page for your first-time commenters
There is another way to convert commenters into email subscribers.
1. Set up a thank you page for commenters
2. Install Comment Redirect and redirect your first-time commenters to the thank you page
3. On thank you page, tell the reader why he should join your email list and add a signup form to join the email list.
4. Don’t forget to say thank you to the reader.
After reading this post, just take a few seconds and comment on this post. Something will happen.
22. Opt-in at the end of the post
Take a look at the opt-in form at the end of this post, I set that up using Optin Forms plugin.
Very few people actually make it to the end of the post.
They have already spent time reading your post.
They have probably liked your content….
Because that makes sense…
and so they are more likely to signup, you just need to give them a chance.
23. Add opt-in form to the About page
Just give a chance to the people who want to know more about you.
Why miss on these potential subscribers?
7 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Social Media
24. Add social media sharing buttons
You will be missing a lot of traffic and thus a lot of leads if you have not added social media buttons to your blog posts.
You need to make it easy for your readers to share your posts.
Luckily, there is a free way to do this. Just install SumoMe on your site and enable SHARE.
25. Use facebook to grow email list
I know you don’t want to miss this one.
You can convert your Facebook fans into email subscribers by adding a SIGN UP button to your Facebook page.
Here is the example of Michael Hyatt.
Look at the sign-up button in the bottom right corner.
This sign-up button links to the landing page where you see this form.
If you are using MailChimp then you can use a Facebook App to collect emails. You can read this post to know how.
26. Twitter Cards
What if you can get more subscribers using twitter for Free?
Twitter has made it easy for you to grow your list and it has made it easy for people to sign-up.
Because they will not have to leave twitter and go to a landing page to sign-up.
Here’s how Twitter card looks like,
You can read this excellent post on Moz blog on Twitter lead generation cards.
For Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, you should replace the links to the homepage in the bio with those of the landing pages.
27. Link to the landing page in your Twitter bio
Look at the example of Blogging Wizard. There is a link to the landing page in the bio.
This is the landing page.
28. Use Pinterest to get more subscribers
There are some bloggers whose main source of traffic is Pinterest.
If you are using Pinterest then you should add the link to the landing page in your bio.
Look at the example of Sarah. She is offering free email course in exchange for the email.
29. Do the same with Instagram
30. Schedule Daily Posts to Promote Your Free Downloads
I have learned this strategy from Melyssa Griffin. She wrote that only a small fraction of your audience will see the things you post on any given social media account or at any certain time. And how true it is?
So don’t forget to schedule your posts to promote your free downloads.