Can I go out on a limb here?
I’m going to guess you’re already sold on building an email list.
After all, you’ve heard the advice many times over:
“Build an email list. It’s where the money is.”
If you’re remotely interested in growing a business with staying power, it’s the wise thing to do.
It’s reported that for every dollar spent on email marketing, there’s an average $44 return on investment.
Here’s the thing though.
List building can be quite puzzling for both Internet marketing newbies and veterans.
Marketers agree. A whopping 63% say generating leads is their top challenge.
The source of this confusion?
The massive amount of conflicting information out there.
There are about 198 MILLION posts on how to build an email list:
I’ll tell you one thing.
You don’t need to spend weeks creating a 45-page e-book as your opt-in offer. And you don’t need to read another “197 Ways to Grow Your Email List” post.
You can simply tweak your website to instantly boost your subscriber count.
Best of all, many of these tweaks will take less than an hour to implement.
That translates to more leads with less work.
In this article, I’ll give you four ridiculously easy to implement tactics. None of them require you to start from scratch.
Instead, you can make a few adjustments to your website for a more efficient list-building system.
Ready? Let’s start.
1. Funnel existing traffic to high-performing landing pages
Like I promised, we won’t be reinventing the wheel here.
Brian Dean calls this the Landing Page Funnel (LPF) Technique. It requires two things you should already have:
- a landing page designed to convert leads.
Don’t worry, you don’t need tens of thousands of visitors a day or a landing page that converts at 50%.
Here’s how this works.
First, identify the landing pages that convert the best on your website.
Then, direct traffic you already receive to these pages.
Easy stuff, right?
Most people want more traffic. Some even take the necessary steps to get these much-coveted website visitors.
But they miss out on the golden opportunity to convert that attention into leads.
Once you have the two elements, it’s not difficult to do.
All you have to do is link extensively to these high-converting landing pages.
Place a link at the top of your website’s pyramid (in the main navigation menu):
You can also put a link in the comment section of posts as I do on Neilpatel.com:
Or place links to landing pages for your top resources in your sidebar:
My point here is this: you may not need more traffic or opt-in offers to increase the number of your subscribers.
Track where your current web visitors spend the most time and ensure they have easy access to a high-converting landing page.
It’s as simple as adding a few links.
But what if none of your current landing pages convert well?
A basic email grab form is not enough.
You need to have all the persuasive elements on your landing page.
Here is how to improve your landing pages:
- reduce the number of form fields. One form field is excellent, two is enough, and three is too many.
- add social proof elements. Got an endorsement from a big name? Show it off. Have 15 000 subscribers? Let people know. Got one raving testimonial from a reader? Feature it.
- have a strong value proposition. I’ll demonstrate with an example from SmartBlogger.
They’ve had this same lead magnet for ages.
And I bet it converts like crazy.
It’s a valuable resource for writing headlines.
They don’t ask people to
download these headline formulas.
Instead, they lead with a compelling value proposition:
write viral blog posts quicker.
2. Create content upgrades
I am a big fan of content upgrades.
You can uplevel your content by adding bonuses unique to each piece of content.
Let’s say you write an ultimate guide on promoting a blog post. You can create a quick cheat sheet for blog post promotion.
You just have to extract the key points from your already-written blog post and create your bonus content.
I recommend keeping it short, snappy, and easily consumable.
Lead magnets, including content upgrades, should be something that subscribers can consume and implement quickly.
This way, there’s a sense of instant gratification, and your perceived value goes up.
It’s exactly what you want.
I’ll admit. This is the most time-consuming tactic on this list.
After all, you have to create a unique bonus for each post.
There are some clever ways around that, and I’ll share them with you.
1. Create multi-purpose content upgrades.
In other words, create a bonus that can be used for several blog posts.
This is easy to do if you’re blogging about the same topics.
2. Use the content you already have.
Let’s say you write a blog post entitled “27 Ways to Generate More Leads Using LinkedIn.”
You can feature 21 of these strategies in your blog post and provide the rest as a bonus.
3. Have a formula for creating your upgrades.
You don’t need to have every type of bonus under the sun to see results from this tactic.
Have a podcast? Stick with giving out transcripts.
Create only long-form and comprehensive content? Stick with PDF versions of your posts.
Decide what type of content upgrade you want to give to your readers, and go all in on it.
The process will become formulaic and efficient when you do it this way.
Whether you use these time-saving strategies or not, content upgrades are still worth the time you put into them.
Depending on what the actual upgrade is, it may take you an hour maximum.
Don’t neglect to prominently feature your content upgrades. Don’t bury them in the middle or at the bottom of your posts.
Instead, make readers aware of this bonus from the beginning.
What are some examples of content upgrades?
- PDF version of a post
- cheat sheet
- additional strategies
- list of resources or tools
- printables and templates
- video or audio recording
- a challenge
The list goes on, but these give you enough food for thought.
If you’re serious about increasing your email list, here’s my challenge to you.
Step #1: Go through your website analytics, and pinpoint five blog posts with the most traffic.
Step #2: Create one content upgrade for each blog post. Spend less than an hour on each one.
Put these steps into action, and you’ll see a difference.
3. Create a vault of subscriber-exclusive content
Traditional opt-in offers don’t work anymore.
I’m talking about bulky reports and e-books.
Even if people sign up for these resources, they typically put off reading them.
The result? They never consume the information, yet alone implement it.
Think about the last time you downloaded an e-book. You tell yourself you’ll read it later and never get around to it.
I bet it happens all the time. I know it does for me.
Is there an easy solution?
Put all your free resources in one place so subscribers can have easy access to them.
Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:
When you click the “exclusive content” link, it takes you to a high-converting landing page with 15+ resources.
These resources are found on a password-protected page.
When you sign up, you get the password, and that’s it.
You’ve got a lifetime access to a vault of valuable resources.
Blogging Wizard married this strategy with the content upgrade.
Within blog posts, they feature their collection of subscriber-exclusive resources as a content upgrade.
Now, that’s smart.
Here’s another example from Melyssa Griffin:
Again, you don’t have to start from scratch.
I’ll give you the step-by-step play.
Gather all the free resources you’ve created in the past. It could be ultimate guides, checklists, webinars, cheat sheets, etc.
Here’s a list of what Blogging Wizard has in its vault so you can get an idea:
Create a specific website page to host these resources. I recommend using the Essential Grid WordPress Plugin to display your content in a customizable grid.
In WordPress, set the visibility of your page as “password protected,” choose your password, and publish your page.
Create a landing page for your exclusive content, and funnel traffic to that page.
You’ll instantly have an opt-in offer that will keep converting leads.
You won’t have to create a new offer every few months when the one you have feeds you.
Be sure you keep adding fresh content to your vault, and you’ll be good to go.
4. Optimize these two most valuable website pages
There’s a good chance you’re not making the best use of crucial website real estate.
I’m talking about the two pages most people do nothing with.
The Home page and the About page.
Do a quick audit of your website.
If you don’t have more than one (minimum two) opt-in forms on both of these pages, you have a problem.
Fortunately, it’s an easy fix.
Let’s start with the Home page
Have you ever seen websites with home pages taken up almost entirely by opt-in forms?
Or at least, the first thing you see is a call to action to sign up for something.
Here’s what I mean:
Here’s another example from Neilpatel.com:
Derek Halpern has about six calls to action on his homepage, inviting visitors to subscribe.
Five of them are presented in the first half of the page:
Maybe, but it works.
Just ask his 300K subscribers.
The point is, you need to make optimal use of your homepage.
It’s often the most visited website page. You just have to do a few tweaks to add those opt-in forms.
Here are two quick fixes you can do right now:
Add a HelloBar to your homepage to divert traffic to a landing page of your choice.
This is an opt-in tool that converts like crazy.
It’s as effective as a pop-up but less obtrusive and annoying.
Add a link to an opt-in form or page in your main navigation menu.
Let’s talk about your About page
There are few website pages as important as this one.
When new readers come to your blog, they’re guaranteed to visit this page.
They don’t know, like, or trust you yet.
That’s what your About page should be geared towards.
More importantly, it should convert these web visitors into subscribers.
How do you do that?
- Make your About page persuasive
- Add a few opt-in forms
I’ll tell you the key to making your About page subscriber-worthy.
Don’t make it about you.
Conflicting, I know.
Here’s a unique way to look at it.
Your About page should tell a story. Your audience should be the hero of that story. And you should position yourself as a trusted adviser to the hero.
After you’ve amped up the quality of your About page, sprinkle in a few opt-in forms.
Beautiful designs like the one above work, but you can keep it simple with an inline opt-in form.
Profitable businesses are built on the relationships they nurture with their audiences.
Right now, the best (and only) way to do that effectively is through email marketing.
At the center of that is getting people to trust you enough to give you their email addresses.
And you know what?
It’s way less complicated than people make it out to be.
You really don’t need to spend hours creating bulky opt-in offers.
Double down on a few strategies that have been proven to work. In this article, I gave you four you can start using immediately.
They’re super actionable and easy to implement.
Put them to work, and I guarantee your subscriber count will increase.
What are your best strategies for gaining new subscribers fast?