47 Best Email List Building Strategies Proven to Get You Results

Why is it that some businesses are so ridiculously successful at marketing themselves on the web…

While most struggle?

Why is it that, if put in a room and asked, 100% of business owners would agree with the statement:

“I want to feel in control of my business and to achieve predictable sales growth…”

And yet so few actually have it–why?

Before I give you the answer, I want you to meet two business owner friends of mine, Joe and Phil.

Joe and Phil both own B2B agencies, and both were started with no outside investment.

Both of their companies are about the same age (Phil actually started a year earlier). But the main difference between them is that for Phil’s business

  • Growth is anything but predictable, in fact his company has now plateaued at around $2 million per year
  • Credit card debt goes up and down as clients pay at variable times.
  • Sales are made regular, but not at any predictable rate


  • Joe’s company’s is growing predictably month-over-month, on track to eclipse Phil’s business in the next 18 months.
  • Sales come easily to Joe’s business
  • Joe’s company has about 50% higher profit margins than Phil’s business

So, why is Joe in total control of his business’s destiny?

How has he achieved predictable sales growth where as Phil — who started a full year before Joe —

is struggling to maintain growth and lacks predictable cashflow between each payroll cycle? When I sat down to have lunch with them in New York City a few months ago, I discovered the answer. Phil had built his business around other marketing tactics that were less sustainable, like networking and black / gray-hat SEO. Meanwhile, Joe had built his business around a single marketing strategy:

By building his email list, and mailing them valuable content on a weekly and monthly basis.

Joe’s list had become so large, and has such a “network effect” built up around it, that he’s now able to able to get all of the sales he can possibly handle (and more), just by pushing “send” once per week. Maybe you’re thinking right now, “How can I build an email list quickly so I can get that point?” First, try to understand why an email list is the best marketing strategy and asset you can invest in creating right now:

  • You control and own your email list
  • The ROI of email is 1000% higher than social media and 2x high than SEO according to research done by the Direct Marketing Association
  • On social media, you’ll only reach a small % of your audience, But with email, your messages are almost guaranteed to arrive in the subscriber’s inbox (unless you’re spamming). SEO works for generating traffic, but most people aren’t ready to buy right away when they come into your website. Plus, you’re really at the mercy of Google. On the other hand, email allows you to follow-up and nurture relationships on a massive scale.
  • Furthermore, with dropping reach on Facebook and Google cracking down on “SEO tricks” to rank on its top pages for key terms, you NEED a more effective alternative yielding consistent sales results.

How can you build your email list quickly and reach that point of predictable profits? That’s what this article is going to teach you. Enter: Bryan Harris who is just as focused as I am on learning how to grow his email list as fast as possible (without spamming). Bryan has quickly built his email list to over 6,000 subscribers for VideoFruit.com so before we get into the complete list of 47 email list building strategies checkout our discussion…

Fill out my online form.

Note: Bryan and I only had time to riff on about 7 or so strategies, but there are 47 total (and if you want even MORE make sure to download a PDF copy of this article to get 10 additional bonus strategies) NOW, let’s dive in to the complete list of list email list building strategies that are proven to help you grow your email list fast. How do I know they work? Either I have personally tried them and I know first hand OR I can cite a well known authority or case study example where the list building strategy has been used successfully. So suit up and strap on your rain boots, because we’re about to make it pour email subscribers…

Featured Download: Get a complete PDF checklist of all 47 email list building strategies for when you’re ready to start putting the ideas of this article into action — PLUS at least 10 bonus strategies I didn’t have time to include here.

Want to jump ahead? Here’s a table of contents to help you find and focus on the most relevant strategies.

  1. Start collecting emails with a simple form
  2. Automate your promotion of email opt-in incentives
  3. A well-timed pop-up
  4. Show a scroll-box
  5. Use an exit intent popup
  6. Easily rollout landing pages and optin offers
  7. Comments form on your blog = emails
  8. The social opt-in
  9. Implement a Hello Bar
  10. Speeding up your website = more conversions
  11. Guest blogging
  12. Offer a free course
  13. Offer a free tools report
  14. The Gated Homepage
  15. Blog post by-line
  16. Give multiple options for opting-in on the same offer
  17. Use the two-step optin strategy
  18. Use less form fields
  19. Page specific exit detection pop-up
  20. The Content Upgrade
  21. Cold email list building
  22. Require an email in order to view pricing
  23. Continuous split testing
  24. The “Every Page Rule”
  25. The Feature Box
  26. The VIP Treatment
  27. The Sticky Widget
  28. Retargeting done the RIGHT way
  29. Host a Webinar
  30. JV Webinar
  31. Form a marketing alliance to cross-promote
  32. Run a giveaway promotion
  33. Increase visibility of high performing content
  34. The Sunflower Technique
  35. “Scale the peaks”
  36. Test native advertising (the Ryan Deiss way)
  37. Buying an email list…?
  38. Reposition your landing page offer
  39. Use the “Law of Scale”
  40. The Content Vault
  41. Video Call-to-Action
  42. Use the “App for Emails” strategy
  43. Do not require a double opt-in
  44. The Social Squeeze Page
  45. Add social proof around your optins
  46. Cold Call (no seriously, read this)
  47. Target “similar” audiences

1 – Start collecting emails with a form (Wufoo.com, a free customizable, embeddable form)

Sign-up for a free account on Wufoo.com today. Then embed a simple 1 field form on your blog or website to start collecting email subscribers. You can also connect Wufoo up to a free account on Mailchimp or another email marketing services so your subscribers will be automatically placed on to your list. wufoo-mailchimp

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2 – Auto-promote to drive social media fans and followers on to your email list

Zapier is also a freeium service like Mailchimp and Wufoo, but it’s focus is on helping you automate tasks between different web apps and sites. The smartest way (little known way) you can use Zapier is to set it up to automatically post Tweets and Facebook posts at regular intervals with a link to a landing page. Followers and fans can click the link to sign-up for your newsletter or autoresponder course. zapier-automate-twitter-post

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3 – A well-timed email pop-up (SumoMe)

SumoMe is a free embeddable plugin for your website or WordPress blog. One of it’s core features is the “list builder” feature. The list builder features works to help you collect more email addresses by fading in a nicely designed pop-up widget on the screen. You are given a lot of control over how the pop-up looks as well as the exact time when it will appear. You can set it to appear in X seconds or to automatically try to detect the best time to appear. sumome-list-builder Based on research the App Sumo (parent company behind SumoMe) team recently published here are two quick tips for maximizing your conversions when using their list builder tool:

  • The color of the button should be red. Red converted better than any other color because it grabs peoples attention and might remind them of a “Stop” sign.
  • The text on the button converts best when it is something “weird” or direct or unexpected, like “GIMME” or “LET’S DO IT” or “YES, SEND IT TO ME”.
  • The best time to schedule the popup to show is 5 seconds by default. At the 5 second mark, the maximum number of people converted than at any other second interval when the popup was shown. This is probably because people prefer not to be interrupted when they’re already reading something.

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4 – Show a scroll-box, triggered when the visitor scrolls down the page

The SumoMe Scroll Box is another free app that comes in the SumoMe bundle. Unlink the pop-up, the scroll box is triggered to appear after the visitor reaches a certain point when scrolling down the page. You’re able to customize this by setting the “trigger percentage.” I’ve experimented with 60% and 80% on the autogrow.co blog and found that 80% converts about 2-3x better. scroll-box-sumo-me

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5 – Use an exit-intent popup (OptinMonster)

I recently purchased OptinMonster for our website. I’m very happy with SumoMe but the main benefits that Optin Monster has to offer that make it compelling are its nicely animated exit-intent plugins, as well as the ability to show specific pop-ups on specific pages AND to A/B split test them. If you’re not familiar with what an exit-intent pop-up is, it is a pop-up that shows only the moment that it detects a visitor is about to leave a web page. It understands this because it watches the visitors mouse movements and a mouse movement that is usually, quick, up and the the left tends to indicate that the visitor is about to leave the site. Here’s an example of what a high converting pop-up might look like, as shown by OptinMonster’s higher-end (and crazy expensive) competitor, Bounce Exchange. exit-intent-popup-example

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6 – Easily rollout landing pages and optin offers (LeadBoxes and Optin Landing Pages)

Lead Pages is probably one of the best investments I made in the last month. I can’t say enough about how useful their lead generation software is for quickly creating landing pages that are designed to convert. Particularly, their LeadBoxes feature I’ve found to be the most useful. A LeadBox allows you to turn an image or some text into a link that shows a pop-up optin box when clicked. Why is it useful to show a pop-up optin form instead of embedding it directly on the page? Good question. The reason this is useful is because showing offers that lead to a popup or landing page are perceived as GIVING value rather than a form, which is perceived as TAKING value. From testing, the LeadPages team found that this could raise the conversion rate by about 39%. Ryan Deis, co-founder of SurvivalLife.com (a $1 million+ per month blog) found this to be true as well. no-form-popup-email Another part of the “magic” behind Lead Pages that few people realize is the fact that, if I opt-in on website A (which has Lead Pages installed) and I go and visit website B (which also have LeadPages installed), when I click a link and see a LeadBox, my email will already be filled in. This is because Lead Boxes cookies each visitor of each website visited, so when you see another landing page or pop-up, they know “hey, ok, this person is [email protected]lead-boxes-pop-example As a result, people have to “work” less and conversion rates are pushed even higher.

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7 – Comments form on your blog = emails

These days, it’s very popular to use the Disqus for managing comments on your blog. I believe a better way to go about it though is just a plain old form like what I have at the bottom of this page. No only is it better to do it this way for SEO (Disqus loads comment text dynamically so you don’t get that extra text indexed by Google), but you can use the form where people are required to put in their email address as an opportunity to capture a new subscriber. Brian Dean over on BackLinko does this in the most transparent way on his blog comments section (see below) comment-form-email-capture

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8 – Social Opt-in (Aweber or Custom)

This one is a little more advanced… unless you use Aweber. If you use Aweber for your email marketing and autoresponders, you might be surprised to hear that they actually have a nifty little feature that allows people to opt-in to your newsletter by clicking to connect their Facebook account. Then, Aweber automatically grabs their email address and name and puts it into your list. aweber-prefilled-facebook-optin Neil Patel tested this a while ago on his blog, QuickSprout.com, and saw a higher conversion rate than on his regular email opt-in form. The primary reason for this is, like the Lead Pages strategy above, Facebook already knows your email so if you’re logged in the form is prefilled with your email address. Thus, it’s just 1 click to opt-in. If you don’t use Aweber but have some extra cash laying around to invest in your blog, consider posting this feature or plugin project as a job on Elance or Freelancer.com. The results could pay for themselves.

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9 – Implement a Hello Bar (prominent call-to-action bar at the top of the your page)

Speaking of Neil Patel, Hello Bar is a very simple (free) tool that helps you collect emails by presenting an attention grabbing call-to-action bar at the top of your webpages. When creating your Hello Bar you have the option to set a goal. Your goal will be to either get emails or drive clicks. Since I use a Hello Bar on this site, and because their options are a bit limited as far as downloading emails that are collected, I set my goal to get clicks. The call-to-action button then leads visitors to a landing page with an offer for our free course. hellbar-example Success in using the Hello Bar really depends on your ability to write a compelling 1 sentence line of copy. So test frequently with multiple Hello Bar variations.

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10 – Speeding up your website = more conversions

Earlier this year I did some research while writing a How-To article on retargeting. I found some data published by Walmart showing that:

“… when load times jump from 1 second to 4 seconds, the conversion rate dropped. Specifically, for every 1 second improvement in load time, they observed up to a 2% increase in the conversion rate.”

Wow, right? faster-page-load-improves-conversions-walmart As a result, if you’re going to focus on building your email list you should first consider improving how fast your site loads for different visitors. The AutoGrow team and I recently went through the process of optimizing the website to decrease load time. And although I can’t say for 100% sure that this was the cause, our net email optin rate has continued to rise: email-optin-rate Here are my best tips if you plan on doing this on your website:

  • Use GT Metrix’s tool and Pingdom to establish your current baseline speed, and then measure during and at the end of your optimization process
  • Don’t just test the speed for your homepage. Test it across multiple pages, like your blog roll page, key landing pages, and also on any page where you have a lot of media, plugins, or Javascripts running.
  • If your website is built on WordPress, download and install the Total Cache plugin
  • Also, look at getting setup on a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Cloudflare, who offers a free plan.
  • If you’re on WordPress, turn off any unnecessary plugins
  • If you’re on WordPress, install the “lazy image loader” plugin. This allows your site’s pages to load faster by only loading images on the page or blog post that are visible to the visitor. Then, as they scroll down the page, the images are loaded automatically as they come into view.

page-speed-load-grade-example While we can further optimize our page load time, we’re already reaping the benefits of having a faster site–and you can too if you follow the tips above.

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11 – Guest Blogging (Leverage the traffic, authority, and audience of someone else’s website)

Guest blogging has exploded in popularity as a marketing tactic over the last 4 years. It offers a number of benefits, but few better than the fact that, done right, it will drive a large JUMP in subscribers followed by a steady stream of subscribers who continuously opt-in over time. 15439450[1]   Here’s the basic formula for how to do it, then I’m going to recommend 2 posts you should go and check out to learn more.

  1. Find a guest post opportunity by networking; I find it’s usually pretty effective to go check what other people have already shared using BuzzSumo then look up their email and send them an awesome sample of your writing that’s on a similar topic (but what you send them should be MUCH better than whatever they shared in the past) — By the way, if you want a little trick for how to look up anyone’s email address, click here.
  2. Often people will just offer to let you contribute to their blog if what you write is solid and provides a lot of value. For example, since I mentioned Crazy Egg in our 12 Best Sales Funnels article, I shared it with them. Since they liked it, I was invited to write a guest post (which I’m working on now).
  3. Lower your risk: get agreement about the title of the article first, otherwise you might end up wasting your time by writing something that’s a mismatch for their audience.
  4. At least twice in the article (once in the beginning and once at the end) you should include a call to action to download some sort of bonus / upgrade that goes with the guest post. For example, it can be a checklist, a free report, a template — it can even be a spiced up PDF version of the article. Note: if you have a LeadPages account, this is the perfect opportunity to include links to your offer using Lead Boxes.

Bryan Harris over at Video Fruit has written about this in greater depth and you should check it out here. He calls his method, The High Jump Formula. You should also check out Maneesh Sethi’s article, called “How to Earn $12,840 from a Single Guest Post (Plus: Email Scripts & Checklists)” Both are awesome resources on the subject.

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12 – Offer a free course (delivered via an email autoresponder)

Free courses convert better than just about anything. How do I know? The total number of optins we’ve received on the free course we offer here on autogrow.co over the last 2 months are about 20% less than the total number of optins we’ve received for ALL of our content upgrades and basic newsletter subscribers combined. That’s significant but it also makes sense. If you offer a free email course on a subject or a question that resonates with your audience, you can expect that it will do well. Neil Patel over at Quick Sprout has built up his email list to just under 200,000 subscribers over the last several years largely because of his email course offer. 2014-08-05_2215 Here another example from my friend, Brennan Dunn, over at Planscope.io who has built up his email list to over 15,000 subscribers in just under 2 years. free-course-widget-example

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13 – Offer a Free Tools Report

Offering a free tools report is a quite common opt-in bribe. I’ve experimented with it a bit and had success to a limited degree, but there are 2 prominent cases where offering a tools report worked extremely well. Lead Pages Clay Collins and the guys over at Lead Pages recently published a blog post where they showed the highest optin landing page they tested to grow their own email list, and it was a a free tools report. The full video explanation is below, but the jist of it is this. Creating an “optin bride” like this can take as little as 30 minutes, it doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be something people WANT. And the reason why it works so well is because people understand the offer (“tools” is a much clearer word than “resources”) plus, it’s a low commitment offer (perhaps why in some contexts, this kind of offer would beat a free course offer).

Michael Hyatt Michael Hyatt is someone who I just recently started following. If you visit his site, you’ll noticed the optin widget on the right hand-side along with his free ebook offer. The ebook offer promises to show you “inside his toolbox” giving you suggestions on web apps and resources that you should use to grow your business. michael-hyatt-toolbox

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14 – Gated Homepage (Require an email prior for entry… And check out AppSumo’s Brilliant iteration on this idea)

Mixergy.com helped to popularize this strategy. gated-homepage-example The idea is that in order to gain entry to a website’s content, you have to enter your email address on the homepage. One you do so, a cookie is set on your browser so the next time you come back to the site you don’t have to fill in your email again to get access. There have been a number of off-shoots of this strategy. For example, Noah Kagen used a similar strategy to help grow Appsumo’s email list to over 700,000 subscribers in record time by having this simple newsletter call-to-action sitting above the page content… appsumo-semi-gated-homepage But wait, there’s more to AppSumo’s “improved gateway” email capture strategy. It’s so simple, most people would miss it if they weren’t looking closely… Here it is: Any content page you visit (outside of their Browse page) will show you this header design by default… And you’ll continuously be shown this call-to-action… until you optin. So even if I’m searching for something on Google and I come across a subpage one one of AppSumo’s older offers, I’m going to see this optin header. I like how this is implemented because it’s less “annoying” that the other types of gateway email optins because I can easily bypass it… but at the same time I’ll keep being exposed to it until I sign-up. I guarantee you, this was one big factor in why AppSumo was able to grow their email list so quickly. But I’ll ask Noah just to confirm and update this section later on…

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15 – Blog Post By Line

This one is simple and marginally effective, but every little bit counts. In the by-line right below your blog posts, insert a link that visitors can click to sign-up for your newsletter. Here’s what I mean. byline-email-optin-example That’s pretty much all there is to it, but a quick note… I’ve tested this with and without Lead Pages’ Lead Box feature. I found that the plain link that send visitors to a newsletter sign-up page converted at a much lower rate (might have been 0 actually) than when I used a Lead Box link instead.

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16 – Give multiple options for opting in on the same offer (“Learn More” link in your sidebar widget)

According to a study (PDF) published in the Journal of Consumer Research, people shy away from single option offers. However, when presented with multiple options, we are more likely to make a purchase decision on the spot (about 3x more likely in fact according the research). For this reason you want to consider giving people multiple options to optin for your offers. For example, here’s how I do it on our free course widget: 2-options-call-to-action Here’s another (perhaps even more effective) example from Michael Hyatt’s website. 2-options_to_opt_in_to_newsletter What I like about how Michael does it here is the fact that he truly give your two choices, not just two calls to action. One choice will sign-up immediately. The other will take you to a landing page where you can learn a little more and then optin there. Very smart, copy this on your own website.

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17 – Use the “Two Step Optin” Strategy (button on the page instead of a form)

I kind of covered this one already in earlier points above, like where I talk about Lead Pages and how it’s important to be able to create an array of landing pages quickly and easily. Here’s the bottom-line on this strategy:

  • Instead of having forms on your pages to collect email address, you will generally see a higher conversion from having links to lead to a form
  • The form can be shown (as is the case if you’re using Lead Boxes, a feature of Lead Pages) in a popup
  • Or, you can drive that traffic to a landing page where visitors are prompted to fill out a form on the page.
  • The reason for this is because, for some psychological reason, people prefer to decide first “Do I want this, yes or no?” before they decide, “Do I want to give up my email for this, yes or no?” The founders of Lead Pages guessed that the reason was: visitors interpreted forms as “taking value” rather than giving it.

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18 – Use less form fields

This is one of those low-hanging fruit strategies that is so easy you can implement it across your website and sales funnel in a matter of minutes. Simply put: if your goal is to collect email subscribers… then why are you requiring fields other than an email address on your form? Avoid creating an optin form that looks like this: blog-email-sign-up-complex-form-example Not only should you not require all those fields, but take them out! Take them ALL out, and just require an email address. Early on, I was able to double our email conversion rate by just changing our form from 2 fields (first name and email) to just 1 form field (email address). Similarly, Marketo (which is now a public company) experimented with removing multiple form fields. The result? Cost per lead dropped by $10 and conversion rates increased 34%. marketo-form-field-test1-554x414[1]

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19 – Page-specifc exit detection pop-ups

I talked about generic exit-detection popups in an earlier point, but now let’s talk about a more advanced version of that email collection strategy. To review: Exit detection popups are a “smarter” form of email capture popup. It appears when it detects that the mouse from a visitor is moving off the page, towards the top, and he or she is probably about to hit the back button or type in a new web address (example below) There are a number of free options for this, but none of them work as well as the paid exit-detection popups that are out there. I personally use and recommend Optin Monster which costs $199. uncommongoods-exit-intent-example The biggest benefits to using something like Optin Monster is that you can A/B test your pop-ups AND set specific popups to appear on specific pages.  So, creating an exit-intent popup is a macro optimization you can make to your site, where as creating page-specific exit pop-ups is a micro optimization which leads to higher conversion rates as that individual pages level. Why? Well, think about it. If you’re reading an article about, say, building your email list and you see either

You’re more likely to optin for the second offer because it is more RELEVANT to what you’re already reading about and interested it. This is also why “The Content Upgrade” technique works so well…

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20 – The Content Upgrade

The Content Upgrade is a tactic that’s been around for a while, probably popularized in more recent years due HubSpot (an inbound marketing company) practicing it on every one of their blog posts. The basic definition of a content upgrade is this: on every article you publish on your blog, you create a simple bonus or “extra” that a visitor can get access to by providing their email. The bonus offer is something related to what is discussed in the article. For example, last week I wrote about “Pumpkin Hacking” as it relates to SEO. In that article I posted links to download my “Pumpkin Hacking Checklist” which is a 4 page PDF download (and FYI, it’s less work than it sounds like — the 4 pages is mostly because I wrote in a large font). Of course, you don’t have to create a checklist as the upgrade:

  • you can call it a guide
  • you can repurpose old blog posts that performed well
  • you can make templates (like fill in the blank, or, if it’s design related, a webpage template)
  • you can offer X additional / advanced tips (for people who want to learn more)
  • OR you can shoot a video giving a demonstration of what you talk about in the article

hubspot-content-upgrade-example There are two apps right now that make implementing and delivering content upgrades on your blog article super easy:

  • SumoMe and
  • LeadPages

From implementing this email list building strategy on every article that I’ve published on the AutoGrow blog, I can tell you definitively that is works extremely well. It’s been a major factor in why we were able to grow our email list 630% faster compared to just 6 months ago.

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21 – Build your list with a cold email campaign (targeted, with a free offer)

This strategy is more controversial. I recommend you consider it only if you’re just starting out and your list is small or non-existent. Otherwise the long term consequences of using this strategy will hurt your brand and your business. Note: It’s not spam if you approach the process from the perspective that you’re just going to be super cool to the people in your market by offering to give away some truly useful information for free, and not try to hard sell anything, AND you’re NOT going to do it on a large scale. Some people will disagree with that statement but that’s ok. Here’s how it works:

  1. Start by compiling a list of of about 1000 contacts who are in your target market (more detail on how to do this below)
  2. Email each of them a personalized offer (but don’t include a link — you want to make THEM ask for it)
  3. When they reply showing interest, THEN send them the link

So how do you build this list of “cold” contacts? If you’re a B2C business and your product is less than $50, you’re probably better off just using one of the other strategies on this list. If you’re a B2B business, this process is 10x easier because the average value of acquiring 1 client is substantially higher. To compile a target list of B2B contacts, start by Googling with specific search terms that will lead you to the websites of your target audience. For example, if you’re targeting US-based dentists, understand that you’re targeting a local business market and start by listing your top ten target cities. Then, match up the searches you make with each location. For instance:

  • “dentist, new your city”
  • “dentist, chicago”
  • “orthodontist, seattle”

Then for each website you find, look for the name of the decision maker and their email address. If not is available, just use the contact form on the site itself and not the URL location. After you have your list compiled, go ahead and write your email template. Consider using a template like this:

Hi *|first_name|*, I’m emailing you to see if you’re the right person to contact at *|biz_name|* who’s in charge of marketing? My name is [your name], I’m the [title] of [business], a web marketing agency headquartered in [location]. [insert credibility / authority building sentence with a focus on how you can help this business specifically] Assuming you’re the right person to speak with, and you know you are [result they want], I wanted to check if you’d be interested in this [free offer] I created. I believe this can help you [get desired result]. Let me know if it’s is of interest to you. [your name]

The above template is partially based on the “Break Through Email” system that’s been used to generate millions of dollars in sales for it’s founder, as well as his students of the course. The format is a bit different but it’s a good starting point to help you get results. To setup the landing page, you can use one of the recommended tools above like Lead Pages, or Unbounce, or Instapage. There’s also plenty of free HTML templates online you can download. Cold Email Case Study Years ago, I used cold email campaigns to generate leads via… surveys. Yes, I was obnoxious (and scrappy enough) to email strangers — but I did it out of love! (or ignorance haha) I knew a lot less about how to be an effective marketer back then, but I was willing to try just about anything without assuming “oh that just wouldn’t work.” So, when I was working on building a previous company, I sent an email to several thousand restaurant owners with a link to fill out a 5 question Google survey. That campaign received a response rate just over 1%. I sent the campaign just to collect some research data for a whitepaper I was writing at the time on how weather and other factors affect restaurant sales. About 2 years later, I ran a similar experiment, emailing business owner (with no personalization or any strategic thought in how to target it) and received relatively the same response rate. Keep in mind, in both of these situations, I was taking value rather than giving it (but still getting results!). If you try this strategy and offer something for free THAT IS VALUABLE and to a TARGETED group of people (as you should, otherwise you’re just spamming), you can expect to see a much higher response rate. However, I urge you not to abuse this. Otherwise you’ll poison the well for other companies and hurt your own brand.

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22 – Require an email address in order to view pricing

This one is simple and relatively quick to implement. The idea is to put a “gated” email opt-in requirement around your pricing page. This accomplishes two strategically important goals beyond just growing your email list:

  1. It discourages people who are not seriously interested in your product or service because they need to make a small commitment in order to get access
  2. It allows you to segment subscribers on your email list (i.e. who opted in for what offers?). You can then create an autoresponder to automatically follow-up with these people, further educating them on the benefits of your product or service, nudging them to take action.

3 great examples of a “gated” email requirement on a pricing page 1 – CrazyEgg.com crazy-egg-smart-funnel-step1 2 – Kelly Cammack, Apollo Answering Service, Houston, TX Apollo / Kelly is one of our best clients at AutoGrow. Kelly is so on the ball that she actually recommended we implement this in her website design before we had a chance to suggest it 😉 apollo-gated-pricing-page

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23 – Continuous split testing (Google, Instapage, Leadpages, unbounce)

Split testing, also referred to often as A/B testing, is one of the most effective ways to increase your conversions. A split test on your website means to run a randomized test with two or more design variations being shown to different visitors. The “winning” design variation is the one that get you more results (clicks, email optins, purchases). Split testing makes a lot of sense for websites with 10,000+ visitors per month, so for that reason you should question whether this is the right strategy (right now) to help you grow your email list. That being said, I have developed a concept called Micro A/B Testing which you might want to try out instead if your website is not yet ready for split tests. If / when your website is ready, here are 5 tools you can use to make split testing your landing pages or email optin forms / popups easy:

  1. Google Website Optimizer (I think it’s not called “content experiments” but it doesn’t really matter). This tool is free but you need to know how to code or having some on staff who can code in order to implement it. It is included as past of your Google Analytics account.
  2. Instapage. Instapage makes it incredibly easy to create and split test landing pages without learning how to code. It also integrates with WordPress and the design of every page is highly customizable.
  3. Lead Pages. I’ve talked about Lead pages in one of the first points above. Similar to Instapages, not only can you easily create landing pages, but they make it incredibly easy to run split tests on those pages AND on the email optin popups. The only downside to Lead Pages is the limitations it imposes on how much you can customize the design of each page or popup. Lead Pages also integrates with WordPress among other web services.
  4. Unbounce. I’ve used Unbounce only once. It seemed easy enough to navigate at the time, and they have a very wide selection of landing page templates to choose from — as well as a WordPress integration, among many others.
  5. Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. I’m grouping these two together because they are very similar. Both tools are specifically built ONLY for split testing different design changes on your site. I’ve used both (briefly) in the past without any complaints. VWO seemed easier to get started with in my opinion, and both integrate with WordPress and other services.

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24 – The “Every Page Rule”

The Every Page Rule is simply this:

“Every page on your website should be thought of as a landing page.”

Again, for the sake of helping you to remember and to help you increase your email subscriber conversions:

Think of every page on your website is a landing page (this includes your homepage, your about page, even your blog post pages.

As a result of putting this “mindset strategy” into practice, I was able to grow AutoGrow’s email list over 630% faster over just a few short months. What does it mean, practically speaking, for you and your website? It means a few things:

  • By designing every page to act as a landing page, you can quickly grow your email list and leads, which in turn builds your business.
  • The first step to implementing this is to focus on redesigning your core sales funnel webpages (the blog comes second)
  • When moving on to apply the rule to your blog, start with macro-wins that apply across the entire blog design (i.e. a free report or course offer widget).
  • Third, go for micro-wins. Look at which pages are performing the best and “tighten” those up pages by offering relevant content upgrade offers.
  • There are some pitfalls to watch out for. It’s easy to take this idea to an extreme and hurt your conversion rates, which it why I recommend an iterative, balanced approach that will help you grow steadily over time.

This “mental strategy” might be a lot to think about, so here’s a quick win along the same lines…

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25 – Implement a Feature Box

social-triggers-feature[1] The Feature Box is exactly what you see in the screenshot above. It was popularized (invented?) by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers fame. In one case example that Derek wrote about on the DIY Themes blog, implementing the feature box on his website resulted in a 51% increase in email signups. If you want to see another example of this, just look at the feature box at the top of the AutoGrow blog roll page.

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26 – The VIP Treatment

This is a new concept that I’m developing and working to implement right now. I subscribe to dozens of newsletters and read a wide blogs, but I have never seen ANYONE do anything close this idea, with maybe one exception (which I’ll show you in a second). “The VIP Treatment” is my term for a strategy where you treat existing email subscribers differently when they visit your blog versus non-email subscribers. Specifically, here’s what you do:

  1. Existing email subscriber gets your newsletter (let’s assume the newsletter is about a new blog post that you just published).
  2. The subscriber clicks the link in the email and it brought to your website
  3. The subscriber notices that the blog post conveniently has a content upgrade attached to it (because you decided to put that strategy into action right away — smart move!)
  4. However, when the subscriber clicks the link to get access to the bonus content, instead of seeing another popup to enter his or her email address, he or she sees a requirement to share your blog post via social media in order to get access to it.
  5. The subscriber shares the link, helping you attract more traffic and more email subscribers.

It makes sense right? Afterall, why do you need the same email address opt-in more than once — you don’t! Here is the ONLY example I’ve seen of someone doing this on their blog, and it comes from Brennan Dunn who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know personally in the last year. I’ll let the pictures do the talking then I’ll summarize… vip-treatment-sales-funnel-step1   That’s step 1, and here’s step 2… sales-funnel-blog-example-step2   And then here’s the result: brennan-dunn-vip-treatment-example Pretty awesome right? If you look closely, you can even see that the point after the traffic settles down after the third spike is higher than the “valleys” after the first two spikes. I don’t know of any tools to recommend that make this easy (though I plan to have my developer create a plugin for WordPress when I get around to it in the future). If you know of any, please leave a comment with a link to the resource so others can benefit, and then I’ll also update this section as well. One tool that I’m planning to use to “hack” together a test of this own on the AutoGrow blog is the Like2Get WordPress plugin — and it’s free if you want to check it out. In summary: There is still so much low-hanging fruit on every website, and this strategy highlight a key one that just about EVERYONE is overlooking right now. But wait… there’s more!… Keep reading…

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27 – Sticky Widget

The Sticky Widget (which is a free WordPress plugin that you can download here) helps to take advantage of the notorious, all-too-common blank white-space on the right side of your blog. It does this by letting your email optin call-to-action “follow” the visitor down the page. See screenshot below for an example: sticky-widget-example-screenshot The way it works is like this:

  1. First, install and activate the plugin.
  2. Second, in your WordPress dashboard go to Appearance -> Widgets
  3. Third, add or select an existing widget with your email optin code / call-to-action inside and check off the “fixed widget” option. That’s it!


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28 – Retargeting done the RIGHT way

Retargeting is an amazing new type of advertising technology. I’m not sure HOW new it is (depending on when you’re reading this). But in either case, it’s not just cool, it can help you build your email list. Here’s how retargeting works to bring back visitors to your website who didn’t convert:     how-retargeting-works-graphic_001   In THIS context though, where we’re looking to build your email list, you want to send him / her to a simple landing page which will help to educate him / her about all the super cool benefits they’ll receive when they optin. For example: landing-page-build-email-list-example   If you want to learn more about how retargeting works and how you can easily set it up to help you drive more leads and grow your email list, click the lazy cat below. cat-lazy

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28 – Run Ads with a Self Liquidating Offer

This strategy is pretty popular among more seasoned marketers like Ryan Deis (founder of DigitalMarketer.com) and others who are huge proponents of spending money on ads in order to acquire traffic (rather than doing content marketing or SEO, I mean who do that crazy stuff right? 😉 ) After they convert that traffic on a free offer, the newly opted-in subscribers are sent to a page that says “Thank You” with an offer to buy something (usually something inexpensive, less than $50 so it can be considered an “impulse buy.”). The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. It helps you to segment your subscribers (i.e. someone who purchased goes into this bucket with this follow-up sequence, and a person who doesn’t purchase goes into a different bucket)
  2. It offets, or perhaps completely pays for the cost of the ad clicks it took to convert 1 person (in rare cases) on the spot.
  3. As Ryan Dies found from testing this, subscribers who buy immediately, even if it’s only for a tiny offer like $7 — they are about 10X more likely to buy something larger in the future.

Pretty practical reasons right? I ran a test with a self-liquidating offer recently and wrote about it here if you’re interested in exploring this strategy further. Here’s the bottom-line on self-liquidating offers:

If you can get it to work, you can advertise for free, which means you can build your email list literally for free.

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29 – Host a Webinar

Landing pages for webinars have a high email optin rate, according to research done by LeadPages.net. Here’s an example of what LeadPages’ highest converting landing page looks like: webinar-landing-page-example Webinars are often seen as more valuable compared to other free offers because subscribers get to interact personally with the host (especially at the end during the Q&A), plus it’s a limited time, live event. Other than building your email list, hosting webinars are also growing in popularity these days because they convert really well for paid offers, like with info product. One example of this is John Lee Dumas over at EntreprenuerOnFire.com who has largely built-up his multi-million dollar business up hosting a weekly webinar. But what if your email list is too small or non-existent to bother with hosting your own webinar, and you can’t afford to run ads either? That’s bring us to…

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30 – JV Webinar – Offer to host a webinar for someone else’s audience

If you’re looking to grow your email list, few ways are better than doing a JV (Joint Venture) Webinar. This is because you are leveraging someone else’s existing email list. Here’s how it works:

  1. Define and plan out your webinar presentation, along with a premium offer which you will make to the audience at the end of the presentation. Your presentation by itself should be valuable and help to take your viewers 1 step towards their desired end result. This helps build trust which in turn increases overall sales.
  2. Find a JV partner with an existing email list (in your industry, similar or  overlapping target market) and offer to host a webinar tailored to their audience
  3. Host the webinar, make the presentation, and make your pitch
  4. Split revenue with your JV partner PLUS you get to keep all of the email subscribers who opted-in as part of your list now!

A friend of mine — who shall remain nameless, haha hopefully that doesn’t sound shady — was able to double his email subscriber list size in the last 3 months… “So what?” Ok so his list was about 10,000 subscriber before, and now it’s over 20,000. “Whoa.” Exactly. george-kao-email-jvAnd if you want to get the exact process for how to do this from someone who’s an expert at it, click the link below (and then the links I point to in the screenshot). My friend George Kao who was AWESOME enough to make ALL of his coaching program material available for free earlier this year. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URE2r6PJ-9YqVSBHSDRFDm7iUg3svfQ8YNJFNXdF2Wo/     george-kao-coaching-content-library   This single email list building strategy can transform your business, so if you’re going to do it, take the time to do it right, and don’t spam. Keep in mind we’ve got 57 more of these, baby! So if you’re getting lots of value from this, consider sending out a tweet by clicking below.

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31 – Form a marketing alliance on a simple email list offer (1 click to optin)

jv webinar joint venture Forming a marketing alliance to grow your email list is similar to doing a JV webinar, except the goal is specifically to grow your email list. To do this, you need to find one person or organization who is willing to promote your to their email subscribers. First, you must show a good reason why their subscribers would be interested in joining your email list. For example, it can be one or more of these reasons:

  • You have a compelling free report to share with them
  • Your audiences are similar in terms of who the subscribers are
  • The content you regularly distribute to your email list is so consistently awesome that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be recommended to his / her subscriber base in his / her next newsletter
  • You’re offering a free course that will help them some end result they want

There are two possible incentives you can give your marketing ally in exchange for promoting you:

  1. Revenue share from life-time of the client (after the subscriber converts)
  2. Revenue share on initial offer
  3. Cross promotion
  4. And in some cases you can just pay for some else to promote you to their email list

One other advantage that doing email list promotions like this, whether you’re doing it as a JV webinar partnership or as a marketing alliance, is that you have the option of doing a 1-click optin. This is especially easy if you have a LeadPages or Infusionsoft account. But you can do something similar using Mailchimp and other basic email marketing programs using the “mail merge” feature. For instance:


Generally speaking, the easier you can make it for people to subscribe the higher your optin rate will be. Makes sense right?

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32 – Run a Giveaway

ramit-sethi-netflix-contest One of the fastest ways to grow your email list is to run a viral giveaway, sometimes also called a raffle. I’m honestly not sure of what the difference is. The way it generally works is like this:

  1. You advertise the giveaway to your existing email list and place an ad for it on the side of your blog.
  2. Entrants are first required to enter their email address
  3. Then, in order to get more “entries” and increase their chances of winning, they can share it on social media or via email with friends
  4. Once per month, the winner is chosen and the prize is delivered.

Andrew Warner experimented with this strategy on Mixergy.com a while ago. It was quite successful at growing his list. In a more prominent case with a full write-up on Tim Ferris’s website, Harry’s, a company that makes high-end shaving kits for men, ran a similar contest-like promotion before formally launching and managed to gather over 100,000 email addresses. Finally here are my recommendations for giveaway / raffle tools:

  • Rafflecopter – Integrates with WordPress, social optin options, monthly payment to access.
  • KingSumo – 1 time payment for their WordPress plugin, nice template out of the box. Easy enough. I plan on trying this one when we run a giveaway on AutoGrow.
  • Free giveaway plugins – There are plenty of free options out there for hosting a giveaway, but none of them look too appealing visually.

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33 – Increase visibility of high performing content

This one is another one of those “quick wins” because it requires little additional effort and no need to create new content. What you want to do is look through your existing base of content for articles and pages that have performed quite well. To do this:

  • Look at your articles with content upgrades that drive a large percentage of your current email list conversions
  • Look at your Google Analytics data for any unexpected spikes in traffic — what happened on that day and what page(s) were people arriving on?
  • Look for which pieces of content you have that have been shared the most
  • IF YOU HAVE NO OR VERY LITTLE CONTENT — use something called “success surveillance” as Andy Jenkins calls it, to spy on your competitors and other industry players. BuzzSumo, a free tool, allows you to do this. Simply type in a topic or URL of a website it and it will show you the top, most shared content. You want to look at which the headlines and topics that perform the best and then write something similar (but better).

After you have your content, whether it’s a downloadable content upgrade or an article, advertise it on that unused “real estate” on your blog’s ride sidebar. For example, I setup my scroll box feature in SumoMe (pictured below) to more prominently feature a link to an article with our “11 Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist.” repurpose-existing-content-list-building There are a variety of ways to do this. For instance you can combine this strategy of increasing visibility of high performing content with the sticky widget strategy from point #27 above. Other ways to implement this strategy include:

  • Featuring high performing content in exit-detection popups
  • Building simple email optin landing pages around your high performing content, then linking to it from your primary navigation bar
  • Blog roll email collection widget (example pictured below from Ramit Sethi’s, IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com)

What are some other ways you can think of? blog-roll-email-collection-widget

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34 – Use the Sunflower Technique

This is a topic I plan to write more on in the future, but I’ll briefly summarize it here. When a little old website called Mint.com launched back around 2008, a quick glance at their footer links and you would notice something interesting. Each link had “rich anchor text” (meaning the words used for the link were purposefully chosen) and the pages they linked to were landing pages. Taking note of this strategy, when I launched my previous business, BlueSkyLocal.com, in 2009 I made sure we followed the same strategy (see below). sun-flower-content-technique1 The website was young and had few inbound links at the time. However, I knew that but crafting valuable (simple) landing pages with information that users on the web were searching for, we could naturally start to capture some organic traffic. And we did. The site still gets traffic today even though I haven’t touched it in years. Here’s what one of those landing pages looked like: sun-flower-content-technique2 The idea was that by branching off key pieces of content from our homepage (kind of like a sunflower plant branches petals our from its core), we driving more free trial sign-ups. And we did (until we made the Jenius move of removing our free trial option of course — but that’s a story for another day 😉  ) This strategy can work just as well for you when it comes to building your email list:

  1. Build simple landing pages with useful, unique content
  2. Use a clear call to action to drive that traffic back to your core funnel or another landing page with an free offer
  3. Get more email signups

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35 – Scale the Peaks, Baby!

focus on what works Ok this one I have to give credit to my man, Noah Kagan, for coming up with it. It’s one of those intuitive ideas that you might have kind of known in the back of your head, but as soon as you hear it you’re like, “Wow, that makes perfect sense.” Here’s the jist of the “Scale the Peaks” strategy (and a reader warning, it’s heavy stuff so try to stay focused for the next few lines):

  1. Look at your analytics and find days or times or basically anything that is, statistically, an positive outlier result in your data.
  2. Figure out what caused it
  3. Do more of what caused it, to get that “peak” effect, then repeat from step 1.

Here’s a great example I can give you for step 1. I was curious to figure out which traffic source was sending us the highest converting traffic. And when I say “converting” I mean, obviously, converting from a visitor to an email subscriber. My theory was that the answer would be organic traffic from Google… But I was 100% wrong. No literally, I was 100% wrong because traffic coming into our site from LinkedIn converted 100% better (or twice as well) as Google. So in this example, to “scale that peak” of our highest converting traffic source, I need to figure out a way for use to grow our inbound traffic coming from LinkedIn. Here’s another example, not related to email but still relevant… I found our that our audience really likes articles that include multiple forms of media (video, images, and text). So I did more of those and as a result we grew our traffic as a result of more visitors sharing our articles. Simple, right? Of course, it goes without saying that I put significant effort into making sure the articles were good. So to review, find out which tactics or channels convert best and then double down on each one to grow your email list. If you’re curious to see the full interview where Noah mentions this concept, I’ve embedded the video below.

Speaking of scaling the peaks you might want to think about…

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36 – Experiment with native advertising (the Ryan Deiss way)

The concept of native advertising has become increasingly hot recently. If you’re not familiar with the term “native advertising” it means content that is put in with the regular “stream” of organic content on social networks (or other non-digital mediums) and labeled as “sponsored.” For example, here’s a native ad from my newsfeed on Facebook. native-ad-facebook-example We’ve all seen ads like this by now. But one smart way to drive more clicks and build your email list is to send the traffic from ads like this to specific content posts on your website that have already been identified as “high performers” in terms of visitor to email conversions, social shares, and/or commenting. In addition, Twitter recently came out with its “Lead Generation cards” feature (which is free). It allows you to easily collect email optins by offering some sort of content incentive. Here’s one I found from Ryan Deiss, co-founder of DigitalMarketer.com. twitter-cards-example   Note: If you want to find out more about how to use Twitter lead generation cards, I cover it (along with how to steal your competitors followers) in this free video here. As it turns out, I found Ryan’s ad before he was using Twitter lead gen. cards. I actually converted to an email list subscriber simply as a result of reading an insightful article post on his blog. Ironically, the article I was reading was all about how he and his business had achieved 259% ROI with native ads and non-squeeze page content (blog posts). I get the sense that in order to convert with paid traffic being sent to blog post content, you really have to figure out what’s most likely to convert in advance and make sure those pages are optimized for capturing email optins. Otherwise you’ll be going through a process of trial and error which will require more investment to get right. And if if you want a good laugh, check out “Last Week Tonight’s” bit with John Oliver on certain controversial forms of native ads (NSFW), see below.

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37 – Buying an email list…?

Don’t. But if you do, check out point #21 above building your email list with cold email — and remember: even if it works, it’s not a sustainable, long term strategy.

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38 – Re-position a free offer landing page to target a new marketing segment

There is no rule again repurposing old content. Especially when certain content appeals specifically to individual market niches. Almost no one does this though, even though it saves a lot of time. Plus, positioning any page to be more specific in who it appeals to is almost guaranteed to convert better as long as the traffic arriving on that page is from the targeted niche. For example, let’s look at a popular, high-converting landing page template from our friends at Lead Pages. lead-pages-template2   In this example offers a downloadable free report. Now, let’s say I had already created a report and used this landing page to target answering service companies — but I also want to target law firms. How best to do this? Well, you don’t need to create a new report assuming the current one is also applicable to law firms. Instead, reuse the same report at the incentive but recreate the same landing page with slightly different content and copy. You want to name specifically who you’re appealing to, and use colors and graphics they will find relevant. For instance:

  • “Free report reveals… The top 5 Reasons Most Law Firms Fail to get new clients with SEO (and what to do about it)”
  • Insert graphic of book, but design it to have more relevance to the legal field (stone columned building, a gavel, or the inside of a courtroom)
  • The background should be partially inspired by the colors observed being frequently used on local law firm websites

Do this right and you’re not just saving time on having to create a new, unique report for each market segment — you’re able to use essentially the same message to convert more prospects into email subscribers within different niches.

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39 – Use the Law of Scale (grow on top of what already has distribution)

The Law of Scale is what all good marketers recognize, intuitively or explicitly. It states that in order to get to scale, you must leverage that which has scale. In other words, if your business’s email list is on level 1 (small), and you want to get up to level 2 (medium), use the tactic that will get you (or that have already gotten others) up there: the elevator, the stairs, a ladder, etc. Except in this case the stairs and the ladder are other websites. One of the most effective ways to do this is with guest blog posts. Brian Harris (VideoFruit.com) and others have used this technique to attract hundreds of new email subscribers to their lists. high-jump-formula The basic formula works like this:

  1. Find guest post opportunities via networking or Google search
  2. Write something valuable and that’s worth sharing
  3. Include a content upgrade and a link back to your website to capture email addresses

That’s it! Bonus points: to make the guest post content perform even better for the long term and not just one day 1 when it’s published, do your research before hand:

  • Find out what topics and headlines have worked best on that website in the past.
  • Optimize your content to rank well for keywords people are searching for
  • Don’t guest blog for sites that have a lower pagerank for you (chances are that their audience is smaller anyway)

Another way to apply the Law of Scale other than with guest blogging is by writing and publishing content on other websites where you have your own profile. For example Medium and LinkedIn both give you the ability to syndicate articles on the website. The added benefit to doing it on their websites is you can leverage their high root-domain authority to instantly ensure your content will rank higher in the SERPS (search engine result pages). medium-serp

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40 – The Content Vault

If you’re frequently practicing the content upgrade strategy as part of your blogging efforts, you’ll quickly amass a base of “premium” upgrades. One relatively advanced method for packaging this base of content upgrades is to create a “content vault.” This is where you require visitors on your website to register and in exchange they get full access to all your content upgrades instantly (plus some other goodies, ideally). Ryan Deiss practices this technique on Digital Marketer.com (see below). digital-marketer-content-vault-example sites like Video Fruit and others have launched similar membership only areas of their websites. content-vault This strategy is but one more incentive to encourage visitors to optin on your website using their email. There are basic tools and plugins that allow you to setup this membership functionality on your WordPress site, but most of the best ones have a paid option.

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41 – Video Call-to-Action (CTA)

This is a more advanced tactic for those of you using video to market your business. According to JLBmedia, 78% of internet users watch video once per week and 55% watch it at least once per day. video-consumption-web-stat Since video is so widely consumed, it makes sense that if you’re going to include it as part of your website’s sales funnel or on a blog post it you should get position it to generate more email subscribers for you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create your video content
  2. Edit it to include a clear CTA button and link, or an embedded form field in the beginning, middle and/or end of the video
  3. Publish the video and track the number of optins you receive

If you’re doing this with YouTube videos, you only have the option of including links. In order to do this you need to enable link annotations and a few other steps. They’re all covered in the video embedded below.

On the hand, if you use something like Wistia you can include a form that appears at a specifically timed moment within your video (in addition to any link annotations). In order to proceed you can require viewers to input their email address (which will go directly into your Mailchimp (or other) account. Plus their analytics tracking is currently superior to what YouTube offers.

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42 – “App for Emails”

Probably one of the most advanced ways to build your email today is to create an app or WordPress plugin of some kind. In order to access it, users need to enter in an email address. This the ultimate “content upgrade” because instead of just being content it’s a tool that helps your target audience get closer to a key goal of their’s. How to do it:

  1. Identify a key problem your audience has or a critical goal that you can help them with achieving (e.g. tracking time, organizing data, analytics)
  2. Build the app (keep it simple to start — after all you want to give it away for free with the goal being to garner more email subscribers)
  3. Promote it: link to it or feature it on your homepage, feature it in the sidebar of your blog.

Here are two examples of this strategy in action: QuickSprout.com Website Grader – This app helps website owners to grade how optimized their website is for search engines. Note: Neil Patel, the founder, found that conversion rates from usage to email optin were higher when the email address wasn’t requested upfront, instead just the website URL. app-quicksprout-example Planscope.io – This app helps freelancers and teams plan web design and development projects, track time, and track progress. planscope-app-email

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43 – Do not require double opt-in

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a myth that you need to double opt-in all contacts. For example, if that requirement were turned on, I’m confident we would lose about 10% of our email subscribers. Not because they weren’t real people, but just because everyone is busy and emails can easily get buried. Part of the way I get around this is in using Wufoo forms and LeadPages, email addresses are directly imported into into our email marketing software via an API. This bypasses the normal double opt-in requirement. So even if we end up having some “fake” or mis-spelled contacts in our database, I’d rather have those AND a 10% larger list. Plus, if an email address bounces, it’s automatically cleaned from our database.

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44 – The Social Squeeze Page

I’m not sure why Brian Dean, the creator of this technique, calls it the SOCIAL Squeeze page. There’s nothing really social about it except that it’s really effective at driving email list conversions. It basically combines and nicely packages several of the strategies described above.

  • Video CTA
  • The Every Page Rule
  • Increase visibility of high performing content

Brian wrote a full post about it over on the Backlinko blog, but here’s the jist of it.

  1. Repurpose existing content that performed exceptionally well
  2. Make it into a dedicated landing page that delivers LOTS of value
  3. Include a video at the top (with a call-to-action included)
  4. Include several other subtle, but direct calls to action to optin via email
  5. Drive traffic to the page by linking to it directly from your blog sidebar


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45 – Add (real) social proof around or near your primary optin CTA’s

This is a very common practice, especially on the homepages of startups and companies that have a relatively young brand. The idea is that by leveraging the credibility and trust already built up by other brand names (i.e. press outlets) or authority figures you can build trust and authority faster to get a visitor to convert into a subscriber. In other words, this can mean

  • Putting a testimonial around the CTA
  • Putting press logos near the CTA
  • Specifically saying how many email subscribers there currently are (“Join X number of subscriber..”)
  • Picture of an authority figure with quote.
  • Some other third-party logo
  • Or some combination of the above

Quick note on this before I give examples… While on a recent trip overseas it was explained to me by a fellow entrepreneur local to the area that no one “trusted” it when companies put the logos etc. of third parties on their website. Hopefully it doesn’t get to this point in the USA so I caution you to always use REAL social proof (don’t fake it, or I will find you and… signup for your newsletter with a fake email address just to spite you). If you don’t have any well-know press logos you can use right now, read this article I wrote on how to get free press. Now to wrap it up with some social proof CTA examples: This one is from the upper right corner of our blog. social-proof-cta1 Here’s one from Backlino: brian-dean-cta-example And here’s one from Derek Halpern’s blog, Social Triggers: social-triggers-newsletter-cta

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46 – Cold call (no seriously, read this)

Did you ever even think of cold calling as a way to grow your email list? I bet you didn’t. By as Trent Dyrsmid revealed to Andrew during his Mixergy interview, offering a free report over the phone instead of just on a webpage is extremely effective. In fact, he built his business on it. Here’s an excerpt of the transcript, read it from start to finish to get the full benefit:

Trent: … So basically when I started in that business, they don’t give you a whole lot of training really and I was really young. I was 21 years old at the time. And so I had two baby food jars and I’d put 120 paper clips in one of the jars and then I would sit the other one beside it and every time I dialed the phone, I could move a paper clip from one jar to the other. And so my entire first like year in [??], I never read the newspaper, I never read research reports, I neverdid anything except show up and by 8:00. Because I was calling on small business owners so I knew they were at their desks at 8:00. I would start dialing at 8:00 and I would not do anything until all those paper clips were moved . . . [SS] . . .

Andrew: Over 100 calls a day?

Trent: Every day. I made 25,000 dials in my first year.

Andrew: And what was you like count out of I guess 120? One hundred twenty dials, how many of them ended up talking to you? How many of them ended up buying? Do you know any of those stats still?

Trent: Oh, yes.

Andrew: Still remember?

Trent: I can tell you all the stats, yeah. I can even tell you the scripts. I could literally rattle off the scripts.

Andrew: Oh, do it a little bit of it for me if you don’t mind.

Trent: Sure. Hey Andrew, my name is Trent. I’m calling from the investment arm of the bank in Nova Scotia. We’ve just come out with a report called ten ways to save tax through your investments and I wanted to find out if you would find any value in receiving a copy. That was it.

Andrew: I see. And why does that work? Break that down for me.

Trent: So the investment arm of the bank in Nova Scotia, we have five big banks in Canada and I’m not in Canada anymore. I’m in San Diego now, but back then. And our banking system is very different than the US. So five big banks, so instant credibility by association by name dropping in case they hadn’t heard of this major firm that I was with, they had definitely heard of the bank that owned it. Ten ways to save tax through your investments. Well, all business owners want to save tax and presumably they have some investments. And I want to see if you might find any value in receiving a copy not do you want a copy.

Well, it was a very loaded question. So out of 120 dials, I would get through to 30 people. Ten of them would say yeah, sure send that to me. Three of them would take an appointment and one of them would become a client. So I was getting a client almost every day.

Andrew: Wow, unreal.

Unreal indeed. If you think about it, this strategy can easily be scaled if you’re willing to invest the time in training an assistant to do the cold-calling for you.

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47 – Target Similar Audiences with Ads

Marketing technology on the web today is making it incredibly easy to driving high quality traffic into your website’s sales funnel–traffic that’s likely to convert. So much so that if you have an email list of at least 500 people, you can upload that list to Facebook and Facebook will automatically target people similar to the matches it finds on the network. This feature is called “Facebook Custom Audiences.” You can even target ads to people who have liked your competitors and have had certain buying interests recently. services-custom-audience-targeting[1] When it comes to finding targeted, similar audiences to help you build your email list, another option to consider is teaming up with other businesses or existing industry partners via Perfect Audience’s Connect feature. Using Connect, you can retarget the same people who have been to your marketing partners’ websites. This way, you’re not just retargeting people who have already visited your site. perfect-audience-connect

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  • If you want you want to “stack” traffic and grow your business’s sales with mathematical predictability, then it’s time to start focusing on building your email list.
  • You have a huge number of strategic options to choose from when it comes to building your email list.
  • If you don’t have an email list, start by implementing some of the simpler strategies, like points #1 and #2
  • Implementing just 5-10 of these strategies can help you see huge gains in your email list growth almost overnight
  • This list shows gives you some of the best, most effective strategies available — but it only scratches the surface.
  • Get a copy of this article in checklist format to help you when you’re ready to start implementing these strategies on your website
  • Also, when you download the checklist PDF you’ll get 10+ bonus strategies that I did not have time to include here
  • I will be maintaining and updating this page regularly so make sure to bookmark it

Each one of these strategies by themselves probably won’t do much to “move the needle” and help you grow your business. But a coordinated, thoughtful implementation of several of them will make a massive difference over time. To quote Tony Robbins, “one millimeter of difference means the difference between failure and success”


And as always, thanks for reading.   Image credit:  http://technorati.com/facebooks-website-custom-audiences-high-hopes/

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