Starting today, if you get just one subscriber a day, you’ll have a handful of subscribers by the end of the month. Not only that, if you’re able to repeat this success each month, this year will leave you with a rich list of a few hundred subscribers.
And, of course, when you’ll email your huge email list — even if you just send a monthly newsletter — each time, about 3-4 people will unsubscribe. Which means, you’ll probably lose a small group of these subscribers before the end of the year.
What a way to kick off your email marketing efforts, dear reader!
Now on a serious note:
If your subscription rate looks anything like this, your online business will surely be in a horrible state. A few hundred subscribers won’t help you realize your dream of making a full-time income online or generate leads/sales for your products or services.
You need many more subscribers; you need 1000s of them to run a thriving online business.
To ensure that you succeed in the coming year and to make it your best email list year, I’m sharing a repeatable 3-step process that can add 100+ subscribers to your list each time you use it.
Let’s start with the first step.
Step 1. Create a lead magnet
So what’s a lead magnet?
Simply put, a lead magnet is a freebie that you give to a reader as an incentive for subscribing. It can take any of the following forms:
- Guides or free eBooks
- Swipe files
- Email based courses
- Video training courses
- Discount coupons or offers like free shipping or swag (these mainly apply to online stores)
- Access to software
Lead magnets are effective at collecting emails because essentially they appeal to a reader’s greed …greed is a BIG motivator. You can choose any lead magnet format as long as your readers find it desirable. On Snaptactix, our lead magnet is access to a free software:
Get Instant Access To 8,834 Proven and Tested Email Marketing Subject Lines!
Now with the understanding of what a lead magnet is, let’s look at some ways to generate lead magnet ideas for your blog.
Choosing ideas for developing lead magnets
When a blog is around for sometime and has some stable traffic, you can easily find lead magnet topics using your Google Analytics data.
Here’s a quick way to use Google Analytics to find lead magnet ideas:
Sign into your Google Analytics account and go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages:
As you can see in the following screenshot, this dashboard shows you all the pages of your site. These pages are listed in the descending order of page views:
In one glance, you can see the pages (or posts) on your site that get the maximum traffic. Such content that gets high page views is the content that your readers are enjoying on your blog. So, you should make freebies/lead magnets around the topics that are covered on those pages.
For example, let’s say that you have a food blog in the paleo niche, and in your Analytics dashboard, you notice that your posts on dieting seem to be getting the highest page views.
So you might think that the topic “paleo food dieting” is qualified to be a good lead magnet idea to start with.
But as you can tell, paleo food dieting is in itself a very broad topic and you could easily end up writing a whole 400-page eBook on it (which might still not be a focused lead magnet).
To avoid such a situation, don’t rush into choosing such a broad idea, fine-tune it. A good way to do this is to search for the downloadables the people are searching for on the broad topic that you shortlisted.
Let’s take the topic ‘Paleo diet’ and head over to Ubersuggest to find ideas for developing downloadables.
Ubersuggest is a very useful tool for finding long-tail keyword ideas based on Google’s autocomplete suggestions. You can use Google’s autocomplete suggestions too, but I recommend using Ubersuggest. It’s free.
When I enter Paleo diet, Ubersuggest gives me 100s of suggestions:
From these suggestions, you need to choose the ones that hint at downloadable material.
I did a quick review and shortlisted the following ideas:
- Paleo diet plan
- Paleo diet book
- Paleo diet chart
- Paleo diet cookbook
- Paleo diet recipes
- Paleo diet grocery list
- Paleo diet meal plan
- Paleo diet quick guide
- Paleo diets recipes free
- Paleo diet 30 day meal plan/challenge
If you observe the above ideas, you’ll see that the person’s intent behind searching is probably to download something. Plans, books, charts, recipes, guides are all effective lead magnet formats.
Once you’ve a topic and a format, your next step is to create the lead magnet.
But what if you’re just launching a new blog and are clueless about what topics will interest your readers. Well, in such cases, it’s best to pick your blog’s niche and explore ideas on Ubersuggest.
… so that brings us to the part of the lead magnet development.
Developing a lead magnet
Ideally, you should write/create your lead magnet’s content so that it’s original, unique, and useful. But if you don’t have the time, you can outsource this work to someone on a freelance marketplace like Upwork, and for a reasonable fee, your lead magnet should be ready.
You can also consider getting a PLR lead magnet. PLR lead magnets come for as little as $5 and can be rebranded and distributed. If you’re just testing the idea of a lead magnet, this could also be quite a good starting point.
A quick word about content upgrades
Simply put, content upgrades are lead magnets in which a blogger offers a reader a more advanced version of the content they’re reading.
For example, if a blogger is reading a 10-recipe Paleo recipe roundup post on your site, you’ll offer the reader a 50-recipe collection in exchange for subscribing.
For a real example, check out some of Neil Patel’s popular posts. For instance, for his post on choosing content topics and goals, he’s offering a downloadable cheat sheet version of the post as an opt-in offer (or the lead magnet or simply a content upgrade).
Content upgrade lead magnets get excellent results because their opt-in offer is highly personalized for the reader. Brian Dean from Backlinko used this list building tactic to get a 185% boost in his email signups:
If you use this technique, use it on just those posts that get good traffic, or you might end up spending too much time and effort on building upgrades, and you might still not get any signups.
Step 2. Make your site ready to accept emails
By making your site ready to accept emails, I don’t just mean that you should just add a few signup forms at random places on your site.
Instead, I want you to work on (1) creating landing or squeeze pages (2) optimizing opt-in form copies, and (3) choosing the right form placements.
Let’s discuss each of these points in detail.
1. Creating squeeze (or opt-in) pages
Squeeze pages are pages that are specifically designed for collecting leads.
The good thing about creating such pages is that you don’t need a fancy or expensive landing page tool to add them to your site. All you need to do is add a page to your site and market your lead magnet on that page.
You can use David Kovacs’ opt-in page for inspiration. David has created a great squeeze page for TurnInbound where he uses some easy-to-skim content that markets his lead magnet:
If you prefer, you can even add such an opt-in page to your website’s main menu. Blogger Sarah Peterson reportedly raked in a nearly 20% conversion rate by making the opt-in form available via the main menu.
You can also link back to the opt-in page when you do activities like guest posts. This way the traffic to your squeeze page will grow and so will its conversions.
Another great way to bring traffic to this page is to market it using Google Adwords and social ad campaigns. However, since you might probably not have a budget for this right away, it’s okay to start with free options like guest posting.
Oh and if you’re looking to create a nice high converting opt-in page AND you need an email autoresponder to store those email, check out Sendlane. It’s free to start, then it’s $9 bucks to get your very own autoresponder AND opt in pages.
The best part? They FULLY host the pages for you, so you don’t even need your own web hosting or domain name!
2. Writing conversion friendly opt-in form copies
Even a great lead magnet offer can fail if you don’t explain its value to a reader. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re writing the opt-in copy on a squeeze page or a form, you HAVE to optimize it for conversions.
If copywriting doesn’t come naturally to you, check out Swipe-Worthy. This amazing resource maintains swipe files of pre-written copywriting. Choose the copies that make sense for you and try them on your blog.
3. Placing opt-in forms for maximum conversions
When it comes to showing lead forms, you generally have two options. The first option is to show opt-in forms passively. Basically, in this type, you just add an opt-in form to your sidebar or somewhere above the fold-area on your homepage, or within posts. Such forms just sit in their places and aren’t intrusive in nature.
The other types of forms are intrusive. These are lightboxes, full screen takeovers, slide-outs and more. Such opt-in forms are very effective although they can annoy readers when overdone.
To transform your site into a lead generating machine, you need to choose a good combination of these different form types and go all out. This SumoMe guide gives some great insights into how the different form types stack up against each other.
Step 3. Bring traffic to your site via guest posts and epic content
Using guest posts to bring in traffic is pretty straightforward. Here, you just reach out to the popular blogs in your niche and write for them. In exchange for all your hard work, the target blog gives you 1-2 links in the author bio. You can use these links to link back to your site and also to a squeeze page if you have one.
In his journey from 0 to 5,000 subscribers, blogger Joe Warnimont shares how he did a massive guest posting campaign (by reaching out to 100+ blogs) and on an average, each of his guest blog posts brought in an additional 50 subscribers to his list.
It’s important to point out that not every guest post is created equal. For example:
- A guest post for a site called Write to Done accumulated more than 100 email addresses for my site.
- I also posted to a smaller writing blog, and not a single person subscribed to my email list after the guest post went live.
Note: You might not see comparable results because guest posting isn’t as effective as it used to be some time back (from the list building perspective). However, you can’t ignore the fact that a single successful post CAN give you 100 quality emails! In one go!
Now if you don’t want to create brilliant content for third-party blogs, you can focus on creating epic content on your own blog and still be able to bring in fresh traffic to it. To get subscribers for a brand new blog, blogger Dominique Jackson wrote a great roundup post and reached out to all the blogs he listed. This outreach brought in new traffic and 150 new email subscribers for him (in just a few days).
Another example is that of Groove. Groove was able to add 1,000+ subscribers to its list from a single blog post within a day by creating epic content.
So, think about creating content that will give you outreach opportunities and help bring in new targeted traffic to your site. To choose a topic for creating such content, use tips from this post.
Spice things up with a 30-day challenge
To get results faster, create a list building plan with 30-day milestones. Set monthly targets for yourself, for example, challenge yourself to get at least your first 100 subscribers in January and grow the list to 500+ by April.
Wrapping it up…
At Snaptactix, we used to offer a list building course where we helped students build email lists. And, there was a mistake we saw with most of our students:
They didn’t make list building a priority.
Batch in batch out, we had students who got super-excited when they talked about building their sites. They loved all aspects of it — whether it was choosing the right theme, writing its copy, or adding blog posts. Of course, this stuff is interesting.
But all the excitement died when it came to list building. Somewhere they believed that list building happens automagically and all they needed to do is add a bunch of signup forms here and there, keep blogging consistently, and soon their lists would grow to 5 digits.
Because of such passive list building efforts, they failed to build email lists.
Don’t repeat their mistake.
DON’T just add forms, but follow the above process and create valuable lead magnets, actively bring interested traffic to your site, sway them with perfect copy and offer irresistible signup offers. Each time you need more subscribers, do another round of this process.
And make sure you create high converting opt-in pages and get an autoresponder service that can help you! Sendlane is the one we recommend!
So, what other methods do you use to add subscribers to your list? Do share in the comments!
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Also published on Medium.