12.08.201512 min read

How to Get Email Subscribers: 5 Approaches that will 10x Your List

The email list is the traditional way for marketers to reach online customers. It’s been around the longest, and in many ways, it’s still the best. In fact, Noah Kagan, of AppSumo and SumoMe, grew his two multi-million dollar businesses by carefully building a 700,000-plus email subscriber list. Sure, it takes time to grow a list of that magnitude, but there are things that you can do immediately to give your list-building efforts a boost.

Here are five ways that you can give your email list a tenfold increase right now.

1. Build an e-book from existing content and trade it for customers’ email addresses 

E-books are one of the most effective forms of content to use in your marketing, and they’re incredibly easy to build because you can repurpose your most successful content: spruce it up and repackage it as a new form of content that people will want to download.

First, take a look at your content through Google Analytics to determine what kinds of posts your customers find most useful. The more page views with the lowest bounce rates tend to indicate that the content on the page is engaging enough to keep people on the page.

google analytics page view research.png 

Google Analytics Page view Research

You can also turn to your social media platforms and cross-reference the Google Analytics data to identify social shares, likes, retweets, etc. Shares tend to show that people find the content interesting and useful enough to offer to others, which means posts with high rates of shares are striking the nerve you’re looking for. 

Ultimately, you’re looking for posts with a high amount of unique page views, a high amount of time spent reading and decent social sharing. Pick a series of articles or posts, and make sure they connect to a relevant theme. Use Print Friendly & PDF—a Chrome extension that lets you take a web page and cull it of any extra mark-ups—to quickly produce a clean and professional PDF.

 
   

Screenshot showing how to use Chrome plug-in Print Friendly & PDF.png

Select each page, then remove elements until each one looks just the way you want. Click PDF, and you’re ready.

You can start with just one and then introduce a pop-up email prompt on your site using SumoMe’s List Builder Pro. Pop-ups like this can be considered intrusive to readers, so a good rule of thumb is to always offer something of value if you want people to actually give up their emails. E-books, as products, are perfect for this. Bundled together and polished, they exude value, and your users will want them. Giving up their email to get one will feel like a steal. 

You can give the e-book a place of prominence on your site, avoid pressuring your users to download it, but when they do click to request the ebook, you can take that opportunity to elicit their information in exchange for a download. In this example from AdEspresso, they collect some incredibly valuable information about the kinds of people connecting with them. This kind of information can come in handy when looking to make partnerships later.

Example of an opt-in form for a free ebook on AdEspresso.png  

2. Tailor your calls to action to what users are actually doing on your site

Maybe as you were looking through your successful content for ideas, you discovered that you had a treasure trove of themes, giving you a bunch of great material for several different e-books. Or, perhaps you have in mind different types of content you’d like to produce like whitepapers, spreadsheets, checklists, templates, etc.

If you can upgrade a variety of content, you can take advantage of that differentiation to grow your email list even further. One simple tweak to the method outlined above in step one has been proven to boost your subscriber base ten times.

First, you’ll either need Scroll Box Pro or the aforementioned List Builder Pro. The first step is to create a new campaign:

  Image of creating a personalized call to action campaign.png

Then, make sure your changes are only visible for the most popular page on your site.

Picture of personalized CTA setup again.png

Lastly, edit your pop-up so that it connects thematically to the title of that page.

Example of a personalized call to action on Sumo Me page.png  

The way to reach more people (and get more leads) is to diversify your calls to action. A lot of marketers are missing out on a lot of potential business because they simply can’t be bothered to make more than one kind of pop-up.

See how the bundle advertised here—the Creative Market Bundle—relates to the page it’s popping up on. This little tweak is so simple, but it took one of SumoMe’s customers from an email signup rate of .16 percent to 1.86 percent. That’s more than tenfold. So stop putting pop-ups on random pages; tailor your pop-ups so people will actually click on them. 

3. Find the story that only you can tell, and then sell it 

There’s no simpler way to get more email subscribers than to tell a really good story that people want to hear. Noah, for instance, was employee No. 30 at Facebook, and the story of his departure is a messy, fascinating tale.

Screen shot of a story that was worth telling .png 

A short blog post about the whole affair was available for free on his site OkDork. At the bottom of the page was a place where you could download the rest of the first chapter, but not without entering your email address.

 Opt-in form at the bottom of Facebook story to read the rest of the chapter.png

Take advantage of your personal life. That’s where some of your best stories are inherently going to lie. Here are some ideas for brainstorming: think of your biggest failure and what you learned from it. Think about your biggest success, and how you got there.

If neither of those produce anything useful for you, just imagine that you’re at your dream dinner (with Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, whatever) and the conversation has just died off. There’s total silence between you. Michael is barely picking at his cod filet. What are you going to say to fill the silence? What powerful, interesting story do you have within you? What are you going to say to make MJ do this with his hands?

Michael Jordon.png

When you think of it, write it down. Then give it away…but not entirely for free.

4. Write Copy That Will Inspire People to Want Your Emails

When Noah first started AppSumo, the digital deal-of-the-day site, the emails that went out were something like this: 

“New offer: get 25% off Grasshopper phone service.”

When he brought on Neville Medhora from Kopywriting Kourse, Neville decided these emails weren’t quite living up to their potential. 

He started writing emails for Noah that ran about two to three minutes long in terms of reading time. He reasoned that only about 10 percent of the audience would actually be interested in buying, and only about 10 percent of that audience would have any interest in buying, say, Grasshopper phone service.

But what if everyone else knew just how interesting this product was? He wrote a long email for another product, a font matching program, and tried to make it a little snazzier:

Example of good copy for an ad for a font matching software platform.png  

By explaining how designers could really delight their customers, by going into the intricacies of the product, and by using a certain kind of voice—hilarious, acerbic, and straight-talking—this became one of AppSumo’s highest grossing deals of all time. 

It’s an understated fact, but it turns out that crafting an intriguing story line and doing something to really draw your readers in is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to grow your list. People value learning, good writing, and being entertained. Give people value: it’s a great way to get them to give you their email address.

5. Convert your twitter followers into email subscribers

Maybe you have a pretty good presence on social media but your email list is lacking. Fortunately, you can use one hand to feed the other. Here are some tips for capitalizing on your Twitter presence.

1. Make sure the bio in your Twitter profile links to a landing page. It shouldn’t just be a website—this should always be linked to some sort of call for action because you’ve got a warm lead. Anyone intrigued enough to click away from Twitter to go to your personal website.

 Example of a Twitter bio with a link to a landing page.png 

2. Remember that content you put together earlier? Time to add a Twitter lead generation card. Create it under Twitter Ads in the Creatives tab, and choose Cards. The template you’re given is going to look like this:

Example of using a Twitter ad card for promoting a Tweet.png 

 
   

 

Here’s a finished example:

Example of the finished Twitter ad.png 

With a single click, the reader can get your e-book, and you’ll get their email address.

This is perfect because you always want to reduce the friction in transactions between you and your users. If you enable someone to give you their email address with just one click, they’re a lot more likely to do so, especially when compared to situations where they have to mouse over to your dialogue box, type it all in and then click to send it.

3. Use Twitter Analytics to make sure that you’re making the most effective use of your time here (kinda obvious, but then again, lots of people miss this). It will help you track clicks, engagement, retweets and more so that you actually understand who’s coming to your Twitter and why. Which is information you will use in the service of bringing people off Twitter, of course, because email is where you will build the really strong relationships with your customers.

Building a strong email list is one of the most powerful tools you have to grow your business; I guarantee you that these tricks will help you do just that. 

This blog post was contributed by staff at SumoMe.

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