16 Powerful yet Simple Ways to Get More Email Subscribers in Less Than 5 Minutes

Have you asked any blogger or business how important their opt-in email list is?

The chances are that they’ll say it is a critical asset.  Expert opinions and a Radicati study also underscore the importance of being able to grow your email list.

You know that for you to grow your blog you need to grow your email list fast.

But how do you do it?

Sure you can read up on all the great articles offering advice. But what do you do if you are short of time, money and not so tech savvy?

Not to worry. We have you covered.

This article will help you acquire email opt-ins with powerful yet simple techniques.

We’ll look at 16 specific areas that can make a huge difference to your conversion efforts. Best of all each of these can be deployed in less than 5 minutes.

1. Are you giving important updates more love and reviving old content?

Gaining your audiences attention in today’s noisy ecosystem is hard. To help with this Facebook, Twitter and Google+ now allow you to pin a post to the top of your page or profile page.

Buffer carried out tests on pinned posts via their Facebook and Twitter account. The discovered that these posts received as much as a 10x difference in conversions.

buffer

Pinning older content can have a similar effect and revive interest in it.

How can you implement it?

Pinning an update on Twitter

  • Go to your Twitter profile page
  • Find a tweet that you want to pin to the profile page
  • Click the dotted icon that appears at the bottom of the tweet as shown in the image below
  • Select “pin to your profile page”  from the drop-down menu that appears.
pin tweet

Pinning an update on Facebook

  • Visit your Facebook business page
  • Find the post your would like to pin to the page
  • Click on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner as shown the animated image below
  • Select “Pin to Top” from the drop down menu
facebook pin

2. Are you directing your Facebook page visitors?

The Dollar Shave Club tried out a “call to action” button on its Facebook page. According to Brian Kim, Director of Acquisition, Dollar Shave Club –

Over the course of a three-week test, the Sign Up call-to-action button delivered a 2.5x higher conversion rate versus other comparable social placements aimed to drive new user acquisition.

Why does it work?

Because it allows you to place a call to action in a highly visible place on your Facebook page. Your call to action options include – “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Use App,” “Watch Video,” and “Play Game”. All of these can be linked to any destination page on Facebook or off it.

Take for example Amy Porterfield’s Facebook page.Amy Porterfield

Leadpages have also used a call to action on their Facebook page to gain new users and enhance the overall visitor experience.
leadpages

How can you implement it?

Log in to your Facebook account and go over to your Facebook page. On the cover photo, you will find a “Call to Action” button.

Facebook Call to Action

Note: you can find instructions and more details here.

Click on it, choose your call to action, enter the URL and then click on Save Changes.

3. Are you stemming the flow of visitors existing your site?

Research indicates that 70% or more of your website visitors will leave without ever coming back.

That is an awful lot of people that you never have the chance to engage.   

What can you do about it?

Add an exit intent pop up. In other words, pop-ups that appear with a final offer, when it detects that the user is about to leave your page. HubSpot uses a simple exit intent pop up like this one.

hubspot

How can you implement it?

  • If you have a MailMunch plan you can create an exit intent pop up in a few minutes. (Don’t have a MailMunch plan sign up here for a free plan)
  • Craft a compelling headline that would make visitors stop and take heed
  • Offer an incentive that is of value to your audience in exchange for subscribing to your list.

4. Are you leveraging the bandwagon effect?

A study by Marketance showed that adding social proof helped one hotel increase the behavior they wanted guests to take by 26%.

Consider this.

When you look at an empty restaurant, you surmise that the food mustn’t be all that nice. But the one with a waiting list and line of people out the front must be the tastier of the two. Psychologists have called this powerful effect – social proof or the band wagon effect.

Why does it work?

According to Robert Cialdini –

People are particularly susceptible to this dynamic when feeling uncertain. We are more likely to be influenced if the people we see seem to be like us.

Consider for example the site fourhourworkweek.com. The image below of the home page shows how Tim Ferris leverages the bandwagon effect.

Four Hour Work Week

How do you use it?

  • Use testimonials of people outside of the brand or business. This increases your credibility.
  • Use ratings and reviews.
  • Use influencer endorsements from your industry
  • Use badges, seals or certifications on your site.
  • Leverage the “as seen in” media showcase.
  • Leverage your large subscriber or follower counts to make people comfortable signing up
  • Let social share counts from your social share plugins provide social proof
  • Show off data from independent sources that reflect your brand in a positive light.
  • Display client logos.

5. Are you distracting your visitors?

Do you know if you are hindering or helping website visitors as they land on your page? If you are unsure, answer these questions.

  • How many calls to action do you have in the sidebar?
  • How many choices have you given visitors?
  • Are you testing conversion rates and click-throughs on various elements of your page?

Those were some of the questions facing Majestic Wines. They wanted to increase the conversion rate on their wedding services page. Visual Website Optimizer was used to test their conversion optimization hypothesis. This in turn led to a redesigned web page.

The new design included:

  • reduced clutter
  • no left sidebar
  • clearer calls to action
  • better images and a video

All of which resulted in a 201% increase in the goal conversion rate.

John Corcoran’s home page is an example of a page focused on acquiring a visitors email address. He doesn’t even display a menu to avoid distracting visitors from the primary call to action.

Primary Call to Action

How to implement it?

Ensure that you are removing all unnecessary distractions. Ask yourself these questions about each element on the page:

  • Does it have value for a visitor whether on a desktop or mobile device?
  • Will it take them away from the page?
  • Do all the elements on the page support the primary objective?
  • Could sign-ups increase by removing the element? If so A/B test it with a tool like Optimizely.

6. How effective and brief are your forms?

How many questions can you ask on your web form without visitors abandoning your site? According to a Neilsen study and research by Formstack, filling out forms ranks among the top things that web users detest.

But do you know that the number of form fields matters as much the type of form?

According to Formstack’s conversion report:

  • Only 6% of users will fill out an average of 19 form fields on an order page.
  • But people entering a contest will tolerate 10 form fields with a submission rate of 28%.
  • Being clearer with your button text results in a 2x increase in conversions.

So as a general rule of thumb less is best and clarity of your calls to action matters as well.

Conversion rates for forms also vary by industry so according to their report. However, this is also dependent on who is doing the asking and who is filling in the form. Testing is therefore required to find the optimum balance.

Here are a few general principles to help you design suitable forms.

So how can you create forms that convert?

Here are a few tips:

  • Optimize your form design for multiple devices including mobile devices.
  • Use a simple eye-catching design
  • Make input easy even on mobile devices
  • Make your fields visually large to increase conversions
  • Set your form fields so there is a natural or logical flow to it
  • Make your questions precise with no room for ambiguity
  • Catch and alert users to input errors. But ensure that it returns the form with all the previously entered information retained.
  • Does the visitor see the value in filling out the form? (Most users abandon websites rather than take the time to fill out a registration form unless the user sees value in filling out the form.)
  • If the form is unavoidable, keep it short to increase conversions
  • Include the message “you do not need to register to purchase” to raise purchase rates on e-commerce sites

7. Do you use this one opt-in strategy that outperforms all others?

Do you encourage visitors to subscribe at the end of your posts?

If not consider offering your readers a “content upgrade.”

Kim Roach explains how she used it on her site. It got her a 15% conversion rate on that post which generated 694 subscribers. Brian Dean has used it as well, and it got him a 785% increase in conversion rates. Content upgrades like the one below feature on his blog’s popular posts.

Content Upgrade

Why does it perform so well?

Your visitors are reading the post through to the end because they are interested in your content.

They are therefore more likely to be open to reading more great content.  The content upgrade offers a next logical step. The upgrade should offer potentially more value than they have received from the post.

How do you implement it?

  • Identify a topic that readers are keen to learn about
  • Create a related ebook Google Docs or MS Word
  • Create a related infographic using Canva or Easel.ly
  • Create an associated cheat sheet with a Google Docs or MS Word
  • Create a relevant checklist with Checkli.com or Printablechecklist.org
  • Create a related email course. Use a good email service provider like MailChimp or Aweber.
  • Conduct related interviews using Skype or Google Hangouts
  • Add the content upgrade section below your post. Use an opt-in form for the upgrade with a tool like MailMunch or link to a Leadpages two-step opt-in form.

8. Are you leveraging your 404 page?

An often neglected page is the 404 page of a website. Should a visitor arrive on such a page they usually leave.

Why?

There is little on the page to compel them to return to the site via a link or hit the back button. On most sites, the default 404 error message is displayed. This is a dead end for users hence why they leave.

However in this lies the challenge to turn a major inconvenience into an opportunity. In other words, we can design the 404 page to be functional as well as creative. In doing so, you can reduce your bounce rate and offer helpful resources or other options. For example, defrozo uses the following for their 404 error page.

404 Capture Email

On the other hand, Ramit Sethi’s 404 page for his blog takes a different approach. He offers a helpful resource to people who are more than likely to be interested in such a resource.

404 Acquire Users

Jgeorge made a similar change on his 404 page for CreativeBeacon.com. He found that the addition of the email opt-in form was converting at 2% and giving him subscribers he would not have gotten otherwise.

Creative Beacon

So how can you turn the problem of landing on a 404 page into an opportunity?

  • Explain the problem.
  • Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality or humor like this one.
  • Provide options to make the situation better.
  • Keep the page design the same as the rest of your site.
  • The best way to prevent a user landing on a 404 page is to regularly check for broken links. Fix any you find.

9. Have you added this simple tweak to your emails?

Chance are that like most people you send at least a few emails a day if not more. Emails to prospects, clients, friends, family and acquaintances amongst others.

These emails can be an opportunity to gain more subscribers by placing a simple hyperlinked call to action in your email signature.

How do you implement it?

If you use Gmail, follow these steps

  • Log in to your Gmail account
  • Click on the “Settings” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
    Gmail Settings
  • On the Settings page ensure you are on the “General” tab
    Gmail Settings General
  • Find the signature section and insert your signature.
    Gmail Settings Signature

Your link could lead to a landing page or an article that is proven to get more email subscribers than others.

How do you know which article to pick? Check your analytics account.

10. Are you leveraging your popular posts?

Turning popular posts into lead magnets can seem like a lame idea. Bryan Harris of Videofruit was of the same opinion until he tried it.

The feedback he received changed his perspective on it.

Why does it work?

Because it makes referring to the steps or content easy. The user can also save it to a location where it would be more meaningful to them. In other words, it increases the perceived value of the post as well and the efficiency of utilizing it.

Kim Garst took a slightly different approach by turning a popular post into a landing page. Visitors have to subscribe to get access to the PDF of the Facebook post ideas.

Lead Magnet

How can you create a lead magnet of your post?

  • Create a landing page with an email opt-in form via MailMunch or Leadpages
  • Create a simple pdf checklist or swipe file of the steps/ideas/tools/must haves of your post
  • To create a PDF version of your post do this –
    • Create a new Google Doc
    • Copy and paste the entire post into the Google Doc
    • Format the document and make it visually appealing and easy to digest
    • Export the document as a PDF.

11. Are you converting commentators into subscribers?

A person who comments on your article is likely to be interested in your content (assuming that it isn’t a spam comment). What better person to encourage to sign up to your email list.

If you have a WordPress site, you can use the Yoast Comment Hacks plugin. It can redirect your first-time commentators to a thank you page that has your opt-in form and incentive.

Stuart Walker from Nichehacks used an alternative plugin – Aweber Comment Form Plugin. It allows you to add a tick box that allows commentators to sign up to your list. He found that this addition alone accounted for 12.20% of his total email sign ups.

12. Can you hear your visitors voice?

The University of Alberta conducted an experiment to try and promote their daily email. They used a nudge pop up that appeared after a visitor stayed on a page for 10 seconds. The result.

An increase in subscriptions from 1-2 from before the experiment to 12-15 signs ups. In fact, their subscriber list grew almost 500% in less than a year.

Popup Questions

The university used Qualaroo to implement the pop-up, which is a pricier option. The same outcome can also be created with a tool called Qeryz.

Careerbliss uses it to get user experience feedback on their site.

Career Bliss

Ann Smarty of seosmarty.com uses it on her site. She uses it to gain subscribers and gauge interest in her offer. 

seosmarty

How do you implement it?

  • Consider what one bit of information you would most like to get from visitors.
  • Construct a micro-survey with Qeryz
  • Integrate with your site via their code.

13. Are you making an offer that would be ridiculous to say no to?

Research indicates that most of your visitors will leave without ever coming back.

So can you maximize the chance of them ever returning?

Present them with an offer that would be hard to say no to. Do it in the form of a pop-up that appears after a while. Why a pop-up?

Because you are tapping into the persuasion technique known as the “pattern interrupt”. The pattern interrupt causes something unexpected to happen. This shakes the brain from the complacency of getting used to a rhythm or pattern on the website.

PostPlanner uses a pop up as a user begins to scroll down their home page. They do this to present offers that are unique to the individuals needs (as you can see in the image below).

PostPlanner

Startup Vitamins makes this offer to visitors who visit their site.

Startup Vitamins

Postplanner also makes a “hard to resist” offer if a user has been on the site a while but hasn’t made a purchase. A full-screen splash page as in the image below appears much like an exit intent pop-up.

PostPlanner Offer

There is a lot of debate on how annoying pop-ups can be. There are also lots of studies that show pop-ups boost conversions rates.

But to be sure test it. After all, only one of three things will happen

  • Visitors will comply and provide and sign up
  • They will ignore the CTA and click “No thanks” or close the pop-up
  • They will be annoyed and leave

The only way to find out if your visitors mind the pop-ups is to:

  1. Test it
  2. Test the timing of these offers being displayed.

How can you implement such offers and where?

  • Use a free tool like MailMunch to create such offers.
  • Keep the offer simple and focused on one product.
  • Always test the copy of your offer.
  • Ensure that the service you use does not slow down the loading of your webpage.
  • Ensure that your pop up offer loads quickly.
  • To maximize the ROI of such offers:
    1. Offer visitors an incentive to subscribe to your list
    2. Offer visitors that abandon their shopping cart an incentive to finish their order
    3. To keep visitors interested consider redirecting them to other offers or content on your site
    4. Offer customer support to e-commerce visitors who need help completing their purchase
    5. Invite users to follow you on social media

14. Can you leverage your videos?

A study by eyeviewdigital.com shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversions by 80%. According to comScore,  45% of internet users viewed at least one video online over the course of a month.

With so many people watching videos, it only makes sense to encourage sign-ups while visitors are watching your videos.

By hosting your videos on Wistia, you can include an email opt-in form. The opt-in gets shown at a selected time during your video. The feature called Turnstile has been shown to have conversion rates on average of about 11%. Timing the display of Turnstile is important, and the graph below provides Wistia’s insights.

Turnstile Conversion Rates

How do you implement it?

  • Sign up for Turnstile.
  • Collecting leads this way could at times causes adverse impacts. So test and monitor results.
  • Gating your videos is dependent on trust. Visitors will only pay with an email if they trust your content and that you won’t spam them. So ensure you have quality content.
  • Pick critical moments in your video that your audience is keen to know about. Have the opt-in form display just before such moments.
  • Also, test placement of the forms at different times in the video.

15. Are you testing your calls to action?

An essential part of asking your website visitors to do something is the call to action. After all your visitors have to go through your call to action to do it. This is true no matter if it is to sign up for email updates, special offers, buy products or go to another page.

Tim Sykes

Studies on changing the color of your call to action button and changing the copy of your call to action button have seen increases in conversion rates of 32.5% and 31.47%

How can you test your call to action buttons?

  • Use a tool like visual website optimizer or Optimizely to test variations
  • Here are a few testing ideas:
    • Test the button copy
    • Test the button color
    • Test the location of the button on the page
    • Test the design of the button
    • Test the size of the button
    • Test the time at which the button shows. This is especially worth testing in the case of sales videos
    • Consider adding movement to the call to action. For example on Timothysykes.com there is a flash of color on the play icon that shows in the header.

16. Are you using dynamic elements to get attention?

Consider a website visitor who reads your content and is scrolling down as they read on. The further they scroll down, the greater the likelihood that they are interested in your content.

So what can be done to tap into this interest and give your visitors a nudge to subscribe to your list?

Try using a scroll box. It is like a pop up box that appears only when you have scrolled some way down the page.

It works well as it appears after users have scrolled down and gotten some value of your content. The fact that it involves movement attracts the eyes. That means it stands a better chance of being noticed as opposed to a static offer you have in your sidebar.

Groove placed a scroll box on their blog. In the first 30days, they noticed that it resulted in a 1.4% conversion rate.

GrooveHQ

Action it

There are a few tactics for you to implement and get you started right now.

If you are getting qualified traffic to your site, then these visitors are yours for the taking. So, why not get them to join your email list and nurture your relationship with them.

So take action. Make it as easy as possible for them. MailMunch can help. If you are not already a user check it out. With this tool you don’t need to invest time, money and energy in design, code or technology.

What tip has worked best for you? Is there another tip that you would add to the list?

Vinay Koshy is a content marketing and conversion optimization expert. Discover his simple yet effective ways to create contagious content or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://upviral.com/ Ethel Paderes

    Great resource. Thank you so much for the detailed article and idea generating suggestions!

    • http://www.sproutworth.com/ Vinay Koshy

      No worries. Glad you liked it Ethel.

  • Women Abiding

    This was truly so helpful! I learned a lot and am excited to implement some of the advice. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • http://www.sproutworth.com/ Vinay Koshy

      Glad it helped. Which ones are you thinking of implementing?

  • http://www.monsoonbreeze123.com/ Bilna Sandeep

    These are great ideas..would love to implement them..Thank you

    • http://www.sproutworth.com/ Vinay Koshy

      Thank you. Let me know how you go with implementing them.

  • http://bertfreeride.pl Bert Freeride

    Wow, very useful article, thank you!

    • http://www.sproutworth.com/ Vinay Koshy

      Thanks Bert

  • http://www.sherreymeyer.com/ Sherrey Meyer

    Great tips! Found a few I’m going to try. Thanks!

  • Katie Jenkins

    I know I’m a few months later than the rest of the commentators, but I just wanted to thank you for all the extremely useful information. It’s pretty refreshing to read such detailed and thorough tips! Oh, and explaining on a level where us less technical folk can clearly understand is tremendously appreciated:-)

    I’ve been feeling kinda stuck for quite a while now, but you’ve given me plenty of suggestions to work on. Reviving old content, the 404 page, having video on my landing page, taking the opportunity to get my first time commentators to sign up, etc. These are just fantastic ideas. Really.

    I can’t wait to see how they do on my blog! Thank you so very much again for sharing all the words of wisdom. You rock! -Katie J

    • http://www.sproutworth.com/ Vinay Koshy

      Glad it helped @katiej444:disqus. Let us know how things go for you.

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