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My name is Stuart Walker & like yourself I’m a regular follower of Matts blog. I love his in-depth posts and tutorials and most of all his honesty.

I was surprised, when reading his August monthly income report, to find his blog was only converting into email subscribers at 2.98%.

As collecting email subscribers is the single most important thing an online marketer or blogger can do you need to make sure you get as many of your visitors onto your list as possible.

Without going into too much detail as it’s a whole other post in it’s self (see Matt’s email marketing tutorial) your email list is the backbone of your online business and will help your business grow at a rate not possible without one.

The 2.98% opt in rate isn’t terrible. But it’s not great either.

The average in the blogging industry is anything between 2% to 4% (Source: http://blog.leadpages.net/opt-in-box-list-building-tips-techniques-strategies/)

Over 5% is considered really good and for the few bloggers who can convert over 10% that’s considered exceptional.

And with Matt being a seasoned marketer, with a blog filled with some of the best quality internet marketing content on the net, you’d expect more people to join his list, right?

Because after all “if people like your content they will opt in” apparently. I see this commonly repeated as ‘good’ advice on forums and blogs.

And it’s similar to what one of my visitors told me when I was frustrated with my own low opt in rate and decided to aggressively start collecting my visitors emails instead…

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Sadly good content and a few of the standard opt in methods simply is NOT enough anymore as I found out and Matt has found out.

People are blind to them and do NOT opt in so easily. You need to give them a VERY compelling reason to do so and give them multiple opportunities to do it.

When I took a more proactive stance to collecting emails earlier in the year I’ve seen my blog opt in rate rise from just 2.91% back in January to 9.24% in September.

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And I’ve not even finished optimizing everything yet – I fully expect to exceed the 10% mark soon.

So when I noticed Matt was only getting a 2.98% opt in rate I decided to write this post and give him some advice on what was working for me.

Then he could put it into action if he wanted and see if he could produce similar results.

What You Will Learn From Stuart Walker

  • How to skyrocket your blogs email subscriber rate and get it way beyond the average.
  • The plugins you need to turn your blog into an list building machine.
  • How to get masses of eager subscribers by offering instant benefit driven lead magnets.
  • Why ugly optin boxes work much better than pretty ones that fit in with your blogs design.
  • The hot new opt in method that’s resulting in a 785% increase in conversions.
  • Whether Matt will rise to the challenge & use these methods to increase his opt in rate.

What’s Working Now For Building Your Blogs Mailing List…

When looking at Matt’s blog and comparing it to my own there are 7 main things I noticed he wasn’t doing that I was in terms of collecting emails.

These are all things that I’ve implemented over the last 6-7 months since collecting emails has became my main focus and have contributed to my high opt in rate.

They are….

  1. Offer a lead magnet that solves one of your audiences major problems and gives them instant gratification
  2. Only ask for the details you really need when getting them to opt in – name isn’t necessary
  3. Make your optin boxes unmissable and even ugly so they stand out.
  4. Make use of in-content optin boxes that stop your most engaged readers mid-post
  5. The use of content upgrades on popular posts – this hot new trick has seen conversion increases of up to 785% on some blogs
  6. Add a headline box to ALL your blogs pages as it’s the first thing visitors see
  7. Use ‘two-step optin technology’ aka LeadBoxes or OptinLinks as these on average are increasing sign ups by 30-40% for bloggers.

Offer A Lead Magnet That Solves A Major Problem & Gives Instant Gratification

If you want to skyrocket your email conversion rate and rapidly increase your subscribers you’re going to have to offer something better than every other generic blogger does.

You need to solve a very specific problem your user has and do it instantly giving them immediate gratification.

The often used “Subscribe for updates” just isn’t effective anymore…or “Get my latest posts” in Matts case.

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Matthew Woodward Edit: This currently converts at 1.9% based on 451,733 views and 8,637 optins.

Sure his posts are incredible but we can just come to the blog to get his posts or subscribe to an RSS feed.

So why bother giving away our email address just for  ‘boring’ (note: I don’t think Matts posts are boring but it doesn’t sound exciting, does it?) blog post updates.

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“Provide something of value in exchange for their email subscription”
– Zac Johnson (ZacJohnson.com)”

On the exit pop up things are better but still not perfect.

It’s more specific in that Matt asks if you want more traffic, ranking and money but again it’s not clear whether you’ll get them instantly and chances are that is unlikely.

People want something that solves their most pressing problem and solves it NOW.

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Matthew Woodward Edit: I’m also split testing this against another popup which you can see below. The popup above converts at 0.79% while the one below converts at 0.82%.

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You need something much more enticing and it must be delivered immediately and solve a specific problem they have.

Not a vague promise of ‘more traffic’, ‘higher rankings’ and ‘more money’.

How much more traffic and when will it come?

What you need is a problem solving ‘lead magnet’.

25“Have a compelling, SPECIFIC lead magnet that promises immediate gratification. ‘Subscribe to my Newsletter’ doesn’t cut it”
Ryan Deiss (DigitalMarketer.com)

Something they sign up for and get benefit from straight away.

So instant downloads work much better than mini courses delivered over several days or weeks.

Those take too long to digest and there’s no instant problem solved or immediate gratification.

Examples Of Excellent Lead Magnets

For example Ryan Deiss and the Digital Marketer team generated 28,507 subscribers in 45 days when they switched to offering an instantly downloadable swipe file.

Their visitors could start putting this into action immediately to get more clicks from social media (Source: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/lead-magnet-ideas-funnel/).

I personally offer my audience a list of 1781 untapped niche markets in exchange for their email address.

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I know the bulk of my audience want to find a niche so I give them instant (the ‘instantly’ bit is very important) access to over 1700 of them.

This not only solves their major problem. It goes above and beyond and they can instantly consume the list and find their niche.

The “Say goodbye to boring niche research forever” part shows them they can eliminate a major headache in their life too – no one likes doing boring stuff especially when they find it difficult

It doesn’t have to be lengthy or overly complex. It can be a simple report, a checklist, a cheat sheet, an ebook or in my case a simple excel sheet.

But at the same time not just any old free giveaway like some PLR ebook or something you didn’t spend any time thinking about – it must solve a major problem they have and solve it right now.

I know Matt already gives away his How To Build A Top 100 Blog Tutorial away in PDF format to Facebook leads (Soruce: http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/how-i-built-a-top-100-blog-in-12-months/) .

This is the an example of a lead magnet.

It’s very specific in that it shows you how to build a top 100 blog and you get it immediately to start using – no vague promise of “join my list and I’ll send you some stuff over the next few weeks that help you build a better blog”.

The Argument Against Lead Magnets

There is an argument against lead magnets.

The argument is that if you give away something for free you’ll get lots of subscribers who just want the freebie and aren’t interested in anything else you offer.

Which is why when sending cold traffic to a squeeze page offering a free bribe is a terrible incentive to get an opt in as you end up with a list full of people who don’t know you and don’t care – they just wanted a freebie.

But with a blog it’s not the same as generally people have landed on your blog and consumed your content before noticing the free lead magnet.

And even if they haven’t consumed any content first if you instantly solve a major problem they have you can bet they are going to open your follow up emails and come visit your blog again.

3“Ever wonder why Neil Patel and ViperChill have so many email signups? Yes, they have epic content. Yes, their mail forms (sidebar, popups, incontextual, end of post etc..) do look awesome. But the main reason is because they actually offer something.” – Charles Floate (GodofSEO.co)

You can minimize this further by making it very clear they get the immediate gratification AND will receive follow up emails.

See how my benefit driven headline reads “Instantly discover 1781 untapped niche markets WHEN YOU JOIN THE NICHE HACKS TRIBE”.

It’s made very clear that to get the instant problem solving solution you are “joining the tribe” or the “mailing list” in other words.

Note: As a marketer it’s important you test everything. So measure your email open and unsubscribe rates before and after implementing these changes to see what affect it has.

How Matt Could Implement This

Matt could try the following benefit driven headlines that offer immediate solutions and instant gratification…

  • “Instantly discover how to build your own top 100 blog with an award winning blogger when you join the mailing list”
  • “Do You Need Higher Rankings & More Traffic? Then Sign Up Now To Instantly Receive My Top 5 SEO Hacks And Watch Your Rankings & Traffic Grow Overnight”
  • “Say Goodbye To Being Outranked Forever. Instantly Discover How To Outrank Your Competitors, Get More Traffic, And Make More Affiliate Commissions When You Join The Mailing List”

They are far more specific and immediate than “Get my latest posts” and “Do you need more traffic?”

I think by now you get the point.

You have to offer something specific.

It has to be available the second they enter their email.

It has to solve one of their major problems almost immediately or at least something can go and put straight into action.

Now go create your own lead magnet that offers instant gratification to your audience and watch your list grow.

Hopefully Matt will implement this tactic too and see his opt in rates increase closer to his 5% target.

The next point will help increase optins a little but nothing major though every conversion increase counts…

Ask For Less And Get More

I noticed that on the sidebar Matt was asking for name and email address to sign up.

Neil Patel at Quicksprout.com found that removing just 1 field can result in a 26% increase in sign ups (Source: http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/09/09/7-simple-ab-tests-that-can-increase-conversions-by-10-or-more/)

People are busy, they are sceptical about giving too much information away to random internet websites, and many like to stay anonymous.

Some marketers argue that collecting names allows you to be more personal but many people will enter fake names anyway.

You’re more likely to say “hey buddy” than “hey friends name” when talking to a good friend anyway – and your subscribers should see you as someone they can connect with.

17“Reduce the number of fields that are required to opt in. Even just having only the one field for the email address rather than requiring the name as well, can have a dramatic increase in your subscribers number”
– Aaron Aguis (LouderOnline.com.au)

There are other ways to be personal without using names which if used too often can make your sound like some creepy car salesman trying to be overly personal anyway.

And the last time I received an email from Matt he opened with “hey guys” so what’s the point in collecting names if you’re not going to use them anyway Matt?

Drop it.

It’s not a major point as you only seem to be using it on your sidebar but every little conversion boost helps you get towards your 5% target.

The next point however is much more important….

Make Your Optin Boxes Ugly & Unmissable

If you want people to sign up they have to be able to see your optin boxes.

It’s easy to miss Matt’s sidebar opt in as it blends in with the rest of the side bar.

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Matthew Woodward Edit: This currently converts at 1.9% based on 451,733 views and 8,637 subscribers.

Make your optin boxes stand out so people cannot miss them.

I use ugly green and orange optin boxes that you’d have to be blind to miss.

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This forces people to pay attention to them and increases your chance of collecting an email.

Sure they look ugly, but is your goal to win design awards or grow your list?

If you answered anything other than grow your list you’ve got your priorities all wrong.

My Results…

Since making my side in boxes ugly and unmissable I’ve saw side bar opt ins increase from just 1.6% to 2.3%

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Matt himself found that by changing the colour of a button CTR improved by 20% (Source: http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tips/how-i-increased-profits-by-changing-the-colour-of-a-button/)

So don’t think that simple changes to the colour of your opt in box won’t make much difference.

Not only can it make them stand out more but certain colours DO perform better than others and can increase your conversion rate.

Try it Matt, I think you could easily see a similar increase in conversion rate as I did by making that sidebar stand out.

But just to throw a spanner in the works here, James Shramko found that by making his optin box blend in with his website conversions increased by 55% (Source: http://blog.leadpages.net/color-split-test-landing-page/)

It’s a reminder that you should really test everything for yourself to be sure – something I know you will definitely do Matt. 😉

This will give your conversion rate a nice boost but nothing compared to the next point…

Engage Your Perfect Subscribers With In Content Opt Ins

Who better to get on your list than people who are really engaged with your content?

These are the perfect subscribers.

But even these people can get distracted and might not make it to the end of the post where the standard ‘below content’ opt in is to be found or see the side bar form.

Yet I hardly see anyone, other than myself, doing this and they work really well for me.

Matthew Woodward Edit: I have in content opt ins on a lot of posts, you can look the about page for the most extreme example. On the about page they convert at 5.9% but only 1.4% in normal posts. Here is a ‘live’ example-

Want more great tutorials like this? Just enter your email and click “Sign Me Up!”

When I first started using these I wanted to keep them simple and unobtrusive so as not to ‘annoy’ my audience.

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These converted at just 0.5% as you can see below…

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Then I decided to make them ‘pop out’ a little and see what the result would be.

This is what they look like now, big, ugly, unmissable green things like the one below that take up half the page and are plastered in the middle of the content ….

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I have different ones for different post topics ranging from niche ideas to blogging to affiliate marketing.

My Stats….

The highest converting one converts at a cool 29.06%

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And no major effect in bounce rate has been noted since these were added.

Below is time spent on page and bounce rate back in February before these optin boxes were added, 00:02:38 is the average time on page and 64.14% is the average bounce rate…

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And here’s my stats for last month below. Time on page has actually slightly improves and although bounce rate has gone up it’s not by a significant amount – the emails collected more than make up for it.

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This goes back to the previous point – beautiful is not always better.

Bigger and uglier can cause higher conversion rates so don’t be afraid to make your site look ugly, after all collecting emails is what matters not design.

Matt will know that as an affiliate marketer it’s not always the good looking sites that convert the best.

How Matt Could Implement This…

There’s a few different ways you could implement this Matt.

You could create a few different incentives / optin boxes for the main topics on your site – SEO, affiliate marketing, traffic or whatever.

And use them on any relevant posts.

You don’t necessarily need to create brand new content but instead bundle some content together from your blog into a ‘package’

For example I took all my blogging posts and turned them into PDFs and gave it away as a ‘bloggers toolbox’ and the same for the affiliate marketing posts too.

18“Give users access to extra content (ebook, PDFs, images etc) in return for their email”
Matthew Barby (FindMyBlogWay.com)

I re-used my 1791 niches list and bundles that together with some PDFs of other posts and guides and made that a “niche marketers toolbox”.

Or you could simply offer your PDF version of the post that you give away using SocialLocker.

These could really help push you to (and probably above) your 5% target.

Or even better……use the hot new optin methods that’s getting some bloggers up to a 785% increase in opt ins that I’m about to talk about below….

The Hot New Opt In Method That’s Responsible For Up To 785% Increase In Conversions

You might have noticed this recently.

Instead of bloggers offering generic opt ins across the whole blog. Many are now offering post specific ‘content upgrades’ that compliment the post you are reading.

I first noticed this way back March in this post (Source: http://nichehacks.com/increase-email-list/) when I talked about how Vero were using custom post giveaways and had increased sign ups by 150% in just 4 weeks.

Now everyone is doing it including Brian Dean who’s seen up to a 785% increase in conversions since utilizing content upgrades (http://backlinko.com/increase-conversions) such as checklists and addition tips.

The idea behind it is simple – offer your user something extra in exchange for their email address.

The content upgrade doesn’t need to anything lengthy or special it can take the form of a checklist, PDF copy of the post, cheat sheet, or additional information, and ideally should not take too long to create.

2“I decided to see if giving away a post-specific resource would increase conversions on my blog post: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List. The result? A 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month)” – Brian Dean, Backlinko.com

It makes so much sense.

Someone who’s reading a post about 34 Ways To Increase Your Blogs Email Address is more likely to enter their email to receive an extra 10 ways or a printable checklist related to the post than they are to get a generic offer like 1781 niches.

Matthew already does this in a sense. He offers PDF copies if you unlock them via his SocialLocker but instead he gets social shares rather then emails.

Which would you rather?

Again if the answer was anything other than ’emails’ your priorities are wrong.

There are multiple ways to add content upgrade to single posts – through entry pop ups, exit pop ups, and in content pop ups.

And exit pop ups are really working well right now.

Gives your users 3 chances to get the content upgrade and makes it unlikely they’ll miss it – this will skyrocket anyone’s conversion rate.

19“My number one tip, although you may not like it is exit popup. On exit ask for their email… it is really effective and that is how most of the popular bloggers are building their list these days– Neil Patel

How To Find Your Most Trafficked Pages

You can find your high traffic pages using Google Analytics.

Google Analytics > Site Content > All Pages

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My Results

For now I’ve focused on adding content upgrades to my highest trafficked pages to test the results – and the results have been fantastic!

One of the most popular ‘content upgrades’ so far has been this simple checklist (Source: http://nichehacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/31-Ways-To-Promote-A-Blog-Post-Check-List-PDF.pdf)

If you’re wondering how I made that checklist?

I typed it up in word then paid an illustrator on Fiverr $25 to turn it into something nice looking with my logo and site colours, simple!

I was able to use this as a content upgrade on several different about blogging where it converts at anywhere from 2.29% up to 50%.

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So far I haven’t spent much time on my content upgrades.

I’ve turned list posts into printable checklists or excel sheets.

I’ve offered PDF versions of posts.

And bonus ‘case studies’ that were nothing more than a collection of links to other resources on the topic in a PDF file.

All of this was content that was either already on the blog or could easily be made or outsourced.

If you add this even to your top 10 pages you’ll see a huge boost in sign up. Add it to ALL your content and your sign ups will soar through the roof.

5% target? You’ll probably double it!

How Matt Could Implement This…

Matt even if you just switched to offering the PDF version of your posts in exchange for an email instead of a social share you could smash your 5% opt in rate out the park I’m sure.

But go custom content upgrades and you could probably double it.

Some examples of what you could offer….

Post: How To Build And Rank A Spam Site (http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/build-rank-spam-site-beat-google-updates) –

Content Upgrade: A printable checklist your audience could use to make sure they are doing everything needed to rank.

Post: How I Built A Top 100 Blog In 12 Months (http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/how-i-built-a-top-100-blog-in-12-months/)

Content Upgrade: A simple PDF version people could print off and refer to or some additional blogging tips.

Post: Getting Started With Email Marketing (http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/email-marketing-part-3/)

Content Upgrade: 25 Tips To Increase Email Open Rates

Post: How To Create And Launch A Highly Profitable Product (http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/create-launch-product-wso/)

Content Upgrade: A printable checklist for product launches.

None of these are difficult to create and wouldn’t take much additional time yet they are very valuable to your readers who would hand over their email address in exchange for them.

Especially ahead of a generic offer like “Want more traffic, rankings and money?” for example or a one size fits all lead magnet like a free ebook on a subject not related to the post.

I’m eager to see your results with this one Matt.

Matthew Woodward Edit: I offer content upgrades on some posts via a social locker, specifically 3 parts of my tiered link building series. Social share conversion rate is 9.58% for part 2, 5.13% for part 3 & 7.23% for part 5.

The next method is one which many bloggers have found crazy results with.

Mines haven’t been quite so incredible but good none the less…

Add A Headline Feature Box For A 51.7% Opt In Increase

You’ll have seen headline boxes on popular sites like SocialTriggers.com

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And John Morrows BoostBlogTraffic.com

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They are the first thing your visitors see after landing on your site.

And if you give your visitors a benefit driven reason to enter their email you can instantly add a new subscriber to your list.

DIY Themes saw a 51.7% increase in opt ins when they added the headline box. (Source: http://diythemes.com/thesis/feature-box-conversions/)

And Tung Tran of CloudLiving.com found his converted at 7%.

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“Use the feature box by Derek Halpern…it converts at 7% on my blog” Tung Tran, CloudLiving.com

So this is worth doing.

How To Add A Headline Box…

This box comes as part of any theme from DIYThemes or the Generate Genesis Theme but most other themes do not have it as standard.

However even with DIYThemes and Genesis Generate they only display on the home page and not everyone lands on the home page.

Luckily there is a plugin called Plugmatter which easily allows you to add your own headline box to any theme

And it displays on ALL pages if you want it to. You can even choose to have different boxes for different pages – great for a content upgrade style opt in.

It can also be split tested allowing you to find which version converts best.

And not only that but other cool features like only showing after a certain number of visits, disappearing after a certain number of visits if your audience don’t opt in and even changing to a new box.

I’m only just scratching the surface with this plugin so far.

It’s a simple 1 click install then adding a line of code to your sites header (their instructions are super easy to follow)

My Results With Headline Boxes…

And so I added it to my blog. Check out my feature box on NicheHacks…

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Yet another benefit driven, instant gratification, problem solving reason for my visitors to enter their email.

And they do.

It’s been on the site for around 1 month now and collected a total of 565 additional visitors.

So far the best converting box converts at 1.14%.

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Not quite the 7% conversion rate Tung Tang gets but I won’t say no to an additional 565 subscribers a month and neither should you.

With more work I can probably double the opt in rate at least.

Get a headline box on your blog now if you haven’t already.

How Matt Could Implement This…

I believe if Matt enables it on his site he can easily match my 1.14% opt in rate or exceed it by offering an irresistible lead magnet solving one of your major problems.

Similar to what I talked about earlier in the post, it could be his How To Build A Top 100 Blog guide or an ‘SEO Hack’ for higher rankings and traffic.

Something you can instantly consume and start putting into action within 5 minutes of entering your email.

So what do you say Matt, will you give it a try?

If not you definitely have to give the next method a shot…

Two Step Optin Technology Can Increase Sign Ups By 30-40%

John Chow reported how bloggers using ‘Lead Boxes’ by LeadPages are seeing 30-40% optin increases on their blog (Source: http://www.johnchow.com/how-to-use-leadboxes-to-boost-your-conversions/)

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So what exactly is 2 step optin technology?

Lead Boxes is an example of ‘two step optin technology’ in that the opt in box is hidden until your visitor clicks on a piece of text, image or a button and then it pops up right there on the page asking for their email.

You’ll no doubt have encountered it yourself already.

And why does this work so well?

You might be wondering why this makes any difference from the standard opt in?

It’s a psychological thing.

In most cases people don’t really want to put their email in so when the opt in box is right there up front they often choose to ignore it.

When it’s hidden until a click is made there’s a higher chance of them then opting in.

They’ve already made the small effort to click it so from there on it’s easy enough to enter their email.

You might be surprised it works so effectively but it does work.

15“On average, LeadPages users are boosting their conversion by 30% to 40% with LeadBoxes”
– John Chow, JohnChow.com

A cheaper alternative to Lead Boxes

Now here’s the kicker, Leadpages with the Lead Boxes option costs $67 per month which might be out of your budget.

You get a lot more features than just the Lead Boxes tool but it’s still a considerable monthly fee if you’re new to list building or your list isn’t making much money yet.

The good news is there’s a much cheaper alternative, which I myself use (I don’t have any use for the other LeadPages features), called OptinLinks.

It’s a WordPress plugin with a one off payment of just $47 and it works exactly the same as the Lead Boxes feature.

So there’s no excuse for not implementing this on your blog.

My Results From Using Two Step Technology

You can see this plugin in action on every single one of my posts – like this one for example (source: http://nichehacks.com/1109-profitable-niche-markets/ )

At the top of each post usually after the first paragraph I add a little yellow box offering a lead magnet with a call to action (again the 1781 niches list)

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When clicked this ugly little optin box pop up…

Stuart Walker Optin popup

I mean look at it. It’s terrible. I’ve literally spent no time on making it look appealing.

So you’d think this wouldn’t convert, right?

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These ugly little opt in boxes are converting at up to 39.90%.

I am confident I could increase this in 2 different ways.

  1. Make the opt in box and the button text clearer
  2. Offer a custom content upgrade relevant to the post as I’m doing with the other optin boxes on some posts.

I simply haven’t got round to it yet.

Yet still I’m seeing conversions of up to 39.90%

Two step optin technology works and works fantastically.

Combined with the yellow box it’s unmissable and people just aren’t expecting to be asked to opt in when they click that link.

If I got rid of the yellow box and didn’t use 2 step technology just having a big opt in form right at the top of the page it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

How Matt Could Use This

Matt, as far as I can see you aren’t using this at all on the blog. It’s time to.

We talked earlier about offering custom content upgrades on your most popular posts.

Well combine the custom content upgrades with the 2 step technology and watch your conversions soar.

And don’t forget the yellow box.

It’s something Brian Dean put me on to and it works like crazy (Source: http://backlinko.com/increase-conversions) for getting your visitors attention.

You already offer PDF versions of your posts so even without any additional work you could put this into action easily.

If you stepped it up a notch and offer exclusive content, checklists, additional tips or cheat sheets that 5% opt in target you set will be met in no time.

That concludes the 7 methods I’m using to skyrocket my email subscriber list that Matt is not but now you need to know how to put these into action….

Tools Needed To Add These Optin Methods To Your Blog

Now you know what’s working to skyrocket your subscriber rate you need to know what tools you can use to do it.

Sadly there’s no 1 tool that can do everything. Trust me I’ve looked.

You’ll need 4 different tools to implement every change I’ve talked about in this post.

  1. OptinMonster
  2. OptinSkin
  3. OptinLinks or LeadPages
  4. PlugMatter

OptinMonster can be used for entry and exit pop ups as well as below content and footer bar optin boxes.

OptinSkin is for the in content boxes.

OptinLinks or LeadPages for the two step technology.

Lead Pages has far more features than OptinLinks but it’s also a significant investment at $67 per month compared to OptinLinks one off fee of $47. MW Edit: Learn how I use LeadPages in my how to advertise on Facebook tutorial.

PlugMatter is needed for the headline bar. I haven’t seen any other plugins that offer this feature.

Add all these tools to your blog and take the actions laid out in this tutorial and watch your blog turn into an email grabbing machine.

Wrapping Things Up

Collecting emails is one of the single most important thing you can do as a blogger or online marketer.

Your email list is one of the few things that can never be taken away from you no matter what happens.

Your Facebook followers can be wiped out with a Facebook ban.

Search engine traffic can be taken away from you with a simple algorithm update.

Other traffic sources can dry up.

But even if your autoresponder goes out of business you still own that email list and as long as you have a backup (always backup!) you can simply move your list to a new company.

It’s the life blood of your business and will ramp up your traffic and sales 10x faster than if you didn’t have one.

Not to mention the relationship it allows you to build with your subscribers.

There’s probably not a single successful online business that doesn’t have one and even if there is they’d be 100x more successful if they started one.

Implement each of the 7 steps outlined in the post….

  1. Offer instant gratification lead magnets
  2. Only ask for details needed – email is usually all you need
  3. Make your opt in forms unmissable (and even ugly)
  4. Use in content opt ins that your readers can’t miss
  5. Add content upgrades to your most popular posts
  6. Make use of the headline feature box
  7. Implement 2 step opt in technology for higher conversions

And you are guaranteed to send your conversion rate through the roof.

As we talked about earlier 2% to 4% is considered the average optin rate for blogs.

So if you aren’t hitting the 4% mark yet you could definitely benefit from doing ALL of the above.

If you’re above the 4% mark but aren’t using all of the 7 steps implement them immediately and watch your conversion rate go from average to exceptional.

I’m currently converting visitors into subscribers at 9.24% based on last months traffic up from just 2.91% back in February before I started to put these 7 steps into action.

Matt’s currently converting at 2.98% and wants to get up to 5% and I believe if he puts the steps laid out in this post into action he’ll reach that (and exceed it) very quickly.

So all there is now to do is for YOU and Matt to go out and try them on your blog and report back with the findings.

Why not leave a comment below and tell us what your blog currently converts at as well as what methods you’re using that are working well for you…

Handing Over To Matt

Hey guys Matthew here – how was that for a guest post and a half?

Stuart Walker originally sent me some advice via email and I invited him to transform it into a full blown guest post and boy has he hit it out of the park.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to follow all of his advice step by step making the changes he recommends.

Once I have collected enough data I will publish all of the results so you can see exactly what impact the advice Stuart Walker provided has had on conversion rate for the blog.

I’ll also add my own comment to each of the points and I’ll explain why I made the conscious decision not to offer a lead magnet even though I knew it would damage conversion rate.

My Current Aweber Stats

In the image below you can see my current email optin conversion stats-

aweber-conversion

Let me explain what each of those means-

  • About – This is from my About page
  • EndPost – The form you see at the end of posts
  • InVideo – The optin form you see popup in videos sometimes
  • IncomeReport* – Inline optin forms in income reports
  • Inpost* – Inline optin forms in posts
  • Sidebar – The optin form at the top of the sidebar
  • SidebarStick – The red optin form that follows you down the page
  • Site_Registration – When someone joins the forum

The only stats that might be slightly off are the IncomeReport and Inpost ones as there are some posts where I forgot to place the tracking pixel, but they are on the majority which still gives a huge dataset.

The other stats we can look at come from OptinMonster which powers the popup, footer bar and slide in corner area which I know looks ugly – but that was the point.

optinmonster-stats

I’m currently running split tests across each of those areas but will be revising my entire strategy based on the advice of Stuart Walker.

I’m very excited to see how this turns out and it has been on my to do list for a while now. I have to thank Stuart Walker (visit his blog) for giving me the kick and also thank Syed Balkhi from WPBeginner.com for offering some sage advice at Affiliate Summit in August.

If you look at the email marketing strategy I use you will see I have a powerful email autoresponder funnel setup, so even if I take the optin conversion rate from 2.98% to just 4% – the impact of that would be huge.

I’m guessing I will be buying Stuart Walker more than a few steak dinners in the near future.

Here goes nothing =D

Stuart Walker blogs at NicheHacks.com where he regularly reveals untapped affiliate niches and insider niche ‘hacks’. If you liked this post you’ll love 31 ways to promote blog posts and 34 ways to increase your blogs email subscribers.

127 Responses

  1. 10.27.2014

    I knew a lot of this information, but my problem is that I don’t implement.

    Well, I’m planning to change that.

    After reading this post I realized that my ugly optin forms are not as nearly as ugly as they should be. It still hurts remembering the electrical green optin box. Ouch.

    • October 27th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      How about we race to implementation?

      • October 27th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        Sounds like a challenge 😀

      • October 27th, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        Currently building our site and blog from scratch but just got the headline box and dbl optin form….

        I’m claiming 24 hours to get them implemented!

        then I just need to start writing content….

        • October 27th, 2014 at 11:24 pm

          Then the race is well and truly on! I’m not working tomorrow so you’ve got a head start 😛

        • October 27th, 2014 at 11:41 pm

          Go Daniel!

          Get OptinMonster installed ASAP. That’s the best overall optin plugin IMO.

          Shame it doesn’t have shortcode functionability to do in content opt ins though. It would allow me to get rid of OptinSkins which is badly in the need of an update by the developers.

          The best thing you probably do though is the custom content upgrades. They work like crazy but most bloggers are too lazy to do them as it’s even more work on the additional content.

          • October 28th, 2014 at 1:24 am

            You can use shortcodes. You need the free afterpost plugin.

            Then you create an afterpost type optin and show it using this shortcode.

            [optin-monster-shortcode id=”egbso9cmwm-yourslugid”]

    • October 27th, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      I hope you put it to good use Liudas, it really is one of the single most important thing you can do as a blogger and online marketer.

      The results you get from having an email list are fantastic and part of the reason why in just 10 months of being live NicheHacks has just under 30,000 visitors per month.

      I like Matt’s idea of a race. Anyone thinking of putting this into action should get involved and see who gets the best results.

      The group aspect will keep everyone motivated,

      • October 29th, 2014 at 6:47 am

        So I have both of them set up

        One is the header for the blog page only a nice big Feature Box

        The other is an option via email only for our pricing list

        I’m using some of the other methods so far, the only issue I had, I was using a welcome bar, and in fairness my header is far too big, and when the optin box popper up, you couldn’t do anything other than enter the email 😛

        Really looking forward to using all the techniques-we are starting a case study with a client this week based on a few techniques and some social marketing, so will share here and see how it converts!

        (Will be our 1st blog post lol :P)

      • October 30th, 2014 at 1:45 pm

        Implemented the optin form at the top. I don’t really enjoy how it looks maybe will try to tweak it a bit, but my theme doesn’t give a lot of flexibility for that.
        Still, I hope it will give me a decent increase in optins.
        You can see it at easym6. com
        Any suggestions of what else I could do? I’m not really into spending any more money on plugins.

  2. 10.27.2014

    Thanks for posting this Matt.

    This is my first ever guest post since NicheHacks opened 10 months ago!

    I’ve been meaning to since launch day and never gotten round to it.

    Looking forward to seeing what changes you make and the results.

    For anyone looking for some general advice on increasing their blogs opt in rates check out this guide I created….

    http://nichehacks.com/increase-email-list/

    • October 27th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks for taking the time and effort to put something awesome like this together! I owe you!

  3. 10.27.2014

    Congrats on the titling of the email that got me to click the link. I was expecting a public skirmish followed by a smackdown. Great post both of you. Concise and definitive.

  4. Raphael @ NicheHacks Premier Member
    10.27.2014

    Hello Stuart
    Happy to read your piece of content,Great and Useful Post.II learn lot of about optimization.
    Thank You Stuart and Matthew

    • October 27th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Hope it helps!

    • October 27th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Hey again Raphael, I just emailed you back.

      Thanks for commenting on my first ever guest post.

  5. 10.27.2014

    LeadPages I read many times and I see them recommended by top bloggers.

    Let us know how is conversion rate next month Matthew.

    Kind regards!

  6. Muhammad Danish
    10.27.2014

    hello! matt and walker Happy to read your article superb and Useful Post learn lot of about optimization and marketing tips and tricks i got many things from your very useful tutorial even i start teaching as well thanks once again

  7. 10.27.2014

    Hehe, I open my gmail everyday, and everytime Matt sent me an email, I want to open it. I always love your post about newest SEO case study and Amazing Tools Tutorial <3

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      I think that means my email marketing strategy is working out ok!

  8. 10.27.2014

    Hey Stuart and Matt,

    Fantastic post about secret tactics to building an email list.

    I will pick up OptinLinks and Plugmaster plus follow the guides in this article.

    I have to save this page asap.

    Thanks

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Let us know the results!

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      OptinLinks is great and a much cheaper alternative to LeadPages that many beginner bloggers just wouldn’t get value out of due to the $67 per month charge.

      Would love to hear your results too.

  9. 10.27.2014

    wow, that was a guest post and a half. Can’t wait to implement a few things, along with getting a decent theme for my site.

    Thanks

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Take a look at any of the themes with visual composer built in

      • October 28th, 2014 at 12:22 am

        Sweet will do.

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Glad you liked it Nathan. Happy Matt let me post it. Good first guest post I’d say and a great place to be published.

  10. 10.27.2014

    This was a great post and has a lot of golden nuggets in it. I’m going to take out the name field on the opt in box on my sites and make some really ugly ones to insert into content.

    Thanks for sharing this solid research.

  11. 10.27.2014

    Hey Stuart & Matt,

    awesome post. I only have a little reservations in regards to focusing too much on list size v. list responsiveness, but it can be debated of course. ~10% CVR is impressive.

    I just have a question regarding in-content content upgrades. In-content content upgrades are managed by a plugin like OptinSkin? If not, what’s the best way to manage it?

    Do they allow already-subscribed readers to get those content upgrades?

    Cheers 😉

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Hi,

      That is precisely why I have never offered any sort of bait to join my list

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Hey Manu,

      Yeah it’s important not to just focus on list size because a big list that doesn’t open emails is worthless so you do have to pay attention to open and click rates.

      Mines have dropped a bit the more aggressive I’ve got but overall traffic and earnings are way up and look at it this way…

      If someone is on the fence or skeptical and you don’t really try to win them over then you’ll probably lose that person forever. Asking them to “subscribe for blog updates” when they aren’t your biggest fan isn’t going to work.

      But give them something really cool and useful for free that they love is going to do more to win them over and make them happy they joined your list.

      It’s about turning those people who aren’t quite sure about you yet into raving fans.

      Doing the in content thing can be tricky. I believe LeadPage has a solution where it can deliver them separately even if someone is already on your list and send out specific lead magnets without you having to create multiple lists.

      Otherwise you’ll have to set up multiple lists n your Autoresponder or deliver the lead magnet on the thank you page but this has obvious issues as well.

  12. 10.27.2014

    Wow, just wow, amazing content. My head just exploded. Thanks Matt and Stuart. There’s so much to learn! :-)

  13. 10.27.2014

    It’s one of the best blog about internet marketing. Cool Matthew.
    In Indonesia, we don’t have yet internet marketer who post super-detail blog like you. Thanks! :)

  14. 10.27.2014

    It will take a while untill I need to implement these things on my website as I just started a couple of weeks ago. But the things that I have already learned already on this website and saved on Evernote to apply later, is of amazing value.

    I am trying to follow the same filosophy of sharing knowledge.

    Just wanted to thank you both, also Stuart for taking the time to write a 6482 long post. And sorry for my english, I am spanish.

    Cheers

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Don’t make the mistake of never acting on it.

      Writing it on a post it note and stick it to your monitor.

      How about we race?

      • October 28th, 2014 at 9:21 pm

        Sure! :) Where is the finish? And how long will you wait till I arrive.

        • October 29th, 2014 at 3:43 pm

          Well, I’m going to put the full plan of attack together today and start executing tomorrow so you better get a wiggle on!

          • October 29th, 2014 at 7:45 pm

            I will! Thanks a lot. 😉

  15. Alcr33k
    10.27.2014

    Just be careful so you don’t ruin your great user experience with over-optimization. If you try too hard to get better email opt-in rate the site will look more spammy (especially after following some of the advice in the this article) and it will be harder for the visitor to actually read and enjoy your content. User experience > email opt in rate.

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Sound advice that I will be taking to heart and measuring before/after

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      But as we are marketers we must make decisions based on data and numbers.

      And the data shows that people really don’t get annoyed as much as we think they should about opt ins and pop ups.

      Bounce rate, time spent on site, and pages per view is consistent before and after all these methods are implemented.

      My returning traffic grows every month.

      I don’t stop going to QuickSprout even though I get bombarded with pop ups (Neil has 2 entry and 1 exit) every time I visit because the content is worth it.

      In the IM niche people are used to it and know the score. Maybe in less technical niches it would scare people away.

      Always test and never make assumptions.

  16. 10.27.2014

    Awesome. Couple of questions:

    1. What do you have in place after the optin? I’ve been slow on that aspect because I don’t have a series of emails ready to go. Or do you do what Matthew does, get people back to the website?

    2. What do you use to convert posts to pdfs? I have tried a couple of plugins (I use WordPress) and they either don’t work or break my site.

    Thanks!
    Kimberly

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:18 pm
    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Hey Kimberly,

      Well immediately after optin they should see your thank you page telling them their opt in was successful and telling them what to do next (i.e, go check for your welcome email)

      Then yes a series of follow up emails. It’s absolutely crucial to start emailing them straight away as soon as they follow up to build on the momentum.

      They’ve just opted in because you’ve wow’ed them over and they love your stuff so it’s the perfect time to be sending them more of your stuff.

      I start by sending them back to my most popular / best content to win them over even further mixed in with email exclusives they can’t find on the blog.

      It’s easy to create simple emails pointing back to your blog content.

      And to convert posts into PDFs I simply take the Word document I typed it in and ‘convert to PDF’ using the option they provide. I don’t type posts directly into WordPress and I think it’s better to di that as you always have a back up copy should your site crash and lose the post whilst typing it or something.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Hey Kimberly,

      the best content / course I have ever read by far in IM goes about email marketing and building “trust with your list”. It is Andre Chaperon’s “Auto Responder Madness 3.0”. It’s not cheap (around $300) and it’s not easy (as in “requires a lot of work”) but if you really want to ROCK your list, I would suggest you go for this program. I have been through it several times and I’m currently implementing it for my new blog expecting amazing results (have done this in the past as a service for others and the response has been outstanding).

      Just my 0.02….

      • October 28th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        Yep Andre is the email marketing rockstar. His emails always get me opening and clicking.

        His “soap opera” cliff hanger style works really well.

  17. 10.27.2014

    Hey Stuart again and Matt,

    I think if you are going to push sign ups hard you need to be extra sure you are providing a valuable and appropriate lead magnet.

    Stuart did mention this but it’s a key point that could get missed among all the placement and design advice. It’s also that part that takes the most work so some people might skip it.

    Every time you ask for a sign up you should be further demonstrating your authority and showing leadership.

    Each lead magnet should make me believe in you more.

    If not, your sign up conversion rate might increase but if your blog traffic goes to ruin because you turned into a spammy douche bag… well remember 100% of zero is zero.

    Even if your blog traffic remains stable or steady who knows? Maybe without aggressive sign up promotion your blog might have seen exponential growth.

    So increasing your sign up conversion is not the be all and end all. Your reputation is more important that your sign up conversion rate.

    Having said all that…

    I even don’t mind a pop-up box if it’s popping up with something frigging amazing ))

    You can pop up and give me what I want and need all day long.

    If you pop up and serve me that’s fantastic. If you pop up to serve yourself, that’s annoying.

    I’ve been researching lead magnets for the last 2 days for a blog post I’m writing (hence the huge reply).

    I think they should be called leadership magnets instead (but that’s another story).

    So far I found over 50 different types that go way beyond your garden variety pdf opt in incentive.

    There are loads of different ways you can encourage people to sign up.

    I noticed this post doesn’t have a targeted lead magnet to go along with the topic.

    So Stuart or Matt I think you could improve this page with a simple check list document to takeway. It’s a long article and a checklist would be a great to make sure people take away the core steps for improving sign up conversion rates.

    If you do it, put the valuable and appropriate lead magnet right at at top. )

    Cheers
    Alistair Cochrane

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Alistair,

      That is some very good feedback – thanks for putting the time in to provide that.

      Your point is a valid one indeed and I will be looking to try and make a few different ones that are relevant and of fantastic quality.

      May I ask your opinion around a popup – at what point should it trigger?

      • October 27th, 2014 at 11:22 pm

        Test the times to find out the best results Matt. 😉

        I read on another blog recently they found the best results were when it popped up after 10 seconds though.

        Alistair…

        The proof is in the numbers. If people were turned off by all the opt ins and aggressive collecting of emails we’d see it in the bounce rate, time spent on site etc.

        There’s no discernible difference in any of mines since the blog started till now.

        Yet my list is growing rapidly and my traffic is skyrocketing.

        I’m gonna keep doing what I do.

        • October 27th, 2014 at 11:30 pm

          And yeah we did miss a trick by not creating a specific post lead magnet here tbh like a checklist.

          That was dumb. So now both of us look stupid. 😉

        • October 28th, 2014 at 1:06 am

          Simple huh )) Measure what works and then do what works :)

      • October 28th, 2014 at 1:05 am

        I think the optimal trigger point will be different for each post.

        A popup on the homepage might be best after 5 seconds. A popup on a deeper page might be better after longer.

        With a content upgrade if your reader has been educated by the post then they might want to upgrade more. i.e. by the end of the article they know they need the tool, whereas at the start of the article they might not even understand what the tool is.

        In general…

        AuthorityHacker say 10 seconds
        http://www.authorityhacker.com/optin-pop-ups/
        For a juicing ebook on their heathambition site.

        Appsumo said 5 seconds
        http://www.appsumo.com/7-tips-grow-your-emails/
        Not quite clear but I think the offer was a newsletter.

        My gut feelings is… I think content upgrades are a good way to go because not only are you getting someone on your list you are increasing your authority, increasing goodwill and you are nurturing a quality relationship.

        Popup or not presenting your offer sooner will result in more people seeing it and that probably accounts for the higher signup rate when the popup comes fast.

        This Slate article about how people read pages is great for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet.

        http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/06/how_people_read_online_why_you_won_t_finish_this_article.html

        But Stuart is right. Experimenting is the way to find out but before you can do an experiment you need a hypothesis so it’s good to have a think about it )

        • October 28th, 2014 at 1:12 am

          If you have a opt in content upgrade at the end of your article it’s probably a good idea to briefly mention it and link to it in the introduction.

          This will catch some of those people that decide not to read the post but might still benefit from the giveaway.

          I would use a lightbox popup that is activated by click at the start.

        • October 28th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

          Great advice :)

          I’ve always wondered about popup timing and I might even delay it further. For example if an average time on site is 2 minutes 30 seconds, then why not drop it in at 90 seconds?

          People are seriously engaged at that point – although I’m guest guessing :)

          • October 28th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

            Yeah the average time on site might be 2:30 but not necessarily on the same page so it would be tricky to manage especially when offering customer pop ups and content upgrades I think.

            And isn’t that essentially what the exit pop up does…collect people as they are leaving regardless of time?

            Obviously they aren’t perfect as one slightly swift move of the mouse upwards triggers them.

            Matt, test the s*** out of it an

  18. 10.27.2014

    This is the reason I have turned to blogs like your over Warrior Forum or others. These kind of in depth posts are worth their weight in gold, and for free?? Guys, bravo, I am very impressed, as usual

  19. 10.27.2014

    Great stuff –

    You two are two of only three blogs I link to on my MMO blog (Kim Roach’s ‘Buzzblogger’ is the third if you’re wondering…).

    Robert

  20. 10.27.2014

    Great update Stuart.
    BTW your site its filled with lead boxes :)

    • October 27th, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I think that’s the point!

      • October 27th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

        It’s definitely the point.

        My blog is an optin machine and I’ve barely even scratched the surface yet.

        Still loads of things being tested and tried out. It’s only going to increase.

        I should be over the 10% mark by the end of the year.

      • October 27th, 2014 at 11:46 pm

        But seriously it looked a bit spammy :)

        Anyway no problem Stuart gotta implement.

        Thanks

        • October 28th, 2014 at 11:05 am

          But you still hung around and read my content, right? 😉

  21. 10.28.2014

    I have an opt in rate of 31%, but I don’t use pop ups or put an opt-in in my side bar. I only send targeted traffic to my opt in page. Fewer people hit the page, but higher quality leads get there. I also don’t just ask people to sign up for updates or ask for subscribes – I offer an email course.

    I’m not sure if that’s comparing apples to oranges or what.

    Pop-ups are super annoying for repeat visitors. I know people justify it with, “Well, it works”, but I still dislike it. Only think I dislike more are exit pop ups. LOL. Maybe that’s the price of reading free information on a blog.

    Hello Bars and slide-ins (Opt-in Monster) are OK I think because they are so low-key.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Thats a very nice approach – do you just have links from the main site to a lander?

      • October 28th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        I just use a page on my WordPress blog with an introduction explaining what the course is about and what they can expect from me. I’d say there’s about 200-300 words of content before they even see the opt in form.

        The jury is still out whether a squeeze page or regular blog page converts better, but they’re pretty close.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Nathan, is that a landing page on your blog or you simply have a squeeze page?

      I also have a dedicated landing page on my blog and it converts at 30 something percent too but I also have about 100 other opt in methods across the blog that pick up people who don’t make it to the landing page.

      By the way Ryan Diess and the Digital Marketer team (and these guys are responsible for sending millions of emails) found that instant gratification lead magnets worked out much better than email courses or anything that is sent out over days / weeks.

      People want an IMMEDIATE benefit for signing up and not something that’s dragged out over time which they can easily lose interest in, forget about or miss.

      People are busy, their inboxes are crowded, they get easily distracted. You need to WOW them and make an impression straight away before they’ve got time to forget you.

  22. 10.28.2014

    Wow Stuart.

    This is a game changer article.

    I started putting efforts to increase my subscribers list after 8th September. The very first thing I did was, read all the articles about email marketing on Matt’s blog and then implemented the suggested changes while reading the article itself.

    I am seeing 56% more subscribers by making those small changes. :)

    This guide is a complete doable guide which can further give me a good increase if I implement it right now.

    I am bookmarking this guide as I am going to make the changes in November.

    Thanks for these killer suggestions.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Hi,

      What were the changes you made initially? Be great to hear if you can improve it further!

      • October 28th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        I changed homepage optin box color and bullet points.

        Added more professional optin box at sidebar and after posts.

        Started using SumoMe plugin to capture subscribers using popup.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Awesome work Kulwant.

      Increase it even further with the above.

      What is your overall opt in rate and specifically what changes did you make?

  23. 10.28.2014

    Hi Stuart/Mathew,
    Its quite revealing from this post to be reminded of the importance of maximizing the benefits of email list building.

    It agree that even when other sources of traffic is taken away from the blogger, email list is still under the control and purvey of the marketer.

    The post is practical. However, making the most of email marketing requires a skill and commitment to influence readers!

    If we don’t take practical steps we may not get the results we need. The whole concept in this post is about taking time to do what works. I guess there are some tactics that really works more than others.

    My best takeaway is the different tools/plugins that can be used to implement the various changes and increase conversions. Its a cool post!
    Shared also in kingged.com

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Well marketing is all about influence, so if you aren’t committed to that – then what are we all doing :)

  24. 10.28.2014

    You two guys rock :)

  25. 10.28.2014

    Matt, is there a way for you to compare your email open rates before and after implementation of these changes?
    Because let’s face it, s**** opt ins if your open rates(or even worse conversion rates) are low.
    I don’t doubt Stuart has had great results, but I still don’t believe that you should force people to subscribe. I subscribed to your newsletter because I like to be notified of the new stuff you publish. I didn’t sign up because you had to bribe me.

    Bottom line: email lists are great, but don’t force people! I’ve noticed it in myself and I’m sure other people feel the same way: email popups are becoming intrusive, which goes against the core idea of inbound marketing. Always plan for the long term.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Stefan,

      That is part of my argument for not giving something away so it will be interesting to see what happens.

      I recently had a discussion with Tim from AfterOffers who told me the industry average for email confirmation was 40-50% and mine was in the high 90s – and im guessing that is because people sign up because they want to hear what I have to say rather than grabbing a freebie.

      • October 28th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

        If your freebie is amazing once people have read it/used it they will naturally want to remain on your list.

        If your freebie is pants… then yeah you’ve just got a list of people that are ready to leave and probably just not bothered enough to look for the unsubscribe link yet. You might even start getting marked as spam.

        Don’t offer any freebies unless they are genuinely helpful.

      • October 28th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        Exactly! And I honestly think that people who subscribe on their own are more loyal than those who just want a freebie. The other day I subscribed to Matt Barby’s newsletter simply because his content is outstanding. Also, let’s be honest: most freebies are c***!

        Regarding your popups and newsletter boxes: you should definitely try removing the name field and see what happens.

        • October 29th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

          Well I suppose the only way to find out now, is to do it :)

        • October 29th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

          People who subscribe just to get something for free for the sake of it being free are definitely no use.

          People who subscribe to get something for free WHICH SOLVES THEiR MOST MAJOR PROBLEM are worth their weight in gold.

          If you immediately eliminate a major headache in someones life and give them a solution to a pressing problem, they’ll bite your hand off for more emails from you.

    • October 28th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Stefan,

      Of course Matt will need to measure open rates before and after and it will be easy for him to do so with his autoresponder.

      You’re not “forcing” anyone to subscribe. You’re giving them an incentive they can’t say no to.

      Who wouldn’t a solution to one of their major problems solved FOR FREE.

      It’s not bribing them with some generic, thrown together, ebook you put no thought into.

      Its working out their single most pressing problem and solving it for them instantly in exchange for the email addy.

      You can choose not to take it and continue reading the blog but why would you want to when it’s going to eliminate an immediate headache in your life?

      No one “likes” pop ups but the fact is they don’t dislike them as much as they say they do. The proof is in the numbers.

      Bounce rate stable, time spent on site stable, pages per view stable and returning visitors increasing every month – all with pop ups on the site.

      If people REALLY hated these so much bounce rate would skyrocket, time spent on site and pages per visit would be down and return visits would be low.

      People can look past a pop up which takes 2 seconds to close down if there’s valuable content to be had underneath it.

      And if you’re popping up with something thats about to solve their most pressing problem then it’s not going to annoy them anyway.

      Remember we are marketers and we make decisions on data and numbers not feelings and thoughts.

      It doesn’t mean because someone opts in to get a lead magnet / freebie they don’t want to hear from you.

      If you solve a problem they have they will DEFINITELY want to hear more from you.

      When you do something really cool for someone they start to like you even if they were on the fence before.

      Plus if you phrase it right i.e. “Instantly discover 1791 untapped niche markets WHEN YOU JOIN THE NICHE HACKS TRIBE” then you’re making them aware there is more to come so reduce that risk.

      My EPCs from email marketing promos grow every month. :)

      • October 29th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

        I’m glad it’s working for you 😀
        I still believe that most incentives are c***. Of course there are some that are awesome, but they aren’t right for the certain audience.
        I think that in the long run it’s better to use content upgrades. They might require more time, but at least you know you’re offering the right thing.

  26. 10.28.2014

    Great advice here chaps.
    I was hitting just under 8%, but the idea of clocking 9% seems possible with a couple of the tips here I wasn’t implementing.
    I can see a few weeks of heavy testing between now and year end.

    7.8% (what I convert now) – 9% is a 15% increase in subs.

    Converting to sales at the same rate means a 15% increase in profit. And that’s got to be good.

    Great work fellas :)

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      When you put it like that it seems stupid not to 😛

    • October 28th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Indeed. It would be silly not to try.

      Let me know how you get on Scritty. Be interesting to see your results.

  27. 10.28.2014

    While I agree that you can definitely increase you optin rate, having so many optins will annoy the fck out of your visitors.

    Matt I understand you might get more optins, but I’m sure it will be a lot harder to sell your seo services, because your site is getting more and more spammier designed, which will kill your credibility. You’re getting closer and closer by adding so many…

    • October 28th, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      That is true – but I can also remove some elements to change the shift.

      • October 28th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

        Hey Eliash,

        You say it will annoy your visitors but in my case the data just does not show that at all.

        If your visitors get annoyed the logical thing to see would be an increase in bounce rate, a drop in time spent on site and pages per visit and a lowering in repeat traffic.

        Bounce rate, time spent on site and pages per visit have remained stable for me and repeat traffic grows every month.

        It might not be the same for every site. It has to be tested. Definitely in less technical niches it will probably scare people away but people in the IM niche know what to expect and I don’t think it does annoy them that much.

        Neil Patel bombards me with 2 entry pop ups and an exit pop up every time I move my mouse yet I still visit his site regularly.

        I can put up with it for his great content and most people seem to be the same.

        But it has to be tested on your own site to see. Something I know Matt will do.

  28. 10.29.2014

    If getting a subscriber is the most important thing then keeping a subscriber combined with getting a subscriber to open your mails have to be the second most important thing.
    If I know that I will be bombarded with popups and annoying PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR EMAIL when clicking a link it takes me an extra high interest in the topic to actually go to the blog an read it. I got to this page clicking the link in the subscriber email but I am still bombarded with popups etc. Why? You know that I am already a subscriber but I still have to be bombarded with this? It doesn’t make sense. You should be able serve up one version to a subscriber and one version to new visitor. Now THAT is a WordPress plugin you could make money off if you built it.

    • October 29th, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Yes the world needs this and I can’t believe it doesn’t exist. Build it and make bank!!! Go go go…

      • October 29th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        Maybe Stuart could step in :) Or the developers of any of the plugins here are listening!

        • October 29th, 2014 at 8:22 pm

          Plugins like OptinMonster DO have this built in but it’s based on cookies so if you clear cookies then the pop ups will show again.

          I’m not sure if there’s any other way round it. I’m certainly not technical enough to solve the issue.

          • October 30th, 2014 at 2:29 pm

            I wonder if we could tag a URL variable on the end to set that cookie dynamically when people click?

    • October 30th, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Now that is a great idea )

  29. 10.29.2014

    A subscriber list that doesn’t open the emails is meaningless. You cant analyze the one without the other. It is when you multiply these two that you get something real and of value. Just a list of emails sent to people that doesn’t read them is of no real value.
    I would expect the next post to be about this topic for this article to be of any value at all. Otherwise you might as well just put up a post of how to scrape 1M emails and import them into AWeber. It is basically the same thing.

    • October 29th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Well my email sequence is designed to create engagement from the get go so let’s see if it works 😛

    • October 29th, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Hey Robert,

      Yes I agree if no one opens your emails then the list is worthless. I’d rather a small list of engaged subscribers than a big list of people who don’t care.

      But building your list in the way I’ve described doesn’t build an unresponsive list.

      You’re solving peoples major problems in an instant and giving them a solution they really need.

      That makes people happy. That makes them want to open your emails and take action.

      I would never advocate scraping emails, buying lists or building big lists for the sake of having a big list – it’s a waste of time.

      • October 30th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        The more you force them to join the less engaged and happy they are with your brand. Of course not to the extent as a scraped list (that was a joke) but still very different to someone who hasn’t almost been forced to share their email to get a piece of content.
        What I meant was analysis in this area.
        Would you rather have an optin of 3% and an open rate of 45% with 10% of them every buying anything. Or would you go for 9% optin, 10% open rate & 3 % buying stuff? This is the type of analysis you need to make to provide real value. No one has ever made money from 9% optins. If you multiply that with 0 you still get $0.
        ‘Optimizing’ for 9.237654% optin rate does not mean much when the other part of the equation is missing.
        Nice piece but it is missing one important part of the equation (maybe because it is difficult) to actually be really valuable.
        Just my view.

        • November 3rd, 2014 at 3:43 pm

          Hey Carl,

          You’re not forcing anyone to join anything. You’re offering them a problem solving incentive to do so.

          Who doesn’t want their problems solved?

          Plenty of people simply won’t sign up for “blog updates” even if they love your blog.

          I rarely sign up for any lists even of blogs I love. I can just visit when I have time to get blog updates and save my inbox being cluttered and distracting me.

          So you offer an incentive / problem solving lead magnet to those who are on the fence or don’t sign up for updates.

          And don’t think they’ll not open your emails. They do.

          I know myself that after signing up to get a lead magnet or content upgrade I do end up reading the emails and clicking back to the site.

  30. 10.31.2014

    You can use OptinMonster for the two step technology. SO You DON’T need Leadboxes or Optin Links ;)!

    http://optinmonster.com/docs/how-to-manually-load-optinmonster-popup-with-click-of-a-button/

    • November 1st, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Awesome tip although I already have leadpages and use it a lot

    • November 3rd, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Dave, thanks for sharing that I didn’t know OptinMonster had that capability. Awesome.

      It’s one less plugin I need then. Going to check it out now.

  31. 10.31.2014

    I am loving the tips on this site just noticed a few problems, I’m on a tablet and can only find social media shares so it’s difficult to share or save this information and send to a colleague who would be interested in using or even linking to your blog

    Do you have a way to email this article to my own email or to a friend in the industry?

    I checked but couldn’t find the email this link for the entire post

    • November 1st, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Sorry about that I’m working on sorting the mobile end of the site and will have new share buttons in the coming days :)

  32. 11.1.2014

    Such a coward censoring comments so hard when people bring up valid points that doesn’t agree or praise your guest bloggers views. Good luck with the popups. Will be such a lovely place to visit…

  33. 12.3.2014

    Has anyone else tried optinskin? I just installed it on a blog and cant get the designs to show up (the install I did ages ago works fine). The members page is blank or times out and just realized I cant see a Facebook or Twitter account on their homepage so making it very difficult to get in touch with customer support.

    • December 11th, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      I tried it a long time ago and I remember it was very resource heavy in the admin area, try using Chrome

      • December 12th, 2014 at 6:41 am

        The weird thing is: I received an email saying that email does not exits yet it was the one mentioned in the plugin itself – double checked it, but received an email in the end from support. After a few back and forth they finally tell me their site is down, which I had mentioned in the first email… Have not heard back since. So I cant say I am too happy with their customer support.

        • December 14th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

          Ahhh sounds like they are just having some technical issues, don’t worry about it. If it’s anything like when this site has a tech issue I’m sure they all running around swearing at people to fix it.

  34. Rafael
    3.26.2015

    Hi, great post!
    I just want to know if I should send everybody to the same list or I should to create multiple list?
    Thanks!

    • March 27th, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Right now I send everyone to the same list however that is not the best thing to do, if I had more time on my hands I would send each leadmagnet to its own list.

      Then each list would have its own auto engagement sequence based on the individual lead magnet.

  35. 1.16.2016

    Hi Stuart, i had already opted-in and download your +1000 Niche pdf but the content was very disappointing – it looks like a quick keyword research. I think it’s important not to over promise things or over sell content.

    I still love your website and posts but with this PDF my esteem of your content felt a little bit down. So i’m not sure if it’s better to get 10% emails with “disappointing” content, or 5% emails that will delight people with better secrets.

What are your thoughts?

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