3 Proven Ways To Turn Great Content Into A Skyrocketing Email List

4 min read · 8 years ago


The equation is simple enough for someone with the worst math allergy to understand: Email list growth = business growth.

And at the risk of triggering a math sneeze, the numbers back it up – The ROI of email is 4,300 percent (Source: Direct Marketing Association), and it converts at a rate 3x higher than social media (Source: eMarketer). But you can’t get those email marketing results if you don’t have a bunch of people on the other end ready to receive your mailings. It’s why a
healthy, growing list of the right people is the first step toward getting more sales, donations or support.

The industry standard is that the average email list churns by about 30 percent every year. With help from our good friends and list growth experts SumoMe and Digioh, this guide will give you tactics to not only overcome that churn, but also send your list soaring.

And it all starts with taking advantage of great content.

Content gateways

If you’re producing incredible content, getting an email address is only as hard as asking for it – and one of the best ways to ask is through a gateway page.

Well-designed gateways are among our favorite ways to get new subscribers because they spell out the incentives (high-value content that your reader wants), provide the visitor with a single choice, and provide an instant reward to both parties — the marginal cost to both parties is near zero. It’s economics, and it’s beautiful.

To make a gateway effective, first look at your most-trafficked pages. Chances are this will be your homepage or another high-level page like a content landing page. Whatever it is, find ways to turn that page into a gateway that provides each visitor the chance to give you their email address and for you to deliver great content in return.

It might seem risky, but it’s not as risky as trying to grow your site and business without email subscribers. You may want to try adding both a gateway on your homepage and on your most valuable content if you’re driving enough traffic across the site and not seeing visitors move between pages. Experiment and see what happens.

If you’re looking for inspiration on content gateways, here are the gateways to four pieces of marketing content:

The Comments Section

Because you’re writing great content, people will want to discuss it. And to discuss it, they’ll often need to enter an email address to bypass spam security. With a reader who already cares enough about your content to comment on it and is already entering their email into a form, this is a perfect time to capture a new subscriber!

If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins that will help you add a subscription option to your comments section. One good example is Newsletter Sign-Up. To protect against spam bots, be sure to combine any comments-based signup functionality with an email verification tool like DM Confirm Email (WordPress).

Yoast – a mad-genius WordPress developer with a mind for growth – also published the code he used to build his own subscription opt-in into his comments field. If you’re the DIY kind of personality and not terribly uncomfortable with code, check it out.


Awww, snap! You knew we had to talk about these! Lightboxes, aka pop-ups, are a touchy subject for a lot of marketers. Some feel they degrade the brand, others feel they degrade the user experience, and others feel they’re just ugly.

Still, when it comes to adding subscribers to your email list, lightboxes work – like, really, really work – so don’t discount their value before trying them.

If your goal is to make it easy for someone to sign up for your email list, lightboxes make it easy to say yes. One simple strategy is to offer your most popular article as an incentive to sign up. Many lightbox plugins exist for websites, and some, like List Builder, take less than three minutes to set up.

To help prove how valuable lightboxes are, Ott Niggulis wrote an incredible piece, In Defense of the Email Popup, that you should read. We’re going to paraphrase a few tidbits of data from the article to help make it clearer:

Pop-ups don’t affect bounce rates and do increase subscription rates – Sure, they’re annoying, but not so much that they drive people away.

Styles: Behavior-based vs. Time-on-site vs. Etc. – All sorts of pop-ups are effective and many sites use more than one. In terms of timing, SumoMe results say that asking someone to opt-in after 5 seconds is most effective, but you need to test what works for your site.

Using opt-out language like “No thanks, I prefer to pay full price for my clothing” works better than more polite language like “No thanks” – 6.00 percent to 4.81 percent, respectively, in conversion rate terms.

Asking re-visitors to subscribe again after one minute away and 1 month away have the same effect – According to AppSumo’s data, you should be asking people to subscribe every chance you get.

Make sure that your pop-up is contrasted with the content – Most good pop-up plugins darken the content around the signup form to make your call to action (“Sign up!”) exceptionally clear.

Savvy marketers should also look into different types of lightbox opt-ins: incentivized, personalized (for instance, different opt-in copy for visitors from different high-traffic referrer sites), scroll depth, discount tabs, shopping cart abandonment, etc. The possibilities are endless and highly effective.

One style of lightbox that’s worth mentioning in particular is the scroll depth pop-up. With a scroll depth pop-up, your signup form only appears after someone has read X% of a page. It’s less intrusive and allows your reader to gauge your content’s quality before you ask them to sign up, but it’s also slightly less effective on its own.

For this reason, we recommend combining a five-second timed opt-in with a 25-50 percent scroll depth opt-in in order to capture the maximum number of subscribers possible. It’s annoying, but not so much that people stop reading, think “This guy’s a total jerk!”, and leave the page.

One final note on lightboxes: as effective as they may be, we wouldn’t suggest abandoning your on-page signup form. (You know the one, all-alone on your sidebar without a soul in the world paying it any attention? More on these in a minute.) On-page signup forms are often ignored, but there’s no harm in leaving your readers another opportunity to subscribe.

This content is pulled from our guide to growing your email list, which you can see here: The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Better Email List.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 3 Proven Ways To Turn Great Content Into A Skyrocketing Email List

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