Despite the introduction of modern advertising techniques such as social media and video marketing, email marketing remains a favorite. It is one of the very few channels that enables direct and personalized communication with your potential customers. It helps you drive conversions and earn more revenue. Creating compelling newsletters is also more accessible and cost-effective compared to producing high-quality videos.
However, the backbone of your email marketing strategy is your mailing list or database. While making a newsletter might be simple, getting people to subscribe for it can be challenging. This is especially true for any new business that is struggling to expand its reach and build awareness.
Today, email users are often flooded with irrelevant content and spam. This makes them even more skeptical when they are asked to sign-up for newsletters and promotional offers from brands. Therefore, if you are planning to start a blog or launch a new business, you need to think of innovative tactics to increase your email opt-ins.
Before discussing a few hacks to increase your email opt-ins, let’s understand why growing your email list is so important.
Why You Should Never Stop Growing Your Mailing List
Email marketing is a cost-effective tool for building brand awareness, driving sales, and retaining existing customers. In a recent study, 86% of marketers identified email marketing as an “important” or “very important” part of their strategy. Additionally, 73% of marketers rated it as the number one channel for attaining ROI. These statistics indicate that a robust mailing list can be a valuable asset for your business.
Irrespective of the number of email subscribers you have, you should always strive to grow your list even further. This is because, over time, some people might choose to unsubscribe from your list. Moreover, some email addresses might expire or become invalid when someone, let’s say, resigns from an organization. Thus, it is crucial to devise new ways to boost your email opt-ins.
If you are just about to start blogging or launching a new business, you have to build your mailing list from scratch. This makes it even more critical for you to escalate your email opt-ins. Let us now discuss how you can achieve 3x more email opt-ins with a few tried and tested hacks.
1. The Pre-requisite: Offer an Irresistible Incentive
Here is the thing – no one likes it when their inboxes are flooded with self-promotional jargon from brands. If you want to boost your email opt-ins, you have to lure your target audience with a compelling incentive. You should focus on offering something worth a subscription.
The incentive could be high-quality and insightful content in the form of e-books, whitepapers, or case studies. Likewise, you can entice them with coupon codes, discounts, free trials, etc. The key is to create an illusion of exclusive access that can only be unlocked by signing-up for your newsletter.
Take a look at how digital marketing guru Neil Patel implements this strategy on his website:
Image via Neil Patel
2. Include an Opt-in Link in Your Email Signature
You likely use emails daily to communicate with clients, vendors, coworkers, etc. They might not be subscribed to your newsletter yet, so why not add a link to your sign-up form directly in your email signature? This is particularly useful when you start a blog and want to build awareness in your professional circuit.
For instance, take a look at this email signature used by Web Profits:
Image via Conversion XL
When you click on the link, you will be taken to the following landing page:
Image via Conversion XL
3. Add an Opt-in Link in Your Social Media Profiles
Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram allow you to include a link to your website/blog in the bio section. You can use this to your advantage by adding the opt-in email link to your Twitter and Instagram bio. This simple technique allows you to harness the vast reach of social media and grow your email database.
Take a look at the screenshot below:
Image via Twitter
Likewise, you can integrate your Facebook page with an email sign-up form. People who have liked your Facebook page are already familiar with your brand. Hence, they are more likely to sign-up for your newsletters. This is an effective way of converting your audience into actual subscribers, especially when your business is relatively new.
Here is an example:
Image via Facebook
4. Add a Pinned Post to Your Social Media Pages
Facebook and Twitter allow you to pin a popular post to the top of your page. You can leverage this by including a link to your email sign-up form in your pinned post. As with the previous method, this gives increased visibility to your sign-up form. It is particularly useful when you start a blog and want to drive your social media followers towards it.
5. Encourage Sharing on Social Media
Have you ever thought of utilizing your existing email subscribers to grow your database? If you deliver the content of unmatched quality, they wouldn’t mind sharing it in their networks. However, they are not likely to act unless you deliberately ask them to do so. You have to include a call-to-action (CTA) in the email body that encourages them to share it on social media.
This simple strategy gives increased visibility to your newsletter on social media platforms. It also enables you to reach out to an audience that would have remained inaccessible otherwise.
Take a look at this newsletter by Fast Company:
Image via Revue
When a reader clicks on “Share”, they are redirected to the following landing page:
Image via Revue
Here is another example of a viral email campaign by Anytime Fitness:
Image via HubSpot
6. Be Proactive on Discussion Forums
Blogging basics dictate you to actively scout platforms such as Quora and Reddit for relevant discussion threads. Whenever you find a thread that is relevant to your niche, jump right in with your expert opinion. Make sure you include a sign-up link in your reply.
Similarly, you can participate in relevant discussions on Facebook groups. However, don’t include a link to the sign-up form in your comment unless you have permission from the group admin. Instead, you can ask interested users to DM you for the opt-in link.
7. Use an Eye-Catching Sign-up Button
When you start a blog, you might have a newsletter sign-up button somewhere on your website. However, adding the button is of no use unless it gets noticed by your readers. A simple trick to make your sign-up button stand out is to select a striking color for it.
The best way to decide the color of your sign-up button is to evaluate the overall color scheme of your website. Choose a color that offers a sharp contrast to the existing colors on your website.
Take a look at the sign-up button used by Crazy Egg:
Image via Crazy Egg
The bright green color distinguishes the button from other elements on their website.
8. Use a Changing Sign-up Button
Do you want your sign-up button to grab your audience’s attention immediately? Use an interactive button that changes its color or shape every time a visitor hovers over it. Such a button is difficult to ignore, even when a visitor is quickly scrolling through a web page. This, in turn, increases the chance of a visitor clicking on the button.
Take a look at the following screenshot:
Image via Paperform
9. Craft Compelling Copy
The text on your sign-up button has a significant impact on its click-through rate (CTR). Dull and conventional copy such as “Sign Up” or “Subscribe” may not be motivating enough. Instead, you should focus on highlighting the benefits and advantages they will get by subscribing to your newsletter. Keeping the tone casual and interactive can also grab eyeballs faster.
Moreover, adding positive words such as “yes” and exclamation marks can also increase CTR.
Take a look at how OptinMonster uses an interactive copy for the sign-up button:
Image via OptinMonster
10. Simplify Your Opt-in Form
Imagine this – you want to download an e-book on content marketing. However, the sign-up form requires you to submit a plethora of personal information such as ZIP code, job title, etc. You might exit the page without completing the process.
The more information a reader has to enter, the less likely they are to follow through. Therefore, you should keep your sign-up form simple and ask for the most crucial details. As with the sign-up button, you should be careful while writing the copy for your sign-up form. Make sure it remains conversational and highlights the exclusive benefits of signing-up for your newsletter.
Take a look at the sign-up form used by Lonely Planet:
Image via Lonely Planet
11. Include Testimonials in Sign-up Form
Testimonials are an extremely effective way to reinforce brand reputation and credibility. Therefore, adding client testimonials in your opt-in form is highly recommended. Make sure you place the testimonials strategically to ensure maximum visibility. For instance, moving some of the testimonials above the sign-up button can lead to increased email opt-ins.
If the sign-up form doesn’t have sufficient space to accommodate testimonials, add them to your landing page.
Image via Wishpond
12. Add Visual Elements in Your Opt-in Form
Including high-quality images and graphics in your sign-up form and landing page helps make them visually appealing. It could be something as simple as a screenshot of your newsletter. The key is to captivate your visitors and encourage them to opt-in.
13. Add Popup Boxes to Your Website
When you start a blog, one of the most effective ways to increase email opt-ins is by using popup boxes. Website owners and digital marketers widely use this technique. Instead of adding a generic popup box across all the pages of your website, you can customize them for maximum impact.
For instance, you can tailor your popup box based on the channel used by a visitor to reach your website. Likewise, you can have another custom popup box based on how a visitor interacts with your site. Let’s say a visitor has been on your website for more than 15 seconds. This would be an excellent time to launch a popup box asking them to sign-up.
Take a look at the screenshot below to understand how Search Engine Journal effectively implements this strategy:
Image via Search Engine Journal
14. Use Exit-Intent Popups
What happens when a visitor leaves your website without taking any action? Unless your website offers exceptional content, they are not likely to return. Therefore, it is important to convert website visitors into email subscribers. An effective way of doing this is by using exit-intent popup boxes.
An exit-intent popup box is one that appears whenever a visitor shows the intention of leaving your website. Actions such as hovering over or clicking on the exit button could trigger such popups. Think of it as a last-ditch effort to encourage website visitors to opt-in. You can use tools such as List Builder to create such popup boxes.
15. Use a Slide-up Opt-in Form
Popup boxes, while highly effective, can disrupt the seamless user experience that you strive to deliver on your website. They can be perceived as annoying when a visitor wants to concentrate on reading your blog. A smarter alternative is to have the opt-in form slide up from the bottom of a web page. It enables you to provide a noticeable CTA without blocking any of the content.
You can use a tool such as Scroll Box to add slide-up opt-in forms on your website. The tool also allows you to control the timing of the opt-in form. For instance, you can have it appear when a reader has scrolled through 50% of a blog post.
Image via Scroll Box
16. Use Hello Bar
HelloBar is a simple tool that allows you to add an omnipresent notification bar to your website. You can use it to convey crucial information and get website visitors to sign-up for your newsletter. It acts as a subtle and less obstructing alternative to popup boxes. You can also test a few different versions of the bar and select the best performing one.
Image via Crazy Egg
17. Transform Your Homepage into a Landing Page
The home page is perhaps the most visited page of a website. Most website owners and marketers make the mistake of adding the opt-in email form towards the end of the homepage. Instead, you should tweak the design of your homepage to maximize email subscriptions.
An effective way of implementing this is to transform it into a landing page that solely focuses on converting website visitors to subscribers. This requires you to remove any distracting elements and retain only the most crucial ones. The idea is to not let a visitor exit the homepage without signing-up.
Here is an example of how Noah Kagan uses this trick on his website, OkDork:
Image via OkDork
18. Use a Welcome Mat
A welcome mat is a full-screen call-to-action that can be added to the top of any web page. It is a great way to turn every page on your website into a landing page. This can go a long way to grow your mailing list when you start blogging. It is advisable to test different versions of your welcome mat before zeroing in on one.
Here is an example:
Image via Sumo
It is worth noting how the welcome mat has been tailored for visitors who land on this website via another website. A tool such as Sumo’s Welcome Mat helps achieve this.
19. Include the Opt-in Form at the End of Each Blog Post
Your blog is one of the most visited and engaging sections of your website. Moreover, it is the blog that reinforces your credibility and establishes your authority in your niche. Therefore, you should harness every opportunity to convert blog readers into subscribers.
The easiest way to do this is to add a sign-up form at the end of every blog post. This simple trick grabs the attention of the readers at the right time. Think about this – when a reader has just had their mind blown with valuable content, they want to read more. This is the right opportunity to encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter.
20. Add a Featured Comment on Every Blog Post
A subtle trick to promote the sign-up link is to include it in a featured comment at the end of every blog post. When you start a blog, this is one of the first things you should do to improve email opt-in rates. It allows you to tap into the pool of dedicated blog readers, who are anyway more likely to sign-up.
21. Include Sign-up Link in the Author Byline
The author byline is one of the first things readers notice in a blog post. Seize this opportunity by adding the opt-in link after the author byline. You can use a tool like LeadBoxes to manage these opt-ins.
Check out how Web Profits implement this strategy:
Image via Web Profits
When you click on the sign-up link, here’s what you see:
Image via Web Profits
22. Add the Sign-up Link in Your Guest Posts
One of the fundamental rules of blogging basics is to write guest posts for others. This is even more important when you start blogging and want to grow your audience. You can build your mailing list further by including a link to the sign-up form in your guest posts. You can either include the link in the author’s bio section or add a separate CTA at the bottom of the post.
23. Create a Content Upgrade
A content upgrade is a lead magnet that is designed to give readers more value. For instance, you can offer a free downloadable PDF version of a blog post in exchange for their email addresses. Likewise, you can give them free access to a webinar, tutorial, case study, etc.
The key is to ensure that the content upgrade is relevant to the topic of an article and is of impeccable quality. Otherwise, readers will not feel compelled enough to sign-up. When you start a blog, adding content upgrades to the top blog posts is instrumental in increasing email opt-ins.
Here is an example:
Image via The Growth Manifesto
24. Use a Content Cliffhanger
A content cliffhanger is when you restrict access to part of a blog post only for email subscribers. For instance, let’s say you have written a post on “31 Instagram Giveaway Ideas”. While the first 10 points are available to every reader, the remaining article can be accessed only by signing-up for your newsletter. For this strategy to work, you must ensure that the pre-opt-in part of your article is insightful and exciting.
Likewise, you can create a 2-part article in which the first part is available as a blog post. The second part will be delivered only to those readers who express interest by opting-in. The key here is to make the first part of the article so intriguing that readers can’t resist exploring the second part.
25. Generate a Buzz
When you want to launch a new product or start a blog, it is crucial to stir an online conversation around it. Social media can create the initial hype and drive more visitors to your website. However, if you want to convert these visitors into email subscribers, you must captivate them with an irresistible proposition. For instance, you could give them early access to your new product range in exchange for their email IDs.
Likewise, you can announce a giveaway of an e-book, whitepaper, case study, etc. on your website. Offer further incentives such as free trials when readers share your sign-up link on social media. It helps you build a following even before your blog is launched. This eliminates the need to hunt for subscribers once you start blogging actively.
From a budding entrepreneur to an aspiring blogger – everyone desires to build a robust mailing list. However, motivating your target audience to sign-up for your newsletter is a herculean task. From social media profiles to guest posts – you should exploit every opportunity to promote your opt-in link in a subtle manner.
Minor changes to your website, such as adding a welcome mat and a notification bar can significantly increase email opt-ins. Additionally, you should make judicious use of popup boxes to convert website visitors into email subscribers. It is equally important to publish high-quality content and offer irresistible incentives that compel readers to sign-up.
Do you want to drive more visitors to your website and grow your mailing list? Check out this e-book to learn how you can boost blog traffic.
Richa describes herself as an avid dreamer and a curious soul! She is a certified Content & Search Marketing Specialist from Digital Marketer, USA. With an experience of 5+ years as a content marketer and researcher, she is in love with Digital Breakthroughs, Content Marketing, Startup Strategies and so much more.