Yes – you read that title correctly. I was able to grow my email list by 800% in just two weeks! Bazinga!
When I decided to look over the stats today, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had hoped that some of the things I was implementing on my site would result in higher conversions, but I never expected the growth to be so rapid and sustained. In fact, today is not counted in this calculation, but based on the subscriber growth rate for today, it will continue to beat the previous day average of the last two weeks.
To get that statistic, I calculated the average number of subscribers I got each month dating back to July. On average, I received around 40 subscribers a month, which for someone who really wasn’t focusing on converting visitors into subscribers, I was pretty OK with that number. Divide that by two and you get an average of 20 new subscribers every couple of weeks. You’ve likely already done that math, but in the past two weeks alone, I’ve added 167 new subscribers to my email list. That’s actually over 800%!
This growth, however, is not by some mere accident. I made intentional plans nearly two weeks ago to try and convert more of my website visitors into subscribers, and thus far, my plans have worked very well. I’d like to share some of the things that I did so that you can implement them and see solid subscriber growth to your email lists, too!
I think there are a few important items in this list that attributed to much of the growth, but I think all of them on the whole is what sparked such a large increase in a short period of time.
1. Improved Website Design
Part of the process of trying to get more email subscribers was to finally make all my content appear on my personal blog instead of my relatively dormant services site that had a blog. I rarely provide services anymore, and as such, I had left my previous blog unkept. The design that I had on the sight was not very mobile responsive, it didn’t do much to encourage social sharing and it definitely wasn’t keen on growing my email list.
I had an exit popup, but the value proposition was sub-par. In fact, most of the subscriber growth I had on the site was thanks to the exit popup I built using OptinMonster. I had a few conversions for my other offers, but not many at all.
So when I set out to try and grow my email list here, I immediately took to transforming the design and experience of this site. I got out my iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro, and iMac and started piecing away at the entire website experience on the whole. I made all pieces of the site retina ready and make sure that the reading experience was as optimal as possible. I improved the social sharing buttons by making them clear and by adding a second set of buttons at the end of the post to make it easier to share content. I also added a popular posts widget at the top of my sidebar to give people a way to see even more content on my site, thus giving me more opportunities to convert them to my email list.
Most importantly, I worked to create an experience that I myself would enjoy should I ever read from my own site, and I believe I have done just that.
Your Next Action: Craft a website experience that makes your content more enjoyable, shareable and worthy for return visits.
2. Professional Speaking
During the past couple of weeks, I spoke at WordCamp Orlando on my tools for success in WordPress. In this presentation, I explained and described all of the tools that I use to find success in WordPress, ranging from web hosting to SEO. Before I started going into everything, I had a slide detailing that you could sign up for my list to get a more in-depth view of why I use the tools I use. In that slide, I added a link to page dedicated to talking about my tools along with an area to sign up for them. I believe that this was a great compliment to my talk and allowed my listeners to get further value from my presentation.
Apart from this, people were able to put a face and voice to the content that they would read. I was able to use this speaking opportunity to give back to the WordPress community and build authority in the WordPress space, a win-win for everyone involved.
Your Next Action: Increase your visibility and potential subscriber base by speaking at professional events or local meetups.
3. Crystal Clear Lead Magnet
One of the big issues with my previous design and site was that my lead magnet was not clear on what type of value it provided. If you cannot articulate how your offer will help your visitor, you can’t expect them to sign up because they won’t have a reason to do so.
Be honest with yourself here. Review your lead magnet. Would you yourself actually sign up for it?
I asked myself those tough questions and determined no, I wouldn’t sign up for what I had previously. With that insight, I changed my value proposition to leverage the experience I’ve had in the WordPress industry and how that can directly benefit whoever subscribes.
First, I included a sentence (highlighted for emphasis) that immediately denotes authority. It’s not an easy feat to get 20,000 customers of anything, so that immediately sets up a precedent (or at least I hope) that this guy is worth listening to.
Now that authority has been established, I’ve got to present to them something of value. My value proposition is gleaning from the tools that I have used to build a successful WordPress business with all those customers. My goal was to instill authority and then offer insight into how that authority was built.
My previous lead magnet simply offered inside tips on the secrets of the WordPress pros. How did that communicate any value? I didn’t make any attempt to establish authority in my niche of WordPress. Why would someone want to give their information away if they couldn’t perceive any value that would come from it?
I think implementing a crystal clear lead magnet was one of the best things I could have done to grow my email list.
Your Next Action: Hyper focus your lead magnet on your authority and value you can provide based on that authority.
4. Lots of Call to Actions
How can you expect your email list to grow if you are not giving people a way to subscribe? One optin form after your post is likely not enough.
You’ve got to make your value propositions visible. If 70% of your abandoning website visitors will never return, you want to do as much as possible to retain that visitor. Exit popups are an incredible way to capture those abandoning visitors – the conversion rate for the one on this site is nearly 5% (which I find to be exceptional) – and they are super easy to build with OptinMonster.
Even if people never subscribe to my sidebar lead magnet, it still highlights the fact that I have amassed over 20,000 customers to my products. It is attention grabbing, and who knows how that may affect if they want to use the after post form once they are done reading the content. Plus, the next time they are thinking about buying a WordPress product, they might just come back to the site because they know I sell stuff in the WordPress space. Without those forms in place, they may never know or remember the value that I have to offer.
Your Next Action: Offer multiple ways for people to sign up to your email list – header, sidebar, after post, exit popups and even mobile popups – in order to increase the chances of visitors subscribing to your email list.
5. Offer Really Valuable Content
While at WordCamp Orlando, I received the question over and over again on how I built a successful WordPress product. Lots of people want to get into the product space, but few realize the things that it takes to actually build and sustain a successful product. I wrote a post about it and offered some really honest and helpful advice, and immediately the traffic to my blog skyrocketed along with the number of folks who subscribed to my email list.
I don’t know much else to say here other than you need to write quality and relevant content to your audience in a way that really helps them. Don’t just offer fluff – actually give them things they need to know in order to truly benefit from what you have to offer.
Your Next Action: Write content that appeals to your niche in a way that adds tangible and actionable value.
6. Make It Easy to Share Your Work
If it only takes a few seconds for someone to do a search and reach your website, they likely expect that it should take the same amount of time to share what you have to offer. When I really thought about this, I wanted to give people who were already reading through my lead magnet an easy way to share it with the world.
Riddled throughout my toolbox (which is what you receive after you subscribe) are call to action boxes where folks can do 1-click tweets about what they are reading. The content of the tweet is this:
I’m checking out the #WordPress toolbox by @jthomasgriffin and it is full of awesome stuff – you should too! http://bit.ly/1FjLJ31
I included necessary things in the tweet to make it easier to be found, seen and acted upon (either with a retweet, favorite or link click). I used the #WordPress hashtag to signify that it is WordPress related. I included my Twitter handle so that people could easily identify who wrote the content and follow me to learn more. I made the text active – somebody is enjoying this content and thinks that you would enjoy it, too. I also included a link so people could go to my landing page and then sign up to receive the content as well.
All of this is accessible by simply clicking a button. I tried to make it as easy as possible for people to talk about what I had to offer, and thus far it has paid off. That bit.ly link has been clicked over 100 times in just two weeks, and although I haven’t yet implemented conversion tracking (give me some slack, it’s only been two weeks), my guess is that the conversion rate is pretty high.
Your Next Action: Improve your lead magnet offer by allowing people to share and talk about it from directly inside the lead magnet content.
Final Action Steps
I don’t want to leave you hanging by simply telling you about what I did to grow my email list and not giving you some way to act upon it. Here are some final action steps that I recommend you take in order to dramatically grow your email list.
- Make sure your website is built to convert. Do you have lots of call-to-actions for your visitors? Is it mobile responsive? If not, you need to hop on the train. 52% of all 2014 Thanksgiving day traffic was on mobile devices. Focus on ways for people to enjoy your content, share your content and return to your content as a subscriber.
- Find ways to make your voice heard in your industry. Apply to speak at trade shows, professional events and even local meetups for your niche. Build your brand and authority by making yourself known in your particular area of business.
- Get laser-focused on your email optin offering. Build authority and then tell people how they can grow and benefit from your authority. Offer something of real value that people can get excited about.
- Don’t let the opportunity slip away for people to sign up to your email list. Offer clear and frequent call-to-actions on your site to increase your chances of converting visitors into subscribers. Use tools like OptinMonster to create those high converting exit and mobile popups.
- Write really good and valuable content. Truly help your readers and visitors. Don’t give out fluff and typical marketing jargon. It might take you more time to curate and flesh out what you want to say, but I guarantee you will see a better return on your investment in the long run.
- Take steps to make it easier to share your content. First of all, be proactive in sharing your content on places like Twitter and Facebook, and then make it incredibly easy for your visitors to do the same. If you don’t like or find it tough to share your own content, how do you think your visitors feel?
I believe that if you take the advice I have outlined for you in the content above, you will find great success in growing your email list substantially in a very short period of time. I sure did – over 800% to be exact!
What steps have you taken to grow your email list? How can I help? I’d love to know in the comments below!