20 Proven Strategies to Turn Your Website Visitors into Email Subscribers
Every single website should be collecting email addresses. It doesn’t matter what you are offering (products or services) or how you are selling (direct online or if your website serves as an informational resource). Every single person that visits your website isn’t going to buy. That’s a fact.
Pretend that your website is the highest converting website in your niche. If you had a 5% conversion rate that would be pretty good in most niches. Some will be higher and some will be lower. But let’s just say it’s 5%. The people that don’t buy (95 out of 100 visitors for this example) are still costing you money to bring to your website. You need to turn as many of them into leads as possible. This fills your pipeline of prospects and future customers.
It doesn’t matter how you are getting your traffic. If you are doing Facebook ads or Google PPC then you are paying for every visitors and you can see a hard number of what each visitor costs. If you are doing SEO or content marketing it’s a little harder to get an exact price per visitor, but you can get pretty close. Either way, you are paying.
If you aren’t collecting emails you are wasting a ton of money. Even if you are collecting emails, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of it. I’m not a fan of gurus, but the “Your money is in your list” rant is valid. It really is.
Email is still the promotion strategy that can provide you with the biggest ROI. As you build your list you are increasing the number of potential buyers you can reach with a single email. Once you capture an email you aren’t paying over and over to market to that person. It’s a one time cost to add a new lead to you email list.
Here are 20 easy ways to get more of your visitors to join your email subscriber list.
1. Put Subscribe Options All Over Your Website
There are a lot of benefits to using a WordPress theme that is found on Themeforest and other marketplaces. It’s much cheaper than having a custom theme built from scratch and it gives you access to updates. This can help a new website get off the ground faster and it requires little to no coding and programming experience to install a theme and get your website live.
The downside to using these themes is that there is very little customization available. Most themes will allow you to connect to popular email programs like AWeber, Constant Contact and Mailchimp, but it’s usually just a standard form on the sidebar. Every website has a form there and people know they are there. They know you want their email address, but they just ignore that space because they associate it with advertisements and promotional offers.
There is no harm in leaving an opt-in box in the standard sidebar position, you also want to make sure that you place some in other areas of your website. Where do people go when they land on a website and want to find contact info? Usually they go right to the footer. That’s a great place to add another opt-in.
2. Make Sure Your Visitors Know You Won’t Spam Them
What is the one thing that stops people from signing up for email lists? They don’t want to have their email address sold and rented to other companies that will then pass it on. Once an email address becomes compromised and added to a commercial list they will never escape email spam. They will get spammed to death and it will only get worse as times goes on.
3. Market Your List to Your Social Media Followers
You are probably doing some social media promotion to grow your followers, right? When people share your Facebook posts or retweet your posts you gain natural followers. Or people look to see who their friends are following and they end up following you. Every time your social followings grow, you have new opportunities to add subscribers to your email list.
If you are using automated social media marketing slip in some mentions about your email list. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to join so you can even just send out your direct sign up link. All of the major email providers have a direct link that takes you to a submit form. They aren’t always the nicest looking, but it eliminates the person having to go to your website first and then having to find your form.
If you are manually growing your social media just don’t forget to throw out some mentions of your email list every once in a while. You don’t want to piss off your followers so decide on a frequency that makes sense with the number of followers you are adding. If you are getting 2 new followers a day then a weekly reminder is good. If you are getting thousands a day a daily reminder works.
4. Test Multiple Opt-In Forms
Does a black form with white text and a red submit button perform better than a white opt-in box with blue text and a yellow submit button? There is only one way to know for sure, and that is to test. There are so many different split test plugins and software out there. I’m not going to dive into reviewing those right now, I’ll save that for a different day. The point is to test every part of your forms, no matter what you are using to collect your emails.
You should be testing multiple color variations, form sizes and shapes, and even the actual text above the form and even on the submit buttons. I can tell you from first hand experience that the text on your button can make a huge difference. I’ve seen conversion rates almost double after changing the text from “SUBMIT” to “GET INSTANT ACCESS.” I can also tell you that buttons with “GET INSTANT ACCESS” performed better than ones with “GET INSTANT ACCESS!” Something as small as removing the exclamation point at the end made the subscriber rate improve.
There is no way I would have known that unless I tested every little detail.
5. Send Social Traffic to Special Landing Pages
This is probably one of the easiest ways to watch your conversion rates increase by a large percentage. Your website visitors will subscribe to something much easier if they feel like they are getting an incredible value. A lot of times you don’t even have to give them anything, instead just making it sound like the offer is special for them.
Create a separate offer landing page for every social profile you use to promote your website. So, if you have a large Facebook following you will want to create a landing page that says something along the lines of “Enter your email below to join our newsletter. This is a special offer for our loyal Facebook fans. You will receive special exclusive discounts and early access to new products before anyone else.”
And use the Facebook logos and colors on the landing page so them connect with it right away. Then, use that special landing page when promoting your list offer on Facebook. Do the same for Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever other social media profiles you are building up. Start small and test on one or two, then if you see it does work in your niche scale it up.
6. Gate Premium Content (Infographics & Video)
Every website has a blog these days. It used to be something that some websites had, as it was once viewed as an extra perk to add if the budget would allow for it. Now everyone has to have a blog. Take a minute and pull up the websites for your biggest competitors. It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, they will all have blogs. Some will be updating less often then others, but either way they have a blog. So this means every website you are competing with has a bunch of blog posts all talking about the same stuff.
You need to stand out. How?
You need to mix in some premium content to really stand out. Infographics and video do well to keep readers interested because it’s a lot less work to look at graphics and video than it is to read a long blog article. The cost more money to have done, so you want to make sure that they help you collect emails. Gate your premium content, requiring visitors to submit their email to view these posts. Don’t be afraid to do this. If your premium content is really that good people will submit. Give them a teaser to make them want to see more.
I did this recently on my blog with a PBN guide, I’ve since shared the guide publicly in a separate post. I packaged it up originally as a PDF and locked it here on the site, the results where excellent, I increased my subscribers by just over 800 emails in around 2 weeks, and even now with the public share that original locked page still continues to trickle in new subscribers as the weeks go on.. not bad for a few hours work!
7. Reward Social Shares with a Special Download Offer
This is one way to trick your visitors into handing over their email address without even thinking twice about it. You need to create a really good download offer. Just think about what kind of free information you can provide to your niche that would be seen as valuable and would cause people to do anything to get their hands on it.
Like in the SEO niche imagine if there was a free eBook titled “Learn How to Get a Do-Follow Link From The New York Times in 5 Minutes.” What would happen? Everyone interested in SEO that saw that would want to get their hands on it. This trick gets you two things. A social share and an email. The social share helps you get more emails.
There are a lot of plugins that have a social reward script. Find one that will look good on your website and give it a try. I keep it simple and just create a social message that says something like “I just downloaded (download name) and you can do the same by clicking here!” Once they share it, have a subscribe form that collects their email and set up and auto-responder to send the eBook automatically. Then when they share their followers see it and you attract even more downloads, more social shares and even more email addresses.
8. Make it Clear That People Can Unsubscribe at Any Time
Do you still get marketing and promotional emails from companies that you subscribed to a long time ago and they don’t give you the option to unsubscribe? Or was your email address added to a spam list and you constantly get emails from spammers that don’t offer opt-out options? I get them all the time and it drives me insane. That alone makes people very leary about whop they give their email to.
If they are on the website of a major brand, like Apple or Dell they are more comfortable because they know companies like that follow the spam laws. They know that they will have the opportunity to leave the mailing list at anytime because those large companies would never risk getting fined.
But what about small mom and pop stores or new companies that aren’t well known? Most websites fall under this category so you need to make sure your visitors know they and unsubscribe at any time. Include text like “We are CAN-SPAM compliant and you can unsubscribe at any time.” That little extra reassurance will get people that would normally be on the fence to go ahead and join your list. Look at forms from a bunch of different websites and you will see the successful websites include wording like this.
9. Ask Your Current Subscribers to Forward an Email
This one is so simple. Create a nice banner image and include it in the footer area of all your emails. You need to make it really stand out because most people won’t read the text at the very bottom because they think it’s copyright info and unsubscribe info. You want to keep them far away from that so they don’t unsubscribe.
Make a nice banner that matches your website colors and have it say something like “If you love our emails please forward this email to some people that you think would also love it!” Some people will delete it, some will visit your website and some will then join your list. The trick is to be consistent. That’s why it’s easiest to just make a banner at the bottom of every email. Just include it in your template. Think of it as free promotion, so any new subscriber gained this way is a bonus.
10. Highlight Number of Subscribers as Social Proof
Have you ever been on a website and you see something like “Join our over 56,682 email subscribers that receive our free information every week” and it caused you to join? This type of social proof is very powerful and if you have a large subscriber number this can help make you look legit. This is a tips for more established websites. If your websites are 2 months old and you have it saying you have 100,000 subscribers the bullshit alarm will go off and it will end up having a negative effect.
Be truthful or just stretch it a bit. I’m sure most of those numbers are fudged just a bit, but the ones that can get away with it are more established websites so it isn’t too far fetched to think they do have that many subscribers on their list.
If you are a really big website then you can even go a step further and create an animated ticker that constantly increases in live time. Something like 1 new subscriber every 10 seconds so the visitor sees it moving up without it looking unrealistic. I know a couple people that do this and it works very well.
11. Use a Scrolling Header Bar
You already know that you need to have opt-in opportunities for your visitors all over your website. One of the ways to always keep an offer in front of your visitors eyes is through a header bar. There are a lot of options. Hello Bar was the first one to get very popular and SumoMe has a version also. There are also a lot of clones that you can find in the WordPress plugin directory. If you are good at coding or have a developer you work with you can easily modify an existing one or make on from scratch. I like to alter mine to remove the features and options I don’t need. This makes it a much more light weight plugin. The more little modifications like this that you can do, the better your website load time will be.
Test a dozen color combos and button text variations. The more, the better. I like to start with a dozen and then delete the worst performer every week. Do this until you have four left and then create three similar versions of each to bring you back to 12. Repeat, eliminating one each week until you have 2 left. Those are your best performers and you will end up collecting more emails from a top bar this way.
12. Include Opt-In Boxes in the Middle of Blog Content
What is the best time to ask your visitors for their email address? When they are interested in what they are reading on your website they will be more likely to cooperate. Placing opt-in boxes in the middle of your blog content is asking them for something when they feel like they owe you something (only if your blog posts are helpful and useful). If you are giving them information that is helping them or educating them they are going to feel obligated to submit their email and a lot of your visitors will want to join your list because they want to suck more value from your website.
You don’t want to disrupt their reading flow too much, so keep the message short. “Like what you are reading? Enter your email now to make sure you never miss an update.” Something like that works very well. With opt-in forms in the middle of content only ask for the email. Any more information boxes will really hurt your conversion rate. I see some blogs that will put several opt-in boxes in each blog post and that’s overkill. One in the middle is plenty. You don’t want to look too spammy.
13. Use Popups and Slide Outs
Popups work if you know how to do them right. If I can give you one tip I would say don’t use the same ones everyone else is using. There are so many websites that use the SumoMe popup and slide out. They are look exactly the same. Everyone has seen them a million times and just clicks out of them and gets annoyed. If you are just starting out find some WordPress popup and slide out plugins that allow you to upload custom images. Spend $10 and get a custom design made. That way you won’t just blend in with everyone else.
If you have a little money to spend I would look at Optin Monster or Picreel. Both of these are monthly subscriptions but they are very customizable and they have really good split testing and analytic data. If you do use one of these paid options make sure to remove the branding. I don’t know why anyone would want to leave that, because it just gives your visitors something to get distracted by. The “Powered by” type links are great for the popup company, but they have no use being on your website. Free options will usually have that but paid versions usually have an option to disable their branding.
14. Use “Early Bird” Content Promotion Offers
Create a new eBook and then launch an early bird offer. Create a landing page that offers early bird access to your new eBook for free. Explain that when it is released it will cost money but if they submit their email they will be sent a free copy on the release date. The trick is to make it seem like a very valuable offer. Don’t say it’s a $19, $29 or $39 eBook. Those are all over and people don’t see them as valuable. Say it’s a $299 or $499 eBook. Your conversion rates will be very high because everyone will drop their email if they think they are getting something free that is several hundred dollars.
If you run an e-commerce website you can use the same strategy and create offers that give your list members first access to new product releases and the option to buy before items are listed on your website. One of my mates runs his wife’s online clothing boutique and they use this strategy to pre-sell almost all of their new arrivals. It helps push sales but it also creates a buzz. Visitors see that stuff sells out fast so they visit more often, and it has really helped them expand.
15. Install a Full Screen Exit Pop Locker
This is taking exit popups to the next level. They started small then got a little bigger in order to attract attention. Now there are full screen popups that lock the screen and force the visitor to look at your offer. Both of the paid options I mentioned above (Picreel and Optin Monster) both have this feature. If you have visitors that visit every day or multiple times you don’t want to upset them with the same popup over and over, so use a cookie to only display this to first time visitors or every 15 days to the same person.
If you are using this on a landing page then don’t worry about a cookie. Show it every time to get the most number of subscribers as possible. Just because these popups take up the whole screen it doesn’t mean you need to fill the entire popup with graphics and text. The less the better. A quick explanation of what they get when they submit and a email box and submit button is all you need.
16. Add a Relevant Download Offer at the End of Blog Posts
If you use my tip above, you will include an opt-in offer in the middle of your blog content. If you do that then you don’t really need one at the very end of your blog posts. If you don’t include one in the middle then this is a good spot. But, if you take my advice above and put a form in the middle of your content then offering a relevant download offer at the end is a great way to pull more emails.
If your blog is a personal finance blog and you are optimizing a blog post about first time home ownership then you could offer a simple guide at the end along the lines of “How to Get Approved For a Home Loan within 24 Hours.” It is relevant and after reading the blog post it provides more information that the reader is going to want to get ahold of.
Don’t worry about creating huge guides. These little relevant offers at the end of your blog posts can be simple PDF reports that are 2-3 pages long. Don’t worry about making a big fancy report. You are going to get the same response rate if it’s a 300 page guide or a 3 page guide. Don’t even mention the length of the report. A good title and topic will get you more emails.
17. Run a Retargeting Offer
This is for those of you that are running paid traffic. Every advertising option now offers retargeting. This allows you to create ads that are only displayed to people that have visited a particular page of your website. I would avoid tagging your home page because if someone visited your home page and didn’t go anywhere else they probably weren’t interested in what you had to offer them.
I like to place retargeting pixels on blog content. This way it shows your ads to people that have actually taken some time to read what your website is all about. Make ads that say something like “Come back. We have a special gift just for you” and send those clicks to a landing page with a special offer. Explain that it is just for previous visitors. If someone clicks that type of ad then they are interested and your conversion rate for this traffic should be very high. If 50% of this traffic doesn’t join your list there is a problem.
18. Use a QR Code
I really haven’t included any tips that are specifically for people with an offline business, so this one is for those people. This is great for restaurants and retail stores. Include a QR code on your tables or near the register that offers a special discount code. Direct them to a mobile optimized landing page that asks for their info. I’ve seen QR codes that offer instant savings convert very high. “Get 5% off your purchase TODAY right now” will get a high percentage of people to visit that code.
The trick is to require them to show you an electronic coupon on the spot. Set up an auto-responder for that offer and once they confirm their email automatically send them a digital coupon. This makes sure that everyone opts-in to your list. Give a little discount that is equal to what an email address is worth to you. If a sandwich shop has an average ticket price of $10 per person a 5% discount is just 50 cents. I can promise you that it would cost them more than 50 cents per email if they were collecting them other ways. Just create a discount that can’t be ignored.
19. Host a Webinar
Webinars are taking off and if you look at some of the guru type people online you will see that they are all pushing webinars hard. They are just long sales pages that are designed to sell shit. But the same approach can be used for almost every type of business. There are plenty of one time cost webinar plugins that easily help you collect emails and play the webinar for the people that register for it.
These are great because you only have to record it once then it can help you collect leads around the clock. Business niches will do the best with theses and there will be some niches that shouldn’t waste their time. If you are selling information or a service then webinars can be a great way to educate and sell.
20. Make Your Buttons Stand Out
Please don’t use boring buttons. Small ones with boring colors just don’t do the trick. You need to stand out. Look how buttons have changed over the years. People used to use flash and buttons that changed colors and had animation. Then everyone was using yellow and orange buttons. Now it’s all about flat buttons. You don’t have to follow the trends. You will actually stand out more if you don’t just copy everyone else. Use buttons that stand out on your website. You need something that works with your design.
If you are trying to collect emails from business professionals that are highly educated then a large clean button will perform better. If you are trying to collect emails from University students for a night club offer then a loud flash button can do very well. Just be smart and make something that stands out for the people you are targeting.
All of these tips can be put into action very quickly. I see so many websites that just have a single opt-in form on the sidebar and they wonder why their list isn’t growing. If you look at some of the most successful online companies you will see they use a high percentage of these tips. Pick and choose what will work best for your niche and keep testing different ways to grow your list.
If you have had success growing a large list I’d love to hear what niche it was in and how big you were able to grow it to. Let’s turn this into a massive email list building resource post.