If you can figure out a way to turn website visitors into email subscribers, you will be able to maximise your website’s monetary potential.
There’s no doubt about it. Email list = $$.
Yet if you’re new to online marketing, you might not know how to set your site up so that if effectively captures leads.
If that is the case, there’s no need to worry.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at 13 sites that have incredible list building tactics in place.
We’ll break down each of the techniques used by these sites, and we’ll also look at how you can implement these tactics, into your own efforts.
By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what you need to do, in order to turn your site, into a list building machine.
By the way, most of these (if not all) are doing 7 figures in revenue. So if you’re not doing that already and are in the same type of space, it’s time to listen up.
Let’s get started!
1. Entrepreneur On Fire
The first site we’re going to take a look at is Entrepreneur on Fire. It’s a daily podcast that interviews entrepreneurs from around the world (7 days a week).
Now, as soon as you hit the blog, you’re presented with a pop-up.
The popup is pure text, only requests your email (no name) and a call to action with a micro-commitment “Yes, I’m in!”.
However, not everyone sees the same pop-up.
Here are some other variations that visitors might also see.
This popup is focused on John’s new release ‘The Freedom Journal” launching Jan 4th.
Side Note: If you’re launching a nifty little physical product like a book, using exit pops to build interest on your website is a great way to do that.
And another variation that’s also on display:
Each of these pop-ups is quite different, and by split testing, John will be able to find out which pop-up generates the best conversions.
If you click on one of the blog posts and scroll to the bottom, you’ll also notice that you’re presented with an opt-in box.
The incentive provided here, is different, when compared to what the pop-up is offering.
However, it still provides a chance for readers to get something for free – in this case an eBook, which of courses encourages opt-ins.
What you’ll notice, is that John doesn’t really have a sticky opt-in box that follows you as you scroll down the page (though we will discuss these later).
But what you do see, is that there are still various free things on offer, all presented in different ways.
And you know what’s smart?
He uses a 2-Step opt-in to present these gifts, therefore not showing up front he wants an email address.
The 2-Step opt-in form vs. 1 Step is discussed in more detail here.
If you click on some of these, you will be presented with a pop-up that asks you to sign up for the email list, in order to obtain what is on offer.
Should you click one of those boxes above, say the ‘Free Podcast Course,’ you’ll then see the following.
It’s worth noting here, that the value proposition is very clear.
You’re not told that you’re going to get a 50-page pdf – you’re told that you’re going to learn how to ‘Create, Grow and Monetize YOUR Podcast in 15-days.’
If you’re starting a podcast of your own, that’s exactly the kind of stuff you want to learn.
Plus notice how the button says ‘Free Podcast Course,’ instead of ‘Sign Up.’
That’s because button copy can massively impact conversions.
Additionally, you’ll notice the 50% progress bar stuck at the top.
This specific popup is a LeadBox from LeadPages.
2. Matthew Woodward
Matthew runs a blog that provides highly informative, and in-depth SEO related content over at www.matthewwoodward.co.uk
When you first reach his site, you’re presented with the following.
This right away encourages you to sign up to his list using the app SumoMe (I used to use this on my website at one stage).
You’ll have to scroll down the page if you want to access the blog content.
This is what’s referred to as a ‘Scroll Mat’ or a ‘Welcome Mat’ and is used when you first load a page.
These mats are extremely effective as webmasters can make full use of the screen in an attempt to get an opt-in.
If you decide to scroll down, you will no longer be able to access the opt-in section.
However, even when you do scroll down, you’re then presented with this.
As you can see, the value proposition is different from what was mentioned before.
However, that does not mean that it is not enticing.
It’s also worth noting that the value of offer here is arguably greater – it’s a video from a live presentation.
One thing that I find weird is the opt-in box is only half the popup size…weird eh?
If you read through one of the blog posts, there are further opportunities to sign up to the list.
The value proposition is the same as what was shown on the earlier pop-up – but it’s just presented in a different format.
If you ignore that opt-in box, you’ll still be provided with the following.
So again, you have a chance to sign up to the list.
The same value proposition, just presented in three different ways.
Also, notice how each of these opt-in boxes only ask for an email address, reducing the effort required to sign up to the list. Be sure to split test collecting name and email vs. email only. In some niches, people thing it’s ‘salesy‘ or too ‘automated‘.
The next blog we’re going to take a look at is the well known Quicksprout blog.
As soon as your reach the blog, you’re greeted by a screen that asks you to follow Neil on Facebook.
Though this isn’t exactly designed to build the list, it does help to build the audience.
If website visitors follow Neil on Facebook, then those linked to such individuals on Facebook will be able to see that this has happened.
As a result, the ‘friends’ of these individuals, will check out what the Quicksprout website is all about, and so they may eventually join the Quicksprout list when on the site.
Neil provides a reason for people to follow him on Facebook, and that is because there is ‘free marketing and business advice’ on offer.
You’ll also notice that on the right-hand side, there is the following opt-in box.
There’s a lot that makes this opt-in box effectively.
First notice, the use of the phrase ‘Free Course.’
The very use of the word ‘Free’ is important, as it is a ‘power word,’ that encourages people to check out what is on offer.
The phrase has been made white, making it stand out amongst everything else that is within the opt-in box.
This further adds to the power of this phrase, as it is now more noticeable.
After the phrase, there is a very clear value proposition on offer – ‘Double your traffic within 30 days.’
As discussed before, this is important. It isn’t just telling you about the features – there’s only the mention of benefits.
The benefits mentioned are significant, because they related to something that readers of Quicksprout actually want to achieve.
You’ll then notice that the phrase ‘Secret Bonus,’ has been included.
This is effective because it further emphasises value while also raising curiosity.
On top of that, the mention of how much everything is worth makes it feel as though you’re getting a great deal – should you provide your email.
Below, the headline, you’ll notice that there is an image and a description of what is on offer.
The image helps to ‘display’ the value that is on offer – even though it isn’t showing the actual offering available.
The description next to the image is helpful because it emphasizes the points made in the headline.
It also makes a further promise, that there is even the potential to ‘triple’ your traffic if you take advantage of what is on offer.
You’ll then notice that there is a call to action telling you what you need to do next – again the word ‘Free,’ has been emphasized.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is only one field to fill out, and that is ‘Email.’
As discussed before, this reduces the ‘friction’ someone might experience, when opting in.
The button also has some custom text, that once again, states the benefit that is on offer.
There’s also a unique feature in that if you click on the link below the button, you’re told to fill out the email field, which further encourages action.
Lastly, there is a mention that your email won’t be used for spam, which deals with any objections people might have related to privacy.
However, that’s not the only list building method used on the blog.
If you’re reading a post on the blog, you’ll also notice that there is a highlighted box.
This box contains a link. The link is always customised so that it is related to the blog post in question.
Those who click on a link are then shown the following ‘pop-up’ opt-in box, again a LeadBox
This is known as a ‘content upgrade.’
A ‘content upgrade’ is where you offer a piece of content that is highly related to another form of content that was given away, of which is provided in exchange for an email address.
The content can be a bullet point version of a blog post, or it can be something that complements the blog post.
Either way, if you want to use this strategy on your own blog, make sure that the content you offer is enticing – or else it will not work as well as it should.
At the end of each post, you’ll also notice the following –
This opt-in box borrows from the same elements that made the previous opt-in box, so effective.
For instance, the headline still uses a ‘power word,’ though this time the word is ‘explosive.’
The benefits have been listed in a bullet point fashion – making them easier to digest.
The description also has highlighted sections of text, of which help to create scarcity (‘for a limited time’) and promote benefits (‘real profits online’).
The fact that this text has also been highlighted draws attention.
And once again, the fact that what is on offer is free has also been emphasized.
However, you’ll notice that there is a lot more social proof this time around.
This helps to build trust, especially because there is the mention of some big name companies, of which nearly everyone will have heard of before.
On top of that, the copy used within the opt-in box makes it seem as though what is on offer is highly ‘secretive.’
Phrases such as ‘strictly back-stage only,’ and ‘VIP pass,’ make it seem as though what you’re signing up to receive, is high-value information.
The next blog we’re going to take a look at is Backlinko.
You’ll notice that the headline is very enticing, in that it lists the benefit, but also in brackets mentions how the tips provided, are the actual tips Brian has used in the past to great success.
The copy above the button tells you what to do and what you will get as a result of taking action.
Additionally, the copy used by the button lets the reader know what’s on offer.
Furthermore, there is some social proof, in that there is a quote from Neil Patel, right beneath the button.
When you do click on the button, you’re presented with an opt-in form that’s quite simple.
The inclusion of the image helps to build trust as well as keeping congruent with the image on the left side and the call to action on the right.
On top of that, the headline and button copy, further compound on the points that were made previously.
And as we’ve seen many times already, there is a privacy mention, again helping to improve trust.
If you scroll down, you’ll notice that on the right-hand side of the blog, there is an opt-in form.
This form is essentially built on the same principles.
Of course, note the copy that has been used here, of which emphasises that what is on offer is ‘exclusive,’ and only for ‘private newsletter subscribers.’
Brian also makes use of the content upgrade strategy that is being used on the Quicksprout blog.
If you spend enough time on the blog, you’ll also notice that a pop-up box appears, of which provides a ‘free eBook,’ in exchange for an email.
The copy is rich in benefits, and once again, the image of Brian Dean has been used to help build trust yet again.
Using your face throughout your marketing has been a growing trend in 2015. You’ll see later in this post, but just quickly Derek Halpern and Jon Loomer are more ‘self-promoters’ using their headshots or faces in more and more of their promotional materials.
At the bottom of the blog, there is another opt-in box – though this is arguably the simplest one of an offer.
Once more, you will notice that the copy states that those who are on the email list will receive exclusive information – of which can’t be found on the blog.
This is a blog dedicated to helping people learn more about maximising conversions, so you can bet that their list building strategies are working out for them.
When you reach the homepage of the blog, you’re greeted with the following opt-in box.
They have obviously split tested this headline, to find something that works.
The headline does a great job of grabbing attention, plus notice how the word ‘money’ has been highlighted.
You’ll then notice that below this headline, there is a mention that an eBook is on offer, of which teaches you how to ‘Master the essentials of conversion optimization.’
Once again, there is a mention of the word ‘free,’ and only an email address is being requested.
This eBook is perfectly positioned because it looks as though it will help provide you with some solutions, or, at least, help you find out, how ‘Your website is leaking money.’
Once you’re on the blog, you then see the following opt-in box.
This opt-in box is very simple and to the point. The benefit has been clearly labeled, and there is an image of what is on offer.
The phrase ‘Focus on processes, not tactics,’ also makes it feel as though the eBook is going to offer something new in the way of strategy.
And again, the button is big, and the copy is clear, and there is only one opt-in form to fill out, reducing ‘friction.’
Videofruit has a lot going on in the way of list building.
When you click on the ‘Start Class Now’ button, you’re provided with an opt-in form.
The headline makes it clear what is on offer, and the highlighted text, further adds to the headline.
On top of that, there is some social proof below the button, as the names of big name companies are present.
However, if you scroll down the page, you are presented with even more chances to join the list.
Each of these buttons links to an opt-in box.
The opportunity to join the Videofruit list is presented in many different forms.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that if you join one of these lists, you’ll join a particular kind of list that has been segmented, within Videofruit.
If you scroll down this page some more, you’ll be presented with a big button, of which also provides you with a chance to join the list.
This button is presented, after a mini sales page style section of text, which illustrates why the information is worth having.
On the actual blog, you’ll notice that there is an opt-in form, amongst the various posts.
The offer presented here, is the same (main) offer that is shown on the homepage.
7. Social Triggers
Social Triggers is using many of the tactics that we have already discussed.
On the homepage, you will see the above the fold opt-in.
Again, notice how the word ‘Free’ has been emphasized – both with a highlight and contrasting text colour.
The image of Derek (Founder of Social Triggers) also helps to build trust.
If you’re on the website for a little while, you’ll also see the following pop-up.
Take note of the copy here that has been used on the buttons.
The strong wording for those who do not want to eBook almost makes people think twice, before clicking.
The headline and description copy is also very enticing, in that the value on offer is very clear.
Derek also uses the same strategy used by Bryan of Videofruit, in that he has some courses on offer, of which are provided in exchange for an email address.
If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will see the following.
Once again, a simple opt-in form has been used, (similar to Backlinko).
Notice how there is some social proof, this time, around, as there is a mention of how many other subscribers are also on the same list.
If you visit the blog, you are presented with a number of chances to sign up for the list.
Firstly, you’ll be presented with a screen like this one.
Right away you are presented with a reason to sign up for free updates, and you are given a chance to do so.
You’ll also see on the top right-hand side there is an option to receive ‘Free Updates.’
Secondly, on the right-hand side of the blog, you will see the following.
This is just a condensed version of what was to be found on the homepage.
You’ll also notice below this opt-in form, there are some graphics that look as though they’ll link to another web page.
When you click on each of these boxes, however, you are shown an opt-in box.
At the end of every blog post, there is also an opt-in box.
Additionally, as you scroll down the page, a couple of sidebar widgets follow you.
These are known as ‘fixed widgets’ used similarly to my blog and Entrepreneur On Fire’s sidebar.
One of them is a ‘Free Training,’ widget.
When you click on this, you are provided with the chance to enter in your email in exchange for the course.
The other widget, however, is somewhat more interesting.
This widget is like a quiz, and it takes you through a process where you can work out what kind of entrepreneur you are.
However, to get this information, you have to enter your email address.
This is super effective, because, for one, the person signing up to the list has segmented themselves, by answering the questions.
A similar style tactic is used by my funnel builder that is launching soon.
But they’ve also become more committed, in that they’ve spent time answering these questions, so inputting the email is something that they might as well do also.
8. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
As soon as you reach the homepage of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWTYTBR), you’re presented with an option to join the list.
As we’ve seen many times before, the use of the word ‘free’ is heavy.
The copy also makes use of the principles we’ve discussed before, in that it benefits rich
However, there is some urgency there, as Ramit mentions how he might take down this free offer because he is trying things out and experimenting.
Interestingly, however, notice how the image of Ramit (IWTYTBR Founder), has him looking at the opt-in box.
This works well because it guides where the website visitor also looks too.
I’d recommend using heat mapping tools to test this theory out.
If you scroll down, you’ll see that there are multiple ways to join the list, once again presented as opportunities to receive a free course.
There is also some social proof, in that there are some ‘grayscale’ logos from big name brands – therefore building trust.
Another website now, in this case study is Foundr Magazine which does this too:
Going back to IWTYTBR, if you click on the blog, you will see this pop-up.
Notice the variation in contrast between the buttons – the ‘Yes’ button is bright and exciting.
Just like social triggers, the button copy for this pop-up is very engaging, in that the wording is strong.
On the sidebar of the blog, there are multiple widgets, of which allow for website visitors to sign up to the list.
These links take you to pages that could be considered as sales pages for the free content.
Though the free guide is provided in full on the site, those who want to read it on the go, a PDF version can be download, in exchange for an email.
A pop-up will also appear on this page, after a certain amount of time.
Back on the blog, there are further chances to sign up for the list.
One is the link to the book.
Again this link takes you to a page that acts like a mini sales page.
It is designed to sell the book but also provides you with a chance to sign up for the list to get the first chapter for free.
There’s also another widget on the blog, presented in the style of a course that is on offer.
Amongst the blog content, there is an opt-in form, which encourages readers to sign up to the list.
9. Marie Forleo
It’s worth looking at the Marie Forleo blog, to get a sense of how you can apply the tactics mentioned, but for a different kind of audience.
I mean, we have some pretty hardcore marketing blogs here, but Marie really mixes it up.
The value proposition is quite impressive here!
Though it is obviously something that appeals to the audience Marie is trying to help.
Also, notice how Marie, (the person in the image) is looking at the headline, drawing attention to it.
There’s also an arrow, which points to the form fields that need to be filled in.
The button copy is also interesting in that it follows the style of the headline.
This signup section is visible on pretty much all of the pages within the website though at times there will be a different image and set of text.
After a certain amount of time, you’ll also see the following pop-up box.
This pop-up box is unique to this time of year (Christmas) – and this makes it somewhat more effective because it now seems relevant.
At the bottom of each page, you’re also presented with the following opt-in box.
At the end of each blog post, you’ll also see the following opt-in box.
Nothing complicated, but all in all it shows you how to approach things from a different angle.
10. Jon Loomer
Jon Loomer goes to show that you don’t really need to have a limit when it comes to the opt-in boxes you can present on the right-hand side of a blog!
I’d be super curious to know the conversion numbers on a sidebar like Loomer’s vs. John Lee Dumas’ 2 step opt-in sidebar. Both utilize the space effectively but use different strategies.
After a certain amount of time on the site, you’ll also be presented with the following pop-up box.
The Facebook Leads feature is a new offering by Facebook, and so Jon Loomer is looking to encourage people to sign up the list, by providing insight in terms of this new feature.
Providing current information is helpful because it makes you look relevant, but also positions you as an authority on the topic at hand.
As soon as you hit the homepage, you’re presented with a chance to join the list.
It’s not asking for much, and you can see that there is some social proof below.
The copy used is is very effective, as specific numbers are provided, and there is a clear benefit attached to signing up for the list.
The image of Noah looking into the camera also helps to build trust, as you feel reassured that there is a ‘real person’ behind the site.
When you go on to read the blog, you will see a screen come down, which asks you to sign up to the list.
That trusty scroll mat again…
This is similar to what Quicksprout had, though, this time, it is asking you actually to join the list.
The copy here is not that formal, and it sets the tone for the rest of the blog and the content that will be sent via email.
If you ignore this, you’ll still see a little pop-up of sorts, in the bottom right-hand corner of the blog.
It’s not intrusive though it is noticeable. It also provides a clear benefit as to why someone should join the list.
The button copy also emphasises the point of the joining the list.
Underneath the title of each post, there is also a link that gives readers a chance to sign up for updates.
Implementation – Your First 100 Subscribers
Okay so now that we’ve taken a look at some blogs that are doing amazing things when it comes to list building let’s take a look at what you can do to get your first 100 subscribers.
Know Who Your Audience Is
This was never covered explicitly in the post though it’s something of great importance.
Knowing who your audience is will allow for you to create copy that is appealing and persuasive.
You’ll also know what kind of style to use – see Marie Forleo, Social Triggers and IWTYTBR.
On top of that, you’ll notice that a lot of these sites built their list, by giving something away for free.
If you do not know who your audience is, you won’t know what item is best to giveaway.
You may, therefore, end up creating something that is only somewhat appealing.
As a result, you could get everything else right, but a poor giveaway may ‘bottleneck’ your results no matter what you do.
Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying the power of pop-ups.
We’ve seen time and time again that pop-ups were used on the blogs above. It’s fair to say that if they didn’t work, none of these websites would have put them into action.
What’s important, however, is that your pop-up is relevant to the person who is on the website.
For instance, you want to make sure that the item you’re offering within the pop-up is something people would be happy to download.
Ask yourself, would you download this yourself? That’s usually the best tell sign.
Use Content Upgrades
Content upgrades are incredibly powerful.
I mean, I use them on my website too for every post.
In fact, Brian Dean managed to achieve a 785% increase in conversions, just by using content upgrades.
Creating content upgrades of your own is not that hard.
All you need to do is create a bullet point/checklist version of the post in question.
To make the offer, even more, exciting, though, you might even want to make the content upgrades something exclusive, that adds, even more, value to the post.
If you’re looking for someone to help you with content upgrades, you can use a done for you service like this.
Provide Free Courses
Not so long ago, you would find that many websites would offer just a plain old PDF, in exchange for an email address.
However, as we have seen above, there are many websites that are now offering much more than a free pdf – they’re offering entire courses!
Now, this might seem like a lot of work to do for free ahead of time, though there’s a good chance that it is going to be worth it.
The reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, for the person who comes across this free course, the perceived value is going to be so high, that providing an email in exchange for an entirely free course seems like a really good deal.
On top of that, when people go through the course, and they begin to learn a lot of valuable information of which can be implemented, you’ll begin to build a lot of good will.
After all, those who are going through the course will come to realise that you actually are an expert on the subject matter at hand.
Now, it is important that you do everything that you can in order to make the free course spectacular.
The best way you can do this is by first understanding who you’re actually creating the course for.
If you already have a list in place, you might want to quickly survey them, and ask what they need the most help with.
Alternatively, you can visit forums where you target audience is spending a lot of their time.
There is also the option of taking a look at what your competitors are doing, and then creating a better version of what is already on offer.
As time goes on, and your website begins to develop a larger audience, you may want to consider creating a variety of courses.
These will cater to each of the segments your audience is made up of.
Videofruit is a good example of this.
It might also be worth taking a look at how you can create a quiz, in order to build your list.
This quiz should be fun for the person who is using it, and it shouldn’t feel as though it is a list building tool.
If you want a good example of such a tool, refer back to the Social Triggers website and the quiz they used.
We saw on the Entrepreneur on Fire’s website, how split testing can be used.
If your website has enough traffic, then it can be a good idea to do some split testing, so that you can maximise conversions.
When split testing, you will want to experiment with different headlines and also giveaways.
You could also experiment with different images and varying ‘pop-up box styles,’ if you use them.
In doing all of this, you will be able to improve the number of email addresses you are collecting, without having to improve the amount of traffic your site receives.
Use Every Opportunity
In nearly all of the sites above, we saw how nearly every opportunity was used, in order to build the list.
Now, there is a fine line between being pushy and making use of all opportunities, so you’ll want to be careful.
For instance, don’t keep on showing pop-ups on the same page, if someone has already closed one already.
Use the examples mentioned above to find opportunities that you can use to build a list.
Remember, you want to be native.
What do I mean by that?
You want to market and grow your list without people even realizing. Providing value and building your list in disguise.
Not sneakily, but giving so much value where people don’t care about giving you their email (it just becomes an afterthought).
Don’t Say The Same Thing Twice
This was a subtle technique used by a few of the blogs and websites that we have taken a look at.
It worked like this…
The same item was being given away, but a different copy was used to express what was on offer.
By using this technique, it didn’t feel as though the same thing was being pushed each and every time you saw a pop-up or visited a new page.
For instance, if you were looking to give away a PDF related to Facebook Ads, one page might have an opt-in box that says – ‘Generate Leads Using Facebook Ads.’
The other might say ‘A Step by Step Facebook Ads Strategy.’
In using such a strategy, you’ll be able to make the most out of one piece of content while also working out what kind of copy best resonates with your audience.
Remember using the same content in different areas of your website as an opt-in bribe is FINE.
If you want to improve your online marketing efforts, it is essential that you do what you can in order to build a list.
In this post, we’ve taken a look at some of the strategies you can use on your blog or website, in order to maximise its list building potential.
Whether you provide free courses or content upgrades, there are many options open to you.
Of course, you need to make sure you know your target audience well, as giving away the wrong things can lead to low conversions.
In any case, now that you’re aware of how to go about things, all that’s left for you to do is to implement.
What do you struggle with the most when building your email list? Let me know in the comments below.