The bigger your email list, the more money you will make. Therefore, the more you to do grow your list, the more your revenue grows.

I mean, it is almost a natural law when it comes to online business.

So, anything you can do to grow your list faster is going to be a very high leverage thing to do. Much more useful than scrolling through other people’s photos on Facebook. 😉

The good news is that, for almost everybody I work with inside The Lab or via coaching sessions, there are numerous opportunities to grow the opt-in rate which are just sitting there STARING at them. But, they didn’t notice.

Growing your list faster doesn’t take “ninja tactics” or any secrets of the gurus. Really, all it requires is deciding to spend time on doing whatever everybody KNOWS works… but usually don’t do.

The good news, too, is that these strategies don’t take very long at all. If you cut out the distractions (in other words, close Facebook) and just focus, you can execute one of these strategies in an hour or two.

If you do this regularly, your list will grow faster.

So, let’s get started….

1. Create A New Lead Magnet

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Subscribe to our Newsletter’ is quite possibly the dumbest call to action ever.” quote=”‘Subscribe to our Newsletter’ is quite possibly the dumbest call to action ever.”]

“Subscribe to our Newsletter” is quite possibly the dumbest call to action ever to litter the internet. It might have worked back in the 90’s when “You got Mail!” made people feel special. But, today? Ha!

Today, you need to give people a damn compelling REASON to subscribe to your email list. And that reason is simply an opt-in offer, otherwise known as a lead magnet.

Now, for most of you, I would imagine the concept of a lead magnet is nothing new. However, ask yourself this…

Do you have only one or two lead magnets?

If so, then time to get busy. Because…

The more lead magnets you have, the easier it is to grow your list.

Not everybody who comes to your blog will be interested in the same things. Not all people think the same. So, you ideally want to have a library of lead magnets available. Every time you publish a piece of content on your blog, you pull out the most relevant lead magnet and attach that to the blog post as the call to action.

Now, this could seem like a lot of work. But, there’s good news…

In my experience, it is usually the shortest, most direct lead magnets which convert best.

We’re talking checklists, resource lists, very short tutorials perhaps. And these things convert far better than some 50-page ebook they’ll never read anyway.

PDF versions of your blog posts to grow your list, using Beacon
Use Beacon to create great looking PDFs out of posts on your blog.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Create a page on your site with a list of resources or reviews to apply something covered in a blog post.
  • Take one of your top-performing posts and use a service like Beacon to easily turn it into a well-formatted downloadable PDF.
  • Create a checklist or worksheet to go along with a blog post.

PDF’s are not the only way to go. If it is easier for you, just create your lead magnet on a PAGE on your site. Be sure to hide it in the site navigation. Also, use your SEO plug-in (such as Yoast SEO) to set the index settings to “no index” and “nofollow” so that this private page will not be indexed by search engines.

Yoast SEO hide page from search

2. Create A Content Upgrade For A Popular Post

If you’ve not yet read my flagship blog post on The Redwood Strategy, I recommend you do now. It should be very clear that I’m big on the long-term use of a blog post.

In that post, too, you will see a content upgrade.

content upgrade grow your list
A content upgrade is a bonus download for a blog post, offered if they opt-in.

A content upgrade is simply a lead magnet which is highly specific to a single blog post. As of this writing, that content upgrade is converting at 11.27%.

When you’re using Thrive Leads, you can also set up opt-ins for your blog posts which do not distract from the blog post. Most opt-in forms will redirect the person to another page once they’ve opted in. With Thrive Leads, you can allow them to opt-in right in the middle of reading and NOT take them anywhere. It works beautifully.

I have found that 3-state opt-ins using Thrive Leads convert the best. Those states are:

  • Default State: A teaser for the content upgrade with a simple download button (no email input). When they click the button, it goes to State 1.
  • State 1: A copy of the default state, but the actual opt-in form is displayed. When they opt-in, it goes to State 2.
  • State 2: An acknowledgement that the promised download is on it’s way to their inbox, and that they can continue reading.

So, it begins with finding out your most popular articles. The easiest way to do that is by using Google Analytics.

google analytics top landing pages

Go to the list of top Landing Pages inside of Analytics to see what the top pages are that people arrive on your site with. If it is popular on your blog, it will be popular to grow your list, too.

3. Start A Split-Test On One Of Your Top Opt-Ins

One of the great thing about Thrive Leads is how easy it is to set up a split test. Now…

Admit it…

You’re probably not doing split testing on your opt-in forms on a regular basis. If at all.

Don’t feel bad. I haven’t been as regular as I should be with it, either. But, I’ve internally been on a little project to split test pretty much every opt-in form on this site in order to raise the opt-in rates.

What I’m testing right now is a simple 3-step opt-in form up against a standard single-state opt-in on 3 of my lead magnets. So far, the 3-state opt-ins are converting better by varying amounts. However, no matter how big or small, an improvement in opt-in rate is a step in the right direction.

thrive leads split test

The only way to test things out… is to actually test them. 🙂 Not get a wild idea and just change everything, but…. actually test it up against a control.

And it is easy to do with Thrive Leads.

I’d recommend going for your lowest hanging fruit first. For instance, if you have any site-wide opt-in forms in your sidebar, an exit pop or a slide-in, you should run split-testing on that in an almost continual way.

Test things such as:

  • Try a different lead magnet altogether that you think might be more compelling.
  • Try a different form design that will stand out more strongly.
  • Try different lead magnet titles
  • Try different lead magnet images.

Just set it up and let it run for awhile. Depending on your traffic level, it may take some time for the test to complete with enough data to be meaningful. I’d suggest running it for a minimum of 100 opt-ins. You can always quit the test early and launch the winning test version early if it becomes crystal clear you have a winner on your hands.

thrive leads split test

By continually doing split testing, you will improve your opt-in rates and learn what works with your audience.

4. Create A Quiz

A quiz is a unique type of lead magnet to grow your list. I have not yet personally used a quiz yet, but I’ve read numerous successful case studies of them and their power to build a list.

Typically, creating an online quiz has been a real technical challenge. But, one of the more recent tools offered from Thrive Themes is the Thrive Quiz Builder.

With Quiz Builder, you can create different kinds of quizzes. And here’s the best part…

You can use them to create segmented email lists, offer them different lead magnets depending on their answers, and more.

One of the biggest challenges can simply be coming up with an idea for a quiz.

From a marketing perspective, the aim is to have a quiz which gets them to look at the problem that you solve with your business. It can help raise them on the customer awareness scale from being unaware to problem aware. Quizzes which give them a score on something they can improve can work well for this.

5. Experiment With Placement Of The Opt-In Form

We’ve already talked about running split tests on your opt-in forms. But, one of the things you definitely should be testing is placement of your opt-in forms.

Most blogs have a primary lead magnet placed right in their sidebar. However, the sidebar is usually one of the worse performing locations for your opt-in.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The blog sidebar is usually one of the worse performing locations for your opt-in form.” quote=”The blog sidebar is usually one of the worse performing locations for your opt-in form.”]

The header and post footer typically perform better. But, better yet…

Opt-in forms right in the middle of the content itself is what usually converts the best. It makes perfect sense, too. They are there for the content. That’s where they’re looking. Not your sidebar.

thrive leads form types

Thrive Leads makes it easy to insert the opt-in form anywhere you please. You can try different placements easily, such as the post footer, an exit popup, a slide-in that triggers when they scroll a certain way down, etc. You can even automatically insert an opt-in after a certain number of paragraphs in your blog post and it will just appear there.

If you want fine-tuned control of placement inside your content, then I’d recommend you use the Lead Shortcodes. Set up the form as you want, then insert it anywhere you want using a shortcode.

But, definitely experiment with opt-in form placement. Don’t just fall back on your sidebar because that’s what everybody else does. To grow your list effectively, you can’t just do the bare minimum.

6. Optimize Opt-In Forms For Mobile

Mobile traffic is a really big deal these days. So many people are browsing our sites on mobile devices so it is VERY important that your site is mobile responsive to work on smaller screens.

But, your opt-in forms are no different. Opt-in forms which may appear just fine on a desktop can be all but invisible or just plain annoying on a phone. For instance…

  • A sidebar opt-in will usually be pushed way to the bottom of the screen on a mobile device, since sidebars usually just get kicked to the bottom. Your opt-in rate will be garbage.
  • If you use an exit pop or some other popup, the trigger settings might not work right on mobile. Plus, there’s little that’s more annoying than having an opt-in completely takeover my iPhone screen when I’m on a site. It is interruption marketing at it’s finest.

So, you may want to change up your opt-in strategy for mobile devices. Display different forms that are more likely to work correctly on small screens.

With Thrive Leads, you can easily do this by triggering the setting for whether to display on mobile or not.

thrive leads display settings

For instance, you might have an exit pop that is set to show on desktop only, but for mobile you use a ribbon bar that is less obtrusive but will easily be seen on mobile screens.

Be sure to always test your blog posts and your site in general on mobile. You might be surprised what you find. You can test your site on mobile by:

  • Using your own phone to test it out.
  • Use Google Chrome or Firefox and the built-in Inspector tool to preview your site as various mobile devices. Just right-click and select “Inspect” to launch.
  • Use an online tool like ScreenFly or MobileTest.Me to test your site.

7. Create A New Landing Page For A Lead Magnet

If you’re running a content upgrade, then it is usually only going to be available on the blog post it was created for. But, if it is converting well, perhaps it can stand alone.

Creating a single-purpose landing page for a lead magnet allows you to promote it in a number of new ways, including the potential for paid advertising.

Essentially, a landing page is like a homepage for your lead magnet.

Using Thrive Content Builder, you set up a simple landing page for your lead magnet. You can use one of their pre-fab templates or make your own using the editor.

If the lead magnet doesn’t have a landing page, then simply create one. If it does, then create a new version and run a split test.

Then, you can set up some ways to use that landing page in your promotions, such as:

  • Send existing subscribers to that landing page who haven’t already opted in for that lead magnet (you should be able to segment based on that information). This is a good way to re-activate people or get them into a sales funnel.
  • Set up a simple retargeting campaign that runs an ad to visitors of certain posts but have not opted in. Have the ad send them direct to the landing page for the lead magnet which is most relevant to the post they came to your site for. You can get opt-ins from people who already bounced off your site this way.
  • Set up a cold traffic campaign to earn NEW leads and send them direct to this lead magnet.
  • Put social media updates that point direct to this landing page and put it into your regular rotation of maintenance marketing across social. Add it to Buffer, or use a tool like MeetEdgar to automate it. You should be regularly sending out your lead generation links to your social profiles.

Landing pages are a key tool to grow your list. You shouldn’t depend solely on your blog to do all the heavy lifting.

Schedule Time To Grow Your List Every Week

These strategies work to grow your list. They’re not rocket science. But, many people simply don’t do them despite having read about it a number of times.

So, you need to schedule time to work on this.

[clickToTweet tweet=”List building is WAY more important to your long term success than writing that next blog post.” quote=”List building is WAY more important to your long term success than writing that next blog post.”]

So, you should be spending regular, scheduled time every week to executing the strategies in this post in order to improve your opt-in rate.

It is a long term, non-ending project. A quest of constant improvement and you are never done.

If all you’ve done is created one lead magnet, posted it and thought your job was done…. NO. Your job just began. Your email list building is suffering greatly if you just throw something out there and hope.

It requires two things…

#1 is the right tools. I’m a firm believer (and user) of the Thrive Themes set of tools, like Thrive Leads and Thrive Content Builder. A Thrive membership  is perhaps the best bang for your buck in the whole field of online marketing for Wordpress sites. I highly recommend them. Read my review here.

#2 is the right strategies to use the tools to accomplish. I’ve provided many here in this post, but if you want to kick it up a notch, we have a few courses inside The Lab that are highly related to this. They include:

If you’re not yet a Lab member, then join us today to gain access to the whole library. Plus, you’ll get all the support you’ll need if you run into any issues.

Got A Question? Need Some Assistance?

Have a question about this article? Need some help with this topic (or anything else)? Send it in and I’ll get back to you personally. If you’re OK with it, I might even use it as the basis of future content so I can make this site most useful.

Question – Lead Form