How I More than Doubled Email Subscriber Rate in 1 Month (without much traffic growth)

I cringe to think how many more subscribers I would have had if only I’d implemented this simple email marketing technique years ago.

I’m going to preface this article with these results are not from Fat Stacks Blog.  It’s from another niche blog I publish.

I should also point out that this email list isn’t terribly lucrative, but it’s lucrative enough to continue growing it.

I’m an email waffler

I’ve never made attracting subscribers a priority for many of my niche blogs.  Instead I focused on ad and affiliate profits generated by the site.  It’s not for lack of trying.  It’s just the case that monetizing email newsletters in some niches isn’t all that lucrative.

Nevertheless, I continue growing my lists because they do generate profits as well as traffic to my site.  Maybe one day I’ll find a way to really make bank; in the meantime I must settle with luke-warm profits.

Fortunately for you, this technique I implemented that ended up more than doubling the number of email subscribers I attracted can be deployed in most niches.

Also fortunately for you I’m not going to list out every single possible way you “might” increase your subscriber rate.  There are millions of those types of articles.

My method, perhaps not unique, is not as widely discussed and given my decent results, is worth mentioning in the event you haven’t stumbled upon it.

The proof

Before you ever implement any tip, you should be adequately convinced that something actually works.  Here’s my AWeber subscribership report:

Here it goes.

Big Picture Concept

I like the big picture before diving into details.  I think most people do.  So here’s the big picture.

I locked a highly sought-after piece of content behind an email sign up form on my site.  I ranked that content in the search engines promoted that piece of content from every page on my site.

What did I do differently before this change for the better?

Before I locked up the sought-after content, I had the usual opt in forms offering the content incentive.  I did not “lock up” the piece of content on the actual URL which was a huge mistake because that actual piece of content attracted a great deal of content on its own.

Step-by-step details

Step 1: Lock sought-after content behind content locker

If you have content that is currently highly sought-after, lock some or all of up behind a content locker requiring an email opt in on the actual URL.  There’s something about conversion rates when people are on the actual URL vs. seeing some random optin form on the site while consuming another piece of content.

Step 2: Grow organic traffic to that URL

Focus on improving organic traffic from search engines to locked content.  Build links, perhaps add some content (other than the locked golden nuggets)… whatever it takes to get more organic traffic.  Make it an SEO focus.

Step 3:  Promote it on social media

Promote that content regularly on social media channels.

Step 4: Promote the content throughout your site

Promote it throughout your site with links, banner ads, etc.   Because my site has decent traffic volume, this helped quite a bit.

Step 5: Test

Test every aspect including the actual content locker landing page, type of content you’re locking, on-site promotion, social media promotion, etc.

The importance of testing cannot be overstated.  Recently I tested a splash screen opt in form.  Check out the differences:

The 1.82% converting opt in form was the first form I created.  Had I not spent an extra 10 minutes creating a second form to test, I would have lost out on tons of subscribers.

Step 6: Repeat

The beauty of this is that you can lock up multiple pieces of sought-after content.  You’re not restricted to just one piece.

What kind of content works?

It doesn’t matter as long as people want access to it.  It can be software, a PDF, an online game, slideshow, video… whatever does the job.

Why does this work so well?

I’m not entirely certain, but I can present an educated guess.

My previous email sign up process presented a form on the site (i.e. footer forms, exit intent, etc.).  Because these forms interrupted visitors’ visit, they weren’t all that prone to sign up.

However, once people arrived to the actual content page, they got there with intent to access that specific content and are more committed.  Once there, I can only surmise that they’re more keen to access the content and therefore more willing to sign up.

What software do I use to lock content?

I use Thrive Leads, but any content locker will do.  I’m sure there are free ones.  You just need to make sure it integrates with your email marketing software.

Please Note

There is a big difference between using social lockers and email newsletter lockers.  Many people lock content behind social sharing buttons.  That’s not what I did.  I locked content behind an email sign up form.

Warning

Do not put AdSense ads on pages that solely consist of an email sign up form.  I asked AdSense if I could and they told me that a sign up form does not constitute content.

How am I making money from this email newsletter?

This is the disappointing part.  Despite having 30,000 plus subscribers that’s been scrubbed several times, I only make money by putting ads in the newsletter (via PowerInbox) and by driving traffic back to my site.

The plus side, and you may want to try this, I increased my email newsletter from 3 times per week to every day.  The interesting thing is opens actually increased.  Keep in mind the newsletters are mainly informational with links to content on my site as well as interesting content on other sites.

In fact, I even ramped up to two newsletters per day and open rates per newsletter remained stable.  Again, the content was purely informational (other than the ads).

Despite all the positives, the newsletter is not terribly lucrative. This is a fact of life in some niches.  The plus side, getting 200 plus subscribers per day is pretty easy so in a few years it just might be lucrative even if only monetized with ads.

2 Comments
  1. Jeff Hunt says

    Does the content blocker not have a negative impact on the SEO of the URL being blocked?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Jeff,

      Amazingly, no. I agree, it’s a valid concern. I think if you’re really worried about hurting SEO, lock up a few golden nuggets of a longer piece of content. Or just add to existing content that you lock up.

      Just because I’ve had no adverse SEO consequences, we know SEO can be fickle so it’s something to be mindful of.

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