As I’m sure you’ve heard from pretty much everyone in the blogging space, your email list is super important. Which is likely why you’ll want to grow your email list fast.
The reason your list is important is that you own your email list. Unlike social media platforms where if they decide to change something, you have to just accept it. You have no control.
With an email list, no matter what, you own and control what happens with your list. No matter what changes are made to social media platforms, you can keep communicating with your list.
Everything Comes Back to Your Email List
So you wrote your blog and are working to make it successful. You know that to do so you need to be providing people with helpful solutions. You are leading them on a transformation they want to accomplish.
However, to maximize your monetization efforts you need to communicate directly with your audience, you do this with email.
Because it takes someone seeing something 7 times before they decide to buy, they aren’t going to go visit a single blog post 7 times, but they might read multiple emails from you.
Blog Posts vs Email
Blog posts are like flyers on the corkboard in your mail room. An email is the personal letter in your mailbox. Which do you pay more attention to?
You may glance at the cork board occasionally, but you always check your mail. Which is why you want to grow your email list. It provides you with the most direct communication with your audience.
This means that everything you do, from writing content, to scheduling social media updates, to creating those great images for Pinterest, is all so you can get people to subscribe to your email list.
You want them to opt-in to that content upgrade or great newsletter. Or maybe you get them to sign up by offering them some kind of discount. You do what works best for your business to get them on your list.
Now in order for them to sign up for your list, you need to have forms and opt-ins all over your site. There’s a lot of tools out there that can help you do this and chances are you’ll use more than one. But I’ve found one tool helped me to more than double my opt-in rate…..
Start with Your Email Marketing Company
There are lots of different email marketing companies. Some of the most heard of are:
- Mail Chimp, and
💡 Pro Tip: Even though Convertkit may be overwhelming or confusing at first, switching tools sucks, so I highly recommend starting with what you want to stick with long term
I've played goldilocks with a bunch of email marketing services and Convertkit is just right! Built by a blogger for bloggers it has the features you need, without getting super complicated and overwhelming. Plus it's free to get started!
If you're brand new to blogging you can use Convertkit for free (up to 1,000 subscribers).
If you've been blogging a while and already have a list, you can try any of Convertkit's paid plans free for 14 days.
Tools to Create Even Better Opt-ins
Once you know what email marketing service you’re going to use, it’s time to figure out what forms you’ll use. The forms are the window display of your email marketing, it’s how you get people in the door (to subscribe)
Most email marketing companies have some forms that you can use on your site to allow people to opt in to your list. However, some of them are super basic, and using multiple forms across your site can get messy really fast.
Additionally, it’s been shown that two step opt-ins, are more successful in terms of conversions. Two-step opt-ins are where they click a button and then an email form pops up.
The idea is that they’ve already said yes once by clicking the button. Making them more likely to continue on and give you their email. This is opposed to showing an offer and immediately asking for an email which can be off-putting.
There are different options to help you create opt-in forms that are irresistible so you get higher conversion rates. And you want those high conversion rates because it means more people are subscribing to your list.
I Started with Leadpages and Then Switched….
Leadpages does integrate with most email marketing services so you can definitely create those beautiful opt-ins and landing pages using Leadpages.
Personally, I used Leadpages for a long time but ultimately it was too complicated and too expensive.
Remember how I said that having multiple opt-ins/forms across your site could lead to a very messy backend for you?
However, you also probably know that having different content upgrades for each post can help to increase opt-ins by a lot.
So the ideal tool would make organizing all your opt-ins and where the are displayed super easy while also providing gorgeous opt-in form that entice people to sign up.
In my opinion, Leadpages only had the second part.
For example, every time I had a post or page I had to go in and add the Leadpages form, it made it one more thing to do on the never-ending list of things to do when reading a blog post.
It was just a big hassle to ensure that I always had opt-ins available. Not to mention, I had no way of keeping track of which posts had which opt-ins on them.
Plus, Leadpages costs a lot of money especially if you’re not paying for an annual plan or a bi-annual plan. If you pay monthly it’s $49 a month and you don’t even get the A/B testing feature. Paying for email marketing and a tool like Leadpages and hosting, it can all add up fast.
A Lesson in Learning a Tool Before Using it
So after doing that for a few opt-ins I realize there’s actually a much smarter way to add opt-ins to my site using Convertbox. It was with Groups and now, oh my gosh, I am obsessed with Convertbox primarily because of Groups and the ability to manage all my forms for all my sites in a single place.
Note: Leadpages works great and I do think it’s a solid tool and I’m a fan of the company, but I think Convertbox is better.
I left Leadpages when I decided to use the Thrive Themes Membership for my site redesign and have since moved on to tools that offer a lifetime plan:
Why I Switched to Thrive Leads
I ended up getting the entire Thrive Themes membership which cost $299 a year. Honestly, Thrive Themes is fantastic, the reason I switched to Kadence was to simplify my sites and my bookkeeping by avoiding a recurring cost.
Now switching from one tool to another is never super easy. There is always going to be some stuff that comes up. But moving away from Leadpages made me so much happier and more efficient.
Now, part of the obsession I had with Thrive Themes comes from knowing how the tool works and how best to use it, so let me break that down for you, in case you can’t afford the $495 price tag that is Convertbox’s lifetime plan, then I’ll start with explaining Thrive Leads (available for just $99/year)
How Thrive Leads Works
Thrive Leads provides you with a dashboard where all of your opt-ins are listed. There are four kinds of forms:
- Lead Groups
- Thrive Boxes
- Thrive Shortcodes
- Signup Segues
I primarily used Lead Groups and Thrive Boxes, but I’ll go over all of them for you so you can see why I still recommend Thrive Leads, I’ll also show you how my conversion rate skyrocketed after I started using it.
How Lead Groups Work
With lead groups you can create a grouping of a specific opt-in with multiple forms.
For example, on my other site, I had my side-hustling freebie and I want to show it on all my posts about side-hustling. I wanted to show an opt-in in the content, below the content, and maybe sometimes as a ribbon or screen filler. I do that with a lead group.
Lead Groups allow you to create the following types of forms:
- In Content
- Post Footer
- Screen Filler Lightbox
- Scroll Mat
I used a different Lead Group for each content upgrade. To create my forms in Thrive Leads I can either use one of their many templates or start from scratch. They have both one-step and two-step opt-in templates and you can A/B test them if you’re not sure which works best for your audience.
Lead Group Display Options Let You Easily Customize Reader’s Experience
The beauty of creating all these opt-in forms for each specific content upgrade in a Lead Group is the display options. You can set rules for when and how they show.
For example, I can choose to have it show on specific posts or pages or I can say show it on all posts categorized as “side hustles.”
Then I can have another lead group for my budget workbook that shows on all my posts categorized as “personal finance basics.” Then I can have my money 101 opt-in as a catchall so if none of the other rules apply there is still a form showing.
“With Lead Groups, I’m always giving my audience an option to opt-in to my email list. So, I’m never losing out on people being able to subscribe especially when I get those big traffic bursts from a Pin going viral.”
You can also choose which forms you want to display on Mobile vs Desktop. Chances are you don’t want to use a Ribbon opt-in on mobile – with a single click you can turn it off.
Check Conversion Rates of Specific Forms & Lead Groups
At a glance, you can see how well a specific lead group (content upgrade) is doing based on the overall conversion rate.
Or you can drop open the Lead Group to see the conversion rate of each form, you’ll likely find that a specific type of form does better than others. And you’ll want to replicate it for other content upgrades.
Lead Groups are Hierarchical
Lastly, Lead Groups are hierarchical, so if the one at the top has the same display rule as the one below, the one on top will show rather than the lower-ranked one. For this reason, your catchall content upgrade should be at the bottom of the Lead Group List.
How Thrive Boxes Work
While Lead Groups makes it easy to automatically insert opt-in forms to your chosen posts and pages, those settings have default real estate on the page, for example 7 paragraphs in.
However, there are probably instances where you want to specify where the form is located, that’s where Thrive boxes can come in…
They are for two-step opt-ins….
For example, you can have a menu item that triggers a Thrive box, so yes you can have an opt-in in your site’s menu.
You can also use them in conjunction with Thrive Architect to have a Thrive Box triggered by other things in the “actions and animations” section of Thrive Architect.
How Thrive Shortcodes work
For posts or pages, where you’re not looking to do a two step opt-in but do want to control where the forms get inserted, a Thrive Shortcode is perfect.
Long form Posts like Guides
You just create your Shortcode in the Thrive Leads Dashboard and the insert the code into your wordpress content.
If you want to learn more about the difference between Lead Groups and Shortcodes, check out this post.
Note: if you ever move away from Thrive Leads, having to go in an delete all the shortcodes, can be a giant pain.
How Signup Seques Work
Signup seques are meant to make your subscriber’s life a little easier…
Let’s say you’ve got a great email list and you want to promote an upcoming webinar you’re doing to them, typically when they click on the link they have to sign up to register….
But they were already on your list, so why would you want them to sign up again? They might not… it’s an extra barrier.
Signup Seques allow them to automatically register without having to put in all their information again.
It allows for a one-click sign up.
Overall the display options in Thrive Leads are really flexible. It’s just awesome (I mentioned I’m obsessed right?). By using Thrive Leads and Lead Groups, I don’t have to worry about coming up with new content upgrade for every post. And when I do come up with another freebie for my site it is easy to implement it on the post that would most likely convert the opt-in.
Thrive Lead Analytics – aka Lead Conversion Reports
Analytics should always be what helps drive a business. Look at analytics, see what’s working and then repeat that process.
I used to think that the analytics of my email marketing service were good, but then I got Thrive Lead Analytics.
They help you see:
- what content is converting best so you can continue to promote it,
- what the overall conversion rate of your site and different opt ins are, and
- What sites are referring conversions – maybe you’re spending tons of time on Pinterest but it’s not actually producing subscribers, Thrive Lead Analytics tells you that.
Conversion Rate Report
This report shows how well your site is converting visitor into subscribers overall.
Content Conversion Report
This report shows what content (posts and pages) are converting the most. The ones that convert well are probably content you should promote more to grow your email list.
Lead Referral Report
This breaks down how many subscribers you’ve gotten from various channels like:
- Tailwind Tribes
And where ever else you might get traffic from
Now for some results. In the first six months of year when I was using Convertkit with Leadpages I got about 185 subscribers and 80 of those are from a giveaway. Meaning it was really more like 100 subscribers in the first six months of the year. If you average that out, it comes to about 30 subscribers a month.
More Than Doubling My Subscriber Rates
Since using Thrive Leads, in a little over four months (4.25) I’ve had over 300 subscribers which averages out to more than 70 subscribers a month. This is more than double the number of subscribers I was getting before and BTW I haven’t done a giveaway in that timeframe. So I’m seeing a huge increase in my subscribers by using Thrive Leads.
With Thrive Leads I can see what content is converting best, and which opt-ins have the highest conversion rates. I can also send links to posts to those already on my list where when they go to look at the post they won’t see the forms (using Smartlinks). It’s like voodoo email marketing magic.
Bottom Line on Thrive Leads
If you are looking for a fantastic tool to help you increase your conversions, I cannot recommend Thrive Leads enough. At just $99/year it is a steal compared to other tools out there.
While there is a learning curve, if you take the time to watch the tutorials, you will be on your way to gaining more subscribers to your email list. Which as we all know, is the most important thing for your blog and business.
Best Thrive Leads Tutorials:
Lead Groups – What Are They And How They Work
Thrive Leads – Display Settings (Targeting) and Lead Group Rules
Asset Delivery Feature: Automatically Send Download Links to New Subscribers
Truthfully, I’ve found everything Thrive Leads can do, Convertbox can do, and then some. Where Thrive Leads is controlled on the back end of your site, Convertbox forms are managed on Covertbox’s site.
The benefit is, for each site I have, I’m not just talking about blogs. I use Convertbox on sales pages in ThriveCart, my courses, and anywhere I have the ability to install a code snippet, it is so nice that I can see and manage them all in one place.
And truthfully, I just love a lifetime pricing structure, I paid for Convertbox years ago and haven’t had to pay a Convertbox bill since. 😍
How I Use Convertbox
Besides just creating forms to grow my email list, I also use Convertbox to promote sales and deals on my products (you can see examples of this in my shop) as well as limited-time affiliate promotions.
I’ve even used a Convertbox for a Tripwire to add a deadline to a deal.
But even after using this tool for years, I didn’t take the time to dig in and understand the nitty-gritty details that make it so powerful. Because it can do so much more than what I’m currently using it for.
If you already have Convertbox and want to learn more about making the most of it, I highly recommend Leanne from Passive Income Superstar’s course Convertbox Toolkit.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, then make sure to do your research and choose an email marketing service you’ll stick with (Convertkit is my #1 recommendation).
If you’re looking to grow your list then you’ll need to have some killer opt-in forms (and freebies), you can absolutely use the forms that come with your email marketing service.
But tools like Convertbox and Thrive leads can give you even more control over what forms people see and when so that you are showing them the offer at the optimal time. Which leads to better conversion rates and faster list growth.
But the best tools in the world won’t help you grow your list, if you don’t have traffic to those forms so learn how to systematically promote your blog on Pinterest.