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
Personally, I use, love, and recommend Drip. It’s super powerful but if you’re just getting started it could be overwhelming.
If you’re looking for something simpler you could start with ConvertKit – it was made by a blogger for bloggers.
Pro Tip: Even though Drip may be overwhelming, switching tools sucks, so I highly recommend starting with what you want to stick with long term
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 real fast.
Additionally, its 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 being 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 $37 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 Thrive Leads. It was with Lead Groups and now, oh my gosh, I am obsessed with Thrive primarily because of Lead Groups.
Note: Leadpages works great and I do think it’s a solid tool and I’m a fan of the company as Drip is part of the same company as Leadpages and I use Drip, but I think Thrive Leads is better.
I left Leadpages when I decided to use the Thrive Themes Membership for my site redesign. It includes Thrive Leads which in my opinion is much better than Leadpages and cheaper to boot.
Why I Switched to Thrive Leads
I ended up getting the entire Thrive Themes membership which cost $19/mo when paid annually, so $228 a year. However, you can get Thrive Leads on its own, which is just a one time cost $67.
Now switching from one tool to another is never super easy. There is always going to be some stuff that comes up. But now that I’m past the switch I’m so much happier. Thrive Leads is A. FRICKIN. MAZING! #obsessed
Now, part of this obsession comes from knowing how the tool works and how best to use it, so let me break that down for you…
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 use Lead Groups and Thrive Boxes, but I’ll go over all of them for you so you can see why I’m so obsessed with 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 have my side hustling freebie and I want to show it on all my posts about side hustling. I want 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 use 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 post 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 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 sites 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.
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 – The Mac Daddy of 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 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.
If you are looking for a fantastic tool to help you increase your conversions, I cannot recommend Thrive Leads enough. At a one time cost of $67 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