How To Build An Email List

One of the most common questions I get is how to build an email list or how to get more email subscribers. I do this a few different ways.

Choose an Email Newsletter/Autoresponder Service

Of course, before you can do anything you need to choose an email service to add subscribers too. I use AWeber, and while there are many other competitors out there, AWeber is my favorite due to ease of use and functionality for internet marketers.

1) & 2) Permanent opt-in forms

1) I have one opt-in subscription form at the top of every page. It’s large, you can’t missed it at the top of every page. This form has different backgrounds that randomly show so it looks different each time the page loads.

2) I have a simple form at the bottom on every single blog post page. The position and color of this doesn’t change, it’s a small form for convenience. Click the image below for a larger view.

3) Pop-up form

I use a plugin called Pippity to control my “nice” pop-up forms on the site. At the moment I have three variations that I am testing with different designs. They pop up after a certain amount of time on the site and when closed do not reappear for 8 days even if the visitor returns. I do this to reduce the annoyance of the pop-ups to regular visitors. There is another popular plugin called Popup Domination, but I prefer Pippity because of it’s ease of use and analytics capabilities.

For example I can tell which forms are used the most by new subscribers, how long the pop-ups are displayed for before being closed and make variations of the same design to test timing options.

4) Contact form

Another plugin that is brilliant is Gravity Forms. I use this for my Contact page, where it asks a series of questions to the visitor, with the final one being whether they would like to subscribe to my newsletter or not. It uses the AWeber form add-on to add any person automatically to my newsletter who selects they would like to be added to my list.

My opt-in rate for people who contact me (I get a lot per day!) is over 80%, so if you have a lot of people emailing you for support or asking you questions, Gravity Forms can be a great way to add relevant subscribers.

5) Subscribe Page

This subscribe page is for search engine visitors, searchers on my own site or if I need to provide a direct link via email to someone.

6) Paypal integration

AWeber has a great “app” that allows you to add anyone who pays you via Paypal to your email list. So whenever anyone buys one of my services, such as my Complete Blog Setup, they are asked via email if they want to subscribe to my newsletter.

Summary

There are multiple areas of opportunity and “touch points” with readers and clients that you can use to offer your email subscription list. However, as I’ve talked about before (How Much Does An Email Subscriber Cost You?), it’s what you do once you have them that is very important, as an email list, and the methods used to gather subscribers, cost money.

There are a couple of ways I can name now that I don’t use, but what are the ways you use to gain email subscribers?

The tools I use to build my email list are:
a) AWeber
b) Pippity
c) Gravity Forms

How To Add An Email Subscription Box To Your Blog

Another of the great questions I got in response to my newsletter is regarding how to add an email subscription box to your website or blog. So I’m going to look at two methods, Feedburner and AWeber.

Feedburner

Feedburner is a service where it makes it easy for people to subscribe to your feed, and tracks all your subscribers in one location. They also provide an email subscription service, where subscribers will receive a daily email containing all your blog posts for that day (no posts = no email, 10 posts = 1 email).

1. Log in/sign-up to Feedburner (to sign-up you’ll need your blog’s RSS feed which will be something like this http://www.your domain name.com/feed/).

2. Once logged in or set-up, click on your Feed name to go to your Feed Stats Dashboard.

3. Then click the Publicize tab – See the image below.

4. In the left hand column you will see an option called Email Subscriptions, click this.

5. Choose how you want your email to be delivered. For now we’ll choose Feedburner.

6. Click Activate to begin the service.

7. You will now be presented with the form code to put on your site. Scroll down past the AWeber instructions to read how to put this on your blog.

AWeber

AWeber is a professional email newsletter and autoresponder sequence service. I’ve been a member of over a month now and have been thoroughly impressed with their service. From the quick technical support, to the flexibility of their autoresponder and newsletter broadcasts, if you don’t mind paying for a great solution then I would definitely recommend giving their 30 day risk free membership a go (note this isn’t free, just risk-free meaning you can get a refund within 30 days).

To create a sign up form, simply sign into your account:

1. Go to List Settings > Web Form. If you have not set up you list you will be asked to enter certain details before being able to proceed.

2. Press the Create Web Form button.

3. On the form details tab enter:
Form Name: Your unique name for the form
Type: In this example we’re just doing the in-line form, we can experiment with others later (like the Pop-over/Hover that appears on my Contact page for new visitors).
Thank You Page: We can customise this later, for now we can leave it as AWeber’s default page.
Ad tracking: You can give you form a name here so if you have multiple forms you can see which one a subscriber used to sign up.
Press Next.

4. The Design Form window will appear. I like to keep the form short and simple, maybe adding the Name box like I have. Just hover over it with your mouse and press the green + button when it appears. You can also add a headline to your form, and change the name of the submit button. You can always change the form options later.

5. Once you press Save you will be taken back to a list of all your forms. You will see a Get HTML column, and link. When you click on that you will be presented with two options: Javascript or raw HTML. I recommend using the javascript form, the difference is with the javascript form you can track the number of times it is displayed (and compare it to number of sign-ups to find out your sign-up rate), and while the HTML form doesn’t allow this, it does allow you to customise the form outside of AWeber. For now we’ll stick with the javascript.

Adding the code to your blog

If you have signed up for Feedburner, or AWeber, then the act of putting the code onto your blog is essentially the same. Here I will show you how to simply add the code to the sidebar of your WordPress blog (version 2.5+) and am assuming your theme is widget enabled.

1. In another window or tab, open your blog. You will need your email code window still open, so don’t close that just yet.

2. Go to your WordPress blog’s management dashboard.

3. Select Design, then Widgets.

4. If you see no widgets here then your theme may not be widget enabled and you will have to add the code directly to your theme files. Please contact me if this is so and I can talk you through the options.

5. On the left hand side, find Text Widget and press Add to add it to your sidebar on the right hand side.

6. Once added on the right hand side, press Edit to open the widget. At the top of the widget you can give the widget a title, such as “Subscribe to Email Updates”.

7. As shown in the image above, copy the code that you’ve been given by your email service (javascript of HTML) into the main body of the text widget. Don’t worry about changing it for now.

8. Once you have the widget title and code in place, remember to press Change to close the Text widget box, and then press Save Changes.

Your subscription box should now appear on your website. In a later tutorial I’ll show you how to change the styling of this. You can re-order your sidebar widgets by dropping and dragging them up and down your sidebar. Just remember to press Save Changes in order to see the results on your website.

You can also put this code in the body of a blog post too, like my newsletter sign up box below! Any questions, or problems please let me know.