How to Get More Subscribers for Your Email List

How to Get More Subscribers for Your Email List

Reader Comments (122)

  1. Good information for those to focus on email subscriptions lists which can persist and be valuable even after you sell a site or blog. I myself don’t focus enough on my mailing subscription lists haven’t found out a way to monetize and use it more for site newsletters and updates at this point.

    I am hoping to offer more contests through my mailing list and prize giveaways however.

  2. Hi, what a good timing! I’m just coming out with a new blog and was looking into the best way to get email subscriptions. Then I noticed a new post in my Google Reader – this article. Boom.

    If I don’t get a lot of comments, should I hide them in general? At least in the beginning? Are there some other pointers I can use to raise social value in the beginning, when I actually don’t have that much to show?

    Thanks a lot!

  3. I’m happy you didn’t focus upon the mechanics of email marketing. Instead, you focused upon the human element.

    I like point 3 the best – focus on the objections. This advice is also sound in writing copy. The person may not want to buy your product or service. Anticipate the objections (i.e. via research) and answer them.

    Testimonials are also good. I’ve even see a famous marketer and copywriter use video testimonies, to prompt prospects to sign up for his marketing membership site. He must be doing something right, as he has a good number of members – at $38 a month.

    Maybe you covered this and I just missed it. But give something free (i.e. ebook, audio podcast, video, e-course, etc.), as an incentive to sign up.

    Good post and nice points covered.


  4. Email Subscriber is not the source of Traffic! it’s like the Free Newspaper reaching to peoples house & people waits for it.. When there’s nothing inside, why anyone will fill his or her house with some useless papers?

    Why to fill his email box space with some boring messages.. He’ll straightly gona unsubscribe it!

    According to me, Email Newsletter should be something for which people with their curious mind, waits for it… It shouldn’t be directly asking the readers for buying any product, it should be like that which compels to buy the product.

    • While I cannot pull a report out to back this up right now, I have seen significant proof over the years that people do indeed want to be told what to do. “Buy this product now” sends a direct message to the consumer, while something like “this is a great product”. People do not care if a product is great or not; if they are receiving an email, they want that email to have a direct message- and in this case, the message would be to buy a product.

      With that said however, you do make some very valid points regarding what is inside an email. It does need to have substance, meaning, worth and it can’t just say “buy this product”. People will quickly unsubscribe if they feel like they are not gaining something from the email; hence why the article does mention things like free e-books. You never want to immediately start blasting email sign ups with emails asking them to buy something. A website/blog needs to give the reader something to pull them in and show them that if they do pay money later down the road, that the quality of the product will be top notch.

  5. This is really useful – one must always keep in mind the principal points of successful blogging.

    Thanks for the reminders – I think that growing your email subscriber list is indeed the key element of long-term success.

    Read Aloud Dad

  6. Hi Blog Tyrant,

    Great post!

    One of the things I do to “Harness the Power of Groups” is to display the number of Facebook followers I have on my blog with a simple plugin. When people see I have 22,500 followers, it gives me additional credibility and increases the odds of them signing up. If any of you have not seen how this looks, you can check it out on my blog at

    Another benefit I have found in building a large following on Facebook is that it is rare for one of my posts to not be shared 200 times. I have been hesitant to show the number of subscribers, not knowing what’s a good number, but I will revisit this idea.

    Thanks! Todd

  7. BT. I was having this conversation the other day with a fellow online marketer.

    He was, (still is) a traffic, affiliate junkie. He gets the traffic, makes the sale and that’s it. The relationship between him and the buyer is over.

    He was saying he wished he had captured their email addresses, so he could up-sell and re-market to them.

    He is now building his list.

    List building is the future proof way to make money online. I know people in MLMs who have moved their entire downline to another MLM company, just on the power of their relationship with their list.

    Great insight, thanks.


    • Dwayne it is tough. Some guys don’t need sign ups and do so well from massive (sometimes paid) traffic. I often wonder, like you said, how much they would earn if they had captured some emails.

  8. I’m always afraid to ask my customers (or anyone else) to subscribe to a newsletter or email marketing list. It’s the same creepy feeling I get whenever I think I’m actually selling something. I prefer to just cross my fingers and hope that customers will come back to me all on their ownsome. This may be why I don’t make too much money 🙂
    So: 1. Harness the power of groups?
    2. Use a direct call to action?
    3. Face objections head-on?

    I’ll get right on it. Thanks.

    • It does seem like that might be related to your not making too much money. 🙂

      You really can do it without creeping people out at all, though! When you focus on giving a lot of value with your content, it’s easier to “sell” because you have that internal sense that what you’re offering is valuable.

      Then we’ll teach you to make an offer and put together a call to action and we’ll have you up & running, jax. 😉

      • I truly hope so. If you ever need a groupie in the UK, or a proofreader for that matter, then I’m your girl.
        Thanks much Sonia

        • @ Jax: “I truly hope so.” Hoping is so overrated. You crossed your fingers in your reply by soft selling your proofreading skills 😛 I have to be honest, in my opinion, your luck will always run out.

          Don’t wait for clients or Sonia or anyone to hope that your services are important, act with gumption and be confident that your skills are the best out there.

          I would rather uncross my fingers so that I can use them to dial telephone numbers or type a query letter.

          I don’t mean to be harsh but it kills me inside knowing you are limiting your potential – my opinion, take it or leave it.

          • Hi Riaz,
            You know that ‘creepy feeling’ I get when I’m selling something? It arrived in spades when I read your comment. Everyone hopes for something and right now my hope is that in following Sonia’s advice my business will grow a little. Hoping is something we all do and it doesn’t cancel out my plans or the work that I put in. My fingers aren’t crossed, I wouldn’t get much work done that way.

            I will never be the kind of person that tells everyone how great they think they are. Sonia is telling me to focus on content and encourage people to subscribe for the content. At no point will I start shouting that I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Soft-selling is fine by me, I can’t stand being on either end of a hard-sell. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a proofreader; it’s a supporting role and I fill it well. It’s not about me, it’s about making my clients’ writing the best it can be. Oh! Before I forget; there’s no limit to my potential 🙂

  9. Awesome post. I think I’ve never seen so well written information about capturing subscribers.
    I’m going to implement few strategies from this article right now.
    Keep up this quality posts.

    Vaclav Gregor

  10. Thanks for an interesting article on a topic that has been occupying my mind for a little while now. I was told in my early days of blogging that e mail subscribers were vital for the success of the blog but I was never really sure what to do about it. I have recently added an invitation to subscribe by e mail and added an RSS feed button in a more prominent position both of which are clearly prerequisites to increasing numbers and have seen an immediate, if unspectacular increase in subscribers, I seem to be going in the right direction then but I know I need to do more.

    Your advice is therefore very timely for me and will be acted upon with enthusiasm! One thing I would welcome advice from more experienced people on is whether I would be better using a WordPress plug in for this, I am sure there are many more attractive options out there but which one to choose, any suggestions?



    • Hey Tony.

      I went to your site and couldn’t find the email subscribe area!

      I always advise people to put it in the top right hand corner – right in the action.

      • Thanks for the feedback. That tells me a lot that you didn’t see it!! There is a link below ‘Share this Blog’ in the sidebar but if you couldn’t find it when you were actually looking for it then it’s hardly catching the eye.

        Will look to find something more eye catching than the Feedburner standard template that I have at the moment, any suggestions?


        • Hi Tony.

          I couldn’t find it on the homepage.

          You can actually do some really cool styling with the default Feedburner thing. Check out my blog and look at the form under the posts. That is all Feedburner.


          • Wanted to thank you for prompting me to make changes, have added a prominent subscription options area to sidebar and changed the share options so hopefully works much better now.

            All I have to do now is follow the rest of your great advice.



  11. Thanks for the insight. Sometimes there is a lot of information that promotes focus on traffic, then others, focus on building your list. It makes sense that if you build up your list, naturally, the site will gain the traffic.

    Thanks again and Great Article: How I Sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 Months

    Crystal Watts

  12. Wow! Truly one of the best articles I have read on CopyBlogger. There are a lot of great information here that you could have sold as a product, and other people would stuff with fluffs as products with just these short, sweet, and simple pointers. Thank you for sharing.

  13. @Jax I hear what your saying and I totally agree with Sonia. I would also encourage you to put more self-value in what you do. Proofreading is not easy – I can never seem to proofread my work perfectly. Sharing tips on how to become a better proofreader and common errors to look for is incredibly valuable information. You have got to see it that way. Then, when someone gives you permission to send it to them, you can feel REALLY good know you’re doing THEM a favor.

    Great tips Blog Tyrant. I’d also like to add that including a tell a friend link in your current e-mails can also help grow your subscriber base. But don’t just slap it on the bottom of your message. Ask your subscriber to share it just like you would a call to action, even tell them who to share it with. I’ve found that to work well for attracting new readers who have a genuine interest.

  14. Great information, as usual. Those of us who are new to building a business are overwhelmed when dropped into this whole new world! Good information shared from reliable sources is more valuable than gold. Great post and well appreciated.

  15. Great article! Facing objections head-on can most often be the most important tip. In some situations it’s important to determine whether it’s more beneficial to gain new subscribers or focus on retaining the ones you have. When it comes to the latter, frequency, trust, and keeping your word (everything you mention in #3) are key.

    I’d also add “value” as one of the most important things you can provide recipients with in order for them to remain engaged subscribers. People want to know what’s in it for them, so providing clear value with your communications will take your email marketing program a long way.

    I actually co-authored an eBook, “50 Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List” earlier this year with DJ Waldow & Christopher Penn. Not all 50 tips deal with getting into your audience’s mind, but are still helpful tips to catch potential recipients’ attention, then grow a relationship with them.

    Amy Garland
    Marketing Manager, Blue Sky Factory

    • Amy you are right about objections. When I was doing more face to face sales I found that 99% of the job is just overcoming objections. Politicians spend their whole lives doing it.

  16. I think the blog tyrant is right. Most webmasters are obsessing about the wrong thing – traffic! When they should really be obsessing about email signups. And I include myself in this group too. It’s time to change our mindset.


  17. Thank you very much for your tips here. I have yet to build my email list and the things that you shared here are very helpful. One thing that hinders me is my available time in focusing on this aspect for my blog. How much time did you give in order to build up your email list? Thanks.

  18. “Oh shit!? response? 🙂 That’s funny. But it is right on. Things not to do a certain thing just start jumping on you. I guess that most people are not very keen on making decisions…

    • Michael there is an amazing speech by Jonah where he talks about this military commander on a Navy ship who had to make a split second decision about whether to shoot down these two little “blips” that had appear on his sonar. The blips were either friendly planes or scud missiles. He had only about 10 seconds to make a decision and in the end he order to shoot them down having no idea whether they were friendly planes or missiles.

      Anyway, turns out he saved the entire ship, they were missiles. One scientist studied this guy because he thought there must be more to it than just instinct. What he found was that, after watching hundreds of other sonar tapes, that these blips were slightly lower than the blips that planes make. He found that the commanders dopamine cells had, based on all the other experiences, fired the “OH SHIT” response.

  19. I’m sure I could do a better job of displaying my newsletter sign-up on my home-page. Currently, it’s only accessible through the navigation bar on my site.

    I have however experimented with a free ebook giveaway. When I promoted that, it converted fairly well.

    Anyway, great write-up and advice to follow!!

  20. LOVE the advice on this blog. As I’m going through a website redesign, I’m paying careful attention. Copyblogger lives what it preaches; this is like Blogger University. By providing SO MUCH relevant content, you have created an incredibly loyal following of bloggers who look to you as a resource.

    An inspiration, not only for what you teach, but how well you hold to those principles yourselves.

  21. G’Day BT,
    I really enjoyed your post, particularly the stuff on groups and objections. I’m about to revamp my blog. Your ideas are most helpful.

    I run a BTB blog and don’t get many comments. But I’ve noticed that those I receive are always positive. And i challenge conventional practices in my field. Your suggestions will enhance what I’m already doing.


  22. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    I think I must write articles that people will not only be willing to wait, but articles that people are willing to pay for.

    Jef Menguin

  23. Another thing I’m finding is important is to do guest posts and comments on blogs that have the right audience to match with your blog. I’ve done all of what you say except the social proof, which I just don’t have yet (the blog is about 6 weeks old. I did a guest post and got lots of visitors but less than one percent signed up. Wrong blog match? Hmm.

  24. Great tips. This is something ive been trying to work on. Currently have 0 subscribers but still keeping at it. I think the direct call to action is just the best idea I’ve heard in a while.

  25. Good information and nice post. I learned a lot of new things and will surely try these on my blog like adding a testimonial below subscription form.
    You also made me realize that I am always using Soft Call To Actions. Now, going to use hard ones too.

  26. Another unusual post one that only the Blog Tyrant himself can write!
    Thanks for the tips.

    My personal Takeaways;

    – Im a huge fan of soft calls to action, but now i have learnt something new.
    – I also learnt that getting their emails is a sale, didn’t realize this until now.
    – Lastly, I’m going to remove what I feel has been the barrier to getting email subscribers on my blog – “asking for their phone numbers in the sign up form!”

  27. Well, lots of food for thought here.. for one I have always believed in being polite even in emails and now I see that doesn’t always work. The same with being direct… thanks.. I have picked up a few important tidbits.. Thanks!

  28. This is a killer post Johnny. A lot of marketers, especially bloggers, don’t realize how important it is to build their list.

    It is literally the life blood of their business. If they are mainly focused on putting a bunch of ads up on their site and just monetizing the traffic, they will be selling themselves short because they only may capture a onetime customer instead of a lifetime customer.

  29. Great tips on building your e-mail marketing subscribers. These days it is quite underestimated as more and more people focus on accumulating RSS feeds subscribers and social media fans and followers. E-mail marketing is still one of the greatest tools to reach out to people who are really interested in what you have to say. Of course, for this, initially you have to convince them into subscribing to your updates and these pointers can really help.

  30. So far, all the good advice I see online about how to be successful with blogs, e-mails, and social networking is an echo of all the terrific sales and customer service advice I’ve learned in my 30+ years in business – and insurance.

    The basic principles, caring about your “customers,” and doing what you need to do on a regular basis are the stuff of success.

    Great article!

  31. Leveraging the power of groups is probably one of the most effective means of automatically expanding your audience with a minimal amount of effort; similar to successful MLM structures.

  32. I particularly like the idea of using testimonials for your email optin! What a great idea. It’s so common to use them for products, services and “bigger” stuff, but it’s rare to see someone using them for a simple email subscribe. LOVE this idea! Thanks! 🙂

  33. Hi Tyrant,
    Very instructive post. I never really even thought about getting testimonials from other subscribers to encourage sign ups for my list. I’ll have to look into this. Also, I liked your contrasting examples for your call to action.

  34. Another tip is to limit the fields on your sign up form.
    Too many fields can be a complete deal breaker and appears like they are for greedy marketing purposes.
    Keep it simple and kind at the sign up stage.

  35. @DaveShaw- YES!

    I really do not like when I fill out an opt-in form with a million fields; esp if they ask my home address and phone number – um- NO!

    Name & email info is enough in the beginning…..

    You have subscribers to your blog, and then subscribers for your newsletter…

    I found that once I started my “Blogging Tips” newsletter, I had subscribers to my blog also subscribe to the newsletter….

    Likewise, those who stumble upon my newsletter go to my blog and subscribe to that.

    I have a “subscribe to my weekly blogging tips” form on both my website and my blog.

    I’m getting a slow but steady stream of new subscribers every week …..

  36. Good stuff, I think we all focus a lot on benefits, but objection handling is usually put on the back burner and its a good way to increase conversions!



  37. Thanks for this information. This gives me a good basis to review my email campaigns and make sure that I have providing what my subscribers anticipated receiving and more. I want to exceed their expectations and this post helps me to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I work with my broadcasts.


  38. Hi, thanks a lot for a great blog. E-mail marketing is something I am not really comfortable with yet. What is your suggestion on how often to mail to your list?

  39. Hi Blog Tyrant,

    This is a really good post! The one sentence that really appealed to me is:
    I don’t care about traffic unless I am certain I can convert it.

    More often than not, most of us get waylaid by the fact that we just want more people to come and visit our site. But more than visiting our site, we want them to explore the site further and perhaps eventually sign up.

    This is really a post that calls all of us to action!

  40. Those things you mentioned above are true and I think Im guilty on not doing things correctly as far as list building is concern. Before I thought that its too late to build a genuine list. Why? Because people are no longer interested in sharing their email addresses. If they ever do they will just create a spare one and never really interact that much. I initially thought that the list building game is over since no one is really gonna be interested in it.

    You just gave me optimism man!

  41. Very fantastically put! I think this is something that many of us struggle with, but this article has easily broken it down into 3 relatively simple steps. The key for most of us is translating this into our specific situation… so I had better get to work on mine!


    • I agree with you. By explaining how to get people on your list can be very confusing but this article breaks it down like it should be. It took me a long time to figure out what to do with my list for my Boston IT Consulting firm but once I asked for some help and found some tips and tricks, my list became effective and productive. I wish I saw this article before I started but I’m glad this is here to help people. Good luck with building your list!

  42. What’s the best email list for your business? Well a permission-based one. That means everyone on it said it’s okay for you to contact them. It’s better than an email list you buy because you already know the people on your email list want to hear from you and are interested in you. It doesn’t cost you anything to build one.

  43. I loved your explanation of call to action part. I am one of those who always wants to be polite and please everyone, so I always ask. Reading your post made me realize how just a few different words can change the game. Thanks.

  44. Great insight, thanks for sharing really good advice that people can actually takeaway with them. I particularly agree with ‘harnessing the power of groups’ and using testimonials, exclusivity, social media etc to give the impression that you are bigger than you really are (for now at least).

  45. I love this post. I’ve been building my website email data base list for the past year with my new 90+blog posts on book writing,self-publishing and social media marketing. It’s amazing, my traffic went up 50% and my subscribers went up about double too. From 2500 to 5000 approximately. BEing active by marketing with content is the best way to get subscribers and I also give 3-5 benefits to subscribing in my link to join.

  46. Very helpful information. Especially for the last part “… to get into their head”, it will be great if the email can even get into their heart!

  47. Hey Brian I just wanted to say thank you! I implemented two points above on a clients blog and went from gaining 5 email subscribers a month to 1-2 a day! 1) I added the number of sub’s (the group) 2) I inserted the word “now” after my call to action. It was that easy, thank you soooo much again.

    Here is the live example if you want to check it out.

    Thanks again!

  48. Expert bloggers deserve a smile break so for all the enjoyment I have had here this is just a little off topicker to give you a smile 🙂
    Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life. 🙂

  49. That’s the masterpiece! simple but how did I miss all these things? I think I missed the social proof and didn’t mention enough what they will get when they subscribe.

    I will do my homework now!

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