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What we learned helping you collect over 100,000 emails

Noah Kagan
Noah Kagan

March 13, 2015

7 key tips to optimize your email growth

Our goal this year is to help you grow your business.

With SumoMe, we're giving away all the tools we've used ourselves to grow AppSumo.

One of the most popular tools y'all have loved is List Builder, a free and super easy way to collect the email addresses of anyone visiting your site.

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

List Builder in action on my personal blog.

If you haven't installed it on your site yet, do it now in only 47 seconds. WordPress users download here.

In the past 30 days, people with List Builder have collected over 110,313 emails.

FYI: All email addresses are fully owned by their respective site owners.

We looked for trends in the different email pop-ups and wanted to share 7 tips to get the most emails with List Builder:

1. What is the average conversion rate for email pop-ups?

We saw that the average conversion rate for email pop-ups is 1.66%. This means that 1.66% of people that visit a site give their email.

Explanation: This is super useful for anyone to compare how they are doing vs. an average of thousands of websites. If you are below it, the following tips will help you bump that number up :-)

Psychology: Imagine meeting a homeless person on the street. How likely are you to give them money? Compare that to someone you have a relationship with like your brother or parent. What’s the difference? Trust.

Most visitors don't personally know the owners of a site so only about 2% of visitors give their email addresses. Consider other ways for people to engage with you (social media, phone) besides just email to establish that trust.

2. How often should you be showing your email pop-up?

Say someone visits your site and an email pop-up shows.

Say they visit your site a day later. Should the pop-up show again?

What about a week later?

Here's what we saw:

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Explanation: Surprisingly it’s not the worst thing to keep asking people for emails when they visit your site. Every minute and month were very close so we encourage you to go with your personal preference.

This doesn’t mean your visitors should literally be seeing a popup every minute while browsing. This is to tell you when to ask for their email after they revisit your site.

Psychology: Overall, pop-ups have a bad rap. As a site owner, why would I want to ask people for an email?

If you have good content, people want to hear from you. Sometimes when I’m on a site that I want to subscribe to and they don’t have an email pop-up, I don’t even know where to look!

Don’t worry too much if it’s once a month or once every minute, just make sure you are at least asking.

3. How soon should you show your email pop-up?

The easiest way is to use the “Smart” Pop-Up mode setting on List Builder. It calculates when your reader is done reading a blog post or browsing your site. Then it asks them for their email.

But if you want to be old-school and set it manually, here's how soon a pop-up is shown vs. how many emails it collected:

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Explanation: Asking people 5-seconds after visiting your site to subscribe to your newsletter gets WAY more emails than any other time period.

Psychology: Strike when the iron is hot (but not burning). Give your visitors at least time to look at the site (more than 3 seconds) but ask for their email before your visitor gets distracted with other things on your site. The next tips will teach you what you should have on your pop-up.

4. What headline should you use?

We learned a couple of different things by looking at the headlines of different pop-ups:

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

There were 3 types of effective headlines that we saw.

a) Social Proof: Show how many people have already subscribed.

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Psychology: People believing that others are finding value in your content makes them think the content is validated and ultimately valuable.

b) Incentives: Give them a bonus for joining your mailing list.

Example: Get my 6 tips ebook to a better outdoor photograph.

Psychology: No one in their right mind really wants to be getting more emails. But if the email gives something special, people are way more likely to want to give you an email address and receive your offers.

Make sure to be specific and make clear the value of the incentive you are offering.

c) Discount: If you own a physical or digital store, give them a coupon for joining your newsletter.

Example: Give your email address for 10% off!

Psychology: Who doesn’t love a discount? By offering a discount to a visitor, you're immediately giving them a benefit to sharing their email with you.

5. Which color button should you use to ask for an email address?

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Explanation: After we removed the data for our default blue color , email pop-ups that used a red colored button got more emails.

Psychology: What’s the first thing you think of when you visualize the color red? Besides blood from watching too much Game of Thrones ... I think of a stop sign. Red is a color most people subconsciously associate with having to stop, think and then take action.

I’m not saying it’s a must for all sites to have such a contrasting color but it is encouraged. A contrasting color is a pattern interrupt to the color spectrum your visitor sees on the rest of the site.

6. What should your email collection button say?

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Explanation: Many people lazily used the word “submit” which is the opposite of what you should do. Top winners were Send me Free Tips or Subscribe Now.

Psychology: Instead of a neutral word, use reinforcing language about the reason the person is signing up. If you are giving them a bonus, change your button to make the visitor “Get the Bonus.”

7. What should your popup text say?

List Builder is a free tool to grow your email list

Explanation: The highest email collecting sites made some unique benefit for people receiving their newsletter.

Psychology: Think about whose emails you always open and read? Now compare that to the ones you unsubscribe from or immediately delete when you receive.

Incentives work. The thing to ensure is that you deliver on the incentive you are promising. Make it compelling so a person wants to give you their email address and then fully delivering on that promise.

Now that you know the key tips and tricks for collecting emails, go update your own email popup.

If you aren’t collecting emails yet, click here to grab List Builder. It is 100% free and takes less than a minute to go live.

List Builder

  • Start and grow your mailing list.
  • Set how often guests will see your popup.
  • Easily download your subscriber list as a CSV.
  • Use your own custom email form if you're already using a newsletter service such as Aweber or MailChimp.

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