Grow your Email List Thru Opt-ins

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posted on: September 5, 2017

Once you’ve determined your plan for your newsletter and found a provider you want to use (I recommend Mailchimp), then it’s time to integrate sign-up opportunities (opt-ins) to your website and blog. There are so many different ways you can incorporate opt-ins, but the key thing to remember is that you want to select opportunities that are best for your brand. Don’t include something on each page just because, do it with purpose.

Offering a Freebie At Sign Up

Providing subscribers a piece of content only available when signing up is a great way to grow your email list. If you are interested in offering a freebie, you want to make sure you do the following:

  • An autoresponder message is set up with a link where the subscriber can download the freebie (visible, but that’s how you do it).
  • The freebie aligns with the message and content of your blog + newsletter
  • Freebie provides content that enriches the subscriber – make it valuable!

The Honest Truth About Pop-Ups

As annoying they might be (I agree), they can be pretty successful in getting users to sign-up for your mailing list. For the longest time, I didn’t include a pop-up because I didn’t want to be annoying. Once I did a trial of Wisepops, I knew I had to commit to it! I’ve listed several free and premium options, but my favorite is WisePops. I’ve changed my settings to show after a delay, and it only shows again after five days. Also, if the user sign-ups or clicks out after four times, then the pop-up won’t appear. I do not want to harass regularly readers with a pop-up, but I do want to sign-up readers to the newsletter.

If you are using pop-ups, you might want to change-up your marketing message every month or two. You can offer a freebie at sign up (great incentive).

Above the Fold Opt-ins

When designing blogs and websites, my preference is either to do an above-the-fold opt-in or a pop-up. Not both. Incorporating both seems a too overwhelming for the user. You want the user to feel that subscribing will benefit them (not you). You can add an above-the-fold opt-in above or below your header or in your sidebar (more on this below).

Sidebar & Footer Subscriptions

If you have a sidebar, definitely include an opportunity for readers to subscribe. However, if you do not, then include the above-the-fold option and an option at the footer.

Embedding Sign-up Forms in Posts

It is extremely easy to embed a sign-up form into the blog post (like the one at the bottom of this post). With a core knowledge of HTML/CSS, you can add this code to each of your posts. If you want readers to subscribe to the post, they can do so right there and then. The form then opens in a separate window. I prefer this method because it keeps readers on the page. In the Blog Newsletter Guide, I show you how to create your embedding code for posts!

Links to General Sign-Up Forms

Creating sign up opportunities through links is underutilized. As a designer, I prefer to include links to the subscription form with the social media icons, in the site footer, and in the post-footer. They are small and not as direct as larger sign-up forms, but they are there for readers to subscribe.

Comment Subscription Confirmation

It is pretty easy to add a checkbox to your blog comment form for users to subscribe to your blog via your Mailchimp Newsletter. You can do this via a plugin or manually (I prefer manual).


There are several great posts on how to incorporate LeadPages into your website to grow your email list, and I’d recommend you check them out if you find that business model and practice applies to your model. I’ve chosen not to use LeadPages because I want to keep readers on my site throughout the entire sign-up process. I also have the Blog Shop, which tracks downloads and emails of people who download the free resources. I also don’t generate freebies on a weekly basis, so that has also influenced my decision not to use LeadPages.

Editor's Note

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