17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today

list building imageImagine if you could make one simple tweak to your website, and see an instant boost in email subscribers.

Or even better:

What if there were 17 of these tweaks…

…and each of them could generate more leads for your business?

You’d probably be pumped to read about them.

Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you in this post:

17 insanely practical list building strategies that you can use to build your email list TODAY.

1. Use Content Upgrade Popups


Love ‘em or hate ‘em, popups work.

For example, a few months ago I added the free SumoMe popup to Backlinko.

Here’s what the popup looks like:


That popup form may look simple, but it converts at an impressive 3.42%.

And it took my subscriber numbers from 35/day to 75/day.

In fact, that simple-looking popup has added over 3600 new subscribers to my email list over the last 3-months.


Although I’m happy with those results, I’m excited to tell you that I’ve discovered a way to make popups even more powerful.


By adding The Content Upgrade to the mix.

Never heard of the The Content Upgrade? No worries.

This post will show you how I used The Content Upgrade to increase conversions by 785%.

How I increased conversions

As you saw in that post, page-specific offers convert WAY better than something generic (like “free updates”).

For example:

In my Google Ranking Factors post, I give away a checklist that makes the information from that post much more actionable:

Content Upgrade Offer

And then it hit me:

Why would I offer someone something VERY specific with The Content Upgrade…

…and then turn around and make a generic offer in my popup?

That doesn’t make any sense.

So I decided to create a page-specific popup using Optin Monster that pitched my Google Ranking Factors checklist.

Ranking Factors Popup

The result?

A 65% increase in conversions vs. the generic offer.

Imagine how many A/B tests you’d have to run to increase conversions by 65% (hint: a lot).

Why would waste time testing button colors when you can do something like this that’s almost guaranteed to generate results right away?

Speaking of a strategy that gets results right away…

2. Hack Qualaroo To Build Your List Fast

Here’s one of the most creative list building strategies I’ve ever seen:

You may already be familiar with Qualaroo, a survey tool that asks live questions to visitors on your website.

Qualaroo Example

While Qualaroo is great at surveying your site’s visitors, you may not know that you can ALSO hack this tool to build your list.

In fact, The University of Alberta recently used this same hack to boost subscribers by more than 500%.

Here’s how they did it…and how you can do the same thing on your site.

The University was looking to increase conversions on their email updates page, which you can see here:


Instead of using Qualaroo to poll their visitors, they had the tool encourage people to sign up to their email newsletter:

Alberta Qualaroo

In fact, they set it up so you can literally subscribe directly through the Qualaroo form!

Qualaroo Email

Did it work?

In a word: YES!

This Qualaroo form pushed their signups from a sad 1-2/day…
to a respectable 12-15/day without making any other changes to that page.

3. Optimize This Often-Ignored Page and Increase Your List By Up To 25%

I’ve got good news and bad news…

First, the bad news:

If people double opt-in to join your list, up to 25% of your subscribers may be falling through the cracks.

Aweber Double OptIn

Leaving this button “on” may lower subscribers by 25%.


Sometimes your “Confirm your subscription” email gets caught in their spam filter.

Sometimes they change their mind.

Sometimes the dog poops on the rug and they forget to confirm.

Now for some good news:

You can significantly boost your subscriber numbers by getting more of your opt-ins to actually confirm their email.

How can you do that?

Optimize your confirmation page.

I’m happy to say that my confirmation page loses VERY few people. Here’s what it looks like:

Almost Done Page

Let’s break down the 3 reasons this page works better than most confirmation pages.

First, I re-iterate the benefits of subscribing.

I quickly remind you why it’s worth going through the trouble of confirming your email.

The second line on the page is:

Benefit Confirmation

Most people say something like, “in order to subscribe to our newsletter, you need to confirm your email”.

What’s more likely to motivate you to double opt-in?

Free updates, strategies and tips…or subscribing to a newsletter? Thought so.

Second, I include a strong call to action that asks them to confirm right away.

Time Specific CTA

This is HUGE. If someone doesn’t confirm right away they’re MUCH less likely to ever do it.

In fact, Ramit Sethi actually has a countdown timer on his confirmation page. Awesome.

Ramit Confirmation Page

Third, I visually walk you through the exact steps you need to take in order to confirm your email.

confirmation page

Even if you’ve already signed up to 100 lists, the visual cues reinforces what you’re supposed to do.

(It also shows that you’re a helpful person)

4. Make Users Feel Like Idiots for Not Opting In

Which sounds better to you?

Making millions from the stock market…

…or being lazy and eating Cheetos on your couch?

I know, it’s a silly question.

I only ask because those are the two options Timothy Sykes offers on his his squeeze page’s exit-intent popup.Timothy SykesYou may have seen other “Powered By Bounce Exchange” popups around the web.

Although each Bounce Exchange popup has a unique design, they have one thing in common:

They make you feel like an idiot for not opting in.

For example, here’s a Bounce Exchange popup from MensHealth.com (note the “No thanks, I’m not looking to lose weight” option):

Bounce Exchange Example

You might be asking yourself:

“Why would they give someone a stupid option like that?”

The simple answer to that question: scientific research shows that two options convert MUCH better than one option.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Professor Daniel Mochon of Tulane University uncovered a phenomenon known as “Single Option Aversion“:

Single Option Aversion

Here’s what went down:

Mochon asked 3 groups of research subjects to imagine that they were in the market for a new DVD player.

Mochon gave one group of people information about JUST a Sony DVD player. Here’s what that information looked like:

Single Option Example

He gave a second group information only about a Philips DVD player (that looked similar to the above example).

And a third group received information on both the Sony AND Philips DVD player:

Both Options

What happened?

When presented with JUST the Sony or Philips DVD player information, approximately 10% of subjects said they’d be ready to buy right away.

Here’s the interesting part:

33% of subjects presented with both Philip and Sony DVD player options said that were ready to make a decision right then and there.

That’s 3x more than people that only saw one option.

conversion increase

Bottom line:

Including a second option (even a silly one) will convert more people into email subscribers.

5. Use This Simple Trick to Solve The “Social Proof Paradox”

There’s one piece of conversion advice that drives me nuts.

“If you want more people to subscribe to your email list, use social proof. Show people how many subscribers you already have.”

That sounds great in theory…

But what if you only have 354 people on your email list? How is that going to boost social proof?

It’s what I call the “Social Proof Paradox”.

You need social proof to get subscribers. But you need subscribers to get social proof.

It’s a classic chicken or the egg problem.

So what’s the solution?


Here’s an example from my newsletter sign up page:

Twitter Testimonials

And here’s another example from Nevblog.com:

Newsletter Testimonial

See that?

You don’t need a 30,000-strong email list to demonstrate social proof. A single testimonial is enough.

(In fact, I’ve found that a single glowing testimonial is often more powerful than “I already have 9,541 subscribers”)

6. Use BuiltWith.com To Steal Your Competitor’s Best Conversion Tools

What’s the fastest way to find the best conversion tools for YOUR business?

That’s easy:

Use the same tools that your competitors use everyday.

But how?

Well you could look at a competitor site’s source code and try to piece things together…

Source Code

(Good luck with that)

Or you can use this little-known tool called Built With that shows you the EXACT tools your competition uses to build their email list.

How does it work?

First, enter the homepage URL of one of your competitors into the tool:

BuiltWith Homepage

The tool will show you competitive information, like links and traffic sources:

BuiltWith Results

But you want to focus on the “Analytics and Tracking” section:

Analytics and Tracking

That box will show you every tool that your competitor’s site uses…including tools that they use for split testing and list building.

Pretty awesome, right?

7. Use The LPF Technique to Turn More Blog Traffic Into Subscribers

Quick question:

What’s the #1 page you want someone to visit to when they come to your blog?

If your answer is, “one of my best blog posts”, you’re missing out on HUNDREDS of potential subscribers.

So…what’s the right answer?

You want your visitors to go to pages designed to collect emails. In other words, landing pages.

As you may have read in my recent post, How to Create a Page That Converts at 21.7% (Step-By-Step Case Study), I recently created a Social Squeeze Page on my blog that converts at (you guessed it) 21.7%.

Here’s what the page looks like:

Social Squeeze Page

Problem is:

How do you get your site’s visitors to land on your best-converting landing pages?

It’s actually pretty simple: strategically funnel your blog’s traffic using the Landing Page Funnel (LPF) Technique.

The 2-step LPF technique is very simple.

  1. First, you identify landing pages that convert well on your site.
  2. Second, you design your site to funnel people to those high-converting pages.

Here’s an example of how I use the LPF technique at Backlinko:

As I mentioned, my Social Squeeze Page is the best-converting page on Backlinko. So that’s one high-converting page.

But I also have a newsletter sign up page that converts at 10%.

Newsletter Page

So for me, my Social Squeeze Page and my Newsletter page are my top 2 best-performing pages.

Step #1=done.

Next, I added links around my site that point to those two pages.

Like in my site’s top navigation:

Navigation Bar

And as a “Helpful Resource” in the sidebar:

Sidebar Banner

And a text-based link under the “Popular Articles” section of my sidebar:

Sidebar Links

Michael Hyatt uses the LPF Technique in his blog…

Michael deftly includes a “Learn more…” link inside of his blog’s sidebar optin form.

Michael Hyatt Sidebar Optin

That way, if someone isn’t sure about signing up, they can click on the “Learn more…” link to go to a page with more information.

It just so happens that the “Learn more…” link takes people to an attractive squeeze page that no doubt converts extremely well:

Michael Hyatt Newsletter page

Very smart.

8. Turn Your LinkedIn Group Into a List Building Fire Hose

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a brilliant list building strategy using the untapped power of LinkedIn.

Here’s what happened…

There’s this group on LinkedIn called the Sports Industry Network:

LinkedIn Group

Like most LinkedIn groups, the Sports Industry Network sends you a “Welcome to the Group” email after you join.

Here’s the email that they sent to me:

LinkedIn Group Welcome

As you can see, the group asks you to “confirm your membership” to access to exclusive content.

And where does that link in the email lead to?

You guessed it:

A well-designed landing page.

Landing Page


If you run a LinkedIn group, you can easily do the same thing by going to Manage–>Temples–>Welcome Message:

LinkedIn Group Message

And add a link to your squeeze page in the welcome message that goes out to new members.

9. Use These 8 Words to Dramatically Increase The Value Of Your Giveaway

I’m pretty sure you’re with me on this one:

“Featured Download” sounds MUCH more appealing than “Sign up for our newsletter”.

That’s probably why the HubSpot blog uses that exact pitch on their site (and has over 225,ooo subscribers to show for it).

If you read the the HubSpot blog, you may have noticed a banner that slides in from the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

Here’s an example:

Featured Download

And when you click the “Download Now” button, you’re taken to a landing page:

HubSpot Squeeze Page

What makes this approach so effective?

The simple answer: traditional pitches like, “Sign up to my list and get a free ebook” don’t get the job done today.

But when you describe your opt-in bribe (like a free ebook) with value terms, it adds rocket fuel to your offer’s perceived value.

Direct mail marketers have used these words for decades to increase the perceived value of their offers…

…and you can do the same.

Here are value terms you can use to make your giveaway more enticing:

  • “Featured”
  • “Exclusive”
  • “Advanced”
  • “Download”
  • “Secrets”
  • “Access”
  • “Special Offer”
  • “Limited Time”

In fact, I use several value terms on my newsletter squeeze page:

Value Buzzwords

Even though I don’t give anything tangible away on that page, these value terms bump up the perceived value of my newsletter.

A word of warning: you don’t want to use more than 3 of these in a single offer.

“Exclusive Access to a Featured, Limited Time Download” is a little overboard :-)

10. Giveaway a Bonus For YouTube Videos

When it comes to marketing on YouTube, there’s one thing that almost everyone can agree on:

YouTube click through rates are HORRIBLE.

In fact, some estimates put the average YouTube CTR at 0.72%.

Knowing that, how can you get your YouTube viewers to click over to your site and sign up for your email list?

The same thing you’d do on your blog: give something away!

Brandon from Sold With Video is one of the few people on YouTube applying the tried-and-true giveaway formula to YouTube.

For example, at the end of his video about getting more YouTube views, he pitches a free mini-course to help people with YouTube SEO.

YT Giveaway

And when you click on the yellow “Get Access Now” button you see above, you’re swept away to a squeeze page.

Squeeze Page

How can you do the same thing?

First, think of a giveaway that viewers of that video might be interested in.

For example, if you had a video about building bigger biceps, you could offer a free Excel spreadsheet that helps people track their workout.

Next, add a button to your video that stands out.

The big yellow button above works well, but I prefer to use something a tad more subtle:

Backlinko YouTube Video

Finally, add an annotation link that points to your squeeze page:

YouTube Annotation

And you’re set.

11. Use “Readers” or “Visitors” to Generate Social Proof

I already told you about the “Social Proof Paradox” and the dead-simple technique you can use to solve it.

Skipped that one? Go back and check it out. It’s #6 on this list.

What I haven’t told you is that there’s another easy way to make your blog look like a thriving community…

…even if you only have 134 email subscribers.


Feature your blog’s monthly visitors.

If you’re like most people, your total monthly visitor count is larger than your Facebook fans, email subscribers or any other traditional form of social proof.

That’s why you want to feature THAT number on your blog.

Here’s an example from Backlinko:

Monthly Readers

Even though Backlinko gets more than 60,000 monthly unique visitors, I first used this strategy when the site was averaging only 8,000 monthly visitors.

And it still worked.

The only time I wouldn’t use this technique is if you’re getting less than 5,000 monthly visitors.

In that case, you want to focus on reader and subscriber testimonials until your traffic climbs to 5000+ monthly uniques.

12. Pitch Your Email Newsletter to Twitter Followers

You may think that most of your Twitter followers are also on your email list…

…but you’d be wrong.

And if you don’t pitch your email list to your Twitter followers, you’re missing out on some of the easiest subscribers you’ll ever get.

After all, your Twitter followers are people that already like you. That makes your email list an easy sell.

For example:

Two weeks ago I tweeted this out:

Backlinko Newsletter Tweet

And that tweet very quickly added a handful of subscribers that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Because it’s so easy and effective, I plan on pitching my email list on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ on a regular basis from now on.

13. Surprise New Subscribers With a Free Bonus

Have you ever heard this classic business quote?

“It’s 5x cheaper to keep a customer than to gain a brand new one.”

Well it’s the same story with your email list:

It’s MUCH easier to prevent someone from clicking “unsubscribe” than it is to get a new person to fork over their email address.

But how?

That’s easy: give your subscribers an unannounced bonus for signing up.

For example, I give new subscribers a free unannounced ebook, “How to Get 25,000 Visitors Per Month” immediately after they confirm their email:

Ebook Giveaway

Make no mistake:

This ebook is 25 pages of pure awesomeness.

Ebook Excerpt

The content in that ebook is as good — if not better — than anything I’ve published on the blog.

And I’ve received emails from (literally) hundreds of subscribers telling me that they’ve learned a lot from it:

ebook testimonial 1

ebook testimonial

Ebook Testimonial 3

Not only do these emails give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but they let me know that my ebook is turning casual fans into lifetime subscribers.

(Want to read “How to Get 25,000 Visitors Per Month”? Download the ebook here)

You can easily set this up yourself:

Just create a high-quality report, ebook or checklist.

Then, give your resource to subscribers right after they sign up.

And — KAPOW! — you’ll make an awesome first impression with everyone that signs up for your list.

14. Use a Blog Post Teaser

You probably already know that “fear of loss” is a HUGE motivator.

When you’re afraid of missing out on something it lights a fire under your butt that gets you to ACT.

The question is:

How can you leverage fear of loss to build your list?

After all, if someone doesn’t want to sign up today they can always come back and sign up tomorrow.

Well I’d like to tell you about something I tried last week that was a little bit weird…

About 2-months ago I published the first post in a new training series called “How to Increase Conversions (Without A/B Testing)”.

The post is called: “How to Create a Page That Converts at 21.7% (Step-By-Step Case Study)“:

Social Squeeze Page

Because I didn’t have a Content Upgrade ready for that post, I decided to let people know that this was the first post in a new series.

I had an announcement at the beginning…

Blog Post Series Box

…and end of the post:

Blog post Series 2

Those are LeadPages links. When someone clicks on them, an opt-in box appears that highlights the potential loss of not subscribing:

leadpages leadbox

So how has this strategy performed?

Well the two links from that one post very quickly added 37 new subscribers to my list.

Not as amazing as The Content Upgrade, but I’ll take 37 extra subscribers any day of the week.

And if you scale this to some of your most popular blog posts, you’re talking dozens of extra subscribers every month.

Not bad at all for a few minutes of work.

15. Use Weird Call to Actions on Buttons

How many times has this happened to you:

You’re about to enter your email address too get your hands on free report…

…and at the very last second, a voice in your head screams out “Don’t do it!”.

So you click away, never to return.

You’re probably wondering:

“How can I prevent that from happening to my potential subscribers?”

Here’s how:

You may have noticed that my SumoMe popup’s button says “Let’s do this!”

Submit Button

And my homepage form button says “I’m in!”

Homepage Button

Why don’t I use traditional button copy, like “join” or “submit”?

Two reasons:

1) Words like “submit”, “register” and “join”make you feel like you’re committing to something serious.

Not good.

2) Boring terms make your button blend in with the 256,000 other buttons online that use the same 5 words.

On the other hand, whimsical phrases like “Sounds good!” and “Let’s do this!” stand out and put people at ease.

Pat Flynn does a great job of this at Smart Passive Income. His email opt-in form’s button says “Get Started!”.

SPI Optin

“Get Started!” sends the message that you’re about to start something exciting…

…not just sign up for yet another email list.

16. Turn Blog Comments Into Email Subscribers

Did you know that there’s an easy way to turn blog comments into email subscribers?

Well there is. And it only takes a few minutes to set up.

In fact, it’s is something I’ve recently tested here at Backlinko:

Comment Subscribe

When someone checks that box and leaves a comment, they’re automatically added to my email list.

Although I’ve only had this feature live for a few weeks, it’s already added 214 subscribers to my email list.

Comment Subscriber Count

Why does this work so well?

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it usually means that they enjoyed what they just read.

(Or it means they hated what they just read. But haters aren’t going to sign up anyway, are they :-) ?)

In other words, commenters are VERY primed to sign up to your list. They just need a little nudge.

If you’re a WordPress ninja, you can set this up manually. I personally use a plugin called Subscribers Magnet.

Turning commenters into subscribers works like a charm, but I’ve saved the best technique for last…

17. About Page=Squeeze Page

If you’re like most people, you think your about page is a place to tell the world who you are and why you started your blog.

And that’s it.

Well I’ve got news for you:

If you’re not using your about page to ALSO collect emails you’re leaving hundreds (if not thousands) of email subscribers on the table.

After all, your about page is probably one of the most visited pages on your blog (Skeptical? Check your Google Analytics right now).

Like with a blog commenter, someone that takes the time to read your about page is VERY likely to sign up to your list.

That’s why I have not one — but TWO — optin forms on my about page.

One smack dab in the middle of the page:

About Page Form

And another at the bottom of the page:

about page form 2

These two forms convert EXTREMELY well.

In fact, my About Page converts at 5.81%:

about page conversion rate

It converts so well that I actually use the Landing Page Funnel Technique (#7 on this list) to funnel more traffic to my About page:

Sidebar Funnel

Bottom line?

Sprinkle in at least two opt-in forms in your blog’s about page.

Here’s How to Get Even More Subscribers

You’re probably saying to yourself:

“Brian, this is AWESOME information. What’s the easiest way to put this into practice?”.

Well I’ve got something special for you.

A free step-by-step checklist that includes actionable steps for all of the 17 strategies here…plus a bonus list building strategy that I didn’t have room for.

Click the image below to download the free checklist:

List Building Checklist

Once you’ve done that, take a second and leave a comment.

I’d love to know what to you thought of the post.

  • Thassos

    Turn Blog Comments Into Email Subscribers
    Thanks for advice bro…
    And how many use real email… on comments?
    i do not use real mail on comments…

    • Brian Dean

      Thassos, actually a lot of people use their real email so that their gravatar image shows up with their comment.

      • Thassos

        Thanks bro for repley on your blog i use real email :P hehehe

  • scott masse

    Tim Sykes does a good job with his optin forms and overall marketing strategy. As a former stockbroker, I can tell you shorting penny stocks can work as well!

    • Brian Dean

      Scott, he’s a brilliant marketer. I know zero about stocks so I’ll have to take your word on that :-)

      • scott masse

        I believe he is going to be on Fox business tonight….always fun to watch him!

  • Rob McNelis

    Instead of helping people confirm their email, how about removing the co formation completely. Sure, you will get some bad emails, but over time you will get more real subscribers than you would using a confirm email. (Stole this trick from Neil Patel)

    P.S. great post though! :)

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rob. Single opt-in is definitely something to consider. I’m personally a fan of double optin because (as you said) you get less bad emails. But it’s a decision that depends on the person and business :-)

  • David McSweeney

    Awesome stuff as always Brian and it’s interesting to see the different variations that you have used on this very site – practicing what you preach!

    I’ll admit though, I just can’t bring myself to put a popup form on my site. I know they convert well, I know I’m missing out, but I just find them so damn annoying.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks David. Trust me: I was VERY reluctant to use them at first for that exact reason. But once I saw the conversion increase I realized why they’re so popular.

  • Dok Simon Michael

    Hello Brian!
    Wonderful information very challenging and educative !!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Dok :-)

  • Eugene Farber

    Great post as usual Brian. Already on top of most of these tips…but had no clue about the single-option aversion study. Definitely going to be something to test. Will definitely share this around because this post is a must-read.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks for sharing, Eugene. I’m actually going to start testing a “dummy” option around the site. Might be the topic of a future post if I find some cool stuff :-)

  • Brian Baker

    Another great post, Brian!

    I haven’t delved into creating an email list/newsletter yet, but that idea is definitely on the back-burner. You provided some pretty cutting edge ideas here!

    I especially like the portion on the “about” page… most people leave this as a wasted opportunity. I see this on a majority of our client sites that the about us page is the second, or third most visited site (behind the homepage) yet most people leave it under-utilized.

    Thanks again!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Brian :-)
      These strategies will definitely help you get your email list off the ground in a BIG way. Let me know how they work out for you.

  • Anisul@Seo-Genius

    Exactly what I was looking for, Brian. I have started a SEO blog recently and your post will surely help me to implement many things ! :) Your contents are so huge that it’s hard to consume in one sitting ..lol ..Read a lot , it’s implementation time now ;) Keep up the great work buddy !

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Anisul. These strategies should definitely help you get more subscribers from your new blog.

  • ameer

    Brian…That about EPIC..HOLY %@$&!..Thank you

    I do have one question: Where do you get your PDF Designed… I love them :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Ameer. I use a freelance designer on Elance :-)

  • Scott Marshall

    Wow. Can I just say thank you so much for building one insanely well done blog post instead of feeding us crumbs for 8 months over email or selling us a $29 ebook. Your go-giving will pay off for sure. Solid stuff here!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re very welcome, Scott. I was also frustrated with that approach to content “marketing”. It’s actually one of the reasons I started Backlinko :-)

  • Evan Tardy

    Brian, this is great stuff as usual. I’m implementing these already (opt-in monster) and great idea about LPF, definitely adding that to our site.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Evan. The LPF is money. I’m going to even start adding links within content to funnel more people to high-converting pages :-)

  • Robin Solanki

    Another Gem from backlinko treasure chest.
    keep up the good nah great work Brian !!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Robin :-)

  • noah kagan

    If there was an internet president position available I’d nominate you!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Noah :-)

  • Rohit

    Knocked it out of the park once gain Brian. Good post and some good tips for us to act on the new blog we are getting ready.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rohit. Let me know how these strategies help you with your new blog :-)

  • AJ Walton

    The About page strategy has been working wonders for me.

    Action plan:
    1) Collect a testimonial
    2) Beef up confirmation page
    3) New, shiny “submit” button
    4) SumoMe
    Not sure what’s after that…but it’s a rocking start. Thanks for more great conversion ideas!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks AJ. Most people sleep on their about page. Glad to hear that you’re not one of them :-)
      That’s definitely a great start. You can always come back to the post after you’ve implemented those 4.

  • Brian Hayes

    Thank you Brian. I’ve read a few of your articles and handy how-to guides. It’s clear you go the extra mile to make sure you “load up” your work with valuable content. I look forward to learning more from you soon!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Brian. That’s true: I put about 20 hours into every post to make sure 100% of them have that extra mile you’re looking for.

  • John

    As usual Great strategies to Build Mail List, I just Bookmark this post.Thanks Brian For Your Efforts to get us great Actionable Info, I really appreciate that :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, John. Let me know how the strategies work out for you.

  • Vince Lin

    Brian great post as always

    Can you please elaborate on the custom coding for the comment sign ups –> email list in wordpress? Did you just integrate aweber custom code to the “email” field in wordpress comments? Thanks

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Vince. I actually used a plugin called Max Blog Press Subscribers Magnet. Super easy to set up.

    • Riz

      I believe MailChimp even has this feature built in as well.

  • Dave

    I can see your blog really is thoroughly optimized for subscribers, and sign-ups. But can you tell us how you are monetizing the site?
    I dont see any ads or services you offer? Do you offer SEO services open to the public or are you just building your own brand with this site?

    • Brian Dean

      Dave, I offer a premium business training course called SEO That Works. Registration should open up in early September.

  • Loz James

    Hi Brian

    You’re definitely onto something with the content upgrade idea. It’s almost like to get the most leverage from every single post now (and therefore get ahead of your competitors), it’s no use just having a generic sign up form at the bottom of each amazing post anymore.

    In this context, I guess each post can’t be thought of in isolation, but in terms of a mini content ecosystem that comprises of a great blog post optimised for on-page SEO, an upgrade to that post tailored for that specific content, various on-page email conversion points including an exit pop-up or similar -and then you combine all this with your off page link building and outreach efforts. That could be over 5,000 words of content all in just that one package.

    I can see that in your case, a strategy of writing just one mega-post every month has so much more going on ‘behind the scenes’ than ‘merely’ the post itself.

    It’s kind of like a graceful swan on a lake – but we can’t see its legs going like crazy under the water. (Yes, I have just had a real ale!).

    Good stuff as always.



    • Brian Dean

      Hey Loz, that may be the most poetic comment we’ve ever had on the blog (and we’ve had over 6,000). But you’re right: there’s A LOT more behind the scenes/up front work than there was even 2 or 3 years ago. The barrier to entry for growing a blog has doubled in that time. That’s good for hard workers like you and me :-)

  • Chad

    My head is buzzing with some of the new ideas from this list that I now want to implement and test on my site. Some very actionable (and may I add awesome) list building strategies. Great stuff Brian!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Chad! I’d love to hear how the strategies help you :-)

  • Ben Carew

    Hey Brian
    These are great actionable insights, thanks.
    I thought you might to know I tried to share the article on G+ and i couldn’t scroll down to hit ‘share’ without the window springing up and hiding the button. I’m on Chrome. Try it for yourself.

    • Brian Dean

      Hey Ben, glad you liked the post.
      Thanks for the heads up. I’m sending this to my developer to fix right now :-)

  • Brittany Bullen

    I came over to read this because you invited me after I shared your content. Just curious, do you do those invites personally or outsource and/or automate them somehow? It’s a great idea!

    • Brian Dean

      Hey Brittany, I send them out myself with a little help to find people that might be interested in the post :-)

      • Brittany

        Well, it’s brilliant. I tried to find that subscriber magnet plugin but didn’t have any luck. Yours worked for me though– just checked the box! =) P.S. Just so you know, I plan on e-stalking you, stealing all of your tricks and using them myself. I’m assuming you won’t mind.

  • Miracle Ayodele

    This is really awesome. I started using SumoMe when i saw it on your website and it did not really increase to my satisfaction and that was because i had no bait for people, but with the introduction of squeeze page, i should probably use one of your ebooks as a bait. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Miracle. This should definitely help.

  • Jim Mandoli

    Oh, man, Brian, you’re giving too much of this stuff away for free ;) Did you think to create premium video courses or blog posts?

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Jim. Good question :-)

      Make no mistake: I give away lots of great stuff, but Backlinko is a business. I actually sell a premium training program called SEO That Works. Registration will open up again in September.

  • rocky sharma

    Hi Brian,
    I am a big fan of your’s strategies & all these are awesome. Infuture please post like this more.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rocky. I’ll keep em coming ;-)

  • Ife Oluwatuyi

    Awesome post. Thumbs up (y) brian

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Ife.

  • Nikhil Waghdhare

    Hi Brain,
    This is an awesome guide for list building. It almost contains all great stuffs which we can not find anywhere else.
    Thank you for sharing this great stuff buddy… )

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Nikhil.

  • Ankit Bansal

    Hey Brian,
    One word Awesome. I am one of your happy email subscriber. I just keep waiting to see a mail with your next article. Last night I saw this mail and thought of reading this article as first thing today.
    This just made my day though it took me about a hour to go through detail by detail and also that you exactly wrote 3846 words in this article :P ( I dont know why but I had to find it ).
    Anyways a useful article. Sharing it across for other folks.
    Happy Blogging !

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Ankit. Glad you enjoyed all 3846 words :-D

  • Dean Phillips

    Hey B-man,
    With the content upgrade pop up, is that an exit intent pop up?

    • Brian Dean

      D-man, yes that’s an exit intent popup :-)

  • Mladen Stojanovic

    Awesome stuff, as always. I would just like to add one thing to improve conversions and build bigger list: use feature box. Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com talks a lot about that, and it works like charm.
    Second thing (ok, there are two things I’d like to add :)): use Kevin Roger’s 60-second sales hook formula to increase conversions, right next to the opt-in form.
    The formula is very simple: Identity –> Struggle –> Discovery –> Result –> Call-to-action.
    In Brian’s case, it would go something like:

    “Hi, I’m Brian, entrepreneur and blogger from Cheyenne, WY.
    Ever since I first time heard that you can get free traffic from a thing called Google, I wanted that. But, I had no idea where to start. And what was even worse, every “great” tip I’d receive from an “experts” was a complete BS that only sounds nice, but could never be used by real businesses. Most of those things are considered black-hat now. That’s how “great” those tips were.
    But I wanted free traffic. I wanted to rank higher on Google. That’s why I continued to learn, try, test and fail.
    And after months of doing that, I finally figured out what steps you should take to build high-quality, long-lasting, legitimate backlinks, in order to rank higher on Google.
    Now, I rank all my pages for very competitive search terms, and help clients do the same.
    If you want to how to create quality backlinks to rank your site and boost your business, leave a name and email in the fields on the right side, and click button called “Yes, I want quality backlinks.” I’ll then send you my free eGuide on how you can the exact same thing that me and my clients are doing to promote our businesses.
    See you on the other side.”

    Hope this will be helpful. :)

    • Brian Dean

      AWESOME comment, Mladen. I really like the whole “mini bio” story in there. I’m going to test that :-)

  • BloggerBux

    I am a subscriber of your blog Brian and I have mastered most of your guide here. I always look forward on your future posts.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks guys.

      • Bloggerbux

        No problem Brian, I am always waiting for your awesome post here.

  • Matt O'Gara

    Brian… great post… again! I’ve had a look at sumome – looks like a winner – and free??!! Nice. Can you use it with any autoresponder? The one I have access to, SendReach is not on the list. Can you add html code to this?

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Matt. It supports 5 autoresponders right. If it’s not on the list you can reach out to them and ask them to add SendReach. You can add HTML and make completely custom forms (although I use the default because it converts well).

  • Justice Wordlaw IV

    Thank you for this useful blog post Brian. I really do appreciate it. Do you offer any SEO services?

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Justice :-)

      Actually, I don’t offer any SEO services so I can focus on growing Backlinko.

  • Maximillian Heth

    Thoroughly enjoying this post…nice touch with the tweet buttons following each tip!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Maximillian. That’s a little test I’m running :-)

  • Tammy Hawk-Bridges

    Hi Brian great post as usual. My main concern with the pop ups is the mobile perspective. I know when I am reading on my handheld and I click through to a website and there’s a pop up there I will leave. Its such a small space.
    What are your thoughts on pop ups for mobile?

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Tammy. Great point: popups are extra annoying on a mobile. I wish there was a way to turn off popups for mobile visitors or at least make the popup responsive. That would be an awesome feature for a popup software product.

  • gregory smith


    If you don’t mine me asking, about how long did it take you to create this post? How do you have time to work on client campaigns?

    No need to get more subscribers, if you don’t have time, for them. :0)


    • Brian Dean

      Hi Greg, it took me around 20 hours…not counting email outreach promotion. I actually don’t do client work which frees up a lot of time :-)

  • Joseph Adediji

    This is so so Awesome Brian,
    This is what I call Epic post, you have created a perfect guide for anyone that needs to Double and even quadruple their subscribers base…
    I will be coming back to read this post again, and I will be implementing these strategies one after the other on my blogs.
    Thumbs up Brian.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Joseph. I’d love to hear how these techniques work out for you :-)

  • Susan

    As usual – awesome stuff!
    My head is swimming (in a good way) :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome Susan :-)

  • Joseph Ho

    Thank you for the great tips ! So many things on my head now. Awesome tips!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Joseph. Let me know how these work for you.

  • Bret

    I had to leave some quick comment love… because this content is AWESOME – Your blog totally rocks, Brian!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Bret. I really apreciate it :-)

  • Alex

    this was wayy too long. I didn’t get past the second one and i even bookmarked it. (now i’m deleting the bookmark…too long)

    It’s too long Brian. Instead make it bite sized chunks. 3 tips every newsletter.

    • Brian Dean

      Not sure how an article can be too long, Alex. Just read as much as you can in one sitting.

      • Alex

        You’re right. This was an awesome post and i’m re-bookmarking!

  • Steven J Wilson

    Hi Brian,

    You were right! I really enjoyed this article very much. I like all of the case studies you use to back up what you have to share.
    This was a very informative and detailed post. I have to say I really like the tips you mentioned on the LPF techniques. They are simple, practical and obviously effective!
    Thanks for getting with me and letting me know about this excellent post Brian!
    Take care…

    • Brian Dean

      Really glad to hear that you enjoyed the post, Steven. Keep me posted on how these techniques work for you :-)

  • Rob Montgomery

    List building.. now that is one tough thing to do. Thanks for sharing new insights to me! Your posts are a must-read for me!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Rob. Glad you learned something new :-)

  • Enstine Muki

    Hey Brian,
    I use the content upgrade method in this post where you are featured: http://enstinemuki.com/make-money-blogging-secrets
    It looks like the magic bullet ;) Thanks for sharing it

    • Brian Dean

      “Magic bullet” is right on the money, Enstine. Glad that it worked well for you.

  • Amod Oke

    Awesome as always Brian!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Amod :-)

  • Robin

    Thanks for sharing. I will try on my website. really awesome strategies

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Robin. Let me know how they work out for you :-)

  • Mazhar

    As usual – awesome stuff!. Thanks man

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Mazhar :-)

  • Sachin Bisaani

    Brian first I’d like tell you that the link on “my Google Ranking Factors post ” is wrong the correct url is ” http://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors ” LoL you know it.

    Second I mailed you with one question week a ago and its seems like its not a relevant or right question, Although if you consider please reply.

    Third about this post: As always a great post an epic resource you’d not found any where.

    I suggestion: I think Hellobar” and ManyContacts ( also recommended by Jason Acidre) could make a room in above post.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Sachin. Fixed the link :-)
      Yes, those are two great tools for list building. I just didn’t have room for them in the post.

  • Mark

    Awesome content as always, Brian. This might be my favorite post thus far. Incredible work.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Mark. Like the other posts there, a lot of work went into this one. So it’s nice to hear you learned some good stuff from it.

  • Stuart Walker

    Hey Brian.
    I’m a bit late to the party but just found time to read this now. Great resource.

    I’m doing semi-custom in content opt ins and they convert at around 3.4% but I didn’t even think to do custom pop up opt ins too.

    Next on the list I guess.

    Great post as always.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Stuart. Never too late :-)
      Let me know how the custom popups work out for you.

  • Olan

    Thanks Brian,

    Content upgrade popups increase abandon rate and as a result, hurting your seo. For me, I don’t care much if I got more subscriber each day. But for the best, there should be gaining without losing. Perhaps put a video in the popup would help?

    • Brian Dean

      Olan, I’ve tested this on over 100k visitors and have seen zero difference in bounce rate or rankings.

  • Ryan

    Always enjoy receiving your updates by inbox. You and Neil are killing it at the moment. Not usually one for popups, but your results speak for themselves. Cheers and Keep up the great work.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Ryan. I totally get the popup aversion (it took months of convincing to actually try one), but I’ll never go back :-)

  • Rob Montgomery

    This content is awesome! Your blog posts always great Brian :)

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rob. I aim to please :-)

  • Rune Breinholt Andersen

    Very nice list! I am dying to try SumoMe

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rune. Definitely try SumoMe…it’s awesome!

  • Jennifer

    Great tips! Really liked the “15. Use Weird Call to Actions on Buttons” idea. “Join” and “Subscribe” are so old….

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Jennifer. I’ve found those works work much better today.

  • Darius

    Awesome content! I will be using this for building my email list.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Darius. Let me know how it goes :-)

  • Pritam Nagrale

    Hi Brian,

    Nice list. I’ll be using this list for build my email subscriber.
    Thanks for sharing such nice list.

    • Brian Dean

      Sounds good, Pritam. Keep me posted :-)

  • Jon

    Awesome list Brian…very actionable and a great reference for the future!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Jon. Give them a shot and you’ll like the post even more :-)

  • Sara Berrada

    Like always special post :D , thanks Brian you are the best :)

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Sara :-)

  • Varyhelp

    Hi Brian,
    This is just a wonderful list to build a useful email subscribers. Thanks for sharing this valuable info!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome.

  • Jimmy Burgess

    I just found you and this post was awesome. Thanks for all the great info. I look forward to learning more from you in the future.

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Jimmy. Let me know how these strategies work out for you :-)

  • Cary

    #12 – “Because it’s so easy and effective, I plan on pitching my email list on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ on a regular basis from now on.”

    Do you have an app for that? I know Buffer is a popular one, but i’m looking for something that you can create a reservoir of evergreen content and the app will just pull from that on a regular basis, forever.

    • Brian Dean

      Good question, Cary. I think Buffer may be your best bet. You can load it up for a year I think…

  • Cory Boatright

    You provide high quality, relevant marketing tips bro. I’m impressed with your diligence and detail to hot topics.

    Remember… be a servant,

    • Brian Dean

      Thank you, Cory. I appreciate that.

  • Emilio Rodriguez

    It’s been a while since I’ve since such a great blog post.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Emilio.

  • Ash

    Wow! There’s some SERIOUS content packed into this post. Thanks for sharing the love!

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Ash :-D

  • Olivia

    Very useful content!
    I have tried to access the link to the Site Alerts website, but it seems that the domain is no longer active. I think it is very useful tool for any starting entrepreneur out there, so I am very interested in following this. Does anybody have any idea what happened to them?
    Thank you for providing added value by your articles and keep up the good work!

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Olivia. Wow, that’s crazy. I’ll replace that with a similar tool in the post. Feel free to use that instead: BuiltWith.com.

  • Robert Broley

    Some brilliant tips here. Email Marketing is a gold mine and a great way of connecting to new visitors. it also helps promote your brand and develop a loyal following.

    • Brian Dean

      True dat, Robert.

  • Carsten

    Awesome stuff Brian, the “Build With” tool is insanely good!!!
    Thanks for sharing your outstanding work

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Carsten :-)

  • Elvis Michael

    Yet another kick-ass post, Brian.
    Hell, im gonna try and get my grandma hooked on your blog (is never too late, right?)
    Keep on rocking, Brian :)

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Elvis. Please do. I think she’s like it :-)

  • Phill

    saying up to the mark would be a small word for you. Whatever you share gives a lot of quality to our knowledge. Its a wonderful list. Right now i am working on the 17 untapped backlink techniques, will start working on it once i am done with it.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Phill.

  • John Whiteman

    Great post Brian. As someone that has stupidly not concentrated on building my list till recently I found this post invaluable to get my list building on the right track. Thank you for this informative and easily understandable post. Bookmarked and shared.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks John. Glad to hear you’re building your list. You definitely won’t regret it.

  • Jaqueline Smith

    Hey Brian,
    At the start of my online career i used to think that list building has no benefits but after doing some research on the topic and starting with the link building thing i came to knew it’s importance. It’s really necessary for website and blog owners to build lists or they’ll just let their selves down because list building is the game changer when Search Engines and Social Media doesn’t work for you.


    • Brian Dean

      That’s true, Jaqueline. It’s a mistake I made myself when I first started.

  • Jim

    Hey Brian. Another crazy good post! Man your content is so good. I had a request from your fans. Would you consider doing a post on http: vs https? Will that change to this new format hurt our backlinks and create 404s? Is it necessary to change? How to go about doing it? etc etc

    Everybody is talking about this new google change and how important it is, but NOBODY is talking actionable steps and what to do.

    You are the man of action and actionable steps. So I wanted to make that humble request for your consideration as I think it would make smashing content for your site.

    Since, this is fresh and a public hunger for that content I think it would generate you a lot of backlinks because of the viral nature.

    I am happy to also ask for a plug for my family’s apparel website in the opener of said post if you think this post suggestion is a good idea. Shameless I know…..LOL! But hey maybe it will get your fans to keep submitting ideas. There might be something here to channel your fan base to get us to help your business. Think it over…..You really have reached Malcolm Gladwell Tribe status. And have done a great job with that. At this point whatever you asked the tribe to do they would deliver for you.

    • Brian Dean

      Glad you liked the post, Jim.

      That’s an awesome suggestion and I’ll keep it in mind. I just have to implement it myself first. As you know, I like to publish case studies so it will
      have to wait until I give it a shot myself :-)

  • Kamal

    Awesome stuff as always Brian and it’s interesting to see the different variations that you have used on this very site. I like it; thnx for sharing such a good stuff :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Kamal.

  • Nikhil

    Hey Brian,

    Great write up indeed !

    I was thinking to enlarge my subcriber base from a very long time but was not able to due to very less traffic.. But after following the above mentioned techniques, I think it could be a boon for my blog.

    Thanks for delivering such ultimate article. :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Nikhil :-)

  • Nassim

    This is just awesome informations. Thank you very much Brian :)

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Nassim.

  • Rob Broley

    These are some superb tips Brian. Thank you so much.

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Rob. Glad you learned some new stuff.

  • Nihar

    I have used sumo me its a great tool.This post is just awesome.I ll implement them.

    • Brian Dean

      Sounds good, Nihar.

  • Bappy

    Brian , your every post is like a book, I always read your post and try to find a few questions to ask .. but to be honest your posts are that comprehensive that, I don’t find a question to ask because you left nothing unexplained ! I wonder how long you take to prepare a post like this, I probably would take a whole year ! :) Good luck Brian. you are a magician of IM strategies.

    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Bappy. I spent about 20 hours on each post.

  • Elina Jones

    Really impressive link building guide that helps me to improve the current link building process of my own website. I will follow your steps and guides for my projects. thanks for this useful resource.

    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Elina.


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About Brian Dean

Brian Dean founder of Backlinko

Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko, the training hub for digital marketing professionals with over 60,000 monthly readers and a popular email newsletter. Continue reading