How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade)
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How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade)

Brian Dean

Written by Brian Dean

How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade)

If you want to grow your email list (FAST) there’s one thing you need to know:

Traditional bribes like free reports and email courses don’t have nearly the same juice that they used to.


What CAN you offer that gets people to fork over their email address?

The Content Upgrade.

It’s a simple strategy that instantly increased my conversion rate from .54%. to 4.82%.

And in today’s case study I’m going to show you the exact step-by-step process that I used.

No One Wants Your Free Report (And What They Want Instead)

A while back I told you about The Social Squeeze Page, a simple page you can add to your site that converts like a champ:

social squeeze page screenshot

While there’s nothing wrong with a page that converts at 21.7%…

…a single page — even one that converts at 21.7% — isn’t enough to build a thriving email list.

After all, as you can see from my Crazy Egg data, only 2% of my visitors click on the sidebar banner that takes them to the Social Squeeze Page:

CrazyEgg Date

Which got me thinking:

“How can I convert the 98% of people that DON’T go to my Social Squeeze Page?”

That’s when I noticedΒ this weird thing Kim Roach was doing on her blog.

Instead of offering readers something vague — like free updates — she gave away a resource that was unique to each blog post.

Let me show you what I mean…

A few months ago, Kim’s published a post of the top 10 Fiverr gigs for small business owners.

kim roach blog post

“But wait, there’s more.”

When you scroll down to the bottom of the post you’ll notice that she has a link where you can download the top 20 Fiverr gigs:

End of Blog Post Bonus

If you click on that link, a box appears that asks you to opt-in to her email list:


A few days after reading Kim’s post, I noticed Bryan Harris doing the exact same thing on his blog.

For example, Bryan recently published a post that teaches people a productivity technique called “The Zero Based Calendar“.

At the end of that post Bryan offers access to a “bonus lesson” on productivity.

VideoFruit Bonus

Like Kim’s post, you need to subscribe to get your hands on Bryan’s free resource.

That’s when I said to myself:

“Brian, building your email list is a top priority. You NEED to try this at Backlinko.”

(Yes, I talk to myself. Doesn’t everybody? πŸ™‚ )

What happened next made my jaw practically hit the floor…

One Day. Two Links. 785% Increase in Conversions.

I decided to see if giving away a post-specific resource would increase conversions on my blog post: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.

(I’ll show you why I chose that post a bit later)

Before implementing the Content Upgrade, that page was converting at .54%.

Ranking Factors Conversion Rate

Not horrible for a blog post…but not great either.

On June 1st I created a checklist and added LeadPages links to the top…

Leadpages Link

…and bottom of that post.

Bottom of Blog Post

The result? A 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month).

Conversion Rate Increase

Keep in mind that this isn’t a flukey conversion increase like you might see with an A/B test that only lasts a few days.

I’ve had over 4700 unique visitors and 370 conversions on that page since implementing the Content Upgrade. The sample size is more than enough to conclude that this data has legs to stand on.

Plus, as I’ll show you at the very end of this post, I’ve tested The Content Upgrade on three other posts…

…and it’s significantly boosted conversions on those posts too.

Here’s The Craziest Part…

If you count all of the opt-in forms that I have on the Backlinko blog, like in my sidebar:

Sidebar Optin Form

On my homepage:

Feature Box

And at the bottom of every blog post:

Bottom Of Post Optin Form

I have a grand total of 54 opt-in forms on my blog.

The two little LeadPages links that I added to my Google Ranking Factors post now account for 30% of all new subscribers.

Think about that for a second.

Those two links bring in more subscribers than SIXTEEN opt-in forms.

Crazy, right?

How to Get More Subscribers Using The Content Upgrade

At this point you’re probably wondering:

“OK, I’m ready to try the The Content Upgrade. How do I start?”

Here’s a breakdown of the 5-step process:

Step 1: Find a high-traffic page on your site

Step 2: Identify a resource that would make the content better

Step 3: Create that resource

Step 4: Add the resource to your site

Step 5: Get more email subscribers

Now let’s dive into how you can add this list building machine to your site.

Step #1: Find a Page on Your Site That Gets a Lot of Traffic

This may sound simple, but stay with me.

If you want to maximize the number of subscribers that you get from The Content Upgrade, you need to start with a page that has the most potential for generating email subscribers.

In other words, blog posts on your site that bring in the most traffic.

Make sense?

You can easily find your most popular pages by going to Behavior –> Site Content –> Landing Pages in Google Analytics:

Google Analytics Landing Pages

As you can see from that screenshot, my Google Ranking Factors blog post was the most popular page on my site.

So I started with that.

Once you’ve identified your site’s most popular page, it’s time for step #2…

Step #2: Identify a Resource That Will Make Your Content Even Better

This may not be easy to hear, but here it goes:

No one wants your free report.

Well, maybe that’s not 100% true.

If you give away something for free on your site, SOMEONE will sign up to get it.

But 99% of people won’t.

Why not?

Because your report has nothing to do with what that person wants at that moment.

It’s like if you walked into H&M for a new belt and the salesperson said: “Would you like to see our new dress shirts that just came in?”. No, you wouldn’t.

The bottom line?

When you offer your visitors something that’s a perfect fit for what they came to your site for, they’re MUCH more likely to opt-in.

For example, I noticed people leaving comments on my Google Ranking Factors post like this…


…and this:


These people were basically telling me in black and white:

“Brian, this is a great post. But it’s an overwhelming amount of information. How can I actually put this stuff into practice?”

That’s when I realized that a checklist that listed the 10 most important factors — along with practical tips for implementing them — would add a lot of value to that post.

Another example:

James at gives away text transcripts of his podcasts:

PDF Transcript

What do you think happens when you click on that purple box?

You’re taken to a squeeze page where you can download the PDF:

Squeeze Page Screenshot

Other things you can give away as a Content Upgrade:

  • A set of bonus tips
  • Downloadable PDF version of the article
  • A video tutorial that dives deeper into one section from your post
  • A visual guide to your post (for example, a mind map or infographic)
  • An interview with an expert on your post’s topic
  • A free product guide or hands-on review (this is PERFECT for ecommerce sites)

The possibilities are endless.

Now that you’ve decided on what you’re going to give away, it’s time to get this party started.

Step #3: Create Your Content Upgrade Resource

Here’s the deal:

When someone first signs up for your email list they’re actively looking for reasons to opt out…

…and if you give them one, they’ll take it.

On the other hand, if you wow new subscribers with a GREAT first email, they’re much more likely to stick with you for life.

(You know what they say about first impressions…)

That’s why I decided to set aside 5-hours to outline and write my Google Ranking Factors checklist.

But I took things one step further.

After I finished writing the checklist, I sent it to a professional graphic designer on Elance.

She turned my checklist from this…

Ranking Factors Checklist Rough Draft

to this:

Checklist Designed

Needless to say, this professional design makes a HUGE difference in how people perceive the value of my checklist.

When someone receives a high-quality resource in their inbox (like this checklist), they think to themselves:

“Hey, this was pretty cool. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for their next email.”

And because your list loves what you’re sending them, you’re going to increase your conversion rate over the long-term.

In fact,Β  you’ll actually get messages from people that say they’re looking forward to future emails from you.

For example, this is an email I recently received from a subscriber that just finished reading my Google Ranking Factors Checklist:


Having a high-value resource in hand is great…

…but it’s not nearly as important as the next step in the Content Upgrade process.

Β Step #4: Give Your Resource AwayΒ 

Like anything in conversion rate optimization, HOW you present your Content Upgrade is key. In fact, your pitch is 10x more important than the resource itself.

Here’s what I mean…

As I’m sure you’ve seen yourself, lame pitches like “sign up for our newsletter” and “download our whitepaper” aren’t effective anymore.

To put it another way, you really need to sell your Content Upgrade.

Here’s the approach that worked best for me.

First, I added a yellow box at the end my blog post introduction:

Blog Post Intro

My old blog post conclusion asked people to leave a comment. I swapped that conclusion out with a pitch to download the checklist:

Bottom of Post

When someone clicks on the link in the yellow box or the download image at the end of the post, a LeadPages box appears that asks them to opt-in:

LeadPages Box

According to my Analytics, 65% of people that see that box enter their email and opt-in:

LeadPages Analytics

Because it converts so well, I recommend using LeadPages to giveaway your Content Upgrade resource.

If you’d prefer not use LeadPages, you can create a normal opt-in form in Aweber or MailChimp.

For example, you can embed a normal opt-in box like this into your blog posts:

Opt In Form

(You’d just want to replace the generic “Free Updates” with a description of your Content Upgrade resource)

Pro Tip: The Power of The Yellow Box

Here’s one of the most surprising things I learned from this campaign:

The simple yellow box I added to my blog post grabbed A LOT of attention.

Just look at how many people clicked on the little yellow box vs. the massive download image.

Yellow Box:

Crazyegg Screenshot

Huge download image:

Download Image

As you can see, people’s eyes (and cursors) naturally gravitate to the yellow box.

I highly recommend using a yellow box on your site so that you maximize the number of clicks and opt-ins that you generate from your Content Upgrade.

Here’s the code you can add to your theme’s “functions.php” file (or “custom_functions.php” on Thesis) to create a yellow box:

function make_yellowbox($atts, $content = null) {
   return '<p style="background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #ff9; clear: both; margin-bottom: 18px; overflow: hidden; border: 1px solid #e5e597; padding: 13px;">' . do_shortcode($content) . '</p>';
add_shortcode('yellowbox', 'make_yellowbox');

Once the code it added, any text wrapped inside of this shortcode will appear in a yellow box.

[yellowbox]Here is the text in the yellow box[/yellowbox]

Step #5: Get More Email Subscribers

Now that you have the Content Upgrade set up, you should notice a massive increase in subscribers coming from that page.

But don’t stop there.

I’ve since added The Content Upgrade to three additional posts at Backlinko. Like with my Google Ranking Factors post, conversions on those other page have shot through the roof.

In fact, The Content Upgrade has brought in an EXTRA 655 subscribers in only 18 days:

Aweber Subscribers

Because it works so well, The Content Upgrade is going to be the focus of my list building from now on.

So I recommend repeating The Content Upgrade process on other high-traffic pages on your site.

The more you scale this process, the more you’ll increase conversions on your website.


  1. Another long and detailed post from you.
    Thank you very much, Brian! You always the best.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, So. That’s what I try to do with every post πŸ™‚

  2. Absolutely love it! The great part is if everyone starts doing this (and you are CRAZY if you are not) that value of every blog post goes up substantially.

    Awesome bonus content = better for everyone.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Bryan.

      Couldn’t have put it better myself. Some things in blogging are optional. This is not. It’s a must.

      1. Two of my favorite guys, kudos! Now I just need to push myself to do this.

    1. AJ Walton Avatar AJ Waltonsays:

      I’m creating my first piece of bonus content now. However I feel like this tactic – like most – will have a limited lifespan. If it becomes common practice, readers will probably get numb to the offers – and then the innovators will create a new variant. Actually, I already feel myself numbing to them and I think Brian’s content is some of the best online – especially in the marketing space!

      All the more reason to do it now and establish your content and bonuses as kick-ass I guess!

  3. Thanks Brian, I like these ideas because they are simple. For example, I can easily change the background color to yellow for different text. I will try these and let you know the results.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tariehk. Look forward to hearing how The Content Upgrade works out for you πŸ™‚

  4. Fan Avatar Fansays:

    Really useful information as always Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Fan πŸ™‚

  5. Sami Avatar Samisays:

    I always bookmark your post, Because it is always full of Info, Thanks again for such a long Good Content Post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Sami. Let me know what you think after you have a chance to read the post.

  6. Nikhil Waghdhare Avatar Nikhil Waghdharesays:

    Hey Brain,

    Great Case study. Actually, I like this stuff. This post has so much of great info about conversion marketing guide and tips.
    Thank you for sharing this great case study with us Brain.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Nikhil.

  7. Thanks Brian! Really appreciate the knowledge and experience you share. Keep up the great work. Best wishes and many blessings!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Boone. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it up πŸ™‚

  8. Hello Brian,

    I noticed this thing on google ranking factors. I downloaded also this resource. I was waiting for your post on this change & success you got from this. Great minor key points to increase conversions from your blog.

    Thanks & I am also a big fan of KIM ROACH she is just superbbb πŸ™‚

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Sourabh. As you saw, that checklist made a huge difference. I agree: Kim is the best!

  9. Harry Chittenden Avatar Harry Chittendensays:

    Hi Brian,
    Great Post! I’m in awe of your thoroughness.
    Here’s an issue. I get an email from someone that I’ve subscribed to. It offers me something that interests me. I click ok! Then the gate comes down and says I need to sign up to the email list that I’m already on. Awkward!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Harry,

      You raise a good point. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to do it. I’ve set it up so once you double opt-in for one resource, you don’t
      have to do it ever again.

      So once you opt-in for this video you just need to enter your email for any other resources and you’ll get instant access (similar
      to logging in…except you don’t need to remember any passwords).

      1. Ken Avatar Kensays:

        Hi Brian!
        Do you know if this same process (i.e. allow existing subscribers to get instant access after entering their email address) can be set up with MailChimp?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I think it can, Ken. But you’d have to ask them to be sure.

  10. Graham Avatar Grahamsays:

    Another great post, a couple of observations that might improve things further.

    1. Add a ‘log-in’ section to your site – as someone already on your mailing list having to put my email address in for each bonus item will become a real pain – especially when I tend to visit a blog and read a tonne of stuff in one go rather than in bits and pieces. Retention is more important than conversion (keeping a subscriber is very easy compared to gaining one) – it also opens up a whole realm of extra analytics data!

    2. Prettify your emails!!!! The plain text email you sent to get to this page is damned ugly – you mentioned it in your post about professional design on the email information you send – get your emails into a nice quick template as I almost missed this great post thinking it was spam!!!

    Other than that I will say once again an amazing post, nice and detailed, easy to follow and some nice quick tips that anyone can implement.

    Off I go to Analytics land now to find some high traffic pages on my clients blogs πŸ˜€

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked the post, Graham.

      My take on your points:

      1. Add a ‘log-in’ section to your site…

      Actually I found a workaround where people don’t have to double optin for each resource. They just have to enter their email again (which is the same as logging in. Actually, it’s easier).

      2. I’ve tested this (as have several others) and plain text emails get better CTRs:
      But it’s different for every site. In my experience, plain text crushes fancy HTML emails.

      Have fun in Analytics land πŸ™‚

      1. AJ Walton Avatar AJ Waltonsays:

        I can say with certainty that I’ve unsubscribed from every email list that isn’t text. It’s the way most people expect email to be. I want text emails and interesting blog content. Thanks for meeting those expectations hahah

      1. Joe Avatar Joesays:

        Brian, does that workaround work if you aren’t using Leadpages?
        If I create a new Aweber box for every bonus, won’t my old subscribers just get sent to the “already signed up” page, or how does that work?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Joe, you can set what page current subscribers go to. I recommend contacting Aweber so they can walk you through it.

        1. Joe, that won’t happen if you create a new list for each offer. Then, use the automation option on your main list to automatically add those offer subscribers to your main list when they’re not already subscribed. With Aweber’s automation, anyone opting in who’s already on your main list will only get the single email that you set up for the offer (in its own separate list). Every now & then, I delete everyone in those separate offer lists because they are now already on my main list, that way I’m not paying Aweber for “extra” subscribers! πŸ™‚

      1. Monty Avatar Montysays:

        The only thing that’s “preventing” me from implementing is the opt-ins for current subscribers – would love to learn more about the workaround!

        I want to send readers a PDF file. I want to “verify” with AWeber… if they already subscribed. If they are then they can download file right away – if they are not subscribed I want to add them to my list before I send them the report.
        Thanks for your time – much appreciated.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Monty, it’s complicated but doable. I’d reach out to Aweber and have them walk you through it.

      1. So Brian – does that mean your ‘workaround’ IS for LeadPages?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Actually, Ana, the workaround is at the ESP level. Leadpages just collects the email.

  11. Awesome post Brian. Great tips as always

    I’ve been doing this on my own blog (it doesn’t get the same traffic though) and it works like a charm. Most of my subscribers are from additional content.

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Robin. Oh wow, Bryan and I were just saying yesterday that it’s crazy how few people are using this technique. Glad to hear that you’re taking advantage of it.

      1. To be honest I saw Bryan Harris and Noah Kagan do it and decided to give it a try.
        Emulate successful people, right? πŸ™‚

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Exactly πŸ™‚

          If you’re going to emulate anyone, those two guys are the best.

  12. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

    I never leave comments. Anywhere. This was excellent.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to hear this post did it πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your support, Paul.

  13. Awesome post Bro! Your posts generally are so complete that there are very less things to add in comments other than β€œgreat post”. Well prepared, well researched and well executed.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Alex! I love to hear feedback, but I won’t argue with a “great post” comment πŸ™‚

  14. As always Brian, great job!
    I am planning to use this and the video trick from your previous post soon!


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Thomas. Keep me posted πŸ™‚

  15. Inspired! Thanks Brian. If I’m not mistaken, you are using OptinMonster and LeadPages on this site, is it right? Is there any issues on using both plugin?

    Currently I’m only using OptinMonster to increase my conversion rate on my site.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yes, I’m using both plugins, Afiq. They seem to get along fine on my blog πŸ™‚

  16. Loz James Avatar Loz Jamessays:

    Hi Brian
    Fascinating post as always.
    I’ve started to see this strategy used a lot around the web too. These types of content specific calls to action are used by a lot of content marketing systems such as Hubspot.
    However, in my opinion your solution with Leadpages is a better one because it’s even more tailored – the lightbox popup function is fantastic for conversions.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Loz,

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      I’ve seen it more and more too. But I don’t think most people (outside of HubSpot) realize how powerful it is. Let me know if you give this a shot at Content Champion.

  17. Hey Brian,
    you are really smart. It’s all about looking for some new ideas – most of them won’t give you success but there’s always one that’ll give you 1000% ROI and beats all the unsuccessful things.

    Great job – look for more and share with us πŸ˜€

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ondrej. I’m actually not that smart. Just smart enough to use what other people have already had success with πŸ™‚

      1. Brian you are really smart. Its not even easy to do things once again that already had done by others. You are our hero πŸ™‚

  18. Pure awesome sauce Brian, as usual. I will be adding the Content Upgrade to my site for sure!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s what I like to hear, Ryan. Keep me posted πŸ™‚

  19. You’re a genius. I’m planning a relaunch of my blog and looking for ways to take it to the next level. This is a great way to attract people after the initial newness of your content wears off.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      This will definitely get you to the next level, Clara. Let me know how it goes πŸ™‚

  20. hey Brian, what can I say, I think you’ve just helped solve the thing that’s frustrated me ever since I got into blogging! Can’t wait to try this out because my signup conversions are embarrassing πŸ˜‰

    Also, just watched your video with Bryan and have a quick question. What was the name of the email marketing software Bryan uses? I couldn’t quite grasp it. Also would love it if you’d send me your workaround for implementing this on Aweber. Cheers mate and again, awesome stuff!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Richard. Opt-ins was something that frustrated me as well. I did all the “right” things, but wasn’t getting that many opt-ins.

      To answer your questions:
      1. Bryan uses Ontraport.
      2. Here’s how to set this up in Aweber:
      1. Set up a new list just for resources on your site (ie. siteresources list).
      2. Create unique forms within that list for each resource.
      3. Set that form so current subscribers to that list get auto-redirected to the resource. New people double opt-in.
      4. Set the form so that they first message they get is an autoresponder that emails them the resource.

      1. Thanks mate, totally gonna get this implemented ASA cat shaving P!!! Will let you know how I get on!

        1. I was running into a similar problem with MailChimp. They are pretty unhelpful with this regard, and the only way to create separate forms with them is through the API. So the workaround I’ve implemented is I’m using Brian’s yellow box to pitch the Content Upgrade, then I’m using an opt-in plugin to display a generic box that says “Get Access Now”. Once the visitor opts in, they are taken to a standard Thank You page from where they can download everything. I just implemented this two days ago, so let’s see how it goes after a week or two!

      1. Awesome! Thank you for this as I have been looking how to do it inside Aweber. Really appreciate it and implementing it now!

  21. Morten Avatar Mortensays:

    Thanks for this Bryan. Awesome blog post.
    Do you recommend we create a new sub-list for each content upgrade (blog post) or how do we best manage this?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Morten! The exact set up depends on your email marketing software. if you use Aweber you can check my comment above to see how I do it.

  22. Jon Avatar Jonsays:

    Thanks a lot Brian. Providing the yellow box code was a very nice addition. I’ve already implemented it on my blog. Thanks again.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Wow, that was fast Jon. You rock!

      1. Jon Avatar Jonsays:

        UPDATE: June 25, 2014 – Brian, used the same yellow box and am getting a 43% opt in rate on people who click the link (am using LeadBoxes by LeadPages) and attracted 30 subscribers in a few short days. Great tip – FYI, I operate in a non make money online niche where attracting subscribers is a little more difficult because it’s a fun niche that’s image gallery focused. The text stands out among all of my images. Thanks again Brian. That yellow box will remain a staple on my site.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Thanks for the update, Jon. Awesome to hear you’ve already seen results from the Content Upgrade. Rock on πŸ™‚

  23. Hey Brian,
    I’ve been doing this on my training site for life insurance agents for a while and it works great.

    One problem you’ll run into that I haven’t seen any other commenters mention is what happens when someone is already on your email list, but wants to download your guide? What are they supposed to do?

    What I did was add a link like this to the offer asking if they were already a subscriber:

    Then you can see the instructional page I send them to here:

    Basically, they just have to go back and enter the same email address they originally used when they subscribed, and then in my aweber settings, I created a link for people to go to when they type in an email they’ve used before where it takes them to a list of my bonuses like this:

    Hope that helps.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Chris. Glad to see you’ve seen success with it in a non-internet marketing niche.

      I actually explained in a reply to Richard’s comment above how I have it set up with Aweber. It’s a similar
      approach to yours.

  24. Ivan Avatar Ivansays:

    This would make a great addition to STW, perhaps as a bonus video? Heck, why not have an interview with Kim Roach! (^_^) … I bookmarked this page just in case it doesn’t get added πŸ™‚

    This post put Kim back in my radar (don’t know why she wasn’t in the first place! lol)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ivan. GREAT suggestion. Not sure if you saw but I recently added an interview with conversion expert Rich Page to STW. He’s one of the best in the business. Definitely check that out πŸ™‚

      Kim is the best!

  25. Yoav B Avatar Yoav Bsays:

    Great post!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Yoav. Let me know if you give this strategy a try.

  26. Good stuff as always Brian.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently – just like banner blindness crept in back in the early 00s I think people now have opt in blindness and conversion from standard sidebar boxes etc is definitely going down. As you say, free generic reports don’t really cut it anymore and you have to really give someone a strong reason to give you their email address, tapping into an immediate need.

    I noticed this method on a few blogs myself and was thinking of implementing it. Now I know the stats I definitely will be!

    Although I also have a few ideas of my own that I’ll be trying out over the next month or so…

    Anyway, I’m off to watch Spain going out the world cup (well, certainly looks that way at half time…)

    Thanks again!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks David. That’s the perfect analogy right there: people have opt-in blindness today. Let me know how The Content Upgrade works for you. Also, I wouldn’t get too pumped about Spain losting…England may be on the next flight home πŸ™‚

      1. ‘England may be on the next flight home’
        as a Scot… here’s hoping πŸ˜‰

  27. Stuart Walker Avatar Stuart Walkersays:

    Nice case study Bryan.

    I mentioned something similar to this some time ago in my resource “34 Ways To Increase Your Subscriber List”

    I showed how Vero uses custom opt ins related to the post and increased sign ups by 150% in just 4 weeks.

    They didn’t go so far as to create brand new content simply personalized the opt in to suit the post.

    I decided to try it for myself on NicheHacks.

    I identified the main topics I write about (niche ideas, affiliate marketing, blogging) and created related incentives for each category (mostly just using my existing posts / resources) and then offered them as an incentive to opt in.

    Signs ups skyrocket upwards by 185%.

    I think I have to take it one step further and offer exclusive content + get someone to re-design it and make it look awesome.

    Awesome post as always mate!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Stuart. You’re the second person today to mention post-specific pitches for me today. As you’ve seen that alone makes A HUGE difference. The exclusive content will take the success you’ve had with that approach to another level.

  28. Hey Brian,
    Awesome as always! It’s a treat to see an email from you. I think I know which post I am going to offer an upgrade for! πŸ˜‰

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Shabbir. Let me know if The Content Upgrade helps πŸ™‚

  29. It’s all about relevancy! Right content for the right visitor with the right offer. Great post Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Absolutely, James. That’s why your transcripts are perfect. They’re exactly what people landing on that page
      would want to get after listening to the podcast.

  30. James Blews Avatar James Blewssays:

    Absolutely fantastic information and details Brian. I can see a lot of possibilities here, and I can also see in a damn clear manner how it all came together. Once again, awesome info!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks James. You’re 100% right: the possibility are endless with this strategy.

  31. Alan Avatar Alansays:

    Hey Brian,
    Great post. I like the part where you mention James Schramko, and of course Lead Pages With those two combinations you can’t go wrong. The conversion is through the roof! Are you a member of James mastermind(Super fast business?
    If not you have to check it out, the training alone is worth the price.
    Thanks Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Alan. I actually just recently found James online but love everything I’ve read so far. I’ll have to check out his group.

  32. I love your writing style and how you present your idea in a very crystal-clear way.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your kind words, Ezlaila. I put a lot of time into making everything clear so it’s nice to hear that everything is going as planned πŸ™‚

  33. cristian Avatar cristiansays:

    Amazing post Brian. I will implement it in my website. Thank you again.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad to hear that, Cristian. Let me know if you see a bump in conversions from The Content Upgrade.

  34. Hi
    Brian excellent ” how to” email conversion guide, But would like to ask one question: As you know I’m already subscribed to your email list i Visited your Google ranking page and entered my email i used previously to subscribe, instead of showing already subscribed message it again subscribed me in and sent email of 10 most important ranking factor, Won’t you think its building your email list with duplicate entries and conversion rate is increasing with double entries? But ya for new visitors or I’d say unsubscribed visitors its a win win strategy.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Sachin, that’s a good point. For new posts, you’re going to get a lot of “new” subscribers who are actually people already on your list. However, in the case of my Google Ranking Factors post, 70%+ of the traffic that lands on that page are new visitors.

  35. When it comes to conversion optimization, you are the most aggressive, though you appear to be peaceful πŸ˜‰

    Thus “Content/Page-specific Opt-in”… into the SEO dictionary πŸ™‚

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I come in peace, Thoufeeq πŸ™‚

      The thing is, with conversions, you need to be a bit aggressive to get people’s attention.

      1. By ‘aggressive’, I meant ‘attention-to-detail’. Not in the negative sense. πŸ™‚

        Killer post!!!

  36. I love this post, great information and something that I can do today. Time to review my top posts and find some additional valuable content to encourage my visitor to sign up.

    A quick noob questions, do you have different sign-up lists depending on the subject or just funnel them all to your same list?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Tom. Let me know how it goes.

      It’s actually not a noob question. It took me hours to figure out how to set this up in Aweber. If you look for my reply to Richard’s comment
      above you’ll see how I did it.

  37. paul Avatar paulsays:

    Good post.
    i think it’s quite hard to ‘get’ lead gen offers.
    I’ve read quite a lot on it.
    There’s a course by AWAI called B2B copywriting that is excellent on this.
    Also stuff by Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher but I think the AWAI course was the best.
    If look at old Gary Halbert ads (check out from the 1970s he did this so it’s nothing new.
    Great write up though and some new thoughts to subjected!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Paul. I love studying copywriting. In my opinion, it’s the #1 marketing skill.

  38. William Avatar Williamsays:

    Hi Brian,

    As always this is a very innovative trick you told us. However, I have one doubt about this strategy. Is this type of method of email collection is ethically and legally correct? By deploying this method, we will be collecting the email address of our visitors who agree to share their email address in lieu of a particular ‘Content file’. However, the willingness of the visitor is limited to the extent of getting the desired file. In the entire process, nobody is giving his willingness to be in our list/ to receive regular content from us. In the traditional methods, we clearly ask the visitors to subscribe to our newsletter/e-zine/future updates. This is not the case here. So, is there not a possibility that someone may find it offending that in the garb of giving him an enticing product, we subscribed him to our list. Given the legal significance of solicitation in the privacy of an individual, what is your take on this aspect ?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      William, it’s actually quite alright to build an email list in exchange for extra content or a resource. Free reports and ebooks have been a staple list building strategy for over a decade. If you prefer you can always put something like “You’ll also receive tips in your inbox” on your opt-in form.

  39. Amazing post!

    I love how Bryan from video fruit uses this method (we were talking about it a few days ago)

    Do you think it’s still a wise move to do the blog specific opt in with sites that currently get low traffic too?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dean πŸ™‚

      For low traffic sites, I’d still use The Content Upgrade. But I may not use it for every post…just those that you think will get a lot of traffic.

      1. Dean Avatar Deansays:

        Awesome thanks man!

        By the way, I keep trying to get the video of you and Bryan but it’s sending me to your guestographics PDF?

        Thought I would let you know πŸ™‚

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Thanks for the heads up, Dean. Fixed now. Feel free to try again with the same email and you’ll go straight to the video.

  40. Another masterclass post from you Brian – pretty outstanding work.
    I am going to try this tactic myself – I already have a few good ideas.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Paul. Happy to hear you’re already going to get started with the Content Upgrade. You won’t regret it πŸ™‚

      1. Paul Back Avatar Paul Backsays:

        You make a very strong case Brian, when you speak its wise to listen πŸ˜› thanks for another great post.


  41. WOW Brain what a great post, learned a great deal from it. Thanks

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Akshat.

  42. Brian,
    One more awesome case study:) Kudos man!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Deepak. I appreciate it πŸ™‚

  43. I knew that post specific opt-ins worked better from other posts that I have read, but that’s crazy that 30% of all opt-ins are coming from that one blog post. I guess people need to think about making it a higher priority. Great case study!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s a stat that jumped out at me too, Brian (that’s why I shared it in the post). Let me know how it goes πŸ™‚

  44. Dana Avatar Danasays:

    Great case-study Brian! I’ll be giving LeadPages a try for sure. BTW, I tried sharing on G+ using button in your sidebar but the page just keeps scrolling down when I try to get to the share button. I’ll do it manually πŸ™‚

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dana. This strategy should definitely beef up conversions. Thanks for the heads up about the G+ button. Looking into that now.

  45. We’ve got to get Neil Patel to read this. Maybe he could cut down on the number of email opt-in popups he needs πŸ˜‰

    Incredible info! Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked it, Quinton. Would love to hear how The Content Upgrade works out for your site πŸ™‚

  46. Interesting study. Do you send the visitors just the report or do you instantly subscribe them to your newsletter?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Like any site giveaway (like a free report), people double opt-in to receive the free resource and they’re also added to the newsletter.

  47. Angel Simms Avatar Angel Simmssays:

    Hi, Brian Dean, I like to learn this first , before I do anything else. thank you Angel SIMMS

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good strategy, Angel πŸ™‚

  48. Great analysis, great results!

    If I’d add one thing I’d like to point out that when you present things which look like ads visitors won’t see them, and when you show things which do NOT look like ads, visitors will see them and interact with them.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks John. I appreciate it.

      Good point re: looking like ads vs things that DON’T look like ads. I was wondering why the yellow box worked so well vs. the download image. I think that may be why πŸ™‚

  49. This really works well! Just did one post like you suggested, Brian, and sign-ups went up dramatically. Now I’m doing this method for my next 4 posts (and maybe forever after that!)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad to hear you’ve already seen results from The Content Upgrade. You rock, Sue!

  50. It’s funny that you mention the yellow box. This is something I uncovered some years ago from my own testing and have used it extensively to drive visitors to my “money posts” on some of my affiliate sites – it’s amazing how much you can inflate traffic to those top-converting posts with a little yellow box!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I thought I was alone on that, Richard. Glad to hear it’s a universal principle. It’s weird how well it works, right?

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