The money is in the list and that means the faster you can grow your list, the faster you’ll grow your income. But also your reach, your audience, and of course, the traffic to your blog. In other words, growing a list is important and growing it faster will help you get your blog, your income and get your business of the ground faster as well.

One of the quickest things you can do to grow your list faster is to offer them what some people call an “ethical bribe”. I’m sure you’ve seen these. They are often short reports, printables, spreadsheets or videos that website owners and bloggers offer for free when you sign up. You see them all the time and for good reason. They offer something of value to the reader, and they work like a charm.

For example: Click here to get The Blogger’s Guide to Getting Started for FREE when you sign up for our exclusive blogging training via email.

These bribes (or subscriber freebies) are very easy to use.

  • Step 1: Decide what you want to give your readers in exchange for their email.
  • Step 2: Create the ethical bribe.
  • Step 3: Link the freebie to your opt-in page or form on your site.
  • Step 4: Create your advertising copy
  • Step 5: Drive traffic to that page or form and let it deliver the freebie to your subscribers.

Now, Let’s look at each of these five steps in a little more detail.

1-2. Decide on and Create Your Ethical Bribe

Start by thinking about what your potential subscribers might want. Your most popular blog posts may give you some great ideas, as will an email questions you frequently receive. If you’ve gotten more than 3 questions about something, that is probably the basis of a great freebie.

Pick a topic and then decide how you want to create the freebie. Short reports are popular as are printable pdfs or ebooks, but videos, slide shares and audios are other options. If you have an online store, you could even offer an exclusive coupon in exchange for signing up.

Decide on your ethical bribe and then create it. Write it, turn it into a pdf, record a video and upload it. Do whatever you need to do to create your opt-in freebie and get it ready to go.

3. Upload Your Bribe and link it to your Opt-in Page or Form

Upload the freebie to your web server  or media library, link it to where it needs to go, and then write or edit the welcome email that goes out to any new subscriber to include a link to the bribe.

4. Advertise It On Your Opt-in Form and Page

Next, write some enticing copy that will get your visitors attention. You might want to tweak all your opt-in forms on your website along with any dedicated opt-in pages you have to reflect this new freebie. Or you may want to offer different ones on different pages/posts. It’s ok to  have multiple offers. Take a look at what your competition is doing and how they are presenting their freebie(s).

You also need a good headline,  a good call to action, and visuals. If you are offering a free report or a printable for example, get a graphic for it that you can add to your newsletter signup box. An image of a book always looks nicer than a square title picture.

5. Drive Traffic to the Freebie Offer

Last but not least it’s time to drive traffic to the freebie. Share it on social media, offer it to current subscribers and ask them to share with others, add it to relevant posts, wherever you can get the word out, do it, and your list will begin to grow faster.

1. Opt-in Form In Your Sidebar

The first thing most of us will do is add an opt-in form to our blog that will show on every single page. For most of us that means posting a form in the sidebar or the footer (See ours below). While this may not be the highest converting way to get subscribers, it’s a great place to start. And, it’s something you only have to do once. If you’re ready to build your list faster, you can play around with testing the signup box in different locations, using different headlines, using different images, or using different opt-in offers until you find one that converts well for you.

2. Pop Up Boxes

Love them, or hate them… they work and they work well. Having it show up every 3 visits is pretty normal, but if you’re worried about annoying your loyal blog readers, set it up to only show only once every few weeks. As with any other opt-in form, it helps to switch things up and see if you can get a better conversion rate with different copy, graphics or offers.

Note: No matter how you personally feel about pop up opt-in forms, give them a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how well they work and how fast your lists start to grow once you start using them. Our conversion rate has increased significantly with them. 

3. Content Upgrades

Last but not least let’s talk about a slightly more advanced technique. This particular strategy for growing your list involves a little more work and it’s not something you want to do every time, but it can be incredibly effective.

The idea is to have a blog post and then a related opt-in offer at the end, a more in-depth part of the content or something that offers value related to the content.

For example, you’re blogging about parenting and just wrote a blog post about different ways to motivate your child to use the potty. One of them is the use of a potty chart. At the end of the post you have an option offer where readers can sign up for more parenting tips from you and as a thanks for signing up they get a printable potty training chart.

Another example is our post How to Verify Your Facebook Page where we offered a printable checklist for all the steps we covered.

In other words, either the copy (wording) of the opt-in form or the opt-in freebie itself is catered specifically to the content of that blog post. Because it is a little more work and not something you will want to do for every single post, I recommend that you reserve this for your most popular posts.

If you’d like more insights on growing your list or serving your people, check out our Emails That Convert Course. Guaranteed to help you improve your communication and your business’ bottom line.

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