How to Get More Email Subscribers

Email BannerEmail lists are essential for any online business. From the very moment we build our first website we are told that we need to focus on building a list. But many times, we are left in the dark about just how to do that.

Someone recently emailed me and said, “My biggest struggle is getting people to sign up to ‘build the list'”. As a matter of fact, I have received no less than 5 emails all saying something similar in the past week alone.

So today, I’d like to pull back the curtain and show you exactly how you can begin getting more email subscribers!

What Do They Get?

“What’s in it for me?” I have found that this phrase can be applied to most situations in my life. Getting people to subscribe to your email list is no different.

To illustrate that concept, let me give you an example. Personally, my inbox is already stuffed and I could care less about subscribing to your email list, unless you are:

  1. Established. I subscribe to several websites, and people, that have very established reputations already. Some that come to mind are Social Trigger, DIYthemes, Chris Brogan, etc.
  2. Giving Me Something I Want. The key word here is want. If I am on your website for a web development tutorial, I could care less if you want me to subscribe to your email list to get a free ebook named,
    7 Ways to Handle Your Children“.  It is imperative that you give your audience something that complements what they are on your website for in the first place.

Until you get established, you are going to have to entice every single person that comes to your website to build your email list. It’s the way of the game. One of the most common ways of doing this is by giving away awesome stuff.

Once you have an idea of what you want to give away, there are many different ways to package it. For example, you could give the subscriber: an ebook, a white paper, a small course delivered through several emails, a one-on-one session, a discount, a free trial, etc.

The key here is for the offer to be relevant.

Let the Offer Be Seen

BinocularsBottom line, it needs to be convenient for people to subscribe to your email list.

There are two main things to consider when trying to make it convenient for visitors to your site to subscribe to your email list:

  1. Number of signup forms. If you want more subscriptions, then putting the signup forms in multiple places is the first requirement. If you only have one signup form, this is very inconvenient and will turn off many would-be subscribers.
  2. Placement of signup forms. I think we can agree that if you include all of your signup forms at the bottom of your website, it doesn’t matter how many you have… You’re still not going to get many subscribers.

According to Derek Halpern, a leading psychology and marketing blogger at Social Triggers,  there are 7 high-converting places to put your email signup forms, which are:

  • In a feature box. This is the first thing that visitors will see.
  • Top of sidebar. When building a new website, many of us have a bad habit of adding tons of junk to our sidebar (social icons, tweets, etc.), but so many of us fail to make our signup forms the primary focus in our sidebars. Derek suggests that not having your signup form at the very top of your sidebar is losing you subscribers.
  • After single post. If a reader has read through your whole post, they obviously liked it. This is an ideal time to ask the reader to subscribe.
  • In the footer. This is very much like the single post. Readers look at your footer because they’re interested in your content and what you like. Notice how we have a signup form in our footer ;)
  • On the about page. If you have taken care of the sidebar, you may wonder why you need to include signup forms on your about page also? Derek recommends this because he uses a squeeze page format for his about pages. As a matter of fact, you will find something very similar on other Alex Mangini’s and Sean Davis’s website.
  • In the title bar. I think this was once a great way to convert visitors to your website, but it has since lost some of its appeal as it has become more mainstream. That being said, test it. It may work very well with your audience.
  • In a popup. Personally I hate popups. But, that doesn’t mean this tactic will not work on your website. This is another tactic that you should test.

I don’t think that there is a perfect formula for every website. The idea is that you will have to take this information and test conversion rates with different combinations.

What Now?

I recently read an article on Copyblogger where the author stated, “I focus on getting sign-ups. I don’t care about traffic unless I am certain I can convert it.” Although I don’t completely agree with the idea of focusing solely on emails, that statement testifies to the power of building a subscriber base.

Those that are in your email list, your subscribers, are the ones that will be there for those unforeseen events, such as Hurricane Sandy and Google’s algorithm updates.

What are you doing right now and what do you plan to do in the future to increase your email subscriptions? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Written by Eric Binnion

Eric Binnion is a computer science student at Midwestern State University. When Eric is not online, he is usually volunteering in his community or enjoying time with his family. You can find Eric on Twitter.



  • Santel says:

    Thank you Eric for the concept of how we can get more subscribers. To be frank, it is the big issue I am having now.

    It is not the first time I am thinking of working to get more subscribers, but I don’t know why it took me so many years to implement this strategy.

    Maybe because we don’t believe in email marketing? Will it work? Most of the people think that email marketing is a spam.

    I get this answer when I ask people why you don’t start your email marketing.

    I do regret, a lot of regret of not having spend my time on email list. I am very focus on it now and thank to those tips,

    I will implement some of them for sure and see if I can get some result.

    • Eric Binnion says:


      You are right about people worrying about spam. I always try to explain that our emails lists are usually double opt-in and that at any time a person can opt-out just by clicking a link. That usually takes away the fear or spam. Let me know how your email marketing goes!