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How to Kick Your Email List Building out of a Plateau #bigcitymarketinggroup

Every business owner eventually experiences growth stagnation.

It can happen with sales. And it can happen with your email list.

I’ve been there.

You feel stumped.

Your email list isn’t growing.

What can you possibly do to kick yourself out of this rut?

Well, the exciting news is, you’ve got several options.

Some of them are a fresh take on conventional list-building strategies. Others require you to think outside the box.

In this article, I’ll lay out the most effective techniques for you. You’ll walk away with a step-by-step plan to ramp up your email list.

Before we get into these strategies, I’ve got some crucial advice.

It is imperative that you block and tackle.

What does that mean?

When you’re trying to overcome a period of stagnation in business, it’s important that you put all your energy towards getting out of that rut.

Block a 30-60 day window on your schedule, and tackle only list building during that period.

Nothing else.

Building an email list is fundamental to the success of your business.

The relationship you’ll nurture with your subscribers will determine the revenue-generating power of your business.

In fact, the average email marketer sees a 94% return on investment.

Email Marketing Keep It Clean The Importance of Email List Hygiene Infographic MarketingProfs Article

The strategies you’ll learn in this article will allow you to put your list building on autopilot. It means the time you take to focus on this one thing will be time well spent.

Let’s jump in.

1. Discover your lead magnet opportunities

It doesn’t matter what list-building strategy you’re using. It doesn’t matter which audience you’re targeting.

All list-building roads lead to your lead magnet.

Nobody will give you their email address without receiving an attractive offer in return.

Like this:

Smart Blogger

With that said, the first step is to pick out incentives your target audience would want.

Put these steps into action to determine what that is.

Step #1: What does your audience want?

Think about the ultimate result. If you double-down on their biggest pain point, this won’t be difficult to come up with.

Step #2: What is your overarching solution to helping them get what they want?

Think about the big picture.

For example, if you’re a business coach, your ultimate goal may be to get your clients to bring in more sales and greater profits.

Step #3: What are the small steps required to deliver that ultimate solution?

In keeping with the example above, the small steps can be:

  • build an email list
  • have a content marketing plan
  • launch a product
  • set up evergreen sales funnels
  • hire a virtual assistant

Your best free content lies in these small steps.

It will help you create an offer your audience wants. It will also ensure you give away something that will give them an immediate win.

This is super important for lead magnets.

You want subscribers to consume the content, implement it, and achieve a positive result.

Now that you have an idea of what your audience will benefit from, it’s time to create something concrete.

2. Create your free incentives to attract your ideal audience

I’ll cut to the chase.

Four strategies work exceptionally well.

Strategy #1: Pick out your top performing posts and create content upgrades.

Content upgrades are quickly becoming the gold standard for list building.

Brian Dean boosted his conversions by 785% using content upgrades.

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

Here is how to do that:

  1. Go through your analytics.
  2. Select the blog posts that have gotten the most traffic and engagement.
  3. Create an incentive specific to that piece of content.

Let’s say you write a post “How to Write Blog Posts That Rank on Google’s First Page.”

You can create an “SEO checklist” as a content upgrade and place it within your blog post.

Here’s an example:

6 Step Sales funnel we used to make 220 750 from our online course

The chances of someone signing up to receive this upgrade? Sky high.

It adds to the value of your post as it gives readers a valuable resource to implement what you just discussed.

Strategy #2: Create a brand-specific lead magnet

This is an incentive that stands on its own.

It’s not tied to any piece of content, and it should have a mass appeal.

I don’t mean that it must be geared towards everyone on the Internet. But people in your target market should be attracted by your brand-specific free offer.

Here are some examples:

  • an email course
  • a challenge
  • a resource library
  • an ultimate guide
  • a Facebook group or other online community
  • a content series, e.g., a video series or a blog post series
  • a toolkit

Strategy #3: Create a lead magnet that prepares your customer for a purchase

Most people talk about the first two strategies. But many leave out the most important one.

You must have a lead magnet that is connected to your premium offers.

This applies to a physical product, a service, or an informational product.

This type of a lead magnet is often (not always) smaller and quick to consume. This way, you give subscribers an appetite for your paid product.

For physical products and software, it’s easy to come up with an incentive. You can give away a coupon code, a free trial, etc.

Like Curology does:

Curology Custom Acne Treatment

Here’s a good rule of thumb for info-products and services:

  • your free content can give away the “Why” and the “What”
  • your paid content can be geared towards the “How”

Let’s look at an example from Jeff Walker.

He offers a premium program that helps entrepreneurs launch a product.

It’s called Product Launch Formula.

Home Jeff Walker

His free incentive is a “Launch workshop,” which is directly tied to his paid product.

And that’s what I mean by preparing your customer for a purchase.

This is a smart way to build a warm list of potential buyers.

Strategy #4: Create a promotional lead magnet

The last technique is to run a promotion.

This is where you use a giveaway to accelerate your list building.

When you implement this well, it works wonders. But I’ll admit: it isn’t my favorite strategy.


For one, it isn’t evergreen.

This isn’t something you can set and forget.

You run your promotion for a particular period. During that time, you have to market your giveaway aggressively and manage it closely.

After your promotion has run its course, that’s it. It has no use to you anymore.

Here’s my advice:

  • run giveaways sparingly;
  • make sure you can execute them well because promotions can easily flop;
  • give away something that closely aligns with your premium offers.

Which of these four strategies should you focus on?

All of them.

The days of one lead magnet are gone.

Of course, you don’t have to create all of them at once. That takes time.

But aim to have each of these types of incentives in your arsenal.

3. Design your website to convert

You’ve come up with your lead magnet ideas, and you’ve created them.

Now what?

It’s time to ensure your website visitors have every opportunity to grab these free resources.

This is not about designing your site from scratch or spending big bucks on web design.

You simply want to ensure that your web traffic is directed to your incentives.

A few tweaks will do the trick.

Here are my recommendations.

1. Place your brand-specific lead magnet above the fold of your website

Above the fold is the upper half of a website page.

It’s that section that a web visitor sees without having to scroll down.

The premise is simple.

You have a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention. If your primary goal is to collect leads, the first thing users should see is an opportunity to sign up to your email list.

Here’s an example from Blogging Wizard:

Blogging Wizard Discover Actionable Blogging Tips You Can Use

Here’s another example:

Done For You Funnel Service AutoGrow co

2. Create high-converting landing pages for your lead magnets

Every standalone lead magnet needs a landing page. (This rule doesn’t apply to content upgrades.)

If you decide to run list-building ads, you’ll need this asset. If you want to direct your social media traffic to your lead magnet, it will also come in handy.

Let’s talk about the anatomy of a solid landing page. It needs to have:

  • a primary headline
  • a secondary headline or subheading
  • a descriptive statement
  • benefits in bullet points
  • an image of your lead magnet
  • minimal form fields (two fields maximum)
  • a call to action
  • social proof (if you have it)
  • a snippet about you and an image (optional)

I know. Most landing pages don’t include all these elements.

That’s why they don’t work.

I recommend including everything listed above, but if you have to choose, the first seven will do the job.

3. Every time you run a promotion, feature it above the fold

When you decide to run list-building promos, you need to capitalize on that prime real estate.

As I referenced earlier, giveaways require lots of marketing. The more exposure you can get, the more successful you will be.

Just replace whatever is above your fold at the moment with something related to your promotion.

Like in this example:

Giveaway TechnoBuffalo

4. Include opt-in forms in three to seven different places on your site

Apart from landing pages and feature boxes above the fold, you need to have opt-in forms elsewhere on your site.

Why three to seven?

Well, two is not enough to get the job done.

In marketing, there’s this rule that says prospects need to hear your message seven times before it sticks.

Only then will they take action.

I’ve analyzed several of the top sites in various niches. They all have many opt-in forms in that range.

I don’t know what your results will be. You can test it.

In any event, one thing is for sure: the more opportunities you have for web visitors to opt in to your email list, the faster it will grow.

And that’s what you want.

Here are some ideas where you can place these additional opt-ins:

  • within your blog posts
  • in your sidebar
  • in popups
  • on your About page
  • in your main navigation
  • in your footer

4. Keep creating high-value content on a consistent basis

At this point, you’ll start seeing an improvement.

Why am I so sure?

If you create lead magnets your audience wants and optimize your site for conversions, you’re achieving two things.

First, you have a foundation to scale your list building efforts.

Second, you are capitalizing on the traffic you’re already receiving.

That combination alone will make a difference. But let’s see how you can ramp it up.

Content is crucial at this stage.

There are three types of content I recommend.

1. High-value blog posts with content upgrades

In the second step, we talked about the importance of blog posts with content upgrades.

However, you were working with existing content.

You have to keep publishing valuable posts on a weekly basis. If you can create a content upgrade for each article, definitely do that.

What’s the ideal publishing frequency?

That depends on your niche and your audience.

I’ll tell you one thing.

You don’t need to post daily. Consistency is what matters.

One post a week is enough to see results with your list building.

2. Webinars

You may have noticed webinars are in vogue these days.

And with good reason.

It’s a fresh way to deliver value to your audience.

It’s especially powerful for list building because it’s gated content. People have to sign up to your email list to attend.

Here’s the thing though.

Webinars are a strategy into itself. It takes preparation, the right tools, and robust marketing to make it a success.

But it’s worth it.

Webinars typically run about 60 minutes. It means you’ll need lots of content to work with.

The great news?

This content is typically evergreen and can be repurposed into blog posts or social media posts.

3. Social media content

There’s no better source of free traffic than your social media profiles.

I recommend focusing on one main platform where your audience hangs out.

Post consistently. Build an engaged community. And direct that social traffic to your main site.


There’s no dancing around this fact: email list building is central to the success of an online business.

Make it a priority.

Periods of slow growth are commonplace and shouldn’t be a problem. What matters is what you do to get yourself out of the lull.

When it comes to increasing the number of your subscribers, you aren’t short on options.

Follow the strategies I’ve laid out in this article.

If you implement them, you’ll start seeing an increase in your email list sign-ups almost immediately.

Which list-building strategies have worked the best for you?

Quick Sprout


How to Create a Content Upgrade That Will Automate Your List Building #bigcitymarketinggroup

I am a big champion of the power of email marketing.

There’s no better way to build a community and nurture a relationship with your audience.

It’s hands down the most authentic way to prime your prospects, sell them your work, and grow your revenue.

So, when a powerful list-building technique comes along, I get excited.

After all, a thriving email list is the foundation of email marketing.

I’m sure you’ve noticed this, but I’ll point it out anyway.

Content upgrades are what’s hot right now if you want to accelerate the growth of your email list.

Take a guy like Bryan Harris, for instance. He sees a conversion rate of 20-40% on blog posts with content upgrades.

He now averages almost 80 subscribers a day.

Download 11 Killer Lead Magnet Ideas Templates Updated

That’s amazing!

Blog posts typically do not convert as well as landing pages because they’re not designed for that purpose.

The point of a blog post is to educate, entertain, and inspire. There’s too much going on to get someone focused enough to sign up to your email list.

Content upgrades have changed that completely.

You can now transform your blog posts into powerful list-building assets. All you have to do is uplevel your posts with a targeted free resource.

Don’t worry—I’ll show you how.

First, let’s define a content upgrade.

What is a content upgrade?

It’s a type of lead magnet you give your audience in exchange for their email addresses.

The typical lead magnet, like an ebook or an email course, stands alone.

It is not attached to any specific piece of content. It has its own thing going on.

A content upgrade is unique to a piece of content.

It’s usually tied to a blog post. But there are other types of content you can uplevel with a free resource.

Webinars, podcasts, and videos are examples.

The point is to enhance the value of your content with this additional resource.

As you can imagine, there are several ways to achieve that.

You can create a resource that helps readers implement what you just discussed. An action sheet, workbook, or toolkit are excellent examples.

You can give away something that saves them time, like templates or cheat sheets.

The ultimate strategy is to create something that will help them delve deeper into the topic.

This is where you give additional strategies, tutorials, case studies, etc.

Your options are endless.

Let’s look at some examples.

CoSchedule published a post “How to Repurpose Content and Make the Most of Your Marketing.”

The content upgrade?

A content repurposing guide and infographic:

How to Repurpose Content and Make the Most of Your Marketing

If you read this post and were interested in implementing this content repurposing technique, you’d sign up for this upgrade in a heartbeat.

And that’s why content upgrades are so powerful for growing your email list.

They offer something you can’t say no to: value.

I’ll give you more examples later. For now, let’s get into how you can create your content upgrades.

Step #1: Identify your top-performing content

Can’t you just create content upgrades for your new content?

Yes, but it’s not where you should start.

If you haven’t created upgrades, you should first capitalize on the traffic you’re already receiving.

This is the fastest way to see results.

You can identify your top posts with Google Analytics or Buzzsumo.

If you have GA fired up, go to the Reports section and click on “behavior.”

Analytics 11

Go to “site content” and then “all pages.”

You’ll find the website pages with the most traffic.

Analytics 10

You can also find this info directly from your WordPress dashboard if you have GA set up there.

Buzzsumo is even simpler.

Plug in your site URL and press “Go.”

BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers 2

You’ll find the posts with the most social shares.quicksprout com Most Shared Content 2

Record these in a spreadsheet. They’ll serve as your targets for your new content upgrades.

These are for finding your top blog posts, but the same can be done for your podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, etc.

Step #2: Find the gap in your content

To deliver that extra value, you need to pinpoint the gap in your content.

Otherwise, your upgrade won’t be worth opting in for.

Select one of your top content pieces found in the first step. Go through it from top to bottom, and consider the following questions.

Q. 1: What problem does your content solve?

If you’ve created something of quality, it should solve a problem.

I understand not all content is instructional or how-to, but the question remains.

Think about what knowledge you’re trying to deliver and what purpose it serves for your audience.

Let’s look at this post.

Quick Sprout Blog by Neil Patel

My goal is to give readers the fastest and easiest strategies to grow their email lists.

If I were to create a content upgrade for that post, it would:

  • be easy to implement
  • deliver on the promise of being fast
  • help you gain more subscribers

This may sound futile. But without going through this exercise, your content upgrade can flop.

When I talk about types of upgrades later, you’ll understand why.

For now, figure out what your content is trying to accomplish.

And your job will be half done.

Q. 2: What’s missing?

You know the goal of your content piece.

Is there a strategy you didn’t mention? A tool required to implement your tactics? Something that fulfills the goal but was not covered in-depth or at all?

Find the gap between the objective and what your content does.

Q. 3: How can you expand the value?

Think of what could’ve been included to make your content more valuable.

You want an upgrade that accomplishes the same goal you established earlier, but with an extra kick.

When people consume new information, they’re thinking of the ways they can implement it for a positive result.

Your audience wants to achieve that outcome better, faster, and cheaper and with more precision, less error, and less effort.

That’s the purpose your content upgrade should serve.

What content do you plan to create in the future?

If you want to make upgrades a key piece of your list-building strategy, here’s what I recommend.

Don’t wait till after you’ve created your content to come up with an idea for your free resource.

Instead, strategize the future upgrade.


Leave an open loop.

This technique uses the power of storytelling to get readers excited about your content upgrade.

Here’s what storytelling does to the brain:

How To Improve Your Sales Emphatically Through Storytelling

How do you achieve that?

Briefly mention a tool, a topic, a relevant experience, or an action step in your article.

Don’t expand on it in your post. Just mention it, and leave the gap wide open.

This way you’re giving people a piece of the story—not the whole thing.

The objective is to hook your readers.

Then, create an upgrade that closes this gap. I guarantee you, people will sign up to your list just to get the inside scoop.

With this technique, you’re utilizing curiosity, a major persuasion factor.

Step #3: Select an appropriate type of content upgrade

Now that you know what content you’ll cover, it’s time to establish the form.

How will you deliver your content?

Many people don’t give it much thought. They believe the content is the end-all and be-all.

Not true.

Content and delivery go hand in hand.

Imagine you promise subscribers a quick win, and you deliver your content in a 30-day email course.

There’s nothing quick about a 30-day email course.

But that doesn’t mean this form isn’t appropriate for a different result.

Let’s say you promise advanced in-depth training, and you deliver it in a cheat sheet.

The email course would serve your audience way better in this instance.

It’s why I use it. It works.

Quick Sprout Blog by Neil Patel 1

You could also use a webinar.

How to Use Email Segmentation to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Do you see how the type of upgrade you select can conflict with the actual content?

You want the two to work seamlessly.

Otherwise, your subscribers will feel cheated when they receive your resource.

The result?

They unsubscribe and never return to your blog again.

This is why I placed emphasis on establishing your goals in the beginning. It’s going to help you select the right type of content upgrade.

Here are the options available:

  • email courses
  • email challenges
  • cheat sheets
  • checklists
  • planners
  • ebooks or PDF guides
  • resource kits
  • case studies
  • video series
  • templates
  • printables
  • swipe files
  • transcripts
  • infographics
  • workbooks
  • audio files

These will give you enough food for thought.

Ensure you select the form that aligns with your content and its goals.

Step #4: Design your content upgrade

You’ve got your content figured out. You’ve got your delivery method aligned with the content.

This is where you might have some problems.

Or maybe not.

Designing a lead magnet can be time-consuming and challenging for some people. For others, it’s a breeze.

Here’s the thing.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming for anyone.

Even if you don’t have one technical or creative bone in your body, you can do this.

And if you don’t want to, you can outsource it for pretty cheap. That’s why sites like Fiverr, 99Designs, and UpWork exist.

For those who want to handle it themselves, here’s how.

First, I’ll tell you my favorite tools:

  • Canva
  • Beacon
  • Google Docs
  • Word or Apple Pages

That’s it.

The best part? These are free to use.

Here’s an overview of how you can do this.

Step #1: Outline the content for your upgrade in a Google Doc or Word document

Whether you’re creating an ebook, ecourse, or cheat sheet, write out the most important points.

This will serve as a skeleton for your content upgrade.

Step #2: Expand on your outline

Flesh out your main points. I like to use dictation to get through this faster. This way, you can just speak about your topic and let the tool do the typing.

Go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there are no errors.

Step #3: Use Canva or Beacon to create a beautiful layout

You can also do this with Google docs.

You can copy and paste images, icons, create tables, and highlight text to create a sophisticated design within a simple document.

Then, download your document as a PDF.

But if you want to step up your design, Canva and Beacon are the best choices.

Step #4: Create an image of your content upgrade

This is so you can place it within your blog posts or on a landing page. One of my favorite tools to do that is Skitch.

I use it to take a snapshot of the individual pages of the content upgrade. Then, I overlay them in Canva to create an image.

Like this:

Sales Pages Success Checklist

Step #5: Create a compelling call to action image to place within your blog posts

Again, you can use Canva to do this.

Here are some examples:

600px x 150px Use this 18 Point Checklist to make your sales page sing 1

Here’s another:

600px x 150px Use this 18 Point Checklist to make your sales page sing

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

You can use a feature box like this:

6 Step Sales funnel we used to make 220 750 from our online course 2

Step #5: Set up the delivery of your content upgrade

At this point, you should have all the assets created for your upgrade.

The task now is to set up delivery.

Step #1: Host the file in WordPress or with your email management software

Some email systems, like ConvertKit, allow you to host files. This makes it super simple to deliver them to subscribers.

The alternative is to use your WordPress account.

Go to your dashboard, find the “Media” tab and “Add New.”

Upload your file.

Upload New Media STORYSUASION WordPress

You’ll receive a downloadable URL (“file URL”).

Anyone with the link can now access your content upgrade.

Step #2: Set up a follow-up email in your email management system

This is what you’ll use to deliver your content upgrade. Place the link you got in Step #1 within your email.

At this point, you can set up a system to segment subscribers.

Let’s say someone opts in for a content upgrade on list-building. You can tag them to be transferred to a separate list designated for people interested in this particular topic.

Most email software allows for segmentation.

When you segment subscribers this way, you are better able to deliver emails aligned with their interests.

It keeps them engaged and your unsubscribe rate low.

Step #6: Promote your content upgrade and watch your list grow

The only thing left to do is to promote your content upgrades. The goal is to get them in front of as many eyes as possible.

Place them prominently within blog posts. Do it several times.

When you share your content on social media, let people know there’s an additional free resource that comes with it.

A good way to promote your upgrades is to repurpose them. It’s not necessary to create a new resource for each piece of content.

If you’re covering the same topics, your upgrades will be relevant to other content you create.


If you really want to take your list-building up a couple of notches, content upgrades are a must.

They enhance the value of your posts and give your audience a reason to hop on to your email list.

In some instances, content upgrades are more powerful than stand-alone lead magnets.

Why do people shy away from them?

It can appear to be time-consuming and complicated.

In some instances, that’s true.

But if you follow the steps in this article, you’ll have everything you need to quickly and painlessly create content upgrades.

Why not transform every piece of content into a list-building asset?

That’s the kind of transformation that impacts your bottom line. Try it out, and watch your email list numbers go through the roof.

Do you have any tricks for creating high-converting content upgrades?

Quick Sprout


List Building & Email Promotion

List building and Email promotions are two crucial factors for successful online business marketing. Building a customer database from visitors to your website is important, since these visitors were obviously interested enough to see what your website was about in the first place. Depending on how they found your website, they may have been interested in the product or service, but were not triggered to purchase.

If you offer a free newsletter or other promotional bonus, you might be able to at least get an email address out of the visitors to your website. This is important because it gives you a method to send email promotions that may trigger a potential customer to purchase.

Since the visitors to your site are the most likely to purchase your products or services, it is just a matter of appealing to them by building trust and loyalty. Sometimes, this can be accomplished through repetitive, yet informative email promotions that are not invasive.

Research has found that 60% of Internet shoppers abandon their “shopping carts” before they complete the purchase. The large part of the reason may be that they did not trust the website or the online business enough to feel comfortable giving their credit card number. This may mean that website content needs to be looked at in order to find better ways to instill this trust. It is possible, with a few changes, you can increase your purchase completion rate.

Of course, past customers are the easiest list to build and email promotions to past customers is geared at discounts or coupons for future orders and repeat business if it is a consumable product. When it comes to list building for email promotion, you need to analyze the demographics and gear your email promotions to the classification of names on your customer or potential customer database.

Invite feedback from past customers. Invite questions from potential customers. Give them several methods to reach your company such as “contact us” links, toll-free number, fax number or physical address. These things make customer feel more trusting if they think you have a physical business and not a fly-by-night operation.

The other thing to remember is that your website needs to grab their attention within the first few seconds they view it. This is a good time to try to get very basic information to start your list building. Once you have an email address, you can start sending periodic email promotions, and as the potential customer gets to know more about your products and services, they are more likely to purchase.

Sometimes, things like free video demonstrations, conference training calls and product samples can trigger a potential website customer to sign up for your email promotion list.

The thing to keep in mind is that your website is the storefront for your online business and you have to get the customer to come into the store before you have a chance to sell them anything. Just like window shoppers, they will often come back at a later time to make an actual purchase. The key is to use list building and email promotions to win them over as a repeat customer and keep your name in front of them from time to time.

Learn List Building & Email Promotion with a brand new blueprint called Guru Domination Blueprint. This blueprint contains step-by-step list building strategies that can be used by anyone to build an enormous list in any niche with little time and effort.Which in turn will help you be able to dominate your niche just like the Guru’s do.