How to Actually Get People to Join your Email List

If you asked the top 100 internet marketers and online entrepreneurs what is the most important THING that you need to do right now, they would say without a doubt,


If you read IM blogs regularly, I’m sure you’ve heard this same advise mentioned countless times.

You probably have also read the step-by-step instructions that explain WHAT to do in order to set up your email management software and you’ve probably even tried it by opting in for a free trial just to see what happens.

Then after your test ran for a few weeks and you realized that NOBODY was signing up you got discouraged.

You thought “awe man, it must be something wrong I’m doing somewhere” or worse “this is all a scam it can’t work.”

Well, when it comes to obtaining results it’s not WHAT you do it’s HOW you do it here’s the steps:

Step 1: Understand Your Users Expectations

The biggest mistake that most marketers make is they see things from their own point of view.

This is completely backwards.

You have to think from the point of view of your audience and you need to thoroughly understand what they expect before they’ll give you their email address.

If you don’t understand WHY your audience will opt-in then they never will.

An easy way to understand this concept is to comb through your own email subscriptions and go back to those sites and ask yourself:

  • Why did I subscribe to this site in the first place?
  • Why haven’t I unsubscribed yet?
  • What did I expect before I opted in and what did I receive?

This exercise will help you understand the dynamics at play when people think about subscribing to your site.

It also will help you see what it takes to KEEP a subscriber around once you get them which is also extremely important.

Step 2: Refine Your Offer

Getting people to opt in to your list has nothing to do with how many pop-up forms you have or what color button you use or the font size or whatever.

None of that has anything to do with it.

The ONLY thing that makes people opt in to your list is YOUR OFFER.

Think about it.  If you offered to give your subscribers $50 each for signing up what do you think would happen?

People would be climbing all over your site searching for the opt in form, wouldn’t they? You’d probably have a 100% conversion rate where every new visitor subscribes.

Well, we know that handing out money is not sustainable but you need to remember this point when you’re developing your offer.


  • Make your offer exclusive.
    Example, “Subscribe now and watch this exclusive video discussion with Kevin Muldoon and Mark Zuckerberg”
  • Make your offer a “NO Brainer”
    Example, “Download my entire training program from last year a $300 value, yours free when you subscribe.”


  • Pay your subscribers.  
    This is not sustainable and it will generate a false sense of success and hurt conversion rates as the subscribers are not interested in anything on your site except the money or prize.  This is why contests don’t work long term they attract people who are essentially “playing the lottery.”.
  • Confuse your readers
    Keep it simple. I can’t tell you how many pages I’ve read where it’s not clear what the blog is asking the user to do.  It’s like do you want me to join your email list or follow you on Twitter? When you’re asking your audience to subscribe make sure that this is the only thing you are asking for or your users will see that they have a choice and when people have options they usually choose none.

What Works Best

You have to give your users a KEY not a REASON.

A key will unlock some door or provide access to somewhere that your visitors REALLY WANT TO GO but they currently cannot access.

Giving your visitor a “reason” to subscribe won’t convert because your one reason won’t offset the numerous reasons that they already have about why they WILL NOT subscribe.

It also assumes that your visitors are looking for places to opt-in which they aren’t — people hate spam and that’s why they avoid signing up for anything at all cost.

Here’s some examples of providing a “KEY” with your offer:

  • Sign up now for access to our interactive real time map of the lowest priced gas stations in your area.
  • Sign up now to read the full exclusive story only on this website.
  • Sign up now to join in on the discussion.

This is effective because it EMPOWERS your visitors.  It provides them with the most compelling justification of all, it gives them something they “need” or were already searching for.

It bridges the gap between where they are and were they’re going.

How can you figure out what your visitors want if you don’t know?

That’s easy if you’re a mind reader but if not here’s some tips:

  • Forums
    People love to complain and whine about what they want and how things should be on forums.  Make a list of the top forums in your genre and get involved with the discussion.  Start talking to people and figure out what is it that they are struggling with the most.
  • Social Media groups
    Facebook groups, linkedIN groups, and Google+ communities will give you plenty of opportunities to interact with people in your niche. When in doubt just ask and people will tell you what it is that they want.

Use the information you obtain to brainstorm ideas and develop solutions that will increase opt-ins

Step 3: Make it Easy

Have you ever found yourself wanting to subscribe to a site but you couldn’t find the opt in link right away?

Usually, what happens is you’ll just move on to another site and this is the same for your visitors.

That’s why it’s important to make it extra easy for your visitors to subscribe here’s some tips:

  1. Use time delayed pop-ups.
    Instead of having tons of pop-up windows hit your visitors when then arrive at your site configure them with a time delay so that your pop up window only appears after 60 seconds or longer.  This means only the visitors who are actually reading your content will get the offer and they are more likely to opt in.
  2. Put subscribe links/forms everywhere. 
    In your footer, header, sidebar, blog post signature and everywhere that you can include a link without cluttering your design.
  3. Use social media sign up.
    One of the hottest trends is to allow your users to subscribe by using a pre-filled form.  The email form works just like any other form except if the user is signed in to Facebook then it automatically populates their information and all they have to do is click one button and their in. This makes it much easier and increases conversions.
What's up I'm Darnell Jackson the founder of you can follow me at FreedomMMC on Twitter, SoundCloud, and YouTube.
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