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6 Proven Methods We Use at WPBeginner to Grow Our Email List

6 Proven Methods We Use at WPBeginner to Grow Our Email List


Many of our users often ask about the methods we use at WPBeginner for marketing channels like email, social media, and SEO.

We regularly share the tools and techniques we use not only just on WPBeginner but also on our other portfolio companies.

However, the one area we get asked the most about is ‘growing an email list’ and which tools and techniques we use.

This article will walk you through the proven and tested methods we currently use at WPBeginner to grow our email list. We will also share the tools we use and show you how you can apply each tip on your website.

Note: This article is part of our WPBeginner Insider series, where we introduce you to the products we use at WPBeginner. We publish WPBeginner Insider every other Thursday.

1. Convert Abandoning Users Into Subscribers with Exit Intent

Love it or hate it, but the reality is popup works.

We use a few popups on WPBeginner. And we try to use them to enrich the user experience (UX) instead of ruining it. This strategy has proven to work very well with our audience.

Example: Exit Intent Popup

Instead of just nagging our users to fill in their email addresses and sign up for our email list, we offer our newsletter as a training resource for beginners. The high value of the free resource balances out the trade-off for our users.

To summarize, we have learned that the best approach is offering users something valuable and useful in exchange for their contact information.

This is our value proposition, which we show in our email list sign-up popups.

wpbeginner popup

No one wants to be bombarded by annoying popups when they visit a website. Helping users get the information they need in the shortest time is essential to the user experience.

This is why we show our popups just when a user is about to leave our website. These kinds of popups are called exit intent popups, and they are helpful in reducing the bounce rate on a website.

At WPBeginner, we currently use a full-screen exit intent popup. In the recent past, we have also used regular-sized exit intent popups, which also worked well.

Why Does It Work?

At WPBeginner, popups work very well for two main reasons.

First, they offer value to our users, which they might not have noticed by simply scrolling through our website.

Secondly, they appear without disrupting the user experience and just when visitors are about to leave. That way, we avoid annoying our readers.

How to Implement It

We use OptinMonster to create popups on WPBeginner. It is the best WordPress popup plugin on the market that allows you to easily create popups and show them to the right users at the right time.

OptinMonster website

Note: There is also a free version of OptinMonster available with limited campaigns and features. However, we recommend upgrading to the paid plan to unlock its full potential.

First, you will need to sign up for an OptinMonster plan. After that, install and activate the OptinMonster plugin. For more details, see our tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will ask you to connect WordPress with your OptinMonster account. Just follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

Afterward, go to the OptinMonster » Campaigns page and click the ‘Add New’ button.

Create new OptinMonster campaign

Next, you will be asked to choose a template or Playbook.

Click on ‘Templates’ to continue.

Choose a template or playbook

Next, you will be asked to choose a campaign type.

Click to select Popup campaign, and then choose a template down below.

Select campaign type

This will lead you to OptinMonster’s campaign builder.

It is a drag-and-drop design tool where you will see a live preview of your popup with blocks on the left. You can add those blocks to your popup or click anywhere to edit it.

OptinMonster campaign designer

Once you are finished, don’t forget to save your changes and publish your popup.

For more details, you can see our tutorial on how to add a fullscreen popup in WordPress.

2. Offer a Lead Magnet in a Campaign

We also use lead magnets to grow the WPBeginner email list.

A lead magnet (sometimes called an optin bribe) is an incentive that you offer users in exchange for their email address or other contact information.

Example: Our UIltimate WordPress Toolkit Offer

Found at the end of each article, our ultimate WordPress toolkit is a resource with all the essential WordPress tools we use and recommend for all websites.

It appears as a large rectangle with text explaining the offer and a prominent Download button. When clicked, the button opens a popup where we ask for the user’s email address.

Lead magnet example from WPBeginner

The same offer is also in the sidebar and appears across the WPBeginner website.

Why Does It Work?

It works mainly because of the value it offers to the users. For beginners, getting quick access to a ready-to-use toolkit hand-picked by experts is a tempting offer.

Secondly, it does not ask for an email address until users click a button. A psychological principle in UX design says that users are more likely to complete an interaction they started themselves. In this case, the action is clicking the button.

How to Implement It on Your Site

We use OptinMonster’s MonsterLink technology for this lead magnet. It opens a popup when a user clicks on a link.

If you have installed and connected OptinMonster on your WordPress website, you can go to the OptinMonster » Campaigns page and click the ‘Add New’ button.

Create new OptinMonster campaign

Next, you will be asked to choose a template or a playbook.

Select ‘Templates’ and continue.

Choose a template or playbook

Next, you will be asked to choose a campaign type.

Click to select Popup campaign, and then choose a template. All these templates are editable, so you can make them your own in the next steps.

Select campaign type

You will be asked to provide a name for your campaign.

After that, you will be redirected to OptinMonster’s campaign builder interface. This is where you can design your campaign.

OptinMonster popup builder

Simply drag and drop items from the left column onto your campaign. You can also point and click on any item on the preview screen to edit it.

Then, you need to switch to the ‘Display Rules’ tab once you are satisfied with the design and click on the ‘Add a New’ Rule.

OptinMonster Display Rules

OptinMonster has powerful display rules that let you configure your campaigns to appear exactly when you want them.

Under the conditions menu, click on the ‘When (Triggers)’ option and then click ‘MonsterLink (On Click)’.

MonsterLink on Click trigger

OptinMonster will now display your campaign when users click on a specific link.

You can now click on the ‘Copy MonsterLink Code’ to copy the link code, which you can add anywhere on your WordPress website.

Copy MonsterLink code

For more details, just see our tutorial on how to open a WordPress popup by clicking a link or an image.

3. Run a Timely Viral Giveaway

Giveaways are a popular technique used by all types of businesses across different channels. Giveaways can be very effective, whether they are used for growing a YouTube channel, getting new Instagram followers, or growing an email list.

However, the trick is not to overuse them or offer extravagant prizes. You don’t want to appear desperate to your audience.

Example: WPBeginner’s Birthday Giveaway

We organize a yearly giveaway on WPBeginner’s birthday and use it to grow our email list and social media followers.

Users get entries into the giveaway if they follow us on social media, join our email newsletter, and more.

WPBeginner giveaway

Why Does It Work?

Our giveaway is just a yearly event, which makes it a rare chance to participate and can create some hype around the event itself.

Plus, the prizes are related to our website’s industry, which is WordPress. Last year, the prizes were premium WordPress plugins and a 1-on-1 mentorship call with WPBeginner’s CEO, Syed Balkhi.

Participating in the giveaway requires minimum effort, and users can increase their chances of winning by using multiple ways to join in.

How to Implement It

We use RafflePress to run giveaways on WPBeginner. It is the best WordPress giveaway plugin that allows you to easily create viral giveaways on your website.

RafflePress

RafflePress connects with all the top email marketing services and social media websites. It also allows entrants to refer a friend, making it easier for users to share your giveaway to increase their chances of winning.

Plus, it comes with fraud protection, analytics, and retargeting features.

Note: There is also a free version of RafflePress that you can try. However, we recommend upgrading to a paid plan to unlock the full potential of the plugin.

First, you need to install and activate the RafflePress plugin. For more details, see our tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to the RafflePress » Add New page to create your first giveaway.

RafflePress add new giveaway

From here, you need to provide a name for your campaign and choose the template that you want to use. There is even a ready-made template for growing your email list.

Next, you can add your prize and select the giveaway and start and end times.

Giveaway setup

Next, switch to the ‘Actions’ tab and click on an action that users must take to get an entry into the contest.

Here, you will find options to add an email optin form, plus a bunch of social media platforms and WordPress actions.

Giveaway actions

After adding an action, you can select it and then click on the ‘Entry Options’ tab to configure that particular action’s settings.

For instance, for the Email Newsletter action, you can add an integration to your email marketing or CRM software.

Email marketing entry options

Once you are finished building your giveaway campaign, you can add it to your WordPress post or page.

Simply add the RafflePress block to your post or page and select your giveaway campaign from the dropdown menu.

RafflePress block

For more details, see our tutorial on how to run a giveaway/contest in WordPress.

4. Improve Engagement With Quizzes

Like giveaways, using quizzes is another highly engaging way to capture more email subscribers.

An online quiz could be a helpful questionnaire, a fun exercise, or a serious survey. In the end, users are given a result in exchange for their email address, which could be a score based on their answers.

Buzzfeed, a popular online entertainment and news website, is well-known for their clever use of viral quizzes to grow a massive user following.

Example: WPBeginner Hosting Quiz

We use a quiz at WPBeginner to help users find the right WordPress hosting plan for their website. This quiz is displayed on our home page, making it easy for visitors to see.

WPBeginner hosting quiz

It can also be found in our ultimate WordPress hosting guide.

This is where we test the top WordPress hosting companies for performance and help users find the right hosting provider for their needs.

WordPress hosting recommendation engine

After users have answered the questions, they are asked to provide their email address.

However, users can skip this step and see their results.

Email capture form after the quiz

Why Does It Work?

Quizzes work very well if they are used intelligently. In this example, our quiz actually helps users narrow down their hosting options based on the answers to the questions.

Another reason for the success of online quizzes is the simple user behavior psychology. Users are more likely to complete an action that they started.

Plus, we give users the option to skip providing their email addresses. While this means they may not sign up for our email list, we can win their trust by providing them with helpful information anyway.

How to Implement it?

At WPBeginner, we use Interact for our hosting recommendation quiz. However, this tool could be a bit expensive for small businesses and bloggers.

A good alternative is Thrive Quizzes. It is one of the best online quiz builders that allows you to create highly engaging and interactive quizzes for your website.

It is highly flexible and supports all types of quizzes, including ones showing results in numbers, percentages, categories (like a personality quiz), right/wrong quizzes, surveys with no result scores, and more.

Select quiz type

It has an interactive quiz builder to add your questions.

You can choose from different types of questions, such as multiple choice with buttons, multiple choice with images, and open-ended questions.

Question types

Lastly, you can add an opt-in-gate to display your email sign-up form at the end of the quiz.

This will show users your email form with the option to skip it.

Add an optin-gate to your quiz

For more details, see our tutorial on how to create a quiz in WordPress, which has step-by-step instructions.

Alternative Options: Formidable Forms, WPForms

5. Free Video Courses

Another popular method to collect email subscribers is to offer users premium members-only content when they sign up for your list.

This could be repurposed content curated into bundles. It could also be unique content made specifically for subscribers.

Example: We use this method with our free WordPress video courses.

WPBeginner video courses

WPBeginner offers free WordPress video training courses for beginners. These courses are designed to help users quickly familiarize themselves with WordPress.

The most popular among them is our WordPress 101 course, which is a series of 30+ videos aimed at beginners. Users can also access WooCommerce, blogging, SEO, and WordPress plugin courses.

Why Does It Work?

WPBeginner’s WordPress video courses are an immensely valuable free resource. Professional Udemy and LinkedIn trainers charge hundreds of dollars for similar courses.

Our courses also provide structured learning, making it easier for users to track their progress and move on to the next step. This makes the courses more engaging and helpful.

How to Implement It

We use MemberPress for video courses. It is the best WordPress membership plugin that allows you to create any kind of membership website easily.

MemberPress makes it super easy to restrict access control to members-only content. You can create different subscription levels and membership plans and then accept online payments for those subscriptions.

MemberPress to sell online courses and subscriptions

Plus, MemberPress has a Courses addon for WordPress. It enables you to create and sell online courses (or offer them for free).

You can also set up drip content to allow users to move on to the next course only after finishing the current one.

MemberPress courses

For more details, see our tutorial on how to create and sell online courses in WordPress.

6. Free Tools

You may have seen many popular websites offering free online tools to do various things. These range from file type conversion tools to speed testing tools and anything in between.

Example: WPBeginner Email Signature Tool

At WPBeginner, we offer a bunch of free online tools. Most don’t require signing up for the newsletter or providing an email address except for our Email Signature Tool.

The free email signature tool allows users to design an email signature. They can choose a template and provide information to fill it in.

WPBeginner email signature designer

After that, they can click ‘Continue’ to save their progress.

Lastly, users are asked to provide an email address to download their email signature.

Email optin gate

Why Does It Work?

This strategy provides a free tool to do something quickly online. Many beginners would otherwise struggle to do this independently and spend more unnecessary time doing the same thing.

This means that signing up for our email address is a small price to pay for a high-quality email signature.

How to Implement It

Some online tools require programming and coding skills and some server resources. For instance, image conversion tools require server resources and storage, which can be off-putting for beginners.

Fortunately, there are also no code solutions like WPForms. It is the best form builder on the market, enabling you to build custom forms without writing code.

For instance, you could offer a loan repayment calculator as a free tool on your website. Users will be asked to fill in their email addresses to get the results from the tool.

Example of a loan calculator tool created with WPForms

WPForms’ Pro plan comes with a Calculations addon, allowing you to perform simple and advanced calculations in your forms.

It even comes with ready-to-use templates that let you quickly add these forms to your website.

WPForms calculator templates

Depending on your website’s niche, you can find a calculator template that you can add as a lead capture tool on your site, including budgeting forms, mortgage calculators, and credit card repayment calculators.

WPForms connects with all top email marketing services and supports multi-step forms, which allows you to easily capture email leads at the end of your forms.

For more details, you can see our guide on how to create a custom calculator in WordPress.

Alternative Option: Formidable Forms

Conclusion: Lessons Learned While Growing the WPBeginner Email List

Over the years of growing the WPBeginner email list, we have learned the following lessons, which we now use as part of our email marketing playbook.

1. Offer Value in Return

WPBeginner users are smart and won’t just sign up for no reason until they are confident they will get something in return. We believe this to be true for all users.

We try to offer something valuable to our users in exchange for signing up for our email list.

2. Start Now

One rookie mistake we have learned is not putting enough importance on growing our email list from the very beginning. The best time to start your email list is now, and you can try all the above methods right away.

3. User Experience Comes First

There are email-capturing techniques that would allow us to do email marketing even more aggressively. However, doing so would require compromising the user experience.

Annoyed users are much less likely to join an email list or make a purchase. An average user spends less than 3 seconds looking at a website before they decide whether they want to stay or not. Make those 3 seconds count.

4. Choose the Right Email Platform

At WPBeginner, we started out with Mailchimp, which was one of the best email marketing platforms at the time.

However, as our website grew, we needed email marketing automation tools, better customization and personalization tools, and flexibility. Mailchimp didn’t fit our needs, so we switched to Drip. See our case study explaining why we switched from Mailchimp to Drip.

Some of our sister companies started with Drip and had the advantage of those features from early on.

If you’re on a budget and need a platform that meets your needs, you might want to use Constant Contact.

For more details, take a look at our pick of the best email marketing services and find out which would be best for your needs.

We hope this article helped you learn about the techniques we use at WPBeginner to grow your email list. For more tips, you can see our guide on how to grow your email list quickly and our expert picks for the best email capture tools.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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