How to Double Your Email List in 90 Days or Less

Without Resorting to Annoying Pop-Ups

Updated: September 20, 2017

Okay, you caught me.

This is a bullshit title because what if you have 10,000 subscribers in your email list? Is it possible to get another 10,000 in 90 days?

Of course, but you can’t guarantee the quality of them. However, if you have 10,000 or more subscribers then you probably understand what you need to do to continue to grow your list so close your eyes.

Now for those who are just getting started with their email list or struggling to grow their current one…

You want to add more subscribers to your mailing list because you know a strong tribe leads to strong revenue. You’ve gone crazy and put 20 different sign-up forms on your page, but that doesn’t seem to increase the numbers. Some of the signup forms even do crazy things like pop out and scare the shit out of the reader when they are only halfway done reading your content.

I’m going to tell you right now that I hate a lot of the tactics people suggest you do to increase your email list. You can trick anybody into doing anything if you want to, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stick around. I can’t tell you how many mailing lists I unsubscribe to every week due to them not bringing any value that they promised.

As you can see from the design of this site, I don’t roll with those gimmicks. I either prove my worth and value to you or you move on and I’m okay with that. It just means I need to do better.

In this post, I am going to show you, not just tell you, how to double your subscribers in a short period of time. It might be less than 30 days or it might be a bit more because all of this depends on you. You are your first obstacle.

As for some proof behind the numbers, here you go:

As you can see in this chart I’ve gone from a little under 400 subscribers to a little more than 1000 subscribers in less than 30 days.

What’s that weird dip towards the end?

I found that some people like to subscribe but they don’t confirm their email address so I got rid of them. It was over 200 people and I was still able to jump over 1,000 in this period of time.

Not too shabby.

How to Double Your Mailing List in 90 Days or Less

There are a ton of superficial ways to boost your numbers but the idea is to provide a better experience and increase the numbers. Not provide a shittier experience just so you can increase your numbers.

For example, sure you could do a welcome mat and boost your numbers but at what cost? Do people really want to come to your site and get bombarded with an offer before they get to read the content they came for?

Probably not.

Be Your Audience

First things first, you need to stop looking at your site as the person that owns it and you need to start viewing it as the person coming to it for the first time.

The first time I brought my wife back to my place she asked why it was a mess. She doesn’t hold back and that’s what I love about her. The thing is, I didn’t see my place as a mess because I was always there. I accepted it for what it was, but fresh eyes saw things differently.

When you view your site, you probably look at your sidebar and think that your sign-up form is in the right spot for someone to fill out. They will come to my site, ignore the content I’m creating, and head straight to that sidebar to fill out the form. If you aren’t thinking that then why is your design positioned like that?

Put yourself in the shoes of someone new to your site. What do you want them to see? What do you want them to do? Answers to these questions will guide how you design your blog and ultimately dictate if you can get people to sign up or not.

Improve the First Impression

A homeless person walks up to you and offers you a chance to invest in their new startup. What do you do?

You get the hell out of there is what you do!

A man in a professional suit approaches you and wants to give you the details to a cool event. What do you do?

You listen to see if it’s worth it.

That’s what your site’s design is doing. It’s either the homeless person or the well-dressed person. It doesn’t mean people will hand over the goods right away, but it can be the difference between them listening or simply leaving.

If you’re using one of the default WordPress themes or found a free one to use, then you might consider investing in a pro-level theme that gets you a better design right off the bat.

Of course, most people pick a theme out based on whether they think it is pretty or not. I get it, it’s your blog and you want it to have that special look. Unfortunately, design isn’t just about the way things look. You have goals for your site and you need to ask if the theme you so desperately want helps you accomplish those goals.

For Obstacle.co I made sure I used the colors and fonts that I wanted, but the actual layout of the site is dictated by the goals I have for it. I don’t have a sidebar because my goal isn’t to get you to read the sidebar. I don’t have a carousel in my hero (the very top section) because my goal isn’t to get you to wait for different sections to load.

Pick a theme that matches the goals you’ve set for your site.

Take a look at Amy Lynn Andrews’s blog design. I love it because it’s clean and doesn’t for any unwanted widgets in your face. Its goal is to get you to read the awesome content she is providing.

Amy Lynn Andrews

If you’re on the look out for themes here are a couple of sites that offer a healthy number of them:

All About Recipriciocity

If someone does a favor for you, do you feel obligated to return the favor? I know I do. That feeling is called recipriciocity and you need to use it on your readers.

If you want them to sign up, you need to give them something worthwhile in return. Simply telling them to sign up so they can stay updated usually isn’t enough. It will work for some people, but for the rest of the people, you will need to offer them more. If you could throw in a 10-page ebook or a 7-day email course then you have something they feel will be worth exchanging their email for.

Make sure it is high-quality, though. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed about the free gift I’ve received in exchange for my email. You want your tribe to think that this thing you just gave them for free is something you should be charging for.

Seriously, do not write some bullshit that people won’t care about.

You want it to be so good that you’ll think twice about giving it away for free, but you should give it away for free because you want your tribe to grow.

Regina Anaejionu doesn’t mess around when it comes to her offer. For giving her your email you get an 80-page guide, private workshops, and weekly emails. How could you resist?

By Regina

The idea behind the value you are providing is that you have to think holy shit, I should be charging $10,000 for this.

A Better Sign-Up Form

When I say sign-up form this could also mean a landing page, a simple form in the sidebar, an above the fold section on your homepage, or anything else. You need to make that sign-up form is engaging.

You have some personality, right? Throw that personality into the sign-up form. Here is what most people say in their sign up form:

Please sign up to receive updates.

That’s weak. Instead, roll with this:

You are beautiful, smart, and the funniest person I know. Time to be the one with the most freedom as well. Sign up to receive the 10 Ways You Can Quit Your Job in 3 Months guide today.

Sidenote: I might have to write that as a post one day.

You need to be personable. You are talking one-on-one with a person. It’s just you and them. You aren’t speaking to an auditorium of people that are looking at their phones. You are talking to the one person in the world that gets you. How do you appeal to them?

You add charisma, excitement, and joy. Signing up for your mailing list is an event, not something that people do every day. You are about to change their lives and they need to know that.

Imagine you bought a lottery ticket and you are watching the winning lottery numbers being read. So far the first five numbers are on your ticket. Your heart is racing as you wait for the sixth number. That is exactly how you are trying to make people feel when they get ready to sign up for your mailing list.

The Button

I am in a constant battle with what type of copy (the text) I should put on my buttons. Sometimes I am too tame and sometimes I go over the top. I just can’t seem to find the middle ground.

The last thing you want to do with your buttons is to be lame. Nobody likes a lame.

You want to encourage people to sign up so simply saying Sign Up Here isn’t going to do anything. Direct them to what they need to do. Make the button actionable.

  • Get this kick ass guide today!
  • Give me the goods!
  • You’re right. I am brilliant, sexy, and witty. However, I know there is room for improvement so I would love to get this guide right now.

Okay, that last one is a bit much, but you catch my drift.

Every penny that I earn starts with my blogs. I’ve put together a free 12-day blogging bootcamp for you that goes through every step that I take to build a successful blog.

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Guest Posting

Now that you have tackled the items above, what’s next? You need to start bringing in traffic to your site and a great way to do that is through guest posting. A lot of blogs are open to guest posting because it’s free content for them.

Don’t be scared to approach a couple of big name bloggers to see what their guest posting policy is. Some will have it on their site already. If you do approach some, be sure to do so with an idea of what you want to write. Don’t just tell them you would like to write a guest post without having any idea.

They will know their audience better than you so will understand if a topic will work or not. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs if the topic isn’t going to work.

What should be in the guest post? Value. Your guest posts have to be so awesome that the people reading it are dying to find out more about you. That is where your byline comes into play.

Don’t ever write something for anybody when you can’t get a link back to your site. You’re writing for free, but not for FREE if you catch my drift. Everything has a cost and the cost for you writing a guest post is some type of link that will bring people back to your site.

You don’t want to send them back to your homepage unless your homepage is designed to act as a landing page. Send them to a special page where the only thing on it is a special offer. Remember the goal from them visiting is to get their email address. Not for them to browse around and leave after reading your content.

Build More Connections

This ties into guest posting, but you don’t need to guest post to make this happen. You need to start building more connections with other bloggers in your industry. I used to hate to do this because I was a loner who thought that I didn’t need the help of other bloggers.

While other sites were growing, mine was stagnant.

By no means am I telling you to rely on other bloggers for your success, but the more relationships you build, the more opportunities you create for yourself down the road.

Remember how I talked about creating something valuable for free to offer your readers? The same principle applies when trying to build connections. I’m not saying you need to offer other bloggers a free book, but people will always question what value you are bringing to the table. If you are just there to get their traffic and advice then what’s the point of having you around?

When talking to them, be authentic. Be you. You need to see if this connection is worthwhile and if they can’t handle you for you, then you need to bail. Life is too short to be fake to people you might not ever meet.

Make Dedicated Landing Pages

Surprisingly I don’t see many bloggers do this. If you have spent the time making an awesome lead magnet for your list, then that magnet deserves it’s own landing page. Yes, you will include a form below your blog posts highlighting the offer, but there are times where you will want to link specifically to your lead magnet and that link will be to a landing page.

You can use a solution like LeadPages or you can simply create a new Page in WordPress. This allows you to link to a page from anywhere and also gives you the opportunity to add more spice to your copy.

If it’s worthy enough for someone to download or receive via email, then it’s worthy enough for a landing page.

Your landing page doesn’t need to be fancy. The landing page for my 12-Day Bootcamp is not fancy but it converts at over 20%. That’s pretty awesome.

Make Your Homepage a Landing Page

When you think of a blog’s homepage you might think of a long list of articles, but that isn’t how you should see things now. The homepage is dead in a sense. Rarely do people first come across your site by visiting the homepage. Usually, they visit a blog post and move around from there. That means you don’t need to make your homepage a traditional one.

Instead, use it as a chance to grab your reader’s attention and throw them a crazy offer. Jason Zook does this with his homepage and it has been a huge success. For those people that have already signed up for your mailing list or need to explore a bit more, make sure you give them an easy out with a link to your archives or blog.

Make the Right Offer at the Right Time

I’ll admit that this one can be tough when you first start off because there is only so much time in the world, but you need to start thinking about what special thing you can offer that is tailored to the blog post the person is reading. For example, it would be awesome if I had an email course on building your mailing list to offer you right after this post (pssst, scroll down to see if I do…).

The reason why you want to do this is because you are catching the person when they are both invested in the topic and wanting to learn more. What usually happens on blogs is that a person will read a topic, see an offer for something completely different, and disappear to go learn more about the topic they are invested in.

If I want to eat tacos and I’m in the taco shell aisle at the grocery store, don’t show me milk, show me how to make guacamole.

Here is a great post on Spruce Rd about how Jamie is trying to build an enduring brand. When I got to the end of it I figured there would be a course on branding to follow or maybe a worksheet to walk me through creating an enduring brand on my own.

There was nothing. This is what you see when you get to the end of the post.

Spruce Rd

This makes me sad because she had me hooked and didn’t take the opportunity to reel me in.

If you get a chance, don’t miss it.

Exit Pop-up

I know before I railed about skeezy ways of trying to get a readers attention but exit pop-ups aren’t a bad thing in my opinion.

An exit pop-up appears when the users mouse leaves the window. This usually occurs when they want to switch tabs or press the back button.

An exit pop-up is simply presenting them with an offer before they leave. It doesn’t bother them while they are reading your content or exploring your site.

The big jump in subscribers you saw in the chart at the beginning of this post was because of me adding an exit pop-up to the blog.

Why I Avoid All Other Pop-ups

You might’ve read some advice telling you to use pop-ups to get people to sign up. There are plenty of tools out there that will do a lot of crazy things with your sign-up forms to try and get the reader’s attention.

I avoid them all.


Because as a reader I hate them and if I hate them I’m not going to put others through the same torture. Does that mean I’m missing out on grabbing some subscribers? Of course it does, but I believe that I can provide enough value that eventually they’ll come back again and again in some way.

My design’s goal is to showcase the value of this site and that value will lead you to sign up for my email list. Interrupting your viewing experience with a crazy pop-up isn’t bringing you the value that I’m promising. In fact, it’s taking away from it and that is the reason why I don’t use them.

Grabbing Subscribers Isn’t a Dark Art

There is nothing fancy about adding subscribers to your mailing list. Nothing that I’ve described in this post is something that you can’t do. All of these things can be done with little or no code so there should be no excuse for you in trying them out.

If you do, I would love to hear about what has worked for you.

Did you know that there are exactly 13,783 steps to building a successful blog?

I'm just playing, I have no idea how many steps there are but believe me there are a lot.

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How to Double Your Email List in 90 Days or Less

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