How to get your first 100 email subscribers

March 11, 2014 - Get free updates of new posts here

You ever have one of those friends or acquaintances who you just know will succeed? I’m sure you do. Bryan Harris is one of those people for me. This guy does not stop. He was an early member of Monthly1k and has gone on to be a complete beast creating content, successfully growing his business, and really making a name for himself.

I even asked him if he see’s his wife very much cause he always seems to be working and creating (He said she’s happy!). Such an inspiration. Super excited for him to share this meaty post of how he exactly got his first 100 email subscribers. Take it away Bryan!

(Read all the way to the bottom to get all of Bryan’s First 100 Email Subscribers Resources)

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When I started Videofruit 5 months ago I knew my email list would be a huge part of it’s success (or failure).

I spent the previous 3 years listening to podcast and reading blog post about how to start a business.

Hint: I wasn’t really learning anything. I was procrastinating.

But there was one thing that I kept hearing over and over again. And it sunk in deep.

“I wish I would have started my email list earlier”

Pat Flynn (75,000 subscribers): “When I started this blog, I made the newbie mistake of not including a way to accumulate email addresses. No newsletter, no opt-in form – nothing.”

Jon Acuff (100,000 subscribers): “The biggest social media mistake I’ve ever made. Email matters. People don’t change their email addresses. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, people join and drop that pretty often. But changing your email address is a hassle.”

I was not going to make the same mistake.

In the 5 months since my blog launched my email list has grown from 0 to 1,573 subscribers and my web traffic to 19,344 visitors. Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to do the same. Copy what I did, it works.


Make email your #1 focus 

Email gives you the ability to bring a visitor/reader back to your site over and over again. More so than any social network.

When setting up my website I had one goal in mind: Get email signups. It has been my singular focus from day one.

I am constantly looking for new ways to do this without being an annoying jerk.

Today I’m sharing the top 10 methods to get your first 100 email subscribers and 3 strategies to attract your first 10,000 visitors.

I will also share:

  1. What my opt-in rates are for each method
  2. How many emails I’ve collected from each over the last 30 days
  3. How much traffic each strategy has brought my site

Top 10 Strategies to Getting more Email Subscribers

Method #1: Give something away

Before I had a blog I made a course that walks you through the process (using a series of videos) of making explainer videos for your website (my core focus).

It’s free and I placed an opt-in widget for it in sidebar of my blog.


The sidebar widget design was inspired (read: copied with permission) from

I knew from studying other successful sites that I wanted a prominent call to action. However, I didn’t have enough traffic to support running a conclusive test to determine the best converting design.

Instead, I opted to use a design from someone that had done proper testing. That lead me to Neil Patel’s blog.

To use this design I did three things:

  1. Emailed Neil to make sure he was cool with me knocking off his design
  2. Took a screen shot of the widget
  3. Rebuilt the design in Keynote and customized it for me
  4. Hired a designer on to build it

All of this cost $15 thanks to a previous Appsumo deal.

Email conversion rate: 2.7% (107 emails collected in last 30 days)

Resource: If you need help with installing this on your WordPress site and would like a copy of the actual code I used to create this widget, I’ve put together a bundle of resources to help you (click here to download all of the resources in this post for free).

Method #2: Use the By-line

One of the most widely seen areas of any blog is that little line of text “the byline” at the top of every blog article. The one that says who the post was written by.

After seeing a super slick use of this space over at I decided to implement the exact same thing.

James Clear’s version:james-clear-videofruit

I had no idea what file to edit to make this happened. I Googled around for 20 minutes before concluding that no one else did either.

So, I went back Swiftly for help. I posted a quick ad and in less than 30 minutes the change was up.

I tied the link to LeadBoxes by LeadPages. Now when you click the link a cool pop-up appears and asks for an email address. It is automatically stores the email address in your email service providers account (ie Mailchimp, Aweber etc). Then it allows you to redirect your readers wherever you like.

This is how it works:


Email Conversion Rate: 0.6% (23 emails collected in last 14 days) 

Takeaways: I believe I could get that just over 1% if I were to change the link color and underline the link text so that it stood out to the reader more.

Resource: The guys over at Leadpages have offered a FREE 1 year membership to one reader of Okdork. If you want to win, leave a comment below. The best commenter gets the prize! You can also get Noah’s free WordPress plugin that turns your homepage into welcome gate. (click here to download all of the resources in this post for free).

Method #3: Sticky Widget

The sidebar course opt-in works great, however I had a problem. Many of my posts are over 1,000 words long. Soon, I noticed that when a user reads all the way to the bottom they had nothing but whitespace in the righthand sidebar of my site.

I was wasting prime real estate.

I began looking for an option to fix it. Soon, I ran across‘s super clean technique for taking advantage of this area. They have a ’sticky’ widget setup on the sidebar of their site.

This allows the bottom most widget to ’stick’ in the sidebar when a user scrolls below it.

In action:


Once again I used Swiftly:

  1. Screen shot
  2. Rebuild in Keynote
  3. Tell developer what I needed
  4. 20 minutes later, it was live

Live on Videofruit:


Email conversion rate: 0.8% (34 emails collected in last 30 days)

Takeaways: With improved copy and a button color change to something more eye catching, the conversion rate could rise into the 1-1.5% range

Method #4: SumoMe

Those of you familiar with Noah and Appsumo know all about SumoMe by now. Just a few weeks ago they released an entire toolkit of free tools to grow your site.

One of those tools is SumoMe Listbuilder.

It actively prompts the user to subscribe to your list. All three of the prior methods relied on the user clicking a link or button to initiate the process. SumoMe Listbuilder does that part for you.

This is SumoMe Listbuilder in action:


Note: Be careful with proactive tools. Never be annoying or intrusive.

But do not avoid them! If you aren’t using Listbuilder (or something like it) you are missing out on subscribers that need a little push to get going.

Email conversion rate: 5.2% (29 email subscribers in first 7 days)

Resources: SumoMe Listbuilder is completely free. To set it up on your site go here.

Method #5: Header course opt-in

The menu bar is the most clicked area on my site. I found this out by using to show me a heatmap of where users were clicking on the page

So, I added a link to my free course in the main navigation menu of the site.

Email conversion rate: 28% (95 new email subscribers in last 30 days from 342 clicks)

Method #6: Exit Intent Pop-up

You may have noticed on my blog that when your mouse cursor leaves the page a pop-up appears. This is called an exit intent pop-up.

It uses javascript to monitor a reader’s mouse movements and keyboard actions to detect when they are about to leave your site.

Then at just the right time it displays a call to action for them to stick around.


This specific pop-up was created using

Since I first implemented this, SumoMe Listbuilder has been launched and has very similar functionality. Either are good options, but Optinmonster starts off at $199 and Listbuilder is free.

Both have easy to install WordPress plug-ins. Do your research and implement.

Email conversion rate: 3.3% (42 emails subscribers in last 30 days)

Takeaway: One improvement is to make exit intent pop-ups that are specific to each post. This would boost my opt-in rates into the 5-6% range.

Method #7: Post-specific bonuses

The #1 most effective strategy I’ve used to grow my list is offering post specific bonuses.

It works like this:

First, I identify a topic that my audience really needs specific how-to knowledge on. Then I’ll use Buzzsumo to research the most popular articles that already cover the topic.

Next, I write an even better article and at the beginning and end of that article I will offer a set of free bonuses and resources that the user can download in exchange for their email address.


These work well because they are relevant. Most site’s offer an opt-in that is completely unrelated to what their post is about.

For example, Pat Flynn recently wrote a post titled “How I increased my Email Subscriptions by 315%.” and instead of offering a post specific call to action at the end of the article he offered his generic prompt to download his eBook about writing an eBook.

Think about it, if you have come to his site to read a post about email subscribers do you really care about an eBook about writing eBooks? Probably not.

What if Pat offered a short 2 page checklist on how to implement the strategies laid out in his post? His opt-in rates would be much higher.

I know this because I have tested both.


My opt-in rates for generic end of post call to actions was 1.8% over a 60 day span. When I started using post specific opt-ins my rate jumped to an average of 14%.

For example, recently I wrote a post about how to turn negative publicity for your business into massive traffic. At the end of the post I offered a guide specifically about this.

Of the 352 people that read the post 74 people opted-in. Thats a 21% conversion rate.

Email conversion rate: 21% (74 email subscribers)

Method #8: Welcome gate

I was first turned onto the idea of a welcome gate by Andrew Warner at Mixergy. To this day every new visitor to is hit with a welcome gate.

A welcome gate is normally only shown to first time visitors to your site and it prompts them to subscribe to your site in order to access the information on it.

OkDork’s Welcome

I took their lead and installed a slightly modified welcome gate that shows to anyone visiting my root domain.

Anyone that types in just will be taken to the welcome gate.

Anyone being linked into a specific page of the blog will avoid that and be taken straight to the content they want.

Make sense? OK.

Here is what it looks like.


I made the page and setup the root domain redirection using the wordpress plugin Noah shared.

Email conversion rate: 14.89% (223 email subscribers in last 30 days.

Method #9: Landing pages from blog posts

I am a big fan of Ramit Sethi and follow him on Twitter. Shortly after following him I noticed his tweets had an unusual trend — unlike any I had seen.

1 out of every 50 or so tweets linked to a landing page with an opt-in form for an eBook or free course that he offers.

Example (landing page):


I just implemented this technique last week by turning this post into an eBook and standing up a landing page for it.

Then I set up a series of Tweets over a 5 day period to see what type of results I would get.

At the time of implementing this, the @videofruit Twitter account had 2,120 followers. The tweets drove 95 visitors to the landing page and 42 of those converted into email subscribers for a total conversion rate of 1.9%.

Email conversion rate: 1.9% (42 email subscribers in 14 days)

Method #10: Contest

One of the main topics I write about and cover in my consulting work is A/B testing.

Which video thumbnail makes more people click play on a video?

Does an explainer video convert more people to paid customer vs. an image slider?

I’ve also found this to be a hugely popular topic on my blog. After doing a bit of brainstorming I ran an experiment. I setup a quasi contest where my readers could vote on which variation of a split test they thought converted the best.


In order to vote they needed to enter their email address. After choosing their best guess, I would reveal which one performed the best.

The kicker was that everyone that voted got a copy of a free video template that they could use in their business.

Email conversion rate: 39% (95 new email subscribers) 

Resources: We’ve put together a list of plugins you can use to host a similar contest. They are available in the free resource section (click here to download all of the resources in this post for free).

Traffic + Conversions = Business

These techniques are awesome. But along they are not enough. In order to get people to join your mailing list, you first must have traffic coming to your site.

Every business works the same way. The grocery store, the hot dog vendor outside of the courthouse, and your blog.

All of them are the same.

First you need traffic. Then you need those people to buy (conversions).

The hot dog vendor gets his traffic by having a great location. People leave the courthouse, they are hungry and they buy.

But how does your new online business get traffic?


How to get traffic to your website

I have tried 12 different methods of generating traffic in the past 5 months. Here are the best three.

Method #1: Poster Child Formula

A poster child is the example that every teacher uses to teach their students. She is the model student, always does her homework and makes everyone else look bad for not doing theirs.

As much as you hated that kid in school, it’s time for you to become that person.

The quickest way to go from no traffic to 10,000 readers is to become someone else’s poster child.

I did it and it got me on Lifehacker:

The best part of being someone else’s poster child is that they promote you.

Example: Gwen Dean runs She became the poster child for Godaddy and was featured on Appsumo’s homepage for 5 weeks and was featured in their Super Bowl ad.

How can you do this?

Let people know when you use their advice and show them the results and impact it had on you.

I do this constantly. It is the reason I have come to know Noah, write on this blog, be featured on Appsumo’s homepage and Lifehacker. I shared my results.

Traffic from Lifehacker (this was huge early on):

There are plenty of people that have had even greater results than me from going through The only difference between us is I shared my results.

Action: Examine what products you are using, whose advice you are taking and the results you are having. Then tell them about it. Use these action steps to help you along:

Step 1: Create a Google doc entitled “Actionable Advice” 


Step 2: For the next 5 days record the URL and author name of each article into your Google Doc

Use or to help collect relevant articles

Step 3: Pick out the articles that are the most relevant and actionable to your business.

Step 4: Follow the exact instructions and advice found in the article.

Example: if you are getting ready to launch a podcast, James Schramko recently wrote a guest post on In it, he gave a detailed checklist of how to format your podcast. Your action item would be to follow this exact checklist and record each step of the process.

Step 5: Write the author an email telling them exactly what you did, how you did it, and the results you had.  Use this as your email template:

Subject: re: your post on [insert topic].

Body: I read your article on [post topic].

I was struggling with that exact issue when I read your post and comitted to implementing exactly what you outlines in your post [number of days since posted] ago.

These were my results: [insert bullet point list of results]

[insert screenshots of results]

Thank you so much for sharing that.

-[your name]

Step 6: Write a blog post detailing the actions you took and results you had

Step 7: Email the author back and ask them to ‘give you feedback’ on your post. Use this template:

Subject: case study on [insert blog title].

Body: Thank you for your feedback on my previous email.

I’ve put together a blog post on my results and wanted to let you know.

[insert article title and link]

Thanks again for all of your help.

-[your name]

Results: I have found that 7 our of 10 of the people will share your content.

And I’ve had requests to guest post and articles retweeted. On top of that, I’ve been featured in paid advertisements and been invited to be interviewed on podcast as a result.

Method #2: Vacuum Formula

“But Bryan! You were on Lifehacker, you got lucky. I will never be that lucky!”

First of all, shut up. Yes you can.

Second, I get it. Excuses are easy. Action is hard.

So, I’ll make you a bet. If you use this method and do not get your first 100 visitors I will make you a free explainer video (worth $5,000). K?


I call it the Vacuum Formula. This is how it works.

Step 1: Write your first post.

The key here is to make it epic and make it long. The best article of its kind you have ever read. Spend 7 days on it. Seriously, it must be good.

Do a quick Google search for the topic you are writing about and look at the top 5 results. This will give you a good reference point for the quality of post you have to write. Check out the comment sections of these posts and see what questions their readers are asking.

Be sure to answer these questions in your post.

Post done? Ok, move to the next step.

Step 2: Make a list.

Use to do a quick search for the most shared articles on your topic. If your topic is on “How to get your first 100 email subscribers” you would search terms such as:

  1. “email list”
  2. “how to get traffic”
  3. “email subscribers”
  4. “build a blog”

Example (searching ’email list’):

Now click “View Shares” and then export all of the Twitter shares to a CSV.

You now have a list of 931 people that are interested in your topic. Now go tell them about it.

This is how you do that:

Step 1: Find their email address

Step 2: Email everyone on the list. I use this email template when reaching out:

Subject: [authors name] article

Body: Hi [firstname],

I follow you on Twitter and noticed that you retweeted one of my recent favorite articles: [insert article name with a link].

I am a huge fan of [insert authors name]

My followers loved the article but wanted more information on the subject.

I’ve written a post that I just published and would love your feedback.

[insert name of your article with a link]


-[your name]

Send this to at least 500 people for your first blog post. You can even hire this entire process out to someone on Elance or Taskrabbit if you don’t want to do it yourself.

I’ve found that you can get the email researched and sent for around $0.30 each.

Results: I have experienced open rates on these emails to be around 80%, click through rates to be in the 20-30% range and share rates around 3-5%.

Overall traffic from a brand new blog can easily reach 200-300 from this tactic alone.

Method #3: Group Outreach

This is advice you see everywhere.

“Comment on blog, join forums, checkout Facebook groups.”

Internet Marketing 101 at its finest. Here is the thing though, as many times as I heard that advice I had never actually done it. Sound familiar?  

However, Facebook now sends more traffic to my blog than any other single source. 925 people have visited in the last 30 days from Facebook alone. Of that traffic well over 90% comes from Facebook groups.


There are 3 things you can do to replicate this for your website:

Step 1: Find 3 relevant groups

Find out what groups your customers are hanging out in and go there.

I am working with a client that has a product for Crossfit gym owners. A quick Facebook search revealed 100’s of local groups of owners as well as a few national groups.


Step 2: Spend 5 minutes a day in those groups

Some people are engaged in hundred of groups. I can’t do it. 3 is my limit. My rule of thumb each day is to spend 5 minutes in each group.

I’ll spend this time skimming the past 10-15 articles. I always like the best posts and comments under those posts. It is also good to leave comments on 4-5 posts per day as well.

Step 3: Post 2 times per week

I have made it a regular habit in one of my groups to have a standing Friday post called the ‘brag table.’ This particular group is full of people starting or looking to start their own businesses. I shoot a quick video and then open the floor for everyone to share a big or small win for that week.


This specific post is usually in the top 3-5 most engaged post for the week. It brings my name to the top of the groups mind and drives traffic back to my site.

The key with this method is not to be spammy. If you are in a group, you should show genuine interest and deliver help for the people in it.


  1. Find 3 relevant groups
  2. Spend 5 minutes in each per day
  3. Post 2 times per week

Sounds great but will it work for me? 

Let’s say you start a blog today and implement all 10 email strategies and all 3 traffic tactics. What will it take to get your first 100 subscribers?

Lets run the numbers.

  • Poster Child Formula: 50 visitors  
  • Vacuum Formula (x4 blog post): 175 visitors 
  • Group Outreach: 75 visitors 

Total estimated traffic: 300 visitors


How about email subscribers? How many of these 300 newly minted visitors will opt-in to our email list?

Total Traffic: 300

Total conversion rate (using all of the methods above): 34.6%

Email subscribers: 100

Question: Now, what are you going to do with this?

It took me more than three years to take action. But if you take these methods to capture email addresses and drive traffic to your site/blog, you can get your first 100 email subscribers starting today.

In the comments, tell me ONE thing you will do today to start/restart/grow your email list.

The guys over at Leadpages have offered a FREE 1 year membership to one reader of Okdork. If you want to win, leave a comment below. The best comment gets the prize!

Click here to download ALL of the First 100 Email Subscribers Resources

We’ve setup a dedicated bonus section full of all of the resources, plugins, scripts and information you need to implement these strategies. You’ll get Bryan’s:

  • Side Bar Code
  • Outsource Byline Script
  • Directions to Change and Edit Your Byline
  • Sticky WordPress Plugin
  • HTML Code of his Sticky Form
  • How to Change Menu Redirect
  • How to Install SumoMe Listbuilder

Download: We’ve setup a dedicated bonus section full of all of the resources, plugins, scripts and information you need to implement these strategies. (click here to download all of the resources in this post for free).

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149 responses to “How to get your first 100 email subscribers

  1. Mike DeCosta Reply


    I enjoyed reading your post.

    You have some easy to follow, and straight forward ideas, that seem to produce great results.

    I will definitely be installing list builder right away to start capturing email leads. As well as seek out a developer to produce a sticky side bar offer.

    Great Job on the post, and keep up the hard work!

    1. Tyson Reply

      I agree, I’m going to add “sticky sidebar” too.


      I have studied the layout of many successful bloggers and have found that GENERALLY the navigation goes like this: “Home”, “About”, “Blog”, “Free Offer”, “Products for Sale”, then “Contact”.

      The home page always includes an email opt in form.

      The sidebar goes like this from top to bottom: “Email opt-in”, “Favorite Posts” then “Offers” (either paid or free).

      Noah’s blog is similar, as well as Quicksprout, and many others.

      Do you think everybody “just happens” to create similar layouts? Or does this layout have an impact on conversions?

        1. Daniel Daines-Hutt Reply

          From what ive seen on other sites, and pointed out on crazyegg/social triggers, and from my own investigations, traffic is normally highest at home, then about and then blog-even if they are not in that order. Perhaps to simplify it, and because bloggers are now aware of it, they put them in that order to promote that flow, but also to take advantage by making their home, about and blog convert with better features etc. In terms of the sidebar, the top item is almost the only thing paid attention to on the side. I think you can even see this in advertising costs, the higher it is the more they pay as its viewed waaaaay more.

          Bryan, im a fellow appsumo wantrepreneur graduate, loving the work bud! Noah, thanks again for implementing the course! It s my go to giude for new ideas and anti procrastination!

          Currently implementing ALL of the info here, on 3 blogs! Ive spent around 12 hrs so far working them up from scratch and implementing all this, and I hope to poster child this formula soon!
          Also, if anyone has trouble implementing the byline leadlink in Thesis, ive managed to implement a work around and happy to share!

 and our blog


  2. Jordan Reply

    This is awesome!

    Noah thank you for investing all this effort in OkDork. It is my No.1 place where I go even without getting an email from you.

    Bryan, great value man! Since, I am into “modeling” approaches…this post makes my work easier 🙂

    Honestly, this is so good that I don’t even want to share it :)))

    Anyways I am going to forward it to my closest associates for sure.

    Keep em coming and wishing you great success!

    p.s. I’ve just subscribed to Videofruit. Looking forward learning new stuff from you.

  3. Paul Reply

    Early nominee for post of the year, imo. So tired of reading the same thing everyday!

    Great effort, Brian! Not to mention timely. I’ve been reading and learning for years (Hint: I was procrastinating) and am FINALLY rolling out my first blog in about 3 weeks. Glad I found your post and I’ll definitely be checking out your blog. Later, man!

  4. L Foley Reply

    This is super helpful info. Thank you. Here’s my comment to win the 1-year subscription: I need the LeadPages offer like a fat kid needs cake.

  5. Evan Reply

    Hey Bryan,

    Great post; tons of goodies here! You had me at ‘procastinating’ I’ve been guilty of that, too. There’s so much good stuff out there for free but it’s never ending! Need to take ACTION! I’ve been hovering around biz ideas like corporate video, building email lists and calling customers on behalf of small businesses. Thanks again!

  6. Bill Davis Reply

    THAT is an outstanding post! Very easy to read, easy to implement (step by step). Thank you so much.

    I’m going to try the vacuum method first for driving traffic. I also really like the suggestion of an exit pop (I’ve done this before on other sites and it works…lazy I guess) and also in post-specific giveaways. That makes a ton of sense.

  7. Julian Reply

    Hey Bryan,

    your post is definitely one of the best I’ve ever read. Thank you very much for your awesome tips, strategies and resources.
    I’am going to implement as many of your tips as possible – today – until I fall asleep on my keyboard… 😀 (If my blog was in Enlish language I would love to try the Poster Child Formula with you.)

    But I’ve one question. How do you track how many subscribers you get from which strategy? Do you track clicks on the specific links or buttons as events in Google Analytics?

    Thank you again, Bryan and thanks to Noah for posting this.

    All the best,

    P.S.: These tips are so actionable, I can’t wait to get to my Computer and start implementing them.

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      Julian, I love it! It’s all about action. So asy to get stuck in ‘learning’ mode. Keep me up to date with your implementation.

      Which strategy are you going to start with?

      1. Julian Reply

        First, I’m going to use the by-line to link to a landing for a free ebook. This shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Great ROI 😀
        (Maybe this is combinable with the post specific bonuses. As a “customizable by-line” for individual posts…)

  8. Tony Tovar Reply

    You made me tear up dude.

    I have been reading your post for the last hour and a half — combing through it multiple times to make sure I didn’t miss a single detail.

    One my last pass through it, I realized how much I’ve been desiring to reach a level of success without knowing what that success looked like and so I teared up.

    Success to me is having a big family and a home where I can raise my future kiddos.

    I took a deep breathe and savored that moment in my mind, taking in every part of what “success” felt like to me as I defined it.

    After that, I stared at the screen with this blog post for a moment and then it hit me….

    Success is a state of mind and we are in the driver seat today.

    Thank you for being open Bryan.

    For being real, real about the passion it takes to fuel your efforts. The kind of hustle required to make it happen, the train of thought required to see your efforts to fruition, and the tools we can use to get there.

    Truly, this is the best post i’ve ever read.

    Thank you.

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      Tony…… Dude, you can do it man. Hustle long enough and hard enough. Let me know if i can help at all.

      What is one thing you learned that you are going to apply today?

      1. Tony Tovar Reply

        Hey Bryan, I’m already looking for ways to update my posts to include resources readers can download immediately. I like the idea of adding lead pages as I’ve never heard of them before today. For now I’m ghetto rigging it to try and add more value for the folks reading the posts.

        The information found in this post is something I hope to implement one thing at a time into my blog. I’m very grateful for this.

  9. Jessie Reply

    My business advises musicians on email strategy including acquiring new fans. I love your enthusiasm and the wide variety of methods! I’ll be sharing this post to my Twitter network and link to it in an upcoming blog post on effective data capture.

  10. Mark Williams Reply

    Fantastic blogpost! Bookmarked 🙂

    I recently started using to create optin widgets for my customers. If you give them a free ebook or the chance to win a $100 gift card you often get sh*tloads of email subscribers. I will try out the many ideas in this blog post

  11. Ari Sherbill Reply

    This is mind-blowing impressive, seriously. There’s an entire course on list-building, partnerships, marketing, productivity – jesus man, this is AWESOME. Seriously, THANK YOU. I’m bookmarking this post to re-read, a lot.

    And, inspiring. Because when you’re working to grow your business, blogging does not feel a top priority. When you’re in “phase 1” working with 1:1 clients and not yet ready to scale up – blogging and list-building doesn’t feel priority.

    …but it is.

    It is because of the powerful relationship built with your list, with how that can spread, with the karma of spreading good value and growing that content into sales.

    The one thing I’ll do today? I actually just updated a new blog post and emailed my list a few minutes ago. I used Method #1 and gave something away (a free “7 Question Marketing Quiz” and “Website Audit” that comes with a 5 page analysis and valuable tips for filling out the quiz).

    I’m busy now working with (amazing) clients and have not been growing my list or relating to them (i.e my email list who are not [yet] clients) powerfully enough. This post was SO INSPIRING that I turned everything off, got the job done in a few hours (blog post, quiz-giveaway and emailed my list) and feel ‘frickin awesome.

    Half of what I was thinking about when I was reading this post was, “Wow, these guys are spending a lot of time working this blog and building a serious relationship with us…” and that blew me away.

    We live in an amazing world now where this kind of world-class content (that you will not find in a University or a typical sales letter) is emailed to us for free to help grow our businesses and help more people.

    Love you guys – rock and roll, thank you!


  12. Skye Reply

    Wow Bryan. Wow! You are a badass.

    Seriously at the top of my list for Noah’s posts.

    So much value and data given. I will be implementing some of these very soon.

    Keep rocking it.


  13. Yelena Reese Reply

    Bryan, I have been in “learning” mode for a few months now myself. It is addicting and keeps you really busy, however not so productive. This was one of the best posts I’ve read on building an email list! And I’ve read quite a few. Thanks for giving me a firm nudge to stop learning and start doing with this one! I just wish it came to me sooner 😉

    I’m adding the SumoMe Listbuilder ASAP and searching for an epic blog topic to use for the Vacuum Formula! It’s so ingenious and sounds very promising! Thanks for thinking of all the little details like providing email templates, which is very thoughtful of you! 🙂

  14. Josh Currier Reply

    Wow… This is probably one of the best, most thoroughly written how-to articles I have read in a long time, or ever. You definitely went above and beyond and the tips on getting readers for your blog post are amazing! I’m going to be using this tip in my own business and for my clients.

    Thank you, Bryan!

  15. Lanita Reply

    Bryan: I am just starting to create the right messaging for my first landing page, and your post inspired me. I appreciate it. I’ll have to prioritize what to do next. Any suggestions for someone first starting off with this?

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      Any suggestions? Um….(scroll to the top of the page and re-read the post)…nah seriously though, you just have to get going. Pick your favorite one or two things and DO THEM NOW. Then add more as you go along. Cut the stuff that doesn’t work for you.

      “You can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving” -some wise dude

  16. Marcin Reply

    Brian, you are the man. I’ve been watching your journey since I joined the 1mk course and you are a true inspiration. Thank you!

    I saw the paid course that you are offering, please ignore my questions if they are too personal:
    What is the conversion rate from monthly email subscribers to sales of the course? Did you decide to offer the consultation service because the course sales were not bringing enough income?

    I’m finishing my first blog post and I don’t even have a domain 🙂 I took action, thanks to you man!

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      The conversion rate is decent. I’m constantly trying to improve it. I started offering limited consultations for several reasons:

      1) Nothing gives me ideas and fresh insights like working in the real world and helping people with their problems.

      2) Additional revenue stream

      3) I like it

  17. Karen Reply

    The one thing I’d do is to properly set up my SumoMe Listbuilder! Now, it would be great if I can get an awesome landing page to work in tandem with it…
    Btw, Bryan, good job on your outreach, I see your name popping up quite a lot recently in the blogosphere, and I signed up on your mailing list some time ago (before this post was published).
    P.S. Isn’t there already a ready-made plugin for the sticky widget? Why did you go to the trouble of making one yourself?

  18. Sam Reply

    Excellent post, with good, actionable information!

    Q. Tell me ONE thing you will do today to start/restart/grow your email list.
    Start researching for my new product – so will ask on two Facebook groups & two forums alongside researching Yahoo Answers for problems people have in my niche – my product will be based on there answers!

    I hope I win! Leadpages looks awesome! Read about them in Four Hour Work Week!


  19. Stacy Harris Reply

    Noah, I actually see Bryan more than one would think. He is an amazing husband. Whether personal or professional he puts effort into everything he does. I’m thankful that the two of you have a kinship in your work.

  20. Amir Dash Reply

    Wow dude. This is seriously inspiring.

    I purchased A LOT of courses on list building that weren’t even 10% as meaty and actionable as this post.

    Any newbie can take this stuff and put this into action.

    The Vacuum Formula is just genius man.

    I have a couple of thoughts on how to maybe improve it. Let me know what you think.
    once you have all the email addresses of the people with the twitter account…

    You can do something really cool to bump the response from them significantly if you’re willing to drop a couple of buck on it (which you should be).

    Drop all those people into a custom audience in your facebook ad account. Now run a newsfeed ad to them that tells them pretty much word-for-word Bryan’s template. Use the subject line “[author name article]” as the headline of the ad, and the rest of the email as the copy.

    Heck, you want to really be smart? Why not make a video saying the exact same message and make it a video ad.

    If you’re targeting 500 people it would cost you like $5 to get to them, and like $15 if you totally want to be in their face and make it impossible to ignore you. Totally worth it. Hitting them with 2 different modalities (email + facebook) is sure to get their attention and increase the share-rate.

    Plus – just by the fact that you’re referencing to them a specific blog post in a facebook ad will be a total pattern interrupt. 90% of people won’t have any idea how you’ve done it and it will make you look like a total ninja. Heck, THEY may become your subscribers 🙂

    Whaddya think?

  21. Micky Deming Reply

    Bryan this is phenomenal and congrats to you on the success you’ve been having. I’ve seen you for a while via the Monthly 1K course and you’ve earned where you are. Keep it up!

    Also the Traffic Method #2 was pure gold!! Thanks!

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      It is by far my #1 strategy when starting anything (even Saas or software products). If I email 100 people and noone pre-orders then I scrap it or revise it and try again.

  22. Halle Eavelyn Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful article! We use and love LeadPages, and are just beginning to implement it everywhere! Is there a programming equivalent to swiftly – something higher end than fiverr, but not so complex as We use WordPress + Ontraport back office. Any suggestions?

    1. Bryan Harris Reply

      I haven’t found anything quite as clean cut as Swiftly. I have used Elance and have a few regulars I go straight to from there. Email me and I’ll send you their info. I have the same setup (ontraport + wordpress).

      1. Colman Walsh Reply

        Great, great article. I use Tumblr for my blog. I will definitely need help coding the sign-up widgets. I got the impression that Swiftly was purely for design, not development. But if you have contacts on there aht do both, would love to hear about them.

  23. Anelia Sutton Reply

    Great info here…this big awesome article have everything from inspiration to action, drama, and suspense that could rival any blockbuster movie playing right now! I’m definitely going “in” with the methods listed. I removed my welcome gate but this post forced me to reconsider it yet again. I’m so happy you mentioned the dreaded procrastination beast which lurks around all of us but you slayed it in a big, big way. Good for you and congrats for your much deserved success. Just goes to show what a little imagination + sweat equity will achieve. Thanks for this Bryan and Noah. You guys are doing some really AMAZING things here. When I grow up I want to be just like you. Keep rocking it out 🙂

  24. Mihai Herman Reply

    Great article Bryan, especially while i am working on a plan to launch my own blog. I started online with fashion & lifestyle blogs, but along the way i realized that it’s not my true passion.

    It’s funny how i did the same mistake by not getting emails when i first started and i found myself after 2 years with less than 50 emails in my data base. Every single article that talks about “How to start a blog” talks about how important are email subscribers for your success, yet so many people miss this.

    I’ve found myself in the same position several times: not having enough traffic to perform split tests (which gets really frustrating) and your method seems pretty legit, especially if you do it in kinda the same industry. People should respond positively to a form like that + looks very professional and thanks for sharing the process.

    For Noah: would love to be able in SumoMe to add a picture to the pop-up. Not all of us know how to code so that it also looks good and might be a good feature for an up-coming update 🙂

    I read a lot of articles on these topics each and every day, getpocket is my best friend, but you shared some interesting new ways to look at things and to outreach. I will definitely try them + please expect an email from me soon with my results and probably an article written about it :))

    What i really have to learn is: how to outsource. I will really appreciate any good article on this topic. I had some bad experiences in the past and i would love to read some new and inspiring approaches.

    Congrats again! 🙂

  25. Stacey Reply

    I really like your style! I have declared 2014 the year of the hustle and sometimes that word can have a negative connotation. You, Bryan, are clearly hustling. But you are doing it with style. Are you marketing to people? Yes. Are you creating content with real value? Yes. That’s why people are opting in. End of story. Nothing pushy or sleazy about it. You are just creating (multiple) opportunities for people to connect with you and that’s what is so awesome about the world we live in right now!

    We will be implementing these tips and tricks on a project we are launching soon. Thanks for sharing your sweat (and analytics) with all of us!

  26. Tim Felmingham Reply

    This article is gold dust. Seriously good.

    I’d love to share it on FB but I don’t see a ‘share’ button, only a ‘like’ button.

    Have I missed it — seems unlikely that you wouldn’t have one, or is there a reason for it?

  27. Galen Reply

    Hi Bryan and Noah! I absolutely love how detailed this post is and how actionable the strategies are. I can’t wait to try the “Poster Child” strategy and I already have an idea about how I’m going to implement this on a larger scale.

    The ONE thing I’m going to do right now is begin going through one of the courses I recently purchased and start going through the lessons one by one. I will document each step that I take and the results that I achieve.

    I will not only implement what I learn, but also go above and beyond to ensure that my results are impressive enough for the thought leader I bought the course from to recognize and want to share my experience as a testimonial or featured story.

    Growing my list so far has been a slow and steady process, but I recently added a opt in form just below my header that has increased my conversion rate by 20% or more.

    I’m excited to take things up a notch with the strategies in your post and grow my list as much as possible over the next few months.

    The lead pages subscription would be beyond valuable to my success because I already have multiple landing page that I’ve created manually. Having the lead pages templates to rely on would make my life 100x easier so thanks for offering a chance to win!

  28. Fantasy Help Reply

    Hey Bryan- This was an awesome post and you are dead on.. You have much more leverage with a visitors email than any other form of contact.. I just started my website and I’m definitely going to use some of your tips! Thanks mate!

  29. Drazen Reply

    Great stuff Bryan, really lots of cool and useful tips. It really got me thinking, I need to use more things to capture email subscribers, at the moment I am using like 2 methods, but after reading this article I will use probably 2-3 more 🙂

    Also, I got like 2-3 ideas for new blog posts that came to me while I was reading this. So as far as I’m concerned you already rewarded me 🙂 But hey, 1 year of leadpages for free would also come handy.

    P.S. I’m a member of Monthly1k too, great stuff Noah 🙂


  30. Abhinav Soni Reply

    This post is a great step by step guide for anyone who wants to start his own blog and covers some of the tactics on bringing in the traffic .
    Another tactic which I found to be useful is writing specific blog posts for people who have large group of following on twitter and facebook
    eg if I have to sell a video courses , I could write a specific blog post which will have me cover you in some way or the other as a case study or interesting facts on how you have been creating a dent in the marketplace
    What this does it gives me a chance to be in front of your twitter , facebook followers or mention in your blog

  31. Sarah S. Reply

    I love the idea about writing a REALLY GOOD, LONG blog post. The freebie on my site is a “quick guide” I can re-purpose into a blog post. I was the result of really deep research and answers questions hard to find in my research. Guess in this case, however, I’ll probably need another freebie since I’m duplicating it.

    Another thing I like about the Vaccuum Formula is you’ve found a way to do outreach without being a spammy marketer. I have a distinct audience I want to speak to based on actions they have taken (in your case shares), and this is a great segue to contacting them that I can adapt for myself.

    Thanks for the great post!

  32. Rishi Savera Reply

    Love this site… more importantly… your timing is bordering creepy. Been stuck with the same amount of subscribers for a while, and then this article arrives in my inbox just as I’m about to do some research.

  33. Daniel Reply

    Great post, one thing I noticed is that your conversion rate on your landing page traffic from twitter is higher, 39.9% actually. You should calculate it from the click-throughs you got, not the ones you didn’t. For one thing your total followers on Twitter wouldn’t be your actual reach per tweet anyway, due to having people online at different times, algorithms, re-tweets, favs, comments… I prefer to use Twitter Analytics to monitor my reach and click through rate and then consider conversion rate separately. Thanks for the article.

  34. Derrick Reply

    Total slam dunk post Bryan. I actually signed up to your “Detroit Joey” formula bonuses after seeing your “Poster Boy” effort on top 10 uses round up. My guess is you told Clay you were getting great results with leadboxes and he used you as his poster boy, genius. Still trying to figure out how I can use this in my niche.

    But great work, very inspiring.


  35. Michael Simpson Reply

    This is Unbe-fucking-liveable. There is so much value in this post that I am literally overwhelmed. Thank you so much for making this! It will take me weeks to implement all of these…

  36. Matteo Reply

    Awesome post Bryan so many good tips! What do you advice in terms of blog theme´s? I haven’t found any theme I love on Woothemes, so I was wondering if there any other good sources. A friend told me to use Woothemes as the structure is better, any thoughts?


  37. James Reply

    Thanks Bryan what a fantastic post. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I need to know how to get traffic to my site from ground zero! Will be implementing all of this over the next week or two


    James (or Jim)

  38. Jamie Knop Reply

    Great post Noah some really good advice in here.

    Just thought I’d let you know the styling on email sub box is (top right) is preventing users to see what they are typing.

  39. Frank Reply

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for the post, I have actually spent the past hour reading and taking notes.

    This entire post is basically a how-to ebook on its own. I would have paid for it.

    Thank you very much for sharing, as a non-tech guy, the part on getting the design up on the site and dealing with codes had always been daunting, but I am going to outsource those task today.

    On top of that, I am going to do research on buzzsumo right away to understand the needs of my topic better so I can craft a series of freebies to give away as opt-in bonuses later by using all your methods.

    I will definitely share my results with you when they come in. Thank you once again!


  40. John Reply

    Great article!

    I’ve been working with plenty of copywriting clients that are new to the whole internet marketing thing and are always wondering about traffic….

    Now I have some place to send them. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    To your continued growth,

  41. Benjamin Beck Reply

    Wow Bryan!

    Awesome job man! So much amazing advice!

    It seems that everything you tried worked really well, did you try anything that had a negative effect on business?

    Anything we should not do?

    Thank you again!

  42. Marcin Reply

    What was your first blog post about and if you were to start a new blog today what would your forst post be about?

  43. Sal Coombes Reply

    Bryan, you’re like a peppermint lifesaver! Why? Because it’s so refreshing to see a new kid on the block who learns from the best and applies the pro strategies… but you make them your own! There’s a knack to that and you have it. What I mean is that you’re not just being a total imitator. There’s way too many copycats out there just ripping off other people’s hard work and style, it’s cringe worthy.

    Noah clearly has a good eye for potential.

    Something really hit home for me here. I am that person subscribed to a zillion emails, podcasts, webinars, hangouts, training series bla bla “learning”. 5 years later… I’m still a learning machine, know all these tips and tactics… but what have I got to show? 5 years of notes dumped in a private Google doc. Way to go!

    You’re right, it’s procrastinating.

    Thank you for inspiring, and here’s to being not just a thinker, but a doer!

  44. Jeff Mesina Reply

    Thank you Bryan!

    Absolutely EPIC post.

    I had just purchased this domain name in preparation to launch a magazine for parents and educators on Apple Newsstand when I received Noah’s email about “Getting your first 100 subscribers”. Talk about perfect timing!

    After reading your post 3 times I decided to just take the dive to avoid the trap of paralysis by analysis and see how many of your strategies I could implement before the end of the weekend. There are a few challenges that I ran into but I tried to come up with easy workarounds so I could push on to the next strategy.

    Here are my results!

    1 – Give something away
    I took a screenshot of your opt-in and recreated the widget image in Keynote. I decided to create it in Keynote so that I can easily make changes if I want to test it against other offers I come up with in the future. I don’t have a course yet, but I figure that getting subscribers will be good motivation to create content. I used an image link from LeadPages to create a LeadBox for the opt-in.

    2 – Use the byline
    I also tried Googling for how to get that link into the byline with little success. I also tried a few different plugins but still wasn’t able to get them to work the way I wanted. My temporary workaround is to just manually add my byline with a LeadBoxes link attached to it.

    3 – Sticky widget
    I missed the Swiftly sale (I can see how valuable it is now!) so I wanted to see if I could recreate the same thing for free. If you already follow James Schramko (check out his post on Podcasting here on OKDork…it is awesome) at all you know that he is constantly testing and innovating and he also has a similar widget (ScrollTriggeredBox – Free) that activates when you scroll down the page. You can use their optin or add your own html code from LeadPages or your own autoresponder.

    4 – SumoMe
    I added SumoMe because like Noah, I love burritos. It’s that simple.

    5 – Header course opt-in
    This one seemed super straight forward. Go to your menu. Add a new menu item to the Main Menu structure and presto! Even though it was simple, I struggled a bit because I was trying to use the whole html that LeadPages gives you at the target URL when I just needed the actual URL link. Hopefully, sharing that will save someone 5 minutes of head scratching 🙂

    6 – Exit Intent Popup
    I’ve got ListBuilder on SumoMe set to SMART which I believe covers the exit pop condition. I’m using SendReach so I’d love to see ListBuilder integrate and play nicely but until then I’ll just have to collect these emails and then import them manually…I think you can do that, right?

    7 – Post-specific bonuses
    I just finished listening to Clay Collins talk about this on the ConversionCast Podcast. This strategy is pure gold! I’ve only written my first post but my next post I’ll be using Buzzsumo to research and then add my free bonus guide. I know this will be a little extra work but from the case study that Clay shared, it is well worth the effort.

    8 – Welcome gate
    For some reason I couldn’t get Noah’s welcome gate to play nicely with the other plugins I had installed so I added an old plugin that I had purchased years ago called PopUp Domination.

    9 – Landing Page
    I used LeadPages to create an optin page for my course. Simple enough but I’ll have to create another one to see which converts better. I’ve got the monthly pro plan so I’ll be able to A/B split test it.

    10 – Contest
    I’ve added a contest to help me get to my first 100 subscribers. As it stands, I’ve got 1 subscriber…and it’s me. I think I can easily can reach 100 in the next 45 days if I apply the next steps, but like everyone else, I’ve got to start at 1.

    Now that I’ve implemented project Email Capture…I’m on to Traffic. Thanks again Bryan and Noah for bringing the goods!

    1. Matteo Reply


      amazing action! Where did you choose your template? I could not find Bryan´s Standard Theme, what are good places to look for a template?


  45. Kami Huyse Reply

    I already have a 277 email subscribers (an over 1000 RSS), but I already see a few things I can do to make my calls to action more clear.

    1. Write that ebook update that I have been meaning to write about social media measurement

    2. I love the Brag Friday idea. I can implement that in several groups right away.

    3. I need to jazz up my sidebar email subscribe area and I like the sticky box as well.

    One thing I won’t do, even though it clearly converts, is have a popup box. I hate, hate, hate those as a user. Also, when on mobile, sometimes they are impossible to X out of. I do like having a relevant offer at the bottom of certain posts.

    Great stuff here. I am off to share this on some groups and networks.

  46. Elmarie Porthouse Reply

    Thanks for some great tips. There are so many, I will have to make a list of all your tips so I can start implementing them. First order of business: Install sticky widget!
    Thanks, Bryan 🙂

  47. Betty Widerski Reply

    I just reactivated Listbuilder after learning that they had fixed the “popover actually popping under header” problem. I like its feature allowing you to set how frequently it reappears to a visitor so that they don’t get it in their face on every visit – but I’m wondering whether you have an opinion (or link to someone who does) about what frequency or reappearance is reasonable? It can be set to anything from every minute to months or years. Currently I have it set to 1 month.

  48. Chris Reply

    Excellent! I absolutely loved reading this Bryan! I have a lot of time for how geared it is for beginners and how statistical you were with it all, I’ve only got through half but though i needed to jump down to the comments and just say thanks!



  49. Michele Reply

    Hi Bryan,

    thanks for the post, just a question which I might have missed but a lot the ideas don’t say that you will be emailing them newsletters after they enter their email address. What if people only wanted that one tool/ guide have you had many unsubscriptions because of this? And are we required to state whether we are adding their email addresses to a mailing list?

    Thanks so much,


  50. dave Reply

    This post is EPIC. Thanks so much for putting this together. The opt in rates REALLY drive it home. I am acting on this immediately!

    -newsletter byline inserted
    -menu inserted
    -sumoapp listbuilder inserted
    -swiftly task created
    -welcome page plugin downloaded!

    and, no joke, while I was doing these things, someone signed up to the newsletter (not sure if it was one of these new endeavors but I think it’s fate!)

  51. Muhammad At-Tauhidi Reply

    Fantastic post! I enjoyed your interview on Mixergy, but this *really* gets into the nitty gritty details. The traffic generation strategies are brilliant and really deserve an article of their own. I’ve successfully used my own “baby” versions of the Poster Child and Vacuum Formula strategies, but the way you have laid them out here is superb. Just joined your mailing list in hopes I will continue learning from you!

  52. Joel M. Harrison Reply

    Honestly, I saved the link from this post like 2 weeks ago and finally got around to reading it. My hopes weren’t too high because there’s a lot of.. INSTANT SUCCESS blog posts but…

    This post is phenomenal. It’s so detailed and actionable I want to hug you. Hopefully it doesn’t take me 3 years but I think I’m going to start with the Vacuum Formula. It just seems brilliant.

    Thanks Bryan!

  53. Brigid Reply

    I think you literally just changed my life 🙂 First of all Sumome!!! I have been looking for this exact plugin – love it <3 Going to bookmark this post now and follow it step-by-step. Watch this space.

  54. Jerry Low Reply

    Bryan, I enjoy your article very much – the numbers are logic and those tips seems effective and easy to follow. I have one question though – when you tweet-market your landing page, were you worry about that your strategy would back fire? What kind of tweets were you using – a teaser like ‘want to learn xxx, click here’ or…?

  55. Catherine Reply

    I love the tip about researching the most shared articles on I will definitely start there before publishing my articles. I’d love to send out emails to people who read the similar topic article but it seems a bit unethical? What do other people think?

  56. Kevin Reply

    Rarely do I read a post this long all the way through. Awesome! Gonna start with the link to a sign-up in the menu bar. Such a good idea and only takes a few minutes. Thanks!

  57. David Cunningham Reply

    Thank you both Noah and Brian, great post with a lot of helpful information for me. I have implemented methods #3 and #5 on my blog, Up Next. I would like to implement method #8 Welcome Gate, but the link for it is dead and I can’t find a copy of it anywhere, wish I could.

  58. Jason Dea Reply

    This is a monster post! We’re in the midst of prep for launching a new marketing app, and of course are leading with our content strategy. I’ve bookmarked this page and am going to use these items as a line by line tactical strategy. Fingers crossed!

  59. James Reply

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks so much for the help. I keep coming back to this post.

    I tried pasting the Sidebar Code into a WordPress widget, but that just shows a bunch of code on my site. Do I need to do something else for it to work?

    Thanks for any help.


  60. Brian Brereton Reply

    These are (as always) great ideas. I would be willing to pay someone who reads this blog to implement these at our company (we don’t have a dedicated marketing person at the moment).

  61. Pearl Reply

    Big shout out to Noah and Bryan! Thanks for this wonderful information. I am a newbie blogger looking to increase my subscription rate. After 6 weeks of blogging I have over 2,800 views and 2,000 real twitter followers but only 9 blog subscribers! 9! Yikes. I need some help and the information you provided is invaluable. Also, you got me over to to check out the welcome gate and I found fabulous articles over there as well. Thank you for your help. I will check back in soon to let you know how my subscription rate grows after implementing your techniques.

  62. Jesse Best Reply

    Love all the content that you guys put out!
    We have just taken on a new member of staff to implement all the advice you guys give!
    We are a screen printers here in New Zealand, and although it might not be immediately obvious how to implement your methods, we are working around it!
    We just built a small blog as a subdomain of our site ( and hope to fill it with relevant content for our readers in exchange for email address for future sales!

    Keep up the good work you guys rock!

  63. Kevin Duncan Reply

    Hey Bryan,

    I know this guest post is several months old, but I had to leave a comment because it’s THAT good.

    We discovered one another’s blogs on Twitter via Brian Dean only recently, but I’m already hooked on your content. And thank you for introducing me to Noah and OkDork. I really need to expand the number of blogs I read, because OkDork looks awesome! And if I have been missing out on it all this time, who knows what other great blogs I’m missing.

    Thanks for the great content, Bryan. And Noah, glad to be commenting on your site for the first time!

    – Kevin

  64. Rosie Reply

    I have 10 windows open, 3 spreadsheets and 2 PDF documents all to do with this badass post!! I have been adding notes in my note pad (pen and paper – so retro) regarding the top 5 blogs on my topic for next blog.
    I have started my draft for the blog, began the spreadsheets from and searched for emails to make sure I could do it and it all made sense… I am fairly new to the tech-world and business and all that shiz-niz!
    I am so so excited but the biggest thing I got from this? RELIEF! It is such a relief to have step by step helpful information with links along the way- I now have a clear plan which is amazing considering I have felt pretty overwhelmed starting up a website, blog, business etc.

    Thank you so much for this golden nugget of information – I have now saved your link for future reference!!!

  65. Jakarri Demery Reply

    I might be late to the commenting party and I also have a stupid question. I’m on a very tight budget at the moment. Are they any decent free email capture services I can use? I probably should just google this, but I figure some of you successful guys have been here before and can give me better advice.

  66. Bob Reply

    Really gotta say, this is such a unique fucking article and your work is very unique overall. I haven’t found many blogs that explain things so well and you do a great job at everything.

  67. Katie Reply

    This. Is. Amazing. I’m going to implement the facebook group strategy starting tomorrow for a full work week – since I know that my target readers hang out there the most. Thanks for writing this incredible post!

  68. Tom Southern Reply

    A host of gems here Brian, cheers!

    Which ones will I be using first? Well, the give-away of course. Plus these new gems you’ve given here: the by-line link, the quasi contest & Noah’s SumoApps. Those are just for starters.

    Btw, I included Facebook Groups as a tip for finding out what people wanted to read in this guest post of mine on The Super-Simple Method Smart Bloggers Use To Write Great Content. Check it out. I’d love to know what you think of the post. Cheers!

  69. Kat Reply


    Loving this blog post, there are so many great ideas in here!

    I’ve already implemented a few of them – getting email subscribers is a huge focus for me with my start-up site, which is an online fashion consignment service based in Sydney, Australia, but sells internationally.

    I’ve seen some pretty decent results from having an email pop-up with a special offer for registering, as well as having a banner on my home page again reminding visitors to click to register to our newsletter to receive the special offer.

    Email subscribers are invaluable as you can continue to market to them again and again, and the more targeted and automated your email campaigns get, the better results you get.

    I love the concept of adding the newsletter sign-up offer to the main site menu. I’ve just tried this and, as suggested, once I get some results will send them through! 😉

    Thanks again – love love love all of your tips and tricks!

    Fox in the City

  70. Curt Eastin Reply

    Awesome post Bryan. I found it by searching for post specific bonuses. I remembered you writing about this and am trying to get it set up on my blog. Strategically, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to manage my list(s). Does each opt-in go on it’s own list? Or are they segments of a blog master list? Also wondering which auto-responder can this kind of integration. I’m just getting started so if I need to switch, now would be the time. Adios and Muchas Gracias!

  71. adam Reply


    I found okDork and all the Sumo apps recently and have been blown away by the clarity and usefulness of every post. It’s almost TOO much information. I just (a week ago) decided to make a transition into running my life from my website, so all the posts have been helpful, but I can’t implement all the changes at once, and I’m afraid of forgetting about them, so I’ve gotten my desktop mad organized and have been saving all the links to articles and all the downloads in a folder for later.

    Thanks guys.

  72. Jordan Hornblow Reply

    Hey Bryan,

    Thank you for creating such a comprehensive guide! It has been a great help for someone starting out.

    I am a software developer at Xero with a passion for fitness and productivity. I’m originally from New Zealand and currently living in Melbourne, Australia.

    I’ve implemented a few of the ideas you have included here on my own blog ( including: the by-line, SumoMe’s ListBuilder (Exit Intent Pop-up) and the header newsletter opt-in. Next I want to try out the vacuum and poster-child formulas to help build my audience.

    Thanks once again for being such a generous person and offering your learnings. I owe you a beer!


  73. Alex Reply


    I have read your article and have to say this is some good stuff. I have been taking a look at some articles on your blog too.

    I noticed you said you tried 12 methods to generating traffic, but only gave the top three. Have you written an article about the other 9 that I can take a look at it?

    If not, I would love to talk them over with you


  74. Nicole Safley Reply

    I’m obviously late to the game since this was posted almost a year ago. I’ve just found after paying THOUSANDS of $$$s for much less informative/substantive information. I’m reading all of your most popular articles and am so excited to find these actionable posts.

    My plan to use this information is to set the strategies up in my Quant Spreadsheet as the things to do to get to 1,000 subscribers in the next 12 weeks. I figure if it will get my first 1,000, then I only need to do 10 times and BOOM…DONE!

    Thanks again! I’ll let you know MY results and maybe I can be your poster child! lol

  75. Ali Shadle Reply

    Bryan – I’ll take you up on your bet ! Today I started my actionable advice spreadsheet (awesome awesome advice thank you!) and I will start to design the .psd for my welcome page. You’re amazin!

  76. Paul Morello Reply

    Thanks of this great post Brian.

    I will soon insert the free updates opt in in the byline. I agree that its important to find ways to get new subscribers without being too annoying. This advice changed the way I approached my blog.

    Thanks again!

  77. Jo Vraca Reply

    Great information, Bryan. I plan to start today with the sticky sidebar form on my blog. Here’s where I get stuck. I am a fiction writer – I don’t write genre fiction at all. My blog posts include my own learnings, free poetry and short stories, and everyday life adventures. I have a book of short stories and a novel published and want to grow my email list. I don’t write “how-tos” like, say, Joanna Penn, so I’m not sure how to attract an audience who isn’t just interested in my work. Is it a losing battle, perhaps? Do I need to change my mindset and start to write “how-tos” to attract an audience who may then be interested in my writing? Thanks!

  78. Eddy Baller Reply

    Awesome sauce article. Besides crafting new pop ups, welcome mat designs, and scroll bars using Sumome, I’ll be implementing a great sidebar subscribe form to offer a free product (that I’ve created already).

    I’ve got a multi-step plan using the various features that Sumome offers to start netting more subscribers.

    1) Give RELEVANT offers for each piece of content, depending which page a visitor lands on. There will be a custom Sumo-mat for each piece of key content.
    2) If a visitor doesn’t subscribe on the Sumo-mat, they will get another opportunity with the Sumo-scroll box half way down a piece, and again with a nice Sumo-pop up.
    3) Results will be monitored via split test (using sumome), and the content analytics.
    4) Adjust as necessary.

    As for today, the content analytics has already been implemented.

    The sidebar subscribe box will be a nice addition.

  79. Marco Reply

    Sticky widget definitely helps, but I’m looking for more. I think I’ll try out the contest method as it seems like a reliable thing to do. I’ll get back to your post when I’ve to make a decision for the next tactic. 😀 Nice stuff Bryan!

  80. Hannah Gronowski Reply

    Thanks Byran! This is the best article I have read about boosting an email subscriber list. I am looking forward to implementing the Poster Child Formula and the Group Outreach! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, I am inspired and I am excited to get started!

  81. Tori Reply

    I’m very interested in starting a blog to showcase my writing. I published my first novel in November 2015 and want to drive people to my website and ultimately to purchase my book. It seems that most of this information is for people who have businesses. My free offer would just be a copy of my book. Do you have additional suggestions? Thanks.

  82. JohnMc Reply

    Quite honestly pop ups should be banned. If you have someone with impaired vision and so they use extremely large type when a pop-up occurs it fills the screen so you can’t close it. Then the user is forced to go thru the process of shrinking the fonts, flushing the pop-up then re-enlarging the screen. Its a visual disaster for the sight impaired. Consider it.

  83. Synn Reply

    I’m currently revamping and getting serious (but not too serious) about my blog. Not going to lie, there are times where I find myself just wanting to give up, then I find a post like yours and I regain my drive. Easy to understand, supporting documentation to validate and implementation is hassle free because you cover all the angles without trying to dip into my wallet. I really appreciate it! Thank you soo much 🙂

  84. Francisco Rodriguez Reply

    Hi there!
    Thank you very much for this post. This is a helpful post to anyone who wants to start from Scratch. I’m starting out in the online world and I have been looking for this kind of information. I’m going to apply your findings. However, I see that the last comment was in 2014… Do you have any suggestion about if these resources are still available and most important, do they actually work? Some links seems to be broken…
    Thanks a lot!!!

      1. Juan Reply

        Looking at this from 2 years back, is this still applying with all the social media going around.. I’ve had my own domain since 1999 and have to say it, i don’t wanna know how many subscribers I’ve lost over the years… ill star this asap, i started with a sub domain back in the day, and have like 8 years with a .com one, but never had the time to put a real professional website.. just my own word press… thank you and hope i can make 100 subscribers soon.. i fix computer btw xD