How to Get More Email Subscribers

May 16, 2013 - Get free updates of new posts here

Recently, I ASSUMED all my Twitter followers also subscribed to this newsletter via Aweber.

But I figured it was worth seeing if that was the case or not.

With marketing / business / life, it’s helpful to test your assumptions to see for yourself. 

So I posted this one tweet:


…Got me over 50 new subscribers (daily average is 15) to Okdork.

Since it worked on Twitter, here’s how I to get more subscribers from Facebook; I posted:


Can you tell below which day I posted this??


Good guess 🙂

Okay, let’s check out what I did with My YouTube Channel.

I have been hacking with YouTube to grow my readership which I’ll share in FULL detail in a few weeks (if you’re serious about growing your traffic through YouTube for free check out the AppSumo deal here). 

Stupidly, I NEVER asked people to subscribe to my channel. Do it now : )

So I added an annotation to a few videos asking the viewers to subscribe.


Click to watch this presentation on how to start a business and insult engineers.


And the results in subscribers…


Yea…So… You work so hard to get that one customer. Create multiple ways to remind them so you don’t lose them. 

You likely have more people (than you realize) available to you but you are completely forgetting to ask them to subscribe.

Key take-aways for you:

1- People need multiple touch points to take an action. It’s good to ask them to subscribe in multiple places (YouTube, Twitter, email, etc…). Don’t assume your audience prefers only one point of contact. (And don’t believe the hype about social media being the cure all. Email is still widely effective.)

2- Figure out which subscription channel is the most effective in accomplishing what you want. For AppSumo we’ve found it to be via email, for others YouTube may be the most effective. Spend time encouraging people to go to the channel you find most effective.

3- Don’t forget every opportunity to get subscribers. Look at commenters on your blog or if you’re at a meetup bust out a piece of paper. And did you know you can mass message every single person you’re connected to on Linkedin 🙂

4- Incentivization works. We ran ads for AppSumo and said, come sign up for our newsletter. About 100 people signed up, then we offered them a free video on Google Analytics and with the same audience we were able to get 600 signups.

5- Auto-Schedule your “subscribe requests” on Twitter and Facebook. There’s a lot of noise so it’s okay to do it repeatedly (within reason). I’ve set it up as a monthly repeating event on my calendar.

(Remember to take steps to reduce the number of unsubscriptions too.)

They are your customers in the first place. They like you and want more of you. Give them what they want!

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28 responses to “How to Get More Email Subscribers

  1. Mark Reply

    Cool. Seems logical, but yeah, you do kinda need reminding that people need reminding. Tried it myself, let’s see how it goes! Thanks Noah!

  2. Erin Reply

    Wonderful tips. Thanks, Noah. Bookmarked. You also used particularly evocative and commanding language: “You should”, “mind blowing”, “Do it now”. Works like a charm.

  3. Jonathan Jaeger Reply

    People bag on all those YouTube celebrities for being overzealous in asking for subscribers, but at the end of the day, it’s what works. That’s why Facebook and Twitter send aggressive lifecycle emails. You’ll get the vocal few who are pissed off (and they can change their notification settings), but overall it works well and keeps people engaged.

  4. Chris Reply

    I like that you keep finding room for growth in your own projects that anyone can relate to. Coolness. Thanks for letting us in.

  5. Marc Köhlbrugge Reply

    Here’s another trick that might seem obvious, but it’s so powerful it bears repeating: Add a ‘subscribe to newsletter’ checkbox to your site’s sign up process. If you’ve got a decent amount of people signing up to your site this can really boost your newsletter subscriptions. You can use this trick for other pages as well such as this comment form I’m typing in right now. Why not add a checkbox below that allows me to subscribe to the newsletter so I never miss a great post like this?

    I recommend against checking the checkbox by default. In fact it might even be illegal to do so depending on your jurisdiction.

  6. Maria Reply

    This seems to go along with the “just ask” post. Why not ask? I just assumed that if they liked it, they would join but that’s just laziness on my part.

  7. Joey Elmore Reply

    Good stuff Noah. I recently subscribed to your newsletter (my comment is actually in your FB screen shot from Tuesday 🙂 ) I look forward to learning from you. Thanks for the free content after subscribing!


    Ps. You should still friend me 🙂

  8. Jeremy Weisz Reply

    Thanks Noah!
    You just gave me the reminder and kick in the pants today to notify my friends and others to sign up for my new site

    You hit it on the head. Thanks for sending that.


  9. Mark Anthony Ly Reply

    Very well written post,

    Do you feel that by asking people to subscribe to you that you are in essence kind of desperate?

    I’ve heard a mixed bag where people say give give give and people will come to you, but if you give a slight hint of ‘wanting’ then everything goes downhill from there.

    Would love to hear your expertise on the matter.

    Mark Anthony

    1. Noah Kagan Reply


      I feel you on that.

      Everyone has their own style. So do whatever feels right.

      I’ve noticed for myself that I don’t like to ask for something when I’m not proud of it.

      The big thing I was trying to encourage people is to ask.

  10. Rami Gazit Reply

    Excellent post, as usual.

    In order to lead users of one channel to use others and ultimately subscribe to them, we can start the content flow on one channel and ask them to go to the other one to see the end of it (or a bonus item), while also asking for their subscription.

    For example: start something in an e-mail and complete it in YouTube, asking the readers to subscribe while enjoying the content. Don’t just embed vidoes in blog posts, but continue the blog on YouTube, from time to time.

    I wonder if there is a solution to the challenge that content providers (like you, Noah) are facing, when dealing with the need to:
    1. KNOW for each subscriber, what are the channels that he or she is still missing.
    2. support easy targeting of “the missing channels” for the relevant subscribers.

    If there is no good solution, here is an idea for a startup…

  11. cotey bucket Reply

    Hey Noah,
    I just wrote a response post today about creating and enhancing an email list and I linked to you and the interrupt page. Then I check my email and I find this post. I had to go back and switch out links so that everyone could find this shiz lick-a-dy split.
    ps. I’m pretty certain now that your stalking me 😐
    You the Sumo Noah, You the Sumo.

  12. Miguel Reply

    Nice post, Noah. Here’s one suggestion though. For those of us already subscribing to your emails, it’s pretty annoying to see the same popover asking us to subscribe each time we visit your blog. At the very least, maybe you could detect when a visitor is coming via the email list, and not show popovers to those users? Just a thought…

  13. Josh Earl Reply

    This is spot on. I’ve been inviting new my Twitter followers to join my email list twice a week for more than a year, and I have gotten an average of around 10 new signups every time I’ve done it.

    I’ve had even better luck recently when I switched to using Twitter lead gen cards, which allow a one-click subscribe from mobile devices. I have seen as many as 47 signups from a single tweet with lead gen cards.

  14. wendy Reply

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to hyperlink to my website in a YouTube video for a while now. They took out the old way to hyperlink to a website. Do you have a post on how you did it?

    Great ideas, btw. I’m already using AppSumo on my site.

  15. Jarrett Reply

    I agree with Miguel I have been getting annoyed by websites that continue to have an email subscriber pop up once I have already signed up. Tim ferris blog drives me nuts since he added that.

  16. rick Reply

    One important point IMO is point 2… Figure out which subscription channel is the most effective in accomplishing what you want. eg we are in a certain niche market in which the visual aspect is very important …attention spam of people is very short …