39 surprisingly easy ways to increase email subscribers

[333] 39 Surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers

In January 2019, I launched a new online course How To Write Awesome Sales Copy which generated £20k in sales. It was a fairly relaxed launch, based around my six-part launch sequence (available as part of the course) and a handful of social media posts. The launch represented less than 50% of my monthly sales targets.

This was only possible because I’ve spent the last five years building my email list – a task that can seem daunting when you first start – but is the most important thing you can do for your business.

In this podcast episode, I show you 39 surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers – starting with how to creating an effective lead magnet to attract email subscribers before moving on to how to actually get people to sign up to your list.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

Did you know that most online sales convert at around 1-2%?

Which means for every 100 people on your email list, only a small number will actually buy from you.

If you’re a coach or consultant selling 1-2-1 services and need 20 clients a year, you may only need a few thousand on your email list.

If you sell low-priced products or online courses/memberships you’ll almost certainly need to shoot for 10k or beyond.

Some products/services may convert a little higher (some of mine do), but even if you convert at 7 or 8% the vast majority of people are still going to say ‘no’ to you.

Which means you need a lot more people on your email list than you think.

Don’t have an email list yet?

Your conversion rate will be much lower.

While you might make the odd sale on social media, unless you have a large budget for paid advertising, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make consistent online sales.  

This is because people aren’t on social media to buy. They’re on social media to socialise. And even when they do buy on social media, they are far less likely to purchase from unknown businesses/brands. Especially unknown brands with a small following – and very little engagement – on social media.

Which is why simply posting about your products/services on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram doesn’t work (if you’ve tried it, you’ll know exactly what I mean).

Lead magnet ideas for your business

If you want to make consistent sales in your business, you need to be in peoples’ inboxes.

But in a time when most people are suffering from information overload, getting people to give you their email address isn’t easy. This means you first need to attract your ideal customer. Then you need build a relationship with them. Then you need to give them a compelling reason to give you their email address (and the offer of adding them to your weekly newsletter isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid).

People generally only part with their email address for something that solves a problem for them – a discount code that saves them money or a template/checklist that saves them time, for example. This is generally referred to as a lead magnet.

A great lead magnet solves a specific pain point for a very specific customer, provides a quick ‘win’ and leads towards a specific product/service that you offer.

For example my media calendar solves a pain point for a specific type of customer (a business owner who is struggling to create a content plan), provides a quick ‘win’ (a downloadable template you can use to create a media calendar, including key dates and awareness days for January) and leads prospective customers towards a specific product (my 2019 Media Diary).

My 2019 Media Diary contains key dates and awareness days for every month of the year, which saves users hours of research – making it the next logical step for those who download my free media calendar. As soon as they download the calendar, they are offered the opportunity to buy the diary. If they don’t buy the diary on the first offer, they are reminded about it a number of times in the follow-up email sequence.

One my highest converting lead magnets is my marketing checklist series, which set out the key activities you need to be doing to hit key income goals in your business – 1k, 2k, 5k and 10k a month. These solve a very specific problem for a very specific type of customer (a small business owner who is unsure what marketing activities they should be using to hit their income goals) and leads towards a very specific service – the Love Marketing Membership. The resources in the membership are built around those key checklists, so once people have downloaded them, joining the membership is the next logical step (the checklists list the activities you need to do to hit your income goals, the membership contains the resources you need to achieve them).

I’ve recently also launched an audience calculator which helps you calculate how many email list subscribers you need to reach your sales targets. Again, this solves a very specific problem for a very specific type of customer – small businesses who want to grow their email list but are unsure what kind of numbers they need to reach their goals. The ‘quick win’ is of course getting the audience number you need.

Here are some ideas for lead magnets:





Online challenges


Video tutorials

Book chapters


Stock images/social media graphics


Free trial

Samples (e.g. in goody bags)

If you have a product-based business, you may think you can only offer discount codes as your lead magnet – but this simply isn’t true. In fact, while discount codes can work in the short term, you may find some people join your email list to get your discount code/offer then unsubscribe as soon as they’ve made a discounted purchase. Creating an information-based lead magnet can be far more effective when it comes to attracting long-term subscribers.

  • For example, if you sell swimwear, you could create an interactive quiz (or even a pdf download) that tells people which style of swimming costume is best for their figure.
  • If you sell dog coats, you could create a guide to measuring your dog for a coat.
  • Sell compostable coffee pods? You could create a guide to buying a coffee machine for your home or office.
  • If you sell garden offices you could create the ultimate guide to buying one, including all the tricky questions around securing planning permission.
  • If you sell hair straighteners you could create a series of video tutorials demonstrating how to create specific styles.

Creating seasonal gift guides – that include your own products – can be a great way to attract people to your list.

If you have a product-based business, the key is to stop thinking about yourself as someone who sells products. So if you sell swimsuits, you are an expert in swimwear for women. If you sell dog coats, you’re an expert in dog attire (or even a particular type of dog). And if you sell compostable coffee pods, you’re an expert in that.

Although I sell a diary, I don’t see myself as someone who sells diaries. I see myself as an expert in content planning. The diary is just a tool I use for content planning that happens to be available for my clients to buy (see how different it feels when you say it like that). Not only does this make it easy for me to sell media diaries, it also makes it easier for me to market my product without feeling ‘selly.’

For example, around Christmas/New Year time I was invited to do guest interviews on a number of podcasts on the subject of content planning.

For example:

Four simple steps to planning your content in 2019 (Chris Ducker)

Planning your content for the next 12 months (The Membership Guys Podcast)

Content Planning and Content Repurposing  (Content 10x podcast)

Creating your first lead magnet

If you’re just getting started with email marketing, you’ll probably find that you have to create a few lead magnets before you hit on one that converts well for you. That’s why it’s important to keep it simple.

My very first lead magnet was a one page pdf – and if you’re creating your first lead magnet, I’d suggest you start with something simple like that. If you try to create something too complicated – or try to create multiple lead magnets at the same time – you may end up feeling overwhelmed. So just start with one –  you can always upgrade/add more later.

How to promote your lead magnet

People often ask me to tell them the one thing they should do to promote their lead magnet. The one thing you should do is: try to get the link for your lead magnet in as many places your ideal customer is spending time online as you can possibly can.  So that means trying a lot of things. As with anything in your business, you will probably find a handful of methods that work particularly well for you – in which case do more of those. But you won’t know until you try.

With that in mind, here are some ideas for promoting your lead magnet on different platforms.


Post on your page

Post the link in relevant Facebook groups (only in response to questions though – no spamming!)

Share the link on Facebook Lives broadcasts

Start your own Facebook group

Add a link and call-to-action on your Facebook cover image

Facebook advertising

Post about it on your personal Facebook profile

Create a video trailer for your lead magnet and post it on Facebook

Send a message to your Facebook messenger subscribers

Invite people to opt-in via Facebook messenger when you’re at events


Schedule multiple posts about it

Create a special Twitter cover image promoting your lead magnet

Create a pinned post with a link to sign up to your lead magnet

Add the link to your lead magnet in your bio

Take part in relevant Twitter chats (share the link in response to relevant questions)

Start your own Twitter chat and share it there

Create a dedicated hashtag that goes with your Lead Magnet and use it in posts/activity


Write posts about it (asking questions that relate to the topic will work better than straight promotion)

Publish an article about it

Create a video trailer for your lead magnet and post it on LinkedIn

Add a link in the media section of your profile

Mention your lead magnet in your bio


Write posts about it (asking questions that relate to the topic will work better than straight promotion)

Add the link to your lead magnet in your bio

Invite people to sign up to your lead magnet in your Instagram story


Add pop-up banners with a call-to-action to sign up for your lead magnet

Add pop-ups/opt-in boxes in popular blog posts

Invite people to sign up on your ‘about’ page (likely the most visited page on your site)

Add sign up boxes in your sidebar


Add a call-to-action in your email signature

Email your list to let them know about a new lead magnet

Guest content

Share the link to your lead magnet in podcast interviews

Write guest blog posts and share the link

Share the link when you’re speaking

Offer to teach guest classes for other business owners – and ask if you can share the link


Create dedicated pins for your lead magnet

Post dedicated pins on group boards

Invest in Pinterest advertising

Bonus ideas

Answer questions on Quora and share the link Quora

Review your favourite tech products and ask if you can share a link to your opt-in

Podcast show notes:

  • Why you need to build an email list (7:02)
  • How to choose your email marketing software (11:29)
  • Examples of lead magnets that work (17:56)
  • What mistakes you need to avoid when creating your lead magnet (25:02)
  • Examples of lead magnets for a product based service (29:38)
  • How to get people to open and engage with your emails (39:01)
  • How to get people onto your email list (42:30)
  • Where to share your lead magnet (and how to do it effectively) (45:30)
  • Why you need to keep testing and persisting with your lead magnet (1:01:10)



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LinkedIn Content Strategy Playbook

Episode 190: How to pitch yourself as a podcast guest

Episode 319: Why you should be using Pinterest in 2019 (plus how ot do it) with Eve Tokens


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