There’s no denying that email marketing is effective, but it only works if you have a list of qualified and engaged subscribers eager to read your content.

Sounds easy, right?

Many businesses have email lists that have stagnated because they’re not doing anything to attract new subscribers. As a result, they’re not sure where to start, so the people who visit their website aren’t taking the extra step to opt-in for emails.

What can you do about it? The answer is right in front of you. All you need to do is make it easy for people to sign up and then give them a reason to provide you with their email addresses. Here are nine things to try.

#1: The Pop-up Opt-In

I know. Pop-ups have a terrible reputation; if you misuse them, they can be a real nuisance. Many people use pop-up blockers, and you might worry that a pop-up won’t effectively attract new subscribers.

The key to effectively using a pop-up is to time its appearance to the moment the person reading your content is most likely to opt-in. You can run A/B tests to figure that out.

#2: The Slide-In 

If you don’t like a true pop-up, but like having your opt-in form appear at an opportune moment, you may want to consider a slide-in instead. They provide many of the same benefits of a pop-up without the stigma.

You can time your slide-in to appear when a site visitor has read a particularly relevant piece of content or finished watching a video. But, again, the timing is essential, and you should do some testing to determine the timing that delivers the best results.

#3: The Squeeze Page 

What if you have more than one lead magnet? It’s common for businesses, particularly those with multiple audiences, to target, to create checklists or guides to give away. The key is connecting each visitor with the direction that’s most useful to them.

The solution is creating a separate squeeze page for each lead magnet. The sole purpose of a squeeze page is to “sell” visitors on your content and convince them to complete your lead form to get it. Think of them as mini sales pages and use direct response copywriting to get the desired results.

#4: The Header or Footer Opt-In

Perhaps you’ve tested pop-ups and slide-ins and found that they don’t work for your target audience. If that’s the case, you might consider putting your opt-in form at the very top of your page or the very bottom.

The header opt-in works like the toolbar option – it will be one of the first things your site visitors see. A footer opt-in can be there when a visitor has finished reading or watching your content. If they have found the content relevant and valuable, the chances are that they’ll be in the right frame of mind to provide an email address so they don’t miss out on your future content. Consider something like FREE Weekly Marketing Tips in Your Inbox to capture readers’ attention and clarify what they’ll get if they subscribe.

#5: The Exit Intent Opt-In 

One of the best times to capture leads is when a visitor navigates from your page. They’re at the point where they have finished reading your content and are, in theory, primed for a request to get additional content from you for free.

Exit intent opt-ins can be in the form of a pop-up. They appear when the user either hits the back button or tries to close out of the page. Like pop-ups, exit intent opt-ins can be used in the wrong way. For example, some sites don’t allow visitors to leave without opting in. That’s not a good idea because it can frustrate visitors when you want them to provide an email address.

#6: Blog Sidebar

If you’ve got a blog that gets a decent amount of traffic, you can use its popularity to attract more subscribers to your list by adding a subscription sidebar to the main blog page. With a sidebar, people who read your posts have an easy way to see more of your content.

Your opt-in could allow people to get updates when posting new blog content and receive coupons and offers. Just specify what opting in means so people know what they’re getting.

#7: The Comment Check Box

If you have a blog, you may consider adding a subscribe checkbox in the comment field. People who use this technique usually put it at the bottom next to or directly beneath the Post Comment button, making it impossible to miss.

This option is particularly effective if you already require visitors to enter their email if they want to leave a comment. In addition, the checkbox adds a subscription with a single click – what could be easier?

#8: Ecommerce Opt-Ins 

The final option you may want to consider is to give people a way to opt-in on your eCommerce site. Two examples are these:

  • Show a pop-up offering a coupon or discount code for people who opt-in
  • Include a checkbox on your purchase page for people to opt in after buying your products

People who have visited a sales page or bought a product are likely to be in the right frame of mind to want to hear more from you – so you might as well make it easy for them to do so!


Building your email list is essential if you want to grow your business. The nine possibilities we’ve listed here can help you do it in a way that appeals to your visitors and help you attract the leads and customers you deserve.