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Growing your email list: Five Case Studies

Case Studies

This past month, if you haven’t noticed, we have talked about email marketing at the MainWP blog. We talked about reasons to grow an email list, resources to help you grow your email list and how you can better convert your emails to customers.

In this post, we are going to visit five case studies that discuss a technique used to grow their email list. The number may not be typical, but the techniques can be applied quickly and you will begin to see an increase in sign ups. You will need to be consistent and patient. You will also need to have traffic to find subscribers.

Let’s take a look at the five case studies to improve email sign ups.

Five Case Studies

Code in WP

[Case Study PART 1] From 0 to 4,000 … How We Grew Our Email List – Our Stats, Tools, Opt-in Forms

Launched in 2013 by  Ionut Neagu, Code in WP is a blog about “all things WordPress.” The site boasts various kinds of content including tutorials, lists, research heavy posts, and, in this case, a case study. The article was written by Code in WP team member Karol K.

A few takeaways from this article include they have multiple places on their blog to sign up, they have tapped into some of the best WordPress tools for getting subscribers, and, they have found content upgrades have tremendous success.

If you are looking for direct takeaways from the blog post itself, the author includes those:

Oh, and if you’re looking for a direct takeaway from this part, this is it:

Do four things when it comes to your email marketing:

  1. Set up conversion tracking on your site – so you know what content brings subscribers. Then create even more content like that.
  2. Get a tool like OptinMonster or a free alternative and experiment with different forms, “MonsterLinks,” pop-ups. This stuff works.
  3. Create some content upgrades.
  4. Create some content upgrades! Really! For us, they bring 831%-1613% better results than standard forms.
Content upgrades 'bring 831%-1613% better results than standard forms.' @codeinwpClick To Tweet



[Case Study] How Kindlepreneur Increased Customer Retention 72% Using Content Upgrades

The OptinMonster blog always has good information for marketing and WordPress. The blog, of course, is the home blog for the WordPress email marketing tool OptinMonster. This post was written by veteran WordPress developer Angie Meeks.

In this post, Meeks talks about the blog Kindlepreneur who used the OptinMonster Exit Intent, MonsterLinks, plus a content upgrade to keep customers on the site and increase email subscribers.

According to the post, Kindlepreneur implemented a content upgrade on one of it’s most important blog posts, How To Create A Professional Author Page In Amazon Author Central. The result was over 72%.


Authors who visit this article are clearly looking for book promotion opportunities. As helpful as the list of 100 websites is, busy authors often don’t always have time to wade through all 100 sites.

Rather than leave these readers empty-handed, Dave created a PDF of his top 10 favorite promotion sites. He then offered it as a downsell in this simple exit-intent overlay.

Content Snare

How a giveaway helped double our email list in 2 days

Content Snare is a new application in the WordPress ecosystem helping WordPress professionals gather content using its system to design a walk through method. The platform was developed by Aktura Technology in Australia. They have used content marketing to help get the word out about their product.

One of the strategies that Content Snare employed was a giveaway using UpViral. In two days, they doubled their pre-launch email list. Additionally, they expanded their reach socially as well as traffic.

Some Results

UpViral wasn’t without it’s quirks, but once we got it running… the results are clear.

In total, we had:

  • Almost 9000 referred website visits
  • 1236 social media shares directly from the widget
  • Many people sharing into private groups (not included in the above)
  • Email list doubling (550 – 1100) in 2 days
  • 50% compound conversion (for every 2 people, they’d bring in one more)
Using @getupviral @contentsnare doubled their pre launch email list in two days. Click To Tweet


How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade)

Backlinko is the fantastic, well-respected blog that Brian Dean started a few years back to document some of the tactics he learned along the way. It has since skyrocketed to one of the most visited blogs and Brian is credited for the Skyscraper Technique, a blog post which uses a high-value blog and creates and improve into a better post.

One of the things that Brian shows in his tactics is the use of Content Upgrade. Brian tells that he got the idea from Kim Roach.

Dean, in his Brian Dean fashion, goes into the why’s and how’s he executes this technique and gives the incredible results.

One Day. Two Links. 785% Increase in Conversions.

Talking content upgrades, 'One Day. Two Links. 785% Increase in Conversions.' @BacklinkoClick To Tweet

Imagine if you had the kind of traffic and valuable posts that Brian does. Content Upgrades can be a game changer.



If you want to grow your email list (FAST) there’s one thing you need to know:

Traditional bribes like free reports and email courses don’t have nearly the same juice that they used to.


What CAN you offer that gets people to fork over their email address?

The Content Upgrade.

It’s a simple strategy that instantly increased my conversion rate from .54%. to 4.82%.

Gregory Ciotti

Guest Blogging Strategies that Helped Grow 36,733 Email Subscribers

There is no doubt that, when executed well, a good guest post can rocket your email subscribers. The story has been told over[link] and over[another link] on the interwebs. Fewer are as impressive as Gregory Ciotti’s story.

Ciotti refined his craft while working with Help Scout’s blog growing it to a staggering 4 million readers per year.  On his blog, he writes about many of the things he has learned.

Now, Ciotti makes a terrific point about guest blogging posts,

This is likely the millionth article published on guest blogging—do I win a prize?—so instead of running through the gauntlet of baby steps that everyone else covers, I’m simply going to share the somewhat different things I’ve tried that have worked for us in the past 14 months.

He has some very valuable, implement-now tactics including his idea for a closing (I’m going to start using this one), picking winning topics, how to use reuse research, creating a post with shelf life, and how to use syndication.

Back to You

In previous posts, we have noted a number various tactics to grow an email list. Content upgrades, giveaways, guest posting, and multiple signup points can make a huge difference when trying to grow your email list.

You may not experience a 785% increase in conversions, but you can begin to move forward growing your list. Each new subscriber represents a new prospect that you can sell your products and services to, thus generating revenue.

Have you had good results using some of these techniques to grow your email list?

So, back to you. Tell us some of the tactics and your results in the comments below.

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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