How I Increased Email Subscriptions By 700% In 3 Weeks

The following is a guest post by Randy from Arkansasgambler.com. Randy had one of his interns work on capturing email leads for his Twilight news site. The campaign has been very successful, so he is sharing what he did to increase email subscriptions by more than 700% in 3 weeks.

Background Information

The Twilight craze has been a welcome addition to my web portfolio. About a year ago, I started a Twilight news and gossip site for my wife and family to play with. I set up a WordPress template and let the ladies go to work. As my wife was adding content, I began to monetize the website with a variety of products including Google AdSense, eBay, affiliate products, and an email subscriber list.

Things start to pick up, but other projects take precedence

After just a few short months, the site was getting good traffic. Some days it was getting 2000 to 3000 visitors. At this point, the site was doing well, generating a little bit of money each day without a lot of effort. Unfortunately, it ended up taking a back seat to some other projects. My main niche is the gaming niche, and I had a lot of gaming opportunities that needed attention just as the Twilight site was becoming established. My Twilight site began to fall out of favor a bit, but it continued to churn out a few dollars per day in commissions, with no attention being paid.

Besides generating a little bit of cash, I was also collecting a few email addresses per day. Back when I created the site, I had quickly set up an Aweber Lightbox form. Even though the campaign was only capturing a few leads per day, the people who signed up were very responsive to any updates we were sending them. Each time I sent out a letter to the subscribers, a good percentage of them opened the email, and clicked on links that were embedded in the email. This consistently resulted in a few sales, as well as increased activity on the main site via the linked articles.

Twilight: New Moon approaches

A few weeks before the second installment in the Twilight series was released, organic traffic began to increase on the site. I had my programmer install a new template that was more optimized for AdSense and the other banner ads on the site. This resulted in a 4 time increase in AdSense revenue per visitor, and a small increase in affiliate sales through banners.

At this point, 1-3 people per week were signing up for my email newsletter per day. Being the lucky guy that I am, I had been approached a month prior by an old friend of mine in the gaming industry, Greg. Greg is working on his own sites right now, AirbenderGear.com and SteelersGear.net, but he had not yet started those sites and was looking for something to do. He had just finished setting up an email capture campaign for me on one of my poker strategy sites and the campaign has been doing really well. I figured it would be a good idea to have him look at the Twilight site to see if he could jump start that email campaign. After looking through Aweber for a few minutes, he wrote to me on Skype saying that he “just wet himself.” I would soon find out why.

Start with a split test

The first thing Greg did was implement a split test. Originally, I had set up a quick Lightbox with just a quick message and a signup form to enter name and email. That popup box converted at less than 0.5%. In other words, for every 200 unique visits to TwilightGear, only 1 person entered their email. Greg looked at that and thought it was very low. The email campaign that he set up for Feltpoker was converting at nearly 25%, so we both thought there was room for improvement in the Twilight email campaign. (Side Note: The Feltpoker email campaign converts so well because I targeted it at people who were looking for specific strategy information. I gathered some information that a lot of the people were looking for, and made it into an eBook, which is used as an incentive for signing up to for the email newsletter. With the twilight site, we are running the campaign without incentive for now, which produces a lower conversion rate.)

We knew that it was possible to increase conversion rate, even for a less targeted campaign like the Twilight campaign. So I had Greg set up a split test. He made four different forms, and we let them run for about a week. One form was the original one, one was a slightly modded version of the original, one had a picture of Taylor Lautner, and one had a picture of Robert Pattinson. Every time a unique visitor landed at Twilightgear.net, it triggered a rotation of one version of these forms (This is super easy to set up in Aweber).

Results of the Split Test

After about 100k unique visitors, we had a clear winner. For whatever reason, unexplainable by us, the Robert Pattinson form converted four times better than all the other ones. The other three forms In the split test maintained a less than 0.5% conversion rate, while the Robert Pattinson form converted at 2%. We ended the split test, and let the RP form run 100% of the time.

Timely Implementation

Finding a higher-converting email signup form was something I’m glad I did, when I did. As Twilight: New Moon approached, TwilightGear’s traffic increased by nearly 10x. There were days where I was getting 30k uniques. I had to upgrade my server just to keep up with demand. The implementation of the new email signup form allowed me to take full advantage of the high traffic. The first day that I implemented the new form, over 100 people submitted their email address into my form. Even though the traffic has dwindled a bit over the past few weeks, and will probably continue to dwindle, I’m still seeing 20-30 people per day submitting their email address.

Aweber Sub

Aweber Subs

Lessons to Learn

If you have a site that is related to a big event, do some optimization and take advantage of the anticipated increase in traffic. For me, a new twilight movie means huge increases in traffic. I did some optimization before New Moon came out which resulted in big increases in my short term and long term bottom line. This can be applied to all sorts of industries besides movies. If you have a site about an NFL team, do some optimization testing before the NFL draft, before the season starts, or before the playoffs start if the team will make the playoffs. If you have a site about tournament poker, do something related to the WSOP before it starts.

Split testing is very important. The most important word in the previous sentence is TEST. Like I said before, I had no idea that a Robert Pattinson form would perform better than a Taylor Lautner form. The only way to find this out is to test. When people say stuff like “the key to internet marketing is to not give up,” this is what they are talking about. You won’t succeed every time you try something, but you will find something that works if you keep trying to make something work. Almost every traffic source has a combination of things that can be made to work with it.

What’s next?

I am writing a follow-up article based on the next step in optimizing this email list. The percentage of people who enter their email address into the signup form, then opt-in (confirm by clicking on link in email) is hovering around ~40% for the Twilight list. The poker strategy list opts in at more than double that rate; nearly 90%. What’s the difference between the two lists? The poker strategy list offers an incentive for joining; a poker strategy guide. The next step for the optimizing the Twilight list is to offer an incentive for joining. I’m not exactly sure what that incentive will be, but I’ll think of something, and then I’ll let you know how it goes.

Try Aweber for Only $1.00

If your blog doesn’t have an email list, you are leaving a ton of money on the table. My mailing list is the number one reason why my blog makes income that it does. Aweber is the best email service I have ever used. Their feature set is beyond anything else in the industry and this new Web Form Generator just put them another light year ahead.

Aweber offers a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts and follow ups. It’s a great way to test drive Aweber to see what it can do for your blog. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you find that email marketing is not for you, contact Aweber within 30 days and they’ll give you the $1 back.

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47 thoughts on “How I Increased Email Subscriptions By 700% In 3 Weeks”

  1. chester says:

    I’m starting to learn more about split tests. So much potential with A/B testing.

  2. Wess Stewart says:

    That’s awesome…but I’m still staying the crap away from Twilight. *snicker*

    1. It’s meant for 12 year old girls really. Have you heard of True Blood? It’s a vampire show for a more mature audience and I quite enjoy it. It’s on HBO if you wanna catch it.

      1. We don’t get True Blood here in South Africa, but I was fortunate enough to have both series one and two at my disposal over the xmas holidays. I thoroughly enjoyed them, but the theme song is what really sticks with me – “….when you came in the air went out…..I want to do real bad things with you….” Awesome stuff!

    2. There’s lots of stuff you can capitalize on from the Twilight, it doesn’t just have to be about vampires. Think outside the box.

  3. I signed up for aweber and have loved it ever since, great way to build up a mailing list.

  4. This is an amazing story!

    I should have acted on the Twilight craze. I never thought I’d make any money from it and here you are… I should be the one running this site not you! 😛

    1. American Idol is another one of those trands you can make some bank from.

      1. The new season of Biggest Loser is starting up soon too.

  5. Jeff Bode says:

    Yes without split testing you are leaving a lot of money on the table… it must be the extra effort (especially when you have several projects going on) that scares people away from split testing

  6. Building a high quantity and quality email list ain’t easy. But you have prove that it can be done. Great post! 🙂

    1. It’s not the easiest thing to do , but if you focus and concentrate on it, the payoffs are well worth the time it took to build.

  7. It’s always great to capitalize on the trends such as Twilight. That can make you a lot of money.

  8. Nick Aviles says:

    Certainly a very informative post and an educational one too. Thanks for posting your email campaign results.

  9. Dot Com Note says:

    Is it another plug for Aweber affiliate commission? May be may be not.

  10. George says:

    Wow, awesome info. Thank you! I actually need to do some testing on the forms on our site too.

    Have you checked marketingexperiments.com? They have the best online marketing info I have found so far. They heavily emphasize split testing too.

  11. toufan says:

    nice idea bos ..i really need to increase my email subscriber …

  12. Krish says:

    Thanx for sharing the info.A real informative post on building email lists. I’m trying to build my email list & this helps me a lot..Looking to get more such useful info…

    -Krish

  13. I have seen a major increase when split testing Aweber is the best when it comes to email marketing.

  14. I’ve encountered a few clients that resist split testing quite aggressively. It always turns out that these same people are usually the ones who profit the most from it.

    Great article!

    1. Greg says:

      I really don’t understand why someone would “resist” split testing. Talk about being scared of change!

  15. Split Testing is vital to any online campaign. Period.

  16. Jonny Nguyen says:

    yes, I agree with you, I am working on it.

  17. S Ahsan says:

    This is amazing indeed ! I will be implementing aweber in a few days. Besides the blog should have good traffic before it can generate leads.. Good share john

  18. nice writing. i learn something new again from your blog . and i want do like you do . keep writing and sharing . thanks.

  19. Simon Bunker says:

    Great guest post and it just goes to show that spilt testing is the key to any succesful campaign online.
    Great content and very well presented, thanks for sharing this with us.
    Heads off to my aweber account!!!

  20. Matej says:

    How do you monetize Twilight email newsletters?

    1. Greg says:

      Same principle dude… TRY A FEW THINGS, and see what works

  21. Nick says:

    Awesome info. …i really need to increase my email subscriber. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  22. mmo says:

    Cant agree more, testing is the FTW

  23. Congrats on the impressive results, and thanks for sharing the tips!

  24. It crazy how things happen everyday I read this blog I get a tip on something I don’t have on my blog or don’t know how to do thank for this post i’m heading over to my site to take some action and get my opt-in form done I almost when and did the Mailchimp thanks guys appreciate this post a lot.

  25. Greg Tucker says:

    Great information on the Twilight entry. Thanks.

  26. Graham says:

    Nice article Randy! I have done some things around big events like this before, but never pushed them email stuff as much. Definitely gonna look into this more in the future.

  27. Klajdi Hena says:

    I guess I’m going to have to give Aweber a try then…

  28. I have been using Aweber for alittle while now and I cant imagine getting results you’re getting , thanks fr the wonderful tip.

  29. Nice idea! I see great result for preparation and big occasion (twilight launch) in this article. I think i can use this strategy in my blogging blog. As example, by do some preparation in next black Friday occasion.

  30. Great story to read. Another example of what Aweber can do!

  31. Jenn says:

    Great post, excellent job. I absolutely recommend Aweber also!

  32. Caleb says:

    Another reason to dump my current autoresponder service provider..

  33. Custom Essay says:

    There is no doubt that Aweber is market leader in e-mail subscriptions. I first came to know about this website from John Chow, where he put affiliation link to register.

  34. Agree.. persistence is the key ingredient in internet success

  35. Joe says:

    “At this point, 1-3 people per week were signing up for my email newsletter per day.”

    Sex Panther; 60% of the time, it works every time. Sorry, I had to. Great post!!

  36. Bidet says:

    That was an amazing idea. Its always good to come out with sites linked to big events, the traffic you can get from those events are amazingly high.

  37. $1 to increase 700% is really cheap

Comments are closed.