We’re not shy about asking people to opt-in in the middle of a post, because we do it contextually. We’ll talk a lot more about content upgrades later, but for now, our posts are still high level, so it doesn’t quite make sense to make elaborate opt-in bonuses. Instead, since we’re outlining what our blog will be about, it makes sense to mention we have an email list where you can keep up on our journey.
The subscription widget is a no-brainer when it comes to maximizing your website for lead generation. Visitors are already interested or engaging with your brand, and email is a great next touchpoint for sharing non-promotional, value-adding content. It’s a free resource and a low commitment way for your prospective clients to get to know your brand.
You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.
That’s why it is important to have a Privacy Policy and Terms of Use readily available on your site, and even a disclaimer before they sign up for anything. Not only is this good business practice, it’s also required by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter … pretty much every major company whose services you will be using to promote your business. Oh, and it is required by most governments.
If you’re serious about growing your business, building a healthy email list should be one of your top priorities. When it comes down to it, your list is one of the only online assets that you have 100% control over. Having a solid social media presence is absolutely essential (here’s why), but you’ll always be at the mercy of new and changing algorithms (think Facebook’s Edgerank). And achieving high search engine rankings is great too, but again, you’re at the mercy of changing algorithms and updates.

Let's suppose you have an "anti-virus" website where you are promoting various products that scan your computer for viruses. You could send emails out to your list that explain what viruses are, or what new viruses are out there and how you could be infected. Then, you can mention that the viruses can be removed instantly by product A and product B. At that point you will want to add your affiliate link in the email or direct the visitor to a review page of your choice.

This is ideal if you’ve got an actual business to run, or maybe you have a day job and this is your side project. It’s simple enough to dedicate a few hours per week to showing up and creating content. Over time your site’s authority will increase in the search engines, you’ll develop word of mouth from your fans, and things will slowly pick up the pace.
To incentivize the prospect to sign up, it’s important to offer them some sort of free bonus, like an ebook, access to a webinar, or whatever attractive freebie you can give them that is related to your business. But you shouldn't have to bust your butt to put this bonus together. You could collect together past blog posts into one PDF, for example.
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