5000 Email Subscribers

The Marketing Examples email list has hit the 5000 mark!

Prior to my Product Hunt launch 4% of first time visitors were joining the email list. The day before I launched on Product Hunt I spent some time optimising my site to collect emails. Now the site converts 12% of first time users.

Below I've summarised the improvements. Buckle up, cause it's a long one!

1. The more email boxes the better ...

My theory is: You only sign up to an email list if you can see an email box. No matter how good the article is.

There are 3 ways to join the ME email list:

  • From the nav bar (inspired by Notion)
  • At the end of every article
  • Wait 45s for popup

No matter where you are on my website you're only one click away from signing up!

2. Add social proof ...

Social proof is deemed a necessity for websites but for people trying to grow an email list it's often neglected! As social proof I added:

  • "Join [insert email list size] marketers ..." to my email modal
  • Two nice quotes at the bottom of every article
  • The current unsubscribe rate of < 0.4%

3. Ask people to subscribe ...

One of the best marketing articles I read this year was this one, by Baremetrics. I never subscribed to the email list. Why? Well, they never asked me to.

People need a subtle prompt. At the end of my articles I know add the line: "If you enjoyed reading please do join the email list below".

4. Value based messaging

Instead of saying, Sign up to my email list, I say: Get two new case studies every week.

People don't give up their email address for nothing. You actually have to explain the value you're bringing to the table.

5. Don't use the word subscribe ...

People do not like "subscribing" to stuff. I replaced "subscribe" with: "Stay updated". Here's a good resource for some alternative words to use.

6. And finally ...

Choosing to subscribe to an email list is a split second decision. It’s not something anyone thinks deeply about. This means that subtle phycological tweaks such as:

  • Social proof
  • Value based messaging
  • Nicely asking people to subscribe

really make a huge difference.

That's all folks! Thanks for reading!

  1. 7

    12% is insane! 🧨

    I think that number is so high also because you are driving really qualified traffic to your website. Good job!

    1. 4

      Agreed, also exposure to the same communities regularly. I think a lot of people would subscribe after the second or third article they see and enjoy. A lot of people here have seen Harry's posts multiple times. Effectively retargeting.

      Still incredibly high sub rate due to top quality content!

      1. 1

        Good point Nathan. Never thought about this before.

    2. 1

      Cheers big man! Even I am amazed by this!

      Agree with you. The 4% figure is actually skewed down because of two Hacker News spikes (which never convert well to email subscribers).

      The 12% figure is made up of a lot of Product Hunt folk, who are far more subscribe happy. If I remove them it drops to 10%.

      Also, I send some people over with direct CTA's from Reddit, etc ... So they read the article there and then subscribe straight away!

  2. 3

    Great job! The money is in the list ;-)
    What is your plan to monetize these email subscribers?

  3. 2

    Brilliant, Harry. Congratulations on your continued success with Marketing Examples. Love your approach and have actually learned a fair bit by following along. :) It's inspiring.

    1. 2

      Thank you Peter. Good luck with Site Sanity!

  4. 1

    I'm one of the 12% ! 🚀

    I subbed after listening to your podcast chat on this website. A really good listen with multiple take aways. I particularly liked the whole "build what only you can build", or words to that effect. I've not been trying to do that, looking at more income generating ideas.

    The thing that only I can build I have no idea how to monetize, but I really care about it and so am going to pump it to the top of my priorities and let monitization take care of itself later on.

    1. 2

      Cheers Forest. Thanks for listening and I wish good luck!

      1. 1

        Thank you. And thanks again for the inspiration and clear outlining of a solid approach. I look forward to keep learning from you.

  5. 1

    Thanks for sharing the tips. Those are very useful, I'm looking to incorporate this for the next version of productdisrupt.com

    1. 2

      Sweet. Good luck Darshan!

  6. 1

    @harrydry I am on your list. I subscribed because it was in my interest. Can you find out what's wrong with my popup? I don't get as many subscribers as you. Doing everything what you're saying here.

    1. 1

      Just checked out. Nothing is wrong with your popup. The content itself on the site is the most important thing. That's the present. The popup is just the wrapping paper.

      There's so many factors at play. From the photo you shared on twitter it looks like a solid popup. I think you could add some social proof to it and be clearer about why exactly people should subscribe!

      Specifically, what value are they giving them!? Good luck :)

  7. 1

    4% is already crazy high! 12% is just the stuff of dreams.

    E.g. my personal blog, just a resume-like collection of random articles that are high quality but untargeted (it's a blog I created so when people google my name they get ME and things I care about) gets about 0.5%.

    Yours is super targeted, high quality content, from the domain name onward. A marketing example in itself — love it. Thanks for sharing your stats.

    1. 1

      Cheers Dana - Genuinely means a lot.

      Everything about ME is focused on getting emails.

  8. 1

    Wow-wee! Well done, Harry. Just creating value for others is easy in principle but not everyone has the knack. You seem to have it. As you said on the podcast with Courtland, it's not only about publishing quality content to your website, it's about presenting value on other channels, too. Rather than just spamming them. Keep going!

    1. 1

      Cheers David. Yeah, sounding simple is definitely different from being simple.
      Thanks for the encouragement. And also, for checking out the podcast!

  9. 1

    Hey Harry, congrats on the 5000! Well deserved 🙃Although I would go out of my way to subscribe to any content if it's really good (as I'm a content geek), I do agree having email boxes at the bottom of every post helps. Even your consistent 'if you liked it, sharing the thread on Twitter' nudges me to click on to your Twitter every once in a while haha.

    By the way, I've been thinking about your advice on 'write the newsletter that only you can write'. Just curious - how important do you think having a specific niche is? I'm sure having a single niche is easier to grow traffic and brandable at the beginning. However, there are also people like James Clear (the NYT best selling author on Atomic Habits); he wrote about a bunch of topics in the beginning ex) fitness, habits. And only when he realized that the habits part really took off, he started to create content around that niche. I'm not sure how you started ME, but sometimes don't you have to start writing on a couple of topics to know what you are really passionate about/what the audience wants?

    1. 1

      Haha! Good to know the, "if you liked ..." works occasionally!

      Re the 2nd paragraph, oh for sure! Marketing Examples kinda came from The Kanye Story, a much broader story which gave me a small email list and then Marketing was the recurring theme. The thing people kept talking about ...

      so yeah, i agree it takes time to get it right. but i do think that once you find your niche it is easier to market to that niche

  10. 1

    Congrats Harry!

    How are most of your visitors finding your site? Primarily Twitter, IH, and PH?

    1. 2

      Thanks Davis. These are top referring sources

      1. Twitter
      2. Product Hunt
      3. Hacker News
      4. Indie Hackers
      5. Startup School
  11. 1

    Nice work! I feel like you have a really good thing going there. You have great content and a website that is thoughtfully built to support it perfectly. Keep it up! :)

    1. 1

      Cheers Macks! Thank you.

  12. 1

    Awesome tips Harry and great work on bumping the conversion rate so significantly!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot Matt! Much appreciated.

  13. 1

    🎉Congrats Harry!
    🙌Good job.

    Social proof works really well. Did you asked for feedback from people or just find any comments in the Twitter/reddit/etc and put it to the website?

    What do you think about putting some social proof on the main page near subscription form? You can do some A/B testing to verify is it works well.

    1. 3

      Thanks Alex!

      This took a little thought. Because I wanted one founder and one CMO / marketing person to reflect my audience. If I put up two founders then a marketer might come to the site and think, "Nope, this isn't for me ..."

      I knewGeorge Mack's (the marketer) read some of the articles so I asked him I could put up a quote from him. In fact I suggested what about, "The best marketing newsletter I'm subscribed to" and he said "Yeah, that sounds good."

      And @bentossell (the founder) messaged me with that exact line on a twitter. So I asked if I could put it up on my website.


      I'm not a big fan of A/B testing. I don't know why. Maybe I'm naive, but I just think it's overused I'm not sure my traffic is statistically significant, you know, I might spend all that time A/B testing just to end up being convinced that the wrong outcome is in fact right.

      I think some more social proof on the subscribe modal would work. On the main page I'll think about that. I think it has to be subtle. The best marketing is when people don't know they're being marketed to. Very cautious not to overdo it!

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