The content you can create that WILL increase email sign ups

If you want to increase email sign-ups, either for your business OR for your customers, you need to read this post.

It’s not about the technology you use. And frankly, we’ve become too focused on creating lead magnets and just pumping them out like spam.

We absolutely need email addresses to grow our email list. It’s important to grow our list of people who want to hear from us. But how can we do that properly?

In the good ol’ days we’d just slap together a newsletter optin form and an eBook. The paste that all over the site.

The technology has become so easy that we have light boxes, popups, modals, sliders, bars, full screens, welcome mats…the list goes on.

But nothing seems to be increasing conversions how you want right?

On top of all that, your actual lead magnet content doesn’t even seem to be doing what it should. Are people reading it? Are they increasing trust in your customers?

Well we’re going to solve that right now and start increasing your email sign ups.

No more eBooks

OK that’s a little unfair, because eBooks are still a great way to capture leads.

When lead magnets and light bulb moments first started appearing, they were typically called “white-papers”. Online forms from companies like Gartner and Microsoft would offer an industry report in exchange for an email sign up.

When more and more small businesses started using the internet to make money. Other marketing agencies would offer eBooks on how to get rich or sell “awesome, hidden, never seen before products”.

eBooks are overused and don’t convert brilliantly. They’re often long, and people who sign up are more like digital hoarders than actual content consumers. Now obviously, eBooks are a HUGE industry and people do read them. But in terms of the value they can offer compared to other content types, I think they’re better for warmer leads.

What we’re talking about here is escaping the idea that eBooks are the ONLY method of creating content that we can offer in exchange for an email address.

Free your mind and think about what would REALLY help someone, not just convince them to give you an email address.

Which brings us to our first big idea…

Help people

Did you know that if you help someone, they’re more likely to believe that you can help them again? I know!


“Demonstrate You Can Help Them By Actually Helping Them”

Frank Kern

What a mental idea. That if you help someone and give them real results, that they’ll believe you can help them again in the future.

You should know everything about your customer. What they want to achieve. What their goals are. What are the problems they’re facing and what are their roadblocks towards solving those problems, or reaching those goals?

What if you put something in front of them, which really helped them? Something that would actually get them a result that they need?

Make a list of the goals, wants, problems and roadblocks for your customers. Think about how you could help them reach those goals or solve those problems.

What are the steps they need to take to start solving this problem? What are the tasks they have to complete in order to reach their goals?

Think about worksheets, training videos, guides, cheat sheets, reference sheets, tool lists. All the ways of being able to help your customers.

If in doubt, don’t lock it

One of the biggest fears businesses have is over-protectiveness of their content. They want people to see it, but only after they’ve signed up and paid.

However often, its hard to know what will be popular or wanted. When in doubt, don’t lock it.

You heard me, don’t lock some of your best content.

If you have killer KILLER training, you need to let people have it.

Try this for an example. Put together some seriously useful training, in the form of a video. Just a few slides and a voiceover.

Release that, un-gated and totally for free to your audience. Let people see your best stuff and just how helpful you are.

Now instead of blocking the training, set up an optin form to give them access to the slides, the raw audio and a few worksheets to use during the training.

Give people something which is already helpful, for free. Then help them even more and ask for an email.

“Demonstrate You Can Help Them By Actually Helping Them”.

Your job is to help people, not to capture email addresses. Your job is to help people.

The more people you help, the more value you add and the more you help them, the increased likelihood that people will start wanting to work with you.

If you’re unsure on the quality of your lead magnets, release them for free. You can always protect them later if they’re popular.

The message is what’s important

No one ever signed up to some content, because the content behind an optin wall was good.

Think about that. How can your visitors know the literal contents of a lead magnet? Why would that stop them from signing up?

I often hear “we don’t get many email sign ups because our lead magnet sucks”.

In 1998, Roland Emmerich made the film Godzilla. It is without a doubt, one of the worst films of all time. Pure garbage. But he managed to make $379 million from it.

A film that is so boring, war veterans are shown it so they can fall asleep better.

Godzilla is a perfect example of fantastic messaging being used to lure people in. But instead of delivering on that messaging, he took the greatest movie monster of all time and made it an asexual mutated iguana.

This about the lure. The message. The hook. THAT’S what’s preventing your email sign ups. Because they aren’t connecting with what you’re throwing down.

You could have the GREATEST movie of all time (Alien, Citizen Kane, Terminator, Last Action Hero) and not make money (Citizen Kane was a financial flop) because you’re not drawing the audience in. Your messaging sucks.

Your message and offer for your lead magnet have to be outstanding. It has to demonstrate clear value, be easily understood and offer a reward for the risk and time of signing up.

Nail your messaging and make sure the content delivers on it. What is the result and benefit of signing up? Not what the content is, but the result that your lead magnet will get them.

Keep it relevant

If you’re at a Mexican restaurant and you’re REALLY in the mood for Mexican food, what do you want to see on the menu?

Mexican right? Burritos, chilli, enchiladas. So why on Earth are you offering Won-Ton soup?

Listen, I love Chinese food as much as the next guy. But I’m clearing IN a Mexican restaurant because I want Mexican food. So offer me Mexican food.

This is what so many websites get wrong.

Whatever it is that you’re offering to your audience, it needs to be related to the content they’re viewing.

If your visitors are landing on a page talking about how they can increase social traffic, make sure your content upgrade, lead magnet, free training – whatever – is also about increasing social traffic.

The easiest way to make sure you always have a series of content silos set up. Content silos mean you can write 10 posts on SEO and always have an SEO lead magnet.

In an ideal world, you’d have a custom lead magnet or content upgrade for every blog post. But sometimes that isn’t possible. So we recommend using content topic specific lead magnets.

Keep your message, upgrade, lead magnet and content all relevant to each other.

Think about if someone read your post, how could you help them even more? How could you help them get results even faster?

Content ideas

So what are the content ideas that can increase sign ups? Simple. It’s all about helping people, getting them results and delivering on a promise.

Video training

Video training, to me, is one of THE most powerful examples of a lead magnet done right. Essentially we record a screen share or slides of some training. You could either demonstrate how to achieve something, physically talking through the steps.

Or you could provide insight and clarity on a subject. Presenting the theory on how to accomplish a goal or solve a problem. Video training can be as simple as walking through the same points you’d write about in a blog post. There’s no need to make it more complex than that.

Cheat sheets

Cheat sheets are quick reference guides that users access to discover something quickly. If you have “rules of thumbs” for tools, ideas or processes, then cheat sheets are a great way to display those options.

Think about the options that your customers have to solve a problem, or reach a goal. Traffic to their website for example. They have Google Ads, Facebook PPC, organic LinkedIn, paid LinkedIn, organic Twitter etc.

Now of those options, some are better at reach, audience type, demographic and material. If you can provide a quick cheat sheet or reference guide to those options and results, you’ve got a cheat sheet. You’re literally making the decision process faster for your readers. You’re giving them clarity.

Raw transcripts

Sometimes, we create a lot of content from edited source files. For example, at MeBox we interview membership business owners to talk to them about how to better serve a membership business.

Often, the interviews run for over an hour, which can give us up to 10 000 words of content. A lot of which is more conversational and less “focused”. So we’ll get the audio transcribed and cut it down.

But if people want more, we’ll give them access to the video file, audio transcripts (unedited) and the raw audio file. Adding more content, which might include some backstage stuff, has become increasingly popular as of late.


If you could help someone get some serious results, but it takes a little time. Think about delivering a mini-course. Something that could take someone through a process to get a result or “win” over a period of time.

You don’t even have to produce anything complex. Email courses are a great way to deliver content over a few days or weeks and keep the expensive deliver until later. Or, if you’ve done a series of training videos, why not package them up as a series and deliver them over a month?


Worksheets are my favourite content upgrade. I’ll often produce some training and make sure that people can follow along. I don’t make the worksheets complicated. Usually, just a heading or question related to the same slide or point I’m teaching.

If you were giving training live, what would you give to support your delegates? Or if your visitors are reading a blog post, what can you provide that they can follow along with?

Wrap up

So there we are, have you thought about your email sign ups differently?

I’ll often hear about how many businesses don’t want to give away their best stuff. “If I give that away for free, even with an email optin form, they won’t need me!”

Thinking like that is fear based reasoning. I get it, a lot of other businesses felt the same way. But what we’ve found is that your customers don’t work that way. If you help them once, they’ll ask you to help them again. With other goals and other problems.

If you’ve literally only got one thing you can share, or help with, why are you even doing business? Eventually someone else will do it better and faster. So unless you know you have multiple ways of helping people, you probably shouldn’t be in business.

So what do you think? What have you seen increase email sign ups? What’s your favourite type of content? Let me know in the comments below.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.