How To Use Content Upgrades To Boost Your Email List

How To Use Content Upgrades To Boost Your Email List

Let’s talk about email lists and content upgrades.

Email lists are really important for small business owners.

Why? Because they serve as a direct form of news about your business, product or service. There’s no sneaky algorithm holding your posts back from your audience like on Facebook; if someone "opts in" (subscribes) to your list, they get your stuff.

Moreover, the people on your email list want to be there - they signed up after all. They’re interested in you and your business and they want to know more.

So, if you are selling something, or you plan to sell something in the near future (6-12 months), it’s a great idea to start investing in an email list.

Give them an easy option to learn more about you by subscribing to an email list. You can place this on your homepage or in a special page.

I have a link to my Newsletter page in the top navigation of my site.


A second simple way to boost your email list is to add opt in forms in various places around your website. They can go in pages, blog posts, sidebars, etc.

Strategically placed opt in forms make it super easy for people to take the next step.

RELATED POST: The 10 Best Things I Did In 2016 To Grow My Business

A third way is through content upgrades.

What are content upgrades?

A content upgrade is what is sounds like - an upgrade on whatever content you're already providing. It's a free incentive, like an e-book or a custom spreadsheet. And everyone loves a freebie.

You’re basically offering someone a free resource in exchange for their email address; a hot commodity these days.

RELATED POST: Email Lists - What Every Business Owner Needs To Know.

Don’t worry, content upgrades don’t have to be epic. They do have to helpful and relevant to your audience but once you get into the swing of things, you’ll see ways to create them all the time.

Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Top 10 resources of stuff you use to do your job

  2. Ebook, guide or other downloadable resource

  3. Free advice/assessment on what you do

  4. Subscriber-only newsletter offer

  5. Competition/giveaway - works best for a local subscriber base

  6. Downloadable checklist - works best in collaboration with a blog post

  7. Email scripts - people hate drafting this stuff

  8. Templates - invoices, contracts, quotes, scopes etc

  9. Short video training about whatever you do

  10. Free stock images or illustrations - good for photographers/graphic designers

  11. Short challenge for a week or a month

  12. Tip list - people love hearing secrets

  13. Toolkit - combo of several content upgrades under 1 theme

How to set up a content upgrade

Check out this blog post of mine that includes a downloadable planner. Halfway down the page, I dropped in a simple image that I'd designed in Canva.


Immediately under that I put in a clickable button "Free instant download". That led to a form where people could sign up to my newsletter, which then triggered an automatic download of the planner.


And if YOU would like to grab that 2018 business planner, you can right here! 

freelancers and small biz owners biz plan.png

While you do need to set up the process that links your website and your email marketing software, it's not rocket science. You'll be able to find help online for whichever software you use. And when you've done it once, you can just copy and paste that formula over and over.

Where to put your content upgrades

Your website, naturally, but also on social media and email. Here's some ideas...

  1. An opt in pop up box on your website

  2. An announcement header across the top of your site

  3. In your most popular blog posts

  4. On every blog post at least once

  5. On your homepage

  6. On any other page you like - I have opt ins on my About page and in my Blog sidebar

That's it! If you've been thinking about starting, or growing, your email list, I hope you’re feeling a lot more confident now. 

About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, SEO copywriter and Squarespace web designer based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves boosting freelancers and small businesses with web designSEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff". Lilani also blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.