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TPC: Memorize this Acronym if You Want to Grow Your Email List in 2020

TPC stands for Traffic, Placement and Conversions. It’s a simple acronym that holds the key to growing your email list in 2020 and beyond.

I’m always so happy when I hear from someone who finally cracked the code to growing their email list.

Some people take forever to figure this out, but once they do, BAM! their email list finally starts growing beyond just friends and family.

Just last week I heard from a Fizzle member who had this to report:

”I’m happy to report that my email list is up to 62 people in the last two days! Which may not be much, but just a few days ago I had 6 people on my list, all of them family members.” — Serena, Fizzle Member

62 people might not sound like a lot, but the number doesn’t matter so much. What matters is Serena cracked the code to finally growing her list. Once that happens, growing to the next level and beyond is simply a matter of rinsing and repeating what works.

Whether your list has grown to 62 people or 62,000 people, the formula for growing further is the same.

To grow your list, you need to memorize one simple acronym: T. P. C.

TPC stands for Traffic, Placement and Conversions.

Memorize this, and follow the steps below to finally get your list growing in 2020 and beyond.

Traffic: how many people are visiting your website?

Here’s a simple one to start with. The more people who visit your website, the more you can expect to subscribe to your email list.

No matter what your conversion rate is (which we’ll cover in just a minute), if you increase your traffic, you’ll increase the number of subscribers.

Simple, right?

Well, I can’t tell you how many people I hear from who are frustrated because their email list isn’t growing, only to find out they have just a trickle of people visiting the site each month.

The bottom line is this: if you have less than 1000 visitors coming to your site each month, you shouldn’t expect your list to grow much, no matter how good your placement or conversions.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (especially for very targeted landing pages), but for the standard blog or content marketing play, getting to 1,000+ visitors per month should be your main goal.

If you’re close to or beyond that 1,000 visitor mark, it’s time to start thinking about placement and conversions

Placement: where are the subscription forms on your site?

Another mistake I see people making when trying to grow an email list is weak or sparse placement of opt-in forms on their websites.

Sometimes I’ll scour a website only to find a teeny tiny little “join my newsletter” mention off to the side buried under a bunch of other stuff. As the website owner, YOU may know the subscribe option is there, but very few of your visitors are even seeing it.

Placement matters. You can’t expect visitors to subscribe if they aren’t even seeing the option to sign up.

The websites with the best email subscription rates are the ones that place the sign-up form somewhere it can’t be missed.

Get your sign-up box out of the sidebar and put it front-and-center at the top of the page, big and bold, and you’ll see an increase in signups.

But wait, there’s more to placement than just making your form more obvious…

Lots of visitors might see your subscription option, but decide to skip signing up anyway. In fact, 99% of them probably won’t subscribe, even if your form is in the most prominent place on your website.

How do you fix this problem?

Repeated exposure.

Some of those people who didn’t subscribe might decide to later, if they like what they find on your site and see another subscribe option.

You aren’t limited to putting your subscribe form in just one place on your site. If one form nets you X subscribers per day, how many could you get from two forms, or three, or four?

Sure, there’s probably an upper limit to how many subscribe forms you have on your site, before you feel like you might be annoying your visitors. But I guarantee you can have more than one form without annoying anyone.

Here are some places you could add a subscribe form:

  • On your home page
  • On your about page
  • In your navigation
  • At the top of your blog posts
  • In the middle of blog posts
  • At the end of blog posts
  • In your sidebar
  • In your footer

Here’s a great example of a big, bold subscribe box from Nathan Barry (founder of ConvertKit and our guest in Episode 361 of The Fizzle Show):

You can even get fancy with special kinds of forms like pop-overs, welcome mats, slide-ins, etc. using something like OptinMonster.

Here’s a nice example of a fairly unobtrusive and effective popup from Minimalist Baker. This appears if you’re about to leave the site:

I’m not saying you should put forms in all of these places, but if your goal is to grow your email list in 2020, you should try adding multiple forms to see what it does to your overall subscribe rate.

Just remember: placement matters, and adding additional forms on your site will probably bring you more subscribers.

Conversions: how well are your forms converting?

There can be massive differences in the conversion rates of various signup forms.

One form might convert 1 out of 1,000 people who see it, and another in the exact same spot might convert 5 out of 100.

What makes one form convert so much better than another?

Everything about your signup form can affect conversion rates. The layout, the colors, the size, whether you use an image and what the image contains can all have an impact.

But the thing that matters most is what you are offering, in the context it is being offered.

There are some general rules of thumb. For example, an offer like “sign up for emails from me” is probably going to be less effective than something like “get my free 5-day mini course on how to ______ and ______.”

Every website is different, so the best way to find out which form converts the most visitors is by testing regularly.

Start by asking yourself, “what would be irresistible to my visitors?” Usually this will be related to the thing that attracted your visitors to your website in the first place.

You’ll want to wrap that irresistible offer in an attractive package. Usually something like a quiz, or download, or short online course, or tool will work well. Look at what other websites in your space and in other spaces are offering for inspiration.

My favorite way of testing forms is using OptinMonster. You can simply create multiple versions of an opt-in form and OptinMonster will run them simultaneously and tell you which one converts best.

Here’s an example of how OptinMonster reports on the performance of your campaign. This is from one of the main pop-up forms on Fizzle’s blog:

There’s a chance your email provider might have built-in support for A/B testing opt-in forms, in which case you could use that functionality. OptinMonster is nice because it works with pretty much any email platform and makes switching platforms later much easier because you don’t have to replace any forms.

You should optimize all of the forms on your site for conversions using this same approach for each. If you haven’t tried optimizing conversions yet, you’ll probably find some easy gains.

Bonus: what’s your overall email conversion rate?

Here’s a fun and important number to watch. What is your overall visitor-to-email-subscriber conversion rate?

In other words, for every 100 people who visit your website, how many subscribe to your email list?

If you haven’t done any optimization or work on placement, you might see less than 1 in 100. It could be 1 in 200 or 1 in 1,000. It’s not uncommon for a site to have less than a 1% overall conversion rate.

Through conversion optimization and smart placement, you should be able to get this number above 1%. Even better, you’ll get this above 2% or higher. The Fizzle website has an overall email conversion rate of over 4% as I’m writing this, for example.

To calculate your overall conversion rate, you just need two things: 1) the number of visitors to your website, and 2) the number of new subscribers during that same period of time. For example, if 23 subscribers signed up during January out of 1,054 visitors, that would be a 2.2% conversion rate. Not bad!

TPC: Each is important

Remember: TPC stands for Traffic, Placement and Conversions. Each part of the acronym is important. Optimize for all three and your list will start growing like never before.

Imagine if you were converting 2-5% of all your visitors to email subscribers. How big would your list be at the end of this year?




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