How I Doubled My Email Opt-In Conversions

how I doubled my conversionsIf you’ve followed me for any length of time then you’ll know that I’m a huge believer in building an email list of subscribers.

Of course, there are many other ways to make money online aside from building a list. For example, advertising and e-commerce.

In fact, I have an old niche website that I built in 2010 that still to this day generates a (very!) small amount of passive income from both Amazon’s affiliate program and Adsense (that is, where you place Google ads on your website and get paid when somebody clicks on them).

This said, I believe that in the vast majority of niches taking the trouble to build a list and develop trust with your subscribers is extremely powerful and the best way forward.

This discussion could go on for several blog posts but what I would really like to share with you today is how I recently managed to more than double my opt conversions here at Gain Higher Ground.

To be clear, when I say “opt in conversions” I mean the percentage of visitors to the website who enter their name and email address in the form to the right of this post.

So if you get 100 visitors and 3 people sign up then your opt in conversion rate is 3%.

Simple enough, huh?

How I Doubled My Opt In Conversions

In short, I changed my opt in form….

Spot The Difference Web Forms

Up until one month ago my opt in form looked like the one of the left. Now, as you can see, it looks like the one of the right!

Email Opt In Conversions More Than DoubledThe result of this has been to increase opt in conversions from 5.4% to 11.3%.

Now I don’t believe that 11.3% is really as good as it could be but it’s still a vast improvement and obviously I’m very happy! 🙂

I suspect closer to 15% would be considered “very good” or “excellent” for a sign up form placed on the sidebar of a blog. Actually, if you’ve got a view on this I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

But WHY has this occurred?

As you can see are small differences in copy and design of the two forms, but the big change is clearly the addition of my eBook, “101 Profitable Niches Analyzed – And How To Make Money From Them”.

Personally, I think this has made the majority of the difference to conversions.

I say this because elsewhere on this site there is a pure squeeze page with a video introduction from yours truly and over a similar period the opt in rate has risen from 60.5% to 85.9% (shown above) as a result of the addition of the “101 Profitable Niches” eBook.

Obviously, the sign up rates on this page are much higher because it’s a pure squeeze page and there are less “distractions” on that page. Also, I send people to that page from various traffic strategies that I’m working on including guest posting and contributing content to other marketers’ newsletters. This means the traffic arriving at that page is already “warm” compared to the main blog where people often arrive from Google.

If I’m right then I think this is VERY interesting and raises some more points about the increase in conversions I’ve personally experienced and especially on the appeal of eBooks verses videos.

I would say:

1. A book, albeit an electronic book, still has massive authority. Despite having created nearly 200 tutorial videos this year, my mum was still the most impressed when she saw the 3D eCover for “101 Niches Analyzed”!!!

2. Although I’m a massive fan of videos, they do have drawbacks. In particular you can’t really “skim view” them like you can skim read a book. This makes it very difficult to consume videos if time is very short.

3. You can “own” a book. Even with eBooks, you can print them out. Whereas videos are really just kind of “virtual”, even if you actually download them from the internet to your computer.

Of course, maybe I’m completely wrong on this and the increase in opt ins is purely down to the removal of my face from the web form?!! 😮

Anyway, those are my theories but I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this: What do you think the explanation is for the doubling of conversions?

If you’ve got a theory or any other views on eBooks verses videos, I’d love to hear so please do drop a quick comment below! 

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19 Responses to How I Doubled My Email Opt-In Conversions

  1. Dee September 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi Rob
    I’d say a free ebook as opposed to just a newsletter. The book is instant, you have to wait for newsletters. Also your opt in form looks better. It goes better with your website.
    I do think you should have a photo somewhere though.
    Videos can stop-start depending on your connection, and I personally prefer an ebook.

    • Rob September 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

      Thanks Dee!

      You make some excellent points.

      I think you are right about the picture somewhere – maybe I can fix this going forward!



  2. Ralph September 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Hey Rob congrats on doubling the opt in rate! Have you used somethng like websiteoptimizer or Google Analytics to analyze as well? I hear websiteoptimizer is good but I still use Analytics and the old straight A-B test.

    • Rob September 5, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      Hi Ralph,

      Thanks! I think there’s still room for improvement as I said but it’s certainly a nice step forward.

      Good point on split testing. The answer is no, I have not “got round” to doing this yet. Excuses, excuses…! But I will definitely be doing this going forward, probably with Website Optimizer.



  3. Cristina Ansbjerg September 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Hi Rob,

    Good anaylisis here. I agree with you about videos. But I also think your copy is better now than before.

    • Rob September 5, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks very much for stopping by!

      I hadn’t thought too much about the copy itself so thanks for pointing that out 🙂


  4. Dave September 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Great job that’s a big increase in conversions 🙂

    I actually like using a pic of yourself as I think this helps you bond more with your new subs and they are more likely to remember you.

    Also it may be worth testing just asking for an email address only – some people mis-spell their name here then blaim you for getting their name wrong or just use offensive verbage!


    • Rob September 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm #


      Great to see you here at GHG.

      Another vote for the picture – I’ll have to remedy this going forward I think.

      Good point on the email address only. I definitely have some misspelt names in my Aweber database. I think only asking for email can increase optin conversions too (although it may reduce mail opens and clicks as there is less personalization).

      Hope to see you back here again soon 🙂



  5. Malcolm September 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm #


    I absolutely agree about a high quality graphic (ebook) vs video. Personally, I find videos greatly irritating, even moreso if there are no viewer controls. I honestly think video squeeze pages (with no viewer controls) hold hostage a potential, and inquiring, customer with the message that “this business you’re interested in is more about me (the marketer), than about you (the viewer). So sit, Ubu. Stay! Watch!”

    Also, if I want to review something in the sales pitch, with a customer-unfriendly video, one must sit through a rerun until that section comes up again.

    I estimate that I sign-up in about a 2:1 ration for a squeeze page I can peruse vs a video that I “must” watch to learn the details.

    Just my personal opinion. I’d love to hear if others feel that way (or if I am way off base).

    • Rob September 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm #


      100% agree on the “no controls” issue. It drives me crazy and I feel like I’m being conned (almost!) as it’s a deliberate act to remove the controls.

      I suspect that people have tested these and they convert very well when targeted at newcomers – an unfortunate thing if its true but there you go.

      I do know people have different preferences when it comes to media format which is why I try and mix it up a little here at GHG.

      Thanks for stopping by Malcolm – hope to see you again soon!


      P.S. I really like you site there and it seems you’re quite a fan of audio!

  6. Gordon Swire September 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm #


    i think it’s just a simple case of good graphic design winning out. The ad on the right looks appealing and the ebook looks like something you’d like to own. The graphics on the left look a bit overhyped and are badly laid out. One of the qualities of your book that I really liked was the simple, unclutterd layout with concise points and good graphics.
    Good luck with your endeavours, you deserve it.


    • Rob September 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm #


      I appreciate your thoughts and honesty, especially about the old one being a bit hypey!

      Glad you liked the book – hope to see you here at GHG again soon 🙂



  7. Joseph September 12, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Hey Rob, great job!

    When I first viewed your new optin, I hardly even looked at the copy below the eBook graphic – the fact is that the title of the eBook graphic had me hooked because its totally relevant to my needs. So a good graphic (with a hot title) can indeed say 1000 words, and if its relevant to your site visitors needs, you’ll no doubt see a high optin rate.

    Thanks for sharing, Rob, and I’m looking forward to more juicy insights on GainHigherGround!


  8. David Ruppel October 10, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Amazing results Rob! I think anytime you can get something of value for free
    you’d be crazy not to take advantage. Great Job!

    • Rob October 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      Thanks David – It’s always worth testing different ideas. A small amount of improvement in conversion can make a big difference to your bottom line!

  9. Ian Muir December 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Just catching up on months of emails. Congrats on the increase. Good work. New opt-in much cleaner & visually more accomplished. I agree that a personal pic will help with the “relationship” & trust.

    Also, its personal but I dislike videos. Yours are some of the few that I watch – they are usually short.

    I prefer reading as I can do it in my own time and “speed read” less relevant or understood content. However if its a vid from someone that I dont know, I groan & cant be bothered wasting time downloading, waiting for sync then checking how long I will have to suffer their sales pitch! Hey thats from me with many years in corporate sales, marketing & training!!! I frequently just click off.

    20 minutes is the max attention span if you are Training. Unfortunately, for some of us its much less.

    • Rob December 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Ian,

      It’s a good time of year to catch up on stuff 🙂

      Thanks for your input. I do feel the same way about videos but I think it depends upon the style. Those videos that try to keep you hanging and build anticipation are just a big no-no for me. One of the things I’m going to try and do for 2012 is to keep my videos much shorter and too the point. But also, have more written text as well.

      I guess it’s personal preference but a mixture of audio, video and text is probably the right way to go in most niches.

      Thanks for being a subscriber I really appreciate it. Hope you enjoy my stuff going forward in 2012!



  10. Ian Muir December 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Good idea to mix up styles.

    I read a lot of financial news (coincidentally I am also trying to master financial trading!) and subscribe to some Agora publications. They are fantastic at selling. They are master copywriters. So their copy is VERY long. They now major online via sales-scripted videos/audios. It is obviously successful.

    They are WAY too long for me as outlined in my previous comment. However if you click off the page, their script appears. Brill. I can speed read and save myself 10 minutes.

    An idea worth considering if you have a lengthy vid?

  11. Rob December 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Yep, Agora are very very good at it. They have pioneered so many techniques over the years.

    The trick is that they test like crazy. Different headlines, sales copy verses videos etc etc.

    I know from one of my contacts that they’ve found video to convert MUCH better in 2011 compared to long form sales copy, as most of us have (myself included).

    However, one problem Agora do have is the people running their business (and making the real money) are all behind the scenes. Their model is to hire external experts (e.g., in financial trading) and pay them a (below average) percentage of sales. Traditionally this has worked because all of the sales copy is written by expert in house copywriters but videos have been difficult because a lot of their experts can’t (or are unwilling to) do videos.

    This said, I think videos have almost become overdone. We recently had a marketer on in a GHG Membership update who was saying that his tests have shown that text outperforms videos every time for squeeze pages. Also, in 2011 webinars have been huge (mostly in the US but starting to come over UK/Europe now too).

    This is one of the things I love about internet marketing, it is constantly evolving so you’ve really got to roll with it!



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