“What’s the easiest way to grow my email list?” you ask.
I’ve got the answer, and it’s probably something you’ve never heard of. It’s called a content upgrade. It’s a very simple solution that will jumpstart your email list practically overnight without a lot of technical know-how. Let’s talk about how to use this tool to grow your list.
Wait… What are Content Upgrades?
A content upgrade is bonus content for your blog post. It’s the blog post equivalent to saying, “Supersize me!” (although I’m sure none of you can personally relate to that metaphor).
The basic idea behind content upgrades is that you create an epic post that’s practically bursting at the seams with valuable information. And because you can’t shove one more thing into your post, you create a separate goodie—known as a content upgrade—that’s available to the reader if they sign up your email list.
It’s pretty genius for the reasons I’m going to list below:
Here’s a list of the best content upgrades to use on your blog and why.
Why are Content Upgrades So Important?
Content Upgrades Build Your Email List
This is the reason why content upgrades are amazing. You can easily build your email list with people who are actually interested in the content that you’ve created. The people who give you their email address in exchange for your upgraded content are also giving you permission to market to them in the future (make sure you put that in the fine print).
Content Upgrades are Extremely Relevant
For each blog post you choose, you’ll create a separate content upgrade that takes the reader from the theory presented in the post to action. And visitors who wander upon your site through a specific blog post are more likely to sign up to receive more information surrounding that blog post, especially if it’s actionable information.
Content Upgrades Help You Better Segment Your Email List
Segmenting is awesome sauce. In email marketing, segmentation is separating your email list into groups based on demographics or behavior. You can use content upgrades to segment your list automatically at sign up. Create groups in your email list based on who signed up for what.
Why is segmentation important? Email segmentation allows you to improve your future communication and send more targeted and individualized emails to your audience. The more personalized you can make your promotional offers = the better your odds of selling to the right person.
Content Upgrades vs. Other Lead Magnets
At this point, you may be wondering how content upgrades compare to other lead magnets. You may already have a pop-up, a welcome bar, or some other email opt-in form on your site, so what’s the point of adding another?
I would say that content upgrades are actually superior to all other types of lead magnets. Here’s why: Unlike sitewide lead magnets or even email courses, the content upgrade freebie is directly tied to one blog post.
The bulk of your visitors will probably land on a blog post that you’ve written. They’ll search for a query in Google or be directed to a specific post on your blog through social media. Either way, they probably won’t land on your home page. They’ll land on a post. And, fingers crossed, this post will be just what they’re looking for.
So, it makes sense that, when presented with your related and actionable content upgrade, this visitor will enthusiastically sign up to receive it. That’s because the upgrade is immediately relevant.
On the other hand, your sitewide lead magnet needs to be a tad generic. It has to appeal to a wide variety of people who visit your site. And, as you know, not everyone who visits your site has the same purpose for being there. So your lead magnets and other opt-ins have to be generic, but your content upgrade can be ultra-targeted.
How to Come Up with the Perfect Content Upgrades
There are many different types of content upgrades. In my very own content upgrade (you see what I did there?), I’m sharing a supersized list of content upgrade ideas. But in this post, I’ll go over the most popular types of content upgrades and how to use them in your blog:
Types of Content Upgrades
Case study - Show how you’ve helped your customers win.
Checklist - Create a list of actions the reader should take to accomplish a goal.
List of tools & resources - Share tools that the reader can use to take the next step.
Templates - Create a form that prompts the reader to action.
Workbook - Everyone loves adult homework. Bring clarity to your reader by asking them a series of questions.
Upgrade Your Most Popular Posts
Ideally, you should have content upgrades for every post on your blog (because you never know which post will attract visitors).
However, if you already have a blog and you don’t want to go back and create content upgrades retroactively for each blog post, you can just select your top performers. Find those posts that have the highest amount of views on your website and create bonus content for those posts. Think of what the next logical step would be for the reader to take and then create a piece of content that helps them make that step.
Where to Place Your Content Upgrades
For optimal effect, you should place your content upgrades within the body of your blog post. While you can place them right at the beginning of your post, I wouldn’t advise it because the reader may not know they need this upgrade until they’ve read a little further into your post.
I think repetition is your friend when it comes to content upgrades. I suggest having a minimum of two callouts within your post, and that number can increase depending on the length of your blog post. If your post is 1,000 words or less, two content upgrade shoutouts are all you need. However, if you’ve managed to create a mic dropping 2,000+ word masterpiece, you may want to add a content upgrade promotion every 500 words.
It’s all about balance. You don’t want to shove it down your readers’ throats, but you don’t want them to miss out on your content upgrade goodness because you didn’t position it properly in your post.
I recommend announcing your content upgrade after you’ve introduced the problem in your post. And, I also think it’s important to add a content upgrade at the end of your post as a driving call to action, i.e. Here’s what to do next—download this freebie.
How to Create Content Upgrades
Creating content upgrades is easier than you think with the help of one of the following tools:
Content Upgrades WordPress Plugin (for those using WordPress)
Whichever tool you use (and there are dozens out there), you’ll simply need to create your content upgrade in the form of a PDF file. The PDF file format keep the integrity of your content intact so there’s no wonky formatting to worry about—a PDF file always looks the same. And they’re easy to create. You can create a regular document on Google Docs, for example, and save it as a PDF file. Or you can create an image in Canva and save as a PDF.
Content upgrades are an essential part of your marketing strategy. Use content upgrades to drive incoming traffic to your email list. Make sure that your content upgrade is valuable and worth the click, and you’ll grow your email list exponentially!