Chapter 2

Design Your Blog for Optimal Lead Generation

We are going to look at 20 ways you can capture emails on your blog.

1. Content Cliffhanger Technique

In marketing, just like in the movies or in a tv series cliffhangers work like a charm!

This is because of the something called the ‘Zeigarnik effect’.

It is when a story or a piece of information is started but not finished.

We can use this technique in our blog posts to leverage more emails.

I call this the Content Cliffhanger Technique.

The way you do this is simple.

  1. Write a piece of content on a topic, for example ‘8 ways to get better abs’
  2. In the post list half the content or ‘4 ways to get better abs’ in this example
  3. Create a bonus section for the post that tells the reader the remaining 4 ways they can improve their abs
  4. Ask for an email opt-in to be able to download the bonus content

This simply mean start an idea in your blog post but finish it in the bonus content, like a cliffhanger in a good tv series.

People then want to close the information gap or loop, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Also as the search intent of the visitor and the bonus content is aligned, they will be more likely to part with their email for the content than if it was just a generic opt-in.

For Example:

If you search for eyeliner makeup tips and find an article on how to apply eyeliner, with a bonus download of eyeliner styles and techniques. You are being offered what you asked for in your original search in exchange for your email. A targeted and relevant offer.

However, if you were simply offered weekly beauty advice emails, you'd be less inclined to sign up as it is less targeted to your needs.

I created a free wordpress plugin to allow you to use this technique here called the Content Cliffhanger.

You can read more about the technique and download case studies and a free video training course on how to use the plugin by clicking here.

NOTE: This guide won't cost you anything, but it is not free. All I ask is you share it with two friends as payment. AcquireConvert is a business after all.

2. The Homepage Landing Page

A lot of your traffic will land on your homepage, the common belief is to show a little bit about every part of the website and link to their respective pages. Like a summary page.

This is wrong.

Use your homepage as a landing page to collect emails.

Sell the visitor by focussing on their biggest pain point and sell them the benefits of joining your email list.

Not the features, eg what they will get (a pdf, weekly emails, gardening tips)

But the benefits, the results of them getting those things (more sales, revenue, a better garden).

Also offer an incentive, not just generic information but something specific to the biggest pain point your audience has.

This technique was popularized by Derek Halpern of social triggers and is known as the Feature Box.

Here is a great example on the homepage.

Instead of a homepage he has a landing page, the biggest pain point for his audience is business growth.

Therefore he offers hacks to help them grow bigger businesses.

The feature box is also great for helping you perfect your one sentence pitch.

Distilling your company vision into one sentence.

3. Popups

Let me guess, everybody hates popups right?


That is not what the data tell us, and I’d take data over opinion any day.

Data from the social media scientist showed that when using a popup on their site bounce rate maintained the same and subscription rates doubled!

Just as famous entrepreneur and Paypal founder Peter Thiel famously said:

“What do people agree merely by convention and what is the truth”

Don’t be a sheep, look at the data, do not listen to the consensus.

Again focus on key pain points like Neil Patel does here, traffic is a common problem for many website owners.

4. Make them feel like they're missing a trick

Use copy in your popup close dialogs that makes the user feel stupid or contradicts their situation.

Here Peep Laja of instead of a close icon uses the text.

"No thanks, I design websites that are unpersuasive"

When trying to get you to sign up for persuasive web design techniques.

This makes you feel like a plonker (english slang for stupid)

And you find it hard not to opt-in!

5. Auto fill emails in popups

Lead pages gives you the ability to auto fill emails from people who have already signed up to content on your site.

This reduces the friction to them opting in again and removes a barrier to entry.

It also makes it easier when progressively profiling customers.

eg Getting different information from them at different stages of the buying process.

6. Video opt-in

Wistia offers a great feature where you can ask a visitor for their email halfway through a video in order to be able to watch to the end.

This is called the Wistia turnstile.

Create a piece of content, hook them in with a question and don’t answer it until after the video turnstile.

Just like the Content Cliffhanger Technique this uses information loops or the zeigarnik effect to increase conversions.

7. Opt-In Mid Blog Post

Some longer form content (and your content should be long) can be broken up with an opt-in mid post.

Some feel this distracts the user, but if you make the offer relevant to the post and the users original search intent; what they typed into google to get to your blog post.

Then I think it is still a value add.

8. Sticky footer

The sticky footer opt-in, much like the hello bar but at the bottom of your page can work well on large monitors.

You can hide and show this using standard media queries on small devices or screens with less height where it would cover too much of the content and ruin the user experience.

9. Byline

As seen on VideoFruit the marketing blog by Bryan Harris you can add an opt-in next to the author byline.

This can trigger a lead pages or any popup box to capture emails.

10. Bottom of blog post

Many blogs put a generic opt-in at the bottom of each blog post.

For example:

The thinking is if the user reads to the end of the article it was enjoyable and provided value and they are therefore open to opt-in to more content from you.

11. Sidebar Opt-Ins

Sidebar opt-ins are very common in blogs. I suggest moving away from the standard generic email opt-in box here and use the space to link to a landing page.

The landing page should focus, just like the homepage, on a core pain point of your audience.

Here offer them a very high value resource, a free video course for example or a case study

If you cannot link them to a landing page use a popup or lead pages box.

If you want to keep it traditional and have an email opt-in inline within the sidebar, follow Neil Patel’s lead.

Give away something of real world value, here he uses pricing psychology to push for the opt-in.

The course is valued at $300 but he is giving it away for free, this incentive increases conversions.

12. Redirect First Time Commenters

When someone takes the time to make a comment on one of your posts, you know they are interested and engaged with the topic.

This means they are very close or very open to opt-in to more similar content.

A great way to leverage this is to redirect first time commenters to a landing page with an opt-in.

You can use this Yoast plugin to direct those first timers to a squeeze page, remember to add value and offer a resource. Don’t just offer ‘free updates’.

Alternatively you can simply add an opt-in checkbox to the comment form. Meaning people can join the list while commenting, pretty hassle free.

13. Make your about page a newsletter sign up page

Most people talk about themselves on their about pages. Their company, website, hobbies even.

This is ok, people need a person to relate to and more and more we see people being used as brands in today's online marketing world.

However the about page is a the perfect opportunity to collect emails too.

For example:

On Derek Halpern’s blog here you can see he lists his audiences pain points.

He focuses on aligning himself with their problems, not talking about himself.

He follows up with social proof and an opt-in to round off the top of the page.

He also removes the main navigation, strange for an ‘about’ page no? Well that is because it is a squeeze page, not an about page!

Make your about page a landing page and collect more emails.

14. Newsletter sign up page

Having a stand alone page just for signing up to your newsletter can work great.

Ryan Holiday well known media strategist offers a monthly reading guide and uses social proof to drive sign ups.

“over 25,000 loyal subscribers”

He leverages his current list size to show credibility.

15. Sticky Widget

Having a fixed sidebar that stays at the top of the page when the user scrolls means your opt-in is always visible.

If it is accessible at all times, at whatever point in the page, you are likely to get more opt-ins.

Of course test this against a non sticky control, as data doesn't lie and best practices should be tested not used blindly.

16. Footer of site

Don’t be afraid to think out of the box when adding in opt-in links.

You never know where people are looking on your site.

Noah Kagan puts a highly contrasted cta in his footer and sends people to a landing page.

17. Hello Bar

Popularized by the Hello Bar the horizontal opt-in bar seen here at the top of the screen is a good way to catch the reader's attention without covering the content and annoying them.

You can link to a squeeze page or simply include the email input within the bar.

18. Hack Polls to collect more emails

Using polls in your sidebar is a great way to not only do customer development but also to collect emails.

Ask people a question and offer a giveaway, an incentive to give their opinion.

Require their email address to submit the poll.

A great example is this candle quiz.

You get to answer a question, maybe win a prize and collect their email.

Not only do you get an email but you also learn more about the customer, in this instance their candle scent preferences.

You can then use this data in your business to improve products and services and how relevant they are to your target market.

19. Exit Intent

When someone tries to leave your blog and moves their mouse to the cross on the browser tab you show them a popup.

Bounce Exchange are the leaders in this technology.

The popup basically creates an additional page view for the user, significantly increasing your chance of email capture.

20. Survey customers with Qualaroo

Customer surveying is a key part of any companies customer development.

Alberta university managed to leverage their surveys using qualaroo to build their email list.

Using qualaroo to capture user feedback you can simply subscribe through the form when prompted to ask a question.

It increased their daily opt-in rate from 1/2 to 12/15.

The reason this technique is so important is that it not only generates emails but also acts as a form of customer development. Giving you a feedback loop for your products and services.

Next Chapter:
Increase Conversion Rate of Your Website

We've set up your blog to capture emails, now let's optimize the conversion rate.

giles thomas


Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog

3 Responses or Pingbacks

  1. […] Chapter Two: Design Your Blog for Optimal Lead Generation – Learn 20 ways you can capture emails in your blog […]

  2. James says:

    Awesome content, can you define what is exactly web 2.0 by your experience?


    • Giles Thomas says:

      Hey James

      The dot com crash in 2001, people thought the new emerging tech industry was hype.

      The concept of “Web 2.0” began with a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International.

      Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O’Reilly VP, noted that far from having “crashed”, the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity.

      What’s more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. The dot-com collapse marked a kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as “Web 2.0” made sense.

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