Psychological triggers that convert website visitors into email subscribers

Recently, I shared some of my favourite hacks for reducing your email unsubscribe rate.

But you know as well as I do that your unsubscribe rate won’t ever fall to 0%. And you wouldn’t want it to—because not everyone who subscribes to your email list is the right fit for it.

So as important as it is to focus on retaining the subscribers you already have on your list, you always want to be gaining new ones too. Because that’s how you’ll get that email list to grow!

How can you increase the size of your email list by getting more people to sign up?

Check out these 7 psychological triggers that convert website visitors into email subscribers.

 

 

Having a hard time getting new subscribers for your email list?
Learn my 4-step formula for building your email list like a pro.
Download the free email list builder cheat sheet.

 

 

1. Curiosity

Why is Google such a successful brand? Because as humans, we’re motivated to find answers to things we don’t know. And how do most people find answers to their questions these days? That’s right—they google it.

The good news is that you don’t have to be Google to take advantage of the strong mental itch that people get when they realize they don’t know something. You just need to make your audience aware that there’s something they don’t know that’s relevant to them. And then you need to dangle a resource that promises to fill this information gap in front of them.

How do you do this in a way that will convince more of your website visitors to opt in to your email list? Create lead magnets or content upgrades that promise to answer the key questions your audience has.

And be sure to emphasize this promise in your opt-in forms and calls to action (CTAs).

Related: 11 common lead magnet mistakes you may be making + 42 free lead magnet ideas

Example: Pat Flynn’s emphasizes that his audience will finally learn effective strategies for building their email list if they opt in.

 

 

email list incentives

2. Scarcity

“FOMO” may seem like a ridiculous millennial buzzword, but it’s real. People have a serious fear of missing out on opportunities, especially scarce ones because they seem more valuable. And that’s why sales, fast-action bonuses, and other limited-time offers work so well.

How can you leverage this psychological trigger to boost your email list? Think about offering a lead magnet for a limited period of time only (or for only a limited time each year). For example, if people know that they can get access to your free Instagram video training series only if they sign up for it this week, they’ll be more likely to opt in immediately so they don’t miss out.

Alternatively, put a cap on the number of people who can opt in. This works particularly well if you’re offering access to a free online or in-person event because you can emphasize that you have a limited number of spots or seats available.

Keep in mind that although scarcity is effective, it has to be real to work in your favour in the long run. People don’t like feeling that they’ve been tricked. So don’t say that there’s a deadline or cap on a lead magnet if there really isn’t.

Related: 9 easy list building tips to grow your email list + free list of 27 content upgrade ideas

Example: Buffer ran a giveaway to grow their email list. If people signed up for their email list before the giveaway deadline, they were entered into a draw to win a Buffer plan for life. Pretty sweet, right?

 

 

email list incentives

 

3. Anticipation

Another psychological trigger that can help you boost your email subscribers is anticipation. When people have something positive or exciting to look forward to, it makes them happy. And it can help them experience the positive emotions that will make them more likely to take action in the future.

How can you use this psychological trigger to get more email subscribers? If you have a product or service that you’ll be launching or relaunching in the future, encourage people to sign up for your email list so they’ll be the first to get updates on the launch.

Not only will you get new subscribers, but you’ll be able to nurture and prime them to pounce on your offer when you release it.

Related: 8 reasons to build an email list for your biz or blog + free email list builder cheat sheet

Example: Melanie Duncan encourages people to sign up for her email list to receive updates on her waitlisted Business Class course.

 

 

 

4. Community

We all have a fundamental need to belong and be part of a community. When we feel connected to other people, it makes us feel happy and secure. But it also motivates us to take action if we think that something will help us achieve a goal.

You can tap into this psychological trigger to grow your email list by making your lead magnet a membership in a community—like a private Facebook group. If your audience is looking for like-minded people they can connect with and get support from, joining your email list will seem like a small price to pay for access to the community.

 

 

Having a hard time getting new subscribers for your email list?
Learn my 4-step formula for building your email list like a pro.
Download the free email list builder cheat sheet.

Send me the cheat sheet

 

5. Social proof

Who’s most likely to persuade your audience? Other people who seem to be like them.

So if your audience is teachers and they see that lots of other teachers already rely on your free resources to learn how to run their classroom, they’ll be more likely to opt in to get these resources too. After all, if thousands of other teachers have opted in, your resources must be pretty awesome, right?

How can you incorporate social proof into your email opt-ins? Indicate how many people have already opted in to your list. Alternatively, state the number of people who have already signed up for a specific lead magnet or content upgrade.

Related: 5 reasons why social shares aren’t just a vanity metric + 7 free social media copy templates

Example: Melyssa Griffin leverages social proof to grow her email list by referencing the 100,000+ people who have already opted in.

 

 

Melyssa Griffin home page

 

6. Need to complete

Once people start a task, they’re motivated to complete to. This is known as the Zeigarnik effect.

How can you use this psychological trigger to grow your email list? Use a 2-step opt-in process. Instead of displaying an opt-in form right on a webpage or blog post, set it up so that people have to click on a button, image, or link before they’ll see the form.

What does this do? Once people click and see the opt-in form, it makes them feel like they’ve started a task and need to complete it. For this reason, they’ll be more likely to complete the opt-in form than if they’d just seen the form in the first place.

Related: 16 ways to get MORE people to see your email opt-ins + 19 emails to send to your list

Example: On my blog, I use leadboxes to create a 2-step opt-in process. When someone clicks on the image that promotes the content upgrade, an opt-in form pops up. At this point, people feel as though they’re halfway through a task and are motivated to fill and submit the form to complete it.

 

 

content upgrade tip

 

7. Laziness

Laziness may seem like the opposite of something that would get people to take action by signing up for your email list.

But there’s a way to use this psychological trigger to your advantage: make your opt-in forms stupidly simple and straightforward.

Tell your website visitors exactly what you want them to do with your opt-in form. And make sure the form fields and button are labelled in a way that makes the form super easy to fill out and submit.

You can also use visuals, like arrows, to direct people’s attention to the form so that they know exactly what their next step should be.

Related: 10 effective opt-in incentives that help you grow your email list + free tip sheet

Example: Nesha Woolery’s opt-in form is clear and simple to optimize sign-ups.

 

 

 

Grow your list with these psychological triggers

Ready to get more subscribers on your email list? Of course you are!

Use the 7 psychological triggers I shared above to give your website visitors #allthefeels and convince them to join your list TODAY—not tomorrow, next week, or next year.

 

 

Having a hard time getting new subscribers for your email list?
Learn my 4-step formula for building your email list like a pro.
Download the free email list builder cheat sheet.

Send me the cheat sheet

 

 

 

Wish more people were signing up for your email list? Discover the 7 psychological triggers that help you convert more of your website visitors into email subscribers + grab my email list builder cheat sheet.

7 psychological triggers that convert visitors into email subscribers + free email list builder cheat sheet
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