The Evergreen Guide to Mastering Content Upgrades and How It Can Benefit Your Blog


Earlier I wrote about why smart bloggers should focus on email marketing & that post has been getting a great response from our regular readers. Many of our readers have already started putting efforts in growing & nurturing their email lists. However, when your traffic is low, rapidly growing your email list is a problem.

Isn’t it?

Well, today’s post is dedicated to all marketers to assist in rapidly growing your email list, and also includes some pro tips to keeping the list highly relevant.

If one of your blogging goals is to FAST TRACK the growth of your email list (which it should be), then I have a little secret for you.

The traditional incentives you usually offer your blog visitors for them to sign up to your email list are not really that effective anymore.

You know what I mean:

  • Free reports
  • Email newsletters
  • etc.

A new trend on the internet has emerged which has replaced every other traditional means of inviting blog readers to join your mailing list.

You might have heard about it before, and if you’re not yet making use of it, you’re missing out.

What is this method that will make readers rush onto your email list?

  • Content upgrades.

It’s a strategy that is currently working for many smart bloggers. A lot of people have used it to boost their email opt-in rate by a substantial amount.

In this post, I will reveal to you what content upgrades are all about and how they can benefit your blog.

Forget About Giving Generic Free Reports

Free reports still work fine to some extent.

But a content upgrade is bonus content that adds significant value to the information people are already consuming.

Unlike traditional lead magnets, content upgrades are usually relevant to the particular content people are reading.

And for readers to get these upgrades, they have to give you their email address.

According to Pat Flynn, he has been giving away a free report (eBook) on his blog since 2010.

This strategy has done well for him, but since he started using content upgrades, he has been able to collect over 120,000 emails.

That’s not bad at all…

If you think about it, traditional lead magnets do not add value to the specific things people are reading on your site. They’re usually generic, and people don’t always deem it necessary to download such reports because it’s not immediately relevant.

If the report helps to magnify the content in any way, your readers will be much more inclined to take you up on it.

This is not a new idea on the internet per se. Many veteran marketers like Amy Porterfield, Brian Dean, Brian Harris, and many others have used this to boost their email convention rates in recent times.

What makes most people overlook this list building method is it requires a little more work to put in place after the hard work of writing a blog post is over. But no matter how time-consuming it might seem, the result is always worth it… if done well.

Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be difficult at all, and it does not have to take up much time. What works best are small, unique, bite-sized incentives that are directly relevant to what people are already reading.

It can be in the form of a checklist, to-do list, short report, template, or something else relevant. What’s important is it adds more value to the content.


Benefits Of Using Content Upgrades For Email List Building

One thing I firmly believe in when it comes to blogging:

  • If it’s not working, people wouldn’t be doing it.

Below are the two main reasons why people are consistently vouching for content upgrades:

1. A good content upgrade is specific, relevant, useful, and actionable. As I stated earlier, traditional lead magnets are often generic, while content upgrades are specific and enhance the content for which it was created.

Put yourself in the shoes of your blog readers…

You come across a blog post that’s talking about Facebook advertising. The post title captured your interest, so you check out the post.

Right in the middle of the post, you see a link that will give you a short report that will help you to create your first Facebook ad campaign. All you have to do is to put in your email to download this report.

Will you go for it? If you’re serious about creating Facebook ads, you probably will.

See how useful this strategy is?

2. Content upgrades convert at a very high rate. Blogger Brian Dean saw a 785% increase in his email opt-in rate when he started using content upgrades on his blog.

In a similar way, another blogger Brian Harris also reported a conversion rate of 20-62% the moment he started adding content upgrades to his Video Fruit blog.

The reason for this is because of what I said earlier: The content upgrade is relevant, useful, and actionable.

How To Boost Email List Subscribers Using Content Upgrades

Right now, you’re probably wondering:

“OK, I’m ready to try the content upgrade list building method. How do I start?”

Here’s the 5 step process.

  1. Locate a high-traffic page on your site. You can find this via your Google Analytics account.
  2. Identify an excellent resource that would make the content better. This could either be a short video that talks more about what you wrote about, a little checklist, a brief report, etc. Just make sure it’s useful and superb.
  3. Build that resource.
  4. Add it to your site.
  5. Get more email subscribers.

Content Upgrade Best Practices

  • They don’t have to be long. Long content upgrades will be boring to read, and this will affect your conversion rates. Your content upgrade needs to be as short and concise as possible.
  • It should be useful and actionable so your readers will not find it difficult to use.
  • Your content upgrades should make your readers to take action. This should be the main aim of the content upgrade. If readers don’t take action after reading it, then your content upgrade is worthless.
  • It should not serve as a tool to get new subscribers, but rather it should nurture your existing subscribers.
  • If possible, create many content upgrades for each blog post. This will skyrocket your conversion rates beyond your imagination.
  • Content upgrades should be placed right after, and in the middle, of your blog posts for a better conversion.
  • They should look good and be professional.


Tools That Will Enhance Your Content Upgrade Efforts

There are a few essential tools that you’ll need to make this strategy work well for you. You can perform the steps manually, but using tools will always save you lots of time.

The two most widely used tools I’ve discovered for it are:

  1. ThriveLead
  2. Leadpages

Both of them are premium tools, but the rewards down the road will always triumph over the amount you spend on them. I have been using Leadpages for the past few years (you can read more about Leadpages here).

You’ll also need a good email marketing tool like ConvertKit or AWeber to integrate with these tools. If you are short on cash, you should only use ConvertKit. They offer an inbuilt feature for content upgrades that works flawlessly.

Wrapping Up

A recent discovery by Monetate shows that email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social.

The most amazing decision you’ll make today as a marketer is to start building your email list.

There are so many good ways to grow your email list, but I’ve yet to see a strategy that’s as effective as using content upgrades. Thus, I urge you to give it a shot right now and see what difference it’ll make on your list building efforts.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Let’s discuss in the comments section.

Do you know someone who could benefit from this guide? Share it with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

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