Cultivate an Email List

How to Cultivate an Email List with Content Upgrades


Email marketing is easily one of the best ways to nurture your audience and create lucrative customer relationships. It ensures that you can reach your customers wherever you are and provides a perfect platform for showcasing your brand identity.

The only problem? You’re going to need someone to send your emails to before you can begin reaping the right results.

The good news is that consumers generally prefer email as their go-to method of interacting with businesses. However, you still need to convince your audience that they want to hear from your business.

So, how exactly do you do that? Through the use of content upgrades of course!

Why Content is an Amazing Lead Magnet

If you’re familiar with email marketing, you’ll know that lead magnets are how you convince your audience to sign up for your campaigns. There are a lot of different kinds of lead magnets, from eBooks to webinars, and discounts.

Many of the most valuable magnets, revolve around content.

You just have to look at the success of blog posts for turning leads into customers to see why content is so effective. Around 57% of marketers say they’ve acquired clients through blogs alone.

Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing, and it has a host of other benefits too. With content marketing, you showcase your thought leadership in your industry and convince your audience that you deserve their trust.

Most of the time, however, businesses use content for things like organic traffic and SEO. They forget that that the right kinds of content also have the power to improve opt-in rates and enhance their email marketing list.

Content upgrades, where you ask your audience to hand over their email address in exchange for more advanced or comprehensive articles, blogs, and videos, have a 20% opt-in rate.

How to Grow Your Email List with Content Upgrades

Any content on your website has the potential to grow your email list.

Tips and guides assist your audience and convince them that staying in touch with you is a good idea. Podcasts and videos generate dedicated fans.

However, content upgrades can be particularly beneficial because they use a targeted offer o drive conversions. Here are some of the ways that you can use content upgrades to your advantage.

1. Experiment with Gated Content

Up to 80% of all B2B content marketing assets fall into the category of “gated content.” This is a kind of content that you lock behind a form. Your readers need to complete that form to gain access. Your “gate” might guard a video, a blog post, or even a download.

The great thing about gated content is that locking the information away doesn’t stop you from ranking with the search engines. Your content will still be available to Google, so your SEO continues to grow.

Gates are a content marketing staple in lead generation for a lot of reasons. First, they capture your audience members when they’re already interested in looking at something. Your client has already clicked your link to check out the information, so you know they’re going to want to read on.

Gated content can also give your material a higher perceived value among customers.

Telling your audience that they need to join an exclusive group to keep reading takes advantage of the concept of FOMO. No-one wants to risk losing out on valuable information. An email address and name is a small price to pay for the right content.

2. Make Your Content More Accessible

Sometimes, the best content upgrades don’t just give your audience extra information, they also provide your customers with a new way to access that information too.

For instance, a blog post is great, but it’s easy for your customers to forget where they read a certain statistic or quote when they click away from your website. If you’re appealing to an audience that may want to share your information with their friends and colleagues, you need to make the act of sharing easier.

Simply transforming your most valuable information into a PDF or eBook that your audience can download can increase the number of people on your email list significantly. You can even add extra elements to the eBook to make it more appealing, like visuals and graphs.

Remember, 75% of content marketers achieve higher ROI when using visuals in content.

Printables and downloads give your customers the chance to display and share your information however, they choose. They can print details and take them into their next meeting. Some companies might even add downloads to their company knowledge base.

Remember, when offering your audience a download, it’s important to remind them of why they want to access this information. If your download includes extra pages or details, a bullet point list on what your audience can expect is a great way to generate intrigue.

3. Curate Existing Content into a Guide

One of the biggest things that companies struggle with when using content upgrades in their campaigns is how to create a large piece of valuable content. After all, regularly producing amazing articles and videos is severe enough at the best of times.

Designing something so valuable that it convinces your audience to let you join them on their customer journey is even tougher.

The good news? You may already have the assets you need.

Many businesses today create blogs and videos that form part of a content series. For instance, if you’re a company selling email marketing software, you might product blogs teaching your audience about how to score their leads and design their email templates.

While these pieces of content are valuable, they also mean that your customers need to spend a lot of time jumping between different articles to cultivate the right information.

Creating a how-to guide from some of the most important tips you’ve covered in a series of blogs is a great way to provide your clients with a handy resource.

All you need to do is browse through your existing assets and pluck out pieces of information that fit together. Make sure that your guide feels like a complete resource, not just a bunch of ideas stitched together.

4. Convert Content into New Formats

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the only valuable content is written content.

Blogs, articles, and eBooks are a great source of information for your audience. They also play a crucial part in your SEO strategy. However, they’re not the only way to connect with your customers.

Converting your existing blogs and articles into a video or audio recording is a great way to connect with customers who process data differently.

Once again, by converting your existing content into new formats, you reduce the time required to build new assets. At the same time, you give your brand image some diversity. Remember, 64% of B2B companies say that podcasts are crucial to their buying journey.

When deciding what kind of content formats your audience needs, do your research.

With a little luck, you already have different kinds of content on your website, or you share various forms through social media. A little insight from your analytics will show you which kinds of customers respond best to which materials.

If you don’t have something suitable in your asset library that you can convert, think about creating something from scratch. You could start by answering common questions that your customers ask your sales team through a weekly video that’s exclusive to email subscribers.

5. Deliver Brand-New Resources

Downloads, videos, and other converted forms of content are great. However, there are going to be some customers out there who will refuse to hand over their email address if they think that they can get similar information elsewhere.

That’s why it’s so important to invest in creating something brand new from time to time.

Surveying your industry, doing some research, and providing never-before-seen information will have your audience clamoring for a chance to join your email list.

The good news is that creating this brand new information isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems.

Sometimes, all you need to do is speak to your previous customers and transform their insights into a case study that your new potential leads can learn about. Make sure that you include plenty of quotes and statistics in these case studies to make them more authoritative.

Other ways to create reports include hosting a poll online and giving people the chance to win something in exchange for their input.

You can even consider reaching out to other professionals in your space and asking them for top tips on something that matters to your audience. A collection of “insights” from industry professionals boosts your appearance as an authority. Plus, you have a greater chance that your content upgrade will reach more people because your quoted professionals will share it too.

Content Upgrade Best Practices

Now that you have some examples on how to use content upgrades, it’s time to make sure that you pursue this strategy in the right way. For instance, think about:

  • Relevancy: Does your customer really care about whatever you’re promising? How do you know that they want to read about, see, or hear this information?
  • Value: What can your audience take away from this content upgrade? Are they going to be more informed and have exclusive information? Will they be able to download and share some crucial data with their team?
  • Impact: Few customers will be willing to exchange their email information for details that they could find on any blog post. To ensure your content upgrade has impact, offer something unique. This could be a specific opinion, or brand-new stats.

A content upgrade is still one of the best ways to strengthen your email list and encourage more conversions. However, just like any other marketing effort – you need to ensure you’re doing it right. Use the tips above to guide your new strategy and remember to track your results and learn as you go.






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