How to Triple Your Subscribers with One Simple Tool
How to Triple Your Subscribers with One Simple Tool
How to Triple Your Subscribers with One Simple Tool

I’m a fan of simplicity. And if you’ve followed this blog for more than a few days you’d know that I’m also a fanboy for versatile marketing tools. So when I came across SumoMe, a tool that is as versatile as it is simple, I practically had a seizure. After an effortless install, I spent the next few months watching our newsletter subscribers skyrocket like never before. I knew this was the gem I’d been waiting for. The one.

So, So Simple

Of late, the ‘marketing tools’ space has become bloated with half-assed freeware and cheap clones. As an editor for SME, I’ve had to sort through hundreds of “tools” each month. If the routine has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate function over frills. I’d rather have a simple installation with immediate results than ‘all the bells and whistles’ when it comes to a new tool. SumoMe is the poster child of how an app should be in 2016. I loved it so much that I personally reached out to the founder to form a partnership. As a result, we’ll be running a joint Webinar this Friday and I’d love you to be a part of it. Sign Up Here!

After one very simple installation, your blog will be hooked up with 13 essential tools for growth. These tools span everything from lightboxes, heatmaps, contact forms and much more. Each tool has a free version to use and each is defined enough to deserve a spot in your daily workflow. For this post, we’ll dive into how we used a selection of the available tools to grow our subscriber following well beyond our expectations.

Meet Your Audience

The first step on the path to subscriber growth will involve audience monitoring tools. These are designed to give you intel on user habits to laser guide your future marketing efforts.  After you install SumoMe you’ll be greeted with the below dashboard.

Click on the circled tool called “Content Analytics”.


This tool will end up being an invaluable resource for your blog. It measures the average read length of all viewers coming to individual pages. This will give you a clear measure of how users are responding to content by showing exactly how much they actually read!

Now if you have SumoMe Pro you’ll be able to auto-record literally every page on your site. Simply go to ‘Auto Record’ and add the rule ‘On All Pages’. 


If you don’t have Pro don’t worry you can still use this awesome tool for free! Simply check out your right rail bar and click on the circled ‘eye’ logo. This will cause the app to start recording the page that you’re currently on. You’ll be able to view these recordings later in the ‘Campaigns’ tab after it’s been running for a while and collected some viewers. 2

After you’ve been recording readers for at least a week you’ll have plenty of data to work with. Go to the ‘Campaigns’ tab and check out the ‘average read’ column. 


Notice how our article ‘A Beginners Guide to Content Marketing‘ only got a 53% average read rate while our “What it Takes to Go Viral in 2016” has an average 100% read! This shows that viewers are much more engaged on this piece of content and thus more likely to respond to targeted marketing!

You can even click the ‘view’ button to see an overlay graph showing exactly where users drop off.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.29.42 PM
Watch that read number drop!

You can also run Heat Maps in a much similar fashion. Simply click the Heat Maps button in the dashboard and you’ll now be able to record all clicks on any given page


To start recording you can either click the ‘flame’ icon on the sidebar or run an ‘auto record’ with Pro access.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.40.02 PM

Once recording for a while, go to ‘Campaigns’ tab yet again and you’ll be able to view all clicks on page. This is crucial info as it’ll tell you where to place lightboxes for optimum clicks.

Testing To Success

Now that we have a clear idea of what our audience responds to and which pages they’re most active on we’ll be able to organize a comprehensive email collection campaign. This is the core strategy that led to our unprecedented newsletter growth.

These are the three apps you’ll be testing to collect email subscribers. I recommend you test each and compare results to find the optimal method. Here’s how we tested our way to success at SME. 


List Builder is a traditional lightbox pop-up email collection tool. It was the first medium we tested and we were happy with it initially. Our first strategy was to A/B test the design of the pop-up itself. To do this go to ‘add new campaign’ 

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.52.20 PM

Now to go the ‘Popups & A/B Tests’ tab and click Add New Pop.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.54.59 PM

Here you’ll be able to design your popup variations. We recommend only testing 2 at a time and when A/B testing only test one element at a time. For example if you want to find out which theme works best like we did do not change any copy or CTA’s, make sure they’re totally identical other than the theme itself.

Here’s what our two tests looked like while testing theme. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.57.37 PM
‘Gloss’ Theme
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.49.55 PM
‘Focus’ Theme







So after running the two themes for a week we discovered a clear winner. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.51.55 PM

Notice how ‘Focus’ theme got 2.19% clicks while ‘Glass’ only got 1.28%. This was a clear indication that Focus was the way to go! So from here we began testing copy variations until we found the perfect text to drive the highest click through rate!

After A/B testing copy and theme we then target our popups to show on specific pages with the best read time (as shown by our ‘Content Analytics’ tool collection). We could also set popups to show at the optimal time so that most people will be able to see it! 

First find the best-performing page (as we previously learned it was our “Going Viral” post with 100% read rate). Now go to ‘Display Rules’ and add the rule to ‘Show on URL Paths Exactly Matching’ the URL that performed best. Keep in mind you can add multiple URLs. Now your Popup will only show on the page you entered.

This is a great time to add post-specific messaging in your popups. Our post was about preparing for marketing in 2017 so we included specific copy saying “Don’t’ Fall Behind, Subscribe to Our List for the Latest Trends!”.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.08.54 PM

After you set which page you want the popup to show on you can now set how the popup will be triggered to show. You can get very advanced with this even going as far as having it show when the user clicks a specific part of your blog. For our purposes, we set it to show after a certain amount of time has elapsed. If you remember from before we’re able to see how long an average user spends on the page.

Go to the post variation and click on the ‘Behavior’ tab. Set the ‘display after’ time to correlate with what your Content Analytics tool showed was the average read time. Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.15.50 PM

For this page in particular, most users read the whole way through! So we’re able to have the popup show a bit later than usual. This will help ensure that the user has already seen the quality of our content and trusts that our newsletter will be worth their time. 60 seconds seemed to be the sweet spot for us.

Get a Strong Call to Action

When you get comfortable with List Builder it’s time to test other methods! We also tested Scroll Boxes and Light Bars but found the most success with Welcome Mats.

Welcome Mats are a new format that populate the entire screen with a popup. It sounds obnoxious but the proof is in the numbers guys. They truly revolutionized our collection process showing 2-3x better results than our optimized List Builder!

When we started we were seeing an average of 1.3% signups. This is an alright number but we wanted to find a way to get even better results.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.27.26 PM

We started a new campaign with a more clear call to action. We wanted to offer an immediate reward to our readers. So we created a community on Slack and made the new CTA about joining our community. After this change in CTA we saw our conversions increase by over 200%! Now our average signup is 2.38% and users seem much more responsive in general.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.30.32 PM

This didn’t happen overnight. We were still optimizing the themes, text and timing as outlined above. Never stop testing and eventually you’ll find the perfect combination that launches your newsletter to the next level! I can tell you that after using the above tactics with SumoMe we were able to grow our list to over 600% it’s previous numbers.

Go ahead and give it a shot, you can do plenty with their free version however I totally recommend upgrading if you want to see similar results to what we were.

And don’t forget to come watch one of the senior members of SumoMe next Friday, September 9th in our live Webinar. He promises to teach us 4 ways to see explosive email list growth using SumoMe so don’t miss it!

While we are a proud partner with SumoMe, all opinions are 100% our own

SME Paid Under

About the Author

Annika Bansal
Annika is a Senior Editor at Social Media Explorer. She travels full time and has lived on the road working remotely for over two years. You can check out her Instagram to follow her on the road.

VIP Explorer’s Club