If you’re building an email list, you probably already figured out that content upgrades are an excellent way to add new subscribers to your list every single day (if not, they totally are). Content upgrades not only allow you to sneak opt-in boxes into the middle of your blog posts where your readers are more likely to pay attention to and click them, but they also allow you to gift readers with something free + awesome to help them work through the content you just shared.
And the best part? You set up a content upgrade ONCE and it will keep bringing in subscribers for as long as that post is live.
Want some snazzy-looking proof that content upgrades are a worthwhile strategy??
That, my friend, is my ConvertKit analytics from the past month. Half of those boxes represent non-content upgrade opt-ins (this includes the opt-in button in my site header, the box in my site footer, and two on-demand webinars) and the other half . . . content upgrades!
If you don’t have an email list at all yet, head over here to get your ‘ish together.
Today I’m going to show you how to create content upgrade opt-in forms + deliver a freebie to subscribers using Sumo. And yes, this page contains affiliate links because I do, in fact, use Sumo to run many of the opt-in boxes and content upgrades on my site.
>>> First, click here to get Sumo (it’s free to start!), and then you can use this tutorial to walk through the steps as you set up a content upgrade on your own site.
Step 1: Create a new form
Hop into Sumo, click List Builder, then click the green button in the upper right corner to create a new form.
Next, under “My Goal,” choose “Collect Emails.”
Step 2: Choose a form type
One of the awesome things about Sumo is that they have options for many types of forms. You can create pop-up boxes, exit pop-ups, inline opt-in boxes, welcome gates, announcement bars, and (what we’re covering today) click triggers. And, while we’re not going to use it for this today, you have the ability on all of those form types to add a button that links to a page instead of an opt-in form. I’ve used that option to promote challenges, giveaways, webinars, and my free blogging course.
To set up your click trigger, select “click trigger popup.”
Step 3: Design your opt-in box
A few months ago, the rad peeps at Sumo added a drag + drop builder that made my life 1000 times easier. Templates are nice, but I know you want full control over how your opt-in boxes look so they match your branding completely.
Choose a template style to start with (don’t worry, you can change EVERYTHING) and then click each element to change the font and color, resize it, or drag to move. If you need more space, you can also drag the edges of the background to make it larger.
Above, their template. Below, my edits.
You also have the option to add other elements – so if you want to collect a first name, click “add new” and choose “text input.” Or if you like the style of the email field, you can click “duplicate” instead and change the preset to “first name” so your email platform knows what’s going in that box.
Next, edit the success page and let subscribers know how they will receive their freebie (more on that in the next steps).
To do this, click “Success” at the top of the Design screen. Edit the text and background like you did for the subscribe box and then choose an action for the button. Does it give them immediate access to download the freebie? Redirect them to a related service or product? Or just close the box so they can get back to the blog post?
Step 4: Connect your email platform
Once your opt-in box is branded and beautiful, you’ll need to connect your email platform.
Sumo DOES collect subscribers into a database (you can find this under Message Center when you click out of the List Builder), but I like to set up automated emails depending on which content upgrade a subscriber downloads – and I send weekly emails to my list – so sending them into ConvertKit makes managing my list a lot easier.
I’m going to show you how to connect ConvertKit because 1. that’s what I use, and 2. they make it REALLY easy.
First, create a new naked form – you don’t need to do any designing in ConvertKit because Sumo takes care of that for you.
Next, give your form a name . . .
Step 5: Upload your freebie
At this point, you have two options: 1. you can send your freebie using ConvertKit, or 2. you can send it using Sumo. I’m gonna show you how to do both . . .
Here’s how to send your freebie with ConvertKit
Click into Settings > Incentive Email. Make sure “Send Incentive” is checked. Fill in your email subject line, email content, and swap out the button text to remind subscribers what they’re getting. Then upload your freebie under “Thank You Page.”
If you want to change the button color within the email to match your branding, you can do this in the ConvertKit Content screen.
Once your form + incentive email are finished and you’ve uploaded your freebie, hit save and then jump down to step #6.
Here’s how to send your freebie with Sumo
Click into the success tab.
You have two options here (yep, more options!) – you can send the download via email . . .
And/or you can use the Download Content Upgrade option to make the freebie available to download right on the success page.
This is the success page you edited in Step #3, so if you use this option, make sure the button on that page says something like “download.”
Now, I prefer to send the download via email because I want subscribers to get an email from me immediately and get used to seeing me show up in their inbox. If subscribers open an email from you, it makes it less likely that your weekly emails will end up in their spam folder.
You are sending weekly emails, right? If not, we need to talk.
Step 6: Connect Sumo + the form you created in ConvertKit
Almost done! Now you need to connect Sumo to the form you created in ConvertKit so subscribers are properly tagged and organized.
Click “Connect to Email Service” and then click into your email platform. (Go through the steps to connect if you haven’t done so already.)
Switch from global to campaign since we want to connect users with a specific form. Then select your form and click save.
Step 7: Grab your link code
To add the click trigger into your blog post, go back into the “Visibility” tab, copy the click trigger code, and paste it into the HTML of your blog post.
And one last tip – once you have your opt-in box styles in place, you can duplicate that same form over and over (on the main list builder screen). If you’ve been around here before, you know I’m all about being speedy and efficient, so using your first form as a template will make creating future content upgrades a two-minute task!
Now that you have some good lookin’ opt-in boxes, how about a few ideas for what freebies to tempt your audience with??
Here are 18 ideas for content upgrades to help grow your email list fast! And if you have content upgrades already but they aren’t doing much to grow your list, these mistakes might be keeping readers from clicking.