3 Street Selling Tactics That Boosted My Email Subscribers over 100%

When doing business online, it’s always smart to see how others are finding success. That’s why I follow people like Yaro Starak and Darren Rowse, and it may be the reason you’re following me.

The thing is, we’re so involved in doing everything online, we often fail to realize the successful strategies and tactics that are used offline in the real world that can help us with our online businesses.

I’ve touched on expanding our minds and looking for Shadows of Marketing in the real world before, but this guest post by The Blog Tyrant hits the nail on the head when it comes to using front line, real world examples to help our online marketing efforts, specifically when it comes to growing our email lists.

I really enjoyed this guest post, and I know you will too.

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photo credit: Alex E. Proimos

Don’t worry. Not THAT kind of street selling! What I am talking about is the highly efficient (and sometimes annoying) charity salespeople who walk the streets trying to sign you up for regular direct deposit donations. They work fast and they get results. The methods they use are tested and very deliberate.

In this post I am going to show you three tactics that I borrowed from one street seller that helped me boost my email subscription rate by over 100% across multiple blogs.

1. Giving Makes Selling Easier

One of the most powerful thing that these guys do is give you something as soon as they meet you. The reason for this is not because they want to get their brand name out there or make you feel friendly, it is because they know that it is harder to say no if you have just taken something from someone. Car salesman are the absolute best at this because they give you free test drives in your dream car in order to get you away from the “no” mentality. They won’t even let you go near a piece of paper until you’ve driven the car.

The street salesman that I encountered gave me a neat little bag followed by the comment, “…these are actually pretty cool man. Don’t throw it out.” Immediately the value of the item increased and I noticed my mind shifting from “get out of here” to “I should at least hear him out”. The generosity had paid off.

So how do you give on your website in order to make people more likely to subscribe by email? Some of the options include:

  • Use value-increasing language in pitches
    The interesting thing was that is wasn’t just the bag that made me stick around, it was the fact that he told me it was a good bag. It showed me that he valued the bag and as such I would feel like an absolute jerk if I admitted I wasn’t grateful by walking away. It seems ridiculous now but at the time it was very powerful. Don’t just offer a free ebook, tell people how valuable the ebook is and why it is important to you and so many others. This generates interest but also makes people feel like they are getting a lot.
  • Make it free but remind people
    Pat recently talked about whether giving away free information is bad. My take on that is that free information is excellent and fine so long as you don’t feel bad about reminding people occasionally how valuable the information is. If your website is anything like Pat’s or mine you will be quite used to giving away trade secrets. Start reminding people occasionally with gentle in-post inferences about how much you have given them. Don’t directly say “you’re getting so much jerks” but instead imply it by saying things like “this method has worked so well for me over the years and was the basis for many future successes”. I do this a bit in my article on selling a blog.
  • Ask for something in return
    One way to make the act of giving more visible is by directly asking for something in return. When you do that you are essentially highlighting the fact that you have given something of value. In the case of email subscribers you are asking for their email address so why not highlight that that is the trade off for your free ebook?

Go beyond the free ebook method as your form of giving something away and start helping people to understand how valuable your information really is. If you can go to this next deeper level you will find that people feel compelled to interact with your site in some way and the easiest way is by subscribing by email.

2. Use Social Proof At Problem Moments

So the street salesman had my attention. We’d been talking for a little while now and I could see he was getting ready to go in for the kill. As he broke out the brochure detailing how much money I was going to give he said, “We’ve had 290 people sign up this week for these $30 a month packages. All I need to do is sell 10 people the $5 a month package and we’ve hit our target“. Well played sir.

Well played.

What he had done in that sentence was show me that I wasn’t alone in doing this. He wasn’t just some clever scam artist who was going to steal my credit card details (although he might well still have been!). Other people had done this already. Other people had signed up for more than I was going to sign up for. Now my brain is telling me to do it so it will all be over. Its not that bad.

Social proof is good. Social proof at problem moments is even better. Don’t just put your testimonials all in one place. Put relevant ones at relevant problem points. For example, if you have a sidebar ad you might want to show how many other people are subscribed. If you have an email subscriber landing page you might want to have a testimonial about how easy the whole process is. Ideally you should place a relevant piece of social proof on:

  • the landing page;
  • the subscriber box area;
  • the verification email;
  • the confirmation email; and
  • the email people get when they unsubscribe.

If your social proof can also indicate how easy the process is or how much benefit they will get from a tiny bit of action then you will find that subscription rates skyrocket for the simple reason that you are removing people’s objections.

NOTE: If you can work these problem moments into your blog hot spots you will have a much higher rate of conversion for the simple reason that it gets high exposure.

3. Show Results And Make It Feel Achievable

Out of all of the sales techniques the one that had the deepest effect on me was seeing photos of kids drinking clean water, studying in their new school and eating with their family. At that point compassion welled up inside of me and all other thoughts about objections and money worries faded away.

When I was in the car later on I thought about that moment and realized that I felt quite different to when I see other charity adverts where the kids are all sick and starving. During those commercials I usually feel quite dis-empowered and depressed. But seeing photos of the results of the contributions and how literally a few bucks had changed people’s lives I felt motivated. It was an interesting moment for me.

Applied to your email subscriptions this is a very powerful thing. People are coming to your blog or website because they have a need and they want to solve that need. Your job is to make them feel like your content can solve their problems.

  • Shift from object to person
    Instead of talking about how great your ebook is or how fantastic your content will be once they subscribe you need to talk about what it will mean to the person. How will it affect their life or their business and is it really going to be achievable for them?
  • Personalize the language
    Use language like “my, me, you, your” instead of “this, it, etc.”. This is essentially helping to reinforce the first point because you are getting the person focused on your offering and how it applies to their situation. Don’t focus on the free thing or the actual product, focus on the benefits they get from it.
  • Use before and after
    On my email subscription pages I usually use a before and after of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a picture or anything that complex, just a sentence or two about how your free ebook or free subscription can take your business or health or life from the old way to the new way. Better yet, show them how it has worked for other people.

This one tactic alone is massive. If you make the shift from just talking about features and helping people understand the benefits they will get from signing up you will tap into emotions that really are quite difficult to ignore.


Offline marketers have been around for a lot longer than us online guys and as such they often have some cool things to share. This charity street seller was a perfect example. Show people the results, use social proof at problem moments and give something before you ask for something. Once I applied these three tactics to my different blogs by changing the language or the layout that I used I experienced a huge increase in email subscribers literally overnight.

Do you use anything like this on your blog? Please leave a comment as I am really interested to see what is working/not working for other people out there when it comes to email subscribers and conversions.

The Blog Tyrant has sold several blogs for large sums of money and earns a living by relying solely on the internet. His blog is all about helping you dominate your blog and your blog’s niche and only includes strategies that he has tried on his own websites. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his feed for all the juice.

  • http://www.upgradereality.com Diggy

    Hey Pat and Tryant,
    man I love both your blogs so much, really killer kickass content and tips, week after week!

    Selling and persuasion is a true art, and I’m reading as much as I can to learn about it. Bought myself a stack of books related to the subject and working my way through them over the next few months.

    I really think that the social proof aspect is huge. It can be the deciding factor between someone making the purchase and between them leaving the site because you just weren’t convincing enough!

    Great article!
    Take care!

    • Blog Tyrant

      Diggy you are everywhere man!

      I think I forgot to reply to your email the other day.

      See how many comments that post ended up getting?

      • http://www.upgradereality.com Diggy

        Haha, yeah I follow awesome people and learn from them:)

        I saw it, that’s mighty impressive man. I don’t think I’ve ever topped 100 comments for a single article.

        It’s just a matter of time. Although I may not be born a great writer, I’ll definitely become one if I keep practicing and writing!

        Keep up the good work Sir!

    • http://www.makemoneyfromhomelegitimate.com Make Money From Home Legitimate


      You’re absolutly right for the social proof aspect. If you readed the book Predictably Irrational, you know how much it affects people perspection when they see something successful. I must admit Apple is pretty good at that.

  • http://www.HectorJCuevas.com Hector Cuevas

    I have to agree 100% with the Social Proof piece. In my redesign I actually removed a lot of it because of space, but I’m going to add it back in soon.

    Social proof gets people to take action because they feel that they’ll be left out if other people are taking action. Showing your potential customer that someone else has done the things they’re about to do is pure genius in marketing.

    This is why showing comments count works, and showing how many RSS subscribers work – saying things like, “X number of people have already purchased” – that works too.

    thanks for sharing this info here on SPI.. fits perfectly
    talk soon

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      No worries Hector. I’d be interested to see how your counts go when you re-introduce.

  • http://breakintosecurity.com V-Man

    I got a couple good tips out of this article that I’m going to put into practice. Thanks for the informative post!

  • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

    Awesome Article,

    When I saw the title of this post I immediately know it is from the Blog Tyrant, props to you, you’re doing a great job!

    The social proof concept really works great and it moves people to take action.

    Thanks so much for the awesome post,

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      I don’t know if that is a good thing that you knew one of my articles right away Onibalusi!

      • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

        That’s definitely a good thing…at least to me.

        You’re always identified with quality and when I also it is about boosting email subscription I knew it was likely to be from you. Really great stuff up there – I’ve gotten something to work on during the week@

  • http://www.wasimismail.com wasim ismail

    At the moment not using anything some good points above, but working on writing a new e-book about Setting up a successful online business (like an A-Z guide), which I am going to give out free :) – lets see how it goes

  • http://www.consoleblogger.com Jason Young

    Hi Pat and Blog Tyrant,

    I got say this is some content and it was very interesting that you used the good old street seller as the basis of the post. Even I have to say that I have been converted by some of these tactics too; but what was very impressive was seeing how you first identified what those street sellers were doing (It all happens in a flash) and applied it to getting email subscribers. This is too cool!

    Awesome write up

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      It does happen so fast! I donate to so many of those things now – they are very good at it!

  • http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com Chris C. Ducker

    Great article.

    I give away a free ebook on my blog, on the subject of working with virtual staff to become a productive online entrepreneur – its been downloaded over 3,500 times now.

    I’ve found that giving that info away, and making sure that I mention it at the right time (not all the time, that would be a pain!) is incredibly important to growing my list.

    You’re right – sometimes going a little ‘old school’ on our marketing efforts definitely helps out, too.


    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      I love the look of those pop up Aweber forms like you have on your site Chris. Do you think they will become less effective now that lots of people are using them?

      • http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com Chris C. Ducker

        That’s a really good question…! And one that I have looked at time and time again.

        Fact is, I tried taking it down from my site for 3 days and saw an immediate drop in sign-up’s – a notable drop, not a small one – so they work.

        Going into next year, I am actually going to be trying a few more things out to grow the subs list of the VBL Blog. If they work out well, then I might end up removing the pop-up…

        We’ll see.


  • http://www.guidegoods.blogspot.com Edwin

    Hi BlogTyrant, cool article.

  • TrafficColeman

    Yo Pat Fans…for me email marketing has been a blessing over the years, and I have been able to connect with thousands of people..by given away free stuff to them..and then maybe selling something in the end..so its never an bad idea to give away something for free…in hopes of making a sale sooner or later.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://engineerintrainingexam.com justin Dickmeyer

    Blog Tyrant, you just hooked it up with an amazing article. I’m now just finishing up my first free eBook that I will be incorporating in to my site subscription. I will be for sure employing this advice for sure. As new blood in the online realm, I really appreciate what you and Pat have done, thank you

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      No worries man!

  • http://www.grahamjones.co.uk/ Graham Jones

    There is another thing about the relationship between offline and online….almost all of the marketing spend from the really, really big boys online is spent OFFLINE. In other words, they concentrate on branding, promotion, PR etc to bring people to them online. The internet marketing millionaires could be mega millionaires if they spent less time concentrating on ONLINE marketing and spent more of their efforts OFFLINE. In every sector I have examined, the people making the most money online are those spending most money in OFFLINE marketing.

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      Graham that is a really interesting comment. I thought about it for a long time.

      Can you give some examples? I have noticed more trends towards putting spending online and doing less offline.

  • http://www.bloggingbookshelf.com Tristan

    I’m not going to lie, I actually have no idea what you’re talking about when you’re talking about charity salespeople that accost you on the street looking for regular direct deposit donations! That’s just never happened to me before. And when I first read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be about whoring yourself out or something. You know… street selling!

    Anyway, I enjoyed this post. I especially like the emphasis you put on social proof. I think that applies a lot not only to newsletter and RSS subscriptions, but also just to things like retweets (that’s why I like to have my TweetMeme button showing on the front page of my blog) and comments. No one wants to be the first person to throw a penny into a fountain, but once they see lots of other pennies in there, they don’t have any problem doing it. As you said the same goes for subscriptions, plus retweets, comments, shares, etc.

    I actually wrote a post not too long about about “points of sale” and newsletter opt-in areas. I’ve got opt-in forms (or at least links) in my sidebar, as a popup, at the end of each post, in my nav menu, and as a check box when leaving a comment. None of them are in your face enough to be annoying (well, except the popup!) but they’re just… everywhere!

    Thanks to both Pat and to the Blog Tyrant for the post. Cheers, guys.

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      Tristan have you really never seen those guys? They stand around in malls and in China Town and say “hey how are you?” as you walk past on your lunch break. Very good sales people.

      I’ve checked out your blog a few times. Do you reckon the comment text in the sidebar influences the number of comments you get?

      • http://www.bloggingbookshelf.com Tristan

        No, never seen those guys!!

        Yeah, I do think the comment policy in the sidebar helps with getting more comments. I saw an increase in the number of comments almost instantly when I put it up.

  • http://unlockthedoor.net Stuart

    Another excellent post Tyrant, as soon as I start reading your posts I know I’m about to learn something new and important about making our websites a better place for all :-)

    • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

      Thanks man!

  • http://www.ryanrenfrew.com Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign

    Yo Tyrant,

    Great advice bro, especially shifting from object to person. In addition i thinkits also important to shift from features to benefits of products. By that I mean not what the product will do, but the effect using the product will have on your life.


  • http://blogtyrant.com Blog Tyrant

    Your right Tony.

    I think Pat’s humility and no-nonsense approach is part of the reason people become loyal to his site.

    Oh, and his boyish good looks!

  • http://experimentsinpassiveincome.com Moon Hussain

    Blog Tyrant! There you are!

    I love your content always! No exception here. You’re right. People have been selling offline a lot more than people online, so there’s a few good tips we can all use!

  • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

    Great post man! I think personalizing the language is so important too! I totally agree! People just love when they feel personalized!

  • http://www.bloggerbusinessplan.com Allan

    Great post. The social proof example was interesting. The other technique the salesperson used was anchoring. He introduced the $30 a month figure so you’d feel that the $5 a month package was good value.

    I’ve been reading Influence,by Robert Cialdini and it’s got some great ideas in it along these lines.


  • http://www.nicolasdecorte.be Nicolas

    I’m quite new to the whole online business scene and the more I read about it, the more I am amazed. There’s a big chance that is because it’s explained so well.
    Great post!

  • http://www.kobyackie.com Koby Ackie

    The personalizing of the language struck a cord with me. It is very important in connecting with readers. Keep up the good, posts. I am learning tons.

  • http://bloggingforincome.net Brandon Cox

    Now that’s snazzy! Excellent ideas. I like what you said about reminding people about what you have to sell. I think we live in a world where everyone expects everything free. Free is good, but somehow, we all have to eat!

  • http://eblogcamp.com Mike

    Brilliant article I read today, Blog Tyrant (man, I never know about your name, maybe you should give us one soon, huh :)).

    Your story reminds me about lots of street selling people I met. At first, they approached me and started really quickly–so quickly that I couldn’t walk away. They offered me a free sample and offered their unique selling value. That’s true! They told me how their product would rock my world and I would swear to myself that no products on the market could beat their products. That’s kind of smart. Then, they asked if I interested in buying just a small amount of their product, like just a small bag. Bang! They knew that I would walk away with the deal if I was asked too much. Brilliant, right?

    • http://ninetowhat.com Fernando

      It’s part of the magic :)

  • Mel


    You have a great compilation of passive income generation articles. The articles encompass various levels of the process but generally is geared for the somewhat established. I’ve spent two years reading how to blogs. Now that I semi-comprehend the techniques, Im ready to start. Can you point me to an article/product of yours presenting the organizational structure from step number one? Ie. conceptualize, pick a niche, create a website, grow traffic etcetera.

    It seems Im always reading step number ten through fifty when I have not progressed to process number two.

  • http://makemoneyfromnigeria.com Mk Akan

    Thanks tyrant..am going to use this on my squeezepages and blog posts…social proof and explaining benefits…works

  • http://robert-petrie.com Robert Petrie

    A really interesting post and one that I will be back to really study, to often we read a great post and relate to the information, say to ourselves, I will do that and then forget about it, not this time, I know what you are saying is spot on, so have bookmarked and will be back to soak up these very important points.

    Those pesky car salesman get me every time :)




  • http://www.howtomakemoney-from-home.com Jeroen

    Thanks for an interesting guest blog. I like the idea of adding some more social proof to my site so will tackle that in the future. I am already giving away a free 45-page eBook so that’s taken care off !

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  • http://igniteyouressence.com Justin Popovic

    Some great insights in this article. I love the point about telling people and reminding people about the value of your free give away. Free can sometimes be labeled as “garbage” but if your free give away truly is awesome, make sure everyone knows!

    I look forward to more articles like this one. Great job

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  • http://www.crunchbase.com/person/tej-kohli Tej Kohli

    Street Selling is old one strategy which is now also become effective, now a days some online media like Google and Microsoft also using street selling

  • http://financiallyeliteblog.com Dwight

    Good post Tyrant, these street selling tactics you shared are gold. I’ve done a few of them accidentally but glad i did.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

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  • http://www.diy-solar-energy.org alternative energy sources

    Of course, what a fantastic website and enlightening posts, I surely will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

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  • http://www.blast4trafficnow.net Michael Chibuzor

    This is a great posting tyrant. I have read so many of your guest posts on growing an email list that become responsive. You truly have what it takes to make one successful. Keep the flag flying.

  • http://operaminikl.ru/ Opera

    He knows much who knows how to hold his tongue