A topic that comes up regularly in the online personal training space is having a database (well, a list really) of leads and clients – both past and present.

Engaging with your audience regularly, and offering them quality, useful advice is how you become memorable.
The best way to do that is with an email list (and a lead magnet).

Over the past few months, I’ve brought attention to the importance of having a website.
In one article, I observed how having an actual website to direct your clients to is much better than your Facebook page. We looked at why you want to keep them in your own ‘ecosystem,’ particularly if you want to keep them engaged.
In another, I discussed why you will want to seriously consider blogging. Actual blogging, posting on Facebook and Instagram don’t count.

I might seem to be echoing myself a little bit, but all of these points emphasise different benefits and considerations, and tackle a diversity of challenges. And hey, online Brand Growth is kind of what I do.

This one tackles growing your email list.


How to grow your email list

At the end of this article, I’ve summarised why Social Media pages don’t serve your business.

Here’s the one and only one reason why email wins:

When you receive an email, you have to do something with it.

The Net is not television.
It is the finest direct-marketing mechanism in the history of mankind.
It is direct mail with free stamps, and it allows you to create richer and deeper relationships than you’ve ever been able to create before.

– Seth Godin

Delete, move to a folder, open and then skim it, or digest it.
Either way, you see it.
See the ‘Feed me’ section below to understand how this is completely different from Social Media (but you’re a smart cookie, I’m sure you’ve figured it out already.)

Growing your List with Opt-ins: Lightning Round answers

Opt-ins – what are they?

An opt-in is just as it sounds: something that your visitors do in order to receive something.
In this case, the opt-in is to give you their email address, and what they get is being on your email list.

However, that often isn’t enough of a reason for them to give up their email address… which brings me to:

Lead magnets – what are they?

Something of value in exchange for giving up their email address.
You want this to be something of quality – that they would normally expect (and want) to pay for.
Obviously, it has to be relevant to the interests of your target audience, and has to make them think
‘hot damn that’s a great offer! I gotta get me one of those. And all they want is my email address?!’

Lead magnets (juicy freebies/content) draw your lead (prospective client) to your audience pool. Like a magnet with iron filings, or so the analogy wants you to imagine.

Putting it together, and getting attention

Throughout this site, there’s a chance that you might’ve interacted with an opt-in of my own.
Either to sign up for my weekly articles, or perhaps even download a free course that I offer for personal trainers.

You can find free tools + plugins to do the trick, but often they come with limitations.
Those limitations usually are:

  • 1 plugin won’t do all types of opt-ins that you want.
  • (because of the above), your style won’t be consistent throughout
  • often hard to get metrics (eg: Google Analytics) from them
  • they may not feed into your email marketing provider (PT Champion uses Drip).
  • they may not deliver your lead magnets for you automatically, and will require you to use some sort of outside tool or system.

Because of the above, you can pretty much assume that you’ll have to pay for an opt-in mechanism at some point.

Some mailing list providers (eg: MailChimp, Drip) provide basic opt-in forms, but most of those are limited in design (and/) or functionality.

PT Champion uses OptinMonster.



These guys are one of the leading opt-in providers on the market today, offering a massive range of different pop-up styles, templates, and functions.

PT Champion’s mailing list provider (Drip – who I love) is one of the very few mailing providers that offers ‘exit intent’.
Exit-intent is where your visitor is about to leave your website, but something ‘pops up’ as they head for the address bar.

Exit-intent, a great way to grow your email listIt is with this (and other OptinMonster opt-ins) that I was able to 4x my mailing list subscriptions within 3 weeks of using it.
Not only are they they best at Exit-intent, they actually invented it – and have trademarked it accordingly.
I signed up to the Pro version straight away after that – there’s no reason for me to go with anything else.


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get it, it might seem like an expense that you can’t immediately justify – it was for me too. If you’re following along so far, you’ll now know how important it is to keep email list.
(Having this in place can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche.)

If you want a quick refresher as to why you want to keep your audience on your own platform (rather than social media), read on.

Feed me: Social Media Updates

One shitty thing about social media is that typically, 1-5% of your ‘followers’ will see an update of yours at any one given time.

Their feeds are highly personalised and curated by the social media service.
Facebook, for an example – will show a user what it predicts will be the most engaging first in their feed.

This is to make sure that when the user randomly opens Facebook when on autopilot, waiting for a cup of tea to boil – they get sucked in.

Why? – revenue, of course. You’re sucked in by juicy posts straight up, and then you scroll down a little more so they can show you paid advertisements. Evil geniuses.

What has that got to do with growing your email list?

Forgive me if you’ve read me hammer this point home before, but your Facebook page is not your business.
Their interests are entirely their own – to make money.
If they decide to completely change their layout and format and it makes your page look weird, that’s their prerogative. Think about the number of times their layout has completely changed – particularly for business pages.

Growing your email list – remember when facebook looked like this?Remember when Facebook looked like this?

”Email is like Jason Bourne. Everything keeps trying to kill it. It can’t be done.”

Email has been around and mainstream for 20 years, and it hasn’t shown signs of wavering yet.
As long as you continue to provide value to your customers via email – processing your email and re-enforcing your brand will be a part of their week.

(Want to see what I do with my email list?)

Why won't it "Just Work"? Let me help you.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Need an expert to help generate more leads?


Ask me how I can help you.

Finally, a freebie (of sorts).

I haven’t talked about the other providers for list-growth / opt-in software.
That is because I won’t be able to talk about them with any sense of authority, because I have never used them.

I have tried out SumoMe (“free” version), and immediately uninstalled it.
It felt like when you buy a new Windows laptop, and spend the next 3 weeks uninstalling bundled software that you’ll never use.

It felt like BonziBuddy.

If you can’t shell out the cash at this stage for a month of OptinMonster, at least give Rapidology a go.

Growing your email list – Rapidology example
Rapidology is a free (WordPress only) plugin by the creators of LeadPages.

It includes a few of the types of opt-ins provided by OptinMonster (but with less customisation and their page branding, no A/B testing, etc).

This will at least give you an idea about Opt-ins and see if they’re right for you.

Unfortunately this isn’t available for you if your website does not run on WordPress.

I know that SumoMe is a highly reputable company, and I’m sure that their paid-for version will be fine. But I particularly can’t stand that floating bar that they insist you install on your website:

Growing your email list – doing it SumoStyle is a little annoying

I couldn’t get around it and uninstalled it straight away– so that’s how I ended up coming across OptinMonster.
(luckily, someone has written a guide for how to get rid of that bar).

Additional / Resources

^: OptinMonster is not only a brilliant platform with excellent customer service behind it, they give kudos’ to customers of theirs that spread the word through an affiliate program.

By signing up with OptinMonster, you’ll also be helping me out – which really, is the least you can do if I was the guy who put you on to their brilliant program!

More about affiliate articles.