How Content Upgrades Can Double Your Blog Post Conversion Rates

Carl Taylor | March 7, 2017

What if every blog post you wrote could help build your email list?

If you’ve been looking for new ways to easily grow your email list, then content upgrades might be the solution to your problem. Below, we show you what content upgrades are, why you’ll want to use them, and how you can make them work for your business.

What Is a Content Upgrade? And Why Should You Use One?

A lot of times, you create open loops in your content. Open loops are those dangerous things that keep you binging on Netflix until the wee hours of the night.

Content upgrades use the same principle — you create open loops in your content that will be fully answered in the downloadable content upgrade. If your visitors want to close the loop and get the information they crave, they’ll have to enter their email address.

Beyond closing loops, your content upgrade can also extend the value of the post. For instance, if you have a post called ‘The Ultimate Guide to Training Your Puppy’, you can have a content upgrade called ‘The 15-Point Checklist for Training Your Puppy’.


Your content upgrade is a downloadable piece of content related to your post, that your visitor will subscribe to receive and that will be automatically delivered to them. Sounds technical? Don’t worry — we’ll get to that below.

Now that you know what they are, you might still be wondering — why?

Social media shares and traffic are important, but if you’re looking to take your business to a new level, then you’re going to need a solid email list. Once a visitor becomes a subscriber, they’re much more likely to become a customer.

One thing is for sure. Content upgrades work. Marketing and SEO blogger Brian Dean saw a 785% increase in email opt-ins, and Bryan Harris of Videofruit has seen conversion rates of 20-30% from his own content upgrade efforts.

Examples of Stellar Content Upgrades

Now, not all content upgrades are created equal. This isn’t the time to re-use an old downloadable you created (unless it’s relevant to your content). Below, we offer a few outstanding content upgrade examples you can draw inspiration from.

1. Backlinko

This content upgrade on Backlinko is a great extension to the existing content. At the very top of the post you have a simple call-to-action to download the upgrade, as shown below.

backlinko content upgrade example

Once you click the link, there’s an instant popup that asks for your email address, after which you’re automatically delivered the upgrade.


2. Videofruit

Videofruit chooses not to reveal their content upgrade until the very end of the post. But since the post is so engaging, I bet most readers make it to the end.


Once you click the upgrade link, there’s an automatic popup that allows you to enter your information to receive the upgrade.


3. Health Ambition

Health Ambition uses a content upgrade setup that is similar to the Backlinko example above. This content upgrade is a great extension from their post about juicing.


Once you click the link, their popup opt-in form automatically delivers you the content upgrade.


Where to Put Content Upgrades?

Content upgrades differ from other forms of lead magnets and opt-in boxes in that they’re integrated with your content. So, instead of having a popup that prompts your visitors to join your list, or an opt-in in your sidebar, you’ll have a link or form integrated into your content.

Some website owners prefer to have a content upgrade towards the top of their content, like the Backlinko example above. That helps to gather more email addresses, before people leave the page or navigate to a different post.

The best course of action is to include the content upgrade box in multiple points throughout your content. That way readers can choose to opt in at any point in your content. You can include a content upgrade subscription box at the end of your post, but don’t make it the only option.

When a user clicks the box or link, or enters their information in the form, they’ll be able to access the download instantly or have it delivered automatically to their email inbox.

How to Simplify With Software

As we suggested earlier, when you’re offering a content upgrade, you’ll have to put certain software in place that simplifies the subscription and delivery process.

Three of our favorites are highlighted below:

1. LeadBoxes

LeadBoxes is a tool from Leadpages. Essentially, this tool will allow you to place a wide array of opt-in forms all over your site.

You can use it to place a content upgrade on your site and let your visitor subscribe without ever having to leave your website.

2. Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a tool from Thrive Themes that is similar to LeadBoxes above. This tool lets you customize and place a variety of opt-in forms and content upgrade boxes throughout your site.

Thrive Leads is cool in that it gives you a few different styles of opt-ins to choose from, and the team behind this tool is obsessed with making it very high converting.

3. ActiveCampaign

On the backend you’ll need a place for the leads to go and a way to deliver the content upgrade. Email marketing software like ActiveCampaign gives you a way to automatically deliver the content upgrade and keep in touch with your new subscribers.

What You Need to Make Content Upgrades Work

Finally, it’s time to put all the pieces together. If you’re a little confused or overwhelmed about how to implement content upgrades into your existing content strategy, then don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the process below, so you can see how the three-step process comes together.

1. Email Marketing Software to Capture Emails

First, you’ll need to set up email marketing software that’ll enable you to collect and store the email addresses. Without this, you’ll have no way of using content upgrades to grow your list.

Email marketing and automation software like Active Campaign, Ontraport and Infusionsoft, will let you easily collect and manage your leads. You can even set up an autoresponder sequence that’ll automatically deliver the content upgrade, if you’re not going to use the additional software highlighted below.

2. A Call-to-Action

With backend software set up to manage your leads, you can begin placing your content upgrade forms across your blog posts. Essentially, these will be forms where your visitors can fill in their name and email.

The most common means to collect leads is via LeadBoxes by Leadpages, or via Thrive Leads. Both of these tools will allow for instantaneous delivery of the content upgrade you promised.

We recommend including content upgrade opt-ins during the beginning, middle, and end of the post.


3. A Way to Deliver the Upgrade

Now that you have the backend email management set up, and forms and calls-to-action embedded into your blogs posts, you need a way to deliver the content upgrade.

If you’re using Leadpages or Thrive Leads, the content upgrade will be delivered automatically without your reader having to leave the website.

Alternatively, you can use a tool like ActiveCampaign to send an autoresponder email that delivers the content upgrade as soon as they enter their email address.

All this information might seem like a lot to take in, and I’m not going to lie to you — it is. The process is simple: once you get all the software set up, it runs itself. But getting to that point does require some technical know-how.

If setting up your content upgrade campaign seems like a lot of work, then why don’t you let Automation Agency do the heavy lifting for you? That’s what we’re here for, of course.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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