How We Got An 8.5+% Opt-in Rate, A 25.14% Social Share Ratio, & Increased Our List By 66.4% With One Simple Bribe

I think it would be no surprise to everyone here that I love testing new marketing tools. Between the telco, the e-comm projects and the Preneur Community, I’m very blessed to be able to find an outlet for almost every type of crazy test I could possibly want to do.

We’ve tested everything from basic page design and color palettes, all the way through to tests to determine if 1-300 or 1-800 numbers generate more calls.

… but they’re stories for another day.

In the case study here, we break down a recent test campaign we ran that got some pretty impressive results:


Before we get to far into the campaign itself, let’s put these numbers into perspective:

Total Views: 39, 719
During this test, the website got a total of 39,719 views, which is a reasonable number of visitors to provide some ‘reasonably’ statistically significant data for us to work with.

Total Subscribers: 3,404 [an 8.5% opt-in rate]
Of the 39,719 views, we got 3,404 new subscribers to our list, which with a little bit of math results in a not too shabby 8.5% opt-in rate.

Side Note: Now there is a small discrepancy with the total views, as they most likely are not unique visitors. This means the opt-in rate would actually be a lot higher — closer to the 18.8% rate. But in the effort of full transparency, we’re “prioritising” the lower number.

Total Unique Shares: 856 [25.14% of subscriber-to-share ratio]
Now this is where it starts to get extra special!
Of the 3.404 new subscribers this test generated, we get 856 unique shares on social networks, linking back to the opt-in page, which is an impressive share ratio of 25.14%.
(When was the last time your opt-in was shared with that size ratio?)

Opt-Ins From Those Shares: 1359 [39.9% of opt-ins came from viral]
And finally, with a little more math, we were able to determine that 1359 of those total subscribers came via the social shares – that’s an increase of 66.4% to our list.

In other words: If we didn’t have the social sharing (which we detail in depth below) built into this campaign, our final list size would have been 39.9% less!  Now that’s a massive percentage in anyone’s book!

The Campaign & Offer Details

Alright, let’s get into the campaign itself so you can see what we did, and swipe and deploy it for yourself.

The whole campaign was designed to:

  1. Drive traffic to where marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners could opt-in to download our 39-page 7 Levers of Business Report which goes into details about the 7 Levers Framework, and how it will help people double the profit of their business with seven small 10.24% tweaks.
  2. Encourage people to share the report on their social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ so we would obviously expand the reach of the website and report, and increase our community or database.
  3. “Encourage” this sharing with a bribe and a little gamification. Every new subscriber who came to the site and downloaded the report earned the original referrer 1 point.
  4. Reward any subscriber who referred 3 people and 3 points with exclusive access to the first two modules of our advanced 7 Levers training course. (These modules focus on increasing the first two levers: Traffic and Opt-ins, and included videos, audios and PDF training materials.)

There is nothing too revolutionary to the campaign plan. We were not the first to test something like this, and definitely won’t be the last. Once you see how easy it was for us implement, you’ll be off to test this yourself.

Side Note: We’re always testing and tweaking all our campaigns, so if you head over to to experience this campaign funnel live, what you see might be slightly different to what’s outlined in this essay due to a new test (which we will write about in the future).


We have all seen countless examples of websites offering a whitepaper in exchange for an email as part of an online sales funnel, but this gamification approach goes a few steps further.


Research has shown that people are more satisfied when they receive something in exchange for effort. Note, satisfaction is a different metric to happiness or pleasure. Satisfaction is a feeling of achievement, and this form of gamification taps directly into that vein.

We essentially offered a bribe. You recruit some people to download this 39-page report, and we will let you backstage. We asked people to do more to get more. We could have surprised them and given them additional access and hope that that engendered enough goodwill for them to share, but instead we presented the extra value alongside the price. Bribery works because that is how we are brought up. Parents teach their kids that privileges are earned rather than demanded. Parents use bribery to teach this, and we take it into adulthood. It represents a really basic operant behaviour feedback loop.

The benefit/price assessment is made, and because we have been trained throughout life to know that privileges are earned, we see the price of retweeting or promoting as a small price compared to the benefit. In other words, a safe value proposition.


According to Contagious (a book by Jonah Berger on virality), there are a few elements that make something viral.

What our campaign did was incentivise people to make the offer more public. Because there is additional value for their efforts, they are happy to post on social media. The likelihood of them doing so is also moderated by its possible effect on social standing, its practical value and its emotional content.


The gamification element of the process created a different kind of incentive. To this point we have said that campaign provided the incentive to share – but how? The answer is gamification. Anything that has an element of score keeping and reward checkpoints lends itself to game mechanics. Remember when Nokia phones had the game Snake and people would play it for hours and hours. What motivated them? Well, it was easy, skill-based and the reward was nothing more than a number in the corner of the screen. Our campaign provided the user with a scoreboard, and a clear ‘wow’ that happens when they reach this score.


Don’t forget to check out the conversation on gamification I had last week Dr Jason Fox, author of The Game Changer, on PreneurCast Episode 129. We cover a lot of these gemification elements in detail.



How We Executed It …

OK, so let’s get the cat out of the bag right up front. The tool we were testing during this campaign was a $37 WordPress plugin called List Eruption v2.

Obviously, the objectives of the campaign mentioned above are worthy of a test for anyone, and I’d heard reasonable things about List Eruption making this type of campaign easy and effective to implement.

So away we went…

The following is a breakdown and mix of how we pulled these massive statistics off, with the help of List Eruption.

1. Landing Page

So first things first, the landing page over at which you can see here:


This is entirely driven by the settings inside ListEruption. And although they only have one template, you do get a lot of customisation options, including the ability to implement the 3 winning opt-in page tweaks we’ve written about previously.

Some of the choices we decided to test included:

  • Going with a very visual background image of Pete on stage at the Experts Industry Association event.
  • Instead of going with a video on the opt-in page, we started with the book and text image seen here. We were planning on replacing the image and copy on the left with a video, but we just never got around to it yet.
  • Forgetting the First Name field and keeping it simple with only the email address request.
  • Although we would have preferred to go with something like ‘Click to Load the PDF Report’, given they way the thank-you page worked (as outlined below), we decided to pivot and customise the button text with ‘Grab the 39-Page PDF Report Now’, which is about as close as we could get stimulate the greed gland.


2. Mobile Friendly

With stats like the ones Mark Zuckerberg dropped during the Facebook earnings call for the third quarter of 2013, that 48% of its daily active users only use mobile devices.

Mix that with the fact that 76% of Twitter users log in via mobile devices, (and 41% of YouTubes traffic is on Mobile devices, according to CEO Larry Page), it’s critical that your opt-in page is mobile friendly (responsive).

This is even more important when you’re betting big on social referral traffic like we were during this campaign. 

The team behind List Eruption clearly got this right, as the template is automatically responsive, adjusting for the traffic our campaign got from all the social sharing subscribers were doing in an effort to build up their referral points. 




3. Thank-You Page

The first element of the thank-you page is pretty straight forward: allowing the user to download the PDF report.

This is key, although we don’t have a lot of test result data to back this up (yet), we feel it’s important to manage expectations. If the subscriber is expecting to get the PDF directly after opt-in, you better deliever it or have a very compelling pattern-interupt.



4. Unique Referral URL

This is where List Eruption v2 really comes into its own.

As the user scrolls down the thank-you page to the Step 2 section of the template, the tool automically creates a unqiue referral URL for every user. So when it’s shared and generates a new subscriber, the referrer is rewarded with a point as mentioned above.





5. Frictionless Social Media Sharing

In an effort to make the social sharing even more frictionless, the ListEruption template has Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ one-click share functionality precoded with the user’s unique referral link.

As much as we’d love it to happen, very few (in any) are going to copy their unique referral URL and email to a friend — social media is where all the sharing is going to occur. So, reducing any hurdles and minimising the effort required to share goes a long way to making this happen.


6. Gamification Rewards

So what about this whole reward side of things?

Although List Eruption allows you to have tiered rewards. So the more referrals, the more downloads that automatically unlock. We kept it to just the one reward for 3 referrals.

Why Only 1 Reward? Sure we could have given away all 7 modules from the 7 Levers Home Study Course, as the user generated more referrals. However, given we wanted to generate sales for the full course to the list this campaign generated, if we positioned the product in a way that it could be accessed for free, it would make the back-end sale for real cash that much harder.

Why 3 Referrals ? No science, unfortunately. We felt 1 referral could easily be gamed, and any more than 4 was posibly unealistic for some of our audience to achieve, and thus would discourage users from “playing the game”.

So as soon as a subscriber reached the 3 referral-point level, the system automatically unlocks the bonus, and sends an email letting the person know their bonus is now available.




7. Five-Minute Setup

When it comes to actually setting this all up using the List Eruption plugin… it’s ridiculously straightforward.

I started to think about recording a video to walk you through the backend and set-up process, but found the one from the development team gives a reasonable enough peek behind the scences:


8. Getting Started & Advanced Setup Tips [Bonus]

So as you can see, this type of campaign is super easy to implement, and when executed well, will generate a massive increase in total opt-ins from a campaign.

If you’re already running some type of opt-in campaign using LeadPages or Unbounce, I strongly suggest you invest the crazy-low $37 for List Eruption, spend 30 minutes setting up this type of campaign, and test the results for yourself!

An 8.5+% opt-in rate, a 25.14% social share ratio, and an increased list by 66.4% is definitely something you don’t want to ignore!

Now, instead of creating the behind-the-scenes video above, I decide to invest that time and produce another video that covers a few advanced little tweaks we made to the implementation of List Eruption.

Now before you freak out… these little tweaks I’m referring to had no direct impact on the results of our case study here. The numbers are still the numbers. However, if you are going to implement this type of campaign with List Eruption, these extra little pieces of advice are really worth noting as they cover:

  • Why we chose the bonus we chose, and how you can do the same
  • Why we scripted the video on the thank-you page they way we did (full breakdown)
  • How we generated income directly from the thank-you page of this campaign
  • A small technical glitch that’s noticeable to savvy marketers, and how to overcome it quickly and easily
  • Some swipe-and-deploy tactics to ensure you word your copy effectively

So if you decide to test this type of campaign yourself and purchase the List Eruption plugin via our affiliate link here, make sure you email a copy of your receipt to support [at], and we’ll send you access to this important video.

 … and please, as always, leave any questions, thoughts, or even your test results in the comments below. 

  • BoomerMary

    Sounds fascinating Pete as always. I’m going to implement it and thanks for eh introduction to this tool. I had not heard about it previously. Sometimes the best stuff seems to be hidden. They should use the tactic themselves 🙂

    • Pete Williams

      Completely agree BoomerMary… This is another example of “it not being about the product”

      i.e. The product is good, but it’s the marketing of the product that makes or breaks it.

  • Bart

    Sound awesome! Ordered the plugin! Looking forward to test.

  • Daniel

    Great, I will possibly order the plugin. I have been looking to optimize my squeeze pages and campaigns with a simple hub that this does provide. Do you think that it will be worth the money if I cannot afford a large advertising campaign?

  • Aaron

    Optimizing your site for a mobile device is HUGE these days! I have done this for some of my newer squeeze pages and I have seen increases in leads up to 20%.

  • Carole

    Sounds easy enough even for a dinosaur like me. Aaron is right, you must optimize for mobile. I did that years ago. Now, it is so easy. I think pretty much every product is optimized now, isn’t it?

Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

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