by Rita Barry

Natasha is one of my favorite people.

You can tell by the way she writes, interacts with her audience and through her videos, that she loves helping people make transformations in their business.

She’s just the kind of person that you want to be around, and you’ve no doubt felt that, since you’re here too!

Hi, I’m Rita Barry, an email marketing strategist and conversion focused website designer. In other words, I help entrepreneurs create email automation sequences, traffic strategies for list building and design their websites based on audience needs and actions (using data instead of hunches!)

Behind the Scenes at Systems Rock

In late January, Natasha got in touch with me to see if I could help her wrangle some of her content archives into an optimized system to build a deeper connection with her subscribers and get her evergreen products in front of the right people without having to “launch” them all the time.

She also needed to continue the optimization of her website where her redesign left off at the end of December.

Together we put together an action plan to address both of these issues and more.

A few weeks ago, Natasha asked if I would be willing to share an in-progress look at what we’ve been up to so her audience could benefit from seeing behind the scenes of her business!

This is an overview of all the areas we’re working on and what’s to come in the near future.

The Problem with Too Much Content

Something that we realized right off the bat is that Natasha had an issue that a lot of us can certainly identify with – she’s a content producing powerhouse.

Between blog posts, webinars, videos, podcast interviews, products, services (and I could go on), she has a digital warehouse of amazing content that is largely hidden from the people who need it. This catalogue needed reviewing, refreshing and reorganization so it was more useful than it had been, hiding in the archives.

The other side of this content “issue” is that in order to continue to sell evergreen products, like the Trello, Asana and Evernote small business guides, there’s a constant need for Natasha to create even more content so people who want the guides are able to find out about them.

That also means income comes into the business in large chunks, with a lot of hustle, rather than consistently month after month, with a greater sense of ease.

Constantly being in “launch” mode is exhausting. It’s ideal when we can balance our business with consistent revenue streams that are low stress, with bigger event type launches that build momentum around a business. It’s the best of both worlds.

Here’s how we got started:

In late December, Natasha had her website redesigned by the talented, Marie Poulin.

After a site goes live, you get to have real people use it and flow through the pages – this interaction gives us incredible feedback about how to improve the site so we can make it a better experience, for you!

Data Audit

We started with a Google Analytics Data Audit. And this is one of the reasons Natasha hired me to help. For me, that sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon, but not so much her cup of tea.

Making decisions based on real data (and not gut feelings) is important when changing a website, but only when the data is accurate.

As is the case with most Analytics accounts, Natasha’s data wasn’t “cleaned” to ensure that bot or spammy referral traffic was removed from her metrics. This causes the traffic numbers to be inflated and also causes things like conversion rates (website visitors who sign up for the email list) to look artificially low.

In total, we cleaned up about 30 different issues in the Systems Rock Analytics account so we were ready to move onto step 2.

Conversion Rate Tracking

Knowing what percentage of people sign up for your email list is the beginning of growing your list more efficiently.

Think of your website like a bucket, a bucket with bunch of holes in it.

When you try to add water to a leaky bucket, the water pours right on through – there’s no sense adding more water, right?

That’s what happens with websites too. We often spend the majority of our time trying to get more people to our sites, but don’t take the time to optimize the site to encourage email sign ups.

Without an email sign up, there’s no way to follow up and grow a deeper relationship with your subscriber.

You’re pouring your hard earned traffic right on through your website.

Previously, Natasha was tracking things like About Page visits in Google Analytics, what we would call a “key view” rather than a metric that directly impacts her business.

We set up visitor to email list conversion tracking for the entire SystemsRock site so we could tell how well every optin form and page on her site was performing.

Here’s a look at the conversion rate improvements we’ve been able to make since January (post-redesign) where we started with a conversion rate of 2.88%.


In April, Natasha had a list building event, called the Business Blueprint and launch of Systematic Success leading to 20% conversion rates.

We took a break in May and June while I had a baby and the site maintained at 5%+ conversion rate with no additional effort. Since getting back to working on website improvements post-baby, we’ve been able to push that conversion rate over 10% since July!

Keep in mind, Natasha was already doing quite well with her conversion rates – often a site starts below 0.5% but going from less than 3% to over 10%, and as high as 20%, sitewide, is pretty fantastic.

As an example, say you get 1000 people to your website every week. With the original conversion rate, that would be 30 new email addresses per week or 1560 per year.

With the conversion rate increase, we’ll take 10% for the sake of this example, that’s 100 people per week, or 5200 new subscribers a year – and that’s without increasing traffic at all!

Just imagine how these numbers change when you work on growing your site through guest posting, webinars, paid traffic, interviews or a social media strategy?

The impact on your email list can be pretty dramatic with only a few percentage uptick in your conversion rate.

In addition to the changes mentioned already, you may have noticed that some of Natasha’s graphics and blog imagery have changed recently. Although not directly tied to list building, we’ve been working on unifying Natasha’s design aesthetic and templating commonly created images.

Leveling up the brand presentation does help with off site recognition, social sharing and brand authority – all of which can definitely impact list building!

To move Natasha’s conversion rates into double digits we’ve:

  • organized many years worth of lead magnets to remove old ones, fixed or removed broke/ugly forms and tidied up forgotten pages that were still getting traffic
  • making calls to action more clear and visually distinct
  • adding additional optin forms to the site while testing, changing and testing them again
  • matching optin offers more closely to blog content through content upgrades
  • adding 2-step optins to raise conversion rates (use a button to open an optin form rather than a form on the page)

Key takeaways to apply to your business:

  • It’s important to look at the big picture of your business from time to time and make sure your list building efforts are keeping pace with your current goals
  • List building events like challenges and launches are great to add new people to your list and build business momentum
  • Small changes and improvements to your website can add up to big improvements over time. Don’t underestimate small improvements if that’s all the time you have.
  • Measurement is key to knowing if what you’re doing is working.

Back to You

What’s one thing you can update or improve on your website to increase email sign ups?


rita-barry-headshotRita Barry is an email marketing strategist and conversion focused web designer who helps women build results driven marketing systems. Since 2009, she worked with 100’s of woman who struggled to market their businesses and grow profits. Rita is the creator of Call to Action, Makeover to Takeover and Blog School. She has been recognized for her leadership by leading sites include the Female Entrepreneur Association, KissMetrics and Boost Blog Traffic. Rita has also been a featured speaker at such events as the inaugural IDEA World BlogFest Conference in Anaheim, California and has taught small business website design and Facebook marketing at Portage College in Alberta, Canada.