How To Grow Your Email List 3x Faster Using A Feature Box [Case Studies]

Listen, you already know that building an email list is crucial to running a successful online business.

So you throw together a few signup forms, excited to turn your loyal audience into loyal subscribers.

Then you watch, expecting a flood of emails to come in surging like whitewater rapids.

Sadly, all you see is a leaky faucet, slowing dripping small drops of subscribers.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution, and you’re about to learn how to implement it step-by-step.

The solution is to use a special signup form called a “feature box” to promote a high quality giveaway.

A feature box is simply a form that appears at the very top of your site, above all other content.  This turns the top portion of your site into an effective landing page optimized for your traffic.

Here is the feature box I’m using on my homepage to give away a free reference guide of 350 profit growth examples.

profitpursuits feature boxWhat You’ll Learn

– Why the feature box is one of the best performing signup forms

– Specific case studies showing the conversion rates achieved by industry experts

– My favorite tool for easily adding a feature box to your site

– How to actually use that tool, step-by-step

General Benefits

Before jumping into the implementation, let’s first mention a couple of the key reasons why the feature box works so well.

Derek Halpern of wrote a great article about the benefits of using a feature box to attract subscribers.

First, using a feature box on your homepage instantly lets visitors know what your site is about. Second, if they choose to download your giveaway you know they are a targeted user, ready for similar content to be sent.

This generates a significant portion of Derek’s emails, and they are all his target audience.

Let’s Dive Into Some Real Examples

Now that we’ve covered what a feature box is, and some of the main benefits, let’s dive into some real world case studies to show some hard data that supports this method.

  1. How the feature box increased our conversions by 51.7% –

In this case study Derek Halpern shares how adding a feature box to the Thesis theme blog increased conversions by 51.7%.

They accomplished this by adding a feature box to their homepage, while leaving their main content pages unchanged.

This ensures that user engagement stays high, while subscriptions rise.

I recommend testing out both a site-wide implementation and a more narrow approach.

Measure the affect on signups and user engagement for your own audience.  The right balance may be different for each site.

  1. How using a feature box increased homepage signups by 3x – Bluewire Media

Adam Franklin of Bluewire Media shared this case study about how their list building efforts got them a 9% conversion rate!

There are a ton of great points in the article, but the one we are focused on today is the change they made to their homepage.

They updated their homepage to include the following feature box:

bluewire header

This one addition skyrocketed their homepage signups from 2.1% to 5.9%.

Once again, they place this form at the top of their homepage, and give away a set of marketing templates as incentive.

It worked well from the start, but they didn’t stop improving.

As discussed in 23 Data-Backed List Building Strategies, removing extra signup fields increases conversions. So I was happy to see that they continued to optimize by removing the Name field.

This simplifies the signup process, giving an added conversion boost.

  1. How I Increase My Subscribers By 500% In 1 Week by

Francisco Rosales of shared this great case study about how he increased his signups by 500% in 1 week.

You can see in the chart below that the added feature box generated the most signups when compared to other forms on his site.

socialmouths chart

Within his feature box he gave away a free mini-course, which generated 30% of his total conversions!

  1. How Brian Dean Gets Homepage Conversions of 4.26% – Brian Dean via

This is another impressive case study sharing multiple updates that increased conversions by 134% overall.

One of the key updates was Brian Dean’s addition of a feature box to the homepage.

backlinko feature box

This one update alone generated a 4.26% conversion rate for that page.

There are several things to take away from his implementation.

First, his headline adds credibility by mentioning a specific result.

Next, he includes his photo, adding trust.

Finally, he adds social proof from a recognized industry leader.

He may be able to improve things further by removing the words “No spam” from the text.  As discussed here, this phrase has been surprisingly shown to reduce conversions.

Start thinking about how you can best position your feature box to maximize conversions.

How To Implement Your Own Feature Box

Now that you’ve seen several feature box case studies, it’s time to learn how to add one to your own site.

There are several options, including free and paid.

If you are comfortable with html and css you could code one of these yourself. It’s definitely a viable option, and really wouldn’t be that difficult.

While this option is free, it wouldn’t come with many of the valuable features that the paid tools provide. Still, if you are on a very tight budget, and just want something basic, this can be a good way to go.

If you would like more advanced features like a visual form builder, conversion tracking, email service integration, split testing, etc. a paid tool is the way to go.

Below, I’m going to introduce my favorite tool for creating feature boxes, and then I’ll show you exactly how to use it, step-by-step.

plugmatter logo

My favorite paid tool for creating feature boxes quickly is a WordPress plugin called PlugMatter.

The thing I love about this tool is that its entire purpose is to create feature boxes, and it does its job incredibly well.

Let’s take a quick look at why I chose it for this site, and then I’ll show you how to set it up.

Plugmatter Features:

– Professionally designed, responsive templates

– Fully customizable with a visual editor

– Ability to quickly create unique feature boxes for different categories, pages, or posts (create different incentives for different content!)

– Built-in split testing to enable easy optimization

– Target returning visitors (give them a unique incentive and welcome them back)

– Turn off feature box for already subscribed visitors

– Full integration with the majority of email service providers

– No time spent coding!


$37 – 1 Site

$57 – 3 Sites

$97 – Unlimited Sites


How To Use PlugMatter – Step-By-Step

Setting up this tool is simple.

After installing and activating Plugmatter you’ll head over to the template creation area and choose one of their 15 professionally designed templates as a starting point (very customizable).

You can also choose to create a completely customized design from scratch.

I went with the template called Elegance, as shown here:

plugmatter templates

As you can see in that image, you can edit the template right on that page. You simply click the form element you wish to change and the customization options pop up.

plugmatter template customization

Once you’ve styled your first form, you set it live using a variety of general settings. As seen in the image below you can choose different feature boxes for different sections of your site.

You can also choose whether returning visitors see the form.

plugmatter general settings

Once you have your first form live, it’s time to create a split-test. As with everything, you always want to be optimizing your forms.

To create a split-test start by adding a second version of your form. You can easily clone your initial form to have a starting point. Then change one thing, such as color, headline, text, image, etc.

Once you have your second form, it’s time to go to the split-test options menu and start the test. You can choose which forms to run and which sections to run it on.

plugmatter split test

After your split-test runs for a bit, come back and check out the reporting to see which form worked best. Then, rinse and repeat.

split test plugmatter

That’s all there is to it. If you choose to go with the Plugmatter Feature Box tool you can get your first split tests running in less than an hour. To me, the efficiency and features are worth the investment.


Time To Take Action

As you have seen, using a feature box is one of the best ways to quickly grow your list. Personally, I’ve found the Plugmatter tool useful in implementing this type of form quickly.

Of course, the most important thing is to take action and start testing your own feature box. However you choose to implement it is up to you.

Your Thoughts?

Have you used a feature box on your own site?

I’d love to hear your results. If you have a compelling case study, reach out, I may even feature you on this site!

Also, let me know if you have experience with any other feature box tools that I should check out.


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Jyoti ChauhanAdam FranklinJuan Manuel ColomeKaivan DaveDavid ( Recent comment authors
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Brian Dean
Brian Dean

Love this David. Lots of advice anyone can use right away to grab more emails 🙂

David (

Thanks Brian, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

Kaivan Dave

Love it! simple and straight forward advice.

David (

Hi Kaivan, glad you enjoyed it! Do you currently use a feature box?

Juan Manuel Colome
Juan Manuel Colome

I’ve been using Imimpacts Thrive Leads and it is remarkable.

David (

Hey Juan, I definitely agree! I use Thrive Leads for all of the other forms on my site. They don’t have a specific feature box form that works easily out of the gate, but they are great for all the other types.

You can see where I’ve written about Thrive Leads here:

Adam Franklin

Great actionable tips David. A lot of tools I didn’t know about so I’ll check them out.

Jyoti Chauhan

Hi David, I love your post and found some new good tools to increase subscribers. I will like to give a try them.

David (

Hi Jyoti,

Are you going to give the feature box a try? Let me know how it goes.