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How Pat Walls Optimized Starter Story To Capture 10x Email Signups in 3 months

We talked to Pat Wall from Starter Story to learn how he went from collecting ~200 to 2k emails a day, 10x in 3 months.


  • Deliberate email capture widget placements
  • Thoughtful value propositions
  • Placements throughout different stages of the funnel
  • Tailoring it to different audiences.

Here's the proof:

Let’s break it down from top to bottom.

1. Top Menu Bar

Audience: Site visitors

Placement: Top menu bar

Value proposition: Join the starter story community

Pat placed an always-on email collector on the top menu bar. Wherever they are on the site, visitors have a way to join the starter story community by giving their email.

2. Above The Fold

Audience: Visitors land on the home page

Placement: Above the fold, front, and center.

Value proposition: For free, access 4,329 case studies with founders to learn how they start their successful businesses.

It exists above the fold and leads with a strong value proposition, prompting a visitor to exchange their email for a library of case studies.

3. Within The Content Blocks (Lead Magnet)

Audience: Visitors scroll down the home page

Placement: Below the fold, within content blocks

Value proposition: Find your next business idea

For visitors not convinced to sign up above-the-fold, Pat tests a different value proposition with a below-the-fold email widget that blends into his case study catalog page.

4. Within The Content Block (Feature)

Audience: Founders

Placement: Below the fold, within content blocks

Value proposition: Get your business story in front of thousands of readers

If the visitor is a founder, Pat also ensures an opt-in funnel for them.

5. Exit Intent Pop-Up

Audience: Visitors with exit-intent

Placement: Full-screen takeover

Value proposition: For free, join 90k other subscribers to learn business ideas, marketing strategies, and money-making opportunities.

For visitors with exit extent, Pat uses a full-screen takeover to get them over the hill and on his email list.

And he uses all the convince elements:

  • Clear headline (Want to discover ideas to make money?)
  • Social proof (Join 93,457 business starters)
  • Objection Tackling (5 Minute (Saves time), Free (Doesn’t cost money))
  • Re-iterates the value proposition (Business ideas, marketing strategies, and biz opportunities)

6. Embedded Within Case Studies

Audience: Readers of a case study

Placement: Embedded within case studies

Value proposition: For free, join 90k other subscribers to learn business ideas, marketing strategies, and money-making opportunities.

Within each case study, Pat places email capture forms giving readers easy access to sign up for the newsletter, and works as a bridge for readers who are enjoying the content.

7. Email Gated Content

Audience: Readers of multiple case studies

Placement: Email-gated case studies

Value proposition: Get a 15% discount for unlimited access to case studies.

For high-intent visitors having reached the limit of free case studies, instead of forcing them down a conversion funnel, Pat opts for collecting their emails first and offers 15% in return.

The redirect page after email submission gives people more information on why they should become paying members.

8. End Case Study Floating Bar

Audience: Case Study Readers

Placement: Bottom menu bar

Value proposition: Specific lead magnet offering 52 businesses you can start with $1k

Quality email subscribers are engaged, readers. So, when someone reaches the bottom of a Starter Story article or case study, Pat gives them a frictionless way to join their email list with a strong value prop.

So, How Does Pat Do It?

  • He doesn’t ask readers to sign up - he gives readers a reason to sign up
  • He doesn’t just give readers one reason to sign up, but different reasons to sign up (multiple value props)
  • He makes it simple for readers who want to sign up - to sign up by placing email capture all throughout the site
  • Each email capture form includes the “sign-up secret sauce: Value prop, objection tackling, social proof, specificity, call to value
  • Each form has a clear value proposition that speaks to the audience's motivation at different stages of the funnel.

Needless to say, it’s a masterclass on building an email list:

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Hey! I’m Alex, the Founder of Marketing Examined. I send these case studies to over 200k founders, marketers, and creators every week, straight to their inboxes. And if you want, I’ll send it your way too :)

But, I want to let you in on what I’m building here:

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