So you’ve got a lot of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Heck, you’ve even got Klout. But what about email subscribers? I know, sometimes the small number can be somewhat embarrassing. Unless you have a blog that does giveaways and uses email subscription as an extra entry, you have to work pretty hard to get that number up in the triple (quadruple?!) digits. These tips will help your email subscriber list soar!
Take it seriously.
As Gregory Ciotti from Sparring Mind says (paraphrased!), take your email list seriously, and make sure it’s worth subscribing to. Use the sidebar opt-in, end of post opt-in, and opt-ins on important pages (your ebook page, “about” page, etc). You don’t want to over-do it, so make sure it looks alright before you add it to all of those places at once, but you want to make sure everyone has the option to subscribe. One thing I’m bad about is not making my newsletter as nice as I’d like it to. I mean, it covers the basics – it sends my posts out. But I want to personalize it and send one out once a week instead. That is definitely a goal I have on my list for March, so look for it!
Side note: A lot of bloggers will suggest that you add a pop-up to your site, or a slider that comes out across the screen when people visit. I cannot discourage this enough. If a box pops up when I visit a site, I automatically leave that site – and usually do not come back. If a slider goes across the screen, I do the same thing. It’s annoying. Obviously it is personal preference, but just remember that you may lose a lot of (loyal) potential readers because this comes across as very spammy.
Give an incentive.
When Adelicia Davies guest posted over at BillBelew.com, I think the best tip was to give an incentive, like an ebook. I gave away Don’t Clog the Blog: Dos and Don’ts of Blogging to my first 100 email subscribers. I don’t know that I would have reached 100 subscribers as quickly if I had not given an awesome incentive like that. You can also put something together as simple as “Top 10 Things I Knew When I Started Blogging”, or something similar, just to give an extra push for those that are looking but aren’t sure if they’d like to subscribe. Everyone always gets so many emails. It’s a big decision to subscribe to another blog. Make sure you let them know it’s worth their while to sign up!
Another good way to offer an incentive is through a “refer a friend” campaign. Refer 5 friends, get a gift (ebook, password to exclusive content, a blog help session, etc). Offer an incentive for tweeting about the offer as well.
Make it interactive!
Make your “submit” button interactive. *hides sidebar* No, I’m not doing this. I don’t really care for the approach for my site, but if you have a regular blog and it’s already really colorful, I think it’s a great idea.
Write good stuff.
This one is a given, I talk about quality content all the time (21 Tips for Successful Blogging, 10 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid, and Setting Blog Goals), but make sure you’re writing good stuff! The kind that people want to read, and want to come back to every day to see what else is new.
If you don’t ask your readers to sign up, why would they? Have a great call to action: How to Add a Call to Action to Your Blog Posts.
Create a video telling your readers why they should subscribe. Be fun, be interesting, be lovable! A video is the perfect way to show your readers who you truly are.
Be a tease.
Well, that wouldn’t really be nice but if you have an amazing article, publish only a paragraph of it. Have others opt-in if they’d like to read the rest.
Get them there!
If you don’t have the traffic, you won’t have the chance to turn them into subscribers. Read 10 Free Ways to Generate Traffic to Your Blog for ideas.
Make it easy.
Don’t make people jump through hoops to subscribe. It should be as simple as a click and a confirmation email.
Do an exchange with other blogger(s). Offer to include their ad in your newsletter, if they do the same. Cross-promotion works wonders, especially when you have a big event or giveaway going on. If your niche doesn’t include giveaways, make sure you put your best foot forward and offer something else on your main page when you are running an exchange campaign. You want to get the most out of the visits from others’ newsletters. If they visit but don’t stick around, you’ve wasted your time (and theirs).
Have a dedicated subscription page. I don’t have one of these yet and I know I should! Do as I say, not as I do. :) Tell your readers how to subscribe, and why they should subscribe, on this page.
Tips from Other Bloggers
Mandie from Taking Time for Mommy says, “I add it to contests. I write something like ‘ Want more great contests and fun articles? Be sure to subscribe to our emails!’”
Ellen from Confessions of an Overworked Mom shows you how to offer a free ebook with your newsletter on Blogger.
Michael Hyatt suggests MailChimp or AWeber. These are paid email subscription services but are worth their weight in gold. They offer so much more control than regular email lists do.
Cristina from Tailor Made Momma says to use Facebook! Post something like “Want to be sure you never miss a giveaway on my blog? Sign up here for email notifications!”
“Hold a competition”, says James Penn of AcceleratedNicheProfits.com. If you hold a contest and say that entrants should sign up for email updates to be notified of the winner, many of them will do so.
” Offer a password to exclusive content.” – Theemailguide.com - Set up a page that is password protected. This is kind of like an ebook, only a bit easier to access and not nearly as much work. (Though creating an ebook isn’t very hard if you already know what you’re going to write about!)
This article on CopyBlogger (written by Blog Tyrant) says to use testimonials in the sign up area. That’s an awesome idea! I know if I read testimonials I’m definitely more inclined to sign up for something (or even buy it).
Summing it up.
When it comes to gaining subscribers, the key is to know your audience. Know what makes them tick, know what they want, and give it to them! Growing your email subscription list will be much easier if you put even a few of these tips to use on your blog. Remember, it’s all about balance. While it’s important to focus on growing your email subscription list, it’s also a must to keep generating great content. Nobody wants to stick around to read crap content. ;)
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