This guest post is by James Penn of AcceleratedNicheProfits.com.
I’m sure you’ve had it drummed into you by now that an email list is vitally important to your blog and your business.
Darren often discusses how vital it is to build your email list and he recently Tweeted this graphic to emphasize his point. He says:
“If there is one visual I can give as a reason to start an email newsletter—it is this.”
Once you have an engaged database of subscribers, you pretty much know every blog post you put out is going to be a hit.
You can send just one email to your list notifying them of the new blog post, and within 24 hours you’ll have had 100, 500, perhaps even over 1,000 eyeballs reading your content, clicking your ads, and buying through your affiliate links.
Plus, I’ve also found that readers who arrive at my blog from an email newsletter I’ve sent to them are also much more likely to share my content on Facebook and Twitter.
This enables my blog to grow at an exponential rate. I send an email out to my subscribers, and they share my content, which results in more people reading my blog and joining my email list, which increases the number of people who click through to my blog in the next newsletter, which means more people sharing, which means more traffic and more subscribers, and so on.
If you aren’t building an email list from your blog yet, start today.
If you are already building an email list, then try adopting some of these ten strategies to increase the number of people opting into your newsletter, and see your traffic and your profits soar.
1. Multiple opt-in forms
Try to have three or four opt-in forms in your blog template. The more you have, the greater the chance you’ll have of capturing your readers’ email addresses. I like to have one pop-up opt-in form that fades in after about 15 seconds of reading (I know these can be annoying, but they work), one form at the top of the sidebar, and an opt-in form at the end of each post.
2. Quality content
This goes without saying, and I hope it’s something you already do, but if you produce top-quality content that readers love, they’ll actively hunt out your opt-in form, join your email list and, most importantly, open your emails.
I’ve definitely noticed a correlation between quality of content and opt-in conversions on my two most popular blogs.
3. Freebies vs. updates
On my health blog, my “Subscribe For Updates” opt-in form at the top of the sidebar converts at just 1.5%. On my internet marketing blog my opt-in form, which offers a free report and blog updates, converts at 6%.
4. Gentle persuasion
At the end of each blog post, encourage your reader to join your email list to receive a free report and blog updates. At this point, they may be thinking of leaving your blog and may never return again, but this gentle nudge towards your opt-in form will help turn them into subscribers and long-term readers and “sharers” of your content.
5. Make the most of popular posts
Sometimes, and often for reasons unknown, some blog posts take off. They might get an unusual number of Tweets and Likes, or Google might just decide to stick it on the first page for a highly searched keyphrase.
It doesn’t matter why that post is getting so much traffic, but it is important to capture as much of it as possible and turn those visitors into subscribers. You could do this by putting a welcome message to new readers at the top and encouraging them to opt-in for a special free report and to receive future updates.
One of my blog’s most popular posts, 50 Ways To Add More Subscribers To Your Email List, does just this and it gets me a number of subscribers every day.
6. Premium content
Occasionally, perhaps every month or so, create a special report, video, or audio file for your blog readers. Post a teaser of it as a regular blog post, but require readers to submit their email addresses to read/watch/listen to the rest of it.
As soon as they submit their email addresses, take them to a confirmation page (if you are using double opt-in) and instruct them that to access the full post they simply have to click the confirmation link.
They get to read the full post which is, hopefully, of incredible quality—and you get a new subscriber. Win-win!
Worried about annoying existing subscribers? Don’t be. Put a snippet of text above the opt-in form saying something like:
“Already subscribed? Simply enter the email address you are subscribed with and you will instantly be taken to the full post. You won’t be opted-in again.”
If you use Aweber (and I’m sure other email service providers have this feature), you can set an Already Subscribed Page when you create your opt-in form.
If you set the Already Subscribed Page to the full post, then existing subscribers won’t be taken to the confirmation page—they’ll go direct to the full post. It will essentially be more like them logging in rather than opting in.
7. Hold a competition
Holding competitions is one way to encourage more readers to subscribe. If you hold a competition, state that entrants should subscribe in order to be notified of the winner(s). A huge percentage of these entrants will do so. What’s the point of entering a competition if you aren’t going to be able to find out if you win?
If you can run a really successful competition that gets hundreds (even thousands) of entrants, you can easily recruit a huge number of new subscribers.
8. Auto opt-in blog commenters
One way some bloggers get more subscribers is to have everyone who leaves a comment auto-opted in. I believe there are a few plug-ins that can do this. It’s not a strategy I’ve tried, since I’m not sure those who comment would appreciate being automatically added to my email list.
Does anyone do this? Does it work? Have you had any (or many) complaints?
Update from Darren: please note that in some regions this auto opting into your list with comments is not legal. Be careful and do check into what is allowed in your area.
9. Create special reports on popular topics
On my health and beauty blog I noticed I was publishing a lot of posts with natural recipes for beautiful hair. I decided to compile the ten best recipes into a special report. I created a simple squeeze page that offered the report for free and requested an email address.
I went back through each blog post that discussed hair recipes and put a little snippet of text that suggested that if they wanted to find out my ten best natural hair care recipes then they could download my special report. I then linked to the squeeze page.
That squeeze page only gets about ten or 15 visitors per day, but the opt-in form is converting at over 60%, so it’s getting me an extra six to ten subscribers per day. Not bad for an hour’s work!
10. Get more traffic
If you implement the above nine methods, then you’ll be converting a significant proportion of your readers into subscribers.
Therefore, the only other way to increase the number of subscribers we get is to increase traffic.
That’s beyond the realms of this blog post, but it’s a topic that has been covered in great depth on Problogger and many other blogs. Take a look through the “Blog Promotion” category for help with increasing traffic.
Having your own engaged email list is one of the most important assets you can own as we approach 2012 and beyond. Make sure you are building one!
James Penn shares his internet marketing experiments, tips and secrets at AcceleratedNicheProfits.com. (site no longer live)