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
I’ve also found that offering a free product in exchange for an email address converts much better than simply encouraging readers to subscribe for 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)
Always love a good email subscriber post.
Thanks Blog Tyrant.
And I love reading your email subscriber posts on your blog.
now that’s what you call “tight e-mail marketing game”! :-)
Am definitely going to try some of these options. Love the idea of putting a signup form in the footer of the post!
Currently I don’t even have email subscription on my blog (just automatic delivery by Feedburner), but I’m bookmarking your article for future. Thanks!
I hate it when I get opted-in automatically just because I commented on a blog post. But the thing is, a lot of people (like myself) are too lazy to unsubscribe, well, unless of course their inbox becomes FULL of your newsletters. So I think it might work. Not sure though, haven’t tried for myself.
These are some great tips, James. I recently added an offer for a free 7 day course on my blog. Unfortunately, I just started the blog about a week ago so my traffic isn’t really up there but when it gets there I’m sure people will love the freebies. Thanks.
I think these are great tips for being able to stay on top of trying to keep individuals as subscribers instead of passive readers. By making a proactive effort and making the people slightly curious, it’s possible to be able to turn those into passive readers into subscribers. I think your tips are the best ways of being able to get them to sign up and perhaps even keep them coming back!
I am extremely picky about what emails I sign up for. Unless there is a very good reason I will follow a blog by RSS feed or bookmarks if I can’t find the feed (still don’t understand how a blog can not have a RSS feed by the way). The few times that I have opted in for email was due to a special event that I could participate in. For example. The Million Dollar Blog Project and the Colette Sew Along. The sew along had an added bonus because I also purchased a book from their affiliate link so I would have what I needed to participate.
Great advice. I haven’t tried a lot (like the auto opt-in of blog comments) but I have tried a few. I’m hoping to gain a few hundred subscribers in the next few months and I’m sure this will help. Thanks.
Popular posts are something that we bloggers, need to take care of. You can use them wisely to make a regular stream of traffic
Hey, James. As an add-on thought to your #2 about quality content, I’ve found it really effective to let your audience know you hold back your best articles and info for email subscribers. It cuts down on freebie-seekers and fills your list with people who signed up because they love your work and want more of it – AKA the people who give me the warm fuzzies :-)
Thanks for this.
What are some of the better add-ons folks are using to invite subscribers. I’m a complete newbie at this, and currently have no program to capture emails.
I loved the strategy in #6. I know that many people will appreciate high quality info and give their e-mail in return for value. Here the greatest thing every blogger needs to remember is to only ask for e-mail addresses when they have something really valuable.
Giving away fluff or something that looks ‘below average’ will only get a reader MAD. No one wants that. Anyway thanks for the content.
PS: There is a part in the post that reads ‘…as we approach 2012’ may be you could delete it.
I dig your tips.
Hold 1 intent when designing your blog. Too many cats are all over the place, with 7 different calls to action, and these guys wonder why nobody is taking the calls. 2 or 3 opt-in forms, or links, tops, and make these commands/nudges your main calls…if you want to build a big list.
If you want super shares, simply move your audience to share a lot, with a WWSGD box pre-post, share bar on the side, and share options post-post(is that a word?)
As for opting in I also find simple works well. Reduce the clutter. Make the form easy on the eyes. Take your time to offer a valuable giveaway that your readers are interested in. No sense offering meat to a vegan, or a value-packed freebie that has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of your blog…and yep I’ve been there, done that too.
Thanks for sharing your insight James!
I don’t do # 4 nearly as much as I should. Thanks for the reminder.
I have been trying to figure out subscriptions in the past week and trying to figure out how to increase them. Ever since the blog post a few weeks ago about what you want first time visitors to do I have been thinking about it. Thanks!
Contests / Competitions is what I want to test out for 2012, I have a feeling it’s the best “bang for buck” to get subscribers. As for auto opt in on comments, I never tried it and would never try it or recommend it, it’s not right.
Always interesting to find something new.
I have my doubts about the effectiveness of email lists since it seems to me to be a dying medium, but if the big dogs say to do it, I’ll do it. We need to be able to reach peope in whatever way they prefer.
I only have one subscriber form on my site right now, so I will be adding another per your advice.
Thanks for taking the time.
Thanks! I will try to implement at least five pointers to convert my readers into subscribers.
In the 21st century, permission based marketing is the only professional, ethical and legal way toreach out to your audience. You should never be sending out ane-mail newsletter to someone who has not knowingly signed up for your missives.
Automatic harvesting of blog commenters (your 8th item) is completely uncool and I am surprised to see it appear here at ProBlogger, even in a guest post.
I commend to you and your readers this post on how toavoid being labelled a spammer.
Thanks for your comment. I did mention in the post that it is not something I’ve tried, and is not something I plan on trying but I did include it because it’s a method that some people might be able to make work for them.
I implement a few of those already but I like the idea of premium content and competitions. That’s something I’ll have to try. Thanks.
Auto-opting in commenters could be a good way to annoy your readers…unless you make it very clear they are being opted into a mailing list, and you give them an option to not get opted in.
You and Chris Brogan has a lot of things in common with your posts. Freebies! I really like both of your blogs and you share the same thoughts which makes everything justified.
Thanks for such useful tips!
I`ll try to do it in my blog.
The contest idea is something that I serious want to explore, I just have to decide whether I should ask people to joing my mailing list, or join my FB fan page. :)
Great post as this is one of the key areas I am focusing on this year and looking to offer free product to help get individual to sign up. Offering value is essential as you stated above and without a doubt will keep them coming back for more.
Thanks for sharing these tips as I will begin to put them in action.
I find myself going to have to potentially double back to this post and read it completely, so that I get a better understanding on “how to get more e-mail subscribers for my blog”.
Personally I have seen pages with great content and prominent subscription box works great…I started using the resource pages and it works great for me.,…
I have to echo that I really (really!) hate those auto opt in systems, and when it happens I almost never return to that site.
First two are the best ways, however I am not successful because I work less and spend more time seeing blogs around :(
James, doing “Auto opt-in blog commenters” in USA will create legal problems for you. Actually, even in some countries of Europe you would pay up to a $1000 fine per each unsolicited message you send (if you send it to 100 recipients, that’s up to $100 000). Needless to say, if you are doing this through MailChimp or similar services, they will ban you after a few claims. If you are doing this by means of your blog platform, you will end up in IP address black list or your blog will be switched off by hosting provider.
Moreover, your blog is currently violating the rules of your hosting provider, Bluehost. In terms of service (9.02) you can read, that it is prohibited to send e-mails if your users didn’t use the double opt-in, if your e-mails do not contain automated opt-out link and if you do not follow the CAN-SPAM act (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm).
Now you are posting an article, saying that spam is good and that we all would benefit from it.
Since many bloggers are using MailChimp, here are the rules you would need to follow: http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/what-is-required-to-meet-your-terms-of-use-and-the-can-spam-act/
Failure to comply may cost you your business, if you have one.
I dont know if this has been handled but is it better to send a message to one’s subscribers saying that a new post is on the blog or is it better to put the entire post i the email itself
I agree with Dmitry “Auto opt-in blog commenters” can result in serious legal problems because the person commenting has not given you their permission to receive emails from you and as a such would constitute spam. There are other ideas in the post which I think are much better.
In your #9 method above, do you create the squeeze page in the blog post or pages or using squeeze template?
I would like to do this method since I am like Josh Sarz, I hate very much the auto opt-in email address.
How we can display adsense ads in the email that are sent by the feed?
This is a great set of points. It really hammers home the importance of creating a list. I do sometimes wonder about the actual usefulness of a list, but from the info you’ve put into this article ‘I’m a believer!’
Thanks a lot
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