In a previous post I talked about 8 Benefits of Email Marketing and Why You Must Build Your List.
If you aren’t building a list, you’re missing significant opportunities to capture leads, build community, and create a sustainable way to communicate with those who are interested in what you have to say (and/or sell).
Your list is like gold and it’s a resource you must develop, nurture and grow.
You know that by now right?
But knowing is different than doing isn’t it?
That’s exactly why I want to share these 14 Ways to Increase Your Blog and Newsletter Subscriber Rates with you. Each one is about building your list and expanding the foundation on which your ability to communicate is built (also known as your platform).
And while these 14 tips aren’t the only ways, they are a few tried and true that will help you achieve results. I’ll start from the beginning for those who are new and work my way down to more tactical steps.
1. Don’t think of your list a List. Think of it as a Community. Your list is not just a bunch of numbers. Each subscriber is a PERSON, a live human being on the other side of the inbox. If you think about them as a list then you’re thinking about transactions instead of relationships. The more you build the relationship, the stronger your relationship shall be and that my friends will help you create a strong, engaged list (which is what you ultimately want).
2. Provide Value. Value is subjective but you need to make sure that what you are providing people is something that they can use or benefit from. Don’t spam your list with nonstop promotional junk or things that are just about you… make it about them. Serve them in the best ways you can. Remember, they’ve invested in you by signing up and giving you a chance to speak to them. Honor that and they will honor you when you ask them to take some sort of action.
3. Don’t Glaze Over 1 & 2. Items 1 and 2 above are important and nothing else below will matter if you get these wrong. You can have the best technical ways to increase opt in rates but if you neglect 1 and 2, you’ll lose them as fast as you gained them. Don’t forget that… ever!
4. List Management for Bloggers. If you blog you can add an email subscription form where someone can get updates to your blog via email. There are several services such as Feedburner or Feedblitz that do this well.
5. List Management for Newsletters. The other option is to have a newsletter. There are many great services out there such as MailChimp, Aweber, Blue Sky Factory, and Constant Contact that you can use to manage and create your email newsletters.
6. Do Both. Regardless if you blog or have a regular website, you can still offer both subscriptions to your blog via email and an email newsletter. See how Chris Brogan does it here. If you do it, offer newsletter subscribers some sort of premium content that is not what they would get just by subscribing to the blog. Make it worth it for them to sign up for both. Why would you want both? Why wouldn’t you? Having both allows you to create better engagement and loyalty.
7. Add Your Opt In Form at the Top of the Page. Once you have a newsletter or list management service, you need to add the opt in form to your blog or website. But this is where a lot of people mess up. This needs to be clearly visible at the top of the page (somewhere towards the very top). If possible I suggest it be placed in the header of your site so that it’s visible on every page, not just the home page. See this example. The more visible it is the more likely people will be drawn to it.
8. Make Your Opt In Box Language Specific. In the opt in box note what people are signing up for. Given them a specific statement that defines the content and value. Example “Sign up for our free Making Ideas Happen newsletter” or “Get our Free Blogging Tips delivered to your email.”
9. Plant Your Request. If you blog or write articles, end some of them with a note asking people to sign up for your list and include a direct link for them to do so. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can be so effective. By the way, if you like this post… why don’t you go ahead and sign up for my blog (you get get updates via email or RSS). See how easy that was. : )
10. Include a Subscribe Link In Your Newsletters. A lot of people miss this. When you send out an email to your list, make sure there is a visible subscribe link in your actual email (because you never know when someone might forward your newsletter on to someone else who might then want to subscribe).
11. Make it Social. When you send a newsletter, be sure to include links to share on social media outlets. Each time someone shares is a chance for you to gain a few new subscribers (and why #10 above is so important to help convert).
12. Create additional Opt In Opportunities. The sky is the limit on this one. Could be creating ebooks that you give away for free but require someone to enter their email address to get (including an option asking them if they want to subscribe). Or it might be putting on tele-seminars or webinars with a note at registration asking them if they would like to be added to your list. Or it could be running promotions and doing giveaways for those who subscribe. Again, the sky’s the limit.
13. Consider a Popup Form. I’m on the fence with these honestly. I know they are extremely effective for increasing subscribe rates but at the same time, if they aren’t done tastefully then can be a hindrance and possibly a negative reflection on your brand. I’d suggesting testing it to see if it’s right for you. Popup Domination is one that I’ve seen used a lot.
14. If You Speak, Get Their Info! If you are a speaker, come up with a creative way to get the audience to give you their email addresses. They are a captive audience that is very likely to subscribe. You could share a 1-sheet handout that has a special form on the bottom for them to write their name and email address on and turn in to you after your talk. Or you could have a slide with a special email address or text ID that they can send to with their email address to subscribe automatically. You could even work something out with the host of the event to get the names and emails of all attendees in order to send them a one-time follow up email after the event with a free resources (and also include a note encouraging them to subscribe to your list in order to receive future updates).
Again, these are just 14 ideas to get you started. The possibilities are endless. You just need to be willing to get creative, think out of the box and experiment. Try things, see what works and when it does… do it more.