If you happen to run a blog on your website, your number one way of attracting new customers is through unique, one-of-a-kind content.
A surefire method to get your audience to actually read your content is by growing the size of your email list, and sending them regular broadcasts with the latest content from your blog.
Your first 100 email subscribers is probably the hardest group to attract, so how do you find and entice that first group of die-hard fans?
Here are a few tried and tested ways.
1. Content upgrades
The concept of a content upgrade is simple, you offer an ‘upgraded’ or perceivably better version of a blog post to your audience in exchange for their email address.
You wouldn’t believe how many many success stories there are using this simple yet effective method. For instance, Brian Dean has skyrocketed his conversion rates through the effective use of content upgrades.
See an example of how Brian has done this in his SEO tools post below:
2. Pop-up forms
Provided that you don’t irritate your website visitors too much, a pop-up form is quite useful for catching email addresses. You can set one up so that when a visitor’s cursor action signals they are about to leave your website, the form pops up. Fancy, right?
Make it easy for the potential customer to enter their email address and don’t ask for any more detail. Their email address is all you really need.
Dan Zarella, a blogger and page manager who tried this technique encountered very interesting results. His bounce rates, meaning the number of visitors turned off by the pop-ups, didn’t increase all that much – but his email sign ups, on the other hand, increased gradually over time into a rather sizeable number.
This is a ‘slow burn’ technique that you should definitely try if you’re aiming to achieve more views and attention. Remember, if a pop-up doesn’t relate to a valuable piece of information or share a content upgrade, it should still demonstrate the benefit of providing an email address to viewers.
3. Opt-in boxes
Just about any company website or blog out there has an opt-in box for entering email addresses. It’s usually best if this box is on every page of the site, thus encouraging visitors to sign up easily.
In fact, it’s possible to place opt-in boxes in just about every nook and cranny of your blog or page. Some top-performing places are the end of blog posts, at the very top of the website, or in the description of your videos/images.
You can also share your opt-in or sign up form on your social media accounts. Promotional tweets and regular posts are necessary, so get familiar with social media scheduling tools if you are not already.
4. Exclusive freebies
For many website visitors, temptation is all they need to sign up to your email list and hand over their personal details. This means you need to offer both potential and existing customers a reward or tangible benefit for being ‘loyal’ to you.
Image Source: Thunder Mailer
It could take the form of limited offers, such as free product samples for the first 100 subscribers. Or, you could provide promotional discounts or free shipping for subscribers if you’re selling something online.
Do some research and check out the kinds of freebies that are most effective in gaining email addresses. Actionable freebies are an excellent way to get people interested without making them feel cheated.
Some actionable freebies include checklists, calendars, planners, video tutorials, eBooks and workbooks. These are useful to your readers yet come virtually free of cost to you.
Another option is offering a free email course. For example, a psychology-based blog could offer an introductory course where email subscribers would receive a course update every second week or so.
Speaking of psychology, if you change your freebies up fairly often, it will help keep your readers interested. In addition, they’ll be more likely to take advantage of an offer if it is scheduled to end soon.
5. Bonus offers
Most websites offer a weekly newsletter to those who sign up for it. However, many make the mistake of simply inserting their latest blog posts and sending it off.
In order to prevent people from unsubscribing out of boredom, aim to make your newsletters fun and unique! You want them to be pieces of standalone content, not just compilations of existing material. Write a witty intro and offer your subscribers discounts or deals that aren’t available anywhere else to thank them for staying subscribed.
Make them informative, not simply advertorial. Fill your email newsletters with bonus content as well as secret promotional offers or product insights so that your readers feel special and privileged.
Obviously, all this increases your engagement with the people who actually make your blog tick.
6. Welcome gate
Andrew Warner at Mixergy hit the nail on the head by creating an amazing and attractive welcome gate to drive email subscriptions that pops up as soon as someone visits his website. This feature is usually only visible to first-time visitors which means they won’t continue to get annoyed by it if they truly don’t want to subscribe.
It serves as a sort of prompt that asks viewers to subscribe with their email address. There are tools you can use to make it move to the sidebar of your site so that it is still available even if initially visitors click the ‘close’ button.
If you’re using a WordPress blog, both Aweber, GetResponse and many other auto-responder systems have widgets that allow you to lift, drag and drop a form into your sidebar.
The big benefit of a welcome gate is that, as a cross between a pop-up form and an opt-in box, it’s one of the highest converting list building techniques in the market.
7. Landing pages
Landing pages are mentioned in relation to email lists just about everywhere you go. These are essentially pages that either encourage a reader to sign up, or take them to a page that does.
For example, Ramit Sethi has a landing page link in one out of every 50-60 tweets. This takes his followers to a landing page with information about sign ups as well as any associated freebies.
A dedicated landing page for email marketing can lift your conversion rate by up to 50%. To make it a high-converting one, ensure you design it beautifully and include reviews or social proof to gain trust (as well as appealing offers, images and insights). You can find some examples of what not to do here.
If you plan on making money from your blog, or just want to engage with your website’s visitors better, creating a decent email subscription list is essential.
While your social media marketing has a big effect on your blogging success, focusing on email is more rewarding. Once you increase your subscription list, your readers will be far more likely to visit your page multiple times.
Try some of these methods after thinking carefully about what will appeal most to your target demographic. Email marketing, at the end of the day, is all about customizing your content and looking for opportunities to convert leads into sales.
Guest Author: Jessica Barden is an expert writer, book author and pro blogger who works at an essay writing service blog. In her blogs, she shares insights into the world of digital marketing, online business trends and the future of technology.