It’s hard, isn’t it? You know
#1. Create Something Irresistible
The best way to get more people onto your list is to create a high-value piece of content and give it away for free. Just tell website visitors they can get this irresistible piece of content by subscribing to your email list. If your content is good enough, people will happily hand over their email addresses.
- Turn several blog posts into a short eBook or report
- Interview people in your area of interest and give away these interviews
- Create a short course that new subscribers receive via email
The best thing about doing interviews is your interviewees are likely to share this content for you, which will in turn drive their followers towards your website and, hopefully, onto your list.
On my website, I created a guide to Twitter for my target audience by combining several popular blog posts alongside interviews with industry experts like Ted Rubin. My content worked because Ted was kind enough to share it and because he adds authority to my voice.
Once you’ve created your irresistible piece of content, you can send it to readers automatically via an automated email. The various popular email providers like MailChimp, AWeber and Constant Contact all allow you to send readers content automatically once they subscribe to your list.
Tip: Don’t send readers a PDF. Instead, direct them to a link where the PDF is hosted. Email providers often block large and unknown attachments.
#2. Tell Visitors to Sign Up
It sounds simple (it is!) but if you have traffic, telling people to join your list will give some people the nudge they need to move onto your list.
As a writer I need to attract an audience so at the end of every blog post or webpage, I always include a call-to-action that says something like:
“Join 15,000 plus readers a month by subscribing to my mailing list.”
“Get my free exclusive guide about [this hot topic] by subscribing to my mailing list. Don’t worry, I’ll never share your email address with anyone.”
If you have social proof for your irresistible content – that is praise from a high-profile thought leader in your area – use this as an extra enticement.
Tip: Ask your customers for a testimonial and use their quotes as social proof.
#3. Make It Easy For Visitors to Subscribe
Visitors who want to join your list just don’t have the time to figure out what to do to get onto it. You need to make it as easy as possible for them, every time. This means putting signup forms in multiple locations on your website.
You could add a signup form on:
- The sidebar alongside a headshot or company logo
- Above or below popular blog posts with a strong call-to-action
- On landing pages for your products and services
- On your ‘About’ or ‘Start Here’ pages
- Below your blog posts
- On your email signature
- On your social media profile pages
Tip: Use different call-to-actions in different locations and see what resonates with readers.
#4. Create a feature box
I first heard about a feature box from Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic. A feature box sits below the top menu and above the fold on every page on your website. It should be one of the first things visitors to your website site see.
Typically, you can dangle your irresistible piece of content in front of the reader in this feature box, and
ask tell readers to sign up. Morrow says a good feature box can turn the conversion rate of website visitors from 0.5 percent to 5 percent.
I’m not a developer, and I don’t have the same resources as Jon, so I hired a web developer to create a feature box for my website. My feature box cost me EUR100, and I think it was money well-spent as I immediately noticed an increase in subscribers to my website.
Alternatively, you could use the Thesis framework for WordPress and follow DIY Theme’s guide.
I don’t use Thesis but the blogger who wrote the guide claims he increased email subscriptions by 51.7 percent with a feature box.
Tip: Alternate the content in your feature box every month until you know what works best.
#5. Install WordPress Plugins
If your website is built on WordPress, you can use several different plugins to attract new email subscribers.
Optin Monster is a premium plugin that presents users with a pop-up when a new visitor tries to leave your website. Being a premium plugin, it’s customisable and powerful. For example, you can set it to display only once every 30 days or only when a visitor leaves your website. And existing subscribers won’t see this pop-up.
I know lots of people hate these kinds of things, but Neil Patel of the popular blog Quick Sprout says popups account for 81 percent of sign ups to his website.
I, like most web users, dislike pop-ups, and I wanted something more subtle for my website. So I installed the free WordPress plugin Scroll Triggered Boxes. This presents new visitors with a relatively unobtrusive subscribe form in the bottom right hand corner of the page, as they scroll down.
The marketing gurus behind the social media tool Buffer are experts at list generation – their list is 30,000+ strong – and they claim they attract 350+ subscribers a week with the HelloBar plugin.
This plugin sites in the header of your website and is also used on Problogger.
Tip: There’s no need to use all of these plugins. Instead, pick one or two that work for your website.
Now that you’re turning unique visitors into subscribers, don’t forget about them, ignore them or let those hard-won email addresses go cold. Make a point to send or offer your subscribers high-value or discounted content. Ask them questions and direct them to your latest posts.
Your job is to turn subscribers into your most loyal customers with quality content. If you’re stuck for ideas, we’ve got you covered.
And if you do all of this right, your massive email list will become your most valuable marketing assets.
How do you convince people to join your email list? And what types of content do you send them? I spend a lot of time thinking about list-building so please let me know in the comments section below.
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