Note: This post was written in 2013. Today, my email list includes almost 13,000 subscribers and is growing by 1,500 new subscribers per month on average. I still use these same tactics for increasing that number.
One of my main goals is always to make what I have better. I have a lot of stuff going on, and if it isn’t working there is a reason. Rather than jumping to the next big thing, my primary objective last year was to double my online income by optimizing my existing platforms.
You hear it time and again, but it’s true. Your biggest profit portal is your email list. When you need new clients, secured a great affiliate coupon or are running a big sale, this is your warm market. These are the people who are going to be easiest to connect with and convert into sales.
A Great Opt-In Offer – It doesn’t matter what your topic is there is something you can offer your email subscribers – and ONLY your email subscribers. There are so many other ways to subscribe to content these days you almost have to present something they can’t find elsewhere. On my sites, that is usually short reports or checklists. You may be able to offer a special discount or free trial.
Promise (and Deliver) More – With social media being what it is today, you might need to sweeten the subscriber pot. After all, why should someone sign up for your emails when they are going to get the same content, or more, by following you on Facebook or Twitter? Handing over that email address is still a big deal. Promise these people a little something extra on occasion. And then deliver. As an example, each week I send my newsletter subscribers new work-from-home job leads and relevant things I have found around the web. I just bookmark links as I find them and add a few to the newsletter. It doesn’t take much time at all.
Promote Your Offer – You have a great offer. People should subscribe. You should probably let them know! In addition to your on-site opt-in boxes, promote your list off-site as well. I always get new subscribers when I share my link on my social networks. Don’t assume these people aren’t interested. If they know they are going to get a little more, they may sign up. And social networks make it easy to secure more opt-ins these days. Twitter will allow you to pin a tweet to the top of your profile. Make it your signup link. Facebook has a Sign Up Button where you can include a link to your newsletter opt-in alongside your header image. If you have a dedicated landing page promoting your email newsletter, drop that link in your social media bios.
Lightbox – Pop-up boxes have come a long way. And they work when done correctly. I occasionally use SumoMe for my pop-up box and it allows for “exit intent,” which is the only way to go in my book. When a person moves their mouse up to the top of the screen suggesting they are getting ready to leave, a popup box appears and asks them to subscribe.
Create Designated Opt-In Boxes – Now that we know I promote my newsletter through a number of avenues, how am I going to keep track of what’s working and what’s not? That is the purpose of this experiment. I create a new webform for every tactic I use; Below Post, Lightbox, Facebook, Home Page, Sidebar, etc. I can then see how each is converting. If you see an avenue isn’t working, nix it or reconsider your offer.
Things I Still Need to Do
My efforts are not over and I do not consider myself an expert at this point. I still have a lot of optimizing and experimenting to do. Two things on my To Do List:
Create a dedicated opt-in pageDONE! – Not a fan of writing copy. But, I see several Sellers on Fiverr offering this type of service. If they can at least get me started – I don’t expect them to learn my entire business plan for $5 – I can take it from there.
Why Is List Building So Important?
This should go without saying, but I am sure there are a few that are still in the “but I have Facebook and Twitter camp.” I cannot stress enough how much more you can do with a list of people that are so genuinely interested in your content and your business that they are willing to give you a one-way ticket to their inbox. This is a powerful marketing tool. Why do you think so many of the flash sale and daily deal sites keep their offerings under lock-and-email address?
Go look at your Facebook Insights for your average status update. What percentage of your followers are you reaching? How many click-throughs are you getting on Twitter? The open rate on my lists currently is 33% – 50+% depending on the list. Keep in mind, even if 50% of your Facebook followers are seeing your updates, how many are engaging? The people opening my newsletters are engaged and have already taken a big step towards conversion.
And that is the next reason to focus on getting more email subscribers. Sales. I don’t care what you are selling you have already crossed the trustworthy threshold when someone becomes an email subscriber. Take a look at how many Pages you Like on Facebook. Would you be willing to give all of those people your email address? I know I wouldn’t.
What Do I Use for My Newsletter Service?
I use ConvertKit on The Work at Home Wife and it converts like crazy. This one service allows me to not only collect emails and send newsletters, I can also create different subscriber freebies and opt-in boxes for different categories or posts on my blog. I can create pretty landing pages for collecting email addresses. I can also tag people as they click certain links in my emails or buy certain products. This lets me better market to these people in the future.
Now go forth and grow your list. And please let me know in the comments what avenues you have found successful for jump-starting your newsletter campaigns.