Email newsletters are the online nemesis for many bloggers. In the ever-changing blogging landscape, however, it's an absolute necessity.
Luckily, I have been collecting subscribers since shortly after building my first website. That line of communication has benefited my blog in more ways than you can imagine. If you are still on the fence or need a few reasons to kick up your list building activities, here are a few little nudges.
Google is Fickle. If you rely heavily on search traffic, it will not take long to find out this traffic source is fluid. One day, you are at the top of the pile. The next day, someone has taken your place. With a list of ready listeners, you can rest assured that someone is going to be showing up regardless.
Email is Great for Relationships. We all have a sector of shy readers. They may not feel comfortable commenting publicly, but they may feel more at ease giving you feedback privately. Email lists are two-way streets, and they are easy to respond to.
Social Media Can’t Compare. Only a fraction of your social media following ever sees your updates. Sure a post will go viral every now and again, but that doesn't necessarily mean your readers of the ones seeing it. The great thing about email is even if they don’t have time to read it now, it isn’t going anywhere. It will wait in their inboxes until someone takes action.
Expand Your Reach. One great feature of newsletter services today is the integration with social media. Your latest newsletter may be sent through your social profiles automatically giving another set of followers the opportunity to see it. Your newsletter may also include social sharing buttons allowing your subscribers to share your news with their friends and followers.
Revenue on Demand. If you are in a pinch for some extra cash or looking for replacement clients, your email list can be a lifesaver. You can hold a quick “fire sale” or let your subscribers know your business has an opening and ask for referrals. You can also notify your list members of short-term sales from others that may be of interest and for which you are an affiliate.
You Own It. Facebook owns your Page. Twitter owns your profile. Your RSS feed may be under the control of another entity. If you are paying for an email newsletter service, you own your list. If you decide you want to use another service you can export that list of subscribers and take it with you. You certainly can't do that with your social media following.
How to Get More Newsletter Subscribers
In 2015, increasing my email subscribers became a priority. For the past eleven months, I have been averaging over 3,000 new subscribers per month. That's awesome. And I just took additional steps to increase those numbers even more going in 2017. Here's how I've been doing it.
Frequently ask your social media followers to join your email list. Remind them this ensures they are receiving your updates. Maybe you can even offer the occasional subscriber-only post. Add a link to your opt-in box in your About section. Facebook has recently added a Call-to-Action button which is a great place to include that link.
End of Post opt-in boxes work amazingly as well. I received more subscribers through my pop-up and end-of-post boxes in six months than I saw through my sidebar box in four years. Analyze and optimize! Again, I use OptinMonster for this.
Give them something extra. We talked earlier about offering a free signup bonus, but don't let it end there. People receiving my newsletter don't get just posts. They also may get the latest job leads, trending posts, updated posts, special offers and more. My newsletters don't take hours to compile but spending five minutes to find something cool to share is worth it.
Ask commenting visitors to sign up. If someone is already liking your posts so much they feel the need to comment, they are so likely to sign up for your emails – if you ask them. Most newsletter services have a plugin that will add a checkbox to your comment or you can redirect commenters to a special page asking them to sign up. It works!
Make long posts downloadable. This has been one of my favorite tips of all time and one that produced instant results. Go through your most popular posts and see if there are any that are exceptionally long yet useful (ex. 101 tips, 50 ways, etc.). We create these massive lists as share-bait, but it's highly unlikely some landing on that post has the time to put into place all 100 things we are recommending. They are going to think you are super cool if you make this content available for them to take away for later. Turn it into a .pdf file and make it available as an incentive to those visiting the post. Create a special sign-up form and insert it in that post and that post only. You can see an example of one I did here.
Add a link to your guest posting bio. If you offer a subscriber incentive that fits with the guest post you are writing, as it should, include a link to your landing page letting readers know they can receive that free gift.
I said before analyze and optimize. That's so important when growing your list. Most newsletter services like Seva will allow you to create unlimited sign-up forms. Even if they all look the same, set them up for each area so you can track the results; end of post, sidebar, popup, social media. If something isn't working, change it.