I mentioned in last week's blogging tips article that growing your subscriber or email list early on is helpful, and since I got questions about that particular tip, I wanted to go more in-depth :) In my opinion, there are 4 main areas to focus on when it comes to building your list. Each of those focus areas have more minor to-do items that accompany the main point. I'll cover each focus and then provide more specific tips under each!
Your list may not grow if you're not providing a WHY behind signing up, and incentive. Also, quality is key; there's simply over-saturation in the blogosphere and you have to provide people with content worth their time. Here are a few ways to provide quality incentive:
Giveaways or contests
You want all followers (from social, the blog, newsletters, etc.) to have the chance to enter giveaways, but once in a while, offer platform-specific contests. Promote it on all platforms, but mention that you must subscribe to your email list to enter this particular giveaway. Make the contest something they'll want to join, and other than signing up for your list, don't make them do anything else. Make it quality, specific, and simple!
Free ebook or tool
I've done this before and it's been successful. Similar to a contest, offer a free ebook or tool for subscribers only. Mention this in a couple blog posts and social posts a.k.a. let as many people know as possible and give them enough time to sign-up (and directions how, or even better, a direct link).
For example, I offered a free PDF on top hashtags I use to gain followers :
New, quality content
This is especially smart if you're not already posting 5+ times a week and people want more from you. Create fresh content that you only publish via your newsletter, but hint at it in the blog post before and after. Ex: “Sign up for my newsletter to see my 5 favorite beauty products” or something enticing to your demographic. I find that personal stuff does well with newsletters because people usually want to see more behind-the-scenes content and I like the intimacy of sending it to a dedicated list.
People love when they feel like they're being heard or part of the conversation. Whenever you can, respond to people's newsletter replies! This will entice them to continue getting emails and engaging with all your platforms.
This is so, so important! We all know how short our attention spans, so getting people to sign-up has to be simple. Here's how:
Opt-in button on your blog and in more than one place:
Having somewhere for people to sign-up on your blog is crucial. I personally have mine in the right sidebar towards the top. No matter if someone is on mobile or desktop, that widget shows up without having to scroll anywhere. And no matter what page you're on, that sidebar remains the same. Easy right? If you don't like that setup, I suggest having the opt-in button in a couple places (most visited pages); on the main page and then in your ‘About Me' section makes sense to me :)
I know some people hate pop-ups, but it's a good idea to test how they work on your site. Create a pop-up that gives people the chance to sign up for your newsletters and see how it does. You may be surprised at how well your list grows with this feature.
Simple sign-up process
Once people click the opt-in button, make the rest easy as well. Only ask questions that are relevant to what you'll be sending, and explain the process in a quick, simple way. When people sign-up for mine, they are then taken to a page with details on what to do next (just in case they don't understand what the email is saying) and how to make sure my emails hit their inbox—not spam. After they confirm their subscription, I let them know how to unsubscribe. I also share what they can do when they like certain aspects of the newsletter. You can also have a FAQ page that automatically comes up when people hit the opt-in button—just make it all simple.
Beyond having an opt-in button and certain incentives, marketing definitely comes into play with subscriber lists. Here's how I market mine:
I personally use and love CovertKit which is similar to MailChimp but geared directly towards bloggers by a blogger. I find that having an actual email marketing system helps big time, especially when it comes to managing active subscribers and analytics. There are a bunch of these companies out there, so do a little research and see what works for you :)
Use a Sender Score
I find this article helpful when it comes to understanding what a Sender Score is. Basically, in order for mail delivery services to successfully deliver your emails, you want to have a good Sender Score. This means getting rid of inactive subscribers. It also means instructing subscribers to white-list your email address so you don't show up in spam.
Just like providing readers a way to share your blog content via social media, you want to do the same with emails. Here's how:
Use social media
I already talked a bit about promoting subscriber-specific giveaways on social media, but you should also constantly be taking advantage of your social accounts to grow your email list. Make a recurring Twitter post once a week providing a link to sign-up, or add it to your Instagram when sharing a new blog post.
Include social share buttons
At the end of a newsletter or email, include the same social share buttons that you have on your blog. This gives people the chance to share your emails which will grow your subscribers. You can also include a link to subscribe in your email signature.
See what I did there?! Asking never hurts either :)