Getting your first few email subscribers is no cakewalk. It requires lots of hard work and planning. Strategic thinking. Having an email list is an asset.
You can do a lot with it.
Let the naysayers say that email marketing is dead.
Some statistics to prove that those who say it is are talking crap:
It gives a ridiculous return on investment (ROI).
Email marketing is dirt cheap, even if you are using any paid email marketing service. One single well-written email sent to the right people at the right time can get you thousands of dollars in a very short time.
If you’re reading this post, I can think of you being in one of these three stages:
- You have to start building your email list
- You already have a list but the size is small ie below 500 subscribers
- Your list has grown big enough around 5000 email subscribers or more but you need to scale still higher.
If you are already well on your way to building the list, this post will still be useful to you as it is full of many strategies and tactics that you can apply, if you haven’t tried them already.
Also, keep in mind, a list of a few hundred engaged and relevant subscribers is way better than a list of a few thousand non-relevant or non-targeted subscribers.
Keep the engagement levels high. Keep your audience first. Provide value. That’s how you will become an authority in your field and people will look up to you for advice.
Its an important step in monetizing your blog.
Let’s get into the steps to get more email subscribers for free.
Because that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?
How to get email subscribers with the least effort and reap great benefits
We all want this, right? More and more subscribers who are waiting to get emails from you.
But, in reality, this is not so easy if you don’t pay heed to these steps.
With the right strategy and steps, you will get email subscribers with minimal efforts.
#1. Set a blog growth plan or strategy
If you want to get email subscribers fast, have a solid blog growth strategy. clearly chalk out what you want your blog to achieve by the next year, next six months, next month and the next week.
Yes, you need to have a laser focus on your blogging strategy. Your email marketing strategy and the efforts you put in getting email subscribers is going to be a big part of that.
If you want to increase the open rate of your emails and reduce unsubscribes then personalization is a great way.
Automated emails that are personalized (addressed to the receiver by name) have a staggering 75% higher open rate than those that don’t.
#2. Get quality traffic over quantity of traffic
Traffic sources matter. Low-quality subscribers are bad for business. They lead to low email open rates and engagement, are a waste of email resources and can land your emails in ‘junk’ folders.
Put effort in generating traffic from sources where your customers are likely to hang out. Be active on discussion forums related to your niche. Sites like Quora, if used correctly, are very useful in getting quality traffic to your blog posts.
So, be prudent in attracting traffic and getting them on your email list.
When your blog posts are published, you have to promote it to the right people and a content distribution strategy plays a vital part in getting email subscribers and growing your email list.
#3. SEO is important, so is referral traffic from social media. Focus on both
If you have to create a mailing list for your website, you have to get traffic and give them email sign-up incentives. There are so many ways to get quality traffic to your website.
Getting organic traffic by better SEO practices is definitely a desired long-term strategy. After all, the traffic that search engines send to your blog is free. It builds up month after month.
Make it a practice to write SEO optimised articles and do off-page SEO to rank your posts higher in search engines.
SEO takes time to show results. Apart from content, website metrics such as loading speed, blog design and backlinks also affect SEO.
So, you have to focus on referral traffic from social media and other sources also to quickly get email subscribers and grow your email list.
Have a solid social media marketing strategy and promote your posts well. Build engagement and you will get loads of traffic from social media coming to your blog.
#4. Multiple opt-in forms.
This increases your chance of getting more subscribers. Subscribe CTA at the right places – homepage, blog and about page.
Create the first half of your home page into a sign-up page.
Insert subscription CTAs and post them directly within your blog posts. You can even create a downloadable PDF of the blog post for later use and place it as a subscription incentive.
The about page is one of the most visited pages but often the most ignored. Create subscription CTAs and place them directly below your ‘about page.’
Make them easy to fill out. Don’t ask for too much information as that would reduce your sign-up rates.
#5. Guest blogging
Leverage the traffic of other high authority websites a convert them into your subscribers. Guest blogging allows you to do just that.
Grab guest blogging opportunities and find ways write guest articles on other high authority websites. When you fill out your bio, in your guest post, you are generally allowed to place a link to your website.
So, write informative guest posts and you are sure to win some traffic back to your blog and into your email list.
#6. Hold a competition
This is a very good engagement strategy for your audience through social media. Online contests help you create conversations with your target audience.
You can do this on any of your preferred social media platforms.
Smallbiztrends has some great ideas to get your social media contest ideas rolling.
Make it mandatory to subscribe to your email list in order to be notified of the winners. If you manage to create a buzz around the competition, you can easily get from a few hundred to a few thousands of subscribers.
#7. Lead Magnet like free ebooks, courses, white papers, PDF etc.
To get email subscribers to sign-up, give something users can put to immediate use in the form of a lead magnet. These can be a free downloadable ebook, online courses or white papers related to your industry.
Here is an example of a free blogging course opt-in form.
Such things can be very effective parts of your inbound marketing strategy.
Explain very clearly what the users will expect in the lead magnet.
Set clear expectations and deliver them. By educating your customers, you are building a long-term relationship and trust that will get them excited to engage with you and buy from you when you offer affiliate products.
#8. Invest in a good email marketing service
It will be worth the investment. There are many email marketing service providers like ConvertKit, Aweber, Getresponse, Mailchimp etc.
NOTE: If you are just starting and don’t want to invest in these email subscription services, then MailChimp is a good option as its free for up to 2000 subscribers.
They come with the option of setting up opt-in forms to grow your email list and offer analytics tools to see how your email campaigns and opt-in forms are performing.
Once a person signs up to your email list, you can send them a welcome mail, free ebook or a series of automated onboarding emails. There is enough choice.
#9. Popups / opt-in forms
Let’s admit it. They can get intrusive at times.
The opt-in forms that pop-up after a certain time interval of scrolling your website or after the user has scrolled a set percentage of your website get annoying to the reader sometimes.
But, they are also very effective when getting email subscribers.
Over 75% of your website visitors will never return if they don’t subscribe to your email list.
Your aim is also to build your list.
So, let the intrusive opt-in forms remain.
Exit intent opt-in forms also work but not as much as the opt-ins that appear in the beginning.
#10. Sell the list wisely.
Getting quality email subscribers and growing your list requires you to think strategically and make use of opt-in forms at the right places.
Just putting a ‘subscribe to newsletter’ in the sidebar is not enough.
You have to let people know about your free ebook, course, webinar or whatever incentive you give them to subscribe. Opt-in forms, exit intent opt-in forms, in posts, in guest posts, landing pages, etc. help you to do this.
#11. Split testing
Your landing pages, the color of opt-in forms, timed, exit intent and the lead magnet itself can have a positive or negative impact on the sign-ups to your email list.
So, always split test your opt-in forms and landing pages. See what works better and then finalize on the one that performs better.
What works well for others need not work well for you too. Test out everything.
Colours make a difference in conversions. Example – the colour of your submit button is so important. Generally, the submit buttons are red or green.
What if you played around a bit with the colour coding and made the button interact with the user upon hovering the mouse button on it? It can make a world of a difference.
#12. Concentrate in other areas, mediums like videos, webinars, podcasts
Infographics are a rage nowadays. Create an infographic and submit it to a few of the top infographic submission sites. When free traffic lands on your blog, offer them enticing lead magnets and get them to your email list.
Content consumption is increasing everywhere. There are more multimedia options to send your target audience to your blog or website.
“More content is being created in 48 hours than what was produced from the beginning of time until 2003.” – Eric Schmidt
Send that traffic to your blog. Convert there.
Invite subscribers through your social media networks. Ask your Twitter followers to subscribe to your email list.
The possibilities are endless. You just have to be innovative and think out of the box.
#13. The homepage
Blogs that convert half of their homepage to a subscriber opt-in form have witnessed an increase in their email list. It will appear as a banner that runs the width of your website as a subscriber CTA form.
An example of this is the screenshot below from Noah Kagan’s website OkDork.
Some blogs have a subscribe CTA in the blog’s header which moves along as we scroll through the page.
You can also convert the homepage header as a lead magnet. A good place to have a lead magnet is installing the Hello Bar that takes to a landing page where there’s an option to subscribe.
#14. Tracking the hot areas of your website
Tracking the areas that get the maximum attention can make a difference as you know where to place your subscribe form.
Services like Inspectlet and Hotjar are good options to try. Once the code is installed on your website, they record the mouse movements of visitors without letting the visitor know about it.
You can check the recordings and know which areas are the most attention-grabbing on your website.
Put subscription CTAs at places where people are paying attention.
Some marketers say that putting a sidebar on their pages actually diverted their readers’ attention and they have since done away with the sidebar. If you want your visitor to take a certain CTA, remove distractions.
Keep tweaking and adjusting your marketing strategy
Make use of trends that are the rage of the time. Be flexible.
#15. Mobile responsive
Don’t forget it. A lot of your traffic will read your blog on their mobiles. Most of the paid themes are mobile responsive.
If your subscribe form doesn’t show up properly on mobile or they find it difficult to subscribe, they will simply leave your site.
So test how everything works on mobile.
#16. Be consistent in sending emails
If you say you’ll email them once a week but send out three emails, then that’s a promise you’ve broken.
Don’t do that. Set expectations and deliver. Your aim is to build trust so that when you want to monetize from that list, they trust you.
Just getting subscribers to your list is not enough. Nurture them with useful content.
#17. Don’t fret if you see people unsubscribing from your email list –
If people are unsubscribing from your email list, don’t worry much. It happens with the best of bloggers.
This just means that people who are not aligned with your content or what you have to offer them are leaving. It’s another way of pruning your email list.
Remember: A good email list is not only about numbers. It’s more about the quality of subscribers and how much they are aligned with your brand.
#18. Make sharing of emails easier
If your subscribers want to spread the word to others in their circle, then make forwarding your emails easy. Encourage them to forward emails to their friends and others who can benefit.
You get more email subscribers because of it. Make it as easy as possible to enter your email address.
#19. Optimise your top blog posts for subscriptions
Look up Google console and find the top performing blog posts in terms of getting traffic.
If they are getting you traffic from search engines or other sources, then it’s a good strategy to capture the incoming traffic through opt-in forms and CTA in the form of lead magnets.
It will not be much of work and at the same time help you build up your list.
#20. Edit old blog posts
You get the advantage of recurring traffic from old blog posts. Don’t miss out on optimizing your old blog posts, the ones that get you lots of traffic. The work will be a lot less hassle.
Any smart blogger knows the value of editing and refreshing old blog posts because there may be changed opinions, broken links (bad for SEO of your site), adding fresh internal links or simply content that needs updating.
Editing them and polishing them for today makes them as good as new and you can share them again to bring in fresh traffic.
It’s also good for the SEO of your website.
You can be very innovative with opt-in forms and lead magnets. There are many solutions to growing your email list.
I hope this post has been able to give you some ideas and expand your thinking as to what all you can do with the least effort for building an email list fast.
If you aren’t building an email list from your blog, it’s time you started doing it.
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