Ready to grow your mailing list? Today we'll discuss strategies for promoting your newsletter and to improve your opt-in conversion rate.
You have a subscription form on your blog or website, but is it in the right place? Is it drawing attention and converting your visitors into email subscribers?
There are three things you should analyze before you start heavily promoting your newsletter or mailing list, to ensure you get the best possible conversion rate...
By now I assume you have a mailing list manager, such as Aweber, which hosts your email lists and provides you with list statistics and opt-in forms to place on your website. If you don't, you'll need to set up an account.
There are other options of course, but be sure to do your homework. MailChimp, for example, does NOT work with affiliate marketers - you can lose all of your lists (!) by including an affiliate link in an email.
1. Your Opt-in Form: Placement, Color & Copy
The first step, before marketing your list, is to make sure that you have the highest converting opt-in form possible. This will take some testing on your part, but there are some basic principles you should be following to start.
Placement is key. Your opt-in form should be "above the fold" (meaning it is visible on your page without scrolling). Ideally it will be at the top of your sidebar. If you use a 3-column layout, test between the top left and the top right sidebar.
Color is also important. Color should be used strategically to draw the eye to specific areas of your pages. Pull up your site in a new tab or window and view it objectively - as if you were a first time visitor. Where is your eye drawn? Does your subscription form stand out or blend in?
Once your eye lands on the subscription form, does it compel you to subscribe? This is the one place you really want to put your copywriting skills to the test.
Basic copywriting 101 is to describe the benefits, not the features. Why should your visitor subscribe to your list? How will they benefit from your emails? Be sure you are answering those questions, in as few words as possible - short & sweet!
"The absolute best place to have a subscription form is at the top of your sidebar, above the fold, clearly marked. If it's unclear, make it more visible. Other places where forms can be effective are above your logo or banner (yes, you read that right), or below every post as part of the footer."
-Phil Hollows, LBFB page 25
2. Customize Welcome Message Plugins
If you're using a WordPress Plugin such as WWSGD, you should customize it. This plugin will display a message to new or first-time visitors inviting them to subscribe to your RSS Feed by default. You can actually put code there instead, and display your Aweber opt-in form with an invitation to subscribe.
3. Create a Squeeze Page for Signatures & Bio's
Consider your email signature, forum signatures, and the bio you use in various places: on social networks, when you guest blog, etc. Instead of sending people to your main page, send them to a custom squeeze page that invites them to join your mailing list - with an offer they can't refuse!
Tip: Don't name the page /newsletter.html. Get creative and create a file name like yoursite.com/freedownload.html or yoursite.com/secretpage.html that will entice them to click on your link.
4. Add Your Subscription Form to Your Facebook Page
Are you inviting your Facebook fans to subscribe to your mailing list? You should! This is actually something I'm off to do myself today. For detailed instructions, see: How Do I Add an Opt-in Form to My Facebook Page?
5. Give Visitors an Incentive to Subscribe!
If you look below this post you'll see that I offer "Free Tutorials Every Monday". It's not a super compelling incentive to subscribe, but it's MUCH better than "Hey, sign up for my newsletter!" (how I created that opt-in form below posts)
I'm actually in the process of putting together an awesome free report (inspired by this series, of course!) which will be a much better incentive to sign up. I'll be updating my opt-in forms with a cover graphic and compelling copy as well.
Consider what your visitors most need or want, and offer it as an incentive to subscribe to your mailing list. It's important that you let them know they are not just requesting a free download, but also signing up for your mailing list. Otherwise you're "tricking" your visitors, which could result in complaints.
There are other things you can do to grow your mailing list, but these five steps are a great starting point! Have additional ideas or resources you'd like to share for list building? Leave a comment below. And of course, if you have questions about any of these steps - ask away!
p.s. If you don't yet have a copy of List Building For Bloggers, and you want to follow along in the series this month, grab a copy here and use the coupon code "clicknewz" for $10 off. That makes it only $14.95!