This is a guest post by Rafal Reyzer.
They say that your email list is your most valuable asset if you’re a writer or blogger. But it’s never entirely clear how to go about building it and attract readers that will come back to your website over and over again.
So here are a couple of tips and observations that will enable you to finally boost newsletter signup rates on your blog:
1. Use specialized software to boost email signup conversion rates.
Yes, there are some free apps you can use to get email subscribers on a WordPress blog. However, investing in a paid solution can make all the difference in the world when it comes to email marketing. After experiencing much frustration and low conversion rates on my blog, I decided to invest in an app called OptinMonster (there are other apps out there too like Ninja Popups or Thrive Leads).
Its sole purpose is to attract more subscribers to your list, and it has some advanced functions you won’t find in free apps. It lets you set advanced display rules so you can show specific campaigns on specific pages or devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) to further boost conversion rates. Moreover, you can create your campaigns using a simple drag and drop capability so you don’t need any coding skills to get started.
The cost of the app hovers somewhere around $10 per month, and the consensus among email marketers is that each subscriber is worth at least $1 per month. This means that, on average, you only need to attract ten new subscribers per month to your list to cover the cost of the app. Sounds like a no-brainer.
2. A/B test everything.
Once you have proper email marketing software, it’s time to put on the experimenter hat and apply the scientific method to boost your conversion rates. No worries, it’s much easier than it sounds.
Let’s say you have a pop-up where you try to convince your readers to sign up for your newsletter. You conduct an A/B test by creating a duplicate of your original pop-up, and then change only one element like the headline, the image, or the color of the “submit” button. Now you have the original version “A” and the newly created version “B.”
Often, you will realize that one of these versions performs by up to 50% better than the other. But again, you need software that will allow you to conduct tests like these and show version “A” to 50% of your readers and version “B” to the other 50%. This can be done easily with the aforementioned OptinMonster, that allows you to create a split test with a click of a button, and immediately see that for example, version “A” of your popup has a conversion rate of 1.64%, while version “B” only converts 1.25% of your visitors. Based on this information, you can make a rational decision about which design to pick for best results.
3. Come up with a couple of different “lead magnets” until you find something that works.
You never know what exactly will convince your readers to sign up for your email newsletter. Hint – it’s not what you expect. People are motivated by a variety of factors, and instead of trying to read their minds, you can serve a couple of mini offers, and let them decide.
Of course, your “lead magnet” (like an e-book or a video tutorial) should be congruent with the main topic of your blog as well as the services you’re offering. For example, if you’re a blogger, it could be a list of tips on how to automate your blog. Simply try out a couple of different approaches, and after a while, you will find something that works.
4. Give your readers a variety of opportunities to sign up.
Most bloggers only include an opt-in box in the sidebar, and perhaps some in-line opt-in forms interwoven in the paragraphs of a blog post. However, using these methods can only achieve so much, as users are so used to them that they become nearly invisible.
What you should do instead is to try pop-ups, slide-ins, welcome mats, and content upgrades. And no, these don’t have to be annoying as you can set specific rules so that a pop-up appears, for example, only after your reader spent at least one minute on your blog.
5. Don’t neglect the “email confirmation” message.
Once someone fills out the contact form, they should receive a message asking them to confirm their email address. This type of message has tremendously high open rates (up to 80%) because your new subscribers want their freebie.
So don’t neglect it! Test different subject lines to optimize the open rate, ask your subscribers to whitelist your email and create great expectations for what’s to come in your future communications.
Have you found the above tips useful? Do you have any other secrets on how to grow an email list faster? Please feel free to share a comment below.
Rafal Reyzer is a full-time blogger, freelance writer, digital marketer, editor, and content manager. He started his blog to teach other writers how they can start their own site, and use creativity to achieve freedom from 9-5. His site is a one-stop-shop for writers, bloggers, publishers, content enthusiasts, and freelancers who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things.