So your blog is up and running and you have started growing your devoted army of readers, but how do you take it from there and convert those readers to become subscribers?
Building a loyal and targeted blog audience is just one of the steps required for achieving blogging success. This type of audience is identified as a large group of readers that visit your blog frequently and love your content so much that they come back to see what you’re offering every single time you hit that publish button.
There are two ways your visitors can subscribe to your blog: via RSS and via email. Both are valuable, but email subscription can have a much bigger impact than RSS subscription. Email boosts traffic to your blog, since subscribers get emailed whenever new content gets published (compared to RSS, which subscribers have to manually check on their own). Furthermore, an email list is the best way to build a targeted audience for your blog. You may think that people don’t pay attention to their mailboxes nowadays, but you will be surprised.
ExactTarget found that, “91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once everyday,” which means your job is to persuade them to open your emails—a job that’s not as impossible as you may fear.
Email converts 8.5x better than social media and boasts twice the ROI (Return on Investment) of PPC (Pay-Per-Click). So if you want to grow your business with blogging, you’re going to want people to subscribe via email.
There are many key factors to be take into consideration when trying to convert more of your blog visitors into subscribers.
Having an exceptional blog design and layout is one of them. Having lots of useful content is another. Being able to drive a lot of targeted traffic is yet another, and so on.
But these are not the only factors. While there’s no one-size-fits-all plan to get more subscribers for your blog, there are a few things you can try with your audience—and hopefully some of them will stick.
Let’s get started!
Blog Frequently (and Make Sure It’s High Quality)
Put it this way, would you buy a newspaper every day if the articles in that paper never changed? Probably not. However, if the articles are different each day, you’re far more likely to buy a new newspaper every single day. The same theory applies to blog content. If you don’t update your blog with a new post, there is no reason for people to visit. There is nothing new for them to see.
Yes, frequency matters—so work your way up. If you’re currently blogging once a month, work your way up to once a week. If you blog once a week, work your way up to a few times a week. Truthfully, the most successful blogs publish content daily, or even multiple times a day.
Keep in mind, however, that a boost in frequency can’t come with a decrease in quality. Your new visitors won’t be enticed to subscribe if they don’t find your content to be worthy of their attention. And with all the low quality content out there, you can’t afford mediocrity if you want to win over those new visitors.
Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly
Yes! An increasing number of your readers will access your blog from their mobile devices. Smartphone usage will continue to increase and don’t be surprised if more people access your blog from a mobile device rather than a desktop in the future.
According to the Pew Internet Project’s research, more than a third of cell phone users use their phone more than their desktop or laptop. The first step toward making your blog mobile-friendly is to use OptinMonster’s mobile-only optin forms—simple forms designed specifically for small screens.
Encourage Readers to Subscribe
It’s not too aggressive to ask readers to subscribe. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all it takes to encourage someone to subscribe to your blog. Consider including a request at the end of your best blog posts saying, “If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed?” Of course, include a link to your feed subscription page to make it as easy as possible for your readers to act on your reminder.
One great tip for encouraging blog subscription is to use social proof to show new visitors just how popular your blog is among their peers. If you have impressive traffic or subscriber numbers, consider showcasing those. Something as simple as “Join more than 1,000 [insert persona]s who already subscribe!” can help you convert those visitors who may be on the fence.
Offer a Freebie to Subscribers
A great way to increase the number of subscribers to your blog is to offer subscribers something extra such as a free gift or additional information that could be helpful to them. For example, you may want to send subscribers a free ebook that provides additional information about your blog’s topic or a free newsletter. You could also send a free gift that’s tied to your blog’s topic. The key is to offer a freebie that is meaningful and useful to your readers and provides added value to their experiences on your blog.
Bonus: You can also host exclusive giveaways for email subscribers, but make sure to post about the giveaway on your blog and social sites so that everyone knows about it. They may sign up as a subscriber so that they can join in on the fun!
Create a Blog Subscription Landing Page
Using dedicated landing pages to collect subscribers for your various email marketing campaigns is a smart move.
Landing pages give you a central place to direct traffic, the chance to sell what your subscribers are going to get, and the ability to use all of the juicy conversion optimization strategies out there on the internet to maximize your conversion rates.
There is no standard manual on the creation of a perfect landing page. No matter how hard you look, you’ll never find the landing page Holy Grail.
No exceptions, you absolutely must have:
- The headline: You’ve got to instantly catch attention with your headline.
- The benefits: You’ve got to tell by teasing, usually with fascinating bullet points.
- The call to action: You’ve got to expressly tell people to sign-up.
- The opt-in form: You’ve got to have a way for them to sign-up.
Optimize your subscription page using the same best practices you would for any other landing page on your website. Include descriptive headers/subheaders that capture visitors’ attention and summarizes what they’ll get. Demonstrate the value of subscribing in your landing page copy, include a high-quality image, and emphasize email subscription by placing the form above the fold. You can also incorporate other elements—like social proof—to help boost conversion rates.
Add Signup Options to Your Social Media Accounts
Some social media sites make it easy to add a newsletter signup option on your social network page. Facebook has numerous third-party apps that let you add custom tab options, such as an email signup!
Instant Offer for First-Time Subscribers
Try offering an instant incentive for becoming a newsletter subscriber. E-commerce sites like H&M might offer a 20% off discount voucher.
Add Newsletter Pop-Ups to Website
Good strategy, but make it quick to read with just (ideally) one form field asking for an email address, and a big, easy-to-click X to close out the box for those who refuse.
Don’t Go Overboard
When implementing these methods, be aware that while each addition will help convert readers to subscribers, each also has the potential to distract from the article and turn off readers. Weigh each method before implementing, and make sure to use analytics to track how readership and conversion numbers change when you do.