What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office? You check your emails, right? Despite being one of the oldest Internet creations, email is still the one tool we all use every single day. That’s what makes it the most powerful and effective way to market to your customers.
Why? Because it’s personal – you’re reaching right into your customer’s inboxes.
It’s also highly converting. After all, your subscribers are people who have already shown interest in your product or service. Last month, KeriLynn wrote about how to make money passively with an email list. Today, I’m going one step further, and explaining how to boost your subscriber numbers. The more subscribers, the more conversions, and the more sales.
Here are 6 steps to start with:
1. Produce Amazing Content
You might be thinking… “Well, duh”.
But, it bears repeating.
Your email list is only as good as the content you produce. You won’t convince subscribers to hand over their email address without blowing them away with great content. And you won’t keep them on your list if you don’t pack your newsletter full of useful stuff. Step one is producing material that amazes, intrigues, teaches, and wows your visitors. Then, when you do ask for their email, they’ll be happy to do so.
2. Choose the Most Effective Sign-Up Form Placement
You know the saying ‘less is more’? When it comes to email signup forms, forget about it. If you want a big flood of subscribers, you’re going to have to maximize your number of signup forms. Of course, there’s a fine line to be found – you certainly don’t want to irritate your visitors.
Their top performing capture boxes were the ‘HelloBar’ – a signup form that hovers at the very top of their website – and the ‘Slideup’ – a signup box that appears when the visitor scrolls more than 60% down a page. The more options people have to sign up, the more likely they are to do so.
3. Choose an Irresistible Lead Magnet and Content Upgrades
Great content and high visibility should have your visitors thinking about signing up.
Now you’ve got seal the deal with a juicy incentive. Signing up for a newsletter is an exchange. Your visitors want something in return. So offer them something they can’t resist! Some well-tested ideas include: an ebook, a whitepaper with data and research, a free trial, a catalogue or a brochure. However, there is one particular lead magnet that is driving conversions higher and higher: the ‘content upgrade’. This is a highly specific and relevant piece of content that adds value to your existing blogs.
Here’s what it looks like in the wild:
Promoted as an ‘exclusive bonus’, the content upgrade is a very specific, short checklist that gives readers an instant takeaway. Checklists work really well, but use your imagination, and create something that is relevant and specific to your content. Then embed it within your most popular blogs.
4. Create a Magnetic Call-to-Action
Your call-to-action could make or break your subscription campaign. This is your ‘subscribe’ button. It’s the final step. You’ve got to make your readers feel compelled to click on it. There are three factors here: color, placement, and copy. For colors, greens, yellows, and oranges work particularly well. They are bold, eye-catching, and draw your attention. You can go one step further and make it interactive. This – admittedly old-school – CTA is a good example. It turns from red to green when hovered over – prompting the user to Go!
As for the copy, make it short, sharp, and to the point. Some marketers have found that using ‘first-person’ copy works better here. The GIF above is another great example: “Give me my free report now!” rather than “download the free report”. It has more urgency and talks directly to your visitors.
5. Kill the Fear
Even with all these awesome tips, there’s something holding your visitors back: fear.
They’re worried that they’ve already signed up to too many email lists. They’re scared you might send them tons of spam and sales letters. If they’re a new visitor, they’re worried because they’ve never heard of you. Killing that instinctive hesitance isn’t easy, but it can be done. Start by telling them exactly what they’ll get when they subscribe. Be transparent and open. Another trick is using ‘social proof’ to show them that others trust you. Here’s a simple example that combines both of these techniques: There’s social proof at the top (‘join 31,012 other awesome people!’) And then there’s a transparent list of exactly what you get from subscribing. Another simple fear-killer is reminding your potential subscribers that you hate spam too, and that you’ll never share their details with anyone else.
6. Make it Quick and Easy to Sign Up
The final barrier to subscription is a complicated and lengthy signup form. Your capture form doesn’t need to ask for your reader’s mother’s cat’s maiden name. You don’t even need location or date of birth. Keep it simple. Keep it quick. Don’t give them a chance to change their minds.
For certain websites, asking for a first name is a useful idea. It means you can address your readers personally in the email itself – which in turn generally improves the open-rate. But no more info is needed! Not only does it add time to the process, it can feel intrusive, which may repel some readers who value their privacy. Another tip is making sure your visitors don’t have to click through to another page to sign up. It should be as simple as:
Done correctly, you should be able to convince and convert in just a few seconds. It’s all about capturing your audience’s email while they’re excited about your content – before they have a chance to change their minds. Remember, the more subscribers you have, the more chance you have of monetizing. The money is in the list! What tricks and techniques have you found effective for increasing your subscriber numbers?
Article by Daren Low
Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha.com and co-developer of the free Server Speed Test tool. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence.