How do you effectively use blogging to grow your email list? Columnist Daniel Faggella lays out some critical tips and strategies.
Successful email marketing campaigns are incredibly effective in reaching out to prospects and providing customers valuable content that can ensure a lasting relationship with them.
In fact, email actually has one of the highest ROIs when compared with other styles of online marketing. This holds true especially when email is used congruently with social media.
As a blogger with real business goals, you’re going to want to accumulate as extensive an email list as possible. In addition to using your email subscribers to help boost SEO (I’ve written previously about this virtuous cycle of email and SEO), you should also explicitly develop your blogging regimen to drive inbound leads and email subscribers.
Here are three key strategies you can employ to successfully build an email list by blogging.
Strategy #1: Advertising Your Email Opt-in Forms
Too many websites forgo a larger intake of email signups in favor of likes and follows. They prioritize social media over email, prominently displaying “Follow us on Facebook!” at the top of every page.
Unfortunately, what these bloggers don’t realize is that they’re partly handing control of their marketing over to Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook’s complex algorithm decides when your followers see your content. Twitter is a constantly updating a stream of media, and it’s possible that your Twitter followers will entirely miss your marketing as they check their feed.
In contrast, bloggers have complete control over their email list. They get to choose when emails are sent out to prospects, therefore deciding when prospects are exposed to content.
This is why it’s vital for your website visitors to be able to access your email opt-in forms easily. When designing your website, place email opt-in forms in as many places as possible: in the banner, at the top of your articles, at the bottom of your articles, in the sidebar.
Another feature you may choose to use is the popover page. Although popovers and lightbox pages sometimes get a bad reputation, I recommend trying them out for your site. They can drastically increase your email intake. Generally, you’ll want to make the lightbox email opt-in form appear after a visitor has spent between 15 and 45 seconds on the page.
If visitors are spending that amount of time reading your content, you can assume they may be interested in providing their email address to receive more of that content. However, set the lightbox so that it appears only once per viewing session, as you do not want to spam your visitors and deter them from engaging your content further.
Strategy #2: Making It Worthwhile For Prospects
Prospects aren’t going to provide their email addresses if they don’t receive anything in return. Usually, prospects will be satisfied if they receive quality content.
Your blog posts will give prospects an idea of what they will be signing up for when they fill out the opt-in form, and so it’s imperative that your posts are both interesting and informative. Mediocre posts will make it difficult for readers to justify returning to the site, let alone provide their email addresses.
Another example of offering prospects value comes in the form of contests. Visitors to your website will often feel more compelled to provide their email when there is a tangible reward for doing so.
Additionally, many people enjoy the competitive and chance-based aspect of contests, and you can use this to your advantage. Create a contest that has prospects engage in your content in some way, so that your demographic is likely to be interested. The prize should be related to your content, as well.
But most importantly, make sure that to qualify for the contest, prospects need to provide their email addresses. To obtain even more emails, you can even tell prospects that every person they sign up counts as an additional ticket in the raffle.
Knowing this, prospects may provide the emails of mildly interested friends or family members who did not visit your website directly.
Lastly, you can use your own email list as proof that there is value in filling out the opt-in form. Display the number of people signed up for your emails in your banner.
Visitors will be more likely to sign up if they see many others have, as well. You can also write up the benefits of opting in and use quotes from satisfied subscribers to signal that your content is valuable.
For marketers having a hard time with developing opt-in ideas, Digital Marketer has a useful article about “lead magnet ideas” that’s worth a read. Ensuring that your opt-in incentive is strong and directly appealing to the desires of your prospect is paramount to everything else I’m writing about here today.
Strategy #3: Creating Valuable Content
One of the best ways to offer value to prospects is by offering them access to a high-quality white paper upon opting in. A white paper is a long-form email that promotes your content, describing why obtaining it is the best option for readers.
For example, white papers can be used to provide readers who may be dealing with a frustrating aspect of business a new way to go about it. After reading the white paper, prospects will be more likely to seek your content when they have other business problems.
Creating an informative white paper can be done by first taking a look at your analytics. Which of your pages has the most views? The content of this page can be the groundwork for the content of your white paper.
When uploading your white paper to an email marketing software provider, you can choose to send it as one long email or in incremental parts. The benefit of the singular email would be that prospects who choose to subscribe to your emails for the white paper get immediate access to content they’re eager to read.
On the other hand, incremental emails will build trust with your prospects because a steady flow of content is being delivered as promised.
Creating a newsletter can also be an effective way of delivering high-quality content to email subscribers. While it’s true that many businesses dedicate entire teams of people to their newsletter, it’s possible to create one without that kind of large investment.
The key is to provide valuable information to readers. Don’t merely promote products or services.
You can write subject lines offering giveaways or tips to increase revenue, enticing your subscribers to open the email and even click the links that may be in them.
It’s also important to include personal stories that touch on a wide range of topics relating to your content. Varied topics will attract a larger audience.
By implementing these strategies, you’ll see your email list dramatically increase in length. Make sure you pay attention to your analytics, such as email click-to-open rates, spam complaint rates and unsubscribe frequency.
Figure out your analytics before employing these strategies, and then compare them to your analytics afterward. Play around with subject lines, article content and Web design to see which configurations increase your email intake most.
Running these tests will help you establish a consistent method of collecting emails while also varying your prospects’ experience with your brand.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)