In yesterday’s post Why do I need an email subscription list, we talked about how people’s levels of engagement increases when they subscribe first to your RSS feed, and then to the holy grail, your email subscriber list. Today we’re going to talk about how we encourage people to subscribe to your blog.
What you actually write on your blog is the single most important thing that results in people subscribing to it. If you can’t write compelling stuff and write it well, you may as well forget it now, or move into a niche where you can.
The secret is reliability here. It doesn’t really matter what your posting schedule is, as long as you stick to it. I expect Mashable to post several times a day, and they do. But there are other sites I subscribe to where they only post twice a week. What stops people from subscribing, or makes them unsubscribe is when your schedule goes out of the window.
Make it Easy
If you want people to subscribe to your feed or your email list then you have to make it easy for them to do so. Have a big orange RSS button – and if you’re in a niche where people may not know what RSS is (and that’s most niches!) then put a link to an explanation on the site for them. Have an easy to use email sign up form too, and make sure both are displayed on every page of the blog, and ideally in different locations. Don’t ask for loads of information either – a first name and an email address will do.
Ask people to sign up!
As well as displaying the buttons and forms, ask people to join your community! Invite them in by reminding them how easy it is. Do so regularly in posts, add a link to your emails and remind them again in your Twitter landing page, your about page and anywhere else you can think of.
Give them an Incentive
The most common way to encourage people to sign up to your email list is to offer them something free – in my case I use my free E Book Blogging for Beginners. Everyone who joins the Mike’s Life Community gets a free copy, which is emailed to them automatically as soon as they register. If you don’t have something to offer, you can create it (perhaps using early posts as a template) or there are various E books you can buy (for a small fee) and rebrand as your own. It works! Another option is to offer subscribers additional content – so for example regular readers get basic posts on the site, but subscribers get more in depth posts with videos or additional photos.
Use Footers, or Hover ads
On this site I use the Ultimate Footer ad, which you’ll see below every five pages or so – it has an amazing conversion rate when compared to a static form like the one at the top of the page. I prefer to use this rather than the “hover over” type ads as a personal preference, but I believe those are equally, of not even more effective.
Use the right tools
For RSS I would recommend using Feedburner, rather than the native RSS feeds which come with most blog software. Feedburner is free to use, and gives you terrific reports about subscribers. For your email list I would recommend using Aweber – it is simply the best tool for the job, and I’ve used three others before I switched. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll be covering in detail how to use your email list to give great value to your subscribers, and the most benefit to you by keeping them engaged.
Are you a Mike’s Life subscriber yet? If not please join the community now – you’ll get the free E book immediately, and a weekly personal email from me with an update on what’s happening in my world, and some good special offers for subscribers. Just put your first name an email address into the box top right, or into the animated footer below, which appears every five pages or so.
"Mike's Life is where you can stay current with the life, thoughts, successes and failures of Mike Cliffe-Jones. Never knowingly ordinary, Mike shares as much as possible about his work as a marketer and in business, as well as his enviable lifestyle on and in the oceans around The Canary Islands."