Something that Kendra and I did horribly wrong when we started our first blog was poorly advertising our mailing list. We had one measly sign up form in our sidebar, and we were constantly wondering why our list was growing at a snail’s pace. But if you really want people to sign up for your list, then you’ve got to act like it! How can people sign up for your list if they don’t know that it exists or you limit them to only one place where they can sign up? Let’s talk about some great ways that you can advertise your list and start getting subscribers, shall we?
Use your site to your advantage
When visitors come to your blog or website, you want them to have no trouble signing up for your mailing list. You can advertise your list in your sidebar (if you have one), in your website’s footer, in the footer of each blog post, in an announcement bar/hello bar at the top of your site, and you can even create an entire page that is devoted to your mailing list. That’s what Kendra and I have done for the Humble List (as you can see in the navigation at the top). This is something that we never did with our first blog, and it actually converts pretty well (meaning that the women who click to go to this page tend to actually sign up for our list). With your blog or website, experiment with where you place the sign up forms for your mailing list to see which positions convert the best. And when you see that a particular place is converting well, don’t change it!
Using your social media to gain subscribers
Just like you use your social media accounts to promote your blog posts, you can do the same with your mailing list. In your profiles for example, instead of linking to your website, you could link to a landing page for your email list. Let's take a look at how Regina Sayles utilizes this exact strategy on Pinterest.
If you’re like us, then maybe you usually post excerpts of your latest blog posts on your social media to drive traffic to those posts (and if you want to learn more about driving traffic to your blog, check out this post). To promote your mailing list, you could show sneak peeks of what you offer to your subscribers, along with a call to action to subscribe to your list. Let's take a look at how Nikki from Paper and Treasure nails this perfectly.
Remember how in our post explaining why you should be using Facebook groups, we talked about how awesome they are at driving traffic to your blog, your social media, landing clients, etc? Well, you could also use the promotional threads to advertise your mailing list. In fact, I’ve seen very few bloggers/business owners do this. Especially if you offer something incredibly valuable to your list (which we’re getting ready to talk more about), why wouldn’t you want to tell a group full of people who are your target audience?
Incentivize your audience to sign up for your list
In the last post of this series, Kendra explained the various types of emails that you can send to your list. But to effectively get people to sign up, it always helps to offer them something that they can use, read, or watch in the meantime until they receive their first email from you. There are many names for this kind of content: opt-ins, lead magnets, content upgrades (they’re all the same, but I prefer to say content upgrades).
To explain it simply, a content upgrade is an “upgrade” or a bonus to the content that is readily available to your audience. For example, in our post about creating a meaningful brand, our content upgrade is a workbook entitled Build Your Brand that helps readers go through the steps to create a meaningful brand identity. With content upgrades, it is always helpful if your upgrade is closely related to your blog post or if it will help your audience do the very thing that they are reading about in your blog post.
Personally, here at Humble and Whole, we strive to post three blogs a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). And we aim for at least one of the three posts to have a content upgrade. There are some bloggers who create a content upgrade for every post. There is no magic number of content upgrades that works best as far as growing your list. You’ll have to consider the content you’re creating and how content upgrades will complement your brand’s goals.
You might be thinking, “Great, something else that I need to make time for!” But content upgrades don’t have to pose a challenge. The key is to make something that doesn’t take too long (no more than 2 hours, hey you’ve already got enough on your hands) and takes no more than ten minutes for your audience to consume. Trust me, you don’t have to (and you shouldn’t) create an 80 page e-book as your content upgrade. Very few of your visitors will actually take the time to digest that. The reason why simpler content upgrades work better is because if you create them so that your audience can immediately make use of it, they will be more apt to share your post and recommend that their peers check out your awesome content.
It’s my hope that this post has provided you with some ideas for how to grow your list. Remember that it takes time to grow your list, and these strategies will help you to do that at a steady pace.