This is part two of my email marketing guide for bloggers. If you missed you part 1, you can read it here. If you’ve read part one then you know that your blog must have a mailing list if you want to hit the big times. For this article, I’m going to show you how to get readers to sign up to your list.
Step 1 – Always Offer a Free Incentive
By far the easiest way to get readers to subscribe to your mailing list is to offer them something of value in exchange for their email address. In my case, I offer my eBook, Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com. This book didn’t cost me anything to produce but it has a high perceived value among the readers visiting my blog. It’s something that they want and they’re willing to give me their email address for it.
Always keep the “What’s in it for me” way of thinking when it comes to capturing leads. Your readers don’t care what’s in it for you when they subscribe to your newsletter. They only care about how it will benefit them. When you offer something that is of an immediate benefit to them, your sign up will increase dramatically. If all you have is a newsletter sign up box, readers have a much harder time gauging the value to give you their information.
The free incentive has been the cornerstone of my list building strategy. I was only getting a handful of leads per day before the eBook. My daily sign ups increased over ten times when I started offering the eBook for free. Offer the right incentive and watch your leads skyrocket.
Step 2 – Use Multiply Ways To Capture The Leads
Most new bloggers make the mistake of having a newsletter sign up box and leaving it at that. Just as running more ads per page can net you more money, having multiple sign up methods can increase the number of leads per day. I employ a total of six sign up opportunities to capture the leads coming to my blog. Combined, they bring in over 200 new sign ups per day to my email list.
If you want to maximize your email marketing ROI, then you need to take every opportunity to present your free offer in front of your readers. Just having a single newsletter sign up box in a highly visible spot is not enough. Here are the six methods I use to bring in over 200 lead captures per day.
The Newsletter Sign Up Box
This is the standard sign up box that everyone is used to. It’s placed at a highly visible spot and above the fold so readers don’t have to scroll to find it.
The box should explain very clearly what you’re offering and how the reader can get it. The location will affect performance greatly. It should be placed at the most visible part of your blog. You can find the ideal placement by using a service like Crazy Egg to find where readers are clicking the most by checking the heat map. Then place the box near that area.
The Lightbox Hover
The Lightbox Hover is a feature of Aweber, my recommended email marketing service provider. The Lightbox is a big sign up window that fades into the blog after a preset time. It’s very in your face and impossible not to notice. Because of its intrusive nature, I only show the Lightbox to first time visitors using a cookie that never expires. Repeat visitors won’t see the Lightbox unless they delete their cookies. The Lightbox Hover is my number 1 source of new email leads.
Adding a Lightbox newsletter sign up box is pretty straight forward. The following screen cast explains how to create one. You’ll need an account with Aweber in order to use it.
The Ultimate Footer Ad
The Ultimate Footer Ad is a script that slides a newsletter sign up box from the bottom of your blog after a present time. Because the ad moves, it’s impossible not to notice it. Sign up rate is not as high as the Aweber Lightbox but it’s also not as intrusive either. I have the footer ad set to show once every ten visits. The frequency is adjustable from all the time to once in a lifetime.
Sign Ups From New Blog Commentators
If a new reader makes a comment on my blog, he will receive the following thank you email with an offer for my free eBook. This is a great source of email leads since a blog commentator is much more likely to sign up for a newsletter than a visitor who never comments.
Hello [Commentator name]
Thank you for commenting on John Chow dot Com. I would like to offer you my free eBook, Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com as a gift for making the comment. To receive the book, simple sign up to my newsletter by clicking the link below.
Thank you and I look forward to reading more comments from you.
The WordPress plugin I used to do this is call the Optin Comments. The plugin works with Aweber and other email providers. Installation is very simple and setup is a breeze.
This is a fantastic way to capture engaged readers of your blog. The readers are extremely receptive to the offer because they’ve just commented on your blog and know who you are. You know the old saying, “Strike when the iron is hot?” Well, it doesn’t get much hotter than someone who’ve just made a comment. This is a must have WordPress plugin.
Sign Ups From RSS Readers
Your blog RSS is another source of email sign ups. If someone is subscribed to your blog RSS, there’s a good chance he may subscribe to your newsletter as well. I use a free WordPress plugin call Feed Footer to send a message about my eBook at the end of each posts in my blog RSS feed. You can make the message as short and simple to as long and detailed as you want. I run the sign up link through my Ninja Affiliate plugin to track the click rate.
Sign Ups From Facebook
Another source of email marketing leads is Facebook. If you have a Facebook Fan page, it’s very simple to add an Aweber sign up box to it. I’ve been really impressed and happy with the sign up rate from my fan page. It’s the second highest converting page after the Lightbox Hover.
To create a lead capture box in your Facebook page, you’ll need an application call Facebook Static FBML that turns your HTML codes into FBML (Facebook Markup Language). What you do is simply add your Aweber opt in code and have Static FBML render it. The end result will be an email newsletter sign up box in your Facebook Page. Here’s a step-by-step video on how to do it.
To increase the performance of your Facebook sign up page, I recommend you made a really good looking sign up box that clearly shows the benefit to the users for signing up and make the sign up page the first page a new user sees. You can select your default landing page in your Fan Page view settings. You won’t have to worry about your fans seeing the sign up box every time they check your page. Fans will get the wall posts as their default landing page. The sign up box is the default landing page for people who are not fans yet.
Why Do I Employ So Many Lead Captures?
At this point you might be wondering why I run so many lead capture methods. The answer is simple. Getting people to sign up for your email is like advertising. You need to put your message in front of them over and over again and in many different channels. Just because a reader doesn’t sign up via your blog sign up box doesn’t mean he won’t sign up when you send him a thank you email for commenting. If all you have is a single newsletter sign up box, you’re leaving a lot of subscribers on the table.
Two thirds my blog’s $40,000 a month income comes from my backend system. At the heart of this system is the mailing list. This is why I try to do everything possible to get readers to sign up to the email list. The money is in the list!
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