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Email Marketing Guide for Bloggers – How To Capture The Email Leads

written by John Chow on August 16, 2009

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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.

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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

FirefoxScreenSnapz002This 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.

Ultimate Footer Ad

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.

John Chow

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

Facebook Sign Up Box

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.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

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!

“The Money Is In The List



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{ 40 comments }

Andrew - We Build Your Blog August 16, 2009 at 11:44 pm

John,

I do like the ‘optin comments’ method – that’s new to me and will try it. I also add a graphic banner at the end of my blog posts telling visitors about my optin – perhaps I should test putting an actual opt-in box rather than a banner.

Andrew

Een Rockstar August 17, 2009 at 5:01 am

me too..this is the first time i heard about the optin comments method. RIght now I’m using three kind of methods which is newsletter sign up box, light box and facebook.. I got 30 subscriber for the 1st three day since I use autoresponder. This is my 2nd week I use AWeber.

Ryan Burns - Extra Side of Bacon August 17, 2009 at 7:53 am

I’ve Got to say that I’m not a fan of the opt in comment idea. I am already on John’s list and the other day when I went to leave my first comment I was like, “why is he trying to sign me up again just because I left a comment.” That said, I also know it is a percentage game and that it is probably worth it in the end if your trying to build a list. I just wonder at what point user experience is more important than conversion…

Kevin Pasco August 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Right on John! I’m doing most of this stuff but some of is definitely new to me. Great article, cant wait to see part 3 of the series.

Jeremy Blake August 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Awesome article. Really helps me out with what I’m trying to do with one of my niche blogs that I’m pwning with right now.

Cheers

Doug Dillard August 17, 2009 at 1:06 am

I was wondering if you were using the Aweber Lightbox Hover method, as I have never seen it on your site. Now I am thinking that I did once, but never again :)

I am definitely going to add some of these methods to my opt-in subscription campaign asap. Thanks John!

Michael Mindes August 17, 2009 at 9:55 am

Just delete your cookies if you want to see it again! :)

Benjamin Cip August 17, 2009 at 1:40 am

Great article, I am thinking about using AWeber soon, but I need to finish my free report befor using it. I didn’t know about crazyegg and some of the other things you mentioned. I found your post very informative even thought I already knew the method… Maybe I’ve learnt it from you blog before?

Best CSS Gallery August 17, 2009 at 2:03 am

Awesome guide, can’t wait to see part 3!

Greg Ellison August 17, 2009 at 3:47 am

That was good part 2 of the series. Is there going to be more installments John? I have around 5 different ways for someone to sign up to my email newsletter. Thanks for sharing you secrets with us. Greg Ellison

Kinderfahrzeuge August 17, 2009 at 4:38 am

interesting approach to put the email capture in front of different audiences and customize the form for it.

Anyone having an idea on how to change the prefilled form (like “your email goes here”) from prefilled text to blank when you click in there?
Any advice is much appreciated.
G

Helena Ritchie August 17, 2009 at 5:21 am

Thanks for these tips! I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out what other methods to try besides the signup box, so your post was exactly what I needed this morning.

Igor Helps You Succeed August 17, 2009 at 5:39 am

Great article, John.

Thanks for introducing me to all those cool wordpress tools.

Igor

Gold Coins Blog August 17, 2009 at 5:47 am

The money is always in the email list.

EarningStep August 17, 2009 at 6:39 am

damn it , this is the best tips i ever read in your blog , it just complete and easy to follow , thanks for this great tips ( actually this tips worth to hundred of dollars if you want to sell it , right john ? )

John Pope August 17, 2009 at 6:56 am

What I want to ask you John is how long did it took you to get to this methods on your website? Did you applied them from scratch or come with those conclusions much later in time.

I’m asking that because my blog it at beginning and I don’t think it’s a good idea to annoy the few users I have before I really start :) What do you think?

John Chow August 17, 2009 at 8:30 am

It took quite a while. I’m always trying new things to improve sign up. For example, the RSS sign up was very recent and I didn’t discover the lightbox until about six months ago. I’m sure I’ll be using other methods next year.

Walmart Coupons August 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

You have a lot of traffic, so this is possible for you.

John, I have noticed that you removed top commentor widget. Is there any reason for that?

John Chow August 17, 2009 at 9:38 am

It was overloading the database. I’m looking for another solution. It will be back soon.

Michael Mindes August 17, 2009 at 9:57 am

Sure. Right after I was likely to become a top commentator!

The dofollow link would have been nice, but I still do enjoy making pertinent comments on your posts.

Earningstep August 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm

even this blog don’t have top commentator feature , i will keep reading the post from john , it really worth than being top commentator ( even i was one of them , LOL )

Michael Mindes August 17, 2009 at 9:59 am

Does anybody know if the opt-in comments plugin works with Disqus? I imagine it is more difficult to get to work because people are not necessarily signing in with their email address?

John Chow August 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Optin Comments is a WordPress plugin as far as I know.

fas August 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Those are alot of ways to capture leeds, good stuff.

Earningstep August 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm

but this is the best tips that you may ever found

hospitalera August 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Excellent round up! I am working on implementing email lists in my blog, just brain storming a good, unique freebie. SY

hospitalera August 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

For got to mention, instead of Crazy Egg I have used http://www.phpmyvisites.us/ in the past, it is free ;-) SY

needmoney.com August 17, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Some seriously useful tips here. Will investigate the FBML bit.

aansa August 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Optin Comments to me seems to be a bit too much :)

Michael Mindes August 19, 2009 at 9:46 am

If you have a commentator, then you already have the hook in their mouth.

I suppose there is no reason not to pull and set the hook. The effect overtime is likely to be significant.

tantan August 18, 2009 at 10:50 am

Really useful tips :) I’m currently using The Lightbox Hover now.

Donny Gamble August 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

This should be your #1 objective when starting a blog to collect the visitors name and email address. Most bloggers seem to miss this and only use their RSS feed to stay in contact with their blog readers, big mistake

Erika Marie August 19, 2009 at 5:38 am

Great information. I signed up with Aweber just about a week ago.

yamanote August 19, 2009 at 6:49 am

John, Do you think using Page Peel, Lighbox, and Footer would be overkill?

Michael Mindes August 19, 2009 at 9:41 am

Any missed opportunity to present your signup from can mean lost subscribers.

currently I have a signup at the end of all my posts, in the sidebar, and in the middle of my specific offer page.

ranjali August 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

this site is one of the best site for providing the complete layout for the software develpoment. i have visited the site for the first time and is impressed by it.

It Solution

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog August 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Yes this is the option while will keep working if you lost web 2.0 and thousands of your followers.

This email list will keep providing you good traffic and conversion.

Michael Craig August 25, 2009 at 9:06 am

Thank you for your valuable advice to seize the “Email Leads …” :-)

Top Dog August 29, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Hi John, I have changed my opt-in to lighterbox and my opt-ins have doubled per day because of it.

Great post BTW. I am going to install the optin comment as well.

Vance Sova August 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Hi John,

I had no idea that putting an opt in box in so many places works. Usually I see it in one spot or two at most. But I’m still very new at this and I put an opt in box on my blog just about 2 weeks ago.

I love Aweber and I’m still learning more about it. I didn’t know about the lightbox so I’ll be going there to check it out.

I’m glad I found your blog. The information you give here is exactly what I was looking for.

Vance.