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Woohoo you’ve done it!
You’ve started an email list for your new blog.
And now you’re ready for the magic to happen.
You’re pumped to watch your subscriber count grow like wildfire.
But it’s not happening as you’d imagined.
In fact, it’s hardly happening at all.
Are you pulling your hair out by now?
I know. Growing your email list can be super frustrating at first. Especially if you’re a new blogger.
It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed.
So let’s break it down together.
Take my hand as I walk you through some of the best ways to grow your email list and build an awesome tribe of your very own.
PRIMP & PREP YOUR WEBSITE
You know what they say. First impressions are everything.
So create a good one for your website.
Is your blog inviting and easily navigable? Or is it cluttered and clunky?
Make it a place where your readers will want to hang out. Create an environment that entices your readers to subscribe to your list and chill with you for a bit.
Here’s the thing.
People like an attractive, professional-looking website. It’s true.
We often judge books by their covers. And a website is no different.
So, I suggest selecting a theme that gives your blog a little extra ummph. One that makes it stand out and attract subscribers.
Some of my faves are from StudioPress and Bluchic. I use the Victoria theme from Bluchic and have been in love since day one.
KILL THE ADS
You can start by removing ads that aren’t serving your blog.
I know. This may be something you don’t want to hear.
But if your ads aren’t making you a significant amount of change, I say you ditch them.
If you have too many of them, or if they aren’t related to your content, they may overtake the user experience and make your blog look more like a billboard than anything else.
CONSIDER YOUR SIDEBAR
Is your sidebar overly packed with widgets and offers? Avoid sidetracking your readers with an overload of opt-ins, affiliate links, or promotions.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all super important to the growth of your blog but you want to be strategic here.
Keep it simple for your readers and include only a couple of your most valuable products or offers in your sidebar. This way they aren’t overwhelmed with options, ultimately ditching them all.If you give your readers too many options, they may ultimately choose none.Click To Tweet
CREATE STRATEGIC INCENTIVES
To grow your email list, you NEED an incentive.
An incentive (or an opt-in, lead magnet, or freebie) is something of value that you offer to your readers for free, in exchange for their email address.
Ideally, you’ll have multiple incentives for your blog. One for each category that your blog speaks to. That way you’re attracting readers interested in the various topics you blog about.
Put some good thought into creating your incentive. It should align with your blog strategy and ultimately lead your reader toward your end product or service.
Here’s how to go about creating the perfect incentive.
DETERMINE WHAT YOUR READERS NEED
Get your detective work on, girlfriend!
Research your niche and find out what your audience needs help with.
Here’s how you can start:
- Scope out your Facebook Groups. Pay attention to problems and frustrations of others in the group.
- Check out comments on other blogs within your niche.
- Poll your current subscribers. They’ll be happy to share their woes with you! =)
Maybe you promise to solve an urgent problem or provide direction to achieving a specific goal. (I’m a total sucker for anything that promises to get me from point A to point B as quickly as possible!)
Whatever it is, you want to create something that your audience feels like they MUST have.
Need a little inspiration to get started?
Check out my FREE course, The Irresistible Freebie, to help you determine the best freebie to offer for growing your email list.
Once you’ve nailed down an idea for your incentive, you can then determine which format you want to use to deliver it to your readers.
Some of the more popular formats are checklists, cheatsheets, guides, ecourses, webinars, and consultations.
But hey, feel free to create whatever your little heart desires!
Get nosey and poke around within your niche to see what your fellow bloggers are offering as incentives.
CREATE OPT-IN FORMS AND PUT THEM EVERYWHERE
Your readers will use these forms to subscribe to your email list.
I create mine by using OptinMonster and the forms that come with my email service provider, ConvertKit.
Both are great but OptinMonster allows for much more customization, which is always cool.
Create various opt-in forms promoting your incentive and place them all over your website. Like, everywhere.
The more your readers see your opt-in, the more likely they’ll check out your incentive.
Shocker, I know!
Here are my go-to spots to advertise incentives on my site.
THE POP UP
Some people hate it and others swear by it. I use a pop up opt-in because it converts well for me.
There are a few different types of pop ups from which to choose. Try them out and see what vibes best with your readers.
Here are a few options you can go with:
Timed Pop Up
Appears once your reader has been on your website for a certain period of time.
Here’s a shot of my pop up that appears about 10 seconds into a visit on my blog.
Exit Pop Up
Appears when your reader makes her move to leave your website.
It’s pretty awesome actually. I’ve been sucked into one of these a time or two myself.
Here’s what you’ll see when you head toward the door at OptinMonster. A little guilt trip but it works!
Scrolling Pop Up
A less intrusive way to offer up your incentive. A little form pops in toward the bottom of your screen as your reader scrolls through your site.
Here’s how Caitlin at And Possibly Dinosaurs does it. Nice and simple down in the bottom right corner.
YOUR BLOG POSTS
Add your incentives within and at the bottom of your blog posts. Both are great ways to capture your reader’s interest while they’re already engaged on your website.
Offer a little bonus within your post.
A content upgrade is a highly specific incentive related to your blog post.
It can be something super simple like a checklist or summary of what they’re reading. Really, anything that offers additional value to entice your readers to snatch it up right then and there.
Here’s how Elna at TwinsMommy does it in one of her posts.
END OF POST
Close out your blog post with either a content upgrade or another incentive you’re offering.
Once your reader has had the pleasure of enjoying one of your amazing posts, give her the opportunity to check out your incentive.
Here’s an example of how Melyssa does it at melyssagriffin. This colorful, eye-catching opt-in draws your attention immediately after you’ve finished reading her blog post.
If one thing is gonna get your readers’ attention, it’s the welcome gate.
They really have no choice but to look it straight in the face. And they’re forced to make a choice about what they want to do.
They’re either so enticed by your killer incentive that they join your blog, or they move on (selecting the option to read through your beautiful blog posts.)
Below is how Mariah at Femtrepreneur immediately captures her readers’ attention.
This little dity is super simple but it still gets the job done.
It’s another great way to collect email addresses without being too in-your-face.
I’ve used the Hello Bar for a few of my freebies and they’ve converted really well. Totally worth looking into.
Here’s how Krista at BlogBeautifully uses a top bar on her site.
CREATE LANDING PAGES
Each of your incentives should have their very own landing page.
A landing page is a dedicated page to promote your email list. And that’s it.
The key to a great landing page is creating one possible action for your readers – to sign up for your incentive.
There are no blog posts, no banners, and there is no navigation menu. Nothing, nada.
It’s strictly for chatting up your fancy shmancy incentive. And that’s why a great landing page converts readers into subscribers so well.
Ideally your landing page will consist only of the following items:
- A catchy headline that speaks to the specific need of your reader.
- A rundown of exactly what your reader can expect to get from your incentive. What will they learn, what outcome will they achieve?
- A call to action for your reader. Tell them what to do!
A simple ‘Download your Free Checklist’ can be a perfect nudge your audience needs to grab your offer.
- An image of your incentive is uber helpful for enticing that new subscriber. So give them a sneak peek of what they’ll get.
I create a landing page for all of my incentives. Below is the page that I use to promote my free course, The Irresistible Freebie.
I easily whip these up using my email service provider, ConvertKit. They’re super convenient to design using ConvertKit’s prepared templates which I simply pop right into my website.
Easy peasy, especially if you and technology aren’t best buds.
PROMOTE YOUR LIST
Once you’ve rocked your incentive and you’ve prepared your beautiful opt-in forms and landing pages, it’s time to promote that baby. And there are many effective ways to get it done.
Let’s check ’em out.
Some of THE best places to promote your blog posts are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It can seem a little awkward promoting yourself at first.
Or, maybe that was just me. Who knows.
But after you’ve done it for a while it becomes easier and feels more natural. You’ll be pro status in no time.
I have to admit, I was a bit resistant to Twitter at first.
I wasn’t sure it was worth the time and effort to share on this platform.
But then I learned about the Twitter card.
Check out the below Twitter card that Eden created and tweeted about her blog post.
It includes a nice, large image and helps this tweet from her website stand out in a busy newsfeed.
Girl, you should set up Twitter cards. And here’s why.
Twitter cards allow you to go beyond the character limit AND you can attach photos and videos to your tweets. They help your tweets stand out in a sea of a million other tweets, making them perfect for promoting your incentives and increasing conversions.
The best part? Your followers can visit your landing page and sign up to your email list without even leaving Twitter.
Whaaa? Yeah, I know.
Convenience is key. If people can snag your incentive and join your tribe with minimal effort, that’s half the battle won.
If you’re a WordPress user, check out this article on Twitter Card setup with the Yoast plugin. I’m SO not techie, so this article was super helpful.
But of course Pinterest!
Create a few gorgeous, vertical pins for your incentives.
Be sure to link your pin to your incentive’s landing page so people can sign up to your list.
And I’d highly recommend including an image of your incentive on your pin. I’m always much more likely to click on the pin that shows me a mockup of what I might get in exchange for my email address.
Definitely worth the extra step.
Here’s are a couple examples of pins I’ve created to send readers directly to my landing pages.
Nice and long, with a call-to-action, and an image to give a little preview of what’s to come.
Pin to your boards and group boards.
Join a dozen quality group boards to give your incentive promotion a boost.
You can find a list of some of my favorite group boards in my Resource Collection and also check out my own group board, Ladies Blog For Business.
Get yourself set up in a few good Facebook groups.
I’ve got a list of awesome groups you’ll find in my Resource Collection and I have a group of my own, Ladies Blog For Business, you can check out. I’d love to see you there. =)
Once you’ve joined a handful of groups, take note of when their promo days are. Many groups have designated days for when you can share your own content. Be sure you follow the rules to avoid getting the boot.
You can share your incentive in Facebook groups many different ways, depending on what the promotion thread allows.
Some popular ways to promote within Facebook groups are to share:
- the link to your blog post (with a few opt-in forms for your incentive sprinkled throughout)
- the link to the landing page for your incentive
- a pin for your incentive
- a tweet for your incentive
- a Facebook post for your incentive
Simply draft up a couple of sentences describing your blog post or incentive, and include your link, pin, or tweet.
MAKE POSTS EASILY SHAREABLE
I can’t even stress this point enough.
If your readers can’t easily share your blog post in a matter of seconds, they likely won’t share it.
And all of those amazingly designed opt-in forms will go unseen by thousands of people.
SOCIAL SHARE BUTTONS
Do everyone a favor and add some nice, bold social share buttons to every post and page on your website.
I do this effortlessly with Social Warfare. I simply downloaded the WordPress plugin and configured my display settings.
This is how they show up on my blog posts.
I also love that Social Warfare makes it possible for me to customize which pin I want repinned, which tweet I want retweeted, and which Facebook post I want shared, for each blog post.
It’s kinda cool to have that control over how your content is shared.
CLICK TO TWEET
You can also promote your content by using click to tweets in your posts.
Include a punchy blurb about your blog post or incentive in a click-to-tweet and stick it in a relevant spot in your blog post.
Here’s how Raelynn has included these pretty little boxes on her website.
Her readers can simply click on this click-to-tweet box and share her prepopulated tweet with little effort.
You can also check out Raelynn’s post to see just how effective these little click-to-tweets can be for sharing your content.
ASK YOUR TRIBE TO SHARE
Don’t be shy! Ask your loyal fans to share your content.
Your weekly or bi-weekly emails to your subscribers are the perfect opportunity to do this.
Let your tribe know that you’d love it if they shared your content by simply clicking a share button or link in your email.
They’re almost always happy to share a piece of your helpful content.
Here’s an example of how I asked my awesome subscribers to share my SEO Guide.
Nothing fancy. Just a friendly request. And results were a slight surge in opt-ins for my guide over the following couple of days.
It never hurts to ask!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Create different incentives, experiment with a variety of forms, and see what works best for you and your readers.
You’ll notice some incentives resonate better and some forms convert more.
It’s all about knowing your audience and responding to their needs.
It may take a few tries before you get a solid strategy under your belt but you’ll get there!
Now get to growing that awesome list of yours, girl!
Feel like sharing?
I’d be over the moon if you took a few seconds to give this post a little virtual love.
Here’s how you can do it:
– Pin it!
– Share it to your favorite Facebook group!
– Tweet it!
– Stumble it!
Simply click one of the little buttons below, and voila!
Related posts to read:
How To Start an Email List For Beginner Bloggers
How To Make Money Blogging As A New Blogger
How To Start a New Blog For Beginners (2018 Edition)