One of the most profitable things you can do with your blog is build a list of subscribers. The amount of money that you need to spend to build your list is peanuts when compared to how much you can earn with it. Every single blogger I know says they wish they had started building a list sooner.
And it doesn’t matter what niche you’re in! I’ve had a couple of people mention they didn’t see the value in building a list, because they didn’t plan on marketing with email – but even if you’re going to monetize your blog with ads and sponsored posts, you need traffic, right? My traffic is always higher the day I send out an email with a link to my blog. People forget about you unless you remind them your here!
Of course, there are costs involved with creating an email list. You need to have an email autoresponder service – I recommend ConvertKit if you want a service designed for bloggers, or you can go with MailChimp if you prefer to start small. You may decide to invest in LeadPages or Unbounce to create beautiful landing pages.
And of course, in my opinion, you should have your own hosting and URL for your blog. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, and that’s ok – but it’s my sincerely held belief that if you want a professional blog, it should be YOURS, not Google’s.
But when it comes to actually getting people to sign up for your email list, there are a lot of things you can do that are not only cost free, they’re incredibly simple! Here are a few things you can do both on your site and off to promote your list and get more subscribers – and most of them you can do in less than 10 minutes.
Promote Your List on Your Facebook Page
Go to your page, and click on the “Add Call To Action” button. Choose the call to action that you want, and enter the URL of your opt-in page. Pretty easy!
Promote Your List on Twitter
But I also created a couple of different “tweetable” images that are eye catching and promote my opt-in. I tweet them out regularly throughout the week, again with a link to my opt-in page.
One other trick – pin one of those tweets to the top of your feed in Twitter, so any time someone visits your profile page, that’s the first thing they see.
For Pinterest, I did much like I did for Twitter – I actually used the same text in my bio, with the link to my opt-in page. You can also create a great pinnable image that promotes your freebie – Pin it as many times as you can, and get those repins, too!
If you have several giveaways, or a “content locker” that you open for subscribers, you may want to try this Pinterest strategy: When creating a pin for a regular blog post, add “Includes Free XYZ Download” somewhere on the pin. For example, if I write a social media post, I may put this text on my pin “15 Awesome Social Media Tips – Plus, Download Your Free Social Media Checklist!” It will help bring more traffic, AND more subscribers.
Use Comment Redirect
This is an idea I’ve only recently learned about and haven’t yet put it into action on my blog – but I’m very eager to do so! Comment Redirect is a plugin – when someone leaves a comment for the first time, they will be redirected to a page of your choosing. In this case, I’m going to create a “Thank you for commenting, So Opt-in, Maybe?” page. I love the idea of reaching out to first time commenters and letting them know I appreciate them – AND giving them a special invitation to sign up.
Do an Ad Swap
Do you have a blogging buddy in a related niche to yours? Why not do an ad swap? You promote her giveaway to your list, and she promotes yours to her list. It’s a totally free way to get advertising, and because you’ve both built trust with the people on your list, it can be super effective.
Most effective is simply to say something like “If you’ve been feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, my friend Jackie has something you might love – “30 Ways to Find Your Happy Place” is a simple guide to help you find your way back to a more joyful you. Go check it out!”
Tweak Your Current Opt-in Forms
Have you tried putting your sidebar opt-in form in a different place – lower or higher on the page? Or maybe change the colors? If you use an opt-in bar at the top of your page (HelloBar or the one from SumoMe), maybe try changing the text or color. Experiment with different things – see what works.
Create a “Limited Time” Giveaway
Create a special giveaway, and make it only available for a limited time. The idea of scarcity creates more demand, and helps to drive up the sign-up rate.
This works really well if you’ve created a product that you’re going to sell – you can give away the first chapter of an ebook “for a limited time”, or if you’ve created printables to sell, use one as a limited time giveaway… It’s a great idea because not only do you get more people to sign up for your list – they’re going to be more likely to buy the full product now that they’ve seen a part of it.
This peachy little plug-in is another way of targeting new readers of your blog by putting a little text box at the top of your posts the first few times they visit. The full name of the plug-in is “What Would Seth Godin Do“. On my blog, it looks a like this –
It’s only shown to readers the first 2 or 3 visits, and it’s great for making them feel welcome!
Mention Your List A LOT
Whenever you get a chance in your blog posts, mention your list. For example, I may mention in a blog post that I had shared something with my list last week… and then suggest signing up for the list so “you can get information before I share it on the blog!”
It’s also a good idea to have some information that is “list only”. In my last blog post, I wrote about 3 mistakes I made while building my own list. When I actually emailed my list about the new post, I wrote about a fourth mistake that I had made that wasn’t mentioned in the blog post. That serves two purposes – it makes it worthwhile for readers to be on the list because they’re getting info that’s not available on the blog; also, if they find that information valuable, they’re more likely to click through to the post.
Get Your Subscribers to Share Your Emails
It’s a great idea to encourage your current subscribers to forward your email to a friend they think might like it. Include social sharing buttons in your email too – I see mine get shared in social media pretty often.
Promote Your List on YouTube
If you make videos for your blog content, the video description is a kick-ass place to put a description of your freebie with a link to the opt-in page.
Put an Opt-in On your About Me page
Your “About” page is quite likely one of the most popular pages of your blog. People who go there are already interested in you, so make sure you encourage them to sign up for your list while they’re there!
We all know that guest blogging is a great way to attract new readers. Next time you guest blog for someone, create a special welcome and opt-in page to link to from the writer bio in that article. You can go all out here, and create a special giveaway that’s related to the topic of the guest post.
Put Your Emails to Work for You
How many emails do you send out every day? Why not put a link to your opt-in in your email signature? Simple and effective!
It’s super easy with Gmail – Click on the gear on the top right, and go to “Settings”. Scroll down to the “Signature” section – it’s almost at the bottom – and simply write in the text you want to show at the bottom of your emails, and remember to link it up to your opt-in URL!
Use a Pop-Up
I know, I know.. you hate them. We all say we hate pop-ups. But statistics show over and over that they just plain work to get more sign ups than anything else. I use a slider from the bottom right that pops up but doesn’t cover my content, and it gets 3x the number of opt-ins as the form at the bottom of my post. Go figure.
What to do now:
Pick one or two of these methods, and take action on them TODAY. Don’t add them to your list for later, do it now!
Have a friend who’s trying to grow their email list? Be a pal and send them this article! And don’t forget to hit one of those buttons over on the left to share it, too – People who share are the best kind of people.
And of course, if this post helped YOU – put your email address in the form down below so you’ll know when I’ve got more awesome blogging tips up. These are just a few of the super simple list building strategies out there – if you have a great idea, share it in the comments!