It seems that just a few years ago, people were claiming that email was dead. There was a huge shift towards social media and everyone was talking about how to get more followers.
As it stands today though, your email list is likely to be a lot more engaged than your social media following.
Facebook is making it increasingly more difficult for people to see your posts and Twitter is getting just as noisy too. Recent stats suggest that each tweet you send may be seen by less than 3% of your followers. Compare that to a typical email open rate between 15% – 30% according to MailChimp stats. I’ve experienced even higher.
As you can see, email is alive and well, and building an email list is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.
In this article, I’m going to share 7 effective ways to do just that.
Without a doubt, the most effective way to grow your email list is to guest post on popular blogs within your industry.
If you’re just starting out, don’t make the mistake of writing all kinds of great content for your own blog. More likely than not, it won’t be seen by anybody. Instead, try writing some epic content on someone else’s blog and lead them back to your own.
Finding Guest Posting Opportunities
Most blogs make it pretty obvious whether or not they allow guest posting. The ones that are actively seeking people for guest posting typically have a “write for us” link in their footer, or something similar. To find blogs that you can pitch to, try the following search strings in Google.
- [Your Topic] + “Write for us”
- [Your Topic] + “Guest Post”
- [Your Topic] + “Contribute”
- [Your Topic] + “Become an author”
Pitching & Outreach
Now that you found some blogs you can reach out to, you must have a solid pitch. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Let them know what you plan to write about
- Make sure your content will be a great fit for their audience
- Include great writing samples
In addition, each blog will typically have their own set of requirements so it’s important to carefully read through their guidelines before pitching or submitting your article.
The more guest posts you have under your belt, the easier it becomes to leverage those into bigger and bigger opportunities. Start small and work your way up.
Include a Free Gift Upon Signup
Now that you have some inbound traffic from guest posts, it’s time to take advantage. You can do so by making it very enticing to sign up for your list.
If you had to choose between the two, which list would you sign up for:
#1: Sign Up for my mailing list.
#2: Sign Up for my mailing list and I’ll send you a free 10 point checklist on how to make your next post go viral.
No brainer right?
When Andrew Youderian from eCommerceFuel first started his blog, he gave away (and still does) a 55 page guide on how to build a profitable online store. That’s an insane amount of value for just an email address. How can you pass that up?
Install a List Building Plugin
Even though your readers might really like your content, they might forget about you after leaving your site. A list building plugin is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening.
In fact, this was one of the biggest issues we had on our blog at BootstrapBay. We had tons of people finding our posts through Google search but we had no way of getting them back once they left. To rectify this problem, we installed the Scroll Box app that is part of the SumoMe plugin suite.
The scroll box is a great way to ask for emails in a non-intrusive way. What I love is the ability to customize the exact point in which the scroll box appears. If someone is reaching the end of your post, chances are they like it. This is probably a great time to ask for someone’s email.
If you want to be more aggressive, you can use a pop-up instead, also included in the Sumo-Me suite. There’s no doubt that a pop-up can convert higher than a scroll box, it just depends how aggressive you want to be with your list building.
Try to find that sweet spot where you’re collecting a good amount emails without annoying your readers.
Add a Content Upgrade
A content upgrade is something you add-on to a specific blog post in exchange for an email.
For example, let’s say you were writing a post on your top 10 post-workout smoothie recipes. At the end of the post, you could offer a free PDF download with all the recipes. If people enjoyed the post, I’m sure quite a few of them would want the PDF and would be happy to provide an email address in return.
Putting together a great content upgrade can be an extremely effective way of building your email list. Brian Dean from Backlinko was able to increase his conversion rates by 529% by implementing content upgrades across his blog.
The best part about this technique is that it doesn’t take up a lot of time. In the case of a checklist, you already have the content ready to go. It’s just a matter of condensing it and converting it to a different format.
Turn Your Homepage Into a Landing Page
If the primary purpose of your website is to blog, then you should seriously consider turning your homepage into a landing page.
Here’s the thing…
It’s pretty common for the homepage of most blogs to show the most recent blog post. What happens when someone lands on your site and doesn’t care about the latest post on your blog? Chances are, they’re going to leave and you might never see them again.
Instead, try using your homepage to give readers a preview of what they’ll get out of subscribing to your blog and the topics that you cover. That way, you don’t need to sell them on your latest post, you’re selling them on a whole range of topics and potentially getting an email in return.
A great example of this format is Noah Kagan’s blog at OkDork.com. Instead of seeing his latest post, you’re immediately met with an opt-in form and he quickly outlines what you’ll get by signing up and why you should trust him. Then, he also gives you the option to start reading the blog (hopefully after you’ve signed up).
I like this format so much that I’ve done something similar on my own site at ChrisGimmer.com.
Write Great Content
You might think your content is great, but it needs to be really great.
According to WordPress.com, there are 64.8 million new posts every… single… month. With so much content out there, you need to be on top of your game. The 500 word filler posts are simply not going to cut it.
After studying a lot of posts, I’ve noticed commonalities with the content that does really well.
- The content is actionable
- The content is data driven and based on real life examples
- The author is authentic
Try incorporating these points when writing your next post.
Another way to come up with great content is to utilize the SkyScraper technique. Basically, you find content that has already done well and make it even better. Using this technique, I was able to generate over 17,000 visits to my post in 1 day. You can check out this post for the exact process I used.
Promote Your Content
Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to write great content. You also need to promote it instead of publishing and praying.
The easiest but less sure-fire way is to syndicate your content across targeted channels. For example, if you’re in the marketing world, there are communites like Inboud.org, GrowthHackers.com and several different sub Reddits.
If your content is really top-notch, there’s a good chance it will get up-voted and could bring you more email subscribers. However, there’s always the risk that you don’t get that early run-up and you’re left in the dust. Also, too much self promotion is generally frowned upon and discouraged in a lot of these communities so tread lightly.
The harder, but often more effective way of promoting your content is to reach out to influencers. Influencers have very loyal followings so if they endorse your content, it’s a lot more likely to get read and go places.
Alex at Groove did a fantastic job detailing exactly how he rounded up a list of insanely influential people to share his post and to join his list. This strategy led to 1,000 subscribers from a single blog post.
Building an email list is a lot of hard work and it takes time. However, following these 7 techniques is a surefire way to increase your conversion rates and facilitate the list building process.
Remember that the best time to start building an email list is now!