How To Make $3,493 Commissions Without Doing Any Selling
The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Mailing List from Your Blog. I often see popular blogs online that are capturing a LOT of traffic from their content marketing but seem to have difficulty converting much more than 1 – 2% of that traffic into subscribers for their mailing list.
In this post, I’m going to show you how you can double, if not triple the amount of subscribers you’re getting to your blog by following a few simple instructions.
Table of Contents
What are your Findings Based on?
The findings I present to you in this blog post are based on 6 case studies I’ve been running recently on my partner’s blogs.
I approached a number of high-profile blog owners and offered to use the software that I co-created (Hybrid Connect) on their own sites to increase their signup conversion rate.
On each site, I have been running split tests and trying new ways of increasing the signup rates.
And as a result of my efforts, I’ve found some commonalities that seem to produce excellent results across the board.
That’s what I’m going to share with you right now.
Step 1. The sidebar opt-in box
The first place to capture names and email addresses is in the sidebar of your content.
Offer something valuable and use a benefit-oriented opt-in box to entice readers to sign up for your list.
Often an ethical bribe such as a free gift can increase conversions – caveat: the gift must be a hot button for your audience.
Giving away something for the sake of giving it away is not a good approach.
I suggest this: Take your ideal customer for your product/service and take some time to understand the number one problem that they’re experiencing.
Your goal is to offer a small and instant solution to this problem.
Beginner’s mistake: more is not better when it comes to free giveaways.
In many cases, more is worse. We tested an opt-in form that used a large book as a graphic and a small report as a graphic.
The small report variation converted nearly twice as many prospects.
If you’re creating an ethical bribe about traffic, then don’t give away a 120-page book with everything there is to know about traffic.
You don’t want to spend two months creating it, and your subscribers will likely not perceive a “free” report as being high value enough to read through such content.
Instead, cover one traffic strategy. Or compile a list of traffic strategies that span no longer than a few pages.
You must wow your audience but haven’t earned their attention yet, so you don’t have long to do it.
Think “short and instant”.
On the right-hand side, you can see an example of an opt-in box that we use on our blog.
Let’s talk numbers.
Statistically, this will convert between 0.5% and 1.5% of your traffic into subscribers, which is not a substantial amount on its own.
Here are the stats from the sidebar you see above:-
The common misconception in blogging is that a sidebar opt-in form is optimal for conversions. It isn’t, as you’re about to find out…
Step 2. Post Footer Opt-in Forms
At the end of each post, I recommend having another opt-in box before your comments section.
Viewers are engaged When they get to this part of your content. This is the perfect time to ask your readers for an opinion.
You have a choice – we’ve had good results asking people simply for updates:-
Or, of course, you can offer the same freebie the same as in the widget:-
Both tend to produce pretty good results. You can expect to convert a slightly better rate of subscribers through the post footer as in the sidebar.
We’ve experienced anything from 1% to 2.5%, and here are the exact figures from one of our case study sites:-
Step 3 – Slide in Bars
Slide-in bars are one of the least intrusive forms of interruption advertising.
Unlike a lightbox where the user has no choice but to interact because they take up the whole screen – the slide-in box will happily sit there on the edge of the screen unobtrusively, allowing your visitor to carry on reading the article.
The great thing about the slide-in bar is that you can use a variety of triggers.
My personal favorite trigger is the scroll – we commonly set the slide-in bars to appear when the reader scrolls 50% down the page.
Your other trigger options are time and, of course, a click on a banner.
You need a catchy headline to get good results with interruption advertising.
A simple “Sign up for more updates” headline will not cut the mustard – you need to think of benefits and make an irresistible offer.
Remember, you are effectively trying to distract the reader from whatever he/she is currently doing on your site in order to make the conversion.
Here is one of the best slide-ins that we have run on our online entrepreneurship blog
This was the highest performing slide in the bar and is currently converting at 2.56%, which is huge – especially given that it is competing against a sidebar and post footer optin box, too.
Step 4. Squeeze Page
A squeeze page gives the visitor two options: sign up to the mailing list or leave. They are popular for lead generation because a well-constructed squeeze page will achieve a conversion rate higher than any other form of lead capture mechanism.
You might be asking why is it important to have a blog in the first place if the squeeze page is so much better at capturing leads.
The answer is that squeeze pages on their own severely limit your traffic options.
It’s close to impossible to rank a squeeze page in search engines, and, in fact, most search engines won’t allow you to use a squeeze page as a landing page for paid traffic.
Blogs allow you to use content marketing strategies to generate traffic.
You can then direct qualified traffic to your squeeze page to capture leads.
One of my favorite strategies for combining your blog with your squeeze page for the best results is to use a slide-in bar at the top of the page that advertises an extreme benefit in just a few words with a call to action.
Here’s an example of one that we’re running on our site at the moment:-
This bar slides in at the top of the screen. When the user clicks on the button, they are taken straight to a squeeze page like this:-
As I mentioned, the great thing about a squeeze page is its impressive conversion rates. Here are the stats for our squeeze page pictured above:-
You can also include banner advertising graphics on your main blog that lead people to your squeeze page.
Notice how both creatives have a clear call to action in the form of a button to increase the click-through rate.
This form of lead generation is quite clever; the idea is not to present the reader with the barrier to entry (entering their name and email address) until they’ve made a small commitment by clicking the banner to express their interest.
This will likely increase conversion rates due to a facet of human psychology called “commitment bias”.
Of course, squeeze pages are also very effective when attempting to capture warm traffic.
A prime example is guest posting and linking back to your squeeze page in the resource box.
This is commitment bias in play again – the visitor has read your post on another blog, witnessed firsthand the value you have to offer, and decided to click your link in the resource box.
A squeeze page is the best form of capturing that traffic into being a subscriber of yours.
Asking for Just the Email Address or Both the Email Address and Name
There have been a number of discussions about the possibility of increasing opt-in conversions by asking the user to input only their email address and not asking for their name. While that may be true (we don’t have any concrete data on this yet), you have to ask yourself a couple of questions:-
- Are the people who can’t be bothered to enter their name the type of people who are likely to buy your products and share your content?
- Are you willing to sacrifice the ability to use personalization in your emails to help improve engagement?
We have the added concern that we can’t sign people up for webinars without their names at a click of a button.
There is no right or wrong answer – but I urge you to decide who your ideal customer is and choose accordingly.
The Mysterious Art of the Exit Popup: Or How to Woo Your Readers Before They Say Goodbye Forever!
Ever felt that pang when someone’s about to leave the party without saying goodbye?
Well, that’s how your blog feels when readers sneak out without so much as a farewell click.
Enter the unsung hero of our digital age: the Exit Popup.
Now, I’m sure you’ve encountered these little rascals.
You’re about to close a tab, and boom, there’s a sudden “Wait! Don’t go!” message.
Effective? Oh, you bet your sweet open rates they are!
Recent statistics show that a well-crafted exit popup can increase conversion by an astounding 10-15%.
That’s like turning 10-15 out of every 100 fleeting visitors into potential lifelong fans (or at least consistent email readers).
Imagine your blog’s heart fluttering every time that happens.
“But why do they work so darn well?” you might ask.
Human psychology, my dear Watson.
Exit popups tap into the age-old fear of missing out.
Nobody likes to walk away from a potential deal or valuable tidbit.
And when presented at the brink of exit, our brains go, “Hey, maybe I should stick around for just a tad bit longer.”
Done right, they’re not just popups.
They’re irresistible little temptations that tantalizingly dance on readers’ screens, beckoning them to stay.
But like all things powerful, wield them wisely.
FAQs: The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Mailing List from Your Blog
- Why should I focus on building a mailing list from my blog?
Blogs are traffic magnets, and a mailing list turns that traffic into a loyal audience. It’s like turning window shoppers into repeat customers.
- How often should I send emails to my mailing list?
Frequency is key. But quality over quantity, always. Once a week or bi-weekly is the sweet spot for many. Avoid flooding inboxes, but ensure you’re not forgotten.
- Are exit popups seen as pushy or aggressive?
When done right, they’re a gentle nudge, not a shove. It’s all in the messaging and timing. Remember, you’re offering value, not spamming.
- Can I customize my exit popups to match my blog’s theme?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s encouraged! Cohesiveness is visually appealing and can increase trust among your readers.
- What should I offer in my exit popup to entice sign-ups?
Ah, the golden question! Exclusive content, e-books, discount codes, or even a simple newsletter preview can be enticing. Know your audience, and offer what they’ll value.
Remember, the world of mailing lists is a vast ocean. With the right strategies, you’ll be sailing smoothly in no time!
Takeaway Points – How to Maximise Subscriptions from your Blog in 4 Steps:
If you want to turn your blog into a list building machine then I recommend you do the following:-
- Create a free giveaway that solves your target market’s pain quickly and easily. Think small and powerful rather than huge and comprehensive.
- Add an opt-in box in the sidebar, footer, as a slide-in, and as a squeeze page.
- Use powerful benefit-driven copy allied with a strong call to action in all your opt-in boxes.
- Iteratively test to improve conversions over time.
Paul McCarthy is a software developer and marketer pursuing his passion for online ventures and travel.
Paul is the product development manager for imimpact.com, where he also shares his insights in posts, podcasts, and videos. Check out this interview where Paul uncovers the details of a successful 6-figure product launch done by a beginner.