Regular blogging increases your site traffic, adds SEO value, generates leads, helps you build backlinks, and increases your internal linking opportunities. Blogging gives your website visitors a reason to come back to your site and stay on your pages longer.
In addition, blogs are very shareable. It's a great way to increase your exposure on other platforms.
The list is lengthened increasingly. I could sit here all day and talk about the benefits of blogging. This is why I regularly publish so many blogs and have done so for years.
So, for those of you who already have an active blog, this is great news. You are already on the right track.
But now it's time to take your blog to the next level. You can use this part of your website as a lead generation tool. The best way to do this is to create a mailing list.
It doesn't matter what type of website you have; this strategy can be applied. Some of you may have an ecommerce site with a blog as an additional page. Others may have a strictly blogging website. The rest of you are probably somewhere in between.
Whatever your specific situation, you need to use your blog to get email subscribers. Here's why.
Email marketing generates massive ROI. Studies show that marketers on average get a return of $ 44 for every dollar spent on email campaigns. That's a 4400% return!
The people on your email subscriber list will spend more money than your other customers.
Plus, apparently everyone on the planet uses email. Well, at least everyone who lands on your blog pages.
According to Statista, there will be around 5,6 billion active email accounts worldwide by the end of 2019. In the United States, 91% of all internet users have an email account.
Here's something else to consider. 99% of people with an email account check their messages daily. 73% of Millennials say email is their preferred method of business communication.
Simply put, email marketing works.
But before you can benefit from these campaigns, you need to build your list. This is what inspired me to write this guide. I'll show you how to turn your blog into an email signup machine.
Choose an email marketing service
Before you can collect emails, you must be registered with an email marketing service.
You won't send individual messages or bulk emails manually - that's all nonsense. The messaging software allows you to easily collect, manage and contact your subscribers.
In addition, you will get valuable information about the success of your campaigns. Email marketing services will tell you things like:
- Open prices
- Rebound rate
- Spam rate
For those of you who already have email marketing software, you can skip this part; unless of course you want to change supplier. Here are some of the best email marketing options on the market today:
- Constant contact
- Have an answer
There are dozens of other legitimate email marketing services you can consider, but they are all extremely similar.
Pricing is usually based on the number of subscribers you have on your list. As the list grows, so does the price. Do not worry; this is a good thing. You want to have a huge mailing list. Additionally, as we said before, you can expect a high ROI from your email marketing campaigns.
Your choice of email software is based on your personal preferences. You might want to consider a free trial to test navigation, user experience, and features before you finalize your decision.
But for the most part, you really can't go wrong if you choose any of the options I've listed above.
Create a registration form
Now that you have registered for a service, you need to create a registration form to place on your website.
You should definitely have a dedicated landing page on your website for email registrations. But you'll also want to have signup forms on other pages of your site, including your blog's main page and every blog you post.
You can create these forms through your email software. Again, the instructions and wording will vary slightly depending on the service you are using. But it should be very simple and easy to find.
Then just generate a shortcode of the form to embed on your website. You will likely create several, which we will talk about in more detail shortly.
Here's a basic Search Engine Land example of what the final version of these signup forms will look like on your blog.
This screenshot is from the blog home page.
It is very simple. On the right side of the screen, visitors can sign up for their newsletter.
The only information required to join this mailing list is an email address. Short registration forms increase the chances that more people will register.
If your forms require a first name, last name, email address, phone number, zip code, preferred color, and mother's maiden name, you feel like you are on the point to ask for the person's social security number. It's exaggerated.
Think about it. All you really need is their email address.
Other information makes it easier for you to personalize the customer experience, but you can worry about it later by asking them to create a user profile or account. For now, just focus on their subscription.
Search Engine Land continues to apply this strategy on all of its blogs.
This is what it looks like when you click on an individual blog post.
Before the title, they give you another chance to sign up via a simple form. As you can see, it's not quite the same as the first form, but it's very similar.
They don't stop there either. There is also another signup form at the bottom of every blog post.
By putting these acceptance forms all over the blog, it increases the chances of people signing up.
Notice what all of these shapes have in common. None of them are intrusive.
Website visitors can still browse and read without having to deal with pop-ups, sliders, or anything else that can ruin their experience.
Like I said earlier, you'll want to create multiple versions of your signup form so that it's easier for you to keep up with. Eventually, you'll run some tests to see which ones work the best. But I'll talk about these tests later.
Add an incentive
Why should someone sign up to receive emails from you?
It's a good question. Sure, you want their email address so you can monetize them, but what do they actually get in return?
If you don't give people a reason to sign up, they probably won't.
Think about the number of emails you receive on a daily basis. If it's anything like me, you get hundreds of them. In fact, the average office worker receives 121 emails every day!
Not everyone will be so willing to subscribe to all the signup forms they see without thinking twice. But by adding an incentive, it can dramatically improve your odds.
Here's a great example from the Conversion XL blog.
This simple signup form is similar to the examples we've seen before.
However, this one presents the website visitor from a different perspective. Rather than just saying “subscribe to weekly updates” or something like that, they are offering a free eBook.
As you can see, the book is all about mastering conversion optimization. In order to get the free ebook, the person must provide their email address. There is a box below that line stating that the user will also receive email updates.
There are tons of ways to use this strategy on your blog as well.
For example, let's say you operate an e-commerce site. On your blog posts, you can offer a discount code to join a mailing list. Offer a dollar amount or percentage off the visitor's next purchase.
Just think of something that goes beyond “signing up”. Learn how to craft the perfect value proposition and add it to your signup forms.
Use a sticky bar
If you don't want a signup form in the sidebar or in the content itself, like the previous examples we looked at, you can always use a sticky bar as an alternative.
As the user moves through your blog, the sticky bar stays in place at the top of the page.
This is another non-intrusive way to collect email addresses with your blog. Here's an example of how HubSpot uses this strategy.
The "Subscribe" button is located at the top of every blog post.
So it will still be visible when people read the blog. If you click on this button, you will see the following options:
Email subscription is the best option.
Once someone clicks on it, they will receive a registration form similar to the one we saw earlier.
Keep in mind that these extra steps may not generate as many subscribers as the other methods. That said, website visitors who go through this process will be more qualified leads. You know they're interested in receiving emails if they take the extra steps.
Check out my guide on creating a double opt-in landing page to qualify your prospects as well.
This type of sticky bar is just another approach to consider.
Create a visual CTA
Instead of a traditional signup form, you can try creating something a little more inviting to grab attention on your email list.
In this case, a personalized visual image with a CTA should do the trick. You can put this at the top or the bottom of your blog posts.
Here's what it looks like on the IMPACT blog.
Notice how this looks different from the other examples we've looked at so far.
The entire visual is dedicated to obtaining subscribers. It includes a photo, a value proposition, and a CTA button. IMPACT encourages readers to sign up by power in number.
Psychologically, if over 50 people are doing something, it must be good, right? This is the idea behind this strategy.
I also like the way the image shows the newsletter on a mobile device. It's very relevant to the audience. It tells the story of someone who can get updates on their phone which is very handy.
Considering that 61% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, this makes a lot of sense. Overall, this is a creative way to get attention on a blog post mailing list.
Run A / B tests
Every element of the email registration forms on your blog should be tested.
- Character font
Start with one idea, then move on to the next. The idea behind A / B testing is that everything can always be improved. You might think you have the perfect acceptance strategy, but that's not always the case.
Some of you will be surprised to learn that a subtle change can dramatically increase your listing conversion rates.
Let me take a moment to go back to what we discussed earlier in terms of creating multiple opt-in forms. This makes it easier for you to test different elements and variations.
For those of you who plan to take an approach like Search Engine Land and place forms in multiple areas of the blog, you can determine which one performs better. You may ultimately decide that one of them can be eliminated.
Then you can continue to A / B test the most popular forms to make sure they convert at the highest possible rate.
You only get the most out of your blog when you start using it as a tool for building an email list.
The first step in implementing this strategy is choosing email marketing software. Then you will use this software to create signup forms to place on your blog.
From there, it's just a matter of how you're going to present this form to your website visitors. Adding an incentive, using a sticky bar, or creating a visual CTA are just three ways to drive conversions.
You will ultimately want to test all of your strategies to make sure your blog is performing at the highest level possible.