Wouldn’t it be nice to have over 200,000 email subscribers for your blog?
One blog that can boast this number is Social Media Examiner, which has recently achieved this milestone. Ever since they started their blog, they have focused on gaining more email subscribers, which has helped them achieve this feat and the number continues to grow quite rapidly.
Benefits of having many subscribers:-
Having 200,000 email subscribers can be highly beneficial in increasing website traffic, as you can send out blog updates asking people to check out posts on your blog. And as Social Media Examiner’s editors post articles six days a week and send out updates every time they post, they can expect massive amounts of traffic every time, even if only a tiny amount of subscribers check the post. All these subscribers have also helped them boost their revenue through newsletter sponsorship, as their founder, Michael Stelzner, has mentioned in this interview. For each newsletter ad, they charge a minimum of $5,000. You can also use your newsletter to build stronger relationships with your audience and eventually convert them into customers.
Seeing this massive amount of subscribers and all the benefits that come along with it makes one wonder what they are doing right and how we too can gain more subscribers. So I’ve studied Social Media Examiner and written this post on how they are generating all those email subscribers and how you can use the same techniques to generate more subscribers for your blog.
Here are the techniques Social Media Examiner are using…
1. Offer a free gift:
The main attraction to a Social Media Examiner subscription is their free Facebook marketing video tutorial. When you subscribe to their blog updates, you get the free tutorial. This works out really well because they created a tutorial on a popular social network. For example, if you have a tutorial on marketing with Tumblr and a tutorial on marketing with Facebook, which one do you think people will want more? It will be the Facebook tutorial, as marketing to its billion users will be more lucrative than marketing to the 96 million Tumblr users.
So just like Social Media Examiner, you should give away a popular gift. Explore what your audience wants most and create a helpful and valuable guide for them.
Another important point you shouldn’t miss out on is that it is a video tutorial. A video tutorial will definitely stand out from the hundreds of guides, white papers, and ebooks (on Facebook) on other websites. Also, it is a quality tutorial recorded by Amy Porterfield, a Facebook expert. This makes users want it even more. So offer the best gift and stuff it with quality information. It doesn’t have to always be a video. Different things will work for different blogs – a guide might be a better attraction than a tutorial for yours.
2. Ask for few details:
On their opt-in form, all you need to do is sign up with your name and email address, and the link to the tutorial along with the password will be emailed to you.
It’s that simple – there’s no need to add other details like company name, address, phone number, etc. Asking for all those details can discourage many people from signing up. So like Social Media Examiner, ask for as few details as possible.
Note: Asking for few details will work best when you want to use your blog subscribers mainly for generating traffic. If you are looking for subscribers who will be more likely to buy your products, you can ask for more details, as this will help you filter out the most serious customers. Another option is to ask for few details initially, and in the future, after you build a good relationship with your subscribers and gain their trust, you can ask for more details.
3. Provide many places to sign up:
You can sign up for Social Media Examiner’s newsletter on almost each and every page of their website. You have an opt-in form on the blog sidebar, about page, Facebook page at the end of every post, on the free updates page, and on the pop-up that appears. In a way, almost each and every page on the website is a landing page which has the potential to attract new subscribers. This really increases the subscriber conversion rate of the blog. Every place the reader visits, there is an opt-in form that creates several quality chances for a sign up. And on these opt-in forms, they usually mention the number of subscribers they already have, which makes it even more persuasive.
So create as many attractive opt-in forms as possible, and place them all over your blog. Other places you could add them are the homepage header and the footer of the site, and don’t be afraid to use pop-ups, as they can really increase the conversion rate of your blogs.
As this study shows, there’s almost no difference in visitor behavior (bounce rate) whether there is a pop-up form or not. Also experiment with different types of forms to see what works best for you. You can also try using a white paper syndication service.
4. Make it your blog’s main aim to get more subscribers:
As I mentioned in the third point, your blog’s main aim should be to get more subscribers. As shown in the previous point, Social Media Examiner does this by making it easy for their visitors to sign up. They also link to their free updates page wherever they can to drive more traffic and to get more people to sign up. Another point to keep in mind is that there are no advertisements on their site.
If you visit their blog right now, you will see advertisements to their own events and other services that they offer only, they don’t lead to other sites. And, anyway, when their blog was first set up, they had no adverts on it. This encouraged users to stay on their site instead of visiting their advertisers’ sites. When people stay longer on your site, they are more likely to convert into subscribers. If they read post after post and find them helpful, then they will want to subscribe to the blog updates to get the latest posts sent to their inbox. They might also want to check out the tutorial. When such great content is in plain view, one wonders what is being gated by an opt-in form, might be better. They might want to get a hold of it, and this will help gain subscribers.
So make it your aim to get more email subscribers – add opt-in forms at various places, create a landing page and drive traffic to it, and get rid of any distractions that can lead visitors away from your blog. This will help you get more subscribers.
5. Send out newsletters and blog updates more often:
Social Media Examiner sends out their blog updates every time they publish a new post on their blog. They publish posts six days a week from Monday to Saturday, so they send out their blog updates on these six days of the week. This is an important point to make note of – you need to send out blog updates or newsletters as frequently as you can. You shouldn’t be afraid to send them out more often.
The fear of losing subscribers discourages people from sending out newsletters more often. But you have to keep three important points in mind. First the more newsletters you send out, the more website traffic you will gain and more people will be reading and sharing your content. This in turn will attract more readers who will convert to email subscribers. So sending out more newsletters will get you more subscribers.
The second point is that losing subscribers shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. It should be a good thing. If you are sharing quality content and people are unsubscribing, you need to keep in mind that these readers are never going to convert into customers, as they are not interested in your work and having them on your list of subscribers, and making sure they receive your blog updates is a waste of your time and money. So losing subscribers isn’t a bad thing, after all. You can now forget about them and focus on gaining subscribers who will be interested in reading your work.
The third point is that if you send newsletters less often, people might not recognize who you are. For example, if someone signed up for your newsletter at the beginning of the month and you are sending your newsletter once a month at the end, then the chances of them recognizing you go down and they might end up unsubscribing from your blog. So you need to keep in touch with your subscribers as often as you can. So try and send out a newsletter every week, or even better, several times a week.
There’s also The Science of Email Marketing study by Dan Zarrella, where it says that websites that send out newsletters more often have a lower un-subscription rate.
So like I mentioned, don’t be afraid to send out newsletters more often. If you are sharing quality information regularly, people will want to stay subscribed to you to get a hold of more of it, as soon as they can.
6. Generate more traffic:
If you generate more traffic, you will naturally get the opportunity to convert more people into subscribers. Like I mentioned in the previous point, Social Media Examiner publishes posts six days a week and then emails blog updates with a link asking people to visit the blog to read the entire post. This, along with the thousands of shares they receive for their posts, is helping them generate a lot of traffic, which in turn is converting into email subscribers. They also have an Alexa Rank of 2,962 at the time of writing this post. It’s also been mentioned on their site that they have 800,000 monthly readers.
Another way to generate more traffic is by inviting guest contributors to write for your blog like Social Media Examiner does, as it helps you attract the writers, fans, and followers, and they become your fans and followers, too. Also, make sure you post and share content at the most effective times of the day because these infographics show that timing can help your content receive more exposure.
So work hard on getting more traffic by publishing posts regularly, sending out newsletters, and getting more people to share your posts.
Also, work on getting more followers because there’s a study by Hubspot that shows that more social media followers leads to more traffic.
Keep subscribers happy:
It’s not just enough if you work on getting more subscribers; you need to work on keeping them happy and preventing them from unsubscribing, too. This way, you will not only gain followers, but you also won’t lose them, thereby increasing your subscriber count. Here are a few tips on keeping them happy.
1. Focus on publishing quality information:
If you visit the Social Media Examiner blog right now, and go through all the posts, you will notice that each one of them is top notch. They are all written with the best information and the best grammar and punctuation. I have written for them and they do follow very strict guidelines. Cindy King and several other editors go through it before Michael Stelzner finalizes it – and they get back to you, and let you know if they would like it changed and if it can be improved. This reduces the chance of errors and makes sure that their posts are of the best quality, which will educate their readers and leave them wanting more.
Quality content will not only get you more subscribers, but it will also discourage others from unsubscribing. So focus on providing quality content and not quantity.
2. Remind them it’s worth it:
In the interview on the Aweber blog, Michael Stelzner mentions that in his newsletter he displays the number of subscribers he has, as it reminds the reader that they have lots of subscribers who regularly read their emails.
This discourages them from unsubscribing because they will feel that if all these readers enjoy reading them, they should, too. Another thing I have noticed is that they also add comments from happy users to every update they send. You will notice them in the right column of their newsletter. This should have the same effect as the numbers displayed.
The number of subscribers and the comments can also encourage people to sign up for the newsletter when the email is forwarded to non-subscribers by a subscriber.
So wherever you can in the newsletter, let your subscribers know that others are enjoying your updates and content.
3. Inform them what they get by subscribing:
One way to discourage un-subscription is by letting people know what they get when they subscribe.
On the various opt-in forms on Social Media Examiner, they ask their readers to sign up for their blog updates and then get the free video tutorial. This lets the readers know that they are to expect blog updates. If the opt-in form only asked readers to sign up for the free tutorial, then when they receive the blog updates, it would come as a complete surprise to them, and they might end up un-subscribing. So let people know what they get when they subscribe–this will discourage them from unsubscribing.
Also, in the welcome email you send them, let them know what they receive for subscribing. You can also send a confirmation email before the welcome email, as it will decrease the number of un-subscribers and reduce spam.
This is how Social Media Examiner gained a massive amount of subscribers who help increase website traffic and help them generate revenue. So implement these techniques and watch your blog subscribers grow.
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