The blogging landscape has changed tremendously in the last several years, and anyone who can’t keep up with all the adjustments, risks losing a lot of potential readers. Today’s post is a short action-oriented suggestion for anyone who is trying to build their readership.
Most bloggers try to attract readers to their blog like this:
In this model, bloggers use their email newsletter to get readers over to their blog. The blog post is where you spend most of your time, designing, formatting, etc. Then you either use an RSS driven email notification or a quick newsletter to feature your post and get people to click over.
But in 2016, bloggers need to start reversing the trend. Email marketing is still the best way for any online business – bloggers included – to connect with their audience. My suggestion is to spend AS MUCH time working on your email as you do on your blog post. Turn off auto-RSS notifications as well, since you aren’t able to control the email subject line or the content when they are sent out automatically.
This is the model I suggest…
Rather than seeing your email list as a broadcast channel to your blog, see your blog as a broadcast channel to your email list. This is why so many bloggers have trouble building their email list.
Here are some tips!
1. Spend time working on your email subject line – The email subject line is the single most important part of your email. Getting subscribers is not the hard part. Getting subscribers to open your email is!
2. Consider a plain-text email rather than a formatted HTML newsletter – The open rate on plain-text emails is higher than formatted email newsletters, and for GMAIL, it’s more likely your email will appear in the inbox rather than the promotions folder.
- Hubspot: Plain text vs. HTML newsletters
3. Add alt text to your newsletters if you do decide to do formatted HTML – Many email clients don’t download the formatted HTML newsletter and images, so without the alt-text, they have no idea what the image is. Add alt-text so there is description of the image on the email.
- Mailchimp: Adding alt-text
4. Less is more – Newsletters that highlight a ton of info are overwhelming. Keep your newsletter on one topic and avoid all the extras.
5. Offer “extras” that aren’t included on the blog – Even if it’s just a swipe file, a worksheet bonus, or a personal story, add something extra in the email as a way to say thank you for subscribing. Make your subscribers excited to get your emails.
- Crazy Egg: Using Content Upgrades
6. Create a separate landing page/subscribe page on your blog that has just your email opt-in – You can use this when you are directing traffic from social media advertising. When you use something like Facebook advertising, you should be advertising a freebie download that goes to your “subscribe” landing page. If they go to your blog, there are too many choices to click on.
- Copyblogger: Three email marketing tips
7. Turn off the “public” campaigns option – This is advice for those people in Mailchimp. If you make your newsletters private, you promote the idea of exclusivity. The fear of missing out reminds people that they are able to get more when they opt-in. What’s the purpose of subscribing if they can just access it via a public URL?
- Mailchimp: How to adjust publicity settings
8. A freebie or lead magnet isn’t optional – Without some sort of incentive, building your email list is extremely difficult. You need to offer an e-book, PDF download, worksheet, something. And if that freebie fixes a problem, even better!
- Digital Marketer: 9 Lead Magnet Ideas
9. Consider list-building blog giveaways – King Sumo is a great plugin you can use to offer a giveaway that builds your subscriber base.
- Femtrepreneur: Viral Giveaways
10. Put the whole blog post in your email with a call to action – The snippet of a post in your email is fine if your ultimate goal is views and clicks, but if you have a different call to action…buy a book, respond to a comment, share your post, etc., your first objective needs to be for them to read the post in its entirety! So make it easy on them and include the whole post right in the email.
- Fabulous Blogging: The Most Epic Mailchimp Tutorial Ever
Change your mindset about your email list, and watch your subscriber base and open rate improve!