by Nathalie Lussier
Your blog shouldn’t just be another “to-do item” on the long list of tasks that make up your business. Instead, your blog should be an asset that builds your business by attracting new customers and building your email list.
Think of your blog as an investment—every tweak and every new blog post will go to work for you. You do the work once, and you’ll keep reaping the rewards day after day.
You’ll know you’re on the right track when you see the number of new email subscribers climbing every day.
1. Create targeted opt-in offers for four most popular blog categories
For each of the main categories in your blog, create a targeted opt-in offer. This opt-in offer should consist of relevant, evergreen information that enhances the journey of your blog reader.
For example, a photography business might have a blog that focuses on the technical side of cameras and how to use Photoshop. In this case, a great opt-in offer would be a “Quick & Easy Guide to Learning Photoshop” or “10 Criteria to Consider When Buying a New Camera.”
If you’re not sure where to start to create a compelling opt-in offer, take a look at your most popular blog posts for inspiration. Chances are, your numbers will tell the story of what people really want.
2. Test a popup box
Popup boxes are incredibly successful when it comes to converting leads and building an email list. They can be programmed to catch incoming visitors or those who are just getting ready to leave, which is my favorite “polite” way to ask for an opt-in.
Not all popups work alike. A popup with poor programming and design can look extremely spammy and even hinder conversion. If your current popup doesn’t seem to be converting, try a more “polite” popup, like PopupAlly Pro, designed to create a positive experience for your visitors.
Your popup box should be branded seamlessly to ensure that your phenomenal opt-in offer isn’t overlooked.
3. Add a click-to-Tweet quote
The fundamental purpose of a blog should be to add value to your readers. Many great blogs are not shared by readers over social media simply because it’s too inconvenient—perhaps the social share icons are only located at the top or bottom, or sharing would require a copy/paste of the link. (Let’s face it, we’re all busy web surfers.)
A simple solution is to add a “click-to-Tweet” quote within your text. There are two ways to do this:
- By adding a simple line of code, you can create an easily shared visual box, using this free click-To-Tweet Wordpress plugin
- By creating a unique link at ClickToTweet.com, then embedding it within the text like a regular link.
This is an easy way to encourage your readers to share the pointed one-liners that you’ve interspersed throughout your article.
4. Host a webinar on your blog
A webinar is a fabulous way to bring excitement to your blog followers and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
It can be challenging to find the right software to host this webinar, since the free ones can be frustrating and the expensive ones are, well, expensive.
With a little digging and research, you can find a great piece of software, WebinarAlly, that is affordable, puts no limit on the number of guests who can attend, and will enable you to run a successful webinar.
5. Create a content upgrade for your best post
If you find that one of your blog posts is generating a lot of attention, consider creating an upgraded form of the content.
For example, you could revise the content slightly and turn it into an e-book—a great opt-in incentive. Or you could create a video series or a webinar to promote the content in different medium.
If you find that this strategy works for you, consider creating content upgrades as a regular part of your blog marketing approach.
6. Use a reverse opt-in giveaway
Don’t be afraid to depart from the established route when it comes to your strategy for converting online leads. For certain situations, I like to use the reverse opt-in. Instead of requiring an email before downloading a resource, the reverse opt-in method promotes ungated access to the offer, and then presents an opt-in form.
In many circumstances, the reverse opt-in can be icing on the cake to establishing trust with a new contact—or it can be a key piece that goes viral via social shares. For optimal effect, use retargeting ads to go after those who don’t convert after downloading the offer.
7. Invite guest posters to share their content
When guest posters share their content from your blog, you get free exposure to their entire social media following.
This should be a no-brainer, but many guest posters are simply too busy to put thought into promoting their article, or they might expect you to be doing all of the marketing for them. Often, I find it only takes a simple reminder of “Hey, feel free to share this article with your followers!” to get a stellar response.
8. Hold a blog carnival
A super fun and unique way to increase traffic and leads on your website is by hosting a blog carnival. In this collaborative effort, you would decide on the carnival “theme” or topic, then reach out to your fellow bloggers.
Each blogger who participates commits to writing an article about the specified topic, and everyone links back to the main blog on the hosting site—if you coordinate the carnival, this would be your site.
You receive links and visitors from their readers and vice versa.
9. Run ads to your best content
If the best-performing piece of content on your website is that blog post you wrote last month, don’t be afraid to run ads to that piece. After all, it’s connecting with your audience.
Although conversion rates aren’t as high on blogs, your polite popup can catch a lot of traffic. You can be confident knowing you’ve given your visitors solid, helpful material that they were searching for—and you might even end up with slightly more qualified leads for your email list this way.
10. Have pinnable images and ask for shares
Never be afraid to ask for social shares from your readers—just be sure to do it in a friendly manner. A simple “Pin It!” button (and the corresponding code), for example, can be all the invitation many readers need to share your blog article with their own social community.
Chances are, your readers who are willing to share content are probably able to reach other ideal clients who would love to opt-in to your email list.
There are some very simple programming tools that can make it easy for others to share your content. This includes designing various images for your blogs that will show up well on social media platforms. Header images that pull well on Facebook or Twitter, for example, can get lost in the Pinterest crowd, so it’s always a good idea to add vertical as well as horizontal graphics in your posts.
11. Add opt-in boxes in prominent places
Don’t make your visitors search forever to find a way to connect with you. If visitors have to dig around for a way to opt-in to your email list, you’ve probably lost them.
Add opt-in boxes to prominent places such as the sidebar or bottom of the blog page, as well as in your popup.
Include a pointed statement that gives them a reason why they should opt-in, as well as a very brief description of what they should expect if they do.
Example: Get free weekly updates on Zookeeping delivered straight to your inbox!
What are you waiting for?
There are so many incredible ways to use your blog as a tool to quickly grow your email list. The important thing is to be bold and unafraid when it comes to showcasing your products and services to your online visitors.
Nathalie Lussier and the team at AmbitionAlly are out to build intuitive software solutions for ambitious business owners just like you.