There’s a saying in marketing that it costs ten times as much to attract a new customer as to keep hold of an existing one.
I think the same applies to web traffic – attracting new readers to your blog can be really hard – but persuading someone who loves one of your posts to read more posts should be easier.
One of the best ways to convert visitors into regular readers is to use an email newsletter – after all, a link can be easily overlooked on Twitter or fail to reach anyone much on Facebook – but most of us still at least glance at our emails.
There are three really great reasons to create an email newsletter for your blog:
- It’s a great way of encouraging people to come BACK to your site regularly
- It builds a community around your site, which will help to increase engagement
- Brands LOVE blogs with mailing lists as it’s a new way for them to reach potential customers
So, how do you do it?
The good news is that it’s dead simple – there are WordPress plug-ins that you can use to make a newsletter, OR you can use a third party tool like Mailchimp or Constant Contact which charge a small fee, but give you access to smart scheduling and design tools, and can link in with your social media channels to help make your content more ‘shareable’.
Once you’ve chosen a platform you’ll need to think about what content you’ll include – every post? a summary of every post? Or one or two hand-picked items representing your very best stuff?
Whatever software you choose, you’ll need to add a sign-up box to your blog where people can enter their email address to subscribe to your newsletter. The box can be in your sidebar, at the bottom of each post, or as a pop-up window whenever a new visitor lands on your site (this might be very effective, but my personal view is that it’s simply annoying and most people will click to close a pop-up without really reading it).
Here are some tips for getting people to sign up to your email list:
- Say a bit more than “sign up for my newsletter” – what’s the value? Are they “sign up here for monthly shopping tips” or is it “get new makeovers in your inbox”?
- If you use a pop-up subscription window, think about the design. A box with an attractive, bright image will encourage more clicks than something that’s just text-based. You can also customise who sees the box and when – for example, consider showing the box to new readers, and only after they’ve lingered on the site long enough to be hooked!
- Make it easy for people to sign up – and to opt out. Legally, you need to offer a link in every communication allowing people to unsubscribe from your newsletter. Test the process to make sure it’s idiot-proof before rolling it out to your readers.
- Think about offering a freebie in exchange for people to sign up. Perhaps you have an eBook you can share, or a discount code on buying something?
- Promote your list everywhere – add the link to your website, and to your email signature. Consider adding it to your Twitter bio, and your Instagram page (this works especially well if you’re offering a freebie)
- Use a tab on your Facebook page. Facebook can be challenging for bloggers wanting to reach new readers, but creating a tab where users can sign up to your newsletter is pretty easy – you can use a third party tool such as Woobox to do this, or some newsletter software services such as MailChimp and ConstantContact allow you to add Facebook to your newsletter.
If you’ve had success in creating an email newsletter we’d love to hear your tips in the comments!