How to Acquire Email Subscribers on Autopilot
When someone come to your website for the first time, they likely know nothing about you and what you offer — they are not ready to buy. If you aren't doing any kind of email collection, you've just lost a potential client or customer. Here's a look into my secret for automating my newsletter list with quality subscribers:
Unlike platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, where information becomes saturated and easy to miss, people check their inboxes multiple times a day. It's a lucrative platform that will be the most valuable way of engaging and interacting with your audience directly. That kind of personal connection with your subscribers is something that no other platform can provide. It's a direct invitation to start building a relationship.
For the longest time, I didn't think I had enough to offer an email list, so I never created one. I now look back and think of what a wasted opportunity that was. Collecting emails is not only valuable, but one of the easiest ways to become profitable from your products or services ($).
Here are a few ways to increase your email subscribers on autopilot:
Content upgrades & freebies
Content upgrades are the hook to get someone's email. Most people don't like giving away their personal information lightly. Offer them an exclusive freebie, downloadable PDF, template, or high-quality content that can only be accessed when they subscribe, in exchange for their email address.
Content upgrades work best when you also write an accompanying blog post (example). Remember to follow these steps when trying to make the most out of your content upgrades:
- Create a blog post with valuable information for free on how to be great at something, do something better, etc.
- Ask for their email address to receive the checklist, guide or worksheet needed to complete the actionable steps outlined in the blog article.
- Compile a list of highly-targeted email addresses.
Here's also a few ideas for content upgrades that would convert well:
Title: How to Track Your Expenses as a Freelancer
CTA: Download the free editable worksheet
Title: How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram
CTA: Download the free checklist of things you must be doing
Title: How to Become a More Disciplined Freelancer
CTA: Download the free guide to getting more done now
I offer my subscribers a "Free Guide to Marketing on Twitter for Designers" (amongst other resources). It took some effort to put together, but I assure you it doesn't have to be very difficult. Once you have the system in place to collect email addresses it becomes surprisingly simple to build upon.
In the chart above, you can see that I started creating content upgrades around Sept/Oct. Once I had those upgrades in place, the growth of my email list has easily tripled without me doing any extra work. Once you gain momentum, your numbers start to compound really quickly.
Optimizing your content upgrades
Location. The end of a blog post is a natural place to ask a reader to subscribe. If the reader has found your content valuable, they will have reason to sign up. Keep contrast in mind also. Make sure it stands out from the rest of the page.
Popups. Popups tend to work well, but they suck for usability (especially on mobile). If you are going to use a popup, use it on a timer after someone clicks through a few pages of your site. Nothing if more annoying than a popup that appears immediately after I land on a site. Why should I give you my email? Build some trust with the customer first.
Create pinnable images. Pinterest is my second largest source of traffic. Images that include the word "free + anything" do well in terms of engagement. Always make sure to include a Pinterest-friendly image with each one of your content upgrades that makes it easy to share.
Optimize for mobile. Make sure your newsletter sign up forms are optimized for mobile. You want to make it easy to subscribe regardless of what device your audience is coming from.
Always have a call to action. Call to actions should be simple, straight-forward and easy. Software like Mailchimp can integrate embeddable forms, popups and landing pages onto your site.
Create a nice onboarding experience. Once someone subscribes, you want to keep them. Offering them even more goodies after they have subscribed is incentive for them to stick around.
Let's circle back to content quick
I talked about content upgrades first because they are really important — but, obviously the actual content on your blog needs to be great, too. If the content is inspiring, actionable and informative, traffic will follow. Maintaining subscriptions is much easier and sustainable when you have lots of traffic coming through.
Over time, you'll start to learn what your audiences wants to read more of. Your most popular posts can be a good indication of that now and will allow you to write similar articles in the future. More content = more traffic = more wins.