Yesterday, I talked about the importance of having a newsletter in your blogging when you are trying to generate income. Now…in that same article, I revealed an ugly truth about newsletters. Your readers are going to protect their email address more than they protect their own kids. Don’t worry, it is not your fault, but you can blame the millions of spammers in this world that make it difficult to run a serious business that provides value and fills a need. Like most good things in life, email lists and newsletters have been exploited, so it is your job to overcome the noise.

Since it is that much harder to gain the valuable email address, what can you do as a blogger to increase your conversion rate and chances for success? The good news, it all comes down to two ideas.

  1. Provide value for free. (or)
  2. Provide something interesting.

Hook Your Readers In With Something Free and Valuable

One of the most common ways to increase newsletter sign ups is to provide something of value that is free. In the blogging world, giving away a free eBook or eCourse is a go to default that many bloggers hit while trying to build their list (I use both on this site with Ramped Blogging). This is a win/win for the reader and the blogger as the reader gets something of value and the blogger gets the subscriber to their email list.

Now…if you really want to be successful with this theory, you need to employ one of two theories when creating your free product.

  1. It needs to be over the top with value if you are doing something like the competition.
  2. It needs to be completely unique.

Think of it this way…why is a potential newsletter subscriber going to download your eBook when they downloaded something exactly like it from a more well known blogger last week? They aren’t. But…if you provide something completely unique or over the top valuable, you can overcome the thousands of other free eBooks on the market and get your subscription numbers up.

Another bonus of providing a free eBook or eCourse. If you have a paid version on another subject, this free version you are giving away provides your readers with a preview of your eBook content further qualifying them as a potential customer of your paid options. Keep this in mind as you develop your own free hooks.

Tip: There are other versions of free as well. Think about teaming up with a retailer in your industry and offering a free 10% off coupon for signing up. This will allow you to cash in on affiliate commissions while providing something of value and building up the business of your partner company. There are more ways of unique freeness that you can drum up…so use your imagination to separate yourself from other bloggers.

Something Completely Unique

Do you do something on your site that is completely unique from the competition? Could you package some of this uniqueness together and offer it to potential newsletter subscribers for free? Providing something completely unique and entertaining can be a great way to entice newsletter subscriptions.

I have a friend of mine that is an incredible illustrator. When we started talking about ways  to increase his newsletter subscription, one of the ideas that came up was offering 5 free political cartoons that you can not find anywhere else on his site for newsletter subscribers. While this does go along with the free theory above, it is also completely unique in his field…so it separates his brand from the competition.

As you look for ways to grab that email address, try to take a close look at your operation and see if there is anything that is 100% unique that you can offer your newsletter subscribers. Are you really successful in your field? Maybe you check in with newsletter subscribers once a month and show them the back end to your success that no one else sees…

You Have The Hook…Now What?

So you have something free or unique of value to your readers, how do you make sure that the sign up is in the right spot to convert? I like to use two methods on my blogs that bring in the highest converting ratio in my experience. I would test both of these (and absolutely do #1) to see what works best in your blogging. I use Aweber as my newsletter service (you can get started for $1) which makes both of these extremely easy to accomplish.

  1. Feature Your Sign Up Above The Fold On All Of Your Pages – This one is a no brainer. Make sure you have your sign up form (not just a link…Aweber can make a cool looking form for you) and hook featured above the fold on every page of your blog. This is typically done at the top of the sidebar. This will be your #1 weapon in converting causal readers into newsletter subscribers.
  2. Lightbox Hover (test) – The lightbox hover is that nice looking box you see hovering over a page when you visit the site for the first time. This method is more intrusive than just displaying your sign up on the page, so proper testing will tell you if this is a right fit for your blog. In my experience, the lightbox hover works best on blogs outside of the internet marketing/blogging niche as those types of readers are not as sensitive to it. The only way to find out is to test it on your blog, but I have seen dramatic increases in certain niches. (again…Aweber provides me with everything I need on that end)

Sweet! We are now converting readers into newsletter subscribers, so next…we need to go into how to keep them as subscribers and then how to properly monetize that list. More to come…

Newsletter Series Recap

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