How To Dramitically Increase Your Newsletter Subscription Sign Ups

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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Rich April 15, 2010 - 9:02 am
Robb, thanks for this...I put together a small, but informative eBook covering how to manage Bipolar Relationships from the ground up and my sign-ups shot through the roof. The first day I posted about the offer, I received close to 50 sign-ups within the first twelve hours. Before that, I trickled in maybe two to five sign-ups a day if I was lucky. Awesome advice and I'm proof-positive that this approach truly works! -Rich
Robb Sutton April 15, 2010 - 11:27 am
Great job Rich! It's amazing what a little bit of extra effort really accomplishes. Keep it up!
Dustin | Engaged Marriage April 15, 2010 - 9:57 am
Thanks for providing some unique ideas. I actually just launched my first newsletter this week, and I am using a free e-course as my incentive for signing up. I've had around 50 sign-ups already, which is pretty sweet considering the size of my blog.
Robb Sutton April 15, 2010 - 11:27 am
The power of free! Keep it up Dustin!
Drezz April 15, 2010 - 11:22 am
Thanks for the added advice. I'm about halfway done my own ebook that I'm planning on giving away to start my list, along with a 10 step ecourse. This is just further motivation to get the content done and out there.
Robb Sutton April 15, 2010 - 11:28 am
Get on it man! You will be surprised how much of a difference it makes in your blogging.
Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey April 15, 2010 - 11:26 am
Great tips Robb! I agree that featuring your sign-up form above the fold is key for converting traffic to newsletter sign-ups. Thanks for sharing.
Robb Sutton April 15, 2010 - 11:29 am
Anything you need direct action on to increase your business needs to be above the fold. It drastically changes the conversion rate for the better. I see too many people fill the above the fold section of their site with huge pictures that do not convert into anything.
Tim | April 18, 2010 - 7:14 pm
I've been finding that the quality of the emails people are giving us for our sites is declining dramatically. It's going to be a real problem if it continues. We deliver darn good free content to get their email and yet we see people using 2nd, 3rd and even their 4th tier email addresses to sign up. You know, that email address they only check about every couple of weeks and forget about until they need to go in and get the freebie you offered. We all do it - I do it too. I think the trick for all of us is trying to figure out how we get our subscribers to trust us enough to use their true primary email address. I don't know the solution yet, but I've been pondering it for a while. We do a soft sell, offer very high-quality content and guard their privacy with our lives. Not sure what else we can do but something has to change or all our newsletters will continue to be worth less and less.
T. Thema Martin April 19, 2010 - 11:38 pm
Rob, I saw you speak at the Atlanta Bloggers Meeting in March. Your site is great for newbies like me. After reading this article, I just realized that I need to be offering my readers something or emphasizing a product. I have to go back to the drawing board and see how I can sell a lifestyle. T. Thema Martin Editor, Savionaire Refined Single Living On The Go
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