In the third post in this series, we covered the distribution and promotion of your blog posts. If you have a decent following in the “big 4” social media networks, you should see a nice spike in traffic every time a new post goes out.
If your website has been designed to capitalize on your blog traffic, you should pick up some direct leads as a result of your traffic, but the real value in business blogging is in your list. You have the opportunity to provide more helpful information to your audience every week or two by email, gently influencing their purchasing decisions for months and even years to come.
It's not about how much traffic you get. It's about how much traffic you keep.
Statistically, only 0.5% of your visitors will ever return. But, if you can get them on your email list, you can increase that to 50%. You can gain in 2 months, the consistent traffic it would take 17 years to build, just by getting visitors to opt-in.
- Jon Morrow
In this post I’ll talk about getting your audience to willingly subscribe to your email list.
1. Set up your list. There are quite a few list building services out there, and I’ve worked with several in my client work. But hands down, I would recommend AWeber. If you haven’t set up your list yet, do it today (or get your content marketing agency on it). Seriously, waiting until you get around to it just means things will stay the same.
2. Give them an irresistible reason to subscribe. You’ll see a lot of websites ask for subscriptions with: “Sign up for our newsletter.” Lame!! Nobody wants another newsletter clogging their inbox.
Create a beautiful ebook/whitepaper that targets one of your audience personas. In the example in the second post in this series, I subscribed to an automotive retailer’s list in order to receive “6 Things You Can Do to Significantly Increase the Life of Your Car.” I was a regular reader of their blog and they created a content piece I wanted to have.
You will need a landing page. The landing page should sell your reader on the ebook. The ebook should be visually appealing (stunning) and an image of it will appear on the landing page.
One or two paragraphs, and perhaps a few bullet points, should summarize why your target reader absolutely needs this ebook to lead a meaningful life. 🙂 Seriously though, they must have it. The form, located to the left or right of the copy, subscribes them to your list, by the CASL-approved double opt-in process.
The thank you email they receive after they click the verification link provides a link to download your ebook. This is all handled by AWeber.
It’s vital that the ebook impresses the socks off your new subscriber. If you’re not a great copywriter or graphic artist, hire someone that can create a first rate freemium product in PDF format. Important: If they don’t like the first ebook, they won’t want the next one.
3. Set up your CRM. One of the reasons I love AWeber is that it works so well with Gravity Forms and other form solutions that integrate with popular CRM software solutions, like SalesForce.
Yippee! You have another subscriber. DO NOT call your new member as soon as they sign up. They have just entered the sales funnel. Have some patience.
4. Make sure your email tips don’t disappoint. That’s right, you will be providing more helpful information by email. The last thing you want to do is spam them right back off your list with offers and obnoxious marketing. The unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email you send out only requires a single click. (You get to include an offer on every tenth email… that’s it.)
So what should you put into your posts? If you’re blogging regularly, create tantalizing intros to your latest posts, complete with photos. In addition to distribution and promotion by social media, your list notifies readers of your latest posts.
Many services, like Feedburner and Jetpack, will notify readers of new posts automatically. But if you take the time to create the HTML emails yourself (or have your content marketing people handle it) there’s an added benefit. You get to promote the next free ebook.
Each link to a “must have” ebook takes them to another landing page. And each landing page asks one or two more questions. You’re qualifying your prospect, and the answers are added into the CRM.
5. Follow up and nurture your new lead. Once your subscriber has been on the list for a while, you should have some credibility with them. They trust and value your advice.
If your follow-up offers of free ebooks are targeted, your subscribers will have downloaded several, providing you with additional information about themselves in the landing page forms. (If you are targeting several audience personas, you may want to set up and manage a list for each one.)
After a few ebook downloads, it’s appropriate to send a personal email to your prospect. Keep it light and friendly. Thank them for subscribing to your content, and ask them if they have any questions or suggestions for future blog posts. That's it... no selling.
You have some basic information about your lead in the CRM. Consider friending them on Facebook. You’ll get to know more about their interests as their friend, and can send them content you think may be of special interest from time to time.
You want to become their trusted friend and adviser. Be careful not to come across as creepy.
We’ve covered quite a lot of ground, and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. I welcome your questions and comments below.
Cole Wiebe helps brands and professionals grow their influence and value online; so they can “out content”™ their competition. Cole is a content strategist, content writer, conversion copywriter and online marketing coach.