It’s not entirely your fault…
It is getting harder to get subscribers these days. Can you blame them really?
Every site has an opt-in form.
Everyone gives you free stuff.
Your inbox is probably exploding at its seams with subscriptions from a million different blogs.
So imagine…the reality is the same for your subscriber.
Have a look at this email below.
People have become more protective of their email addresses.
While I was happy and honoured to be in this really sweet reader’s inbox…it also reminded me that my email list is my responsibility. And one that I need to continuously work on.
In this post, I share with you 11 reasons that are making it more difficult (than it already is) to gain subscribers. In my review of about 30 sites in the past six months, these are the mistakes that continuously pop up. Need some extra hand-holding? Download the guide with 43 hacks to grow your list on an hour or less.
#1 No one’s going to ‘subscribe’ or ‘submit’
Unless you’re huge and your brand has made a name for itself already, not many are going to click ‘submit’ or ‘join’ on your opt-in form.
These were ok 5 years ago when you could have a form in your side bar with a ‘subscribe for updates’ and still get subscribers with little to no effort.
Your ‘call to action’ or CTA has to work harder for you.
Often, a user’s hesitation to take action stems from thinking that an action will be difficult, costly, or time consuming. Or it’s just plain vague. They don’t know what’s on the other side of that ‘submit button’.
So the words (copy) that you use on your button should (1) make the action sound effortless and (2) reflect the reader’s thoughts back to them.
Have a look at Elna’s site over at Twins Mommy. The CTA on her header is in the first person and says ‘Yes, Let me in’.
Likewise, this CTA example from Crazy Egg says ‘Show me my heat map’.
Both are written from the perspective of the reader. Have a look at the CTA buttons around your site.
What tweaks can you do to make them 1. direct 2. in first person and 3. sound effortless?
#2 You have no landing pages
You might not get the point of a landing page.
There are no distractions. Just a simple choice. A reader either says ‘YES’ and opts-in or ‘NO’ and click outs.
A little harsh? Maybe?
There’s no opportunity for someone to figure out whether they like you first before they part with their email address.
Here’s where social proof such as testimonials and your landing page hook has to carry it’s weight.
An easy way to boost opt-ins is to place a link of your freebie in your Navigation bar.
My friend Jennifer of Women Winning Online, puts a link ‘free reports’ right up at the top of her navigation bar and each drop-down links to a landing page.
A landing page also makes it easy to promote your opt-in freebie and send traffic to it.
#3 You miss this – Feature-feature-benefit
I’ve been guilty of this too. And it’s easy to just let this slip.
When you’re describing your opt-in freebie, it’s easy to list down everything that it does, what your reader will get or learn. Have a look at this for instance:
- 10 meal planning mistakes to avoid
- A simple productivity calendar
- 5 things your work desk needs
But how do you make it better?
Add the benefits to the back…ask yourself a simple ‘so that‘ to the back of each feature…Here’s how the revised list looks.
- How to avoid 10 meals planning mistakes so that you save hours of time and get back your day
- A simple productivity calendar that keeps tracks of your day so that you have time for your family
- 5 must-have things in your office that will shave hours of your work time.
Sure, I can make it even better but see the difference a little tweak made? Adding that benefit to the sentence plunks the reader right there in the scene and shows what your freebie does.
Have a look now at how you have described your freebie and see if you are falling into the features trap.
#4 You cringe at the ethical bribe
Maybe this isn’t a big deal for you but just last week I came across a conversation in a Facebook goup where some ladies felt it was wrong to offer a bribe (a.k.a opt-in freebie) for an email address.
It might seem like you’re putting a price on the relationship. You give me your email address and I’ll give you my free awesome report. Let’s do a barter…
But look at it this way.
Your ethical bribe helps to:
- Open a relationship with a new reader
- Gives you an opportunity to share your gift or expertise with someone else in an area they might not necessarily be good at. Just because it comes naturally to you, doesn’t means it does for everyone. And this is something I have to constantly remind myself of.
Ethical bribes that I do not like are when you tell me there are 27 ways to do X but at the end of a post, you tell me ‘wait there’s another 10 more’ but I have to opt-in to find out what those are.
Need ideas for opt-in freebies? I have them at this post.
#5 You hate the pop-up
For some of you, pop-ups are a major no.
I don’t blame you. They are annoying and I do apologize if you’ve experienced some rogue pop-ups on this very site.
Things can get crazy when pop-ups don’t act the way you want them to (believe me, it happens)…but if you take the time to test them out, they can work for your benefit.
If you’re wondering how to test them, here’s how. If you’re on Safari, open a new private window. If you’re on Chrome, open a new incognito window. This treats you as a new user and you can test your pop-ups.
With the new Google rules, there’s also a fine line with what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
But exit intent pop-ups are still A-ok. They catch the reader when they are on their way out, after consuming your information.
If this is the first time on my site, you’ll see one on your way out if technology’s on my side today.
If you’re on my list and you clicked through from a link in my email, you will not see it because of a smart subscriber recognition tag within Pop-up ally.
#6 An arm and a leg..what is it going to take to get your freebie?
Don’t make your subscribers jump through hoops to get your freebie.
Do you really need their last name?
This article from Getresponse states that even asking for a name drastically reduces the chance of your subscriber opting in.
Sue from Successful blogging only asks for an email address.
Have a look at your opt-in forms. Are you killing your conversions by asking too much?
#7 Your site lets readers slip through like water
Opt-in blindness is when you see something so many times that you become blind to it…like the side-bar opt-in.
Readers are getting used to seeing opt-in forms in all the usual places that you need to work extra hard to catch their attention.
I’m not sure about yours, but my side-bar opt-in form added maybe 2 subscribers a month.
So I removed it entirely.
I haven’t been too happy with my recent website conversions so I’ve been trying a few tweaks myself. Experiment with new things around your site.
Make your site as sticky as possible. You want your readers to be there long enough…you want them clicking around to find more of your valuable content so that they turn into a subscriber.
Here are some things you can try:
- Use a related-post plugin like Zemanta or Uprev. I have both on my site.
- Add your opt-in specifically to your header using a plugin like Plugmatter
- Add opt-in forms to your site using plugins like Bloom from Elegant Themes, Thrive Leads or pop-up ally
- Make it ridiculously easy to share your posts. I use Social Warfare and this allows you to show the right images for the major social media platforms.
#8 Some pages and posts carry more weight than others – but you ignore them
And I don’t mean your homepage.
I spent hours perfecting my homepage. You probably did too.
But think about it. Where does a first time visitor land when they reach your website?
If you said homepage, think again.
Most visitors click through your blog from Facebook or Social media and land on a blog post or a services page. Even if they found you via organic search in Google, how likely is that going to be a link to your homepage?
So you need to view your website experience from your visitors’ point of view.
List down the pages someone would first land on in your site.
The ‘About’ and ‘Resources’ page are also prime website real estate.
Now have a look at all of these pages in detail.
- Are those pages primed to capture readers and turn them into subscribers?
- Do they have opt-in forms?
- Have you promoted your opt-in freebie on those pages?
- Are there share links on those pages?
- Are the share links prominently placed above and below a post?
- Are there sufficient opt-in forms?
#9 You offer no content upgrades
There isn’t enough time to add content upgrades to every post. I don’t have one on this right now.
Here’s what you can do instead.
- Go into your Google Analytics, find your most popular posts (Behaviour > Site Content > All pages) and start by offering a content upgrade on those posts.
- You could also have a content upgrade for each blog category.
- An alternative is to add a content upgrade after you notice that a post is gaining steam on social media.
#10 You love default email templates
Never use a default template. Here are some of such templates:
- The ‘Confirm Your Subscription’ page
- The ‘Welcome’ Email
- The ‘Thank you for subscribing’ page
There are 5 pages you need on your site and I say what these are in this post for DYOB.
One of these pages is the ‘Thank you’ page. The ‘Thank you’ page has to nudge your subscribers to get to their inbox and click confirm on your email.
Likewise, your welcome email has to be personalized and show your subscribers why you’re the right person to be helping them along in this journey.
#11 You don’t have a plan for your existing subscribers
It’s easy to get sucked into the ‘adding more’ to your list mindset. But the other half a battle is keeping your existing subscribers.
- Send them regular emails. I have a ton of examples you use at this post and in my swipe file.
- Open a conversation and ask them to reply back to you. By treating your list right, they become your very own brand advocates. Here are 9 ways you can do that.
- Have an email marketing calendar and a plan to create email content.
I had this question recently: “How do I reduce the number of unsubscribes?”
The only way is value.
If that’s already taken care of, embrace the unsubscribe.
I’ve had people whom I have personally helped unsubscribe from my list. Ouch.
It hurts for a second …it used to hurt a lot more when I started…but it’s way better to let them go for the betterment of your list and your email open and engagement rates.
Maybe they’ve moved on and are no longer interested in the content..or they may have other priorities to deal with..let them go.
They are doing you a favour so that you don’t have to do a list cleanse like I spoke about here.
Don’t make subscribers run
Your email list is your marketing team if you take the time to nurture it.
Don’t do anything via email that you wouldn’t dare do face-to-face. Email your list like you email your friend.
Just by making simple changes to these 11 points, you will start to see an increase in conversions and subscribers.
It’s the little things that make a big difference don’t you think?