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A reader made a comment to me this week that went something like this:

“I’m getting new traffic, and thanks to some of your Linky features (Tools | Followers) people are spending more time on my site and connecting with me but I’m not getting any new subscribers. My next educational goal is to figure how to convert traffic to subscribers.”

I’m glad they sent that comment. It gives me a chance not only to respond to them but to share my experience with all of you.  I’m having a fair amount of success getting new subscribers so I can speak with experience – not just in concept.

To be honest, I find getting subscribers from new traffic to be rather straightforward and easy. Not easy in the sense that it’s cheap, gimmicky, or effortless but easy with regard to the method of understanding it.  It involves two things;  and, as you read the rest of this, reference my signup area over there in the top of the right sidebar. I practice what I preach.

The Incentive to Subscribe

Everyone is trying to get everyone to sign up for everything. So readers are getting a little burned out on adding their name to a list. Aren’t you?  So put yourself in their shoes. Looking at your blog, would you sign up? Have you given enough reason, offered enough value, or enticed them with anything they actually want? Ask yourself honestly: would YOU sign up for YOUR blog (assume you are a new visitor and have little to no knowledge of your blog)?

So the first “easy” step is to offer an incentive (some bait) as an enticement – a lure to get people to decide “trading my email address for [your offer] is worth it.” I give  away a very nicely done eBook that is packed with truly useful information as well as 200+ tips on how to improve and grow your blog.  It’s real content based on my experience, not dollar-store junk.  A LOT of time went into producing this truly valuable and beneficial content.

It’s that simple.  There are many ways to make sure your incentive doesn’t work:

  • Make the incentive this: “sign up to get an email when I post new content.”
  • Offer a boring, been-there-seen-that-eBook-report just like a thousand other mediocre copycat blogs.
  • Make it less than easy to figure out what your incentive is and how to get it.
  • Make them give you a lot of information and jump through hoops to get your incentive.
  • Have a generally boring, ugly, or tired blog which yells loudly that everything else you offer will be more of the same.
  • Use a lot of language about “sign up,” “subscribe,” and “emails” to scare them off before you even get a chance to get their address on your list.

On the other hand, if you want your incentive to work magic:

  • Make the incentive truly valuable.
  • Make the incentive quick and easy to get.
  • Surround the incentive with a high-quality blog and content.
  • Make the incentive unique and excellent in quality.

Ideally, you want people thinking “I WANT the stuff that comes from this blog… sign me up!”  At a minimum, you want people to take the initial step of “yes, I’ll sign up to get this cool free thing they are offering, but I’ll probably just unsubscribe after I get it…”  Don’t fool yourself, that is very often the mindset of new subscribers. However, if you get them to sign up, you at least have a running chance to engage them.  Which brings me to the next step….

Keep Them On Your List

Now you’ve got to keep them on your list… easy to understand but much harder to accomplish. The first thing you’ll do after they sign up is either send them an email or direct them to a page that will WELCOME them and give them a way to retrieve their gift or incentive.  Don’t stop there.

Surprise them with a  “bonus” of some sort, but not some leftover they won’t care about. Make an impression… give them another gift of real value.  I give new subscribers a bonus eBook about online business.   Then, give them some additional valuable information in the form of links to popular posts, valuable resources, and “great whatever” you have on your blog. Make a splash, leave them thinking “WOW, I’m glad I signed up!”

Next, keeping in mind our goal is to KEEP them on our email list, send the first “content” email right after they sign up.  Why? To give yourself a chance with the folks who have it in their head to “get my free stuff and then unsubscribe.”  Here’s your real test though.  Very few people will give you a second chance… it’s a true “first impression.”

Make sure your first “content” email (this is the normal type of email they can expect from you) is demonstrably valuable to them; it should not be a sales pitch; and it should not scream “junk mail” or people will burn up your unsubscribe link (and even though they signed up voluntarily, often will hit the “spam report” button too).

That first content email sets the tone and your new subscriber will decide “Man, I really want the stuff this blog is putting out…” or “(yawn)… not worth staying on this list.”   Your first (and 2nd and 3rd and 4th and every) content email to them must be of VALUE to them.  How do you know if your email marketing is a “value”? The recipient must have only one answer to this question: AM I GLAD I GOT THIS EMAIL AND AM I LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT ONE?

You have to be serious and rough on yourself when you answer that question. Would YOU want YOUR emails? Be honest.  It will be the difference between keeping subscribers or having them bail out.  Subscribers do not mind an occasional “pitch” or “offer” via email as long as the vast majority of your emails SERVE THEM, are of value to them, and benefit them. Not you. Them.

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I’m currently getting about 50-100 new subscribers a day with an opt-out rate of less than 1% and the growing momentum is obvious. My daily subscriber number is steadily growing. That doesn’t put me up there with the 1-2% of elite bloggers but after years of being online and getting a handful of subscribers a week at best for most of that time, I know full well my current growth is something that most bloggers would jump for joy over.  Am I right?

You can check out my sidebar over on the right and see exactly what I’m doing. It’s no secret. Do the same. Mimic success.  That’s how you learn, improve, and grow.

What are your thoughts about getting and keeping new subscribers? Let’s have some Comment Cash fun… the comment, question, or suggestion that gets my attention the most wins $25 cash!

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. Want to book me for training, speaking or business consulting? Go here. If you benefitted from this post, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking one of the SHARE buttons?

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