Are you currently publishing an email newsletter? If not, have you been thinking about doing so, but haven't yet pulled the trigger? Or maybe you focus entirely on search engine optimization and social media and are unconvinced that publishing a newsletter will do you much good.
You may be surprised. There are several reasons to build an email list of hungry subscribers, even if you've mastered SEO and social media optimization. Consider: three times as many people have email than have social media accounts. Plus, engaging emails continue to get attention, despite the deluge of spam that hits our inboxes. And most importantly, folks expect to get offers in email, which makes publishing a newsletter a fantastic way to nurture prospects.
So today, I'm going to give you a crash course on building a list of subscribers for an email newsletter. And I'm not talking about just any list, but a responsive list, filled with people who buy things from you.
Traffic: How To Get Subscribers To Your Site
Here's where SEO and social media play huge roles in generating subscribers. We need to get people to visit your site where they'll have an opportunity to join your list. Hopefully, you've been putting in the time to lock down the search and social aspects of generating traffic.
Backlinks are still the currency of high rankings in Google. Social signals are playing an increasingly bigger role with mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus giving a boost to sites. To attract quality backlinks and mentions on social media, you should be creating top-notch content for your niche.
None of this will sound new to you if you've been reading this blog for any length of time. It's just a matter of putting a system in place to make the above happen.
Conversion: How To Convince People To Sign Up For Your Newsletter
Once people land on your site, you need to give them a good reason to join your list. They won't give up their email addresses without a fight, or at least without receiving something juicy in return.
A great method for enticing people to subscribe is to offer a free report or ebook that covers your niche. For example, if you sell golf instructional DVDs, create a report on “How To Win The Mental Game of Golf and Shave 8 Points From Your Score!” If you're a personal trainer, write a short ebook titled, “17 Workout Routines You Can Perform In 3 Minutes Or Less.”
The point is to offer something of value for free that will encourage people to opt in for your email newsletter. Don’t cut corners. Invest the time to create a first-rate report or ebook. Subscribers will end up passing it around to their friends, drawing even more folks to your site.
Retention: How To Prevent Subscribers From Leaving
One of the biggest problems email marketers confront is a high attrition rate. Basically, folks unsubscribe in droves. To be clear, if your email marketing model is based on a “churn and burn” philosophy, one in which you pummel folks with sales pitch after sales pitch, you probably don't care about losing subscribers. As long as you're churning, you don't mind burning.
But that's not what publishing a newsletter is about. A high-quality email newsletter gives you credibility and helps you to stake your claim as an expert in your field. It positions you and becomes part of your brand.
Given that, the best way to retain subscribers is to publish good, useful material on a regular basis. They should look forward to receiving each issue you send out. They should be willing to set aside other emails and open yours first. A subscriber who does these things is very unlikely to unsubscribe.
Action: How To Motivate Subscribers To Take Action
One of the goals of publishing an email newsletter is to generate traffic back to your site where you can sell more of your products and services. To do that, your subscribers must be willing to respond to your appeals. In other words, if you tell them to “click this link,” they should click the link you give them. If you are promoting a new product, and ask your subscribers to visit its sales page, they should do so. Only then will folks buy.
Getting your list into the habit of responding to your calls to action is mostly a matter of training. Get them accustomed to clicking links in your newsletters by encouraging them to do so from the outset.
Ask for small commitments starting with the first issue of your newsletter. For example, tell your subscribers to check out a blog post you recently uploaded to your blog. Then, gradually get them to make bigger commitments. For instance, ask a question in your newsletter and encourage folks to reply with their thoughts.
Eventually, you'll be able to send subscribers to your sales pages and convince them to buy whatever you're selling. At that point, you've trained them to respond in a way that generates revenue.
To recap, the four keys are traffic, conversion, retention, and action.
You need a steady stream of traffic hitting your site. That's where SEO, social media, and fantastic content are invaluable. Once visitors arrive, you need to offer them something of value for free so they'll join your list. Then begins the hard work of keeping folks subscribed to your newsletter, a task made infinitely easier by publishing top-notch stuff. Finally, you need to train subscribers to respond to your calls to action. That could mean buying something, sharing one of your reports on Facebook and Twitter, or linking back to your site.
Once your list of subscribers reaches 3,000 or more, you'll be able to generate sales with each email you send. Even better, you'll gain more prominence in your niche, which will attract even more people to your site.
Are you publishing an email newsletter? If so, how has it helped your business, either in terms of sales, credibility, or both? What are you doing to attract and keep subscribers on your list? Do tell in the comments section below!
About the Author: Tara Geissinger is an SEO and content marketing expert by day and triplet mom by night. As Co-Owner of the online visibility firm, SEO Content Solutions, and online press release distribution firm, Online PR Media, Tara has helped thousands of businesses get more visibility online. From helping Macy’s optimize their product descriptions to working behind-the-scenes with some of the largest SEO and marketing firms in the world, she is one of the best kept secrets in the online marketing niche.