Last month on ABOH, the theme was all about getting your blog and online presence set up to boss it in 2017. Now we’re a month in, we’re focusing on trying new things in order to help you grow your brand and improve your skills.
On Tuesday, we covered using Pinterest to promote your blog content. Today, we’re moving onto your mailing list and specifically, what to do if people just AREN’T signing up.
This isn’t a marketing, processing or productivity problem.
This is a direct mailing list problem.
Luckily, there are a few simple changes you can make to start increasing those subscriber numbers.
Here are the 10 questions you can ask yourself to make sure your mailing list is in tip-top shape and performing its best.
#1 | DOES THE NAME OF YOUR COMMUNITY CATCH the attention of your reader?
If you ask people to sign up to your mailing list but don’t have a name for it, just stop right there.
Your mailing list is all about community, right? So if you don’t give it a name then what are you actually doing?
What sounds better?
Join the mailing list!
The name of your community is going to be one of the first things your reader sees, which means they’re going to make a split second judgment based on that alone.
My mailing list community is called Blogging Breakthrough and when you choose to sign up, you become a Breakthrough Blogger.
This has so many positive and motivational connotations.
When it comes to creating a name, think of what you blog about and what your purpose is. Feel free to tweet me with your ideas!
#2 | IS YOUR OFFER CLEAR?
If you don’t have a clear offer, you won’t be able to talk to the right people that might want to sign up to your mailing list, or effectively communicate why they even should in the first place.
Check out my description which I include at the end of each blog post:
This tells people exactly what they’re going to get when they sign up and what they can expect from me. You need to have a clear message and convey a clear benefit.
If you’re unsure of this part then you need to work out your overall brand message first. This post will tell you exactly what to do in just five minutes.
#3 | DOES YOUR CALL TO ACTION STAND OUT?
A great test to perform on your website right now is all about your call-to-action, specifically, the button someone has to hit to sign up to your mailing list. All you do is navigate around your website, slowly, and see how well your call to action buttons stand out. Better yet – get someone else to take a look for you who isn’t as familiar with your site as you, like a friend or family member.
If your CTA blends in with all the other aspects of your website, then you need to make it stand out more. Try using a different wording instead of “subscribe” (like “hell yeah!” or “I want this!"). You could also try putting it in a different colour or font, or simply putting a box around it in your brand colour, which is exactly what I do.
#4 | ARE YOU GIVING PEOPLE ENOUGH VALUE THROUGH YOUR BLOG ALREADY?
Before someone hands over their email address, they like to see if it’s going to be worth it. That’s why giving people so much valuable information for free is so important.
Can you imagine if you signed up to a mailing list and found out it was full of nonsense without having seen any content previously on their blog? You’d be blindly signing up to something, unsure of whether it was actually going to benefit you.
Even with your social media channels, it’s important to show your potential readers and subscribers what they’re going to get.
You can do this by going into as much detail as possible in all your blog posts, inviting readers to take part in a series or challenge on your blog and interacting with people on your social platforms, so they know if they want to sign up or not.
#5 | ARE YOU GIVING PEOPLE ENOUGH CHANCES TO SIGN UP
Because you’re only asking people to do one thing when they sign up to your mailing list (which is sign up), it can be easy to think you only need to offer people one chance to sign up.
This is not the way to go.
Readers might be unsure the first time they see your offer. They might want to have a look around your site first and come back to it. But what if they can’t remember where they first saw the offer to sign up?
These are the places you want to include a sign up form:
- About page
- Contact page
- Bottom of each blog post
- If yours is a full blown community that offers lots of things (like an eBook or membership site), dedicate a whole page to it
#6 | ARE THERE ANY DISTRACTIONS ON YOUR SITE?
This is a major mailing list killer. If you have distractions on your website, readers WILL see them and WILL either click on them or ignore them. Or if you place something of higher importance than your mailing list, they’ll pay attention to that first. Then you’ll be lucky if they ever sign up.
Some common distractions to look out for include:
- Messy badges in your sidebar (we talked about this recently guys, come on 😉)
- Links to other pages and ads (don’t direct people away from your site)
- Navigation menus (specifically, that there’s too many options for someone to choose from)
#7 | ARE YOU SHOWING ENOUGH PROOF THAT PEOPLE ENJOY BEING A PART OF YOUR MAILING LIST COMMUNITY?
Sure, it would be great if every person that landed on your website or blog could just take your word for it that your mailing list community is the best thing they’ll ever join. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Especially with ALL the people out there offering the exact same thing for the exact same deal that just brings people down a rabbit hole. Readers are careful. Readers are picky.
So you need to show people instead.
How do you do that?
Start with testimonials from happy subscribers. These can come from the replies you get to your emails, or you can ask people too. Make sure to use their profile image and highlight key words and phrases in what they say so it stands out.
Haven’t launched your mailing list yet or only have a few subscribers?
Don’t worry. We all started out there. You can use testimonials in the form of what people say about your blog. What comments they leave on your posts, what they say to you on social media. Whenever I get a nice message from someone, I save it in a document so I’ve got a whole list of positive feedback.
#8 | ARE YOU ANSWERING ALL OF YOUR POTENTIAL SUBSCRIBERS QUESTIONS?
Unless your blog visitors are people who are super familiar with your content, know what your message is and will read every single word, chances are, they’re going to have some worries about signing up to your mailing list.
The biggest questions could include:
- Is this community going to be the right fit for me?
- Is this going to be worth my time and inbox space?
- Are these emails going to help me solve my main problems?
You can answer all of your reader’s questions within your short mailing list summary and if you have a dedicated page for it too. I’d also recommend having a short FAQ section and include these questions in there (along with when emails are sent out, what time they’re delivered etc.) so they can easily find the answers to their questions.
#9 | DOES THE FORMATTING AND DESIGN OF YOUR SIGN UP FORM/MAILING LIST PAGE LOOK NICE AND IS IT EASY TO DIGEST?
What does your sign up form look like? How does your mailing list community page look? Are they easy to read?
Just like we did when we were looking at your call to actions, we can do the same thing here to see how easy it is for people to understand and how attractive it is to them.
For both, you can check these things:
- Do the headlines on your community page make sense and stand out so people can find the section they’re looking for? For your sign up form, is it asking the right question?
- Do you include images to help the content easier to digest for readers and also show them what’s included in your package?
- Are you using brand colours and font? Pay attention that they’re clear, noticeable and relate to the overall theme of your website.
#10 | ARE YOU GIVING READERS ENOUGH INFORMATION SO THEY CAN MAKE THEIR OWN DECISION?
Depending on what you offer in your mailing list community, the amount of detail you go into can vary.
The more you offer = the more information you need to include.
I’d say to always start with a free opt-in. If that’s an eBook, check out this post I wrote on coming up with a successful eBook idea.
A FINAL NOTE
Every time you change something to do with your mailing list or you add a new feature, go back to this checklist and ask yourself these ten questions to make sure you aren’t missing out on blog visitors who could’ve turned into subscribers.
And the most important thing to remember? People who sign up to your mailing list do so because they want to hear more from you and they trust you. Take pride in that!
Over to you - how have gained success with your mailing list? What tips will you be taking away from this list?