Double Your Blog Newsletter Readers: Encourage Sharing!

See how asking readers to refer more people to us helped get more blog newsletter subscribers.

This is the 3rd of 4 posts on how we doubled our blog newsletter subscribers. Be sure to read the other ones on putting signup forms in posts and creating a subscribe page.

Today’s tip is applicable to email marketing in general, but deserves bloggers’ attention because not all bloggers are experienced email marketers, and they’re more likely to miss this idea.

Plus, it’s so obvious that you might overlook it.

If getting more readers without spending on paid traffic or doing some SEO appeals to you, you’ll appreciate today’s tip ? because this tactic gets you subscribers without relying on Google.

Blog Newsletter Grower #3: Get Readers To Share Your Newsletter With Others

Your blog targets a certain group of people with a similar need or interest… right?

And even if you only have a handful of subscribers, each one probably knows at least one or two other people who share that need or interest… right?

So… ask your current subscribers to share your blog!

When they expose your blog to others in your target market, you’re likely to get new subscribers – who then share your blog with other people in your target market…

The ensuing “snowball effect” can bring you an avalanche of subscribers:

36.5% of our active web subscribers come directly from links in our emails!

In other words, many of our email subscribers sign up after clicking a link in an email sent to another subscriber.

How does that happen? Subscribers share the emails with others.

That Snowball Starts With a Single Snowflake

Blog Newsletter Share SectionSome word of mouth phenomena are completely unexpected and organic.

But most of the time, it helps to give people a little nudge.

To the right, you can see a section that we insert into each issue of our blog newsletter. (Click it to see where it sits in our emails).

It gently encourages readers to pass the email along to someone they think would benefit from it.

When someone gets the forwarded email, they can read the article as if they were a subscriber, and they have the option to subscribe via the link in the email.

The subscribe link goes to our blog’s subscribe page ? another reason that you need to create a subscribe page for your blog.

Why Use Simple Email Forwarding?

Some of you might wonder why we encourage people to forward the email directly, rather than use a “send to friend” function.

A few reasons to encourage forwarding:

  • It’s easier – people know how to use email. There’s little chance for confusion compared to “send to friend” forms.(Don’t believe this? Check out what social network GoodReads had to say about why they use forwarding instead of “send to friend”)
  • It’s more accurate – most email programs will auto-suggest contacts as you type them, saving time and reducing misspellings.
  • It’s more likely to be opened – your subscriber’s email address is in the “from” line of the forward.What do you open first, emails from people you know or emails from 3rd-party services?

Next Up: Taking Your Blog Growth Offline (That’s a Good Thing)

Believe it or not, not all blog newsletter marketing happens online.

In the final post in this 4-part series, you’ll learn how we gain readers offline, and discover a few ways that you can, too!

Update: the rest of this series is online – see the “related posts” section at the end of this post!

Want More Blog Newsletter and Email Marketing Tips?

Fill out the form below to join our blog newsletter and we’ll drop you a line when new articles go up.

We?ll also periodically send you other email marketing tips we publish here. The newsletter goes out 1-2 times per week.

Naturally, as a permission-based email marketing company, we respect your privacy.

Until next time, start encouraging your readers to share your newsletter!


  1. Codrut Turcanu

    8/12/2008 3:07 am

    Yes, you’re right. I guess this is an often overlooked tactic as 98% of the bloggers out there are not e-mail marketing savvy. lol

    I don’t trust TAF scripts or tools either.

    And I’ve used this tactic myself with some level of success.

    How do I know?

    Because in the follow-ups I send I always ask readers to tell me how they
    found about me. And this not only helps me find the real person who sent the referrals, but also discover red-hot traffic polls.

    You won’t believe how many cool things you could find about your referral sources. For example, your leads could come from Google, Digg, other blogs, you name it.

    Try it yourself, or if you’ve already had success, why not share your experience right here, right now?

  2. Guy

    8/13/2008 7:41 am

    Making it easy for your readers to interact with their friends and family is always good; especially in the web 2.0 intereactive web world that we live in today.

    In addition to asking for them to share your blog with others you could hold an online contest for the person who generates the most new customers in a given time period (say a month). Provide whoever wins with something that they will really be able to see as valuable and you will find that person talking about your blog even more. But losers don’t need to be left out. Find an E-Book that you got for free or something similar and send everyone who contributed anything to the contest a "runners up" prize while letting them know what the actual winner received. Adding that to what’s already been recommended is sure to do great things for your blog.

  3. Matthew Clark

    8/13/2008 5:20 pm

    Great tips in this series. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely share it with my clients.

  4. Paul Broni

    8/14/2008 9:09 am

    There are a couple of good arguments against just asking people to forward their emails to friends and family.

    First, it is going to register additional false opens and clicks for the forwarding party. If Jack forwards his email to Jill and Jill opens or clicks it, this data is going to reflect as if Jack had done the additional opening or clicking.

    Not a huge issue (the benefit of additional readership probably outweighs this problem), but one to consider.

    Second, there is always the chance the the forward recipient will unsubscribe the original recipient. If Jack forwards his email to Jill and Jill thinks it’s spam and goes looking for the unsubscribe button, you’ve just lost Jack as a subscriber. Not only have you lost a subscriber then, but you’ve lost one who thought enough about you to share with others. And he’s not coming back.

  5. Guy

    8/14/2008 9:19 am

    I would like to see Aweber’s direct response to Paul’s 2nd issue. It seems to be a very valid and potentially damaging to list point. Thanks for the thought Paul.

  6. Justin Premick

    8/14/2008 9:32 am


    Accidental unsubscribes are a possibility.

    However, in my own experience they don’t seem to be an issue.

    I say this because (1) I haven’t seen any jump in our unsubscribe rate since we began asking people to forward our emails, and (2) I haven’t had any encounters with people asking why they’re not getting the newsletter anymore.

    Of course, your own results may vary and you should monitor your unsubscribe rate and feedback for evidence of that occurring, but it just doesn’t seem to be an issue in practice.

    As for the clicks… is that necessarily a bad thing?

    If you’re using clicks to measure whether or not a subscriber is responsive, and therefore valuable, knowing that there was a click as a result of sending to that person may be enough information to guide future campaigns to that person.

    After all, even if your reader didn’t click the link himself, he read enough of the email to deem it worth forwarding to someone else, who was interested by it enough to click.

    While that’s not exactly the same thing as your subscriber clicking the link himself, for most campaigns it’s still useful feedback to shape future campaigns to that subscriber.

  7. Paul Broni

    8/14/2008 9:47 am

    As I said, the incorrect data is not the end of the world.

    In addition, I’m not suggesting that you’re going to get errant unsubscribes in huge quantities, but it is possible, and it’s probably going to happen at some point.

    It may not happen in quantities where you’ll see your remove metric jump up (if only people were forwarding your newsletter to that extent!), but it’s almost certainly going to happen at least once.

    Along these lines, this is why you sometimes see language like, "Did someone forward you a copy of this newsletter? If so, you have not been added to any list. Get your own subscription here."

    I appreciate your previous reply.

  8. Justin Premick

    8/14/2008 10:13 am


    True – it would be great if people were forwarding emails that much! (Though in our own case it seems like a lot of forwards do occur, since over 3000 of our blog newsletter subscribers have joined after clicking through on a link in an email we sent to someone else.)

    You make a great point about adding some language to inform people that they haven’t been subscribed, and how they can do so.

    That’s a key part of the sharing section in our emails (see image above) and you’ll see other newsletters (not just for blogs!) that say similar things.

    MarketingSherpa’s a good example of this – past emails from them have included the line "P.S. Did a friend send you this? Go Here for your own copy – it’s award-winning, useful, and complimentary."

    While those examples convey the idea that the forwarded email was not part of a subscription, they’re not as direct as the text you suggest. Wonder which approach would perform better & how to measure…

    PS Thanks for the dissenting opinion – the best conversations here & elsewhere come from them. 🙂

  9. Cassandra Rae

    8/20/2008 3:55 pm

    You guys continue to rock it out! Thank you :~)

  10. Free Blog Newsletter Email Template: Meadows - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    8/27/2008 10:01 am

    […] time we’ve integrated a special “Share this email” box into a template. See if sharing your newsletter helps you to boost your subscriber […]

  11. Andrea

    9/1/2008 3:01 am

    Hi! Great tips.

    Justin, can someone ‘share’ one of your blog posts, etc.. with a direct link to these articles, using their affiliate link? If so, how?


  12. Justin Premick

    9/2/2008 8:46 am


    Absolutely – just put a question mark and your affiliate ID number at the end of the URL.

    So for this page, instead of:

    You’d put:

    where XXXXXX is your affiliate ID number.

  13. Toba

    9/9/2008 7:40 am

    Thanks. Looking forward to receiving the mails for fresh ideas.

  14. Double Your Blog Newsletter Readers: Expand Beyond Your Blog - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    9/12/2008 2:54 pm

    […] Getting current readers to bring you new ones […]

  15. Gregor Anton

    4/11/2009 12:53 pm

    Great Tips! As a small business marketing coach I can’t agree more. These very basic, yet powerful techniques will get you more subscribers. What I’ve found also works well is encouraging others to sign up their friends. …and dangling a carrot to do so.

    Invite your friend and receive my Special Report on Strategic Sales and Marketing (regular $99.00).

  16. Affiliate ABCs #16 Email Marketing with Aweber Part 1

    10/9/2009 6:14 pm

    […] […]

  17. Jim

    1/31/2011 4:43 pm

    Most of my traffic and sign ups come from Article Marketing. I think this is a good idea in the fact that someone is probably more liable to open something from a friend, thus giving it more credibility.