The 4 Best Ways To Grow Your Email List with Blogging
By Liz Willits September 13, 2016
Ready to drive more traffic to your website and get more leads? Use these 4 tips to write better content and grow your email list with your blog posts.
The following is a guest blog post from Martin Zhel, author at MailMunch and CEO and founder of Orior Creative. He helps startup companies grow their traffic, leads and revenue with the power of content marketing.
One of the great things about blogging is that it perfectly fits into so many other digital marketing strategies you might already have in place. And if you’re not yet using it to grow your email list and nurture an engaged community of readers, you could be missing out on some huge business opportunities.
According to a Hubspot study, B2B marketers who blog generate 67 percent more leads than those who do not. Sixty-seven percent!
So why does blogging help marketers get so many more leads? Well, there are three main reasons:
1) Blogging tends to generate high-quality traffic. People read your posts because they’re interested in the topic that’s presented. As a result, they are more likely to share that content, which can drive even more traffic to your site.
2) It can bring traffic to your site, even when you’re not doing anything. Once you optimize your posts with the right keywords and content, each blog post becomes a new page that is indexed by Google that could rank for new keywords – which can bring you more search traffic and new email subscribers for years.
3) The more blog posts you create the more traffic and leads you generate.
However, while blogging can be wildly effective, it can also be difficult to get great results. Some companies struggle to bring traffic to their blog, don’t write valuable blog content or fail to convert their blog readers into email subscribers.
But by following a few proven guidelines, you can avoid these blogging pitfalls. In my last six years working as a conversion optimization expert, I’ve learned the four key things you need to do to run a successful blog and grow an email list with blogging, which we’ll dive right into.
1. Create amazing pre opt-in content
HubSpot said this best, “If your blog content sucks, no one will want to become a regular reader.”
To ensure your readers will want to engage with your content, you need to bring value to your audience. After all, quality content will bring you loyal readership and more subscribers. The more relevant a blog post is, the more likely your readers will share it with others, which can drive even more traffic to your site – which will ultimately help you grow your email list faster.
To get the most out of your content, you should focus on the following:
Offer tons of value before you ask for the opt-in.
According to the reciprocity principle, when someone does something good for us, we feel obligated to do something back in return. In other words, when that person asks us for a favor, it becomes extremely hard for us to say “no.” And this can come in handy as you think about your blog and list building strategies.
So how can you apply the reciprocity rule to blogging?
All you have to do is focus on offering as much value as you can in your content. Create the most useful, detailed and action-oriented blog posts in your niche and your audience will love you.
Then, when they come across a sign up form on your blog, they’ll be much more likely to give you their email address so they don’t miss any of your valuable content.
Choose topics that solve big problems or achieve big goals.
To discover your audience’s big problems or goals, find out what matters to them.
To do this, start by conducting a little keyword research. This is a good way to begin as the monthly search volumes for each keyword show how much demand there is for a certain topic.
You can also survey and interview your customers (whether over the phone, in person at a conference or through social media) to find more about their challenges and goals. And if you have a sales and support team, be sure to collect information from them about the questions your customers ask – this can give you more insight into their concerns and needs.
You can also check community sites like Quora and Reddit, where you’ll learn the kind of questions your target audience is asking. For example, if you visit Quora, you can try typing in the main keyword that describes your service or product. Let’s imagine that this is “Link building.”
After doing a search on Quora for this keyword, you’ll see all the questions that people ask related to that topic in your search results.
Questions with more views, upvotes and comments tend to be more relevant and popular, so you can get a sense of common topics your target audience wants to learn more about. These popular questions can then be turned into or inspire a new blog post. For instance, looking at the search above you could decide to write a blog post called “Should You Buy Links?” or “Is Link Building Dead?”
Write high-quality, well-researched blog posts.
The goal of your blog posts should be to give the most valuable and detailed information on your topic.
To make this happen, your content should be actionable, not just theoretical. In other words, people must understand:
1) How to apply the information they’ve learned so they can get the same results.
2) The specific actions they need to take.
Be sure to support the points you make in your post with relevant case studies, statistics, research on the topic, etc. This brings more credibility to the statements you make in your blog post, which will encourage readers to implement the tactics you share.
You should also structure your content in a way that makes it easier for people to read. This means you should:
1) Use short paragraphs. Researchers for The Poynter Institute found that short-paragraph format encourages reading, whereas longer paragraphs discourage people from finishing a story.
2) Write short sentences. According to a research made by American Press Institute, readers understand more than 90 percent of what they’re reading when the average sentence length is 14 words. At 43 words, comprehension drops to less than 10 percent.
3) Eliminate fluff and get straight to the point. Be concise and get to the point in your writing. If you’re using words like very, little and rather in a sentence, make sure it brings value and adds meaning to your sentence. If not, it’s better to eliminate them.
4) Make your content easy to read and view. Since many people skim blog posts, be sure to organize your post so that it’s easy for them to do so. Use subheadings and bullet points to help break up your content, and include images that illustrate your points. In the top 100 highest ranking blogs on the internet, there is at least one image for every 350 words, according to a study by Blog Pros.
2. Offer the right type of lead magnet
Great lead magnets resolve problems or answer questions that are very important to your audience. Here are a few tips that’ll help you create lead magnets that answer your audience’s biggest questions:
Understand what people want to learn.
To understand what kind of lead magnet content your audience will want, you can use the same process I outlined above for finding a blog post topic. You can once again use surveys, interviews, sales/support calls and analytics tools.
Remember, your lead magnets must offer premium content. When people opt-in for them, they should feel like what you’re giving them is far more valuable than what they would find for free on your blog.
Create page-level targeting lead magnets.
Visitors come to your site for various reasons. Some want to learn more about how to grow their email list, while others want to know how to increase their traffic.
Since people are interested in different topics, you can’t convert all your visitors with the same offer. Instead, it is much smarter to create page-level targeting lead magnets based on the content of your pages. Just check out the following example.
By using a content upgrade (a lead magnet that is an expansion on the topic of your blog post), Backlinko managed to increase its conversion rates from 0.54 percent to 4.82 percent.
Writing a blog post on the top 10 tips to converting more website traffic? Offer a content upgrade that will give them the top 20 tips to converting more website traffic if they opt in.
You could even consider creating a different lead magnet for each main topic you cover on your blog, or even for popular new blog posts.
To create your page-level targeting offers, you can use a tool like MailMunch, which allows users to easily set up a new lead magnet for each blog post. You can use opt-in forms such as sidebars, exit popups, slide boxes, top bars and embedded forms.
3. Place your opt-in forms in the right places
Here are the places to put your opt-in forms in order to generate the highest conversion rates:
Add it to a blog post.
Backlinko is well-known for using a yellow box within his blog posts that promote content upgrades as a way to convert visitors into email subscribers.
The first time he implemented this strategy, he increased his conversion rates by 785 percent.
Before using the content upgrade, only two percent of people clicked on Brian’s side bar. So to improve that, he decided to create a post-specific resource for his top performing pages on the blog.
For example, the conversion rate for one of this blog posts was only 0.54 percent. To improve that he created a checklist for the post and placed it in a yellow box within the post. He also promoted the checklist at the end of the post.
The result was a 785 percent increase in conversions!
To learn how to implement the content upgrade for your blog posts as well, check out this guide by Backlinko.
Use exit-intent pop up forms.
Food craft blogger Nikki McGonigal found that her exit-intent popups drive 1375 percent more email subscribers than her sidebar.
An exit-intent pop up is less intrusive than a pop up that appears while your scrolling and it’s a good opportunity to get visitors to subscribe before they leave your site.
Try scroll box forms.
Buffer found that their scroll box is accountable for 36.7 percent of their sign ups, making it their best converting opt-in form.
Their scroll box appears on the lower right side of the screen when the user scrolls 60 percent down the page. This way, it doesn’t interrupt the experience of the visitor and only appears once the reader has engaged with the content.
Consider the top bar form.
A top bar is always visible at the top of a website. With its help, ProBlogger managed to increase conversion rates by 25 percent. The advantage of top bars is that no matter how far a visitor scrolls down, they can still see your call-to-action.
4. Promote your blog posts like crazy
The more people you drive to your blog posts, the more people you will convert into email subscribers.
It’s that simple.
So don’t rely on the “Publish and Pray” approach. Instead, spend the majority of your time promoting your blog post.
You can do that by:
Reaching out to influencers.
Reaching out to other influencers (bloggers, writers, etc.) is one of the best ways to promote your content.
If they like it, they’ll share it with their social media followers and link to you in their blog posts. As a result, you could get tons of social media, referral and search traffic.
To find influencers who might share your blog posts, you can use BuzzSumo. Just type a relevant keyword or phrase to find a list of influencers who you can filter based on reach, authority, influence and engagement.
Once you find relevant influencers, you can export your list and start reaching out.
Sharing it on your social media channels.
Share your content on all social media channels where you’re active, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Be sure to pick the right time to share your content. People may tell you there’s an optimal time to post on social media, but your audience might be different, so you should always use your own data.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to share your content more than once. According to Buffer, reposting your content on social media can get you far better results than sharing it just once.
Using content discovery platforms (such as Outbrain and Quuu).
These platforms will give you easy access to an audience that may find your content interesting.
For example, Quuu allows you to promote your content to influencers who will share it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. According to Jason Quey from TheStorytellerMarketer.com, he saw an increase of 116 percent in his Twitter traffic after using Quuu.
Ready to grow your email list from your blog?
As you can tell, there are a number of different ways in which you can grow your email list from your blog – and there are many tactics that didn’t make it to this post!
But as long as you focus on understanding audience’s needs, offer valuable content and create relevant lead magnets, you’ll be gaining new subscribers in no time.
Have other ideas on how to use your blog for list building? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!