Instead of spending money on ads to get new subscribers, let’s talk about how you can grow your list organically and then turn them into paying customers.
Growing an email subscriber list is challenging. Promoting your newsletter with paid ads will help, but it can get costly. So, how can your business leverage the assets you already own to acquire customers, drive email opt-ins and monetize your audience?
If you have a blog with a steady readership, you’re halfway there. By producing blog content that your audience wants and needs, you’ll attract visitors from organic traffic. Once they’re reading your blog, you just need to convert them into subscribers.
Successful blogs understand their audience and use data to guide their content. By doing so, the content will be aligned with customer expectations, resulting in increased opt-ins. And once you have them, seize the opportunity to turn them into paying customers.
Sound good? Let’s look at how you can get more email opt-ins from your blog and then monetize subscribers to increase sales and your bottom line.
When your target audience is reading your blog, it means that they are interested in you. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to extend the experience.
By deploying the following tactics, you can maximize the potential of your own content efforts and acquire customers at a low cost.
Billions of searches happen on Google every day. Why not take advantage of this potential organic traffic with a blog that's optimized for search?
Optimized blogs will lead interested customers to your site on a consistent basis, exposing them to your brand and products. Since the readers are already interested in your content, you’ll want to find a way to encourage them to sign up to receive more related content by email.
Businesses drive organic traffic to their blog by building up their website’s domain authority and scaling their content marketing, fast.
You can quickly launch your blog using a tool like MailerLite or WordPress, and then start creating content like you’re a startup. In fact, I outline this entire process in my guide on how to start a blog.
In the guide, I discuss how immediately outsourcing some of your content production to good quality writers allows you to focus on growing your business rather than being stuck in the weeds writing.
Using tools like Wordable, you can automate and simplify the publishing process even further:
In addition to creating content, you need links from relevant websites pointing to your content. Your blog’s domain authority (DA) will increase based on the relevance of your articles and the number of backlinks you get to your articles.
Marketers can increase the number of backlinks they receive by reaching out to other blogs and asking to be featured, guest posting on other sites and publishing newsworthy content that is picked up by major online media sites and publications.
For more on measuring and analyzing your site’s backlink profile, be sure to check out this beginner’s guide to SEO which includes some of the best backlink tools to use.
Once you have visitors coming to your blog, it’s time to convert them into subscribers.
One easy way to do this is to offer a guide or case study as a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a branded long-form content asset that readers will get delivered to their inbox.
In the middle of your blog posts, you can leave a lead magnet with an email capture form right underneath.
For example, a lead magnet in this blog might be “The Complete Guide to Growing Your Email Opt-Ins.” It would expand on this topic by providing other tips outside of the blog-related ones you’d find in this post.
Once the reader submits their email address, they would receive a sequence of automated emails that included the lead magnet delivered to their inbox.
You have to provide tremendous value based on what your readers are interested in.
On my blog, if you go to my post on the best online business ideas, you’ll see my lead magnet that includes a 15-page WordPress blog launch checklist and a 7-day email series of 10,000 words in total.
How do you pick the right topic for your lead magnet? You need to create something that your customers want to consume and don’t waste your time on an asset that won’t convert.
Start by analyzing your various sources of customer data. This can include checking your Google Analytics dashboard to see which posts perform best. You can also look at what keywords your customers are using to find your site.
In addition, you could simply ask your existing customers through an email survey what type of content they’re interested in. With MailerLite’s embedded survey feature, you can include a survey in the body of the email, making it easier for customers to respond.
With this customer data, you can create meaningful lead magnets that your readers—and others who stumble onto your site—actually want.
Blogs should have opt-in forms natively integrated into their design. These forms capture interested customer email addresses from readers who consume the content on your site.
Most have a call-to-action (CTA) that invites the reader to input their email and opt-in to receive email communication and newly-published blog posts on a regular basis.
There are 3 common types of opt-in forms: Pop-ups, footer/sidebar and homepage forms.
Pop-up opt-in forms appear after a predetermined time or after the reader takes a specific action. For example, you could set up the form to appear after 60 seconds or as the reader moves their cursor near the top of the screen to exit out of their browser.
These pop-ups are effective and average a 3.09% conversion rate. By having them appear, they force the reader to take action—either by adding their email or closing the pop-up. If they’re enjoying the content and want more, they’ll be likely to add their email and subscribe.
For example, if you were reading GetVoIP’s blog post on what call screening is, you will see this exit intent pop-up if you move your cursor to exit the tab:
Exit intent pop-ups are great as a last chance to capture a user’s email address before they leave your page for good.
Google Analytics data on the time spent on your website and bounce rates can help indicate exactly when you should trigger your pop-ups if you choose to use them. A good rule of thumb is to take the average time spent on a page and divide it by two to get your pop-up trigger timing right.
These insights are helpful if you want to trigger different pop-ups at various times depending on the page’s content and viewership.
However, there are other non-invasive options that don’t interfere with the reader’s actions including sidebar/footer opt-in forms.
Most blogs add an embedded opt-in form in their sidebar, but PandaDoc adds one at the bottom of their post. For example, check out any of their posts and you’ll see their opt-in form at the bottom of the article. This strategy assumes that the readers who finish going through the entire blog post will be likely to sign-up for more.
Some businesses even put an opt-in form on their homepage or blog listings page, as MeetEdgar did in the example below. This acts as a CTA for those passively browsing the site’s content.
No matter which you choose, opt-in forms are the easiest way to build an email list and convert passive readers into active subscribers.
Reward your subscribers by promoting a private community filled with insights, new product updates, premium content, discounts, and more. You can advertise this above your email opt-in forms or even devote an entire blog post to it.
Hint Water promotes its subscriber-based community by inviting those who received a one-off email to “Subscribe and Save,” which is featured prominently at the bottom of each email.
In addition, they also have the “Refer a Friend” link, allowing current subscribers to type in a friend’s email to provide them both with a discount and entice them to sign-up.
Most blog posts include images, screenshots, videos, graphs and more. Marketers can add opt-in links or forms at the end of these multimedia assets in a natural, non-intrusive way.
Videos often end with a clickable CTA. Although creating video content can be time-consuming, you can also outsource professional corporate video production to ensure you’re presenting your brand in a positive light. Once completed, you can embed it in a blog post with a subscription link.
For example, Hootsuite concluded their “How to use Hootsuite” video in one of their posts with a CTA to join the Hootsuite Academy.
By clicking and adding their email, the reader would join Hootsuite Academy and opt-in for more Hootsuite emails including relevant content like videos, blogs, and reports delivered to their inbox.
Once you’ve increased the size of your email list, you should shift gears to figure out how you can use your email strategy to drive more sales.
An impactful email marketing strategy that makes money starts with engaging content that is both relevant and that is designed to eventually convert your readers.
While you may not be selling anything yet, you need to prime your email list for a future sale.
Email marketers can accomplish this by setting up an email nurture program. This is an automated series of emails featuring relevant content to move the prospect closer to a purchasing decision.
The content usually starts with high-level topics and slowly gets more product-specific as the sequence continues.
For example, you might set up a 6-email series that is sent to the prospect over three weeks. Each email will promote a different piece of content such as an infographic, video, blog post, report or whitepaper.
At the conclusion of the email sequence, you could send an email with a CTA or include a survey to better understand their struggles. Depending on what they choose in the survey, they could be automatically added to another email sequence that is relevant to their answers.
After your subscribers turn into customers, you’ll want to re-engage them with new content. To do so, you can send them an offer that will add them to a new email series with triggers.
Triggers can be built into your email sequences to dictate which content your subscribers receive. They can provide insight into what type of content your audience is seeking. This allows you to adapt your email marketing strategy and serve them content featuring topics that they are interested in as they head through the sequence.
For example, if someone opens one email and clicks on the CTA to view the content, they might receive another email in a few days with a different piece of content. If they don’t open the email, this might trigger the same email to be resent a few days later with a new subject line.
This can fast track your most loyal readers towards purchasing another product from you by giving them relevant content and meaningful CTA’s at a faster rate.
With the insights from your blog and email nurture programs, you can create a digital product that you can sell to your subscribers. Popular digital products include:
Guides: Prescriptive instructions that teach the customer how to do something.
Webinars: Online webinar tools allow you to sell products in live or recorded videos.
Reports: Data or research that covers a specific topic and can inform strategy.
Courses: Online classes that can be hosted on your website and watched on-demand.
These products can easily be packaged up into a PDF or hosted on your website behind a paywall. All you need is to use an e-commerce platform like Shopify or a hosting site like WordPress to get started. MailerLite integrates with both.
Once your product is live, you should promote it in the final email after your prospects are nurtured and ready to purchase.
When creating your email sequences, you should follow the challenger sales model to drive sales. This includes providing the reader with value, personalizing your messaging based on customer needs and always being in control of the sales process.
By nurturing prospects with relevant content, they should be intrigued by your offering when it gets pitched in the final email they receive.
Growing and monetizing an email list is not easy for entrepreneurs.
There are a handful of strategies you can use to increase the number of opt-ins you receive. Most of these revolve around leveraging owned assets like a company blog.
Start by optimizing your blog to increase organic traffic. Then, you can promote lead magnets, add opt-in forms, market a private community and add relevant CTAs to your featured media in order to increase your subscriber base.
As your email list grows, you can nurture your subscribers with multiple email sequences that are triggered by specific events. Once your prospects are ready to buy, you can sell them a digital product or online course by pitching it in the final email.
By performing these steps, you can grow your email opt-in list and monetize your subscribers at a minimal cost and in a short amount of time.