I know some of you may be sick of me writing about how to grow your blogs’ email lists. Well, there’s a reason why I keep hammering on this topic. It’s because growing your email list is the single best way to increase your traffic over time. It is far, far easier to keep a reader coming back to your blog again and again than to keep trying to find new readers. If you’re not building an email list, then you’re really missing out on that repeat traffic and building a relationship with your readers.
Building your list is even more important in the wake of Facebook and Pinterest’s recent algorithm changes. Here’s why: You control your list! You own your list! Facebook and other social media channels can and do change their rules at any moment, so if you depend on them for traffic, then you are at their mercy. I’ve learned this firsthand after Facebook recently changed how it shows posts in its news feed. Facebook had been my top traffic generator, but now it isn’t even in my top 3 traffic sources. Despite this, my traffic is still growing most months, and part of that is because I’ve committed to growing and nurturing my email list.
I sometimes see bloggers in Facebook groups who complain that they can’t qualify for certain affiliate programs or ad networks or can’t get top dollar for sponsored posts because their traffic is too small. Invariably when I click over to their blogs, I can see why they’re having issues. They either don’t have an email list at all, their sign-up forms aren’t prominent on their blog, or they aren’t giving visitors a reason to hand over their email address. This post addresses that last reason.
People are bombarded with email these days, and while you may think signing up for your “newsletter” is incentive enough, the average person doesn’t want to add yet another newsletter to their inbox. That’s why you have to give readers a reason to hand over their email address. You need an incentive!
Incentives come in all forms. An ebook is the most traditional, but please don’t get hung up on the idea that you have to write a book in order to grow your blog’s audience. That’s just not the case! In fact, I would actually advise against doing an ebook because it’s so time consuming, and I suspect a lot of people don’t read them anyway.
There are lots of other kinds of incentives that can easily be put together in an afternoon or a day or two. My own incentive is a simple, 3-page PDF report. It’s been extremely successful in helping me to build my list – primarily because it addresses a NEED within the fibromyalgia and ME/CFS community.
If you know anything about fibro or ME/CFS, then you know how difficult these conditions are to treat. People are desperate to find relief from their pain, fatigue and other symptoms. The title of my incentive is “There’s an effective drug for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS that your doctor may not know about.” The title works because it’s a promise that subscribers are going to receive the name of a treatment that may help them. This simple report has helped me build my email list to almost 10,000 subscribers because it helps my readers solve a problem they’re experiencing … they’re looking for something to stop their symptoms. My report gives them an emerging treatment option to share with their doctor.
When you’re thinking about creating an incentive, identify the most common problems faced by your blog readers, and then use your incentive to address one of those problems!
Below I’ve listed some links with ideas on different types of incentives to get your creativity flowing:
Successful Blogging: 6 lead magnets that will skyrocket your email list
GetResponse: 19 ideas for killer lead magnets
Blogging Wizard: How to create a lead magnet and grow your email list faster
And here are some past posts that I’ve done on list building for those who are new or may have missed them: