Ask any seasoned blogger and they will tell you that building an audience is just one of the many essential building blocks required for successful blogging.
Yep, without a loyal following of any kind, you will struggle to succeed as a 'ghost blogger'. So, there you have it, you've got to build your tribe, you've got to grow your audience first. End of post, thanks for reading...
Just kidding, it doesn't end here. Here's the thing:
Not just any old audience will do, you need an audience that's active and very much alive.
Before we dive deeper, let's define what a targeted and active audience is.
There are many ways to build a targeted and active blog audience. Here are some of those ways:
From the list above, by far the best way to build a loyal following for your blog is by building an email list.
Almost everyone has an email address and access to the web.
Sending out timely email newsletters is simply the best way to promote your blog content, announce special offers, announce new products, and promote your services directly.
The second best way to grow your blog audience, in my opinion, is by enabling web push notifications.
Web push notifications have a 90% open rate, considerably higher than email, (depending on industry).
We won't dive too deep into web push notifications in this post as I've already created a tutorial post here.
Yes, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and great platforms to use. Yes, you can grow followers on these too, but it's not that simple to do. Engagement can be pretty low on Facebook since it's a pay-to-play platform for businesses.
Instagram is definitely the place to be as the reach and engagement rate can be much higher than Facebook. If you're struggling with this, I recommend using a marketing calendar like CoSchedule to help you measure engagement across your social platforms.
OK, so, now that you understand 'building an email list' is the way to go, at least to start with, how do you get the right kinda people onto your email list quickly?
In other words:
How do you convert blog visitors into subscribers, faster?
I mean, you have a beautifully designed blog, your content is great, your offers are spot on. Your opt-in forms look great. How do you make people jump onto your email list and whatnot?
Let's find out below.
I'd like you to go and check your Google Analytics if you use it.
What you might notice is that your homepage will be one of the most visited, if not the most visited page on your blog.
Hopefully, I'm right.
In case you didn't know, the homepage can be used as a landing page rather than just a page to showcase your latest blog posts.
I was one of the early adopters of this. In fact, I began using my blog homepage as a landing page back in 2014.
Here is a snapshot of my blog homepage in 2014. I know, it was pretty lame.
OK, so before you go off and convert your homepage into a landing page, you need to know this:
To successfully converter visitors into subs from your homepage, you've got to do two very important things -
If you don't think it's imortant, that's OK. It's entirely up to you how you utilize your homepage. But, just take a look at what these top bloggers and entrepreneurs are doing on their homepage:
A) Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income Blog uses his homepage to clearly display his marketing message, as well as provide information about his offerings including an opt-in form to capture leads. See the image below.
Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker.com does exactly the same with his homepage. You can read what he does and what he's offering with a clear CTA button. See the image below.
OK, you've caught me out!
Here I am preaching about using your homepage to collect email subscribers and I don't even have this set up on my own blog.
I do have a CTA button that take visitors to a dedicated page where I can offer more. I have a list of the best articles that I recommend reading along with my products and email offers on a seperate page.
The bottom line is this:
If you want to convert more visitors into subscribers for your blog, you've got to let go of the old ways and embrace the new ways.
Create a custom homepage and add your marketing message and opt-in form, along with your compelling offer to get more sign-ups.
Don't forget to make it visually attractive too.
This is probably the most popular way used to capture email leads:
Building a dedicated signup page, or, build several of them and test them against each other.
Now you're probably scratching your head and wondering -
"Well, it's not that simple to create a signup page in WordPress."
It's 2022 almost, of course it's simple to do. That's what tools like Thrive Architect and Oxygen Builder are for. You don't need to hire a designer or developer to help you either.
The tool I wold recommend using the most is probably Thrive Architect. This is because it's user-friendly and you can also use the add-on plugin Thrive Optimize to do A/B split tests.
So, what are the benefits of creating and using a dedicated email signup page instead of just adding a form in your sidebar or footer?
Let's have a look:
The Thrive Architect plugin comes with many email landing page templates that you can use, tweak a little, and deploy. This will save you a ton of time creating one from scratch.
Another page on your blog that might be visited frequently is your about page. This means you can add your subscriber magnet to this page also.
I recommend adding several opt-in forms on your about page, perhaps one in the middle and one at the end.
Don't forget to add an image of your compelling offer too. Perhaps an eBook, webinar, free course, etc.
Thrive Leads is a complete email opt-in form and list building plugin you can use to create in-content opt-in forms.
As I mentioned earlier, creating a dedicated opt-in landing page allows you to remove any distractions such as menus and sidebars that could hurt your conversions.
Generally, you should try and do the same with the rest of your blog design and layout.
For instance, a lot of bloggers fill their sidebars, headers, and footers with too many options.
Things like ads, clickable banners, social media links, all contribute to lowering conversion rates.
My advice to you is to try and give your blog visitors fewer options and make one of those options to signup to your email list. After all, your goal is to convert them into subscribers, right?
Why the heck should anyone signup for your blog newsletter anyway?
Make it clear to your visitors 'why' they should.
Again, your message has to be clear and concise. It also needs to be compelling.
In addition to this, it's important to let your visitors know exactly what they're signing up for. They'll be asking themselves -
Let them know 'why'.
It could be -
People love ease of use.
When it comes to filling out online forms, no one likes to be bombarded with form fields and questions.
Create and use an attractive, clutter-free opt-in form. Usually, two or three entry fields are plenty enough, a 'name field' and an 'email field'.
Avoid things like tick boxes and CAPTCHAS. Unless, of course, they are essential, such as a Privacy tick box.
Once again, there's a fantastic plugin for WordPress that will help you design, build, and deploy clean and attractive email opt-in forms called Thrive Leads. This is the plugin I use for building my email list. It's part of the Thrive Suite membership so be sure to check it out.
Incentives can help you increase your opt-in conversion rate dramatically, especially if the offer is valuable, in-demand, and aligned with your business or goal.
Here are some examples of free incentives you could create to give away in exchange for email signups -
It is common knowledge that placing essential elements above the fold can help make offers more visible thus increasing conversions on a website.
Above the fold means everything that is visible in the window before a visitor has to scroll down to see the rest of a web page's content.
Consider placing your most valuable conversion elements, such as your marketing message and your incentivized opt-in form above the fold.
This should apply to both your homepage and other lead capture landing pages.
That being said, don't be afraid to add the same conversion elements below the fold too, because people do scroll, despite any myths you may have read about people not scrolling. Check out this post.
If you don't ask your readers to take action, you can't expect them to know or even remember what to do after they've read through your amazing content.
Use powerful 'action words' to get your readers motivated and to 'take action' to complete the signup form at the bottom of your blog posts, or anywhere else on your blog.
Make your action words inspiring too, don't just use basic words like 'Signup' or 'Join My Email List'. If you can, try out longer sentences.
Content upgrades are NOT being utilized enough by bloggers. They're not new, but boy can they be powerful.
Offering a content upgrade is essentially publishing a blog post on a topic, and then offering additional content and information on the same topic in the form of an upgrade.
To get access to the content upgrade, your reader must signup with their email address.
This is a very powerful way to literally explode your email list.
To learn more about content upgrades and how to create them correctly, check out this post.
You might have heard that email pop-up forms can boost email opt-in conversions, even though they can be quite intrusive. Well, you've heard right.
Pop-up forms can sometimes ruin a visitor's experience on your blog, especially if it keeps popping up every few seconds and is hard to close. I recommend using them but be smart about it.
Here are some tips:
Thrive Leads has a feature that lets you set how many times a pop-up form appears on your blog for a visitor and what triggers them. You can also create smartlinks so that subscribed visitors don't see the pop-up form when they revisit a page or post. Great for adding in your email newsletters.
Finally, if you have a footer section in your blog, make good use of it, don't let it go to waste.
Instead of just cluttering your footer with more advertisements, outbound links, and everything else that's considered a conversion killer, think about adding your signup form inside a small widget.
If you didn't want to make changes to your footer section, consider creating a sub-footer. A sub-footer is basically a section before your footer.
So there you have it, my top 11 tips for converting more of your blog visitors into loyal subscribers.
If you're not doing any of these, I highly recommend you get on the case and start implementing them right!
Enjoy and the very best of luck.