Writing email newsletters is one of my favorite things to do with this blog. I look forward to finding topics to share or answering a reader question. And I love giving away goodies, from children’s books to printables to email subscribers.
They’re the ‘royalty’ among readers.
When I started blogging, I didn’t know what an email list was for or how to start one. I added an RSS feed using Feedburner, sending an email when I’d post something new.
Only when I made it a point to increase email subscribers and nurture this group did the list grow. Best of all, I began looking forward to writing it.
So, how do you get newsletter subscribers? I’ll share the different ways I’ve been able to grow—and keep—my email list.
How to get email subscribers:
Create great content.
Your email list will only grow if you have fantastic content to share. Building an email list starts with your content. Fine tune that first before you can expect any noticeable growth with your list.
Offer a can’t-miss incentive.
In the early days, I thought people would sign up for the email list if I wrote: “Sign up so you never miss a post!” or “Get the latest news!”
These days, it’s a given that newsletters will share your latest news. When people can go to your blog to check for updates, you don’t leave them with much incentive to sign up.
Instead, offer a fantastic incentive. Send your readers a high-value digital product in exchange for their email. And make sure your incentive is awesome since it’ll be your first introduction to your reader.
On this blog, subscribers get a 28-page ebook. I re-wrote it, had it edited, then added even more content and editing. And I hired a book cover designer. I wanted to offer email subscribers something valuable.
Place your opt-ins effectively.
I recently browsed through a blogger’s site trying to look for her email sign up but never found it. I knew she had one, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Don’t keep your email opt-ins buried. These are the best places to put your opt-ins:
- On a top bar
- A pop-up
- On your sidebar
- Below every post
- On its own landing page
- Within the content
- On your ‘about’ page
Use a reliable email provider.
Like I mentioned, I had used Feedburner in the early days of the blog. Don’t go this route. I don’t even know if it’s around anymore, but don’t rely on an RSS feed as your email list (it’s not).
Instead, sign up with an email provider. I started off with Mailchimp, which offers a free membership up to a certain threshold. I like Mailchimp’s interface and reporting. I’d see which links people were clicking on, as well as my top email subscribers.
I’ve since moved on to ConvertKit, which offers the features I wished Mailchimp had. Just letting you know, if you sign up with ConvertKit through these links, I get a commission at no cost to you.
That said, I’m a paying customer of ConvertKit and can’t recommend it highly enough. For instance, ConvertKit lets me have landing pages like these:
I can also add my opt-in box below every post and customize which incentive I want to include below it. And since it’s in ‘regular text,’ the emails go into people’s inboxes, not in spam or promotion. The interface for writing the emails is so easy and simple:
I also have a separate segment for Parenting with Purpose email subscribers. These are folks who sign up to get more info about the book as well as free chapters. Except I don’t want to just send them all the info and chapters in one massive email.
With ConvertKit, I can set up ‘courses’ where I send mails in a scheduled series. A subscriber will get the bonus chapter immediately, then chapters 5, 9 and 13 the next four days.
I also use their automation feature. After folks get the free chapters, they’ll get the regular SSBE newsletter:
As you can see, I highly recommend ConvertKit. If you have any questions about them, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!
Test your opt-ins.
See which forms perform best by testing them. For instance, I installed Sumome’s ‘Welcome Mat.‘ So far, that’s performing better than the pop-up I used to have.
You can also test your message, the text on your button, and its placement. Make sure your button is specific and actionable and not just ‘click here.’
Redirect new commenters to your email landing page.
Download Yoast’s Comment Redirect plugin. When a reader comments on your blog for the first time, the plugin will redirect her to any page on your blog. I have mine set to my email landing page. Try it out now and leave a comment 🙂
Offer different incentives.
Once you’ve got that fantastic incentive, create new ones as well. My regular incentive is Time Management Strategies. I also give away the bonus chapter of Parenting with Purpose.
Create incentives for your main categories. I plan to create incentives for parents of twins, for instance.
Boost your incentives on Facebook and Pinterest.
Once you’ve created your awesome incentive, create a post on Facebook and pay to boost it. I did this recently when I came out with the updated Time Management Strategies. Also, create a pin and promote it on Pinterest.
Write in a conversational tone.
One of the reasons I love writing newsletters is because I write like I’m talking to a friend. I do the same on the blog, but more so in emails. It’s the ‘behind the scenes’ chat I like to have with subscribers.
Also, tell stories about yourself. Again, something to do on the blog as well, but more so on your emails. Share cool things you found or tips you’d want to tell your own friends.
As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, I love my email subscribers. And it seems the feelings are mutual. I recently asked a few readers to give me feedback on the newsletters, and this is what they said:
“The newsletter is a bite size round-up of parenting tricks and tips for the gentle parent who tries but knows it’s okay to be human too.”
“Love the concise but explanatory advice. They are super easy and fast, but the core ideas of the recommendations, when answering a reader’s question, are rock solid (and gentle!) parenting advice.”
“I seriously love your newsletter, which I have recommended to so many people.”
See what the fuss is about and sign up right here. And of course, you’ll get Time Management Strategies free when you sign up:
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Do you feel overwhelmed balancing the needs of your family and your role as a mom? Struggling to find the time to get everything done? Get organized with a FREE copy of my ebook, Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom!