Email subscribers are your protection from Google.
Even Brian Clark agrees with me on that one.
Your email list is a group of readers who have chosen to get information from you. They want to hear from you, and you want a large email list that is full of potential clients or customers.
But how do you gain more email subscribers?
You already have so many ongoing content marketing tasks. When it comes to growing your email list, which methods work and which ones are a waste of time?
In this post, I’m going to share five writing strategies I use on my blogs and online advertising campaigns that always lead to more subscribers.
They work for me, and I think they’ll work for you, too.
You can review these techniques whenever you write new content.
1. Use time-sensitive language
Marketers have been using time-sensitive language forever. It works in both print and online media.
Human beings are wired to avoid loss. We have evolved with a whole system of chemical rewards that teach us to avoid missing food, shelter, water, etc. When you apply that concept to your email list promotion, you may see big dividends.
Facebook wizard, Amy Porterfield, uses this to great effect when promoting her webinars and other time-sensitive offers. She mentions that spaces are finite and they fill up fast — motivating people to act.
If you can incorporate time-sensitivity into offers that require people to sign up to your mailing list, you’ll see a huge boost in numbers.
It’s important to note that it’s unethical (and in some countries illegal) to have a time-sensitive offer unless you actually do have a time limit on it. The same goes for closing a sale and opening it up again the next week.
Never mislead your readers.
2. Tell unusual stories
When I changed my About page from the usual “my site is about this and that” to one that told my story in a slightly different way, I saw signups increase from around three percent to over six percent.
In an online world where standing out from the crowd is more important than ever, stories set you apart and create an initial connection with a new reader.
Even extremely dry topics (like reviews or tech-talk) can be spiced up with stories about how you were feeling, what you were doing, how you use something in your daily life, etc.
Michael from VSauce (see the video below) has built one of the most popular YouTube channels in the world by combining science with historical stories.
Why can’t high school teachers do this?!
Sonia Simone is an absolute master at teaching us how to be better storytellers.
3. Include social proof in a natural (real) way
Social proof shows people that others have gone before them.
Humans don’t like being first. It’s scary.
But people often integrate social proof online in a clumsy and fake-sounding way. You need to incorporate it into your landing pages and sales pitches in a way that makes people feel like they’re encountering something valuable.
Have a look at how Copyblogger does this on their Authority sales page:
We built Copyblogger Media with online content and smart copywriting — and without venture capital, advertising, or an outbound sales team — into a thriving company with over 100,000 customers. We’re one of the few who can honestly claim we got here by purely practicing what we teach.
They show you both the story and the proof. Demonstrate social proof, but make sure it’s natural and completely targeted to your pitch/audience.
James Chartrand from Men with Pens does this effortlessly on her About page. She displays client feedback below the introduction to her team.
The combination simultaneously helps people overcome their objections and shows factual social proof.
4. Draft individual landing pages and test them
Most bloggers know they need email subscribers, but they only provide opt-in forms in their sidebars.
That is a huge mistake.
Don’t leave anything to guesswork. Run at least a few A/B tests — especially for landing pages — to see whether or not your favorite online marketing practices actually pay off.
Barack Obama raised over $60 million by tweaking some of his.
Instead of just sticking a form in your sidebar, develop a single-column landing page for each specific offer you have. You can then direct social media promotions to these individual pages and test them with a service such as Visual Website Optimizer.
I develop different landing pages for different events, offers, or even segments that I want to target; I send readers to content tailored for their needs.
5. Write for people and search engines
Experts often tell you not to write for search engines.
It’s just not true.
You need to write for both search engines and people if you want to maximize your conversions. Why is this the case?
Well, take a basic keyword such as the word “medium.” Now, this is an interesting example because there is a new blogging platform called Medium, but the word “medium” also means “middle” and a “spirit-medium” — someone who mediates communication between spirits of the dead and other human beings.
If you write a blog post targeting the keywords “medium blog,” you might get a lot of traffic from people searching for spirit guides when you actually wanted to target folks looking for articles on the Medium platform.
If you don’t know how search engines work, and you don’t write for them, you will potentially get a lot of wasted traffic.
You need to target the keywords that bring the right people to your blog — because the right people on the right page are far more likely to choose to sign up so they can receive more content from you.
Now over to you …
How do you experiment with your writing to drive more email subscriptions? Has anything you tried worked particularly well? (Or not worked at all?)
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Shandi-lee Cox.
Editor’s note: If you’d like to learn more about the connection between blogging and email marketing, we recommend Beth Hayden’s post 8 Smart Ways to Combine Blogging with Email Marketing for Best-Selling Success.