Web Success

How to Grow Your Blog’s Email and RSS Subscribers [Data]

Subscribers are the holy grail.Whether you’re a make money blogger or a business using blogging to grow–email subscribers are important any way you slice it.  We’ve all heard about best practices and the usual advice:  be valuable, present the opportunity often, offer a download, blah blah blah.  All great, but we’ve heard it all before.

What about data?  What about real-life experience? Taking a look at a cross-section of over 300 client files (mine and from the crowd behind Peas&Carrots Media), I’ve gathered some strategies that have worked extremely well.  After looking at the data, here’s what stood out:

Opportunity is everything.

Data: 82% of clients who presented multiple opportunities (placement) for subscription had a higher level (quantity) of subscription than those that had only one.  In many cases, the higher level was double or more.

Present the opportunity for subscription and present it often.  In other words, do not have one place (the sidebar) as your only opportunity for subscription.  Obviously there is such a thing as overkill.  In our client work, strategic placement of 2 or more subscription opportunities increased subscription significantly.

Context is king.

Data: In 100% of the client files (yes, 100%) subscription offers in context improved subscription levels.  Context included:

  1. Subscription offers in context of the topic of content being consumed (example, customizing the free offer to the topic of content on individual blog posts, HubSpot does this very well).
  2. Subscription offers in context of the type of content being consumed (example, exclusive video download offered on video blog posts or a free MP3 series offered to podcast subscribers).

Placement matters.

Data: Of clients who had 2 opportunities for subscription on each blog post–sidebar and in blog post--76% experienced double the subscriptions from the in blog post opportunity than the standard sidebar box.  In cases where the client had an additional feature box, the in blog post opportunity still performed best.

Part of this tells the story of context.  For bloggers it makes sense, after a reader experiences a blog post, what better opportunity for subscription than at the end of a post, with a relevant offer to the topic of the post?

Value seals the deal.

Data: In 74% of the client files analyzed those that offered multiple part and/or exclusive offers (with or without download) experienced a significantly higher amount of subscriptions than those that did not.

Although value is in the eye of the beholder, it really means–in comparison to your competitors and other offers how does your’s stack up?  Are you offering real value or a download for the sake of an email address?

For example, in split-testing most of my clients experienced increased subscriptions to their email list when they offered content that was not published on their blog, available exclusively to subscribers.

In other cases, clients who offered downloads that included kits or multiple parts, such as audio series, ebook plus videos (etc) experienced much better subscription conversions than those that did not.

Lessons learned.

When you’re thinking about how to grow your subscribers, ask yourself:

What would my readers find truly valuable and howwhere and when do I make my offer to increase my subscriptions?

It’s never just a matter of creating an offer and adding to your blog.

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