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Happy Thanksgiving, and happy black Friday! I’m definitely not a huge fan of the crowds of black Friday, but shopping online is a wonderful way to avoid that, especially when it benefits your blog! This deal I’m extremely excited for, since the plugin I used to grow my email list by 450% is half price! Yep, 50% off Plugmatter, which is a huge, huge, huge deal.
First, let me tell you a bit about how Plugmatter changed my blogging life:
When I first started blogging, it was so difficult getting readers to subscribe to my blog. Getting someone’s email address and being able to deliver content directly to their inbox is so personal. I know I don’t give my email address away unless I really, really want to receive the information from that person/blog/store. I’m always the one at stores who says “no thank you” when they ask for my email address to send me coupons. I treasure my inbox–I don’t want it spammed.
I recognize this. I know that when you give me your email address and you subscribe to my blog, it’s a big deal. With that being said, I also know that growing your list is the most important marketing strategy you can utilize as a blogger. It’s not 100% certain that someone who “likes” you on Facebook will see your content, or someone that follows you on Instagram will be browsing at the time you post. What is certain is that a subscriber will open their inbox and see your post, right there. No matter what time of day they decide to check their email, your post will still be waiting there for them. That’s gold.
Why Sidebars and Pop-ups Don’t Work
So, let’s talk about tactics. When I first started blogging, I didn’t do anything to actively seek out subscribers or encourage them to follow me. I just had a “subscribe” box about halfway down the sidebar on the right. And do you want to know something? Barely anybody reads that sidebar. I had subscribers trickling in–maybe a few a month. Nothing substantial. I decided I needed to be proactive about it: I needed to be up in people’s faces (but nicely). I needed a fool-proof method on how to grow your subscriber list.
I read a few articles and heard a lot of great reviews about having a pop-up box that would appear about 15 seconds after someone opened my blog. So, I tried that using OptinMonster. I can’t rave about the usability of OptinMonster enough: It was super simple to set up and to personalize my pop-up. However, it still wasn’t producing the results I wanted. Although I was gaining a few more subscribers than before, it wasn’t nearly as much as I wanted. I know that when I’m reading an article and something pops up, I usually just “x” out of it quickly if I’m engaged in the article. I didn’t want that for my readers–I didn’t want them to have to be interrupted while reading my content.
What does actually work
So I deactivated my pop-up box and moved on to my next strategy which I learned about on Boost Blog Traffic. The new concept was a feature box, right at the top of every page of my blog. This way, the readers see it every time they come to my blog, but can easily scroll past it to read the post and then scroll back up to it if they want to subscribe. In the case of the pop-up, they couldn’t have it reappear when they were done reading the post, which was definitely a problem.
One hesitation I had when I was deciding whether or not I should add a feature box was that it would take away from the look and feel of my site. Did I want to have a pretty blog or did I want to see results? Well, I wanted both. I didn’t want to have an ugly blog with more subscribers, and I didn’t want to have a pretty blog with zero subscribers.
I knew there were ways to customize feature boxes to fit the look of your site, but if I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not very good at writing code. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to design something that I liked. Luckily, when I was researching ways to add feature boxes, I ran into the plugin, Plugmatter. Let me just go on record by saying that signing up for Plugmatter and adding a feature box to my site was hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in terms of growing my blog.
With Plugmatter, I was able to customize my box and make it look and feel the way I wanted it to look. This way, it looks pretty and it’s effective.
Okay, maybe “effective” isn’t a strong enough word. After I installed my Plugmatter feature box, my subscriber list grew by 450% in 7 days. And no, that is not a typo. 450%. I kept refreshing my subscriber list page every hour or so and the subscribers were just rolling in (still are). It was/is incredible. And a great thing about Plugmatter is that when someone subscribes to your blog, the feature box disappears for them–that way they can view your blog normally from there.
How to Create an Incentive
I do offer an incentive in my box, which is my free e-book, “Mastering Pinterest.” It does definitely help to offer an incentive–like I said before, emails are gold. You need to earn that gold. If you don’t know of what to offer, think of a problem your readers may have, or what they might want to learn how to do better. Readers love to learn. I love to learn. Everybody loves to learn.
Some ideas for a short e-book would be:
“How to do ______ in 7 days or less.”
“365 days of ______ motivation.”
“10 WordPress plugins every blogger needs.”
“5 ways to get more followers.”
Use numbers and statistics. It’s more enticing when you have something tangible. For instance, when I named this blog post, I didn’t want to just say “How to gain more subscribers.” I wanted you to know exactly by how much my subscriber list grew in the exact amount of time it grew in. Therefore you know that my method really does work.
If you need help brainstorming incentives or e-book ideas, I would be happy to help. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting Your Plan into Action
But I promise you, if you follow these steps, the subscribers will roll in:
1. Brainstorm incentives.
2. Narrow down and choose your incentive.
3. Create incentive.
4. Download and install Plugmatter.
5. Customize your feature box to fit your blog.
6. Activate Plugmatter and offer incentive.
That’s it! You could also market your e-book a bit on social media, which definitely helps. I marketed my e-book on Pinterest which brought a lot of new readers and subscribers my way.
But the main thing to remember is don’t be afraid to offer an incentive. Readers are on your blog because they’re already interested in what you have to say. That means, a lot of people are going to want to learn from you because they respect and admire your blog. Plus, they get all of the awesome information you’re going to offer them for free. And if you’re offering awesome information simply in exchange for an email address, believe me, you’ll get plenty of email addresses.
Yes, I know, it sounds to good to be true, right?! It’s not. I promise. It’s a fool-proof way to get email addresses, and here’s 50% off, just because I like you.
So, friends. Good luck! I want you to grow your blog, you want you to grow your blog, your fellow blog friends want you to grow your blog, etc. This is a fool-proof way of gaining more subscribers. Take the plunge. Customize your feature box and make it pretty. And then come back and tell me how awesome it is–I want to hear every single one of your success stories!