So you want to get more people to sign up for your newsletter. Makes sense. When you’ve got a newsletter, who wouldn’t want to have as many eyes reading it as possible?
However, we all know getting people to sign up for your email newsletter can be tough. Here are some tips to help you increase the percentage of your visitors who sign up for your newsletter.
Content is key
Invest in your content to make it the very best you can offer. This means hiring writers who tell stories that hook readers, working with professional designers to create unique visuals, and being willing to outsource anything you’re not 100% confident you can do an amazing job at yourself.
Always be careful of maintaining 80:20 text to image ratio in your email newsletter in order to improve engagement.
The other part of making your content the best as it can be, is making it as relevant to your target audience as possible. In some cases, this can mean writing about something that’s tangentially related to the product you sell, but that’s more engaging to your readers.
For example, let’s say you’re a personal injury lawyer. You represent people who are injured in car accidents and help them win settlements to get the money they need for their medical bills and other losses. You could publish content about benchmark cases in your state and the nuances of the Federal Tort Claims Act, but that’s gonna bore your prospective clients to tears.
For you, the best content to publish would be content that helps them understand their cases better, like blog posts that break down the steps in filing a personal injury claim or explain how to interact with insurance providers to avoid hurting their cases.
Using another example, say you’re a gardening supply store.
You could put out content that discusses the chemical reactions that happen in the soil and within plant tissues, but this kind of content might be too scientific for the average reader. More accessible content might be tips on how to pest-proof a garden or ways to rescue plants that show signs of distress.
Of course, you might be looking for sign-ups from the kind of reader who wants the legal jargon or the chemistry lesson. If that’s the case, publish the type of content they’re after. Effective content marketing is all about knowing your audience, and knowing your audience is key to increasing your newsletter subscriptions.
A few ways to determine who’s reading your content and why are:
- Reader surveys
- Specific pages’ bounce rates and time spent on them
- The devices used to view your content
- What time of day and which days of the week your content is most popular
- Engaging with readers in comment sections and on social media
If you’re promoting your content on social media, built-in analytics tools can be very helpful in identifying your audience and creating reader personas. Then, market your content with that core audience in mind.
Give readers an incentive to sign up for your newsletter by utilizing gated content. Gated content means you have placed a piece of desirable content – such as a discount, an ebook, or a webinar – behind a gate. Visitors must provide their email in order to open the gate. It’s a win-win, since readers get the content they want, and you get more email signups for your newsletter.
There are a few different kinds of gated content you can offer, like:
- Exclusive downloads
- Sneak peeks at new blog posts, podcasts or videos
- White papers
- Email series
- Exclusive discounts and deals
Here’s an example of gated content on Backlinko’s website. Visitors are asked to provide their email in order to receive a checklist that shows readers how to tap into the 10 most important SEO ranking factors.
Make sure the gated content you offer is content your readers will actually want. When we first experimented with gated content at 99designs, we offered a free, 5-day brand identity course. We placed the gated download for this course on branding-related blog articles. By pairing the brand identity course with our articles on branding, we were able to double the number of emails netted, since the gated content matched readers’ intent.
But when we tried pairing our brand identity series with articles on logo design, we saw no difference in the number of sign-ups we got. Make sure the gated content you’re offering is close to the content you’re using to promote it.
Experiment to see what sticks
This is really the only way to find out how you can increase your newsletter sign-ups. Nobody’s going to sign up for your newsletter just because you tell them to, and you can’t expect to copy someone else’s strategy step-for-step and expect the same results. You have to be willing to experiment with different email capture methods.
Be scientific with your experiments. By that we mean – establish a control, experiment with different strategies, and measure everything. For example, if you’re testing different email capture modules, you may want to look at bounce rate, sign-up rate, page views, and time spent on page. You can also look at how far readers scroll on your pages and the devices your readers are using to view your content. Experiment with your newsletter email design while sticking to brand guidelines.
There’s a lot you can extrapolate from this data. In our case, we wanted to know our readers’ “annoyance rate.” This was the percentage of readers who navigated away from blog pages when they saw our pop-up email captures. So we A/B tested placing the pop-up module at different points on the page, and from that extrapolated the best placement for our email capture.
When it comes to collecting data, you don’t have to get fancy. Google Analytics measures all of your site’s important metrics like your bounce rate and how long users stay on your pages. If you think you need more comprehensive data collection and analysis, try using lead generation services like OptinMonster or Growlabs.
According to online marketing expert Neil Patel, you should make subscribing to your newsletter as simple and obvious as you possibly can to increase sign-ups. A few strategies he suggests are:
- Making the subscription button absolutely impossible to miss. Make it a color that contrasts with the rest of the images on your pages, or see if animating it when the user mouses over it or clicks it increases your conversions.
- Pre-fill fillable forms. Again, make it obvious exactly what they’re for and how they work.
- Use an email capture that requires as few clicks as possible. If readers can enter their email addresses without leaving the page they’re on, more of them are going to share their emails with you.
Keep what works and throw out what doesn’t
You can only collect valuable data by trying out a few different strategies. Don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work – knowing what doesn’t resonate with readers is as valuable as knowing what does.
Have fun with your newsletter. Readers like fun. But keep it relevant to their interests and needs. And don’t be afraid to ask them directly what they want to see from you. Readers who value your content and want to see more of it – the audience you want signing up for your newsletter – will readily tell you what they think of your content and what they’d like to see from you.
Brea Weinreb is Marketing Specialist at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together. Prior to 99designs, Brea worked for one of UC Berkeley’s nonprofit museums doing email marketing and community outreach. Connect with Brea and the rest of the 99designs team on Twitter.