List Building for Bloggers Phil Hollows@phollows
What You’ll Learn Today Why email is more relevant today than ever before. How to build a better list, faster. How to make your mailings more effective and engaging. There will be “Tweetable Tips” Please tag with #BWENY #LBB
About Phil Hollows Author of “List Building for Bloggers” e-book. Founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the premium FeedBurner alternative. FeedBlitz sends: ~1 BILLION updates a year on behalf of more than 160k lists for over 72,000 bloggers FeedBlitz gets your word out via email, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and IM. Clients include: Seth Godin, Money Saving Mom.
Why isn’t Email Dead in the Age of Social Media? Email is the most powerful, effective and relevant subscription option that exists today.
Are you Wasting your Blog’sMost Precious Resource? “I get ten times more response to my blog from my email subscribers than I do from anyone else.” Seth Godin#LBB #BWENY
You can’t Afford to Ignore Email Everyone online has at least one email account. Email readers typically outnumber RSS readers 3:1 or better Hubspot said 12:1 in 2009! Email subscribers are more committed to you. It takes work to join a list! CAPTCHAs to prove your human. Dual opt-in to verify your address. Remember: You are not your audience.
Email Subscriptions are Better for You Full branding. Activity tracking. Committed subscribers.
Email is an Essential Part of Hub and Spoke Content Marketing While all the other elements of your work are important and probably cooler than email… … if Google went away tomorrow, what would keep your blogging business alive? Your list
So What’s the Problem? Plugins, widgets & social media tools have made hundreds of thousands of us accidental email marketers. And we’re messing it up. #BWENY #LBB
Easy Tips to Grow Your List Faster The keys to email marketing success are permission, relevance and timeliness. #LBB #BWENY
Make it Easy to Subscribe Is it easy to find your subscription form? Is it on every page? Do visitors have to scroll? How many clicks before they enter their email? Is it linked to by an inscrutable icon? Does it appear after less popular subscription methods? Remember, you are not your audience!
Don’t Do This… The email icon is after RSS Even though RSS is unfamiliar. The email icon is unclear. Mail me? Subscribe? Forward to a friend? There’s at least one extra click to get to the form.
Better, But… The email icon is now the first to be seen. Put the most popular, accessible method first. But it’s still ambiguous. There’s still a click needed to get to the subscription form.
Best! There is no ambiguity. There is a concrete call to action. There are zero clicks to get to the form. Other sharing options remain.
Power Tip #1Make your Subscription Form Visible Move it “above the fold.” Don’t hide it with a confusing email or RSS icon. Count the pages to visit before entering the email address. Get that down count to ZERO. Don’t skimp on proving permission. Subscribe to your own mailings.
Power Tip #2Enable SM Cross-Promotion Add social media options to your mailing. Facebook tips: Add your email service’s Facebook app to your Pages. Ask for subscriptions when you post. Make sure “email to a friend” is enabled.
Power Tip #3Add Incentives Reward subscribers for joining your list. Make the reward visible! Ensure your incentive is relevant. Use an autoresponder or custom landing page to deliver the reward. Reward current subscribers with bonuses to help with retention.
MoneySavingMom.com Example The incentive is prominent: Above the banner! It’s highly relevant to the site’s audience. It takes subscribers straight to the CAPTCHA page. Post activation pages take the new subscriber back to the site. Net list growth has doubled with this incentive.
Power Tip #4Make the Most of Offline Events Create a sign-up sheet for your seminars. When you exchange business cards, ask if you may add to the list. Use QR codes to link to event pages and subscription forms. Add links to printed collateral, t-shirts etc.
There are NO Shortcuts Don’t add subscribers who didnot give you their explicit permission. Don’t bury permission in terms of service etc. Don’t import from a list you don’t own. Not from your spouse, BFF or CEO. Don’t import from an unrelated list you do own. Never, ever, EVER buy lists. They will contain spam traps. You will be blacklisted. Don’t spam your LinkedIn contacts. Bottom line: If you’re not sure, don’t. The instant you add *just one* email address to your list without permission, you are a SPAMMER.#LBB #BWENY
Improving Engagement Or 100,000 subscribers doesn’t count for squat if only your mother is opening your emails.
Open Sesame Build compelling subject lines and copy. Reinforce your brand. Write for the three different reader types. Be imperative with your calls to action. Repetition works. Subscribe to your own email updates. If you don’t like what you get, your subscribers probably won’t either. #LBB #BWENY
Power Tip #5Use Compelling Copywriting Use direct, imperative calls to action. Reduce choices to reduce reader confusion. Write short, SEO-friendly titles and subject lines. Accommodate different reader types: Have at least one image per post for visual readers. Use headlines for scanners. Fulfill the subject line’s promise.
Subject Line Hints & Tips:Neuromarketing Nasty out performs nice. Don’t ask for the order. Tell them to give it to you. Low numbers work well, especially odd ones. Be urgent Buy now, do it today, immediate download! Use (but don’t abuse) the all-time classics: “You are not alone” “Did you get it?”
Power Tip #6Check Your Branding and Design Make your “From” name and address be what subscribers expect. Don’t be redundant in your subject line. Keep subjects short. 35 characters for mobile phones! Test in gmail, with & without images enabled. Fix problems with, or avoid using: CSS, background images, positioning Image descriptions, light text on dark backgrounds Text to image balance
Unsubscribes are a Form of Engagement Don’t ignore unsubscribes. Someone saying “goodbye” is still telling you something. It feels personal, but it most likely isn’t. Spikes in unsubscribe and complaint rates may indicate: You’re losing relevance. You’re mailing too often. You’re mailing too little.
Engagement Killers Broken images. Boring content. Burying the lead. Ignoring the mobile audience. Over-reliance on video and images. Over-mailing. Under-mailing.
Intermission Who’d like a T-Shirt?
CAN-SPAM: Required Irrelevance CAN-SPAM compliance is a legal requirement. But it’s irrelevant for deliverability and inbox placement. Being CAN-SPAM compliant does not mean your email isn’t spam. But it’s the ISPs who decide where your email goes. The primary driver is sender (IP) reputation. Reputation is based on complaint rates, bounce handling and history. Content filters come much later. CAN-SPAM compliance is not a criteria used by receiving ISPs. If you use a reputable email service and always use dual opt-in, you should have no problem getting email to the inbox. #LBB #BWENY
Engaging the New Subscriber Autoresponders and well-planned landing pages make the most of your new subscriber’s enthusiasm. #LBB #BWENY
Power Tip #7Set Up an Autoresponder Define your new subscriber mailing sequence: Thanks for subscribing. Here’s a special offer for new subscribers. Check out our top ten most popular posts. Survey: How do you like the site? Here are the first three chapters of my e-book Join the e-book affiliate program. … At a minimum, say “Thank you for subscribing.” End the series with a reward for staying with it.
Power Tip #8 Spiff Up your Landing Page Thank them! Deliver any sign-up reward / incentive. Offer more subscriptions to other content. Add links to your best / most popular posts. Ask for referrals. Test and optimize.
Multi-List Strategies Simple subscriber self-selection for content, location and schedule preferences reduce churn and complaint rates. #LBB #BWENY
Choice is Good Multi-list strategies reduce churn. Subscribers self-select into a list that is right for them. They’re therefore much less likely to leave it. It’s easy to build multiple lists from a blog: Use tags and categories to focus content. Use multiple schedules to accommodate recipient preferences. Make these choices available on the sign-up form.
More from MoneySavingMom.com Over 100 different lists. Some filtered by topic. Some filtered by schedule. Some filtered by content. All built from the same blog.
Power Tip #9Diversify with Multiple Lists Offer different schedules for the same content. e.g. Express, daily and / or weekly digests. Offer content-specific lists. Decide how to offer them to readers. Do you have user-driven searches and feeds? Offer email subscriptions for search results via API. Add the lists you create to your landing page.
What Next? Make the easy changes first. You’ll be wasting your time on other tasks otherwise. Pace yourself. It can feel overwhelming, especially if there’s lots to do. Take one task at a time, one day at a time. Test! See how each change works for you. See if you can improve, tune and tweak. Don’t be afraid to roll a change back if it doesn’t work. Please let me know how you get on!
List Building for Bloggers THANK YOU! Questions? Comments? Step Up! You’re more than welcome to chat with me here at the conference too. email@example.com @phollows
List Building for Bloggers Thank You! FeedBlitz.com/bweny11