Getting Your First Email Subscribers and What to Do with Them

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Getting Your First Email Subscribers and What to Do WIth Them

Today we’re introducing the newest member to Project Pivotal! If you’re on my email list, you’d know that I’m making great changes to Project Pivotal. By bringing in one more person, we can start to release fine tuned content on a weekly basis!

Without further ado, this is Wesley! He is a web developer and designer, specializing in full stack development, but he is also a newbie to the blogging scene! That’s why I knew it’d be great to bring him on board because he can share all of his experience, as a beginner, with all of you guys.

Alright everyone, Travis signing out, enjoy the article!

A lot of new bloggers are reluctant to create a newsletter. I for one was actually really scared to. I honestly had no clue what my emails would be used for, or how to even write a proper email that provides any value.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t really know what a newsletter was. I mean, I’ve seen newsletters from major clothing stores. But I wasn’t sure why I would need such an email.

So let me share what I’ve learned about newsletters.

Straight to their Inbox

The truth is, every online business should have an email newsletter, but what are they for?

Newsletters allow businesses to connect with their customers, their audience, their users, etc.

People that are interested in what you have to offer will sign up for your newsletter because you have something that gives them value. Not only that, but it allows you to communicate with your viewers on a more personal level!

If you really wanted to, you could send personal emails to each subscriber to ask how they’re doing or ask for feedback! Take it from Pat Flynn, an entrepreneur, but more importantly a family man. He was laid off back in 2008 from an incredible career at an architectural firm and was in a bind because he was soon to be married. Fortunately, he was able to create an online business for himself which has now become a staple in the blogging community.

In the article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter and Email List,” Flynn says,

“It’s a great way to communicate with your audience on a more personal level. There’s just something about receiving an email from somebody that makes it extremely effective at getting a point across, or making people take some kind of action.”

In my opinion, communicating with my subscribers is a huge motivator. Knowing that they’re interested in my content and willing to take time out of their day to help me make it better is something that is taken for granted way too often. That’s why here at Project Pivotal we try to respond to every comment, every email, and every tweet.

But we also know that getting those first few subscribers is a lot of work! That’s why we’ve put together some of our greatest techniques on growing your list that’ll work for any blog. To kick things off, we’ll discuss content.

Content is King

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, “Content is King.”

In a lot of ways that’s true, but it isn’t the quantity that makes it so valuable. Creating epic content that solves a problem is what makes it king. If it solves someone’s problem, chances are that they’ll likely subscribe to your email list.

In the article, “5 Reasons Why Content is King,Teagan West, head of marketing and customer acquisition at Scrunch, a company that developed an incredible mobile application that allows you to search through millions of pieces of content, blogs, and it allows you to manage and analyze influencer campaigns, says that,

“Instead, a focus on creating unique, high-quality and utterly authentic content that is entertaining, useful and interesting for consumers will get you the crown. From text, video and imagery to infographics, surveys, webinars and podcasts, whatever your preferred content medium is, ensure it is shareable and relevant to your industry.”

Epic content is very time consuming, at first, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

You could spend 30+ hours on creating an in depth guide on a topic, distribute it, promote it, and watch it bring in hundreds and hundreds of visitors to your site, here’s a guide on how to do exactly that.

However, there’s a few of critical pieces of content that need to be included in your article. To name a couple you definitely need,

  1. Influencer quotes
  2. Visual elements (images, SlideShare, infographics)

Adding in just those 2 factors will increase the quality of your content drastically.

The influencer quotes will increase credibility, proving that you know how to do your research and showing that you’re taking the time to add value.

And visual elements help your article appeal to those who are visual learners, since not everyone likes to read as much as others.

Keep in mind that there’s a lot more that you could do to create high converting content, so for a complete checklist to creating epic content, sign up here.


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The Content Upgrade

For those of you that don’t know, a content upgrade is just a piece of bonus content that people can gain access to in exchange for their email.

These content upgrades are usually specific to each individual blog post, which distinguishes them from sitewide products.

The problem with this is that it requires additional work but shelling out that extra bit of time and effort to create some bonus content is well worth the struggle.

Doing so will increase your  conversions, after all, articles with content upgrades still convert at a higher rate than articles with none.

Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, which has become a staple in the world of content marketing, wrote an article about how using content upgrades can boost your conversion rates exponentially in just one day. In the article titled, “How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade)” he says,

“I decided to see if giving away a post-specific resource would increase conversions on my blog post: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.

Before implementing the Content Upgrade, that page was converting at .54%.

Not horrible for a blog post…but not great either.

On June 1st I created a checklist and added LeadPages links to the to top and bottom of that post.

The result? A 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month).”

Think of it this way.

People are already viewing your content and clicking through your articles because they find them beneficial. That means that they’re obviously somewhat interested in what your post is about. So in order to convert those people to subscribers, you offer them something that’s better than what they’re reading.

Depending on how well you make use of your CTA’s, you could generate amazingly high conversion rates, but keep in mind that you will need to  drive the necessary traffic to convert at a high rate.

Keep the Traffic Moving

Driving traffic to your site is an absolute necessity. Without new visitors, your conversion rate will drop to absolute zero. Without new visitors, your email list will be dead in the water.

Okay, maybe that’s a little over the top.

There are plenty of ways to keep your email list growing, but driving traffic to your site is obviously the go to step.

In order to drive traffic to your website or to a specific post, there’s a few techniques that you should do that guarantee you high quality targeted traffic.

1. Reaching Out to Influencers

The number one thing you can do to drive high quality targeted traffic to your site is to reach out to influencers in your niche.

Dean also wrote an awesome guide that laid out his 4 techniques to driving traffic to your blog in the article, “Want to Increase Website Traffic? Follow These 4 Steps.” He stated,

“Bottom line: Publishing content that appeals to your target customer isn’t enough. You need content that your influencers want to share with their audience.”

Which means, if influencers in your marketing niche care about your content, and are interested in it, they’ll likely share your article with their audience. They may tweet it out, feature you, or even let you guest post on their blog!

Simple tweets can generate hundreds of new subscribers. An old article of Project Pivotal’s, “How to Get Blog Traffic: 13 Steps to Thousands of Readers,” was actually tweeted by Brian Dean himself! That reached 17 retweets and thousands of followers.

influencer tweets

2. Guest Blogging

In many ways, guest blogging / posting is a lot being tweeted about by an influencer.

There’s a bunch of reasons why you should take the time to guest post on other blogs. Not only that, but you should also allow others to guest post on your blog.

Just to list out the benefits of guest blogging:

  1. You’ll build relationships
  2. You build backlinks back to your site

Guest Posts Build Relationships!

Believe it or not, guest posting isn’t always just about the numbers.

It provides you with the opportunity to establish a friendship with other bloggers. This allows you to become a larger influence in your niche.

Don’t get me wrong, this is of course lead to more subscribers because now you’re exposed to a larger portion of the community, but creating this relationship is what’s essential.

This was put simply by Jeff Goins, the author of 4 books including the national bestseller, The Art of Work. In the article, “3 Ways Guest Posting Can Help Grow Your Online Audience,” Goins stated,

“By making friends with other bloggers through guest posting, you’re going to grow your influence in the realm of social media, which will ultimately lead to more blog subscribers.”

To make things even better, these guest posts will land you backlinks!

Guest Posts Builds Backlinks!

Not a lot people know what backlinks are, so to break it down, backlinks are just links that are mentioned on another website about a different website.

If I were to post a link on my personal blog to this article on Project Pivotal, that’d be a backlink. Now the question still remains.

Why do backlinks matter?

The answer is actually quite simple. With more high quality backlinks, you’ll be ranked higher on search engines. However, you can’t just go around the interwebs and start plugging a link to your blog anywhere you can.

Search engines have become way too smart. They now determine the quality of the link by considering the content of the it. If the inbound traffic to the link is has relevant content, the backlink will be considered higher quality. And of course, lower quality if the traffic is less relevant.

Goins also said, “Over time, these backlinks will raise the value of your blog to search engines, making your content easier to find via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.”

Which essentially means, your traffic will increase when people are searching for relevant content and come across your article or articles, which eventually leads to more subscribers!

3. Posting to Communities

Republishing and distributing your content gives you the added benefit of attracted people from tons of different sources. You could share a link to your article in pretty much any community or forum that best fits the topic!

For personal blog, I shared my articles on Reddit, more specifically, the webdev and web_design subreddits. Here’s an example of one of my most popular link submissions.

Reddit Content Distribution

This submission alone gave me a visitor spike of over 400 users to that single post! In the long run, I’ve received over 500 new visitors to my site. I have to admit though, it’s been 2 weeks since I logged onto my site. I’ve neglected it a bit too much this month. But here’s the analytics for that post!

Codewithwes Google Analytics

After They’ve Subscribed

People believe that once you started generating enough high quality traffic to bring in a decent amount of subscribers, you can start sending newsletters.

In a way that’s true, that’s essentially what it’ll boil down to, but there’s a few key steps you need to take prior to sending any mass email.

The Autoresponder

When a new visitor subscribes to just a general newsletter, they have to wait until you write up email, and send it out. That could take weeks depending on how often you write general newsletters.

Note: It’s important to keep up engagement but it’s also important not to spam your subscribers. At Project Pivotal, we send only 2 emails per week.

So when it’s crucial that you don’t forget about your new subscribers.

One way to make sure they’re informed about your publication dates, features, etc., is to create an autoresponder.

Well, what exactly is an autoresponder?

An autoresponder is extremely straightforward, it’s just an email that is automatically sent when a new user subscribes to your email list.

This autoresponder doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or anything complicated. All you have to do is welcome your new user to the community and preferably let he or she know a few details about your blog.

After this first email is when things get a little more strategic.

The First Email

Writing an email is simple, getting your subscribers to open the email is another story.

It’s not difficult to write an enticing title but it does take a little bit of brain power. But once you’ve created an awesome title for your email, you can simply write the actual meat of it.

It should include a short description of a new or relatively new article that you’ve written. And of course, you’ll want to add a link that the use can click so they can read more about it.

A recently updated email campaign study by MailChimp states that, about 21% of subscribers open newsletters, and that’s for the Education and Training Industry. That’ll vary depending on your niche, however.

About 3% of those people who open your emails will actually click on a link. One way to ensure your hard work isn’t taken for granted and that your users actually benefit from it is to send a follow up email.

The Follow Up

Following up with your subscribers is a great way to engage with them.

The follow up should include a simple description of the original post in case they missed out on the first email, and a link to that article. If that post has a content upgrade, you should provide that too.

Here’s a very simple example of one of our follow up emails that we sent out last week!

Follow up email example

Maximum Engagement

Engagement is a lot more than just asking how someone is doing, or making sure your content is beneficial. It’s about caring for the success of others. That’s what we, as content marketers, do. We provide content that adds value.

Doing so just happens to create tons of benefits that you can use to your advantage. But if you’re creating epic content, distributing it, and increasing your engagement, you’re not only setting yourself up for success, but you’re establishing a community that will stand by your product and see it through.

Now if you’ve made it this far, and you haven’t made a newsletter yet. Stop everything and get started. The more you distribute your content without a newsletter available. The more business you lose! After all, The Money is in The List.

Click here to sign up for our Ultimate Resource Guide for Growing Your Blog

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  • Awesome first post Wesley and welcome to Project Pivotal!

    I enjoyed the overview and need for an email list and how to get people to subscribe. It’s also a great way to hedge against a Google update, you can still reach your readers.

    I’d love to see a follow up post that goes into more detail on the autoresponder email sequence. Again, nice post and thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the kind words Todd!

      That’s a great suggestion too, especially since the autoresponder email can easily keep your subscribers engaged, and even drive sales! I’ll add that to our calendar.

      Don’t forget, if you have any questions feel free to send an email!

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