Day #3: Make Sure Your Blog Is Ready To Convert Traffic Into Subscribers
A big mistake would be to go all out on one or two traffic-building strategies … before taking care of the absolute, ground zero basics of making sure that your blog is ready for all the new traffic! It would be so sad to start driving a bunch of traffic to your blog – only to have that traffic then leave and not come back because you weren’t ready for them.
Have you created, set up or installed all of the following? If not—if there’s even one of these basics that you’ve missed—go do them right now!
Ready? Here’s the list of absolute basics to make sure you’ve taken care of:
- A professional autoresponder subscription – like Aweber or Mailchimp
- Your opt-in box
- Your sign-up incentive
- A basic email series for those who sign up
Already have all the above? Here are a few things to consider adding or updating to up your blogging game even more:
- A Landing Page for your opt-in offer
- Your Facebook Page signup tab
- Your Twitter pinned post
Okay, so what does each of these look like? Let’s go through them.
A Professional Autoresponder Subscription:
Sign up with a reliable, fully-featured autoresponder such as Aweber or Mailchimp.
Both of those autoresponder services mentioned are top-flight and easy to use for newbies … but MailChimp does allow you to start out with an account that is free until you reach 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
If you want to send unlimited emails or you grow over 2,000 subscribers, the next MailChimp price jump is around $20 per month—and that goes for Aweber too. It really depends on whose interface and tutorial style you like best. But do choose one of these professional-quality autoresponders.
There are other services you can use but make sure to create your main list within an autoresponder subscription that has professional features such as templates and web forms you can customize—as well as the ability to:
- Export or import lists
- Split lists into segments
- Provide you with as-your-list-grows pricing options
When it comes to managing your list, don’t mess around. Get the best autoresponder for the job.
Your Opt-In Box:
Make sure that your email opt-in box or form is placed in a visible place on your blog – either in the header area or at the top of your sidebar. You don’t want your visitors to have to hunt for your sign-up form. The easier you make it for people to sign up to your list – the more likely they’ll actually do it!
Your Sign-Up Incentive:
This is what you promise to give your readers once they sign up to your list. It’s a good idea to put something thought into this offer. It doesn’t have to be a big complicated offer – even just a simple checklist can help make life easier for your readers – BUT, it does need to be something that your readers would really want. It should be something that will help them almost immediately with a problem or struggle they might have related to your blog’s topic.
Some Sign-Up Incentive Ideas:
- House Cleaning Checklist
- 10 Meals That Require 5 Ingredients or Less
- 27 Ways To Make Money As A SAHM
- Monthly Meal Planner
These are just a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing – the possibilities are endless!
A Basic Email Series for Those Who Sign Up:
All you need is six or seven short emails.
- A thank you email for signing up, telling your signee how to get her free download, how to contact you and how often she can expect to hear from you
- An email set to be sent two or three days later, asking if they’ve had time to download their gift, and reminding them how to contact you if they are having any problems or want to ask a question
- Five emails containing helpful things that might interest them. Some suggestions:
- A short survey (no more than five questions)
- Link to your post or another person’s post they might find helpful
- News they’ll find highly relevant or important
- A personal story
- Another free resource
- Your next offer (paid or free)
While all of these emails should be highly interesting in themselves, make sure they also contain a call to action: A suggestion that they take an action such as “download your tip sheet” or “read the full post”.
Space them about a week apart, give or take a day or two. You neither want to bombard them with emails or let them forget you. Try to make the intervals as natural as possible. (Think of what you would find the most helpful.)
Load these emails into your autoresponder to be delivered at the set intervals to your new email subscribers.
It might seem a little intimidating at first to start writing regularly and create a full series to upload, but do things one step—or email—at a time. And by the time you’ve uploaded your first email series, you’ll automatically start looking for things you can share with your subscribers: Things they’ll find interesting, helpful and cool (like the future blog posts you’re going to write 😉 ).
The following ideas are extra’s – don’t get overwhelmed thinking that you have to do EVERYTHING here – just choose the ideas that you like best and run with those.
Your Opt-In Landing Page:
If I were to encourage you to do just one of these extra’s, this would be the one I would recommend most. Having a dedicated landing page that JUST tells about your opt-in incentive and includes a form to sign up to your list is SO handy when promoting your blog. As you’ll see here in a bit, you can use the landing page to link to from social media – and you can use it when you guest post, when you’re talking to someone in person about your blog, when you talk about your opt-in in blog posts… so many uses!
If your blog theme doesn’t allow for a landing page, just create a full width page on your blog with a picture and description of your opt-in freebie and your sign-up form – and you’re good to go for now. As you have more time or money to invest in creating a fancier page, you can do that. For now, just having the page is what’s important.
Don’t be like me when I try to do a new thing… and make it super complicated. 😉
So complicated that it doesn’t happen… don’t do it. Just don’t.
Your Facebook Page signup tab:
Facebook will keep prompting you to set this up on your page, if you haven’t already. All you need to do is enter the link to your best landing page (the one with your most compelling incentive).
For example, when you click on the link in Desiree Wolfe’s Facebook Page, it doesn’t take you to her home page. Instead, it takes you to a dedicated landing page with a sign-up incentive and box:
Your Facebook Page sign-up tab doesn’t have to say just “Sign Up”, either. You can kick it up a notch by giving a specific message such as “Learn more” or “Get your guide”.
Your Facebook Page:
You do have a Facebook Page, don’t you? If not, rectify that right now. Again, it’s super simple.
Your Twitter Pinned Post:
Another grievously-neglected and incredibly simple list-building essential. All you need to do is click on the three little dots under your favorite post to get a drop-down menu: Then select “Pin to your profile page”.
The next time someone clicks on your Twitter profile, the first thing they see is your pinned tweet sending them to your sign-up incentive. (Writing coach Shelley Hitz is one of the few coaches who fully takes advantage of this strategy.)
Notice how many followers she has: Well over 31,000.
That’s 31,000 potential subscribers.
And creating a pinned post is so easy to do!
Make sure your blog has the following:
- An email list & opt-in form (as we’ve talked about in today’s lesson)
- An About Page – give a brief intro to your blog and what you have to offer; include some fun facts about yourself, too!
- A Contact Page – you want to hear from people so make sure it’s easy for them to get in touch! It’s easy to add a contact page to your WordPress blog with a contact form plugin
- Social Media Icons – make sure that it’s easy for visitors to see how to follow you!
- At least 5 blog posts – this shows that you’ve been around for a while and helps your blog make a better impression
If you have all the above in place, move on to adding some of the extra’s we’ve talked about in today’s lesson.