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How NOT to Grow Your Blog Subscriber List

Posted by Dani Buckley

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October 6, 2014

How_NOT_to_Grow_Your_Blog_Subscriber_ListOne of your most valuable resources is your database or subscription list. The more people you have subscribed to your blog, the more opportunities you’ll have for them to convert into leads and customers, share your content with their network, and increase overall views and engagement with your content. Plus, by building a loyal following you’re able to pinpoint those brand evangelists and active users who might be your best sources for referrals.

There are a lot of things you can do right in order to increase your subscriptions… but today I want to focus on all things you can do wrong. These are the most common mistakes I encounter that leave inbound marketers with minimal subscriber growth and unengagement, which can ultimately lead to lackluster performance in many other areas.

Here’s what NOT to do, if you want to grow your blog subscriber list:

1. Don’t have unfocused content.

This seems obvious right? Well, one sure way to not get subscribers is to have content and titles that don’t fit your target persona and aren’t focused on what they really want to learn and know about. If you focus too much on your company and your services, or you’re completely off-base on what you think your target persona cares about, then a reader might easily be turned off after reading a post and decide not to become a subscriber.

Sometimes you only have this one shot, and first impressions can mean a lot. This doesn’t mean that every single post needs to be Pulitzer Prize-winning material, but it does need to be strategic and written for your target persona.

2. Don’t forget to ask.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to focus on promoting blog posts and premium content and other campaigns, without ever actually asking your followers or readers to subscribe to your blog.

At the bare minimum, do the following:

  • Have a subscription form on the top right of your sidebar across the blog and on many website pages.

Subscribe to email updates

  • Use it as a CTA. On blog posts especially, either have it set up as a secondary CTA or make it part of a Smart CTA, like below:

Sample CTA

  • Promote it on social media regularly.

  • Have it below your email signatures, especially on any automated emails to non-subscribers.

3. Don’t forget to ask your existing customers.

Oftentimes as inbound marketers we focus so much on lead generation and attracting new potential customers, that we forget to market our content and resources to our existing customers. Not only does this further establish your credibility as a thought leader and expert resource, but it also gives your customers an opportunity to share content with their network of other great potential customers.

One great way to do this is to offer a special incentive for customers to surprise. I like to call it a “gift with purchase” type deal. But really what happens is you offer something valuable to them (an ebook, a 52-point checklist, etc.) in exchange for something valuable to you (their name and email address).

4. Don’t leave out the “what’s in it for me?”

When promoting your blog subscription, don’t just assume people want to subscribe and don’t assume they even know what a blog is or what subscribing means. Spell it out for them, provide examples of what kinds of posts they can expect, and what kind of value they’ll find in this subscription.

5. Don’t forget to give them options for frequency.

It’s always nice to have options isn’t it? Some subscribers might want to know every time a new post is published, while others might prefer a weekly recap on Fridays. Give them options based on your own internal preferences so they have some control over the frequency.

Your subscriber numbers should be consistently growing over time and should include internal team members, customers, partners, and prospects. By following these guidelines you’ll quickly experience growth in your blog subscriptions, which as with most key performance indicators, will affect your overall ROI.


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Topics: danibuckley, blogging best practices

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