March 5, 2015

Let me start off by saying, yes, you read that right. In the last three months, I have successfully tripled my number of email subscribers to my blog. But before someone gets on a crazy tangent about a bait and switch, that is not what this is. However, I had a relatively low number of subscribers to start with. So tripling it wasn't hard, per se. But the single tactic I used is one that has made all the difference.

And I have always promised you that I would be open and honest and share my lessons (good or bad) with you. So I'm pulling back the curtains on this one to show you exactly what I did and how I got to where I am today in terms of email subscribers.

As you may very well know, when I started my blog, I did so on a free site. I didn't know where Jenn's Trends was gonna go and I didn't want to dump money into a website that would turn out to be useless. Well, it actually became very useful and after about 7 months I switched over to a self-hosted website - this one. And now, here I am with over a MILLION views on this site! In a year and a half! To me, that's just... well... it almost leaves me speechless! Almost 😉

But I want to point this out because for all the views, dedicated readers, and amazing fans I have, I never put any focus into growing my email list. I knew it was important. But it was one of those things that just didn't take "priority" at the time. I had so many other things that I was doing to build my brand and my business, and I was getting good traffic that I figured I would get to the list-building aspect "someday".

Well, that someday came after a chat with a mentor who reminded me of the real value of an email list. It's so much more than just sharing my blog posts. It's my chance to get in front of my audience - invited into their inboxes! And it's a chance to promote other products and services based on that invite. It's a chance to share my story and connect with my readers on a more personal level than just here on the blog.

I had been thinking about redesigning my website and after speaking with her I made the commitment to do it. It didn't happen overnight and a lot of thought and planning went into creating my new site. BTW, shameless plug to my web designer - you can check her out here.

But one of the big things about the new site was to put a significant emphasis on collecting email subscribers.

Previously, I had a side-bar widget that gave you the opportunity to sign up for emails. But I honestly think that was the only place I had the option to subscribe.

Now, it's front and center on the home page. It's at the top of the side bar on the blog posts and site pages. There's another button to sign up at the end of each blog post. And even on mobile, it's front and center on the home page. That is a lot of opportunities to sign up for emails! But, most importantly, it's quick and easy for people to see and find. It's right there in front of their eyes where they can't miss it.

This is my big lesson!

Put your email subscribe option Right. In front. Of their. Eyes.

And do it in more than one place!

Oh, and it's not complicated. Name and email address. That's it. (For now) The easier you make it for people to sign up, the more likely they will be to sign up. People don't want to give away their life's information including birthdays, zip codes, industry, favorite color, or other data you're trying to collect. Yes, this information can be helpful for you to segregate your lists and target your audience. I get that. But the more you ask for, the less people will want to give it to you.

I also don't have pop-up widgets. I don't have a specific landing page to collect email addresses (except for certain services). Yes, these are things I hope to do in the future.

But I like to experiment. Call it the science dork inside me (and I do own that proudly!). So I don't like to do 5 things at the same time because then you don't what affect each one has on the results. Right now I'm testing the email opt-in boxes on the site as I have them. And I'm pretty happy with the results! In time, I will add in additional methods to collect email addresses and validate or discredit their effectiveness for my site.

I honestly think my mobile site brings in some of the highest rates of subscribers just because of how the subscriber opt-in is placed on the mobile site.

So, yes, doing this one strategic change to my website allowed me to more than triple my email subscribers in just 3 months.

I'm not going to say it was one "easy" change because it wasn't specifically easy. But it was smart, thought out, and well implemented. And it allowed for this growth:

As you can see, I had under 200 email subscribers in December when we launched the new website. 176 to be exact. By the end of February I had 591 subscribers. That's 3.4 times more subscribers in three months.

I've also had very low numbers of unsubscribers. I'm averaging single digits monthly. So, take this as a word of caution, just getting them to sign up isn't everything. You still have to keep them by providing relevant and valuable content!

As I said at the beginning, I know these aren't big numbers. There's plenty of room for me to grow - and I love that open horizon!

But I wanted you to see how one well-crafted change (placing more subscriber opt-ins strategically) made such a huge impact on my list building. I hope that you can take this information to grow your list and your business!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Adding subscribers is not something I have spent a lot of time on either Jenn. But I can see it is something I need to pursue! Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. It really is a valuable resource to have a list, Kim. Just like your website, you own your list. This way you can actually stay in contact with your audience regularly. And as I’m learning, it can be pretty easy to get started, build, and maintain.

  2. Hi Jenn. Great article as always, thank you for sharing your experience.

    Just an FYI, since December (around the time you updated your site) I have stopped receiving your newsletter. I have not unsubscribed, and they are not in my spam folder…. I thought you may want to know.

    1. Hey Antonio, I’m so sorry to hear that. I double checked and you’re not listed in my directory. I switched over to Mailchimp when I launched the new site and I imported all the email addresses from the old database but yours must have slipped through. Do you mind re-subscribing? That way you’ll get the weekly emails again.

  3. I am undertaking redoing my optin and focusing on my email list, too. It’s not always easy, as you know. I will take your experience into account and put my optin everywhere! Thanks for the good stuff.

  4. Great information, arrived just at the right time for me as I’m in the process if rebuilting my website and implementing a newsletter. Thank you!

  5. Great tips Jenns. Your true journey of how to AUTHENTIC people subscribing to your call to action is worth a lot.
    I will definitely use the tip on where to place the opt-in on blog post.
    Thank you Jenns

  6. I love seeing others focus on list building! After a few failed business attempts, I too realize that the ‘money’ is in the list.

    Keep it up Jenn!

    – Jeremy

    1. The list really is the key to success, Jeremy! Thanks for joining in the conversation 🙂

  7. Hi Jenn! I “stumbled upon” your blog just by messing around on Twitter. I am so glad I did! I plan on starting my own blog but not until I do my research and actually ALL of the advice you have written about. So, thank you! I’m definitely subscribing to your email list. All of your weekly info will be apart of gathering my research.
    Anyway, thanks again! Have a great day!

    Southern California

    1. Hi Angie! I’m so glad you stumbled over here and found my blog 🙂 Welcome to the group!
      And congrats on the new blogging adventure. It’s such a fun thing to do! And while I applaud you for doing your research and getting your stuff together, don’t be afraid to get started. We can easily get locked into the mindset that everything has to be perfect before we start. But if you take too long, you’ll regret the time you spent delaying when you could have been doing!
      You can read about my journey and my story throughout posts on this site. But when I started, I had no idea what I was doing. I started on the free platform. I wasn’t worried about SEO. I didn’t have a strategy. I didn’t have a content calendar. I didn’t know what I expected as results.
      Now I’m not saying I shouldn’t have probably figured some of that out first 😉 But, it all works out in the long run. Blogging is a journey. You’ll look back (no matter when you start) at old posts and think “what was I thinking when I wrote that?!” or wonder if you should have done things differently. But that’s what makes blogging so amazing. It’s a historical representation of your (and your readers’) journey.
      Anyways, thank you again for joining me here. I look forward to “seeing” you around 🙂

  8. I really love this post, Jenn. Thanks a lot for your kindness and generosity explaining how the process has been. I’ll take this into account for my future website. As I’ve read above my comment, I’m also delaying it too much and as you say, there’s no need to be perfect when you begin…
    I’d like to tell you my humble opinion about the way you’re collecting the emails. I think it’s perfect as it is now. Please, don’t include pop ups. They are so invasive and sometimes get the opposite effect on me. I feel invaded and don’t get suscribed to that! Haha
    Finally, I’m suscribed to many newsletters and yours is a special one. It always has a smart style in the way of inviting to read the post. I really appreciate that style and makes me want to read it. (This is my humble opinion). Cheers!

    1. Thank you so much, Julia! You just made my evening 🙂
      I am so happy to hear that you enjoy my posts and that you value seeing my emails in your inbox. I will continue to be “me” and bring you my best!
      I have pondered the pop-ups, to be honest. I personally hate them. But there is so much data that indicates how powerful they are. IF, and that is an IF, I chose to use them, I would use ones that only appeared when a reader got to the end of a blog post. Not upon landing on a page, or other in-your-face annoying placements.
      Now, stop procrastinating on your blog! Get on it, girl! 😉

Comments are closed.

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