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 WordPress.com 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!