It's not an uncommon scenario: Business bloggers get so caught up in the grind of churning out quality content on a regular basis, they tend to forget about some of the other fundamental factors that contribute to a successful blog. One of these factors is a growing subscriber base. You know, those dedicated blog readers that keep coming back to your blog on a regular basis? The people who consistently read and share your content with their networks?
Unfortunately, too many bloggers undermine the value of these loyal members of their blog's readership. But the fact of the matter is, the more subscribers you can get to opt into your blog the wider you can expand the top of your funnel, and the more people you'll have coming to your website. So if you haven't put a lot of calories into growing your blog's subscriber base, consider these 20 simple ways to attract more 'regulars' to your blog.
20 Simple Ways to Generate More Blog Subscribers
1) Clearly Display the Subscription Button/Email Opt-In Form
First of all, don't make it difficult for visitors to your blog to figure out how to opt in to your blog. Display a clear call-to-action module to subscribe to your blog, along with an RSS subscription button and a simple, one-field email opt-in form near the top of your blog -- above the fold. Don't make your visitors search through all the bells and whistles in your blog's sidebar to subscribe. Put it right in their face, and make it stand out.
2) Demonstrate the Value of Subscribing
If a visitor is new to your blog, they're likely going to need some convincing that it's worth coming back to time and time again. Just as with any effective call-to-action, you need to clearly demonstrate that value of subscribing to your blog. Explain what the visitor will get from the blog when subscribing. In the HubSpot blog's subscriber call-to-action, for example, we explain what the HubSpot blog covers -- "all of inbound marketing - SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing & management, and analytics" -- so visitors have a clear understanding of what they'll get from subscribing.
3) Create a Dedicated Subscription Landing Page
In addition to the subscribe module right there on your blog, create a dedicated landing page that you can direct people to via other channels such as social media, other pages on your website, PPC, or email. This way, rather than saying, "Visit myblog.com, then look for the subscriber option at the top right. You know -- right below the banner CTA," you can say "Visit myblog.com/subscribe to be the first to receive our latest blog content!" You can also use the extra real estate on this page to better demonstrate your blog's value, as we did with HubSpot's blog subscription landing page.
4) Offer an Incentive for Subscribing
Do a push to boost subscribers, such as a dedicated email send or a social media campaign, and offer an incentive for subscribing, such as an exclusive ebook, download, or coupon. Set up a dedicated landing page, and reward anyone who subscribes via that landing page with the exclusive offer.
5) Promote on Your 'About Us' Page and Press Room Pages
Include a link to subscribe to your blog on other high-trafficked pages of your website such as your 'About Us' page and Press Room. These pages are likely to attract a lot of new visitors to your website, so use the opportunity to funnel them into your blog so they can learn more about you and read all of the awesome blog content you offer.
6) Add a Footer to Each Blog Article
To each of your blog articles, add a simple, text-based footer that acts as a call-to-action to subscribe to your blog -- like we've done to the bottom of this very post! If a visitor finishes reading an article on your blog and has found the content they read valuable, you'll capture them at the height of their interest.
7) Search Engine Optimize Your Content
An indirect way to boost subscribers is to drive more traffic to your blog. The more traffic you drive to your blog -- assuming you've also optimized your blog to convert visitors into subscribers -- the more subscribers you'll gain. Don't overlook the importance of search engine optimizing each blog article you publish. Brush up on your blog SEO, and target the keywords you want to rank for in search.
8) Leverage Social Proof
'Social proof' is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors' and prospects' actions. You can leverage social proof on your blog to boost subscribers by highlighting the number of subscribers your blog has already accumulated, as we've done on this very blog. This makes blog visitors think, "Well, if so many other have already subscribed to this blog, maybe I should, too!"
9) Include a Subscription CTA in the Footer of Marketing Emails
Use your email marketing real estate -- whether it's within dedicated email sends or lead nurturing emails -- to encourage blog subscriptions by adding a simple, text-based footer CTA to the bottom of your emails.
10) Leverage Your Social Presence
Incorporate blog subscriber promo into your social media updates. Promote the dedicated subscription landing page you set up in tip number 3, and share it in updates for your various social media accounts such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook. You could even create a dedicated tab on your Facebook page and collect subscriptions right within Facebook!
11) Make Blog Content Easy to Share
Let your readers do some of the work for you! Another indirect way to boost subscribers is to make the social sharing of your blog content as simple as possible. Add social sharing buttons to every blog post you publish (here's how), so your readers can easily promote your blog content to their networks and expand your blog's reach beyond your current fans, followers, and subscribers.
12) Guest Blog, and Include a Link in the Author Byline
Guest blogging can be a powerful link-building tool. But you can milk guest blogging opportunities for more than just the inbound links. Because other blogs can be a great source of readers who don't know about your own blog, you can use your author byline as a way to generate new subscribers. Here's an example of how I might use a guest blogging author byline to drive subscribers for the HubSpot blog:
Pamela Vaughan is the blog manager for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog, which has more than 57K subscribers. You can read more of Pamela's content on inbound marketing by subscribing to the HubSpot blog here.
13) Promote on Thank-You Pages
Thank-you pages are the pages your visitors get redirected to after they've completed a form on a landing page. As a result, these pages are prime real estate to encourage reconversions -- especially blog subscriptions! Add CTAs that compel your newly converted leads to also subscribe to your blog content. It's a great way to boost blog subscribers while also continuing to nurture leads.
14) Promote Within Other Content
Include blog subscription CTAs within some of your other content such as your ebooks, webinars, or other downloads. Just as with the footer at the end of your blog posts, this will enable you to capitalize on the people who are already interested in your content. If leads think the content they're already consuming is valuable, they'll be more inclined to subscribe to the other content you offer on your blog.
15) Hold a Contest
Do a push for blog subscribers using your other promotional channels, and treat it like a contest. Offer an enticing prize to a randomly selected subscriber who subscribes between the launch of your promotion and a designated date.
16) Commit to Content Quality
Face it: You're never going to convince readers to become a 'regular' if they're unimpressed by the quality of the content on your blog in the first place. Make a commitment to increase the quality of the content on your blog. As TopRank Online Marketing's Lee Odden says, you need to publish a "quantity of quality" in order to get a leg up on all the other blogs that are also vying for your audience's attention. Not convinced that quality content is that important? Read this post.
17) Be Consistent
The fastest way to churn your subscriber base is by failing to consistently publish content. Subscribers have an expectation of regularity, so if potential new subscribers don't see that you're regularly publishing blog content, they're not going to see much value in subscribing, and you'll lose some of the subscribers you've already worked so hard to attract. And publishing frequently can reward you with a lot more than just subscribers -- HubSpot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report shows that the more frequently you publish to your blog, the more likely you'll generate customers from it.
18) Promote Blog Subscription in Your Personal Email Signature
Add a CTA and link to subscribe to your blog in your personal email signature, and encourage the rest of your company to do so as well -- particularly your sales team. Using the free tool, WiseStamp, you can also create a dynamic email signature that includes an RSS feed, which shows the title of your most recent blog article and automatically updates as new articles get published.
19) Do a Paid Push
Put some paid marketing muscle behind your subscriber push. Use PPC to direct traffic to your dedicated blog subscriber landing page, or leverage Facebook Sponsored Stories to drive traffic to the subscriber tab you created for your Facebook business page in number 10.
20) Use Full Feeds
To provide a full RSS feed, or not to provide a full RSS feed -- that is the much-debated question. If you're not hip to the difference, a partial RSS feed delivers just a snippet of the blog post with a link to read more on the blog, whereas a full RSS feed provides the entire post within the reader's feed aggregator. The full feed provides a more user-friendly experience, whereas the partial feed is beneficial in driving traffic to your blog itself. The problem is, many readers won't subscribe to your blog if you're only offering a partial feed, so while partial feeds save you some blog traffic, you end up losing subscribers and hurting user experience. While there are definitely opposing points of view, we recommend providing subscribers with the full feed.