How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 Months

    by Pamela Vaughan

    Date

    August 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    duh-statueBack in 2012, we were able to more than double our blog email subscribers in just 3 months' time -- from 28,538 at the beginning of July to 65,036 by the end of September. And now, we have over 200K email subscribers. Seems unreal, right? Want to know how we did it? It's so simple, you'll want to kick yourself ...

    All we did was add a new check box field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click.

    This is how it looks:

    check-box-on-lp

    We put these check boxes on all of the forms we use for lead generation -- on landing pages for offers we use to convert visitors into leads. And because we have a lot of landing pages on HubSpot.com -- and because all the person has to do to subscribe is check a box -- this method of blog subscriber generation really knocked it out of the park for us. 

    Want to get in on this action? In this post, I'm going to explain how you can implement this little, yet impactful, piece of low-hanging fruit on your website so you can start capturing more site visitors as blog subscribers and nurturing them with your content.

    The Technology Required

    Having the necessary tools and technology really do make or break your ability to implement this little tactic. At a very basic level, you need to have control over the fields on your landing page forms as well as the ability to export a list of people who opt in to your blog through these forms so you can add them to your blog subscriber list.

    For HubSpot users, it gets even easier. Anyone who uses the new HubSpot COS will be able to easily start boosting their email subscribers with this little trick. And the great thing is, with the HubSpot COS, there's no maintenance required once you set it up. No manually exporting people who opt in, and adding them to your subscriber list. It all works like clockwork using lists and workflows to automatically route people into your subscriber list. (Note to HubSpot Customers: This will not work using the legacy CMS. You'll need to wait until you migrate to the new COS in order to implement this tactic.)

    How Setup Works

    I'll walk you through how this setup works in HubSpot. Even if you don't use HubSpot's tools, hopefully understanding the general flow of how it works will help you figure out how to implement it using your own software.

    Step 1: Create a New Property

    This is the property you'll use to create the new field on your forms. If possible, configure it as a check box so visitors can simply opt in by checking it off. HubSpot users can create this new property in Contacts Settings.

    contact-property

    Step 2: Add a New Field for the Property to Your Forms

    Next, you'll need to create a new field based on your new property, and add it to the form(s) you want it to appear on. Keep in mind that you don't want to make it required. Doing so would mean the visitor would HAVE to check the box and opt in to your blog in order to submit the form in general, and you just want to give them the option. Furthermore, if your software allows, make it "smart." In other words, if someone has already checked off this box on a form they completed in the past, they won't see it again in the future.

    Last but not least, don't make the box selected by default. You want it to be an opt in, not an opt out. The latter definitely isn't as lovable. 

    create-field

    Step 3: Create a List of People Who Opt in Through the Check Box

    Create a Smart List to capture all the people who have checked the blog opt-in box on your forms. Because it's "Smart," this means it will automatically update when visitors check the box and opt in.

    If you're using software other than HubSpot for this, this is where you'll want to export a list of people who have checked the box and opted in to your blog subscriber emails.

    create-list

    Step 4: Set up a Workflow to Add Opt Ins to Your Blog Subscriber List

    Once you've identified who your check box opt ins are, you need to get them into your subscriber list so they can start receiving the blog notification emails they signed up for. If you're not a HubSpot customer, upload your exported list of people who checked the box to your subscriber list. If you are a HubSpot customer, set up a quick workflow to do it for you. Here's how:

    check-box-workflow

    1) Select Your Smart List: This is the list you set up in step 3.

    2) Set the Contact Property: This is where you'll designate that you want the members of your Smart List to get put into your blog subscriber list. If you're using HubSpot's COS Blog, you have the option of four different subscriber lists, based on email frequency -- instant, daily, weekly, or monthly. In this example, you'll see that I've routed these new subscribers into the weekly email. I did this because I didn't want these new subscribers to start getting bombarded with a ton of emails, especially since there is not a lot of clarity about what they're getting themselves into by checking the box on the form.

    3) Set Up a Welcome Email: This is optional, but I highly recommend it, particularly because of that lack of clarity I just talked about. In your welcome email, you can specify exactly what your new opt-ins have signed up for, what they'll get (and how much), and give them the opportunity to change their email frequency preferences if they prefer to receive blog emails more or less frequently. Here's how ours looks for people who opt in to our blog via one of our landing page check boxes:

    check-box-welcome-email

    How More Blog Email Subscribers Helps Your Marketing

    What's great about email subscribers (as opposed to RSS subscribers) for your blog is the access you get to their inbox. And the more subscribers you have, the more traffic to your blog you can generate. In fact, 14% of monthly traffic to this very blog comes from email.

    However, one important thing to note about these new blog subscribers you're generating through landing page check boxes is that they won't impact new lead generation directly. Think about it -- these people are subscribing to your blog because they're filling out forms for your lead gen offers. In other words, they're already leads.

    But that doesn't mean it's not useful to capture existing leads as blog subscribers, too. These are people who have the potential to share your content to others in their social networks, and those people might not be leads yet. Furthermore, free blog content is a great way to nurture existing leads into customers -- and customers into promoters. And when you use things like Smart CTAs that are segmented by each of these different lifecycle stages, your blog can significantly help you move these people further along in the marketing funnel.

    What do you think about this tip for boosting blog subscribers? Will you implement it on your website?

    Image Credit: chascow

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