Every blogger knows it, the most important counter is the one that’s not publicly disclosed, the number of email subscribers.
Email subscribers is the highest form of engagement in inbound marketing, it also represents more commitment than a Like, a Tweet and even an RSS subscription.
Your reader is basically giving you permission to enter the only method of online communications that’s still private.
And this, my friends, is one of the reasons SocialMouths has been completely redesigned.
Today I’m sharing with you how, with a few changes, I was able to increase my email subscription rate by 500%.
Let’s start by saying that my previous approach was very healthy, a decent amount of subscribers every month with an unsubscription rate that was nearly non-existent. These changes were made with the objective to improve my conversion rate and to change my entire approach to email marketing to deliver a better service for my subscribers.
So here goes…
Switched from MailChimp to Aweber
Step one was to switch providers from MailChimp to Aweber. This is the point were you’re expecting me to trash MailChimp, not gonna happen. I still think MailChimp is a great service, I really love the beautiful interface, the reports, the social integration and the kick-ass iPhone app to check your campaigns on the move. I’ll miss that for sure.
The problem is not the platform. The problem is that we, as clients, sometimes go for the wrong solution for our needs. In this case, Aweber is a much better solution for bloggers for many reasons.
For the first time in almost 3 years of blogging, SocialMouths created a free product. Now when you subscribe to receive email updates you get full access to the DIY Mini-Course for Building Facebook Custom Tabs, a massive 28-page online tutorial that covers the entire process.
More importantly, I chose this particular topic by listening to my readers in order to deliver exactly what they wanted from me. I did not have to figure out what the reader wanted or run any crowdsourcing campaigns to figure this out. My most popular content (by far) has been related to this topic with more than 100k pageviews and thousands of shares and likes, as well as an average of 20 weekly emails with Facebook Tab-related questions.
It doesn’t matter how prominent your offer is if you’re not fulfilling a need. Identify what your reader wants from you before you spend time and energy building the wrong product.
Multiple Signup Forms
One of the main reasons for switching providers was the ability to handle multiple signup forms in a single page. This is key for a blog and MailChimp makes it very difficult. Even when I tried using the same code snippet for 2 different forms, one on the sidebar and one on the footer, it created several conflicts.
Aweber not only allows you to create multiple signup forms, they also provide you with the necessary data to see which forms are performing better.
The “Feature Box” is a design option from the Thesis framework, probably not used enough considering the benefits. Here are three reasons why after all this time, I decided to use it:
Your offer must be positioned on prime real estate on the site, there is no way around it.
The Feature Box is really a blank canvas since it’s only a space for you to insert code. This is more important than it sounds, it gives you full creative control. One of the problems I see with Signup Pop-up plugins is that it makes every site looks the same.
When you are serious about business and marketing, looking like a template is not on your roadmap.
There is a huge difference between using the Thesis Feature Box and using a Pop-up. To me this is defined in one single element: If I put something in your face and you need to take action to remove it, just to be able to see what you came here to see, I’ll consider that intrusive.
With the Feature Box, you do not have to take any actions, if you don’t care about the offer you simply continue on to the content.
I published a post called Facebook Tabs Are Not Dead, They’re More Alive Than Ever to support the launch of the free product. I included a standalone signup form inside the post to be able to track the response.
This post alone was responsible for 30% of the week’s total subscribers.
This is a technique you can’t use every single week so, make sure your post is rock solid to drive enough subscribers.
More “Opens” and “Clicks”
As I said before, one of the reasons for changing my entire email marketing was to deliver a better user experience. This has nothing to do with improving your signup conversion rate and for that reason, success can’t really be measured with subscriber numbers.
The success of your campaigns is measured by “Opens” and “Clicks”.
To improve this, I implemented 2 changes that resulted in an increase of almost 1,000% in Opens and 450% in the Click-through rate.
A very delicate matter since it’s hard to visualize what the right amount of content and frequency is. If you are just broadcasting your blog content to your email subscribers, this is specially tricky.
The content here at SocialMouths can be 1 or 2 pieces a week but it can sometimes go up to 3. For some people getting 3 emails in a week is way too much. I noticed open and click-through rates were decreasing and the low amount of unsubscribers were usually happening on the third email of the week.
I’m now mailing only one piece per week.
I also stopped broadcasting blog posts. Email subscribers now receive an email I’ve written manually.
By crafting each email you send out, you have the possibility to:
- Write a kick-ass subject for your email. You know how important a headline is, specially when that’s the only piece of content you see on media like Tweets. Your email subject is your headline in this case and it will increase the chances of that email being opened
- Write a compelling call-to-action to click through. Give your subscriber a reason to click s/he can’t resist. When you’re just broadcasting blog posts, your click-through is depending on a boring “Read More” link
How About You?
As you can see, the changes I implemented are not really rocket science but the results I was able to get are significant.
What is your strategy for email subscriptions? Have you identified how it can perform better? Share your experiences with email marketing or feel free to ask any questions if you want.
Image Credit: Dry Icons