So you want more subscribers, followers, and opt-ins for your website or blog? Here’s a list of 10 strategies and techniques that are being used today. Some of these you may already know, and if you do, kudos to you.
Don’t take this as what you SHOULD do, but rather what you COULD do. Every website is different, but I’ve seen many of these strategies applied successfully many times. Read through them, and if you think there’s a technique that may help you and your website, try it out!
1. “Right” at the Top
If you have a blog, then the best place to put an RSS feed button or any kind of subscriber form is around the top right side of your page, which usually happens inside a sidebar so it appears on all pages and posts too.
“But Pat!? We all know that for the most part, the eye reads from left to right, so shouldn’t the best spot be on the left, not the right?”
Well, you’re correct, the “best spot”, the spot someone sees first, is generally somewhere on the left side. Even Google points this out in their heat maps for Adsense Ad placements:
But, what do you want your visitors to see first when they land on your blog? A subscriber area, or your featured content?
Your featured content, of course. No one is going to subscribe to you unless they first read your content and know what you’re about, so why put the subscription area in a place they would see first? You might think that it doesn’t really make that much of a difference, since it just takes a nanosecond to move your eyeball to the other side of the screen. What does it matter?
Well, it does matter. Subconsciously or whatever, over hundreds of thousands of clicks into your blog (which is what you want, right?) it will matter. You put your featured content where they would want to see it first, and then put your subscriber area in the second best spot, at the top on the right hand side.
Don’t believe me? Well, then check out these top bloggers and where their rss and subscriber areas are:
2. Don’t Give Them a Choice
This is more for those of you who are collecting email addresses for an email list. Not so much subscribers for a blog or a newsletter.
Many internet marketers choose to use what’s called a “squeeze page”, a kind of page that leaves people no other option than to sign up for the list to get whatever it is you’re offering. Usually, a squeeze page will consist of nothing more than really good header, some bullet points, and an opt-in area (on the right side, of course). There are no sidebars, no footers, and no links – just some text, and the opt-in form.
Is this bad practice and unethical? I don’t think so. People can still exit their browsers or press the back button. What I hate is when I used to go to websites and it would take me to FULL screen without any toolbars or way to exit. I haven’t seen this kind of thing recently though, so I think these people finally got the idea that it was just making people very angry.
As far as the squeeze page, I think it’s a good tactic because it basically shows your visitors exactly what you want them to see with no other distractions. Their choice to enter their email address is just based on the information you provide on that page, and that’s it.
3. Cater to Scrollers
In the first strategy, we mentioned that the top right was the best spot for the subscriber area. But, what happens to that area of your blog or website when people have to scroll down to read all of your content? It gets lost! People aren’t going to read to the bottom of your page and say, “I loved that, I think I’ll subscribe,” and scroll all the way back to the top. Some might, but most won’t even think about subscribing at this point. All you have to do is kindly remind them they have the option, and it will happen.
So, including a second opt-in area or subscriber area somewhere below the fold isn’t a bad idea. Back when my blog was at intheleed.com, I had actually placed a subscriber area at the top of the right-hand sidebar, and at the bottom of every single post. It did look a little weird, but I was getting an average of 20 to 30 subscribers a day, whereas before, it was about half that. If you can figure out how to integrate this nicely into your website, it may help out a lot.
Once you get to the bottom of this particular post, check out my RSS subscriber area and how I address this issue.
4. Cater to the Blind
The truth is, it can be really difficult to direct where you want your readers to look, click or go within your website, even though you may think something is completely obvious and optimized. This doesn’t just have to do with subscriptions and opt-ins, but everything including how to navigate and sometimes just reading through your site too. If you have never heard of or read through Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, then I definitely recommend you check it out.
Amazon Affiliate plug aside, you may have to be super ridiculously obvious in order to maximize subscription conversions on your page. You may need something like this (and I’m not kidding):
Ok, well maybe not THAT big, but you get the idea. Just placing an arrow like this next to your opt-in or subscription area can make a world of a difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you have seen this in action already.
“Oh no you didn’t!”
I know – most people will probably agree that pop-ups are annoying. For the most part, they are. But guess what…they work. You still see them around today, because they work.
Pop-ups that say things like, “Congratulations! You’re our 1,000,000th visitor, click here to claim your prize!” don’t work anymore. People live on the internet now, and aren’t THAT stupid – and if they were, well, I don’t want that person using my services or product and asking me questions about how to do this and that.
Anyways, pop-ups were huge a couple years ago, then they went away for a while, but they are coming back. At least this time, people are being a little more smart about it. Sometimes you’ll see pop-ups that just “peek” up from the bottom of the browser a little. Other times you’ll see ones that don’t “surprise” you right away, but rather slowly make their way onto the center of your screen as if to say “Please, don’t close me. I’m one of the good ones…”
They do what they are supposed to, which is catch people’s attention. It kind of goes along with #2, where you don’t really give people a choice but to read what’s inside and take action. I wonder if there’s a pop-up script or service that allows me to control exactly WHEN a pop-up appears, like for example, when the person reaches the bottom of a post, and may need to be reminded to sign up. Just an idea.
6. Just Ask
There’s nothing wrong with asking. Remember, there’s a difference between asking nicely, and being annoying. If you believe there’s an appropriate place in your blog post or website to ask for a subscription or an opt-in, just ask!
Oh, and by the way, would you like to subscribe to my RSS feed?
7. Offer an Incentive
In order to get people to subscribe or provide an email address, you have to offer something in return. If you have a blog, maybe you just promise good content, or even information or content that is shown only to people in the RSS feed.
If you’re collecting email addresses, then you can offer something like a free report, E-couse or eBook in return. Show some graphics or even a preview of what you’re offering, and possible throw in a little video explaining what they’re going to get if they subscribe. Make sure you follow up and deliver what you promised, or your new subscribers will be new unsubscribers in no time.
8. The Button
Ahh, the buttons.
First, let’s briefly talk about the RSS button. Here’s the standard button that you’ve all seen before:
Nowadays, the RSS button can come in many different shapes, sizes and even colors. There are seriously a million different variations out there and for a while, everyone was trying to use the most unique RSS button because they thought it would catch more people’s attention. Although I had mentioned earlier that you should cater to the blind, I think the RSS feed button is one of those instances where sometimes less is more. In my opinion, I’d just make sure you use a button that works with your blog’s theme and overall design. It’s ok to be creative, but don’t go crazy here.
Next, let’s get into the “submit” button for your opt-in forms. Here’s what a generic web form and button looks like:
This is obviously a crappy webform because it just asks you to enter your information for no apparent reason. For this tip, however, we’re just concerned about the text inside the button. It’s just a button, but the text inside can trigger a desirable action from your readers. The best technique is to insert text that is somewhat relevant to what you’re offering.
If you’re offering a free e-course or email class as an incentive (see #7), then you might want to try this:
If you’re offering a free Ebook, it might look like this:
I think you get the idea.
Here’s some more explanation. How often do you enter your information into a web form and kind of wait a few seconds before pushing the button? Don’t worry, most people do this. If the text inside that button is relevant to what you are offering, it will give people that little “push” in their mind to just go ahead and click.
You can also embellish the button a little – make it bold, make it bright, have it change colors when it’s highlighted – it all helps that person make up their mind to click and submit.
All websites are different, and different techniques will work better on different websites. The ONLY way to know what works best on your website is to test each and every part of it. Companies spend millions of dollars doing this offline, professional internet marketers are spending hordes of money doing this online, and we should be doing this too. Luckily for us, we don’t have to spend any money.
I wrote a post about this tool a while back, but you should definitely check out exactly how to use Google Optimizer to do some A/B split testing on your website. The point is to test everything so you can optimize your website and KNOW that it’s pulling you in the most subscribers, opt-in and money as possible.
You’d be surprised, but just one little change can have a huge impact on your conversions and sales.
Finally, here’s Ninja technique number 10…
10. Test Again!
Yes, testing and optimization is so important that I had to mention it here twice. If you’re not testing, then you don’t really want to succeed. It’s the best and most powerful technique anyone can learn online.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I hope it helps you on your journey towards online success and wealth. Cheers!