You must have done something right to get your subscribers on your list.
Perhaps you had an enticing lead magnet. Or you wrote an outstanding blog post with an irresistible content upgrade.
Now that you've started to build your list, you should be thinking about the next step.
What's the next step?
Well, what are your plans for keeping your subscribers on your list? What are you going to do to ensure that they stay engaged and excited to hear from you?
You didn't think you could achieve all of that by sending only blog post notifications right?
Should or shouldn't you send your list blog post notifications?
Now be honest.
How many times have you jumped for joy on getting a blog post update from a blogger you're following?
Over time it does get stale, doesn't it?
If the only emails you're sending are blog post notifications and promotional emails, your email open rates are going to plummet. Let's compare the pros and cons of sending blog post notifications:
- You'll get steady traffic to your blog posts because the reader only has one call to action. And that's to click on the link to read your post.
- It takes the pressure from you to create additional content for your subscribers.
- Ever heard of the ‘Read later' folder? It's every email marketer's nightmare. Some of your subscribers might think ‘There's great content in here, but I'll read it later when I have time' and your email gets chucked in there never to see the light of day.
- If you're having a launch or webinar, you may end up sending too many emails to your list on top of your blog post notifications. This is especially so when you don't have a consistent publishing schedule.
- There's no incentive for them to stay on your list because they can follow you on Twitter or Facebook and catch up on your blog posts through social media updates.
What's the best way around this?
Give your subscribers the option of whether they want to receive your notification emails.
See how Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog does this in her welcome email. She set up a simple link trigger that tags subscribers who opt-in specifically to receive new blog post notifications. Updates are then sent only to these group of subscribers.
If you're not sending blog post notifications, what can you send them?
If you're out of ideas or hearing crickets (or both), I've got your back.
In this post, I'll give you 8 ways you can engage with your subscribers and in return get them to love your emails. If you're concerned with whether readers will miss your blog posts, we'll cover how to include your posts into your email marketing as well.
1. Show up at their door with balloons and a gift
They signed up to receive your lead magnet and you delivered on it. You're also (hopefully) sending them regular emails.
But what if you went the extra mile? What if you occasionally popped into their inbox with an unexpected guide or cheat sheet? Imagine the surprise your subscribers will experience. Imagine the trust and credibility you'll be building.
Your subscribers will come to view your list as one that provides tremendous value. Your email open rates will skyrocket. Your unsubscribe numbers will dwindle.
If you're concerned that it's too much work, don't be. It's all about repurposing your existing content and providing it in different formats.
Here are some ways you can do that:
- Turn your top blog posts into a free report or checklist
- Convert your most shared post into a slide deck or infographic.
- Take your most asked questions and answer them in a video
- Use an existing guide and turn it into an audio file
- Shoot a video to motivate and inspire your readers
- Have a swipe file of headlines or ideas you use? Share it with your list.
What you put together doesn't have to be long or professionally designed. It just has to be in a presentable format that packs a punch.
Take some inspiration from how these established bloggers do it.
Our very own Sue at Successful Blogging gives a free guide and offers her subscribers help with setting up their first blog. Her offer is so amazing that new subscribers will be absolutely blown away.
Henneke at Enchanted Marketing sent a massive 61-point checklist to help her subscribers avoid pesky content failures.
Jonathan Milligan at Blogging your passion sent his list a simple but value packed 90-day checklist to optimize their blog.
2. Keep them on pins and needles
Ever read one of those emails with an irresistible Post-script (P.S).
It promises a reveal of a tool or hack that sounds too good to be true. It opens a curiosity loop that keeps you waiting for the next email. You know it's going to be good. And you're dying to know what it is.
After all, who doesn't love a good cliff hanger?
What if you could do the same with all your emails? What if you could lead your readers through a journey. And get them to anticipate all emails from you.
With a bit of thought and planning, you can design your email content and embed cliffhangers through an autoresponder.
An autoresponder is just a fancy term for a series of pre-planned emails that go out to your list.
Here are some benefits of autoresponders:
- Control what information your subscriber receives and in what order
- Continuously get new subscribers to eyeball your old content
- Introduce your affiliate products and paid offerings in a non-invasive manner by providing value at the same time
- Get a continuous stream of testimonials from new subscribers
- Build and nurture a relationship with your subscribers
Autoresponders work especially well for welcome on-boarding–a series of emails sent out to new subscribers.
Remember, subscribers are the most excited about your brand when they just sign up. The experience a subscriber has with your emails in the first couple of weeks will set the tone for the rest of their time on your list. So wow them with your welcome emails. Tell them about your core values and weave them through your brand story.Subscribers are the most excited about your brand when they just sign up. Click To Tweet
Here are 2 creative uses of cliff hangers in welcome email series.
Jill & Josh Stanton, the couple behind Screw the 9-5, place a nice, bold ‘Warning' in the postscript of their welcome email and promise the reveal of a hack that could very well save your business from failure.
Ramsay from Blog Tyrant adds a teaser in his postscript that makes you wonder why you would want to protect yourself from Google in the first place.
3. Give them a glimpse into your life
Stories are incredible marketing tools.
If you have a good story, tell it and use it to your advantage. Stories help you connect with your readers and keep them engaged. Here are some examples of the types of stories you can send your subscribers:
- Why you started your blog and business
- Your experience working with a memorable client
- Your breaking point and what you learned
- Your struggles and what you would have changed looking back
No matter what story you share, always include a takeaway for your reader.
Melyssa Griffin is a blogger & entrepreneur who leads a lot of her emails with stories and experiences that hook you and keep you reading right till the end. In this example, her subject line just grabs out at you and wants you to open up.
Here's another example from Melyssa. She sets a scene and you feel you're right there with her walking through her story.
This is another example from Ramsay of Blog Tyrant . He tells his story of being penalized by Google and includes an important lesson for his readers.
4. Send targeted content based on their needs and interests
How many times have you received an email that called out an audience that you had nothing to do with? Or received promotional material that you weren't remotely interested in?
I'm going to make a guess and say several times.
I've received emails meant for coaches and designers when I'm neither.
This happens when there are different segments of people within your audience. You may have a specific target audience with the same core struggles and desires, but you may start to notice that they have different needs based on their level of experience.
How then do you send emails that are relevant to each subscriber on your list? How do you avoid alienating subscribers?
The answer is to segment your list.
According to Mailigen, segmented email lists enjoy higher open and click-through rates, as well as lower unsubscribe rates.
Image Source: Mailigen
Let's see some examples of how you can go about segmenting your list.
Caitlin Bacher sent out an email asking her subscribers to click on a category that relates to them at the moment. What she's doing is tagging the subscriber so that she can send targeted material relevant to their needs without alienating the rest of her subscribers.
She even nudges subscribers who feel they may straddle 2 categories by telling them to pick the one they want to focus on at the moment. The way she worded her email is great direction on her part!
Here's an example from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income (SPI) . He also directs his subscribers to click on a category that they identify with. The subscribers are then taken to a landing page with material tailored to their needs.
Most email marketing providers allow some form of segmenting and you should check with yours on how you can do this seamlessly.
5. Give options
Give your readers the option of how frequently they want to hear from you. Since the choice is theirs, they are unlikely to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Here's another example from Pat Flynn. He shows up with a free resource guide for his readers and gives them the option to subscribe to a weekend digest to not miss out on any SPI content.
Likewise, Nathalie Lussier gives her subscribers the option of choosing the frequency at which they receive her newsletter.
6. Tease and give a takeaway to get eyeballs on your blog posts
If you're concerned with getting eyeballs on your blog posts, here's how you can without landing your email in the ‘Read later' folder.
You email should be a “teaser” that includes a short description or an excerpt of the content, with a link to the entire piece.
Yaro Starak at Entrepreneurs-Journeys is someone who employs this technique really well. He always starts with a story, gives a little teaser and directs the reader to find out more by linking to a specific blog post.
Sue does this as well with an enticing subject head and a story that teases you to click-through to the blog.
7. Make it easy for them to turn from buyers to subscribers
Who doesn't like discounts?
Give your readers' exclusive discounts to your products and services to say thank you. Maybe it's a year since they've been on your list. Or you've hit a milestone in your business. Or it's a special occasion for you. Celebrate it together with your readers.
Lacy Boggs does exactly this by giving her readers a discount on her products for her birthday in this personality infused email.
8. Give them exclusive content not found anywhere else
If you're sending exclusive content to your subscribers and they come to view every email of yours as providing exceptional value, they will fear missing out on all the goodness if they unsubscribe.
Your exclusive content gives them an incentive to stay on your list.
The next time you send your list something that's exclusive, make sure to let them know. Tell them not to share the link or pdf but rather direct their friends and peers over to your subscribe page.
Gary Vaynerchuk reminds people that his list is where they ought to be to enjoy exclusive content. He also gives a teaser video to show what he means.
This is another example from Lacy Boggs. She promises her readers exclusive content in the ‘Eyes only Member library'. This is a great incentive to stay on Lacy's list.
I've done something similar by placing this opt-in form on my blog with a promise to my subscribers of providing exclusive content.
Here’s what to do next
There's more to email marketing than just promotional emails and blog post notifications.
If you're currently only sending blog post notifications, there's no reason you can't start to incorporate one of these emails in your email marketing mix. If you're afraid of sending too many emails, start by doing a fortnightly blog post notification digest. Keep your subscribers informed of the switch.
Be as excited to engage with your list as you were when you first started growing it. Your subscribers will return the love with their continued permission to grace their inbox.
Share your thoughts
What other types of emails do you send to keep your subscribers hooked on your list? What was your favorite example from above? Share them in the comments below.
Meera is a writer, blogger and tad bit of a nerd who loves supporting busy solopreneurs and bloggers find focus, build authority & stand out online. Wondering what to send your list? Steal her Swipe File of 105 content hacks for emails & blog posts. Download it here.