by Sonja Jobson
Website traffic. We chase, scramble, and long after it. After all, what good is a website (and web-based business) without traffic?
But then again, what good is traffic if you can’t convert it into an audience, and then into paying customers?
We’re going to dive into 5 simple, but oh-so-effective ways to turn website traffic into subscribers in a minute. But first, there is something crucial we need to take care of.
And it’s a mindset shift (not in a woo-woo, meditation sort of way – don’t worry). It’s a shift from thinking of website visitors as “traffic” to thinking of them as what they really are: living, breathing, unique individuals.
You wouldn’t walk into a conference room full of people and immediately shove a clipboard in their face and demand an email address. You would introduce yourself, talk to them, and then offer to be helpful.
This is how we must think of subscribers. Because building a list isn’t about numbers, it’s about relationships. Relationships are what grow businesses.
One: Turn your “About” page into a landing page
The About page is good for more than rehashing your past academic and corporate accomplishments. It’s also a prime opportunity to reel visitors in with a compelling story about why your business is going to be a game-changer for them.
Once you’ve gotten people on the edge of their seats, eager for more, offer them the chance to opt-in to your email list and get enticing updates (or whatever offer you’re making to those who subscribe).
This type of layout effectively turns an otherwise ordinary about page into an effective landing page. You can link to this page from guest posts, social media profiles, and even emails – and know that visitors will land on a page that paints a clear picture of your business and captures email address.
Two: Customize your 404 Error page
Have you ever landed on one of those pesky pages that inform you that, whatever it is you were looking for, it isn’t available? It’s like landing in dead space.
Sometimes, these situations are unavoidable. But why make your visitors leave empty handed? Instead, take the opportunity to let them know you’re sorry they’ve gotten lost, but to make things better they can jump on your email list for some free goodies or awesome updates.
Three: Grab them after a great piece of content
There’s a social physiological law of reciprocity that says, basically, when someone does something nice for you, you’ll have a strong urge to repay the favor in some way. This little social phenomenon can be very helpful when it comes to growing your email list.
My favorite example of this strategy at work is in blogging. Let’s say you’ve just published a post that is super helpful and full of great ideas. Your readers can’t believe all the great advice they’re getting – for free! At the end of the blog post, they see a little box saying “Now that you’ve enjoyed this article, why not jump on our mailing list to be notified when more great content is available?”
They’ve just received something valuable from you (the blog post), and are increasingly likely to feel the urge to hand over their email address.
Use the law of reciprocity to your advantage by placing opt-in boxes wherever you offer free value (such as your blog, or maybe at the end of the eBook you give away or the webinar you host).
Four: Give them something they can’t refuse
I’m sure you’ve heard about giving away a free “gift” in exchange for someone opting in to an email list. But the problem is this: most people offer something that they see as only a means to an end. And here’s what I mean by that:
They create something – an eBook, an email training course, a manifesto – for the sole purpose of grabbing email addresses. They do it quick, choppy – spending most of their time crafting the offer, and very little time on the actual content.
But that’s a dangerous approach. That piece of content needs to be taken very seriously. It needs to be something incredible that people would actually pay to receive. And, it needs to be incredible when they receive it, not just when they get the pitch. If your offer sounds great, but the actually product is awful, that’s going to make a big, negative impression on people.
Take your time in crafting an opt-in offer people can’t refuse, and then take your time creating that product to the highest standards.
Five: Mention it everywhere
There are a lot of small ways to increase your email list big time. But my favorite strategy is the cohesive one: make your opt-in central in all your online marketing. If email is one of the primary ways you market your business (as it is for a lot of people), than directing people to your opt-in at every chance just makes sense. Don’t pick one area to highlight your opt-in – mention it everywhere. On your homepage, after your blog posts, in your sidebar, in your bios, on your social media profiles. Every appropriate place you can think of.
- Growing your email list is about relationships with your audience – not about numbers.
- Be creative when using your website to grow your email list. Sometimes it’s the odd places (like 404 error pages) that turn out to be great list-growing opportunities.
- Ask for email addresses every chance you get, and give people a really good reason to opt in.