If you want to make money in 2013, you want to
bookmark this series
I’ll show you how to make more than $200 through
your newsletter with your blog to pay for your Aweber subscription
Part 1: Define Your Newsletter
Part 3: 10 Ways to Grow Your Subscriber Base
The ultimate goal of this series is to guide you step by step from your $198 subscription to Aweber services to the day where you will receive your first check that will pay for your subscription and leave great profits in your pocket.
The math leading you from an expense of $198 to a profit is quite easy to figure out. With a $198 annual subscription, you are allowed to send an unlimited number of emails to a maximum of 500 subscribers. Let’s say that you can grow your newsletter base to 400 in the first year (this is a very attainable number by the way). A rule of thumb says that you will convert roughly 3% of your subscribers into an affiliate or product sale. I have personally tested this rule and can tell you that low converting offers will score at 2.25% and good offers will reach the 3%. So here’s the magic numbers you need to reach for your offer:
So if you send only 1 email to your 400 subscribers, you will need to generate the meager amount of $16.50 in commissions or net profit per sale to get your $198 back. If you send 2 emails during the year, then your commission target becomes $8.50… or you double your investment in the Aweber email marketing service by keeping a target commission rate at $16.50. But we will work out the monetization in another article. For now, we will focus on how you can grow your newsletter up to 500 members within 12 months. Believe it or not, this is a very easy step to reach. On average in 2012, I increased my main investing newsletter by 326 subscriptions per month. Don’t tell me you can’t increase yours by 42 every month in order to reach 500 subscribers by December 2013!
I decided to separate this section into 2 types of techniques: the free ones and the paid ones. The best part is that if you use all free techniques, you will easily get your 42 new subscriptions per month to finish the year with 500 subscribers.
There is no need to hire a professional designer and pay near $100 to get your newsletter subscription form. You can easily setup a professional looking one for free with Aweber tools. They offer a variety of free customizable templates that you can modify to fit your blog style and color preferences
The above picture is the current template used for a blog that I follow, look how he was able to modify the template to make it look like it’s part of his own site template:
If your subscription form looks like it’s part of your site, your readers won’t have the feeling of giving their personal information to a third party. With all the scams and spams, we have all become more cautious about to whom we give our email address to.
Quick Tip: Make sure that you add something like “we respect your email privacy” and link it to a policy. This will also reassure readers that they are not going to receive 10,000 “enlarge your …:)” emails.
If you have ever received a nice email from one of your readers, now is the time to pull it out and show it to the world. Testimonials are great because they reinforce your credibility. Since it isn’t coming from you, it also adds more power to the message. I know bloggers who just made up their testimonial but I think it’s better if you can get something real from a reader. Plus, that specific reader will be touched that you selected his email to use as a testimonial!
You can add the testimonial within your form or on a page where you explain what your newsletter is about. I used a short testimonial right on top of the subscription field:
I didn’t want to put a huge testimonial since this form is part of my template. It’s short and clearly states what I want to offer to my readers: high quality info J. I guess this is also what investors are after when they subscribe to a newsletter!
Quick Tip: You also have the option to add the number of subscribers. When your number is over 50, you can add it. It gives more credibility and people want to follow someone who is already followed.
Each time I started a newsletter, I wrote an article about it. The first goal is to let my regular readers know that there is a way to get more info from my site. The second goal is to tell them what they will get if they subscribe. After getting a few spammy emails, we tend to get very cautious about where and to whom we give our email address. This is why it’s important to detail what kind of emails will be sent once a reader subscribe.
It’s a good exercise for both your readers and yourself. In fact, it brings you back to the first chapter of this series “Define Your Newsletter”. You don’t want people to subscribe to your newsletter and unsubscribe after 2 emails. You are better off with a lower new subscription rate and an even lower unsubscription rate! If your message is clear, then you will create a real relationship with your readers through your mailing list.
If you have additional testimonials or want to provide examples of content that will be sent, this is the place to do it. Having a full article on your newsletter enables you to go into heavy details and give more info to your potential new subscribers.
Quick Tip: I usually highlight the newsletter article on my homepage so new readers can also check it out prior to subscribing.
In addition to highlighting your newsletter article, the best way to get new subscribers everyday is definitely to include your mailing list form into your blog template. Make sure your form is above the fold so each visitor sees it within the first 5 seconds they are on your site. I personally try to put as much emphasis on the newsletter form in my design as possible. I would rather make less in Adsense but increase the number of subscribers.
When you think about it; if someone clicks on Adsense, you make money. Chances are that you will be making something between $0.10 and $2.00 (if you are darn lucky) with that click. But the visitor is leaving your site. Chances are that he won’t come back. If the visitor doesn’t click on Adsense but subscribes to your newsletter; you don’t make money right away, but you just acquired a new subscriber and potential loyal reader. This is not only great because you increase your chances of making money with affiliate websites but because you also increase your number of visitors that are not dependent on Google.
If you are close to fellow bloggers with similar topics to yours, you can ask them to guest post about your newsletter or even better, exchange newsletter subscribers. Warning; you can’t just buy or ask for an email list of subscribers, but you can have a guest post highlighting your newsletter that will be sent through your fellow blogger’s newsletter.
It’s a touchy thing as some bloggers may be protective of their own newsletter and may not want to swap visitors if they don’t get anything in return. But you can surely do it with someone with a similar newsletter size. For example, if you and your friend have roughly 200 subscribers each, you can swap guest posts and maybe end-up with 250-300 subscribers each!
There is an interesting debate with regards to the usage of pop-ups on blogs. Some people hate it and will never come back to your site while others will blindly follow what the pop-up says. The pop-up technique is quite simple; you install a plugin that will generate a pop-up on your site after the visitor has spent X amount of time on your site. For example, you can decide that the pop-up will show after 10 seconds. Then, a form (the pop-up) will appear requesting the visitor’s email for a subscription.
I don’t know about you but I don’t really like getting pop-ups on my screen and tend to search for the “X” button as soon as I get one. But that’s just my 2 cents ;-).
The Pop-up technique definitely works though. I’ve tested it in the past and I was getting a lot more subscribers with it. The downside is that my unsubscription rate was also higher since people were subscribing without really knowing why they were doing it! Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it and I’ve found something better right here…
Instead of having a huge pop-up that blows off your screen, there is another plugin that you can use to get more subscribers. At the end of your post, you can include this form that will invite your readers to subscribe to your newsletter. Here’s an example of Pat’s site, Smart Passive Income:
As you can see, there is nothing intrusive with Pat’s technique but still, you get three great reasons to subscribe:
#1 Being part of a crowd over 25,000 (so you know you’ll follow a leader)
#2 Knowing what you get (weekly online business and blogging tips)
#3 Getting an eBook for free
If the post that you read was great enough that you a) read it to the bottom and b) are about to comment on it, you are probably ready to sign-up for the newsletter as well. On top of that, you get a confirmation of authority (having over 25,000 subscribers) and get a freebie (the eBook). What do you want more? No wonder why Pat has so many followers ;-).
I’ve discussed this technique on The Financial Blogger previously (read here). Without a doubt, this is by far the best tip you can use to grow your newsletter. Giving a free eBook pushed my subscriptions through the roof instantly. I never thought it would have been easy to gain subscribers!
I could have easily charged a few bucks for my first dividend investing eBook. But I decided to give it out for free. This was a unique opportunity for me to offer highly valuable content to my readers and prove my authority in this domain. After you read that book, you know that I know my stuff about dividend investing and you are most likely tempted to follow my blog.
The eBook shows a lot of power to attract subscribers and also to build a bond of confidence with them. Each week, I receive “thank you emails” from readers telling me that I’ve helped them setup a sound investing strategy. That’s awesome! When it’s time to offer them a product that I believe in, they are my most loyal customers!
If you really want to go all-in and you don’t want to wait 12 months before hitting 500 subscribers and make money with it, you may want to boost up your subscriptions with paid techniques. Honestly, I think you can do an awesome job with the free ones, yet the paid techniques will work as an “accelerant”.
If you suck a designing and you can’t tell the difference between purple and red, you might want to hire someone who’s good with images and colors. You can find awesome designers from 99 Designs that will build an original and catchy subscription form. What I like about 99 designs is that you put the designers in competition against each other and you get various choices. Then, you only pay for the logo you like! I wish I could do that with my home and have a dozen designers offering me their ideas before I pay one! Hahaha!
As for example, Financial Mentor obviously paid for this great newsletter subscription form:
It makes the page unique and very professional. This is another great way to build authority and attract new readers. Again, this form is not only custom made, but did you realize that it offers a free eBook? I’m telling you, this is the best way to grow your subscription rate.
Another paid technique is to run contest. If you have a good reader base, it could be a good idea to both reward them for their loyalty and have them to subscribe to your “new service”. If you want some coverage, you can increase the value of the prize (up to an iPod Touch for example) and give additional entries if they tweet or post it on Facebook.
For a few hundred bucks you can build a 100 to 200 subscribers list in one week and already start to make money off them in less than 6 months. You will increase your target from $198 to $398 but you get more subscribers in a heartbeat. If you have a killer content strategy in place, you may recover your dollar faster than you think!
The downside of this strategy is that a lot of visitors will subscribe only to get a chance to win the prize and will unsubscribe right after they know if they won or not. Therefore, you might have a lot of people unsubscribing after a month and end up back at square one. It’s up to you to convince them (in a very short period of time) to stick with the newsletter because the content is awesome.
As you can see, I’m not too big on paid techniques. I have run a few contests in the past with some success but I’m not quite sure it was worth the money. Talking about my newsletter all the time and everywhere on my blog while offering a free eBook was definitely the best technique I have used so far. If you know about other free or paid techniques, I’d like to hear about them. I’m sure we can all learn from them!
The next article will be about the real reason why you are reading this; making money with your newsletter!
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