Note: This post on how to recruit subscribers is part 3 of a 3 part section on List-Building Strategies in “The Email Marketing Strategy That Works” series. Read part 1 “Email Marketing: Build Your Subscriber List” and part 2, “Attract Subscribers with Inbound Marketing.”
Recruit Subscribers with Outreach Strategies
Outreach Strategies qualify as Outbound Marketing, where you are actively asking people to visit your site or subscribe to your newsletter. Inbound marketing strategies help you attract subscribers in a sustainable way over a long period of time. Outbound or outreach strategies can help you recruit subscribers more quickly during a shorter period of time. Most of us need to use both.
Here are a few outreach strategies you can use to recruit subscribers:
- Blog Distribution (with a twist!)
- Guest Posting
- Answering questions on Quora
- Answering Questions in the most popular forums in your niche
- Emailing Individual Followers
- Trading email endorsements with another blogger in your niche
- Digital Advertising
Blog Distribution as Outreach
We talked about blog distriubtion on websites like Medium and LinkedIn Pulse in the last post, but there’s a lot more to it! Often you can submit articles to social bookmarking sites like reddit and StumbleUpon, but your content typically will perform better if you participate in the communities themselves. Here are some nifty guides to do just that:
The most important thing to remember for this tactic is that every blog post you submit as a link to these sites must have a call to action for readers to sign up for your email list.
Social bookmarking sites are just one part of blog distribution, however. It’s also important to look for popular sites within your niche/topic area that accept submissions. A google search for “best sites to submit articles on ____” can help you narrow down the list. If you’re submitting links, it’s pretty similar to strategies used in social bookmarking, and don’t forget to link to your email newsletter sign up page. If you’re sending adapted versions of your original posts that link back to your site, this starts to cross over into the realm of guest posting… our next tactic!
Guest Posting can often be thought of as a sub category of blog distribution, where you write a slightly different post on a 3rd party site that links back to related content on your site. There often are guidelines for guest posts that call for original content, meaning you haven’t just re-written an old post but are creating something exclusively for their site. However, it appears that these stricter guidelines are falling by the wayside, and even sites like Huffington post will consider re-publishing your blog posts. Here’s how they recommend making that happen.
Similar to Huffington Post, magazine sites like Forbes, Inc and Entrepreneur are always looking for great writers. Here’s a step-by-step guide from Quick Sprout to make the best impression on any of them.
When you submit an article, and aren’t getting paid for it, remember to be sure you include a call to action asking readers to sign up for your newsletter.
Quora is an internet question and answer forum disguised as a social network, and it’s fantastic for smart people like you who have great answers to specific questions. If you’ve written a blog post that answers a specific question, the odds are that it’s the perfect answer to submit on Quora. Here’s a handy guide for setting up your profile and finding questions that are being followed by a large audience. Remember: the best answer wins!
When including your answer, if your newsletter is tackling the same topic, be sure to plug it with a link to a sign up page right on Quora.
Use the Forums, Luke
Depending on your niche/topic, there are many additional Q&A and forum sites besides Quora that you can use! This is an excellent way to find out the top questions in your area of expertise and for you to link back to your content. When you provide value to readers on these sites and then mention your newsletter, you’ll have a much better chance of recruiting new subscribers. Here’s a nice guide on how to find and use forums in your niche.
Trading Email Endorsements
Somewhat within the realm of co-marketing, if you know other bloggers in your area of expertise (or a related area) and they happen to have a newsletter as well, it can be beneficial to trade email endorsements. In this agreement, you endorse and link to the other blogger’s site in your email newsletter, and they do the same for you. It can be a pretty easy way for both of you to recruit new subscribers and quickly expand your audience. You’ll find the most success trading with bloggers who have email lists of a similar size to yours, otherwise they may not be interested.
It’s possible to recruit new subscribers straight from your digital ads. Facebook recently rolled out Lead Ads which is a fantastic way to get email newsletter sign ups without making users leave Facebook. Here’s how it works.
Google AdWords once ran a beta test to collect email addresses directly in search results, but they performed so poorly that they were removed. The reason was largely because users searching for answers didn’t get a chance to experience the content first (by reading a blog post or following the brand on social media) before being asked to give up their email. This is why when you use Digital Ads, you may want to make sure you only ask people who are already familiar with you (like your site visitors or Facebook followers) to sign up for your newsletter. Luckily, Facebook ads make this kind of targeting easy. GoogleAdWords may be better at just driving traffic to your site to have users sign up all on their own.
One-to-One Outreach Strategies
Sometimes, when you’re just starting out, nothing beats personal invitations to recruit subscribers. A thoughtful email to a contact explaining why you started the newsletter and how you think it may help them will have a lot more impact and success with that individual than any other tactic.
Reaching out to your contacts through email, or your LinkedIn contacts through personal messages, or your Facebook contacts through messenger can be a great way to grow your list. Giving extra care to your first 100 subscribers may just earn you more referrals as they start spreading the word to their friends and colleagues about your newsletter.
You can also use this tactic to reach out to important influencers in your niche. Always be sure to do some research about them to determine whether your newsletter really will help them or their followers before making contact.
This was a brief overview of how to use outreach strategies to recruit subscribers. While I tried to link as many helpful resources as possible, I plan to examine each of these strategies in greater depth on my blog and report how they worked for me. They’ll be categorized under the “Outbound Marketing” tag so you can find them easily, and I’ll link them to this page as they’re added. Be sure to come back for more!
Next in The Email Marketing Strategy That Works we’ll dive into the email newsletter content itself. The first thing you’ll need to write before you start building your lists is a fabulous onboarding series! Start reading the guide to Onboarding Subscribers to Build the Habit now!