This means that you spend 100% of your time trying to find NEW blog readers. This is the rat race that burns out 80% of bloggers within one year.
On the other hand, successful blogs have a head start because they have an established audience nurtured via email. The lesson is simple. You won’t grow unless you invest time in email.
The big question now becomes: “How do I get people to sign up for my email list?”
I can write a book on this topic (I might) but today I’ll focus on helping you create an effective subscriber bonus.
Why You Need a Subscriber Bonus
People HATE giving away their email address. Simply asking for it won’t get the job done.
The best way to get their address is to trade for it. You give them something valuable in exchange for permission to send them email.
You might be saying: “Stan, I already offer blog updates”. Sorry. That isn’t good enough. They can get your blog via RSS or just visit every day. Since they don’t know you, your visitor will need to see more value. That’s where your subscriber bonus comes in.
How to Create A Subscriber Bonus in 90 Minutes
I want you to get your subscriber bonus done before the end of the week. I’ll do my part to show you how to get yours done in about 90 minutes.
Brainstorm the answer to this question:
What information does my audience always look for (or ask for) that is a pain for them to find?
Ideally you are looking for a problem easily solved with a list or explained with a step-by-step process.
"How do I raise a responsible teenager?"
Write a 2-page post that solves the problem identified in Step #1. I suggest writing your post in Google Docs or other program that can save/export your document as a PDF. This will be important in later steps.
Yes. You can write more than 2-pages. But if I hear a week from now that you are still writing the next Great American Novel, I will find you and say mean things (probably).
Edit your post. Add an introduction that explains the problem and how you plan to solve it. At the end of the post explain a little about yourself and the big idea behind your blog. For a gold star add a call-to-action to follow you on Twitter or Like you on Facebook.
Create a catchy title that has a specific benefit. Nothing clever or vague. Use the proven “How-To” title format to make it easier.
“How to Get Your Teenager to Do Their Chores Without Complaining - A Simple 3-Step Process”
Dress up your Post. If you have design skills you can add a fancy cover and other accents. I normally don’t fuss over this stage. You’ll be okay with just adding page numbers and section headings to make it easy for your reader to skim the information.
The goal is to provide useful information not win a design contest.
Save your Post as a PDF. PDF is a popular document format that almost anyone can read.
Revise your current email opt-in form telling readers about your free bonus. You may not have a lot of room so keep it simple. For example: “Sign up for updates and get a free copy of “How to Get Your Teenager to Do Their Chores Without Complaining”
Configure your email autoresponder to send the PDF report as an attachment with a welcome email. You can also save your PDF on your server and offer people a download link.
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
I love to complicate things. Seriously. I can create a 10-page manual for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Resist the urge to make your email bonus into a literary masterpiece.
Notice that I tried to “seduce” you by calling your bonus a post. It’s much easier to write a post than a big bad “Special Report”. Just sit down and write a helpful post on one problem. That’s all.
If you find that people absolutely love your bonus then you can go back and pretty-it-up. Like I said, for now we want to offer a solid informative bonus to entice more sign ups and grow your list.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “I hate newsletters.” They sound corporate and boring.
I mention this because some of you are scaring the beejesus out of your readers by offering them a newsletter. They can’t visualize what it will be so they ignore it all together.
If you are calling your current email bonus a newsletter, try changing the label. Call your offering a Guide, a Report, even a Note (i.e. “Every week I’ll send you a quick note with the latest news and tools”).
1,500+ Subscribers in 90 Days
I offer the 7 Minute Blog Strategy Guide as a bonus for my email subscribers. My list jumped to over 1,500 subscribers immediately after I started offering the bonus. You’ll see that others have seen similar success.
Here’s the deal...
This is so important to your blog’s success that you should put off writing your next post until you’ve finished this. When you do, tell me about it below so I can hoot and holler about it on Twitter.
Ok, go to work and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.