Grow Your Newsletter List With These Two Tips
Most business owners and marketers are always looking for new ways to increase their email lists. Being in a person’s email inbox is an effective way to convert them to a buy customer or to convince them to buy again.
I’m always looking for new ways to increase my subscription rate and I found a great way to do it thanks to Derek Halpern and Pat Flynn.
Recently, Pat hosted an interview with Derek on his blog “Smart Passive Income” (brand marketers take note, you learn the most from affiliates and passive income marketers) where they talked about email conversions and building your list.
They talked about some strategies that I really liked and have already put in place on this site. So let’s start by explaining what the strategy was and then exactly how to put it in place.
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During the interview, Derek and Pat talk about specific conversion points – points at which users are most likely to subscribe to your email list. The two conversion points that stood out to me were: at the end of individual blog posts and multiple points through long page resources.
If you look at the bottom of this post, you’ll see the subscription form. You’ll also see the form multiple times throughout my “Getting Started” article.
I’ve seen that both perform extremely well. Instead of getting a new subscriber every few days, I’m getting new sign ups daily. The site’s conversion rate has gone up considerably.
The strategy definitely works. So now, let’s take a look at how you can execute it. Let’s see how you can easily add the forms to the bottom of your posts and then create a shortcode to easily embed forms into your pages.
There are a few tools I specifically use. You don’t have to use them, but the tutorial below assumes you do. As the title suggests, you’ll have to be on the WordPress CMS.
Genesis – The first tool is the Genesis Framework. This blog is powered by the Genesis Framework, a WordPress theme that is very easily customized. I highlight this because the tutorial edits the “function.php” file in your child theme. Thesis users should have the ability to do the same, but check your hooks.
If you’re not sure how to hook into WordPress, make sure you ask someone for help. Obviously, backup your theme and WordPress installation before any heavy lifting.
Wufoo – The second tool I use (and swear by) is Wufoo form builder. I honestly love the system and although at first I thought it a luxury, it’s been a huge help and time saver. It’s great to easily be able to create subscription forms, contact forms, and surveys.
It’s not an overly expensive tool, but it offers some great reporting and hooks into a number of 3rd party applications such as FreshBooks, High Rise, and our third tool, MailChimp.
MailChimp – Some people swear by Aweber, but I love MailChimp. The interface is clean, it’s user friendly, and it works extremely well. The analytics are great and I’ve never had any issues with my email delivery. Both my weekly email and email updates are powered by MailChimp.
Like I said before, you don’t have to use these tools. I’ve just found that they make my life a hell of a lot easier. If you don’t use Wufoo, you’ll get your subscription forms directly from MailChimp or Aweber (or whoever you use for your email list).
Once you’re all set with your list service, the next step is to start embedding the forms.
The first form we’ll start with is the form directly at the end of the post. I’ll show you how to actually hook into the area after the post and add your form – once it’s there, you’ll be able to style it however you like.
Start by opening your “functions.php” file in your Genesis child theme. This is where you’re able to edit and customize your theme. We’re using a child theme so not to actually edit the Genesis frame work. (Click here to learn more about Child Themes).
In your “functions.php” file, add the code shown below. Change “|Embed Form|” to the code from either Wufoo, or your mail delivery system. You can download the code here.
The above code tells WordPress to add the HTML in the function whenever a single post is shown. The location it’s added is controlled by the theme. In this instance we’re hooking into “genesis_after_post_content” – a hook in the Genesis theme that displays right after the post content.
Once the box is being displayed, edit the Child Theme’s CSS to display the form how you want it to.
The next conversion point that I thought was really smart, was within actual articles.
For example, on my Getting Started page I have 3 calls to action to join the newsletter. Here’s a screenshot of the forms on that page:
When I added the forms, I really didn’t want to include the HTML for the form and the box three times – it would really make the page code messy within WordPress.
Instead of actually typing in the HTML, I used a functionality provided by WordPress called shortcodes. This allows me to add predefined HTML to an article by just adding [shortcode-name]SOME TEXT[/shortcode-name].
In my function, I define the shortcode name to be “form” and use the “SOME TEXT” to be the call to action. Below is the code I include in function.php to define the shortcode. You can download the code here.
Once your short code is all setup, you’ll be able to easily and quickly embed your form into any blog post or page.
It’s easy to think of new places to add subscription forms, but the actual coding isn’t always simple. Thanks to the different hooks in the Genesis theme and WordPress short codes, it’s a little bit easier.
Hopefully this tutorial helped you add newsletter forms throughout your site. Please leave a comment and let me know if it worked for you. Also, don’t forget to share any other conversion points you’ve found that work!