I’m so excited to introduce you guys to one of my newest friends, Krista! She’s been a part of the little mastermind group I created last month, and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know her. She’s a genius when it comes to setting goals for your blog so that you can actually accomplish them, and I’m thrilled to have her here today talking about how to optimize your blog for your email opt-ins!
Email lists have become known as one of the most important parts of your blog and business. A place you can connect more deeply to engaged members of your audience, a place to receive focused feedback, and a place to try out your most recent product or service idea.
Unfortunately, readers aren’t just going to jump onto your email list for no reason. To encourage people to opt-in you need:
- Valuable blog post content
- An opt-in incentive, and
- Strategically placed opt-in opportunities
In this post, Kory went over why opt-in incentives are important and how to get started with your first one. Today I’ll go over the top 5 ways to optimize your blog’s layout for increased email opt-ins. Make sure to stick around until the end to grab a free workbook to help you get started creating a more strategic blog.
Where Others Go Wrong
Before we get into how to optimize your blog for opt-ins, I wanted to give you a few examples of where others go wrong. I’ve made these mistakes myself and want you to learn from me, rather than making the same mistakes.
No Incentive – First of all, many people throw a sign-up box in their sidebar with no incentive or explanation of why readers should join the list. Personally, I’d never opt-in to a list if I didn’t have a good reason to. Do your readers get a free eBook? Access to an email course? Amazing weekly letters from you? Be sure that your offer is clear and that it’s something that appeals to your ideal audience.
Not Eye-Catching – Second, many bloggers include small opt-in links at the end of a blog post explaining some type of incentive. However, this isn’t the most effective way to go about it. Many people don’t read to the end of posts these days and if they do that little link may not catch their eye anyways.
Alright, you know the common mistakes. Now let’s learn what to do instead.
Advertise In Your Blog Posts
Your blog posts are a great place to put your opt-ins to good use. However, it’s important that you don’t simply link to a sign-up form at the end of the post.
Instead, let your readers know right away that you have something special for them. Give them a reason to stick around. Then, include the download link for your opt-in at least twice throughout your post.
To further increase your opt-ins, do more than just a simple text link. Create a graphic that gives a sneak peek at what your readers will be getting or include a button with a call to action. People like clicking things!
Give Incentive In Your Sidebar
Blog sidebars are another great place to include an email opt-in. While I do think the sidebar is a great place for any type of call-to-action, many miss out on the opportunity of using this space to its full potential.
To effectively use your sidebar for email opt-ins you should:
- Keep it clean – include only the most important items
- Include your opt-in as one of the top two items
- Provide an incentive for signing up
- Include an image relating to your incentive
Check out Kory’s sidebar for a great example!
Provide A Call-To-Action In Your Header
Your blog header is another valuable place to include an opt-in opportunity. It’s so effective because it’s above the fold.
In case you’re not familiar with the term “above the fold”, it’s the content visible when your site first loads. Before your readers start scrolling, they’ll see your above-the-fold content each time they land on your site. That is precisely why this area is so important.
You have several options here, but I’ll stick with two.
You can use something like Simple Banner to include a call-to-action with an opt-in at the very top of your site. This is a simple way to get started if you don’t want to update your header section.
However, the more effective option is to include an eye-catching and on-brand photograph with the title of your opt-in and a compelling call to action, which you can see in action here. Your readers’ eyes will be caught by this portion of your site each time they pay you a visit.
Add Direction To Your Homepage
Your homepage is frequently the first impression readers ever have of you. All-too-often I see a homepage underutilized by simply holding blog excerpts. While we want to make sure our blogs are easily found, it’s important to know that readers do know to look in your main menu for your blog section. This gives you the opportunity to put your homepage to much better use.
My homepage recommendation is to choose three main things to highlight. These three things should support your overall blog and business goals, give your readers a clear direction, and immediately tell visitors who you are and what you do.
Since we’re talking about email opt-ins, it’s best to choose one high-value opt-in incentive to display. Good options are things like free email courses, eBooks, or workbooks.
To determine which three goals to highlight on your homepage, use this workbook to define high-value goals that will make the greatest impact on your blog and business.
Remove The Dead-End That Is Your Footer
The footer is often the most underutilized section of a blog. Where there’s opportunity for increased conversions and page views, many create a dead-end, displaying nothing besides a link to their theme.
Rather than allowing your footer to be a dead-end, use it in the same way as your homepage. Allow your footer to highlight three of your goals and direct your readers.
To increase the likelihood that readers will opt-in from your footer, give a compelling description of your opt-in incentive with either a visual or clickable button. These things will catch the eyes of your readers, draw their interest, and increase the likelihood of them opting in.
Check out this post to learn more about how to make your footer work for you.
How Can You Gain More Opt-Ins?
Now that we’ve gone over 5 ways to increase your email opt-ins, take a few minutes to determine which changes you can implement right away. Get your free 11-page workbook to define high-value goals and determine which changes to make based off of those goals by clicking the button below!
Let us know in the comments what changes you plan to make!