Each day the hummingbirds come to the feeder on my deck. They approach cautiously, darting in and out before settling at the feeder for a drink. They have learned to trust this source of nectary goodness and return time after time.
B2B software companies face a similar challenge when they ask buyers to return to their site again and again.
Once people come to your website, you want to be able to stay in touch with them. You want the opportunity to educate them about the problems you know how to solve and share ideas that will be useful to them. You know that this is how you will build trust and help them move forward in their buying cycle.
But once they leave your site, poof, they’re gone. You can’t go visit them. You can’t call them on the phone. You can’t expect that they are going to remember to visit your site periodically to soak up your ideas and nectary goodness.
How to stay in touch? Send email that they have asked to receive.
What is the best way to stay in touch with your buyers? Send them periodic emails with information and insight that help your buyers and which they have given you permission to send.
That’s why successful software companies treat their email subscriber lists like gold.
They only send their subscribers useful information. They pay attention to the position of their subscribers in their buying cycle so they can send them relevant ideas.
And they constantly look for ways to grow their subscriber list.
Today we’ll study how three masters increase their subscribers: Ramit Sethi, Neil Patel, and Sean D’Souza.
Here’s a tactic Ramit used that caused many people to sign up for his email list. He wrote a blog post about 15 little life hacks you can use today. In the blog post he explained that he had interviewed thirteen well-known online personalities. From each one he had selected a life hack. He then put them together in an e-book. Ramit offered the book of life hacks for free. All you had to do was give him your name and email address.
This tactic brought subscribers to Ramit in two ways:
First, people who found Ramit’s blog post and signed up for the book directly.
Second, each of the thirteen people in the book wrote a post about the book. These online personalities sent their readers to Ramit’s site so they could receive the book.
In essence, Ramit was able to invite the audiences of thirteen well-known people to receive his book. Everyone who received the book also went onto Ramit’s email list.
Neil says, “To get a serious bump of qualified traffic, you have to get endorsed traffic.”
The strategy Neil recommends is to get your articles posted on the blogs of A-listers. Here’s how he does it:
- Write thoughtful and deep comments on the blog posts of the people with whom you want to connect. A-listers may be busy, but they’re never too busy to read the comments on their own blog. If yours are insightful and add to the conversation, they will remember you.
- In the comment box that asks for your URL, use the URL of a page on your site that is relevant to the conversation instead of your home page.
- Now you have earned the right to reach out to the A-list blogger. Send them a short and clear email. Thank them for their quality work. Ask to write a guest article. Refer them to other articles you have written, either on your site or as a guest.
- If they say no, well you gave it a good shot. Don’t stop here, though. You now have the beginnings of a relationship with this person. Find ways to nurture it.
- If they say yes, then write the best article you can.
- Create a specialized landing page. Link to this page in your byline instead of your home page. For example, let’s say you wrote a guest post for Jon Reed, an SAP analyst and mentor. Create a new landing page so that when people arrive at your site, they see a greeting like “Welcome JonERP Readers!” On this page you can continue the thread you started in the guest post and give something away that your new readers will find valuable.
- Of course, to receive your free offer, your visitors give you their email address.
- Now repeat the process. Neil says that you aren’t going to get a significant number of new readers from one guest post. But with five to ten you will.
Sean also uses an approach that revolves around reaching out to other people who publish and who are active in your industry.
He likens it to dating. To find the right alliances, you have to search. Then do your due diligences. Sean starts out slow by making contact with a potential alliance and being in touch with them over several months.
Sean cultivates a relationship with people he respects and genuinely wants to get to know. Initially there is no conversation about favors for each other.
Eventually an opportunity presents itself.
We can honestly introduce our audience to them, and they in turn can introduce our audience or our work to their audience. Making contact with such folk is neither boring nor tedious. It’s built out of sheer respect.
Do you see a common theme?
The methods that Ramit, Neil, and Sean use to increase email subscribers follow a similar pattern. They all revolve around high-quality articles and relationships with other writers in their domain. It goes like this:
- Develop a reputation for high-quality articles and ideas in your field of expertise.
- Reach out to other people in your market or field and develop a relationship with them.
- Exchange ideas with them, through interviews, guest blogging, or by cultivating one-on-one relationships.
- Link back to your own site so that people have the opportunity to join the list of readers who receive more of your valuable ideas.
Now that we’ve talked about how increase email subscribers by bringing more people to your site, next we’ll look at how to improve the opt-in rate of people who visit.
Photo Credit: Tim Lenz