You can’t tuck what you create in a place and do nothing about it.
Or more specifically in the immortal words of Patrick Swayze from Dirty Dancing, ‘no one puts content in the corner.’ Lets face it we all do.
I have had two similar questions from the past month loosely based on the title ‘we are not growing our audience.’
The Empty Room Scenario
These companies are creating great content. They have proudly stood behind their blog as a means of creating ongoing fresh opinion that has a purpose and they are doing it consistently. However, what they were not doing was encouraging and executing means for the audience to grow.
One company was publishing every fortnight the other was every month. What was happening was frustration was setting in and the equivalent of a paperboy putting newspapers through letterboxes with no one ever at home.
This is where the bubble can burst. Whilst it is encouraging stats that 82% of marketers who blog daily acquire a customer using a blog (HubSpot State of Inbound), the majority of UK businesses do not commit resources to produce consistent relevant content for their audience.
The idea of ‘daily’ to many businesses is something that would never enter the equation based on the investment of time and resources. Then again, quality will always trump quantity, so thinking that blogging every day is the answer to our customer prayers is the wrong place to be. You have to know what you believe and the value you can drive first.
This is where these companies were going wrong. There were limited means to encourage new subscribers. They were effectively isolated on their own islands that had no connection to the mainland.
Not one company encouraged a means for new people to come on board. The blog was tucked away in a section on the website called ‘blog’ and was just a list of articles that didn’t look enticing to the reader and just a long list of headlines. Even worse, it was just an endless blog roll where a reader had to scroll through each full article before they came to the next article.
On further inspection, whilst there was the reward of pressing the subscribe button, the whole blog was unloved, looking cluttered and no consideration to build a new audience.
Focus Has To Be On How You Grow Subscribers
Subscriber growth has to be one of the principal objectives to why you are creating and pursuing with a blog. Have a read of this article from the Content Marketing Institute on why you need a subscription goal for your content marketing. It’s an extremely insightful article.
Here are seven actions to consider and to put into practice when looking to grow subscribers:
Create Better Prompts To Sign-Up
The previous ID Group website was limited to the opportunity for new subscribers at the foot of the website. The prompts on the new ID Group website to sign-up are much easier on tablet and mobile. So much so in the past one month alone, new subscribers have been more than the previous three months. Lesson learnt here, make it easy for people to leave their email.
Make The Prompts Easy Peasy
Do I really want to be filling in full name, position, name of company, phone number, email address just to be added to an email list? It has to be as simple as possible for someone to leave his or her details. If you are going to build a more 1:1 interaction, do you really need to jump in and ask someone for everything apart from his or her bank details? Like any early encounter with a potential customer, lets get down to the basics first. The email is worth its potential weight in gold.
Less Is More (Calls To Action)
Last year things were starting to look confusing. One page invited subscribers to the You Are The Media Thursday email, another invited people to leave their details for reports and guides, another prompt was for the Talking Content Marketing Interview series. What became apparent was that the site was becoming littered with prompts for different messages. The solution, keep everything focused on no more than two calls to action. For new guides that are now scheduled, these will be within the You Are The Media email. It just makes everything so much simpler.
Be Consistent With A Sign-Up Form (don’t hide it)
Whilst I’m not a fan of pop-ups (I think they can become distracting, but that is just my opinion), what has worked is a 15% increase in subscribers from April to May. There is now even more encouragement for email capture throughout the site and also easy to use on mobile. Before May, the only space to encourage subscribers was at the end of every article and on the footer of each page. Since the opportunity to encourage sign-up has been moved to the top of every page, as well as article and footer, this is seeing a marked increase in interaction.
Be Clear What People Will Receive And How It Will Help Them
There is nothing worse than the ‘sign-up for our free newsletter’ prompt. It’s vague, it’s 2008 and when did an email newsletter have any monetary value? If people are going to sign-up for something it has to solve a problem someone else has. The return has to be value delivered on a consistent basis. To obtain an email address and then do nothing with it, until you have something to promote is such a wasteful opportunity. If you do this, you don’t deserve someone else’s generosity.
Be Consistent And Persistent
Email is probably the best place to drive engagement. I send every Thursday the You Are The Media email and whilst I can assure you that many do not click on the links (small businesses on average have a click rate of 3.11% according to Mailchimp), everyone receives the email. They have subscribed and they know they are going to receive an email on a specific day. Now transfer this to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook you are now competing with everyone other individual and business at the same time. In social you are competing with everyone, with email you are competing with someone’s attention.
Love The Space Where You Create
Lets not forget that what you create is important, but how it looks on the page is just as valuable. The new company website has doubled it’s font size and now that it’s mobile friendly, no one has to pinch the screen to make the text easy to read. The reader has to find the whole experience easy to interact with and consistency in approach is paramount. If someone is going to come back to you, the whole user experience has to be one that is on their terms and acknowledge that you have taken the time to present something that is considered.
By considering and recognising the importance of subscribers can help progress the content you create and deliver your message to people who weren’t familiar with you last month.
You cannot expect that just because a piece of work is in the public domain entitles you to new customers though. What it does provide is a platform to be consistent and for others to understand that you have a role to make others lives easier. When you become a point of reference for others, you become recognised.
The role subscription channels play is your tool to be seen as an influential resource and the media company that you now are.