1. Ask Your Visitors to Subscribe!This is really a no-brainer but is often overlooked. Do you have an eye-catching "Subscribe to Newsletter" button on your site? If not, it's foolish to expect your visitors to make an effort to find the button and use it. It doesn't hurt to make it easier for them. To make the choice even easier, offer them something free in return.
2. Offer Subscription OptionsIf the articles published on your site are connected wit several topics or sub topics e.g. food, technology, travel etc. you need to offer your visitors the option to subscribe to the specific topics of their choice. This is because someone interested in following articles on 'Food' might not want to receive any updates posted under say 'Travel'. Also, for people that prefer other services like Feedburner, Google or Yahoo - make sure you offer them your newsletter in their preferred format as well.
3. Install a Good Pop-upNo matter what anyone tells you, pop-ups are your best chance of getting new email subscriptions. It's important to use pop-ups that are not annoying to your visitors though. For this, you can set rules to show the pop-up based on how many times the visitor has been to your site or how many times he/she has already seen the pop-up etc.
4. Enable SharingMake sure you have an online version of the email newsletter. Providers like Mailchimp have the ability to publish an online version for your newsletter automatically when it's sent out. This version has social sharing buttosn for Facebook, Twitter etc. so that the readers can easily share it with their contacts. Also share a link to this version on your social networks.
5. Be CreativeEveryone's used to seeing the usual 'Subscribe' button on sites. Try to do something creative by replacing subscribe with a striking line or by adding a catchy image or video above the subscribe button. Getting an online spokesperson to explain why your visitors should subscribe is also a good idea. Tweople is one of the services that offer such characters.
6. Redirect Your CommentersRedirect your first-time commenters to a special page to enourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or like you on Facebook etc. If you're using WordPress, here's a plugin that does just that.
7. Retain Existing Subscribers
Even before you start your efforts to get more subscribers, you need to plan how to retain them. Make it a point to put helpful information/updates in your newsletter and don't just focus on "Selling". Keep the design neat, light and simple. Avoid busy too colorful or distracting backgrounds that make it difficult to read text over it. Compose a good subject line for every issue, making sure the line describes what the newsletter includes or how it can be useful. Always send test emails to more than one email platforms to confirm your newsletter is ready to be sent out. Make the newsletter short, people don't like to scroll too much and besides, driving traffic to your website is the goal of sending out newsletters. In the newsletter, add excerpts and then links to actual articles on your site, not the entire articles.
These are some techniques that have turned websites with absolutely no subscribers into highly popular sites with thousands of subscribers with new ones signing up everyday. Try them and let me know how they work for you!
Do you have any tips of your own to add here? Please do so in comments below. Tell me, are you aware of the power of email marketing? How often do you send out newsletters?