Converting unknown website visitors into known individuals is the holy grail of inbound marketing. When you think about it, all website visitors are strangers until they fill out a form (like a blog subscription or an ebook download) and a tracking cookie is dropped on their device. Cookies then allow you to track their activities, learn about their preferences and nurture them to a purchase. This is what differentiates the modern marketer from the ignorance of the past.
So converting strangers to known subscribers is paramount. How is this done? There are three main steps:
- Get an inbound marketing platform. At ERA we use Hubspot but there are other platforms like Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua. Some might describe these platforms as marketing automation but I think that is too limiting. Check out this post I wrote about that.
- Adopt the Always Be Subscribing strategy, or ABS, for your blog. ABS means that you make blog subscriptions as easy as possible and are hyper-focused on adding subscribers. In the end, more subscribers means more people consuming your content. This leads to more prospects, more leads in your sales funnel and more revenue. So ABS must be a primary marketing strategy.
- Drive visitors to landing pages through the strategic placement of Calls-to-Action (CTAs) on your web properties.
Here are some CTA and ABS examples:
This leaderboard CTA is placed on every page of the ERA website including the home page. When clicked it drives the visitor to a landing page where they can quickly and easily subscribe to the ERA Blog.
Post-Registration Subscribe Request
At the end of the registration process, attendees are encouraged to subscribe to the ERA blog to ensure they have the latest show news. This CTA performs well but not as well as a popup CTA.
Another more advanced option is to place a subscription form in a slide-in or popup CTA. Slide-in CTAs “slide in” from the side or top of a website at a determined point. Popup CTAs “pop up” in front of the visitor and typically gray out the background providing more contrast and focus on the form itself. While more disruptive, popup CTAs perform extremely well. The below example on the ERA D2C Convention home page pops up after 50% of the page is viewed. It is also a smart CTA – meaning it won’t pop up once the visitor has previously subscribed.
As you read this post, you may notice the popup CTA to subscribe to my blog (if you haven’t subscribed already)…wink, wink!
Email Workflow (automation campaign)
Another slick way to drive subscribers is to simply ask your existing contacts in your database to sign up. At ERA we developed an automated email campaign (or workflow) that periodically pings the list of unsubcribed folks. So far 9,184 people have completed the workflow with 418 conversions resulting in a 4.17% conversion rate. Not a very impressive conversion rate but that’s 418 new subscribers reading our content. In the end every subscriber counts.
Here Are the Results
Over the past 16 months we have had 1,612 form submissions and 590 have come in just the past three months as we have embraced ABS.
All submissions so far this year:
With the blog popup CTA we’ve grown from 25 to over 200 subscribers in just three months. This one method has had a sizable impact on the overall increase seen above. Not too shabby!
What do you think? Am I missing other ABS tactics? What works for you and your blog?