FreshComputerSkills.com is my first blog in English, however not the first one. 6 months ago I launched an Excel blog in Romanian called excelninja.ro. As I was still getting started I sought advice on what should I do to grow, what should I focus on: traffic, Facebook likes or email subscribers.
I looked around and found that all the big boys were suggesting to focus on the email list. I understood the benefits of the email list even though I don’t completely neglect Facebook.
I was now sure that I should somehow adapt the blog to make people subscribe by email. I had just a little problem, I had no idea what exactly to do. I started by asking a few questions.
Why should I give you my email?
This is the first question that we need to answer, and it is a key question with the possible answers:
- Because your content is so unbelievably great that I don’t want to miss a thing
- Because you ask me to do so
- Because you “bribe” me with something
The best content you can provide
No one comes to your site with the specific goal of joining your email list, they come because they can find something of value there. So it was clear for me that my first focus is going to be the content. I was getting 2-3 subscribers per month at this point. Keep in mind that this was a completely new blog with 0 content to start with.
Asking people to subscribe
Like this 🙂
One thing that I learned from Derek Helpern was that you need to make people decide if they want to join your email list. So my site should make people take the decision if they want to subscribe or not, because a lot of people do not subscribe because they didn’t thought about that and not because they don’t want to.
As I was starting off I had only a subscription form with no call to action on it. I decided then to ask people to subscribe at the end of each article and made my optin form more visible.
This helped a little, I was getting 10-20 subscribers / month. Pretty lame right, the growth rate was much too slow.
On this Excel blog I had a really cool template for invoicing in Excel that was very appreciated. Then I said, why don’t I ask people their email before giving them the template.
It was kinda obvious but I had a problem, I needed a script that could give people the link only after they give me their email. If only there was some kind of service that I could easily embed without reading 3 software development books, something like this (you can test it out)
I did a lot of searching and somehow I came across JotForm. I could not believe how awesome this tool can be. It was exactly the thing I needed, a form that I could embed on my site that was also free (with some limitations).
Form with thank you message
It took me like 30 seconds to create a form that had only 2 fields, name and email address. After people filled in the form they see the welcome message and guess what I’ve put there, the download link for the invoicing template. By the way multumim is thank you in Romanian.
I was wrong, even though it works ok this way, a better way would have been to email the link, this way I would have had higher chances not to get bad emails.
It gets better, MailChimp and AWeber integration
JotForm connects with my MailChimp account and neatly puts the emails and names in the list of my choice. All without me having to do a thing, pretty cool if you ask me.
From about 10 subscribers per month, using JotForm in some key articles I jumped to 100 per month. Keep in mind that we are talking about a site that had an average of 30 visitors a day, mainly because it was a new project and also because it is written in Romanian.
I would like to personally thank the guys from JotForm for building such a great tool. I find it very useful and as my websites will start to produce money, it will be one of the first apps that I will pay for.
I am really curious to see what alternatives you use as sign-up forms, and by the way you should check out the form bellow. You had to know this was coming. 🙂