ever wanted to know how you can gain more email subscribers when you guest post?
you work hard to establish connections with editors. you share your most valuable tips. you polish your writing until each word shimmers and shines.
but when your article goes up?
you feel a tad disappointed.
why don’t more people join your email list? what’s stopping them?
today, i’ll explain exactly how you can use landing pages to get more email subscribers when you write guest posts, including:
- how to write an author bio to seduce readers to click through to your website.
- how to create a desirable sign-up incentive.
- how to write landing page copy so readers don’t bounce off your website.
first, let me tell you a little story …
it was half past four, and we had been cycling in the heat all day.
my husband and i were longing for a shower, a snack, a cold beer, and a comfy seat to rest our sore butts.
but the village seemed deserted. the only shop was closed.
we knocked at the hotel.
nobody answered. the door was locked.
was the hotel closed?!
panic attacked my aching body.
we walked around the hotel, tried the back door, and found it was unlocked. we entered the vacant building and discovered a key and a piece of paper with “room 10: mrs. henneke” written on it.
we showered, and waited for somebody to turn up. we had nothing to eat, only tap water to drink, and the wifi wasn’t even working.
not the experience you want to give your readers, right?
still, i see it happen all the time. people spend days slaving over guest posts but squander the opportunity to establish meaningful connections with readers.
i stayed in that hotel because my only other option was to make my aching legs cycle another 15 miles or so. for your readers, it’s different. they get easily distracted. by phone calls. emails. tweets. facebook updates. they must have a smooth journey, otherwise you lose them.
each stage of the reader journey should be consistent. the hotel staff should be welcoming. the room should be ready. a chocolate on a fluffy pillow. fragrant toiletries in a sparkling bathroom.
the elements of your reader journey include:
- your guest post.
- your author bio.
- your sign-up incentive.
- your landing page.
- every email, every blog post, and every interaction after that.
shall we start at the beginning?
step 1. initiate the conversation
your guest post is your introduction to your readers.
it’s the friendly girl at the hotel reception asking if you had a good journey and if someone can help you carry your heavy bags. she might reserve a table for you at a popular local restaurant so you already have an interesting place to eat dinner.
when you prove you’re an exquisite problem solver, you get noticed. you warm your reader’s heart. and your reader starts to think he might want to stay with you.
step 2. deliver an invitation
your author bio explains in three sentences what’s special about you and why readers should care. you invite readers to check out your place.
a strong author bio fulfills three objectives. the text:
- tells readers who you are and what you do.
- reveals a glimpse of your personality.
- encourages readers to find out more.
in my author bio, i tell you who i am and what i do:
henneke duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach.
next, i share my mission — a mission shows rather than tells readers about your passion:
she’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle.
lastly, my bio encourages you to click through to my site. i tell you what you get (a free course), but i also explain how you’ll benefit (learn how to write seductive content so you can win more business):
get her free 16-part snackable writing course for busy people and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.
samar’s bio follows the same pattern:
samar owais is a freelance writer and blogger. she loves writing (kinda goes without saying), road trips, and helping writers succeed in their freelance writing businesses. download her free report, 10 unexpected places to find freelance writing clients, to jump-start your freelance career today.
leanne’s bio fulfills these objectives, too:
leanne regalla teaches creative people to pursue their art without going broke, living in their cars, or starving to death at make creativity pay. download the rebel artist’s manifesto: having the audacity to make good money from your creative work.
remember to keep your author bio short, add a dash of personality, and seduce readers to click through to your landing page.
step 3. propose a seductive bribe
the sign-up incentive on your landing page should be so valuable that people will make a long detour to get it. they should even want to pay for it.
so, how do you create the right type of incentive?
think about your audience’s struggles. what problem can you solve for them?
then consider the first hurdle they face in their struggles. how can you help them jump over this hurdle?
make sure your tips are easy to implement. you want to make readers feel better immediately. a comprehensive guide that’s overwhelming doesn’t work. but a flimsy checklist with common-sense advice doesn’t work either.
here are a few examples of seductive bribes:
- my email course helps you improve your writing so you can win more clients.
- samar’s incentive helps freelancers find their first copywriting clients.
- leanna’s incentive helps artists overcome their fears so they can start making money from their art.
create a series of videos, an email course, or an ebook. the format is less important than the tips and inspiration you offer.
a desirable “bribe” helps readers save time, find clients, become more productive, avoid stress, or be happier. how will readers benefit from your “bribe” if they take you up on your offer and visit your website?
step 4. make the journey smooth
your landing page is where your readers decide whether or not they want to build a relationship with you. can they trust you?
the most common mistakes i see on landing pages are:
- no dedicated landing page. when you send readers to your home page from a guest post, they might get lost and distracted. they may forget to join your list.
- no consistency. when your landing page doesn’t match the message in your guest post author bio, you confuse your readers. have they arrived in the wrong place? your landing page copy should always match the message and tone of your author bio.
- too many distractions. your guest post landing page has only one objective: get people to leave their email addresses. remove all distractions, such as links to other pages or social sharing buttons.
your reader’s time is precious. her inbox is chock-full of unread newsletters. to get people to join your list, you have to be persuasive. you have to explain why they should spend their precious time reading or watching your content.
let’s look at a couple of examples.
this is the landing page you arrive at when you click through from my author bio:
how i designed this page:
- the logos at the top establish credibility.
- the headline — free 16-part snackable writing course — matches the promise in my author bio.
- the subhead — learn how to write persuasive content and win more customers — highlights the benefit of my course.
- the bullets points arouse curiosity (the power of the subtle nod? sentence bloat?) while reinforcing benefits — persuasion tricks, winning more business, avoiding reader irritation.
- the testimonial below the sign-up form enhances credibility.
the conversion rate for this landing page varies considerably depending on the traffic source. the best source converts at 59.6 percent (909 visits). for the second half of 2014, the average conversion rate was 49.6 percent.
here’s an example from michael aagaard:
why i like michael aagaard’s sign-up page:
- the headline — 7 universal conversion optimization principles — matches the promise in his author bio.
- the subhead highlights a benefit (increase conversions) and boosts credibility (based on 4 years of research and over 350 real-life a/b tests).
- the first bullet point addresses the common objection that ebooks often take too long to read — read the book in just 25 minutes.
- the book image faces the text, guiding the reader’s eye toward reading the bullet points.
- testimonials with photographs boost credibility.
the conversion rate for this landing page fluctuates quite a bit depending on how much michael writes on the blog and how many speaking gigs he does. when michael is very active, the page converts at around 60 percent. for the last three months of 2014, it averaged a conversion rate of 42 percent.
landing pages that convert show a clear hierarchy — with the most important information first. you guide your reader to sign up, offering a smooth journey. with clear signposts. and no surprises.
when your guest posts are about a variety of topics, you may need to have multiple incentives, multiple bios, and multiple landing pages to create a smooth reader experience.
when you write consistently about the same topic, you can use the same bio, offer the same sign-up incentive, and create one landing page.
the truth about seducing readers to join your email list
when a publication accepts a guest post you wrote, you have an opportunity to start a relationship with new readers.
don’t throw away this wonderful opportunity by offering a rickety reader journey.
at each step of the way, take your readers by the hand. tell them why they should care to connect with you. explain how you’ll make their lives easier, better, and happier.
your guest post is the beginning of a conversation. a chance to connect.
treat your readers like delicate princesses. any minor inconvenience may turn them away.
give them a scrumptious meal. a fluffy pillow. and a warm welcome.
make them feel valued.
sweep them off their feet.
what special elements do you provide on your landing pages?
let’s discuss additional landing page tips over on linkedin …
image by patryk sobczak via unsplash.