How to turn your social media followers into subscribers (and why you really should!)
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So you have built up a good social media following… that’s great! But don’t stop there. Turn your social media followers into email subscribers to really reap the benefits… and to protect yourself against future algorithm changes… or worse!
Social media is generally considered a necessary part of blogging… and many bloggers have built up impressive social media followings. But, in and of itself, a large number of followers is simply a vanity metric. What tangible benefits does that social following give you in terms of blog traffic and money in your pocket? And how secure is that social following? One of the best ways to future-proof that following and turn it into metrics that matter is by converting your social media followers into subscribers.
In this article we’ll first look at why you might want to turn your social media followers into subscribers and then exactly how to do it… so that you can reap the benefits of all that hard work… and protect yourself from whatever future algorithm changes and new social media trends may come!
Why you should turn your social media followers into subscribers
There are many reasons why you might want to turn your social media followers into email subscribers. But the main ones are:
- To drive traffic to your blog
- To get round the algorithms
- To build up real rapport
- To earn money from your social media followers
- To protect your following
Let’s look at each of these in turn…
To drive traffic to your blog
One of the problems with having a big following on social media is converting that following into blog traffic. You see the thing is, social media companies generally make their money when users STAY on their platform and see all their ads. So your desire to send people to your blog is completely at odds with the desire of social media platforms to keep users on their platform viewing ads. And guess who is going to win? However, if you can convert social media followers into subscribers you can then send them to your blog every time you send them an email.
To get round the algorithms
One of the really frustrating things about social media is the ever-changing and often quite logic-defying algorithms. In fact, it’s perfectly possible for someone who loves your stuff to follow you on all your social media channels, but yet hardly ever see any of your stuff because of the vagaries of the social media algorithms. (I think we’ve all had friends and/or family members who’ve asked us if we’ve stopped posting, as they never see our posts on social media anymore!)
Contrast that to the experience of an email subscriber. If someone subscribes to your list, your email will land in your subscriber’s inbox every single time…and stay there until they do something about it! (OK, yes – I’ll admit… it is possible it might end up in ‘junk’ or in their ‘promotions’ tab… but there are things you can do to mitigate that, like encouraging subscribers to check their junk folder/promotions tab after they first subscribe and getting them to whitelist your email address.)
To build up real rapport
There is an intimacy about email marketing that is hard to replicate on social media. Social media is a very public forum, whereas there’s something much more private and ‘VIP’ about email marketing. Your subscriber is letting you into their private email account, so it feels more 1:1 and personal… especially if you write good emails which sound just like they are coming from a good friend and if you regularly invite your subscribers to reply to you… All of this means it’s a much better place to build up real rapport and that all-important KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factor (which will help you to build up a loyal tribe of fans and customers!)
Better still, because there’s no pesky algorithm to get in the way, you can create a much more appropriate and welcoming experience when someone joins your list. You can guide them first through a welcome sequence… maybe then through a nurture sequence… before sending them your regular email newsletters.
Contrast this with the experience of a new social media follower – you have no way of controlling what they see or in what order. They see just the same stuff as your existing followers and in the order the algorithm chooses to show them (if at all!)
To earn money from your social media followers
It is notoriously hard to actually earn money from your social media followers, unless you are one of a few top influencers with millions of followers who can make genuinely good money from sponsored posts. And, by its very nature, it’s virtually impossible to earn passive income from social media.
Contrast this with email marketing where it’s not only possible to make good money, in a variety of ways, it’s also possible to automate almost everything and so attain that holy grail of genuinely passive income!
Still a little unconvinced? Here are some very insightful stats on email marketing vs social media:
- 60% of consumers sign up for brand emails with the expectation of getting promotional emails in their inbox, compared to 20% on social media.
- 44% of users check their email for a deal from a company they know, whereas only 4% will go to Facebook.
- 60% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.
- On the flip side, only 12.5% of consumers even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.
- Social media’s average engagement rate is just 0.58%, whereas, on average, email reaches 85% of the people you send it to (this is called the inbox placement rate), has an open rate of almost 23% and a click through rate of 3.7%. (And remember, these are just averages – you can do much better!)
- Email marketing yields $44 back for every $1 you spend – that’s a 4400% ROI!
(Source: Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Is There a Clear Winner?)
To protect your following
But perhaps the most convincing argument of all for why you should be putting your efforts into converting social media followers into subscribers is to protect your following.
Because you can have millions of Instagram followers or Facebook fans, but if one day that platform decides you have done something wrong – something they deem is against their terms of service, they can delete your account in a moment… meaning all that hard work you’ve put in building up that fan base was for nothing.
Alternatively, it may be that the platform you’ve worked so hard on just suddenly falls out of favour when something newer and more exciting comes round the next corner. (Anyone remember Friends Reunited? Exactly!) If you think that can’t possibly happen to Instagram, Facebook et al., you are deluding yourself. It can and it will!
Email is a very different animal. While social media platforms have come and gone, email marketing has stayed rock solid. It’s not ‘the hot new platform’ so it’s broadly immune from the fads and fickle fancies of the latest trend. And there’s no ‘email’ overlord who can just delete all your email subscribers if you accidentally violate the terms of service. And yes, your ESP (ConvertKit / MailerLite / MailChimp etc.) could terminate your contract, but they can’t take away your list – you own that… and you can download it into a spreadsheet if you are worried about losing it!
How to turn your social media followers into subscribers
OK, so hopefully you are now thoroughly convinced of the need to convert as many social media followers into email subscribers as possible! But how do you do it? How do you turn your social media followers into subscribers?
Step 1: Create an opt-in offer
The first step is to create an opt-in offer. You want to attract your followers’ attention with a freebie they want so bad they are willing to click away from social media in order to get their hands on it… so make it good!
An opt-in offer could be…
- An ebook
- A PDF
- A mini course
- A cheatsheet
- A workbook
- Free printables
- A challenge
- A webinar (live or pre-recorded)
The important thing to remember is that a good opt-in offer solves a problem for your readers… and the bigger the problem, and the better your freebie solves that problem, the better you’ll do at converting followers into subscribers.
The other thing to bear in mind is that opt-in freebies which offer some kind of ‘quick win’ will almost always do better than some great long 80 page ebook!
Once you have created your opt-in offer, you will need to create an email which delivers the opt-in offer to your subscribers and create a form to embed on your blog post where your readers can sign up.
If you want to learn how to create an effective opt-in offer, as well as how to set things up with your email marketing platform so your new subscribers actually get that free thing, head over to my post on How to create an opt-in offer that actually works!
Step 2: Advertise your opt-in offer to your social media followers
Once you’ve created your opt-in offer, the next step is to advertise your opt-in offer to your social media followers. You can do this in a number of ways… as a standalone post, casually mentioned in a post about something else, as a pre-recorded or live video, in a Story or Reel…
The important thing to remember is that your freebie solves a very real problem for your audience… so don’t pitch it as ‘come and get my free thing!’. Pitch it as ‘I’ve got the answer to your problems’. It’s a subtle mental shift, but an effective one. You’re not trying to persuade your followers to sign up for your list, you are offering them help for a problem they’ve been struggling with.
Step 3: Watch your subscribers grow!
Now, if you’ve created a good opt-in offer that genuinely helps your followers with a very real problem they are struggling with, and if you advertise it well to your social media followers, you should find that the new subscribers start rolling in.
But don’t rest on your laurels! This is not a ‘do it once and it’s done’ strategy. You need to keep on advertising your freebie to your followers in different ways…
Step 4: Turbocharge your conversions
There are also several things you can do to turbocharge your conversions. The first and most obvious of these is ads. If you have a post which is converting social media followers into email subscribers really well, it might be worth putting a few dollars behind that post to really turbocharge it.
Other options include advertising your freebie in your pinned posts on Facebook and Twitter, and linking the button on your Facebook page to your opt-in offer. You could also mention your freebie in your Instagram bio and use the clickable link to link to your freebie not your home page. And you could make an Instagram highlight about your freebie too.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
Once you have had success with one opt-in freebie, it’s time to repeat the process with a second freebie. Different freebies will appeal to different kinds of followers… so the more you have, the more followers you will convert!
You will also find that some opt-in offers will do better than others. The more you make, the more you stand a chance of hitting on the one killer idea that goes VIRAL!
Step 6: Nurture your new subscribers
It’s not enough to simply grow your email list, you need to NURTURE your new subscribers. That way they will become loyal fans and eventually (hopefully) loyal customers too.
Start by sending your new subscribers a welcome series introducing yourself, welcoming them to your blog and sharing valuable information/teaching.
After that, make sure you are sending regular newsletters to your list. Ideally, you should make your newsletter more than just a notification that you have a new blog post. Do this by including a personal update and providing extra value.
Step 7: Sell to your new subscribers
Once you have welcomed your new subscribers and delivered genuine value to them through your regular newsletters, you have earned the right to sell to your list.
If you have a product or service for sale, tell your subscribers about it. If not, consider ‘selling’ a product you are an affiliate for.
If you want to see what I mean, sign up to my email list and wait 10 days, until you get the email with the subject line ‘SEO LITERALLY changed my life!’
It’s worth noting that most bloggers and online entrepreneurs say that the majority of their sales come from people on their email list.
If you have something to sell, building your email list should be your top priority!
If you have a great email list but nothing to sell, creating a product to sell should be your top priority!
Ready to take your email marketing to the next level?
WANT TO TURN CASUAL BLOG READERS INTO RAVING FANS WHO HANG ON YOUR EVERY WORD AND BUY ALL YOUR STUFF?
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- write NEWSLETTERS that your subscribers CAN’T WAIT to receive
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- use tags, custom fields and segments THE RIGHT WAY
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You’ll also get a ton of bonus material, including swipe copy, example automations, templates, tech tutorials, printables, progress trackers and more… Everything you need to totally ROCK email marketing!
Over to you!
Have you used social media to grow your email list? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below…
Or do you have a question about anything in this blog post? Ask it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!
- How to use Pinterest to grow your email list
- 31 Email Marketing Mistakes to avoid in 2021 (and how to fix them!)
- 10 reasons why people are NOT signing up to your email list
- 10 easy ways to improve your email open and click rates
- A beginner’s guide to email marketing for bloggers
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