20 Growth Hacks to Grow Your List!
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If you are in the startup world or tech industry, you probably hear the buzzword “growth hacking” thrown around constantly. Different from the traditional marketing funnel, growth marketing is concerned with getting a sh** ton of users to convert ASAP.
And have those users bring more users in, with absolutely no extra cost for you.
Sounds like something you may want for your own blog, right?
See, wouldn’t it be awesome to turn everyone that comes to your website into an email subscriber or customer? Wouldn’t it be freaking amazing if they went and told their friends about your blog?
Imagine your website traffic looking like Airbnb's growth curve.
And guess what? You don’t have to spend an insane amount of extra time or money trying to acquire more subscribers to your blog! All you have to do is be clever and tactical.
So what is “growth hacking”?
The term “growth hacking” was originally coined by Sean Ellis, who served as the Head of Growth for Dropbox. Sean became THE guy to help any startup grow their user base rapidly, with no traditional marketing.
He defines a growth hacker as “a person whose true north is growth.”
And for us bloggers and biz owners, that definition seems to fit us just perfectly!
Every tactic that I am going to tell you about is concerned with growing your website traffic and email list, first and foremost. You do not need to worry about spending money on paid social buttons, email marketing software, lead pages, or anything like that. Oh, and no old and boring marketing tactics here.
These are all clever growth hacking strategies that you can implement at absolutely NO cost.
All that is required is being a little bit science-y and “geeking out” just a bit. No you don’t need to break out your lab coat, goggles, and test tube (you can if you want to, totally cool).
What you will need to do in order to see success from these growth hacks is to…
Hypothesize what you think will convert the best.
Fail or succeed...and learn from both.
Ready? Here are 5 super simple growth hacks for your blog.
Growth Hack #1: Add free content upgrades to all of your posts.
The best, simplest way to rapidly grow your audience and subscriber list is by giving away valuable content...for FREE.
Why? A few reasons...
First, giving away content that is useful and highly beneficial to your audience at no cost, demonstrates your expertise, your quality, and your value.
Chances are, there are a billion other people blogging about the exact same thing you are. In turn, there is a TON of free content already available everywhere on the internet.
In order to stand out in any saturated market and earn the attention of your audience, you need to go above and beyond. You need to exceed expectations. You need to SHOW your own value proposition and give your audience a reason to engage with your content.
Secondly, content upgrades further elevate levels of engagement.
The more value you provide to your audience, the more responsive they will be, and the more likely they will keep coming back to you.
Growth Hack #2: Have multiple opt-in forms on your site.
Imma be straight with you. Conversion rates for blogs are sort of dismal… In fact, research has found that the average landing page conversion rate is a measly 2.35%.
Depressing? A little.
But I have good news for you! If you focus on optimizing your blog pages with strategic placements of opt-in forms, you can see much higher conversion rates.
(Did you know?: Convertkit users has seen conversion rates between 10%-40%! Now that’s what I like to see.)
When I say “opt-in forms”, I don’t mean having 10 different pop-ups filling up the entire screen. I have visited sites where 3-5 pop-ups hit me ALL AT ONCE, which always leads me to just exit the entire screen.
There is a big difference between strategic placement, and just being completely obtrusive and f***ing up the user experience.
Here are some places where you could place opt-in forms that won’t annoy people, but instead make them actually want to sign-up.
1. Content upgrades
Going back to Growth Hack #1, content upgrades also serve as an “opt-in form”. You are essentially getting a visitor to sign-up to receive more free content in exchange for their email address.
What’s awesome about gaining subscribers through content upgrades is that you now know what type of content they are interested in. So instead of sending those subscribers your typical newsletter or every blog update, you can send them relevant content that you know would be of actual interest to them.
(PSST... check out the content upgrade for this post below).
2. After blog posts (we like to scroll)
Social media feeds and webpages are designed for scrolling. Sometimes, we even scroll to the very bottom of a page before we decide to read an entire article. We have to make sure it’s well worth our time, right?
If you write a kicka** blog post that really catches your reader's’ interest, chances are they will want to read even more.
This makes the end of your blog post the perfect place for an opt-in form! Once again, you can keep the engagement going by providing more quality content in exchange for an email address.
3. Between blog content
As your audience is scrolling through your blog post, hopefully they are nodding their head in agreement and thinking “wow, this is so valuable!” (Well, something like that.)
This makes the middle of your blog post the perfect place to slide in an opt-in form. More so, putting your content upgrade for the post in between the content allows you to better target your audience with relevant content.
Chances are, if they are reading through the blog post, they most likely would be interested in additional content on the subject.
Check out how Melyssa Griffin offers content upgrades for her posts in between the page…
Not only does she strategically place her content upgrade in the middle of her post, but she also has this same “opt-in” box embedded multiple times (3 times to be exact!).
This may seem repetitive, but the repetition actually helps drive conversions. The more we see something, the more we want it.
4. Above the fold
“Above the fold” is simply the top portion of your website that is fully visible without scrolling down.
If the top of your website is where visitors look at first, why not put your amazing opt-in incentive right there?
This works well because you fully have the attention of your audience right up front. There is no guess work; no wondering if your audience will find the opt-in box in your sidebar.
For example, my opt-in incentive is linked at the very top of my blog.
So not only do you grab that attention of new visitors and encourage action right away, you also have the opportunity to make an awesome first impression by showing your value.
Growth Hack #3: A/B Test everything!
A/B testing is simply testing two variations or versions of something, and seeing which one performs better.
The general workflow for A/B testing is…
1. Decide on what you want to test and make a hypothesis.
You can test literally anything, but what’s most important is choosing something to test that would provide value. You will want to pose a hypothesis about which variation you think will perform best and why the results could be of value.
Some things that you can A/B test include...
Email subject lines, page layouts, social media assets, blog post titles, call to action buttons, delivery time of content, etc.
2. Define your KPIs (key performance indicators - i.e. conversion rate, open rate, click through rate, etc.)
These are your “key performance indicators”, or your measures of success for what you are testing. Your KPI could be conversion rate, open rate, CTR (click through rate), etc.
3. Create two versions of what you are testing.
4. Split half of your audience to receive version 1, with the other half receiving version 2.
5. Conclude which version performed best. Analyze your results, and conclude which variation is the winner!
6. Repeat the process with the best performing version serving as the “control” for the next A/B test.
Now that you have found a variation that works (or at least works better than another version), you can then use that variation for further tests.
Just because you see success, doesn’t mean you cannot see MORE success. You can always further optimize your blog and continue to see growth!
With this growth hack, you can find the most successful variations that will help drive conversions and grow your email subscriber list. Better yet, your findings can inform what you do moving forward.
So keep on testing!
Growth Hack #4: Become highly ranked by Pinterest.
If you are a new blogger, you may be wondering “How in the world do I get ranked high by Pinterest, if I have barely any followers?!”
Ever hear the phrase “fake it ‘till ya make it”? That is pretty much what you need to do.
Focus on optimizing your Pinterest account in a way that makes you appear as a top "pinner", even if you are not.
How do you do this? One growth hack for increasing your ranking on Pinterest is to re-pin popular pins with a sh** ton of re-pins. You know, the pins that have over 1k re-pins that you are awing over.
So why only re-pin super popular pins?
For starters, highly re-pinned content is (probably) highly valuable content that will resonate well with your audience. If you pin high quality content, people will want to follow you.
Secondly, Pinterest is a search engine, meaning that it will rank you HIGHER if you appear to be more of an “expert”.
So how does this translate to more email subscribers for you?
Pinterest has over 150 million active users. That is A LOT of people that could potentially find your blog and subscribe to your email list!
Not only does Pinterest offer an enormous amount of impressions (people seeing your content), but the CTR (click through rate) of Pinterest users is extremely high.
People “pin” content and search for content that they are interested in engaging with, meaning that they actually take action and land on your site.
Furthermore, content on Pinterest doesn't just disappear. The algorithm isn't based on time, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Content can be re-pinned and move back up to the top of the search results, making it viewable by new users over and over again.
Growth Hack #5: Make your site and UI super aesthetic.
This last growth hack was brought up in my startup class by Brett Crosby, the founder of Urchin, which is today known as “Google Analytics”.
He emphasized the importance of design when pitching to investors as a new start-up, or really when presenting anything. He explained that the best way to be perceived as successful, is to present yourself or your business as already a success.
Ever hear the phrase, “Dress for the job that you want, no the one that you have”?
Same sort of thing.
If you are a new blogger or business owner, you probably do not yet have the credibility or experience to position yourself as an “expert” or a “success” in your field.
This is why website design is the perfect growth hack!
You can simply give people the illusion that you are legit, just by making your UI appear extremely professional. I am not telling you lie or deceive people. What I am telling you is to look professional if you want to be perceived as professional.
Not only do you need to provide high quality content to begin with, you also need to present your content in a way that makes it appear valuable and trustworthy.
And guess what that translates to? A growing email subscriber list.
The Bottom Line
Growth hacking does not have to be complicated. You do not have to spend money on marketing in order to gain users. Traditional marketing tactics are not the way to rapidly grow your web traffic or email subscriber list.
If you want to see actual growth, you need to be smart. You need to stay aware of consumer trends in your market, and you need to be willing to try new strategies (even if they have never been done before).
GROW YOUR LIST!
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What strategies have helped you grow your email list?
Chelsea Spinos is a Marketing Strategist for Yahoo and a "side hustler"/ aspiring entrepreneur. Chelsea is committed to helping side hustlers like herself, grow their business and thrive in life. You can follow her entrepreneur journey through her social media!