How Free Content Wins Hearts and Opens Wallets

[contentbox bgcolor=’f2f2f2′ border=’999999′ borderwidth=3 corners=10]This is a Guest Post Written By: Chris The Traffic Blogger[/contentbox]

We’ve all been in the blogging slump before, and perhaps you’re in the same unfortunate situation yourself. When your readership counts grows at a rate that barely gives drying paint a run for its money and your daily routine seems stale and ordinary. If you are in this dreadful position, you can take comfort in knowing that the blogging slump is not only your biggest challenge, but also your greatest opportunity for success. The motivational surge you can create by taking a blog out of the slump and into stardom will send you to the keyboard making posts for years to come. It will definitely open up some wallets for you as well. So let’s get out of the slump, turn your site around and start creating something meaningful for your audience. By any chance, have you considered promoting your blog using free content?

Free Content Will:

-Create the Right Atmosphere

Free content puts you out there as a person of integrity; a person who is willing to aid your audience without expectation of anything in return. If the very first thing you offer to a new reader is free, experienced content which can aid them in solving their problems, well then you just transformed a random internet surfer into a long term customer. Consider the opposite, if you were to immediately ask them to open their wallets before you built any sort of relationship with them, do you think that they would comply? Of course not, free content allows you to start building a strong, positive relationship from the beginning.

-Test Value

Without value your content is useless, and free content is a great way to test the value of your ideas in front of a larger audience. By spreading your free content to other websites, blogging authors could potentially send your free ebook virally to all their subscribers which in turn would pass it on to their friends. Does your content inspire viral sharing or immediately deletion? Either way, you have to get it out there and test it before you will know for sure, so free content is a great way to run this experiment.

-Impress Your Audience

Your audience will be impressed by your free content if you make it delectable to the ears. Does it sound like your free ebook which requires an email subscription is the answer to what your customer is looking for? Does it sound like they cannot live without your precious information which also happens to be free? If people crave it, and you provide it for free, then you will have a feeding frenzy on your hands.

Don’t Just Give the Content

Free content is great in any form, whether that’s an ebook, a newsletter, video tutorial or just an extensive series of articles on your own blog. However, free content is online gold if you promote it correctly and use it to increase your subscription count. If you find that any of your free content is exceptionally well accepted by your audience then you should look to ask them to subscribe (for free obviously) in order to view it. You can easily take your top 10 posts on a single subject area, package them into a series of ebooks and then finally mail them out one day at a time with an autoresponder. This autoresponder would require an email address to work, so there you have another subscription for your site.

Offering free content in the form of seven emails over the course of seven days was how I took a blog from 2,400 readers to 10,200 in just six months. What’s more, I could then use email marketing to provide solutions to an audience which had come to depend on me for my free content, thus making it much easier to sell them products (which also helped them to achieve their goals). I opened their hearts and then they opened their wallets.

Do you offer free content in order to increase subscription numbers? If not, what’s stopping you?

To read more articles by Chris head over to The Traffic Blogger.

How to Increase Subscribers to Your Email List

In the past, one of the things we were a bit slow to take on was building up an email list. And even when we did, we were even slower  to send out anything to that list. Not good really considering that we were consistently told by those in the business that your top priority should be list building. But over time we finally caught on and realized the true potential in having a list of people who are really interested in what you have to say.

Let’s put it this way, if you have a list of 5000 people and you send out just one promotion to that list that will give you $50 commission per sale and only 100 people on that list buy it, you will make $5000….nice! And you don’t need to spam your list to do it. You can give your subscribers really good quality information and still make some money along the way, especially if you promote things that you have actually used and recommend.

However, the main problem  is getting people to sign up to your list in the first place.  So how do you do it without harassing them? I know that I’m not a fan of pop-ups. If I go to a blog with a pop-up I will just close the pop-up and get on to reading their website.  However, lots of people have  great success with pop-ups and say that it can increase the sign-up rate dramatically. So we actually purchased a couple of WordPress plugins that do just that. Unfortunately neither of them worked with this theme correctly – apparantly it is something to do with the font settings or such but probably just as well because as I’ve already mentioned, we aren’t fans of pop-ups.

So what we were looking for was a way to increase our sign-up rate without using pop-ups if possible.  And this is how we came upon the Maxblog Subscribers Magnet Plugin. We wanted a way of getting our sign up form in front of our readers faces without being overly intrusive and from what I can tell so far, this plugin is going to do the job. (Bear in mind this plugin does allow pop-ups – we’ve just chosen not to use them.)

I purchased the plugin today as it is currently on sale at 30%off and have uploaded it to this blog. I am a bit of a fan of the Maxblog team – they make some awesome plugins with my favorite being the Maxblog Ninja Affiliate plugin. So I had no doubt, even before buying it that this one would be any different. And once again the Maxblog team have not let me down as this plugin is pretty amazing and I am really excited about it which is why I am writing this blog post to let you know all know about it.

Now I have no idea at this stage if this plugin will increase the sign up rate to this blog as I have only just installed it but I am pretty confident that it will. It’s obvious that the more opportunities you provide to your readers to sign up, the more sign-ups you will get. I will update this post over the next few days as it is too early to tell yet…most of our readers are already in bed by now so we won’t see much action until the morning.

In the meantime I can let you know just how powerful this plugin actually is by taking you through some of the features.

1. First of all, the Subscribers Magnet plugin allows you to add your sign up form just about anywhere on your blog including:

  • Within the post – If you notice at the bottom of this post you will see a sign up form in place. This is now displayed at the bottom of every blog post on our blog. You can also display it at the top if you prefer and it can be aligned left, right or centred.
  • In the footer – This one I am not really fussed on so I haven’t activated it but I know that others have had success with this style of sign-up form. It basically adds one of those footer strip pop-ups that appear at the very bottom of your blog.
  • In the sidebar – this is one of the most obvious places to put a sign up form. This works via the widgets section of your blog and it’s super easy to customize.
  • As a checkbox next to the comment form – you can see this one in action at the bottom of this blog post when you leave a comment. There is a little checkbox just above the text box that when checked signs your reader up to your newsletter.
  • After the reader has left a comment – this one you can also see in action on this blog but only if you leave a comment. What will happen is that you once you submit your comment you will see your comment awaiting moderation and in that comment field you will see a sign-up box. Pretty neat…I like this one.
  • As a pop-up – as we’ve mentioned, this is not one we choose to have on our blog. Maybe one day we will test it but for the moment we are going to stick with no pop-ups. This plugin allows the pop-in to be delayed on opening to whatever amount of time you want giving the reader the chance to read the content on your blog before the pop-up appears.

2. This plugin works with all the major autoresponders including aWeber, GetResponse, 1ShoppingCart etc.

3. It will automatically auto-fill your readers name and email address in the sign-up form fields if they have previously left a comment in the past. So in other words, if they don’t sign up the first time, the next time they visit your blog their name and email will be auto-filled into the Name and Email fields of your sign-up form. This will make them more likely to subscribe as  they won’t have to enter any details and will only have to hit that subscribe button.

4. Silent Subscription – Basically it allows you to automatically sign-up any visitor that has left a comment on your blog. So they will automatically be added to your email list although if you have a double opt-in list they will still need to confirm. Not one I would use personally, I believe visitors should have the option to subscribe or not.

5. Automatic Email – This is a slight variation to the one above and is the one I prefer. You can send out an email automatically when a reader leaves a comment on your blog for the first time. In that email you can put whatever you like – just a thank you is nice or you can promote a product,  or you can suggest that they sign up to your email list.

6. Ability to remove the “Powered by Subscribers Magnet” text from the bottom of the sign-up form. I thought I would add this one here as a lot of people would probably not want that wording on their sign-up form. If, however, you decide to leave it, you can add your affliate link to it and make money from any sales that are referred to Maxblog.

7. This plugin also provides the ability to make your opt-in forms as fancy as you like. There are plenty of options including different font sizes, colors, width, height etc and the ability to add an image. There is also an html option so I can only assume that if you have an opt-in form already available in html that you can just transfer it over to the html form in this plugin and load it up.

Overall this is a fantastic little plugin and well worth the money in our opinion. If you are interested in it check out the video on their sales page – if that doesn’t convince you then nothing will.

And don’t forget that the sale for Maxblog Subscribers Magnet plugin is only on for four days so don’t think about it for too long  as a 30% saving is a great offer.

UPDATE: We’ve had the plugin in place for a few days now and have noticed around a 30% increase in subscribers. However, we often get periods like this anyway where suddenly our subscriber sign-ups will increase although I have to admit so far it has been consistent for the past three days. I will provide another update in a week or so to see if it continues.