More subscribers = more time for you and better content for your audience. Here’s why.
If your small business struggles to attract the attention of the same ideal customers every day, you need to focus more of your attention on turning readers, listeners and viewers into subscribers.
When you have subscribers, you can put more time into creating valuable content that you KNOW will be seen by your ideal customer, and less time trying to get that content in front of them.
Building a subscriber base is critical to every small business, but platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter don’t give us all the access we need.
Although Facebook gives us fans, Twitter gives us followers and LinkedIn gives us a network, none allow us to create an opt-in that guarantees delivery and visibility.
Only 16% of our Facebook fans see our latest update. An even smaller fraction of our Twitter followers see an average tweet. And some of our LinkedIn connections don’t get on to the platform for weeks or longer.
Building an opt-in subscriber base allows you to better connect and deliver quality content to your audience.
In this article you’ll discover five great places where you can truly develop an opt-in subscriber base of your ideal customers.
Build a Subscriber Base at YouTube
Stop thinking of YouTube as free video hosting space, and start appreciating it as a place to build an opt-in subscriber base.
Subscribers to your channel have the option of seeing your uploads appear in their home page feed or can choose to get email alerts every time you upload a new video.
Subscribing to a channel is easy; there are several places to subscribe, including right below the video player itself.
Getting people to receive emails is a bit tougher as it takes an extra step on their part.
First, they must click on Manage Your Subscriptions in the left column, then select the “Email with new uploads” box. However, if you can get your subscribers to take this extra step, you’ll have much greater access to them.
Your customer’s inbox is the holy grail of marketing communication. Treat it with respect. [Click to tweet!]
To increase your YouTube subscribers, follow these steps:
- Create content your ideal customer finds valuable. If you can’t do this, everything else fails.
- Ask people to subscribe at the end of each video. Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder.
- Add a “click to subscribe” option using YouTube annotations. This creates a clickable link within the video when someone watches it.
You can see the clickable button highlighted below in the yellow oval.
Get More Subscribers to Your Podcast
What lifts podcasts above downloadable audio is the power of subscription. Once you move someone from listener to subscriber, your latest podcast gets automatically downloaded to their iTunes account, and then onto their iPhone or other mp3 player.
That means they don’t actively have to go find out if you’ve got some new, valuable content to share. (A step few people would actually take.) Instead, it “magically” appears on their smart phone, taking the place of the podcast they just listened to.
More listeners = more downloads, and more downloads can land you on the New & Noteworthy section, or the What’s Hot section in iTunes, greatly increasing your subscribers and creating a virtuous cycle.
To increase your podcast subscribers, follow these steps:
- Create valuable content and deliver it with high production values.
- Ask listeners to subscribe at the end of each podcast.
- Ask listeners to go to the iTunes store and give you a good review and a five start rating. Higher ratings and lots of positive reviews can increase your visibility in iTunes and attract more subscribers.
Get More Followers on Slideshare
If you’ve never heard of Slideshare, I like to think of it as the YouTube of PowerPoint presentations. Slideshare gets over 60 million views a month, and sees 400,000 new presentations uploaded each month.
People can “follow” (read: subscribe) to content producers on Slideshare. When they subscribe to you, they’ll see your activity in their Newsfeed, but they’ll also receive emails when you post new slide decks.
Whenever you put on a new presentation, consider uploading the slides to Slideshare to reach a wider audience.
What? You don’t put on presentations? Not even webinars?!?
Well, that’s a discussion for another day. If you don’t put on presentations, you can still create slide decks as a way of distributing your content. Consider taking a blog post (numbered lists work well) and converting it into a slide deck.
Here’s an example of what I did with a post originally called The 13 Secrets of Successful Facebook Marketing for Small Business:
But really, any piece of content you create can be converted into a slide deck.
To increase your Slideshare followers, follow these steps:
- Create valuable content that can be explained through a slide deck.
- Include a slide at the end that asks people to “follow” you for more great content.
- Embed your slide decks back into a blog, or share them through other social channels. (Getting “hot” on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook can land you on the home page of Slideshare, which is guaranteed to give your views and follower count a boost.)
So far we’ve only talked about platforms over which you have limited control. These are important places to build an opt-in subscriber base, but you can’t control Google, Apple, or LinkedIn…the three owners of YouTube, iTunes and Slideshare, respectively.
These last two platforms are under your control, and so have even greater value to you. They deliver emails into your subscribers inbox, leaving them nowhere to hide. 😉 Of course, they can always unsubscribe, but as long as you’re providing amazing content, why would they?
Get More Subscribers To Your Blog
Forget about RSS. RSS is important, but unless you are targeting an insanely geeky audience, you’ll never be able to reach much of your ideal customer base through a traditional RSS feed.
(If you don’t know what RSS is, you’ve just proven my point. 😉 It stands for Really Simple Syndication and was hyped as how we’d all get information “in the future.”)
Instead, focus on getting readers to subscribe to email updates to your blog.
Once they’re subscribed, you can deliver emails that tease the content in your latest post, driving traffic back to your blog.
While I used to believe you should deliver the entire blog post via email, I’ve changed my opinion on this over the last year.
Now, I feel that if you can create an “information gap” in that teaser email, your subscriber will be curious enough to follow you back to your blog. Once there, it’s easier for them to comment on your post or share it through their social networks.
Also, if you’ve embedded videos or slide decks, often these can’t display properly in an email…just one more reason to bring them back to your blog.
How to get more subscribers to your blog:
- Create valuable content. (Notice a trend here?)
- Make it easy to subscribe, by including signup boxes at the top and bottom of each post, and in the side panels.
- Ask people to sign up to receive emails in their inbox. Often, people don’t think about subscribing to a blog, but once you mention it to them they’re only to happy to give you their email address.
Get More Subscribers to Your Email Newsletter (Ezine)
The line between email newsletters and blog updates (delivered via email) is blurring. At flyte, my day job, we have blog subscribers, and we also have an email newsletter.
This may be a holdover from the traditional newsletter that many organizations sent out to prospects, clients and members in years past.
The email newsletter tends to be a little more formatted and a little more thought out. It’s one or more articles, along with some promotional material on the side.
The featured article (and possibly additional articles) tends to be in the email itself, although this isn’t required. If you don’t sell advertising, and you don’t care about comments or shares, there’s no big incentive for you to drive people back to your site.
How to get more subscribers to your email newsletter:
- Offer email bait. (You thought I was going to say “create valuable content,” right? Ha! Jokes on you. That comes later.) Email bait is an incentive that gives your site visitor a reason to sign up for your ezine. Check out 3 Proven Email List Building Tactics for more information on email bait.
- Create valuable content. Again, this is necessary for success. Every time you send out your email newsletter, it represents an opportunity for someone to unsubscribe. If your content is critical to their success, they’ll stay on your list.
There are plenty of places to build an audience online, but if you don’t get them to subscribe, you’ll be fighting the same battle for attention every day.
By focusing your attention on platforms that allow true subscriptions, especially on platforms you own (blogs & email), you can more easily build and retain an audience that will help build your small business.
If you’d like to learn more about Slideshare, I’m putting on a free webinar this month on How to Use LinkedIn and Slideshare to Build Your Business. Space really is limited, so make sure you jump on that now!
In the meantime, can I ask you to join my subscriber base? 🙂 I promise to create valuable content and deliver it right to your inbox, free of charge.
Have you used any of these platforms to build a subscriber base? What tactics did you use? Please let me know in the comments below!