Issue #410

Sent to members on December 20, 2022

The Most Effective List Building Strategy For Blogs – By Far

Let’s talk about list building. What really works (versus what most people are doing). And a few little techie tips to implement it.

You should know by now that building up your email list is super important. Your list is your most important asset. So many people focus on follower counts on social media, but that’s NOTHING compared to the importance of email.

It is literally an asset you OWN versus one you don’t.

Anyway, most blog owners try to build their list via the traditional ways. Usually, a sidebar optin form. Perhaps some optin forms on the homepage, in the footer, etc.

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But, let’s face it…

People have grown rather blind to these opt-in forms. They just don’t care.

It is like banner ads now. People have trained themselves to just be blind to them. Every site is popping optins in your face and you just learn not to give a crap anymore.

And so, list opt-in rates on these kinds of forms usually suck.

What’s a blog owner to do?

Well, putting targeted traffic to landing pages aside (which is always the better performing option), let’s talk just blog list building strategy.

Where is everybody looking on your blog?

When people land on your blog from a search engine, what do they come to?

Into a blog post, of course.

This means that your blog post content is your most valuable screen real estate. Not your sidebar, header, footer, post footer or any of the rest of your theme elements. We’re talking the content itself.

The highest-performing list optin strategy for blogs is to place the most relevant call to action you possibly can right into the middle of your blog content.

It will literally be part of your content.

Not inserted by a plugin.

Not contextual but stuffed into your sidebar.

I’m talking about a call to action that you insert manually right into the block editor of WordPress – into your content – as you write the post itself.

Now, you COULD make that call to action an actual opt-in form. But, often an easier option (and often performs better) is to create a dedicated landing page for your lead magnet offer… then LINK to that landing page from within your blog content as a call to action.

These in-post calls to action could be graphical… or they could be a little blurb of text with a link. You could even give that block a background color different than the rest so that it stands out slightly.

But, again, we’re talking about the call to action being part of your content.

This strategy will out-perform everything else to the degree that you could literally GET RID of almost every other opt-in form on your site, including your in sidebar, header, etc. Give your blog a nice, clean, focused look without all the clutter. And even then, your blog will out-perform the average blog opt-in rate without breaking a sweat.

For this to work, you’re going to need more than one call to action. Likely more than one lead magnet. Because you want to tailor the opt-in offer in the blog post to be as relevant to the topic of your blog post as possible.

Secondly, let’s talk execution.

Actually doing this is much easier if you write your blog posts using the block editor of WordPress. If you are still using the old, classic editor, you’re going to find this quite a bit harder to do.

This is because the block editor gives you the ability to save blocks you’ve built to be reusable.

So, you could create your own call to action using the block editor. It could be a simple paragraph block with a link, and image block that links off to a landing page, or any combination that suits you.

Then, when you press the 3 little dots menu on the right side, you’ll get a dropdown menu. And in there, you can “Create A Reusable Block”.

Give your block a name. A name that makes sense to you because you will be able to then easily insert this same call to action across your site using that block name. Make it easy on yourself.

Another cool thing about these reusable blocks is that you can also manage and edit them later. Which means that if you ever want to make a change to that call to action, you can edit it in one spot and it will take affect across your entire site anywhere that same block is used.

Now, what if you want to take a little more control over when that block appears. For instance, what if you wanted those calls to action to disappear if the person happens to be logged into your site? For instance, for a membership site?

Well, no problem.

Go get yourself the Block Visibility plugin. The free version is likely all you’d ever need.

With this plugin, you can enable certain options to be available on your blocks. For instance, the ability to show/hide it based on a person’s logged-in status.

This plugin even has a gorgeous integration with my favorite plugin: WP Fusion. This means you can show/hide blocks even based on a person’s tags in your CRM. Talk about targeted!

And so… over time, you create a library of reusable calls to action using the built-in block editor.

And whenever you are writing a blog post, you just toss in the one that best fits your blog post.

And your opt-in offers will then appear in the most visible part of your site – the content itself.

This is, by far, the most effective blog optin strategy there is. And even cooler is that you don’t need some fancy list building plugin to do it. It is all built right into the WordPress block editor.

Tech Talk

The MetaBox plugin has gotten an update. If you’re not familiar with Metabox, it is pretty amazing since it enables you to turn WordPress into almost anything you want with custom post types, custom fields, custom forms, and more. All in one plugin. In fact, while I use Advanced Custom Fields myself, I will say… MetaBox blows it away in many aspects.

My friends at WP Manage Ninja (the folks behind FluentCRM) have released a new plugin called FluentAuth. It is also free, so if it will serve a use for you, there’s no purchase decision required. So, what’s it do?

FluentAuth is a login security plugin. It allows you to firmly control the login experience to your site if you are using WordPress as a membership of some kind. It includes things like 2-factor authentication, “magic login via email” (where you can send direct logins via email to people where no password is required), login limits, dynamic login redirects and much more. It also has stuff like social login. Right now, it is just tied to GitHub (which is useless for most people), but Facebook/Google integration is coming.

Syed Balki’s team has launched SendLayer – an outgoing email service for WordPress users. Basically, it is like SendGrid in that you connect your site to it via API key and use it to send all your site’s outgoing email.

Now, this team is the same people behind WP FormsWPBeginnerWP Mail SMTP, etc. They are also rather well known in the space for some… questionable marketing tactics. They make good products, but I think generally they are overpriced and have a rather monopolisitic approach to the WordPress space. Clearly, SendLayer is now going to be marketed ALL OVER WPBeginner as the only way to send emails from WordPress. But, honestly, SendLayer looks quite expensive given the email volume. I wouldn’t bother with it.

And lastly, if you’d like to learn the “State Of The Word” – basically the state of the WordPress world – from the founder Matt Mullenweg, you can check out the full video of the address here. A big theme of this talk is the freedoms of open source software.

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