How One Small Improvement Will Keep Sending Readers to Your Blog
Posted on November 29th, 2013 | By Gerd Meissner
So you think you did everything possible to promote your blog or business website. Still, you may have overlooked a proven "power tool" to attract more visitors. Some thoughts and a product tip on how to put it to good use. Find a short summary <a href="#summary">herea>.
Go out with a group of friends or meet a vendor whose products or services your business is using or evaluating, and chances are that at some point in the conversation, they will mention their blog, and invite you to look it up.
You've been there, right? So have I. And I am ashamed to report that in probably 8 out of 10 cases, I have not made good on my promise to visit their blog. What happened?
Hint: the solution involves your email signature
. Read on.
It's not that I didn't intend to. They actually got me curious about their blog, and I thought about it again later, when we went back and forth by email.
Your blog? Didn't get around to it yet. My bad.
Yet somehow, I never got around to looking it up. Remind me to ask them for that blog URL again.
Sounds familiar? Now think about it from the blogger's perspective for a moment. You already may have covered some blogging basics:
- attractive, "responsive" blog design - checked
- relevant topics - checked
- attention-grabbing headlines - checked
- appropriate photos or infographics - checked
- search engine optimization (SEO) basics tended to - checked
- social media "teaser" sent out on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and/or Facebook - checked
So, what's else is there left to do? My advice: Don't forget about those genuinely interested almost-visitors to your blog or website who somehow never really got around to it. Ask yourself: Why didn't they?
"Convenience" is the keyword here, in my experience. I would urge you to add the following item to your checklist even before your first - or next, it's never too late - blog post.
In order to get more blog readers and followers, you need to make it easy and convenient for your existing contacts to visit and follow your blog.
Wanted: a fully automatic...
Awkward Moments Avoidance App for bloggers: the email signature
Remember that awkward moment when you last asked one of your contacts if she had looked up your blog?
Won't happen again, you vowed to yourself. You've moved on, went out on Google, found no shortage of blogs dedicated to sharing tips on how to get more visitors to read your (new) blog - some useful, some very technical.
Yet somehow, many of the how-to guides lack basic tips for bloggers on how to avoid that infamous "follow-up that never happens" trap.
Now, here's a question: Have you looked at your email signature recently?
How to get from "Follow-ups That Never Happen" to more blog visitors:
Take a second look. Are you using your email signature effectively, as a tool to attract readers to your blog or website?
From email marketers we learn that it is the beginning and the end of a message that counts most. That's where you are most likely to catch your readers' attention.
So why not craft an email signature that, at the end of each outgoing message, moves them to take action? Like, look up your blog?
Check out the infographic below, by French contact management apps specialist Evercontact. It illustrates that many business website owners simply overlook this opportunity:
<a href="http://www.evercontact.com/blog/infographic-the-anatomy-of-an-email-signature.1.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">a>Infographic by <a href="http://www.evercontact.com">Evercontact (formerly WriteThat.Name)a>
Why have not more bloggers "optimized" their email signature yet, to increase blog traffic? Here's my take, based on my own experiments:
For a long time, many programs that promised to pimp your email signature generated less-then-desirable results.
At best, the signatures looked gimmicky. At worst, they looked like they were handcrafted by the 14-year old webmaster of Hillbilly Highway Billboard Designs, Inc.
Build and manage smarter email signatures.
Such signatures included icon bars with social media icons that screamed "Nerd Alert" from a mile away. To make things worse, they also frequently ran afoul of email spam filters that didn't like HTML-based email to begin with.
I took a pass. In the meantime, for business, I found that just adding simple static links - no icons - to HTML email signatures was highly effective in guiding traffic to particular (blog) pages, especially when using different signatures / links based on the type of communication.
Example: I used signature A in email replies to prospects interested in learning more about service offer A, and signature Z in messages to those interested in service offer Z.
The only difference between the two signatures was the link. It pointed them either to a web page specifically tailored to address potential "A" type buyers or to the one for "Z" type buyers. I tracked the results, <a href="http://www.megancoleman.com/techtips/archives/track-links-in-your-email-signature/" target="_blank">here's a blog post by Megan Coleman how you can do the samea>. It was an eye opener.
In business, email still rules when it comes to get more visitors to your website or blog:
Source: <a href="http://www.eloqua.com/resources/marketing-insights.htm" target="_blank">Oracle / Eloquaa>
Of course, for personal email, I used a different signature - with different links - altogether.
Since then, mostly due to the enormous success of Google's web-based GMail and its rapidly growing ecosystem of email management apps, the available email signature tools have improved dramatically.
In business, web-based email solutions like GMail (Google Apps for Business) rapidly replace many "old school" email systems.
In the office and on the iPad at home, HTML-based, app-driven email has become the rule.
Is it convenient - for the recipient, but also for you?
By now, most email clients have learned to play nice with HTML-laden messages. Not even nerds take exception anymore. Time to take a second look at those "rich" email signature apps, I decided.
These three reasons made me revisit the concept:
- When you are sending someone an individual business or personal email (as opposed to a mass mailing), you often know that person already.Just think about it:
In most cases, some kind of contact has been established. This can significantly lower the threshold for the recipient to follow a link you have sent.
At the same time, there's a much higher probability the person on the other end will be curious about what you share on your personal or business blog.
- Email recipients will be more likely to visit your blog if you make it really easy for them to do so straight from the bottom of a note you just emailed their way.
Easy, and enticing - for example by including the most recent "Top 10 Tips..." headline from
- signature, based on the respective email account, across multiple desktop or web clients like Outlook, Gmail or Mozilla's Thunderbird? Or simply click-and-pick, depending on the purpose?Use the same (or the same different)
Piece of cake for the newest generation of email signature apps, as it turns out.
That last point cinched the deal for me, with my - current - favorite email signature app: WiseStamp. This browser-based tool for Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome has been around since social media were for geeks only. Back in the day, the app / browser plugin looked the way.
So I was pleasantly surprised to learn how far it has come since I last took a peek. WiseStamp enhances Gmail, Google Apps Mail and Yahoo Mail with dynamic email signatures, and allows for status updates from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Linkedin, Pinterest and other platforms.
After test driving the free version for a month, I gladly paid for the Pro version, which comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. I didn't have to use it.
WiseStamp Pro offers unlimited signatures, easy access from whatever platform you compute on, an uncluttered, functional web editor for the rest of us, and a broad selection of tasteful design options. You can assign email signatures to staff members and backup your signature configurations in the cloud.
Note: Easy now. Yes, including a non-intrusive icon for your LinkedIn profile or Facebook page doesn't mark you as a geek anymore. But decking out your email signature like a Christmas tree still will.
On its website, WiseStamp offers a library of email plugins for different purposes, like sharing your Google+ page status or to promote a new mobile app.
My favorite WiseStamp feature is the RSS Feed inclusion in email signatures. It enables you to include dynamic content from your blog or business website - the headline of the latest post or press release, or a customer or client testimonial - in your email signature.
How to include blog or news release headlines in your email signature
- log in to the WiseStamp Editor
- select the tab labeled "Email Apps"
- click the "RSS Feed" icon
- insert the link to your blog's or company website's RSS Feed.
This is how it looks in my personal email signature:
<a name="summary">Summary:a> How to Get a Smarter Email Signature
What: WiseStamp Pro email tool
Who should use it? Recommended for individuals and professionals, like bloggers, consultants, sellers, photographers, lawyers or real estate agents. A corporate version to assign and manage email signatures for larger teams is also available.
Why? WiseStamp makes it easy to design, sync and manage email signatures across different accounts, and to add a picture, company logo, social media icons, blog or news release headlines.
Where? You can download and activate WiseStamp on the company's website: <a href="http://www.wisestamp.com" title="WiseStamp" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.WiseStamp.coma>.