As a publisher, how can you get subscribers to read your content? Your website is full of must-read articles, but driving traffic to your site can be a challenge.
Many publishers are using email to refer subscribers to specific articles, but this requires a strategic plan. You can’t whip up an email, add a few links, and expect website traffic to soar. You have to decide on your goals, consider what you want to promote, and work from there.
Want to use email as a vehicle for website traffic? Here are 3 ways publishers can drive more traffic using email.
1. Send newsletters that show off your best content
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to send out a regular newsletter. A newsletter is a great way to showcase your content and entice readers to check out specific articles, videos, or infographics.
Research shows some newsletters have an open rate as high as 45%, but the average tends to hover in the high teens to low twentys, according to The Content Marketing Institute.
Here’s a great example of a newsletters from Campaign Monitor customer and publisher, Fashion. It gives subscribers a variety of different articles to read, all from one well-designed email.
Tips publishers can use to create traffic-driving newsletters
Write can’t-resist subject lines
First thing’s first. You have to get subscribers to open your email before they can go to your website, and that means creating a subject line that lures a reader in.
Most publishers “tease” one of the stories that’s featured in the newsletter. Fashion, for example, used this headline for the newsletter above, “We tried 400 beauty products and THESE were the best of the best.” It’s an intriguing subject line that’s sure to get subscribers to open the email.
You can promote your best piece of newsletter content or you can promote the timeliest content in the newsletter. Take a look at the subject lines below from Fashion that all focus on the holiday season, for example:
Offer up variety
A newsletter should offer a handful of different pieces of content to read. You want a little something for everyone, so you can influence as many subscribers as possible to click.
Prioritize amazing visuals
Once a subscriber opens an email, you need to draw them in. Research shows the average subscriber spends about 20 seconds “scanning an email” once it’s opened, and visuals are a great way to capture attention quickly.
Again, Fashion offers amazing inspiration in this department. Every article that’s featured in the newsletter has a visual element to it, whether it’s a stunning image or an eye-catching gif.
Gifs, or short animated pictures, are really hot right now. People shared 100 million Gifs on Twitter in one year, according to Clickz, so adding one to your email newsletter can drive the engagement that you’re looking for.
Fashion uses a gif in this newsletter below. Wouldn’t you click on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Titanic picture?
2. Get creative by sending “email games”
To drive website traffic, publishers are getting creative with their emails. Penguin Random House, for example, sent subscribers an email that featured, “Best Sellers Bingo.”
The email asks subscribers to guess what year each book was published in. When you scroll over a book title, the publish date appears. It’s a fun little game that’s quick and engaging for subscribers.
When one of the books is clicked on, the subscriber is taken to a list of books that were published in that decade and is given the ability to buy them. Here’s a snapshot of the website that subscribers are taken to:
In this case, the publisher has created a short path from email to checkout. A subscriber plays the game, clicks on the list of books, picks a book they like, and checks out. Penguin Random House isn’t just driving website traffic here; they’re driving sales too.
Tips publishers can use to create traffic-driving games
Make a simple game
Get creative. Think of an easy-to-play game that gets subscribers engaged. You might ask subscribers a trivia questions or get subscribers to pick their favorite fashion trend by choosing between two photos. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It just has to be out-of-the-ordinary.
Lead customers to a unique page or landing page
Once you create the game, send subscribers to a strategic page on your website or a landing page. Create a direct path that gives subscribers the option to read content or a way to pay for a full subscription to your magazine or publication.
3. Add a personal touch
Personalization takes on many forms in email. You can add a subscriber’s first name to a subject line or suggest products that are based on a customer’s previous purchases.
But, one publisher found a way to offer a personal connection to her readers. Janel Laben, the executive editor for Apartment Therapy, another Campaign Monitor customer and publisher, starts emails with her own description of an article.
The description is fairly short, but it ends with Laben’s picture and job title. It puts a face to the content. It lets you know that the content you’re about to read is generated by a company with real people who care.
Tips publishers can use to create a personal touch
Think of ways to connect with subscribers
What makes the Apartment Therapy example so awesome is that it gives the publisher a way to connect with subscribers. Think of ways to do the same. Maybe you can write a post thanking your readers or share a quick story about the people behind your publication.
Keep it brief
Adding a personal touch is great, but it shouldn’t takeover your email. Your email should still highlight great content or fun facts that drive subscribers to your website. The personal touch is merely a gesture that helps you build rapport with subscribers.
Publishers rely on email to ferry subscribers from their inbox to a website. The idea is to promote the content that you offer in a fun, easy-to-digest way and let subscribers take it from there. Use the tips above to keep a steady flow of traffic on your site.