How Our Demand Generation Team Helped Grow the Blog Subscriber Base [B2B Beat]

May 15, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in our “Building Blogs” series. In the third installment we showed how five people-driven SEO principles helped boost our blog traffic.

As a former newspaper reporter, I sometimes catch myself thinking that building a great blog is all about content and the written word. In many ways, it is. Great content is table stakes, and you can’t bluff your way into building an audience that returns regularly to your blog.

But great content alone isn’t going to be enough. Building a lasting audience for your blog is a team game. As we covered in the previous post in our “Building Blogs” series, SEO is crucial to attracting traffic. Similarly, to drive subscriptions to your blog, you’re doing to need help from your demand generation team.

Read on to learn the many effective (but simple to implement) tactics the crackerjack LinkedIn Marketing Solutions demand generation team has used to help generate new blog subscribers.  

You cannot overestimate how important the number of subscribers is to the health of your blog. As a group, subscribers believe your content is relevant enough and valuable enough to share their email address with you so that they are reminded daily (or weekly) that new posts have been uploaded to your blog.

In a recent post, Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi called subscribers the “one metric to rule them all.” In that same post, he wrote, “When You got to sleep at night, you should be thinking of attracting subscribers. When you wake up in the morning, you should have subscribers etched into your brain.”  

At the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, we have put this subscriber-focused model into practice over the past 18 months, and in the process, we have seen our subscriber base grow almost 30-fold. The demand gen team played a huge role in this increase. Here are some of the methods we’ve used to boost the number of our subscribers.

The Scrolling Subscribe Button

On some blogs, the subscribe button lives in the top right corner of the page. On others, the subscribe button is in the lower right hand corner. We’ve opted to place our subscribe button in the lower right hand corner, but it’s never out of the blog reader’s site. The subscribe button scrolls as the readers scrolls through the content. It’s constantly in view, and clicks on this button have led to 33 percent of new subscribers to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog over the past year.

Offering Daily and Weekly Blog Subscription Options

We post content to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog seven days a week. We also email our subscribers daily to let them know that new content is available. This daily communication is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it definitely drives traffic to the site. On the other, too many updates can be annoying — annoying enough that it can lead to unsubscribes. In fact, the most common reason for unsubscribes to our blog is “too many updates.” To counteract this potential issue, we have emphasized to prospective subscribers that a weekly email option is available. We introduced the weekly option in November of 2015, and already weekly subscribers make up 19.8 percent of our subscriber base – up from essentially zero percent six months ago.

Thank-you Emails

Prospects who download your ebooks and whitepapers or register for your webinars demonstrate that they’re interested in your point of view. Our demand gen team sends these prospects an email thanking them for their interest and pointing them to similar content – such as our blog. This simple approach is our most effective techniques for driving new subscriptions. More than one-third (36 percent) of our new blog subscribers in the past year have originated from these thank-you emails. (Thank you, demand gen!)

Emails to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Database

Every company has an email database of prospects that are nurtured via email. Our demand gen team also emails segments of that database – about four times per year — to encourage them to subscribe to our blog. It’s another simple yet effective tactic, and it accounts for 30 percent of new subscribers in the past year. Additionally, it has a click-through rate 87 percent higher than our typical CTR for emails. Our prospects crave information, and the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog is one way they can get it.

Investing in LinkedIn Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail

We drink our own champagne here at LinkedIn, so we do, to some degree, use many of our own solutions to drive blog subscriptions. Our use of LinkedIn Sponsored Content, LinkedIn Sponsored InMail, and email nurture streams have driven 10 percent of new subscriptions. Our current Sponsored Content campaign, which promotes our top blog posts, has a 167 percent higher engagement rate than other Sponsored Content. And our Sponsored InMail efforts promoting the blog deliver CTRs 33 percent higher than the average Sponsored InMail.

The moral of this story, content marketers, is to make friends with your demand gen team. They can drive blog subscriptions like nobody’s business.

Next week, in our final installment in the “Building Blogs” series, we will delve into how we promote our blog via social and other means. Make you sure you don’t miss that post: Subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today!

Photo: UnSplash