Ever since relying totally on search engine traffic became a flawed strategy, thanks to the Pandas and Penguins by Google, businesses have turned back to the tried & tested method of building their reliable online assets. Something that they can rely on, something that cannot be taken away from them in a matter of seconds.
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That sort of security can only be enjoyed if you have a reliable list of email addresses safely lying in your personal computer or a secure server.
Email Addresses Are Your Online Savings
Just think about it, Google took away hundreds and thousands of visitors from countless websites in a single algorithm change. The change was so big that many websites couldn't even survive.
What makes you think Facebook or Twitter cannot do something similar in near future? You might have a million Likes on your Facebook page but all of them can go to waste with some "innovation" by a Facebook employee.
In contrast, websites with sizable email lists can get back to their feet even after huge setbacks such the Google Panda Update.
With that done, let me share a few tips that I found very effective in gathering emails without spamming and annoying my visitors (not much anyway)
Use Dedicated Landing Pages for Guest Post Traffic
Dedicated landing pages can play a vital role in gathering more email addresses. Whenever you write a Guest Post for some blog, don't just link your homepage in the author bio. Instead, develop a separate action oriented landing page on your website and drive all the traffic from external sources there.
Design the page intelligently. Put your most intriguing content on it and encourage email collection against that content. You can use the same strategy with traffic from social media as well. It works really well.
Focus on Generating Word of Mouth
As I said in the beginning, your email list is unarguably your biggest online asset. Therefore, invest time in it. Deliver great value through short and effective actionable emails. And every now & then, ask your subscribers to forward your emails to their friends or anyone they feel who might benefit. You might not realize, but this is a highly effective way of getting more subscribers.
2 Plugins to Boost Subscriptions
You need to keep reminding your visitors to subscribe (without being annoying of course). For that, you can use 3 extremely effective features that can be added to your website through simple WordPress plugins.
Pop Up Boxes
Even some of the leading websites are now using pop up subscription boxes to gather emails from their visitors. Time & again they have proved to be highly effective in gaining visitor attention and driving action. However, you need to make sure that once a user enters his email address, he's not bothered again. I would recommend using the Optin Skin Plugin for WordPress since that's the most reliable & flexible one out there.