Think of your website as a sieve. Most of the people who visit it will read it, enjoy it but then fall through the tiny holes never to be seen again. At this point they are lost.
This is why e-mail marketing is so important. With e-mail marketing, the objective is to get visitors to sign up for a mailing list so that you can update them with news about your new posts, new products and more. This lets you turn a one-off visitor into a loyal fan and someone you can reach regularly. Don’t rely on RSS feeds for this kind of loyalty – it’s only a small selection of people who use these and barely anyone will subscribe to an RSS feed on Feedly on their very first visit.
To create a successful mailing list, you will need to use an autoresponder along the lines of Aweber (www.aweber.com) or GetResponse (www.getresponse.com). These will manage your contacts, allow you to send large bulk e-mails and also automate the process of signing up or unsubscribing.
Once you’ve chosen a platform and signed up, you’ll then be given the opportunity to create an ‘opt-in form’. This is where your visitors will enter their details if they want to sign in and it’s what you should work to promote if you want to get the maximum visitors possible.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to insert opt-in forms into your sidebar and into the bottom of your posts. This won’t be enough to encourage first time viewers though: if you want to go the extra mile to secure subscribers (which you really should) then you should incentivize your mailing list with an e-book, a free report or some other kind of freebie.
Likewise, you can put your opt-in form into a lightbox that appears over the rest of your content. SumoMe (www.sumome.com) is one example of a useful ‘pop-up’ lightbox you can use to convert your one-time visitors into subscribers and long-time customers.
Now make sure you keep your mailing list active by notifying your members of new updates to the blog and by mentioning your offers and promotions.
Note that pretty much every major blogger describes their mailing list as one of the absolutely crucial aspects of their business model. Don’t ignore this!