By Kayla Matthews

Content marketing doesn’t have any value if people aren’t reading what you write, and so it’s very important for small businesses to sign up subscribers to their blogs and email lists. The more subscribers you have, the more people will see your content, and the more likely you are to make a sale.

But it’s not easy to convince people to fork over their email addresses to get on your list. You need proven methods that work. Here are 10 highly effective ways to convince people to subscribe to your content.

1. Post Great Content

This should be obvious, and yet it continually gets lost in content marketing: To get people to read and sign up for your information, you must be providing them something of value. No one will want your newsletter if it consists of three sales pitches and an article you recycled from 2012. For instance, General Assembly, which helps people with career changes, puts out a newsletter that’s not only informative but also extremely visually appealing with fun GIFs.

2. Cross Promote

Know another small business with a different focus but similar target audience? You can benefit by cross promoting each other’s newsletters, reaching a whole new group of potential customers.

3. Contribute to Other Sites

An oldie but a goodie: Guest blogging really does bring new readers to your site. Write a post for a blog with a similar target audience, and you’ll expose your skills — and your blog’s address — to a large group of new people.

4. Make the Signup Obvious

Too often sites not only don’t publicize their email list signups, they practically hide them. You’ll never get anyone to subscribe if they can’t find the place to plug in their address.

5. Offer an Incentive

When you promise a freebie to people for signing up for something, you’re more likely to get their email address. After all, no one likes doing something for nothing. For example, My Well-Being, a wellness website powered by Humana, gives out a free “Dummies” book with every sign-up on its site.

6. Let People Share

Add a “share with a friend” option to your email signup and your newsletters. If you are publishing the aforementioned high-quality content, people will want to pass on the information to friends and colleagues, increasing your reach.

7. Make a Video

Online video is all the rage these days, and you can complement content on your blog or newsletter with videos that will draw people in and also give them valuable assistance. For example, the Havahart Community, which offers caring pest control, has very helpful videos showing how to set their different traps.

8. Post in Online Forums

Forums are a great place for discussion and sharing information. Find forums in your business’s niche where you can become a valued contributor, and add to discussions before you start posting links to your newsletter signup; you don’t want to come off as a spammer.

9. Try Podcasting

Think of podcasts like your own 20-minute radio commercial: Everything you say on them is geared toward convincing people how interesting and vital your services are, and you can gently guide listeners to your email signup list. The No Meat Athlete blog does a great job of cross-promoting its podcasts and its newsletter, choosing topics that can fit well into either format and referring listeners to the newsletter for more information or vice versa.

10. Test Different Approaches

Not every idea will work for every niche. If you have an idea for boosting subscriptions that isn’t detailed here, don’t be scared to try it. You have to experiment to find what works for your audience. Don’t be afraid to be bold.