If you are reading this post, you understand at least 2 things:
- Building your own email list is essential for the sustainability of your online business or blog.
- You have to use an email automation service not only to feed your subscribers with your new content but also to nurture them and lead to the desired conversion on your site.
*This post contains affiliate links.
When it comes to email lists, I’m used to hearing skeptical statements, such as email marketing is an old-fashioned strategy that doesn’t work well anymore, that people don’t open emails anyway. I’m a big believer in the power of personalized, targeted emails. The automation tools allow you create segments of your audience and offer each group of people those emails which they definitely will be interested in.
Another benefit of building your subscription base is that you have your own loyal audience. If we take social media platforms and your following there, you will always depend on these platforms, their ever-changing algorithms, restrictions, and also on their desire to make more and more ad dollars. Even as an advertiser on Facebook or Pinterest, you totally depend on them. Today they want your money – tomorrow they kick you out for a minor violation of their rules because these rules are never quite transparent, so they have always a reason to block your account whenever they decide so.
This is why I insist on the necessity of starting your email lists as soon as you started the blog. Those people who subscribed to your emails already trust you, they gave a high evaluation of your content and agreed to receive your updates on a regular basis. They are your support group in case of any problems you might have with getting the audience in social media channels. The only reason for them to leave you is if you fail to deliver useful and high-quality content. Email lists you have give you confidence and stability, so start building them and nurture your audience! Offer them useful free stuff on a regular basis, and they will happily pay you for something when you have it for sale.
How do I collect email addresses on my website?
There are several strategies for this. You can use a form on the main page of your blog, you add forms into certain relevant posts in your blog, you can use pop-up forms on the site, or add lead magnets to the landing page where users can subscribe.
For example, I have a detailed post about How to start a blog in 10 minutes, in the end of the post I invite my readers to subscribe to an e-course which shows them the next steps after hosting and domain name registration. I add the same form to all posts which are targeting blogger beginners.
Also, as you can see from the screenshot, I currently use on all pages of the site a top banner (it’s a very thin line which doesn’t distract users when they read my content, but at the same time, it grabs their attention as it’s right at the top of the page). That banner leads users to a landing page on which I currently invite them to subscribe to the 7-day email course about How to start a Blog the right way.
ConvertKit allows you create these pretty forms with clean design, which you add to the site as an HTML code or a short-code.
If you don’t use ConvertKit yet, you can create forms with a free Sumo WordPress Plugin.
Another way is to use a simple button (an image in the shape of a button) instead of a form. A button with a link to a landing page (ConvertKit allows you to easily build a simple page that will convert very well).
How do you build an email list and grow it fast?
Your email list will not grow if you don’t offer users anything useful to subscribe to. Getting your new posts is a good offer if your content is something unique, if you have established yourself as an expert, and from every post of yours your audience expects to learn something useful.
However, there are also other, more efficient strategies to invite people to your email lists.
- Freebies – something useful for your audience, for example, if you are writing for mom bloggers, you can offer them a list of your favorite free eBooks that helped you improve your productivity as a blogger.
- Printable cheat sheets – recommendations for any topic that reveal important points everyone forgets about.
- Tutorials/email courses like the one you are reading now, etc.
You need to identify what are the needs and pains of your readers and target exactly these topics when you think of how to get them sign up for your emails.
If you are thinking that there are not enough visitors to start any email campaigns, you are just delaying the day when your blog becomes your main income source. Believe me, those people who trust you with their email address will read you more than once, they will come back to your blog.
Here my freebies:
- Pinterest Image Templates to Edit in Photoshop
- Free Step by Step Blogging E-course (7-day email+video course, if you haven’t done it yet, here it is!). The second one obviously is much more popular.
What can you send to your list regularly?
After the subscriber received your freebie or completed an email course, is your job done? Nope, it’s just the beginning of your long-term relationship. Now you need to feed your readers with delicious and actionable content on a regular basis. Depending on your niche, it will be different types of content, but let’s think together of a few most generic types of emails you can send.
- Your newest blog post.
- Weekly tips.
- Upsells after a purchase.
- Weekly roundups.
- Surveys to analyze the pains of your audience.
- Updates on your life if your blog niche allows sharing personal stuff.
- Reusing your evergreen posts and serving them in a different sauce.
How do you make money from your email lists?
Your subscribers are the gold mine of your blog. You can sell and upsell to them:
- your products
- your services
- affiliate products.
Before you start selling, give them something useful for free. They will trust you and know you are an expert, and only then you can start selling your stuff.
You know what sales funnels are even if you are not a marketer. So, create a series of emails for each group of your readers, depending on their interests, and by the end of the sequence, you can start selling your products.
Here is a very generic example of a sales funnel for a blogging ebook. You can see from it that you first answer user’s questions, fight their doubts and when the trusting relationship is built, you offer your product at an exclusive price. In the last email you suggest following your blog and social media, just in case the user hasn’t done so before.
- Email: Freebie with a new blogger mistakes check-list.
- Email: How can blogging change your life?
- Email: Can bloggers really make money?
- Email: Best monetization strategies for your niche.
- Email: Just be honest: what’s holding you back from starting a blog?
- Email: I’m here to help: 7-step Blog Monetization eBook with 30% discount only this week!
- Email: Can we be friends?
What is the best email marketing service?
As a beginner, probably you’d like to start with a free service. If you choose MailChimp, you will have free tools, including automated campaigns, up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails a month.
When you look at these numbers, it seems like 12000 of emails is a lot. But you need to make a fast math to understand that you will grow exceeding the Mailchimp free plan quite soon.
Let’s say, you have a list of 1000 subscribers. Then you have a 7-day email course How to start a Blog, which is a sequence of 9 emails (in addition to 7 emails with lessons, there is one welcome and one follow-up email). How many emails do you have to send? 9000 just for one email course!
But you also want to send some emails to people who signed up for your other freebies, and also you’d like to send them weekly blogging tips. So, can you fit it all into 12000 emails per month? Hardly.
That’s why I switched to a highly recommended service and affordable email automation service ConvertKit. I use ConvertKit for email courses, triggered campaigns (more details about it later), I create forms with it, and can even make simple landing pages with it!
Sign Up Forms and Funnels in ConvertKit
In ConvertKit you can create an unlimited number of different sign-up forms, and place them in every popular blog post which you can relate to some freebie or course.
For every form, I usually have a separate sequence of emails to nurture different types of audience for different products. Imagine, you are selling two different courses – one for newbie bloggers and another for advanced online businesses. Obviously, you shouldn’t send them the same emails and should try to sell them the same type of products.
Targeting done by Segmentation, Tags and Link Triggers
Segmenting your audience in ConvertKit is done very simple. But first, why would you want to create segments? Some types of content are good for everyone on your subscriber list. But not always. Sometimes you will want to send to people who are interested in one or the other.
So imagine, you are good with Photoshop and you have some posts for designers. You want to talk about some new design app. To create a segment of users who showed their interest in your design content previously, you can add them using filters (you can add people subscribed to a specific form, sequence or marked with a certain tag).
You can create segments by marking users who click on specific links by tags, to know if they are interested in a particular product or topic. For example, if you click on my ConvertKit links in the email text, you’ll be marked by a tag I created for users who are interested in knowing more about ConvertKit.
Then I will create a sequence of emails specialized in more in-depth content about using ConvertKit and will offer this more comprehensive information only to those who demonstrated some interest in the product.
Targeting my audience so precisely, allows me to avoid user frustration and unsubscribe rate. I start understanding what are your interests better. With time, the conversion rate from emails grows because they are so tailored for every user.
It’s also worth to mention that when you are using segments in ConvertKit, even if users opted-in in multiple formed on your site, they are not counting double or triple times as different subscribers. They are all on one list and count as one but can be present in multiple segments. This is the only fair way to count subscribers and charge us for them. And I know, it is not practiced by some other email automation platforms.
If you find this post useful or want to get back to it later, just save this PIN it to your Pinterest blogging board.