Welcome to email marketing for bloggers 101. Every blogger needs email marketing. This post will show you how to build your email list with targeted subscribers who want to hear from you!
You need an email list no matter your blog size, demographics, intent, niche or target audience needs an email list. Every blogger needs creative opt-in forms and lead magnets to gather emails.
Your Love-Hate Relationship With Email Marketing
The psychology behind our emotions toward email marketing is interesting. We get bombarded with dozens of email each day in our own inboxes so it is understandable why we may have negative emotions towards building our own email list. We barely have time to get through our own emails and often wonder how we ended up on some of these lists!
Emails are still the top method of connecting with an audience. In fact, email is 40% more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. Compare that to the fact that only 2% of your Facebook page’s audience is actually seeing your message (unless you want to shell out for ads.)
A tweet has a lifespan of around 18 minutes on Twitter. 91% of US consumers use email daily with anywhere from 10-60 minutes spent browsing marketing emails each week.
Let’s think about how you personally use emails now. How often do you open a company’s marketing emails? How often do you get annoyed enough to unsubscribe?
How often do you click through to check out what they’re yammering about? How often do you actually make a purchase because of an email you received
Why Bloggers Should Focus on Email Marketing
Whether you’re in blogging to make money or simply to connect with your readers, an email marketing campaign is invaluable to your bottom line.
A reader may come across your blog, read and decide it is wonderful and even decide to go ahead and follow you on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest but algorithms and life causes them to never see a post from you again and they’ve moved on.
However, if you had managed to capture their email, you have an open line of communication to that reader so long as they continue to use that email address and remain on your list. Emails are a crucial part of my affiliate marketing income on this blog.
You own your list. If Pinterest decided to implement crazy algorithms like Facebook and Instagram tomorrow, imagine what could happen to your blog’s traffic!
But with this list, no one controls the communication between you and your reader but you and your reader. It’s been reported that for every $1 spent, your email list’s return on that investment is $38. You need to build your list.
How to Build Your Email List
Hopefully, you have by now realised that even if you have no product to sell, you still need a list if only to keep in contact with your audience. Email, with a 40x higher customer acquisition rate than social media, is the crux of building your die-hard tribe.
You will turn your list into raving fans that look forward to your content and will buy anything you sell eventually. Or at least click through to read your post and then share it on social media.
But how do you even begin? The first thing to do is to sign up with an email service provider. I will be giving you two professional options below, one is paid and one is free to begin with.
Convertkit is a premium email service provider that I use on my main blog. What I like about them is how easy it is to use as a newbie, how great their sign-up forms look, how easy it was to embed these sign-up forms into different areas of my blog plus how smooth the email automation process is.
They have a WordPress plugin to connect your forms to your blog and they allow you to attach items in the body of your emails to your subscribers. This is helpful when sending digital products or freebies to your list.
They also have great looking landing pages and make it super easy for a reader to sign up to your email list and begin receiving emails that you have pre-written to go out in a sequence.
If all of this sounds like Chinese to you, read their free Complete Guide to Email Marketing Ebook here.
Mailerlite is the ESP I use on this blog. I heard about them after I had already signed up for ConvertKit incidentally, and decided to try them out since they’re free. They boast the fact that all they’re paid services are included in the free version.
You begin to pay after you hit 1000 subscribers. That was a very enticing offer, however, I ended up continuing on with Convertkit on my main blog because the features are more powerful, more professional-looking and yet, easier to use.
There are a couple of key features of ConvertKit not available on Mailerlite like the ability to add email attachments. This means that your freebies, products, lead magnets will all have to be hosted somewhere else.
You’ll need to send your subscribers a link to the attachment instead of sending it directly. I wasn’t a fan of having to host my products elsewhere, susceptible to security issues.
ConvertKit’s segmenting of your list and tagging of your list when they click links in your emails are another reason I prefer their more robust suite of features. I manage multiple blogs and wanted to be able to control who gets what email easily.
This is a superb feature if you have just one blog but write about different topics, for instance, mommy bloggers who teach their readers how to start their own blogs. Not all of your audience may be interested in that information so this makes it easier for you to tag them into different email sequences.
Just a couple of advanced features for you to consider when deciding between free and paid. ConvertKit is pretty affordable so if you intend to make money blogging, you’ll want to go with their features from day one or switch to them soon. It will pay for itself very quickly even if you have no product to sell. You’ll find out more on this further in this post.
On the contrast, I won’t discount Mailerlite’s features. They do have lots of features that are perfect for new bloggers and some that are even comparative to Convertkit.
I still use it on this blog so now I have good experience with both and I must say that while it takes quite a few more clicks to perform the same function in Mailerlite than it might in Convertkit, I’ve gotten over this and looked on the brighter side. FREE!
Not sure how to build an email list? Take my easy and FREE 5-day email list-building course below. I take you through all of this step by step using Mailerlite. You can of course also reach me in the Help a Blogger Out Facebook group if you have any questions.
Creating an Opt-In, Lead Magnet, Landing Page and Email Sequence
I won’t go into incredible detail here as I teach you how to do all of these things in my free list-building course. However, let’s go into what all of these things are. An opt-in is the form used to capture emails. You can easily place one anywhere on your blog or within a blog post, like the one above for my free course.
This opt-in also demonstrates the need for a creative, compelling lead magnet. A lead magnet is a fancy name for a product or service offering, usually free, that is given away in exchange for an email. In the above form, I’m offering to help you build your email list in return for your email.
The point is that you need to come up with a such an attractive lead magnet (also called freebie) that makes me feel compelled to hand over my email address so that I can get my free product or service. It’s not enough to have an opt-in that simply says “Subscribe to our newsletter” or “Get new posts here” or something similar. That evokes absolutely no response from me and is likely to result in much fewer signups than creating a convincing lead magnet.
A landing page is a stand-alone page that has one purpose and one purpose only. That purpose is to capture emails or to sell a product. A landing page is important to help market your freebie or product separate from a blog post.
For instance, though I have created an awesome blog post telling people why they need email marketing, I also have a landing page set up for it for the sole purpose of selling the course.
The landing page is hosted by ConvertKit but uses my domain name thanks to their plugin. As you can see, there’s no other navigation or distraction on this page. You can either sign up or close out the page.
With my blog post, there are lots of other distractions to take you away from the signup form. We see pretty, shiny new things in the sidebar or elsewhere in the post and forget all about why we were there.
Therefore marketing my landing page gets my point across without distraction and converts better than a blog post that also has the promise of Facebook groups and Pinterest strategy in the sidebar.
If you do sign up for my Pinterest strategy or any other freebie on this blog, you will immediately get your email with a link to download your freebie. Then, you’ll begin to receive other emails I have set up within my ESP to go out after certain days have passed or if you clicked on certain things in my emails.
The type of emails you should be sending, how often and other specifics is something you’ll need lots of research to perfect because what works for one may not work for the other. However, there are some basic sequences to play around with.
For me, I send out your freebie and a link to the post that explains it in detail so that you can refer to it if you need. I also include an invite to join my Facebook group and then wrap up, keeping things pretty succinct.
A few days later I will send out an intro email with my name, my picture, what kind of info is available on my blog and maybe another freebie. I’m offering up so much value here that it’s hard to resist opening. That’s what you’re after.
Then a couple days later a follow-up is sent with an offer to help with any issues encountered using the freebies or for us to connect over a coaching session. The sales people call this a soft-sell, warming you up for the kill…er..the sale.
If they haven’t clicked on my offer to connect, they are moved over to what I call my evergreen sequence where they’re sent snippets of my most valuable posts once per week with the link to click through if they’re interested.
This is all done automatically inside ConvertKit, I haven’t even sent a manual email to my subscribers yet and already I have connected with them in a valuable way.
Email Marketing for Bloggers Made Easy
The point of this all is that you can set up all these emails one-time and forget it. There’s no need to keep sending the same kind of email manually, over and over, everytime you get new subscribers.
Each time you write a cornerstone post or have a new product/freebie, you add that email to your sequence. This is passive income at it’s best since as more people get added to your list, more opportunities for a sale are happening and you didn’t do anything new.
This type of sequence with your best posts, your old freebies and products is important for sales or marketing your best material. It’s not enough to simply gather emails and begin sending them the latest posts on your blog. Bring a constant flow of traffic to your best performers and sell things that you’ve long stopped marketing in lieu of new, higher priced products.
If you have no products yourself, you can link to your best-performing affiliates in your emails. Yet another way to make money from your list and you can tell which links are doing better than others. This kind of data is invaluable.
Recapping this post, if you skimmed:
- You need an email list to grow your tribe and make money with your blog.
- You should begin building your list from day one.
- You need an email service provider that allows you to quickly and easily create opt-ins and landing pages.
- You need an irresistible lead magnet to capture emails.
- You need an awesome sequence of emails that you use to bring attention to old posts, products and freebies.
I truly hope you’ve found this post informative and helpful. I would absolutely love it if you’d join my Facebook Group Help a Blogger Out where we share nuggets of our best blogging tips and resources and inspire bloggers to think outside of the box.
Do you need help building your email list? My free 5-day list-building course will help you to get started. These are the exact steps I used to gain my first 100 subscribers in 30 days. Here’s to you doing that even quicker.
Here to help,
This is exactly what I needed! I struggle so much with email marketing! Excited to try some of this!
I’m truly happy to hear that Erin! I hope you’ll join our Facebook group where you can reach out and ask me for help if you need 🙂
Helpful tips, thank you! Have you ever used MailChimp? That’s what I’ve been using for YEARS, and it’s working for me. But I keep hearing ConvertKit is better. I’m testing out ConvertKit now, but it’s such a learning curve for me.
Hi Amy, yes I’ve used Mailchimp and found it difficult to maneuvre, kind of the same way you feel about ConvertKit I guess lol. Mailchimp also became quite expensive after a while and needed additional plugins to do all the things Convertkit does. Mailchimp also ends up in spam quite often because email providers pick up on their emails now more than ever so it wasnt worth keeping on. My open rate is so much higher with convertkit which is crucial
Thank you so much for this post! Email marketing for my blog has been so hard for me lately and this is so helpful! I will be bookmarking this post!
So happy it helps ?
i had no idea about the $38 for $1 estimate, that’s a huge return of investment! Thank you for sharing such an in depth post with us, I think emailing can be so overlooked, but definitely should not be. I loved this so much I’m pinning it to my blogging board, thank you!
Thanks Sarah! So happy to hear
Awesome post! Thank you for your tips. They help me a lot as a new blogger.
Glad to help Chiara
As a relatively new blog with low traffic, I didn’t really think I needed to invest in email marketing yet. Perhaps I need to re-eveluate…
Thanks for sharing!
Ioanna | A Beauty Lover’s Stories
I started when this blog was brand new 2 weeks ago. Trust me, start from day one, you’ll be so glad later on when you’ve built a loyal tribe. Good thing with mailerlite is that it’s free all the way up to 1000 subscribers
Hey, thanks for the insight on mailing options – I’m in the market for a new automation platform, I’m paying $100/m for ontraport :(. I appreciate the tips!
Yikes $100/m is steep. Hope you found better options here
This is one of the first things I tell people when they come to me for advice. Email is so important. And on top of that, consistency once your list is there. No matter how many are on it.
True my list is so small now since I’m new but so appreciative of the help and I appreciate them so much for commenting and sharing when I put out a new post. I can feel my little tribe growing ?
Thanks so much for the tips. I am in the process of trying to figure out my email list. I’m going to check out Mailerlite and Convert kit.
Really happy to have helped Erin
This is so helpful. The exact information I have been searching for. I signed up with Mailchimp. How is that different from Mailerlite? Thank you so much for your helpful insight and direction
Hi Dani, happy it helps! MailChimp will get the job done as well, I just found the learning curve to be high for beginners so didn’t recommend it here. I also find that MailChimp requires lots of add-ons which can get pricey, and their emails very often make it to spam. This was tested and researched. ConvertKit’s emails aren’t caught by spam filters as often which is important because what’s the use of sending our high-quality emails if they just end up in spam. Same for Mailerlite, the % of emails getting into inbox instead of spam was much higher than Mailchimps in studies and in my own experience.
Great tips. I’ve been meaning to re-word / spruce up my current opt-in forms, ugh!
I’ve been doing a lot of research and strategizing about my email list the last few days and this was some helpful information! Thank you so much for sharing your tips.
Fab! My subscription link has stopped working (or never was, it’s unclear!!) I’m a new blogger (using WordPress) & was set up with MailPoet but no one is receiving my emails (despite me setting up test ones) & the edit to each letter isn’t easy! I’ve pinned this & will be going back to it later to try fix my issues – thanks! x
So happy it helps Nina 🙂
As a new blogger, I love this! Thank you for sharing your advice and helping those who just started out (like me) to grow quickly.
These are great tips. I’ve been understanding more and more lately the need for an engaged email list so this post just reinforced what I’d been thinking about. I keep tweaking my welcome email sequence to get the most out of it that I can.
This is something that I need to focus more time on. I use MailerLite too. Good post! Now I just have to stop thinking of it as a big mountain to surmount 😉
Yes, the sooner we start, the quicker we master it
I’m starting to learn more about email list before I use them and this is simply awesome for newbies ~ Thank you for posting 🙂
Very happy it helped Ellen
Thank you for the wonderful advice ?. And e-mail marketing strategy makes all the difference!
I’ve never thought of having an email mailing list before, I don’t know what I’d write in the body of it. But it may be worth giving it a go in the upcoming year!
Lauren 🙂 x
Thank you for this! As a blog newbie and working full time, it has been difficult to build my list.
This has been the second time this week i have read about email marketing and lists… def need to get working on that!
Really informative article, thank you very much.
This was so helpful! Mailing lists are definitely helpful but they stress me out lol
Great headline ?? And the article is one of the must read, very valuable and well written tips!
I am actually thinking about this for a long time and I have to do it soon 🙂
Ejnets in Peru | instagram: EJNETS
Great post! I’m in the midst of working on my welcome email and this post is really helpful.
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for your great tips. They are very useful. However my greatest struggle is the time. With all the writing for the blog I just don’t have any time left for creating the newsletters I wish. I don’t want to send a simple Check my latest blogpost kind of mails, you know what I mean.
Thanks for the great article and resources you provided. Improving my email marketing strategy is on the top of my to do list.
I’m using MailChimp for my campaigns – so far so good! I’m thinking about designing free printables and guides/courses to help my audience.
Great Post, you have so many valuable opportunities to teach email marketing. I opted into one! Thank you!
As a new blogger, I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about adding an email list. This was very helpful!
Great tips! Thank you for sharing — I’m definitely going to continue to put more effort into my email list!
The worst thing for me is getting people on the list! But your advice is sound and it’ll make me go work harder on my list. Nice job!
I just stopped my e-mail marketing because I don’t have a large enough following for it to be financially appropriate, but I’ll be back one of these days.
Thanks for great info mo. I’ve spent my first 3 months of blogging learning how to drive traffic. Done quite well from starting from scratch. This month I’m focusing on networking and that email list. Easier said than done. Great tips here. Thank you.
That’s great Allie, happy to help
Your blog contains so many valuable tips for beginners.. thanks 🙂
Thanks so much Sneha
Thanks for all the great information. How do you feel about e-mail marketing plug-ins? I purchased one for a one time fee. Not sure I should stick with it.
which one did you purchase? some of them are great and some of them are just ok so it really depends on which one you’re using and what your objective is with it
Yes email lists can be a gold mine, but also they take a lot of work. I had 12000 subscribers and had to clean them finally, it turned out only 6000 where still valid. The rest have been emails not existing anymore.
Keep the emails coming! I love the knowledge that you are sharing!
Thanks for another well written, very helpful and informative blog post! I find that you have a really great way of taking these mammoths into small little bite sized morsels and are still able to spoon feed them to a “Just thinking about how to do a Blog” Newbie like me.
Thanks again Mo! Your posts are the BEST!!!!