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If you ask many established bloggers what their biggest mistake was when they started, most will say they waited too long to build their email list.
We are no different. At first, we did not have an email list for a couple of years. Then, we added one but didn’t really do much with it. We just had it set up to automatically send out the new articles that were published on our blog each week. The problem is that these emails did not have any personality to them and engagement was very low.
It wasn’t until very recently that we began to really focus on our email list and this has really helped our business. We now make it a big focus to add personality to our emails and our open rates and click-through rates have dramatically improved.
Having an engaged email list can do wonders for your traffic. You can basically get traffic to your site on demand if done properly. The bigger and more engaged your email list, the better.
So how do you grow your email list? First of all, it starts with choosing an email list provider. There are many of them out there and we’ve tried a bunch of them ourselves. But, the biggest problem that we found with most email services is that they are way too complex… making them very difficult to use.
Continue reading today’s coursework to learn more about why email lists are so important for bloggers (and traffic).
Email lists are one of the most important things a blogger can create.
Unfortunately, many bloggers overlook this very important tool for traffic and engagement with their readers.
Heather has been blogging now for over 12 years. I’ve always handled the business side of things and the behind-the-scenes tasks of running the website.
Over the years, we have personally tried out many different email service providers, and we’ve seen a lot through the process. We feel uniquely qualified to give our take on whether an email list is important to your success and also which service may be the best fit for your situation.
Let’s start with the question, “Are Email Lists Important for Bloggers?”
If you ask many established bloggers what their biggest regret was in their blogging journey, many of them will tell you that they didn’t start building their email list sooner, or they didn’t put enough effort into their email list.
You can put us in that category too.
We spent many years putting a lot of effort into lots of areas related to our blog, but for some reason, the email list was on the back burner for much of that time. As soon as we realized how important an email list was, it was very difficult to catch up to the level it would have been at had we devoted attention to it from the beginning.
As a blogger, you know the importance of social media.
This is where your readers are and where you will find new readers. Most successful bloggers put a lot of effort into building their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram accounts… and rightfully so. But, they completely overlook their email list because they don’t fully understand its importance.
There’s also a potentially huge problem with all these social networks that doesn’t get discussed as much as it should. You don’t own the platform. In fact, you could be shut down at any point, on any of these networks, if the social network chooses to do so. Not that these networks go out of their way to do this, but it happens all the time.
Sometimes it is because other users are jealous and flag you as spam. Other times, there is something else that triggers a problem with your account. And, good luck calling Instagram to work out your problem… that simply won’t happen.
In addition, the way the social networks work now… Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest your posts will not be seen by all of your followers. In fact, depending on the platform, only a very small percentage of your followers will even be shown your posts… unless you are willing to pay money to boost or promote them.
The solution to this is to build your own email list which YOU own.
This is absolutely critical for long-term success as a blogger.
With one email you can reach every single one of your subscribers with your message. You can choose to drive traffic to your website or even send them directly to an affiliate link.
YOU control your message and YOU control your subscriber list.
What can you do with your email list?
I’m glad you asked… here are some ways that super successful bloggers use their email lists (and YOU should be using it this way too)
As a blogger, it is important for your followers to see your new content. Having your own email list will allow you to send out your new posts to all of your readers. This means traffic and potential shares of your content.
You only have to type up an email once, and with a click of a button, it can be sent to your entire following… or even a category of your following if you choose.
A lot of smart bloggers are using their email list as a way to directly promote affiliate offers. This could be a course that you are an affiliate for, an e-book you are selling, or any other type of affiliate program. If done correctly, your email list can be a great way to generate a considerable amount of income for your business/blog.
Bloggers will either link directly to the affiliate offers themselves, or they will link to a post on their site that will further explain why your reader should purchase a product or service.
You can build a deeper connection with your followers and readers. Let’s face it… if you are anything like me, it is hard to remember what I had for dinner last night let alone check in every day with my favorite blogs to see if there is any new content. If prompted though, I will happily go to see what is new. With more regular interactions with your readers, you will be building raving fans of YOU and your blog.
Many successful bloggers are using their email lists to boost their social accounts. Are your readers following you on all your social networks? In most cases, the answer is no. By using your email list properly, you can prompt your readers to be following all of your social media accounts.
Having an email list is a great way to also increase your social media interaction and reach. Your readers and subscribers are already fans of what you do. But even your biggest fans will need a reminder to share your content. By simply including a prompt to share your content in your emails, you will be shocked at the number of additional shares you get on your content. Who couldn’t use some more shares, likes, comments, retweets, and repins?
Running contests and giveaways is another great use for your email list. It’s normally pretty easy to get brand partners to supply items for you to giveaway to your email subscribers. This is also a fun way to build your email list, keep your readers excited about what you do, and increase your interaction all around.
The right contest or giveaway has the potential to REALLY boost your email list.
You should also be using your email list to gather valuable data about your readers. You can see which emails are opened the most or what links or posts are most popular. This will allow you to tailor your content to their interests. Smart bloggers will give their readers more of what they want!
If you use your email list properly, you will get more traffic to your blog, an increased social media following, a deeper connection to your readers, a better understanding of who your readers are and what they like, and the ability to make more money.
What’s not to like about that?
Building an email list should be one of your TOP PRIORITIES as a blogger.
Now that you know how important an email list is to your success, how do you actually go about getting your email list started?
This is not something you can run through your Gmail account. You will need to establish an account with an email service provider.
An email service provider will help you capture new subscribers, provide you with tools to create beautiful and effective emails, organize your subscriber data and list, and compile information on the performance of the emails you send.
The provider that we now recommended for bloggers is Constant Contact.
Here’s why we recommend Constant Contact for successful blogging:
- Cost – As a new blogger especially, there are costs with setting up your blog such as hosting, themes, and more. A lot of times, new bloggers figure they’ll get their email list started when they have more income coming in.
Do not allow yourself to fall into this trap.
If you are doing it right, your email list will be making money for you as a blogger and will easily offset any costs that come with your email service.
- Ease of Use – Heather and I both share the writing responsibilities for the emails we send out, but it’s my job to actually get the emails sent.
In the past, we’ve used many different email providers and they all had a steep learning curve. I like to think of myself as pretty quick to pick up on new apps and software, but for some reason, the other email companies we tried were all a little too “techy” for me. Sure, some had some really advanced features, but most were just too much… at least for the way I used them.
They made the process of sending out a simple broadcast email way more complicated than it needed to be, and it just took too many brain cells to get an email sent! LOL!!
The end result of having these unnecessarily complicated email providers was that I never sent out as many emails as I should have. This meant that we were losing out on a lot of engagement with our readers, traffic, and ultimately less income because of this.
Constant Contact has an amazingly clean and simple portal that makes sending out your emails as easy as it SHOULD BE.
They have all the great tools that you’ll find at the largest email services, but they’ve found a way to keep it simple.
- Great email templates – They have some great email templates that you can use to easily stand out.
Creating professional-looking emails has never been easier. Their designers have already done the hard work, and now you can simply input your own logo or graphics to send out some amazing-looking emails of your own.
They somehow found a way to make creating emails fun… that’s a first for me!
- Features that grow with you and your blog – You can get complicated or you can keep it simple… the choice is yours. One of the best features is the ability to send out an automated sequence of emails when someone signs up for your email list. You could create an email course, a sequence of 3 printables with delivery spread out over a couple of weeks, recipes for every holiday, and more. The options are limitless! And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to figure out how to do all these things.
- Advanced Tracking – As they say, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” This is actually one of the most important quotes in business management, but it is also applicable to email marketing too. You will be able to easily see what is working and what you should change.
With Constant Contact, you can track things like the open rate, WHO opens your emails, click rate, which links are clicked, mobile vs. desktop stats, bounce rate, and much more.
You can also compare multiple versions of the same email to see which has the best open rate or is getting you the most clicks.
For a limited time, Constant Contact is offering our students a 30-Day free trial when they click through THIS LINK.
You don’t even need to enter a credit card to sign up.
Please note- this free trial does not include all the features of the paid/premium version, but it does get you familiar with how it works and allows you to evaluate for yourself if it is the service that you would like to move forward with.
When you consider cost, ease of use, great email templates, amazing features, advanced tracking, and a 30 Day Free Trial, you will want to get started right now. It only takes a couple of minutes too!
If you don’t have your email list set up yet, you don’t want to put it off any longer.
We’re not sure how long they will be offering the 30-Day Free Trial so you will want to take advantage of this today!
Day 4 Assignment
Today’s assignment is to get set up with an email service. As you know, we recommend Constant Contact (and it’s free for 30 days with no credit card needed to sign up). However, if you are already set up with another email service that is OK too.
The bottom line is to get started on an email list today.
The next two days of the 10k Challenge (Day 5 & Day 6) will be working on Email list-related topics, so make sure to get this done if you plan to continue along with the challenge.
We’ll be working on getting you your first subscribers to your list and also showing you ways to get your site visitors to subscribe to your email list.
****NOTE: I know a lot of may have installed the Jetpack subscription tool on your sites. This is not the same as an email service. You will collect some email subscribers (that are not WordPress registered users), but you will not be able to export the WordPress registered users if you want to move to a separate provider. Also, there is limited ability to send out custom emails with this service. I would not recommend building your business around this since you do not own the email address list and there is no personality in your emails or a way to send out anything other than new posts.
As soon as you are done setting up an email list provider, comment “Done” on the 10k Challenge Day 4 Assignment post found HERE
Have any questions about today’s coursework? Ask them here in the 10k Challenge Day 4 Question thread found HERE