Remember on day #1 of the challenge when we had you all write your blogging goals down? Well one of my blogging goals was to kick my email list into high-gear in 2016.
I’ve been building an email list since about 8 months into blogging (wish I’d started sooner…more on that below) but truthfully have never tried to optimize it. This year all of this will change!
There’s always so much talk in the blogosphere about building your social channels, but the truth is that none of them compare to an engaged and active email list.
Here’s why email lists are amazing:
1. People have to OPT-IN to your email list. True, people have to follow you on social, but the process is so much less meaningful. Giving your email is personal. It means you’re open to the idea of someone entering your inbox each day. This is how you build a loyal following.
2. People actually read their emails. Unlike social media, where people often browse and algorithms play into what content you see, everyone reads their emails (even if they do skim on occasion). It’s like free advertising that is guaranteed to be seen.
3. DIRECT COMMUNICATION. Want to know the best way to communicate with your readers? Email them! No other social media platform allows you to do this.
Here’s how to start building an email list:
1. Decide what type of email list you’d like to build – It matters what kind of list you’d like to build. Some people build an “RSS-style list” where people subscribe to be updated when a new post goes live. Other people want a more traditional “newsletter-style” list i.e. a weekly email that goes out with links to relevant content, new posts and other information you want to send to your audience.
If you check out The Healthy Maven’s list, you’ll notice I offer two options, a daily RSS or a weekly email. This is something you can create in the email marketing software you use. Typically bloggers create an RSS-style list because it is automatic and more hands-off. Totally up to you though!
2. Pick an email marketing software– I personally love MailChimp because it’s user-friendly (for both the blogger and the email reader) and if you run into any trouble their customer service is fantastic. Other softwares include AWeber, MadMimi and GetResponse. Many of them offer a free trial for a certain number of days or a certain number of emails. If you’re just starting to build a list, MailChimp offers the first 1000 emails free so it’s virtually free until you start gaining some traction!
3. Create a simple and beautifully laid out email– It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but make sure your email is well-designed and legible. The point is to make people click the content to go back to your blog or buy something you’re offering, and we all know pretty things sell, so put in some effort! Hint: Use the branding that helped you lay out your blog as a guide to what your email (RSS or newsletter) should look like.
4. Let your readers know you have an email list– There’s no way to build an email list if your readers don’t even know you have one! Include a sign-up in your sidebar or blog posts or if you’re feeling super pushy, add a pop-up! Many email marketing softwares (like MailChimp) offer an easy WordPress plugin to create a sidebar sign-up that will link directly to your list. Make it catchy and vibrant so people know it’s there!
5. Offer something in return for subscribing– Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. Offer some kind of incentive to get people to sign-up. Great options include: an ebook, exclusive content, and giveaways. Make sure your readers know that they will get this incentive if they sign-up. Again, programs like MailChimp allow you to easily set-up an automatic email download of this incentive if someone new signs up to your list. Super easy!
New bloggers– Set up your email list! We recommend using MailChimp to build your list because it’s super user-friendly and their customer service is on point. Learn how to set-up your email list HERE. Show us how you’re advertising your email list on your blog in the TBP Community.
Experienced bloggers– All of our email newsletters could use a spruce-up! Make some changes to your email list or clean up your email sign-up on your blog. Maybe start creating some kind of incentive! Show us the work you’ve done over on the TBP Community.