One of the most common things we hear from professional bloggers is that they wish they had started their email lists sooner. Seriously, almost everyone says this.
We want you to avoid this same regret, so we are discussing how to start an email list right now — no matter where you are in your blogging journey.
Most bloggers are solely focused on blog traffic at the beginning, which is understandable. If you want to be a blogger who just shares content online, then focusing on traffic alone works great. But, if you want to create a business and make money, an email list is required.
If you haven’t started your blog yet, you can focus on your email list from the get-go. If you currently have a blog but no email list, there’s never been a better time to start one.
As with everything you do in your business, traffic has a purpose. The traffic you build feeds everything else you do, but traffic alone is useless if you are not converting it and actually doing something with it.
An email list is critical for taking your traffic and turning it into a more personal relationship with your audience — and possibly making money!
We’ll point you in the right direction if you’ve been trying to figure out how to start an email list — and then tell you how to make it an incredible asset to your business.
Why You Should Create an Email List
Creating an email list isn’t only about capturing email addresses and sending out messages. It’s an opportunity to engage with a select group of people who are genuinely interested in your message.
Capture Website Visitors and Convert Them Into Fans
An email list is a great way to capture the contact information of people visiting your website so they will keep coming back.
Once they sign up for your email list, you can share your blog content with them along with any other information you want to share, such as deals, affiliate offers, courses, etc.
An email list is an asset that allows you to reach your audience directly, develop a relationship with them, and eventually sell products to them.
You Own Your Email List
Your email list is entirely your own, whereas your audience on Facebook or Instagram is stored and hosted on those platforms. This means if Facebook or Instagram went out of business tomorrow, you would completely lose those people.
With an email list, you own the submitted contact information, including the names and email addresses of the people on your list. You can contact those subscribers at any time unless they unsubscribe to your list.
To ensure you never lose the information, we suggest periodically downloading a backup of your email list from your email marketing provider.
You Can Develop a More Personal Connection
The connection you have with your email list subscribers is an intimate one because they feel as though they are hearing from you on an individual level. They also have the ability to reply to you, which adds a great personal connection.
When you are in someone’s inbox, you have been given exclusive access to their space. Use this access wisely by finding ways to make personal connections.
The Money Is in the List
Your email list will likely produce the majority of your sales and will be the most powerful selling tool you have.
Affiliate marketers do make a lot of money from traffic alone, but the best ones are also sending email blasts with sales and offers. As the email list owner, you have control of when and what to sell to your audience, and you don’t have to pay to reach them.
You can use your email list to sell all sorts of products, like affiliate offers, courses, ebooks, guides, services, etc. The possibilities are virtually endless, which is why an email list is golden.
How to Start an Email List to Generate Revenue
Now that you know why you should start a list, let’s talk about making it an effective asset for your business. Some bloggers are hesitant to get started because they’re unsure what content to provide or what the focus of the emails should be.
The good news is that you don’t need to worry about being an awesome email copywriter in the beginning, but there are some things you can do to make every email better (which makes your list better in the long run).
1. Be Consistent
To start, just pick one or two days per week to email your list. Write to them using your own voice. Authenticity is key, so don’t try to be someone else.
Don’t worry about perfection here. The important thing is to choose a realistic goal for the number of times per week you will send emails and stick to this number.
Do not commit to daily emails if you are unlikely to maintain this schedule. It is better to consistently send one or two emails per week on the same days than to be too ambitious and fall behind.
You are training your list on what to expect from you, and it is important that you consistently show up for them.
2. Use a Lead Magnet for Opti-in
Avoid simply using a standard “join my newsletter” opt-in for your email list. While this approach can convert new subscribers, you will have more success with higher value opt-ins.
Make sure your lead magnet matches your niche. For example, a guide on mastering your money or a budget template would work well if you’re in personal finance, a free recipe or meal planning guide is great for food blogs, and so on.
Your lead magnet could be a video course, an ebook, a list of resources, or anything else your readers will find valuable.
Whatever lead magnet you choose, it should be intended to provide value to your audience. You won’t want to give everything away in your lead magnet because you want to keep the audience coming back for more, but you should still provide value upfront.
3. Use Email to Sell Your Products
Given how successful email is for converting sales, you will want to use your email list to sell products.
Don’t worry about monetizing your list in the beginning, though. Just focus on building relationships and getting readers comfortable with you being in their inbox.
Eventually, when you are ready to sell, the positive relationship will make them want to buy from you because they trust you, like you, and have found value in all of the free content you have provided.
4. Build Personal Relationships
You can use your email list to build deeper relationships with your subscribers by sharing information that is more personal than what you may share publicly on your blog.
To build trust with your audience, you can tell personal stories and share struggles. Your email list will become more of an inner circle than the rest of your audience, so get used to sharing a little more with them.
To encourage two-way communication, let your readers know it’s okay to reply to your emails to share their thoughts, opinions, and ask questions.
5. Avoid the Newsletter
Many bloggers make the mistake of treating an email list like a newsletter subscription. Don’t just send out the same content you posted on the blog in a newsletter format.
Instead, use your emails to supplement the content you are sharing and provide more context. Tell an extra story somehow related and prime the emotional connection so they care about what you have to say.
To get your readers to click through, you will want them to be curious about whatever content you are sharing in the email.
6. Provide Quality Content
Ensure every email you send is worth your reader’s time. Provide high-quality content they care about. Repeat this process and build trust over time.
Every email you send should have a purpose and provide value to your readers. It can provide entertainment, education, inspiration, or many other things. Just make sure each email accomplishes at least one of those things.
7. Call to Action
In addition to ensuring each email has a specific purpose, it should also have a call to action that lets your readers know what you want them to do next. Only include one call to action per email because you are training your readers to take the action you want them to take.
If you provide too many options, your readers will be confused and overwhelmed. There is a chance they won’t click anything if there are too many options for them.
Tell readers exactly what you want them to do in the call to action. Don’t just include a link without direction. You will want to be explicit with the next steps.
For example, you could ask them to click over to a blog post and leave a comment answering a specific question. You could also ask them to reply to the email and answer a specific question or submit any questions they have.
The Final Word on How to Start an Email List
Knowing how to start an email list is what will separate you from other bloggers who are simply trying to gain traffic.
Ultimately, your email subscribers can become even bigger fans of yours than your social media followers. They are more invested in you and care about what you have to say.
Invest your time and energy in them, and they will invest in you.