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. Most bloggers are solely focused on blog traffic at the beginning, which is understandable. And, if you want to be a blogger who just shares content online, then focusing on traffic alone is fine. But, if you want to create a business and make money, an email list is required.
If you haven’t started your blog yet, focus on your email list from day one. If you currently have a blog but no email list, start now.
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 doing something with it. There was a study by Google saying that 70% of the people who see your blog will leave and never come back. Your job as a blogger is to do everything you can to capture those visitors and bring them back again and again.
The way some people think about blog traffic is a bit odd when you consider blogs as businesses. No one who owns a retail store brags about having 10,000 people walk through the door. That’s all traffic is, how many people walked through the door. When thinking about your blog as a business, you should be caring more about what converts and sells, not just the foot traffic.
Additionally, more traffic does not equate to more sales. A recent study showed that the highest earning bloggers have between 200,000 and 400,000 pageviews per month. The bloggers at this level make even more money than bloggers with over a million views per month!
Those statistics are correlation, not causation, but we believe the reason behind this is that the people with moderate traffic are focusing their efforts on other strategies along with traffic. They are focused on things like converting that traffic into sales, building funnels, engagement, etc. All of these things are necessary to be financially successful with a blog because traffic alone won’t allow for the same income opportunities as a well-rounded business strategy.
In today’s post, we’ll explain why you need to start an email list this year, and then tell you how to make it an incredible asset to your business.
Why you should start an email list:
Capture website visitors and turn them into fans
An email list is a great way to capture the people visiting your website so that 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.
Your email list is an asset that allows you to reach to your audience directly, develop a relationship with them, and sell 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. That means that if Facebook or Instagram went out of business tomorrow, you would completely lose those people.
With an email list, you own the contact information that is submitted including the names and email addresses of those on your list. You can contact those people at any time unless they unsubscribe to your list.
To ensure that you never lose that information, we suggest periodically downloading a backup of your email list from your email marketing provider.
Develop a more intimate 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 that space– use that access.
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 things, like affiliate offers, courses, ebooks, guides, services, etc.
Here are some tips to make your emails and email list more effective:
Now that you know why you should start a list, let’s talk about making it an effective asset for your business. 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).
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.
Again, don’t worry about perfection here. The important thing is that you choose a realistic goal for the number of times per week you will send emails and stick to that number.
Do not commit to daily emails if you are unlikely to maintain that 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.
Use a lead magnet for opting 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, so a master your money guide or budget template would work well if you’re in personal finance, a free recipe or meal planning guide 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 be providing value up front.
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.
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 to ask questions.
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. Use your emails to supplement the content you are sharing and provide more context. Tell an extra story that is related and prime the emotional connection so that they care about what you have to say. To get them to click through, you will want them to be curious about whatever content you are sharing in the email.
Provide quality content
Ensure that every email you send is worth your reader’s time. Provide high-quality content that 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.
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 that lacks 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.
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 into them and they will invest in you.