You are a creator, a maker, a doer, a dreamer, and that barely leaves any time to market yourself, am I right?
But what if I told you that without marketing, email marketing at that, you’ll probably never have a business? A hobby, yes, but not a business. Because your email list IS your business!
I know you’re probably thinking I’m being dramatic right now. But the truth is that nurturing an email list has the potential to double, triple, and even 10x your income. So you see, your email list is your biggest blogging asset.
When I launched my first eBook, How to Make Money As An Amazon Affiliate, I had a bit over 1,000 email subscribers, yet I met my launch goals in only one email.
The truth is you don’t need a huge list, but you need A list. So don’t be scared to start (even if you are at 0!), because the hours you put into your email list is time well spent.
Why should I start building an email list?
You’ve probably heard this before – the money is in the list. And the reason why the money is in the list is that your most loyal peeps are there. So here are a few arguments for creating an email list right away:
- Building an email list will help you grow your blog and business because email subscribers are more likely to buy your products and the products you are an affiliate for. It comes down to trust…
- Email IS the easiest way to build trust. When someone entrusts you with their email address, you know you struck a cord. Keep up the good work by providing even more value and creating a bond with your subscribers. People would rather buy from someone they know, trust, and admire. Plus…
- It’s the easiest way to keep in touch. Most of your Instagram followers will never directly check your profile for updates and the algorithm surely won’t show them every single one of your posts. But most people check their email daily and are less likely to miss your communications and announcements.
- Aside from your blog, your email list is the only thing you have control over. Social networks come and go. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest constantly change their algorithm… Luckily, your newsletter is not at their mercy. YOU are at the helm here.
- Email is the most affordable marketing option. Study after study has shown that an email list has the highest return on investment, way above Facebook ads and other forms of advertising.
UPDATE: Before you sign up for an email service provider, you need a blog and a custom domain! My web host of over 2 years, Bluehost, is offering my readers a special discount. Use this link to start a blog for only $2.95 a month and get a FREE domain name. Or you can use my super detailed tutorial to start a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Why do I need an email marketing service provider?
- You cannot just ask strangers to write their email on the back of grocery receipts and start sending them newsletters from your Gmail account. There are laws and regulations in place and people have to be informed beforehand about how their information will be stored and used. You also need proof of consent, which an email marketing service provider keeps a record of for you.
- An opt-in form is oftentimes your only opportunity to convert a casual blog visitor into a long-term reader, even customer. Without an easy way to express their interest in receiving updates from you, your reader might walk out of your life forever the minute they move to the next tab in their browser. Yes, they might follow you on social media, but have you seen what a dog eat dog world is out there? Email is your best chance of having a quiet conversation with your reader and getting to know each other better.
- Detailed analytics so you can stay in control. An email marketing service provider helps you keep track of everything, like who opened your latest email and which links they clicked on. This way you can learn a great deal about your subscribers, such as their interests and whether they’d rather receive your emails on Fridays or Tuesdays.
Choose the right email marketing service provider for you
Choosing the right email marketing provider for you might seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a quick comparison between the two most popular services used by bloggers.
ConvertKit is built around creators and entrepreneurs (like bloggers, vloggers, authors, influencers, marketers and course creators) which makes them your ally when it comes to making money with your blog.
Their whole platform is designed around helping you grow your email list through content upgrades and other freebies. This includes delivering free email courses using visual automation workflows that closely mimic your subscriber’s experience, which is one of their hottest feature.
ConvertKit also makes it easy to segment your list into potential customers and those who have already purchased your products. This can dramatically increase your conversion rates because it gives you the option to create a more personalized
You can try ConvertKit free of charge for 14 days. After that it costs $29/month (until you exceed 1000 subscribers) or you can get 2 months free when you pay annually.
I personally use Mailerlite because I like to keep things simple and I don’t need tons of features. Plus they are based in Europe and with all the last year’s new data protection regulations, storing my subscribers’ data in the EU seems the smart choice.
Mailerlite is constantly working on improving their service, which makes them one of the fastest growing email marketing platforms. Plus their email deliverability has improved considerably in the past few months.
Their drag & drop email editor is pretty badass, if you ask me. They also have dozens of email templates you can choose from. Plus a recently introduced new feature that allows you to create and save your own templates.
You can start out on their forever free plan (limited features) and upgrade later on as the need for new tools and more indepth analytics arises or you reach the 1,000 subscribers mark. Read this post, if you need help getting started with Mailerlite.
What’s your #1 priority?
It’s always smart to start with why. Otherwise, what’s the point of building something if you have no idea WHY you’re building it in the first place?
- Do you want to use your list to help you monetize your blog now?
- Do you want to connect and build trust with your readers so you can sell to them later?
- Or do you want to drive traffic to your blog?
You probably answered yes to all of the above. But if you´re pulled in one too many directions at once, you’ll quickly lose your motivation to blog consistently.
Things are easier when you do them with purpose and intention. Choose to focus on one thing at a time.
For example, if you want to leverage your email list to make money with your blog right away, you could create a welcome email sequence that links to several products (wether they are your own products or products you are an affiliate for).
If on the other hand, your sole purpose is to drive traffic to your blog, then make sure each of your emails includes a couple of links to relevant blog posts.
3 ways to build your email list on autopilot
It’s one thing to know that you need an email list and a totally different one to build an email list from scratch.
Gone are the days when you could just slap an opt-in form on your blog inviting people to subscribe to your newsletter. Your readers are busy and there are a dozen unread emails waiting for them at any time, which makes them more mindful about who they invite into their inboxes.
Luckily, there are quite a few ways you can get people on your email list. And today I’ll talk about the top 3 strategies that worked for me lately. They are not niche-specific, so it’s highly likely they will work for you too.
1 | Grow your email list with quizzes
Quizzes are extremely popular right now for getting new email subscribers. I’m sure you’ve seen them everywhere, from Facebook to BuzzFeed. And the best part is that they are super easy to make and incredibly efficient.
You simply create a fun quiz like ‘What is your makeup IQ?’ or ‘What photography skill should you learn next?‘ and post it somewhere on your blog. Once the participants answer the questions, you require them to enter their email address before they can see the results. And Boom! Just like that, you have a new subscriber!
Whether your quiz is about the Game of Thrones house you belong to or the kind of leader you are, there’s something about this type of questions that’s irresistible. We all want to learn more about ourselves and when someone gives us the opportunity to do so, we jump right in.
When I created my first quiz with Try Interact I couldn’t get over the fact that’s been converting at 61%, which is insane!
Reasons I chose Try Interact
- Try Interact has tons of made-for-you quiz templates to choose from. And they are truly awesome, if you ask me. But given my background in psychology, I wanted to create something unique. Once I had all the questions and answers mapped out, creating the quiz was a breeze.
- Plenty of ways to promote your quiz. Once you have your quiz, you can simply add it as an announcement bar at the top of your blog (which is just one of the amazing features of Try Interact), embed it into a post, set it up as a popup and even share it on social media.
- Awesome tools that make creating a quiz SO easy! Try Interact provides all the tools you need to create a lightweight and fun quiz using images, gifs, hypothetical scenarios, and mystery.
- Super fun analytics. I know what you might say. Analytics
arenot fun. But when your stats are displayed using a clean interface and colorful funnels, believe me, they are way less boring.
One of the key factors for a quiz to be successful is that it has to be related to your blog’s topic (so you won’t end up with a bunch of random subscribers who aren’t interested in reading your articles or buying your products).
You can create your first quiz for free right now and put the fun back into sales funnels.
2 | Create
A content upgrade is a freebie created specifically for a particular blog post. It can be anything as long as its subject is tightly related to the blog post you create it for.
Content upgrade examples:
- Short eBook
- Case study
Since it works like a bonus that enhances and expands the post it was created for, the conversion rates tend to be pretty high.
How to create a content upgrade that converts
- Create your content upgrade using a free online tool like Canva or Adobe InDesign (my personal favorite). Adobe InDesign gives you way more flexibility and you can create fillable PDFs, for example. You can purchase it as part of the Creative Cloud (simply go to Single App and choose InDesign from the drop-down menu)
- Make it look pretty. Most people are visual learners so you want your content upgrade to stand out and create a long lasting impression. You also want people to find it useful and interact with your freebie (read it till the end, fill it out). For this to happen you need to make your content upgrade pretty using graphics and images that complement your message. Two of my favorite sites for gorgeous photos are Styled Stock Society and SC Stockshop.
- Deliver your content upgrade automatically. Once your PDF is ready to be shared with the world, you’ll have to create a new opt-in form. In ConvertKit, you simply have to attach your freebie to your Incentive Email (ConverKit will host the freebie file for you). If you are using Mailerlite, set up an automation workflow and include a link to the content upgrade in your first email (Mailerlite does NOT host files for you, so you’ll have to upload them to Dropbox or Google Drive first and share the URL).
- Create a beautiful landing page. You might think your work is done, but I highly recommend you create a landing page for each freebie and content upgrade you create. Just because something it’s free, it doesn’t mean people will want it. You have to sell it to them just like you would a paid product and landing pages are the right place to do just that. Plus you’ll be able to link to your freebie from anywhere, like your newsletter and social media. If creating landing pages is a struggle and takes too much of your time, these professionally designed opt-in templates are a godsend.
3 | Put together a resource library
A free resource library or freebie library is a password-protected section of your blog that is only accessible to subscribers. Here you can host all your content upgrades and other freebies you might offer. One freebie is great, a whole bunch of freebies is even better.
For example, my own freebie library includes photos, planners, and workbooks and I’m constantly adding new goodies.
My freebie library doubles as a portfolio where you can download samples of my work and check the quality of my planners. So if you like the printables you find in there, you’ll surely LOVE the Smart Blog Planner.
How to create a free resource library
- Create a new page. Seriously, just go to your WordPress dashboard and create a new page.
- Password protect your page. Open your page and in the right-hand sidebar go to Document >> Status & Visibility >> select Password Protected and type in the password you want your subscribers to use when logging in to your super secret (and awesome) resource library.
- Design your library. Make sure your freebie library looks pretty and welcoming by giving it a facelift. You can use a page builder plugin to make your library look organized. Or if you want to save precious time, check out these freebie library templates.
- Add your freebies. Host your freebies in your Dropbox, Google Drive or even your own hosting account. Then create a thumbnail for each freebie and link it to the PDF.
Pretty easy, right? But in reality you’ll provide a whole lot more value to your subscribers in a super accessible way.
Now you know as well as I do that you cannot put two books in a room and call it a library. So you need to create a few freebies before you can open your library to the public. But don’t procrastinate until you have Shakespeare’s complete works either – 5-6 freebies is all you need to begin with.
And since you are here, why not take a peek inside my freebie library below. I add new stuff all the time so being a subscriber really pays off.
Hey girl hey! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of I Am Unstoppable: A Journal For Winning At Life. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower women to simplify their blogs and business so they can show up for their dreams in a sustainable way. I also love to travel, play with kitties and decorate my home.