Hey friends! Today we are going to delve into an important, but somewhat touchy topic for bloggers. Many bloggers I talk to have not even thought about starting an email list, never mind growing one. I understand- as a blogger, there is sooo much to do. To be honest, I had no idea how much work was actually involved when running a blog. I knew there would be writing involved, obviously, and social media…but that was about where my knowledge ended.
So, I threw myself into it and quickly learned as much as I could. I am a researcher by nature, so compiling information comes pretty easily for me, and it was actually enjoyable. Then, YOU get the blessing of me sharing it with you! Win, win.
Anyway…I realized early on that an email list was important if I wanted to earn an income from my blog. And let’s get real – as much as I truly love writing and sharing what I have to say with you all, I also want to contribute to my family’s income and ultimately bring my husband home from work. I know, huge goal…but I wholeheartedly believe that will happen in the not too distant future. Soooo….I set about building my email list.
I have gained a little over 1200 email subscribers in the first 4 months of starting my list, and now have over 4K subscribers.
The best part is, I have enjoyed doing it! It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it would be and the benefits far outweigh the time invested. I am building my community…and community is everything. I can connect with the women on my email list in a way that I can’t do on my blog. Many of them write back to me and we end up chatting back and forth through email.
Why Build an Email List
If you intend to monetize your blog and earn an income, you want an email list. It is how you communicate with your readers on a different level, how you can introduce your products and offerings, how you can gain feedback from your readers and so much more. Your email list is the only thing you truly own. Your social media following could disappear in an instant - then where would your business be? Click To Tweet Start your email list NOW, not later. Even if you are a brand new blogger, start your list now. Yes, set up an email list even before you have traffic coming to your blog! WHY? Because you don’t want to miss all that traffic when you do have it. Think about it, you are spending so much time trying to drive traffic to your site. But what do you do with it? If you had an email list and some opt-ins for those people coming to your site, you would actually benefit on a level other than pageviews.
How to Start an Email List
Ok, I am not going to get too technical in this post. For now, know that you need an Email Marketing Provider. Many people use MailChimp as it is free until a certain number of subscribers. To be completely honest, I did sign up for MailChimp when I started and could not figure it out for anything. And I am not exactly technically challenged. So, you can look into it and see for yourself, but I had a hard time with it. There are many tutorials out there if you choose to go with MailChimp.
I ultimately chose to go with MailerLite and have been extremely happy with them. They are free until 1000 subscribers, but even after that their prices are so reasonable. In full disclosure, I did switch to Convertkit for a little while, because soooo many bloggers love them. It is a great company and Convertkit has so many great features, but it can be pricey and there is a steep learning curve. I chose to go back to MailerLite pretty quickly and have no plans of switching. If you are curious about why I chose MailerLite over other popular providers, read this post HERE.
Once you decided on a provider, you’ll want to create some opt-ins for your blog. Opt-ins are just what they sound like – something that entices your reader to “opt-in” to you email list. There are so many things you can use as opt-ins in your blog posts. I have multiple opt-ins on my blog and I will show you some of them here. Again, I use Mailerlite and most of these, if not all, are available webform options in MailerLite. I also created a CHEATSHEET for you with a list of things you can do or use to grow your email list. Grab that right now:
Here are some opt-ins I have on my site that have worked incredibly well:
1. FREE PRINTABLES – who doesn’t love printables? Think about what you can create for your audience and offer it in your popular posts. Make it relate to that post, of course. Don’t just throw something in there just to do it. Here is one of mine- this will take you to that post where you can see how it works:
2. RESOURCE LIBRARY – if you are someone who likes creating printables, you could offer a whole Resource Library for free on your blog. This is essentially a password protected page on your site where you upload all your free printables for those who opt-in to your library. I created a “button” using PicMonkey and then uploaded that into MailerLite. When you click this button, it takes you to a Landing Page I also made in MailerLite, which gives you access to the free library. Go ahead, try it!
3. PRIVATE COMMUNITY – you can create an opt-in to give your readers a chance to join your private community. I have two private communities on Facebook where people need to sign up to join. One is for bloggers and one is for moms, wives, and homemakers. Here is a look at my opt-in for my private blogger community, Blogging with Heart. This is just a webform I created and then embedded into my post. You can see how it looks in my post HERE. Feel free to join the group too, we would love to have you!
4. FREE EMAIL COURSE– this is one of my most popular ways to grow my email list. It has worked incredibly well, and I have to say it as been my favorite way. I have created a free 5 day course for moms and wives and have been so blessed my the feedback I have received from it. This is also where that other private community comes in, the one for moms and wives. I have a “button” that I place in some of my posts and I have a landing page for the course. You can see the landing page by clicking HERE and the button below. Both take you to the landing page.
5. FREE CHALLENGE – this is along the same idea as a free course, just worded differently. You can have a longer challenge, or a more immediate challenge depending on your end goal. I have a free 5 day Goal Setting Challenge called Plan to Thrive that you can see in this post HERE. You’ll notice it takes you to another landing page to sign up for that challenge. Landing pages convert extremely well!
6. Pop Up – Did you notice the pop up when you visited my site? That is what I am talking about here. And yes, I know they tend to be annoying. Because of that, I held off initially on adding a pop up to my site. However, because I know many of my readers are moms, wives, or homemakers, I wanted a way to have them join my list in a way that is just for community, and not in exchange for anything. If you know that the majority of your audience would appreciate getting on your email list this way, try it and see how it works for you. I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that about one third of my subscribers come from this pop up. That is not something to shy away from!
I have a few more opt-ins on my blog, but these are the ones I use most often. You need to find what works for you and your readers. I know it can seem overwhelming, but you will get the hang of it quicker than you think. Honestly.
If I went into much more detail, this post would be incredibly long, so I did create a CHEATSHEET for you that you can download and print out. See how I did that??? But seriously, use this cheatsheet to remember the steps you need to take to start your list. I have also included a list of opt-in ideas for you to think about and decide which ones will best fit with your site.
Create multiple options for people to join your list! Have a tightly-related opt-in offer for every bit of content on your site. This way, you’ll never miss an opportunity to gain an extra subscriber. Have a mix of landing pages, buttons, webforms…after a little while, you will start to notice what works best for you. Choose a great, enticing offer that will appeal to the kind of reader you are trying to attract. Think long term and build your community!
I would LOVE to see what you create, so please reach out and let me know! You can comment on this post, email me anytime, or join Blogging with Heart and connect with me there. Now go LAUNCH YOUR LIST!