As a new blogger, one of the first things you need to get to work on building your email list so you can start building a loyal community around your blog. Many new bloggers often neglect to build their email list until much later and that is a huge mistake if your ultimate goal is to make money with your blog! I made this mistake with my first blog but made sure to get it set up immediately with this blog. Your email list, unlike your followers on social media, is really the only thing that you own. We've already seen this year how social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms, which affect your followers seeing your content. What if a social platform completely went away? How would you continue to communicate with them? Here are some simple email list building tips for newbie bloggers to help you get it set up right from the start.
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Email List Building Tips for Newbie Bloggers
Building an email list will help your long-term blog strategy by enabling you to nurture your subscribers and eventually turn them into customers. Not only do you need to have an email subscriber list, but you also need to stay in contact with them to nurture the relationship. These email list building tips will show you both how to set up a good email marketing system AND how to nurture your subscriber list so they'll want to purchase through your affiliate links or buy your product.
Email List Building Tips – #1 Start Early
If you are just getting your blog set up, make sure you have your email strategy in place before you go live. This will enable you to begin building your list from Day One. If you've already gone live and are just now getting around to it, that is ok too. Just make sure you have everything in place before you start collecting emails. This way you can begin building rapport with your subscribers right away. Following these simple list building tips will result in higher open rates and fewer unsubscribers.
Email List Building Tips – #2 Set up Your Email for Success
It is important that you set up your email system for maximum success. This includes having a custom email domain, creating a welcome email sequence, and sending other emails on a regular schedule.
Email Service Provider – Most blog themes come with a widget that will collect blog subscribers (without you having an email system in place). Anyone who subscribes will begin receiving your blog posts when they are published. This doesn't, however, provide you with the ability to send them other emails. To do that, you'll need to set up your email through an email service provider such as ConvertKit or MailerLite. Here is a great MailerLite setup tutorial. You don't want to use your Gmail or Yahoo (or other similar) for your blog because your emails will most likely end up in your subscriber's spam folder. Email service providers are specifically designed for sending mass emails to subscriber lists (Gmail, Yahoo, and other similar ones are not).
Custom Email Domain -Create a custom domain email through your web hosting cPanel. This will give you a professional-looking email address that matches your blog (for example – firstname.lastname@example.org). Having a custom domain email not only looks more professional, most email services will require you to have one in order to sign up. It is completely free to set up this custom email through your web hosting.
Welcome Email – Before you begin collecting emails, ensure you have an automated welcome email or sequence set up and ready to go. A welcome email is just a simple email from you that welcomes the new subscriber, gives them a little information about you, your blog, and your community. This helps you start building that relationship right away. Some bloggers set up a welcome sequence which includes 2-3 emails. The first can simply be the introduction, followed by 2 more with helpful tips (related to your blog niche) and some freebies or goodies.
Planned Email Schedule – Aside from the welcome email, you should have a set schedule for sending emails to your subscribers. If you collect their email today and they don't hear a peep from you for a few months, they'll most likely forget who you are and delete your email. Consistency in emailing them keeps them interested and they'll know when to expect to hear from you. For my subscribers, I send out blogging tips every Monday morning and a newsletter on the first of the month. Those are standard emails that I send every single month. Just make sure that what you are sending is helpful to your audience. If you blog about health and wellness, don't send your subscribers an email about blogging business! The more helpful your emails are to them, the more likely they will be to buy any products that you may recommend to them.
Affiliate Links – Be intentional with your use of affiliate links in email. Provide more value and fewer links and you will have better conversion. Your subscribers want value – not a sales ad!
**Some affiliate programs (such as Amazon) prohibit the use of their affiliate links in an email. Always read the Terms of Service for each program you join.
Email List Building Tips – #3 Subscribe Forms and Optin Forms
There are technically two types of forms that you can use on your blog to gain email subscribers – subscribe forms and optin forms. They are both created to collect email addresses from your readers to be added to your email list, however, they are marketed differently on your blog. Both of them are integral to growing your email list and creating a loyal community for your blog.
- Subscribe Form – Just as the name implies, this form is going to say something along the lines of “Subscribe to my Blog.” Make sure you dress this form up a bit to make it more enticing for them to subscribe to your blog. Adding additional text goes a long way! Give them a hint of what they'll get by subscribing to your list. My general subscribe box (over on my sidebar) lets readers know that they can expect blogging and money saving tips in my emails. Whatever your niche is about, make it worthy of their time (and you bothering their inbox)!
- Optin Forms – An optin form is similar to a subscribe form, but the marketing of it is not to necessarily subscribe to your blog. With an optin form, you are providing your reader with something in exchange for their email. You could offer a free resource, access to password-protected content, a downloadable file, or anything they might find value in. Always make sure your optins are something that your audience would need or want. Below is one of my optin forms (created in MailerLite). Go ahead and try it out!
It is important to have more than one opportunity to get a reader on your list. Don't go crazy with it to where it becomes a hassle to actually read your content, but make sure you provide ample opportunities (using different forms and lead magnets).
- Sidebar General Subscribe Box
- Floating Bar and/or Popup Form – Get creative with these as far as the offer (reason for subscribing).
- In-Post Optin Form – You can create 1-2 different forms for each blog post. I recommend one that is standard and can go in any post and one that is specific to what the post content is about. For example, if I write a post on financial topics, my form says they'll get tips for saving and making extra money each month – a blogging post has a form offering weekly blogging tips.
GDPR is something that came along this year and created a bit of a headache for many bloggers. It changed the way most of us set up our optin forms to collect email addresses. You can read more about GDPR here to ensure that your blog is in compliance.
Email List Building Tips – #4 Scrub Your List
There are two main reasons you need to periodically scrub your email list and delete subscribers. While you may be really excited to reach a certain number of subscribers, those subscribers are wasted space if they aren't opening your emails to read them! One of the downfalls of offering freebies as optins is that some readers only want the goods and don't care to get emails from you. THAT IS COMPLETELY OK!! You will still get a few quality subscribers who WILL open and read your emails and those are the ones you want to be there.
- Scrubbing your list ensures you have quality subscribers who are genuinely interested in your emails and what you send them. These are the ones that will end up making purchased through your affiliate links. They are following you because you provide the content they need. When you recommend a product, they are most likely to want to try it.
- Scrubbing your list keeps your costs down. YESSSS!! With MailerLite, for example, you remain on the free plan until you've reached 1000 subscribers. The longer you stay below 1000, the longer you don't pay for that service. I recommend that every 3 months you go through and delete anyone who hasn't opened an email in the last 30 days (depending on how often you send emails and taking into account those who've only recently subscribed). Also, make sure to delete everyone in your “unconfirmed” folder because they can count against your overall number.
**Side note – While there are benefits to participating in blogger share/reciprocation threads, you should never participate in “subscribe” threads. Why? Because those people are only subscribing to your blog as a requirement and will most likely NOT be interested in your emails (wasting space and eventually costing you money). You should only want subscribers who do so because they are truly interested in your blog's content and want more of it.
Be sure to also check out these posts for new bloggers:
- 7 Crucial Tips for Making Your Christian Blogs More Successful
- The Importance of Choosing the Right SEO Keywords as a New Blogger
- 7 Proven Strategies for Writing Catchy Blog Post Titles That Stand Out
- 6 Ways to Monetize Your Blog and Boost Your Monthly Blog Income
Email List Building Tips – #5 Send Quality Emails
This might be the most important of all the email list building tips I've already mentioned! I can't tell you how freaking annoying it is to subscribe to someone's blog and the get bombarded with a ton of emails from them like every day! OMG! You have to think from the reader's perspective. People get a ton of spam on any given day, in addition to the emails they need to read. Their time is precious and you must respect it! If you are going to bother them with an email, make it worth reading. Make sure it is adding value to their day.
Frequency – While your Welcome Email can be 2-3 emails in as many days, your regular “planned” emails should not be so often. You want to keep them engaged but you don't want to annoy them either. I personally appreciate 1-2 emails weekly from those I subscribe to. When I get more than that I tend to go looking for the unsubscribe button! I send a newsletter on the first of each month, followed by a regular email every Monday. I may, on occasion, send a mid-week email if there is a major sale happening that my audience would want to know about or something else that is important for them to know such as when Pinterest wakes up and changes everything!
** Be sure to check out this post for even more blogging tips for beginners.
Quality Content – While it is important to be personal and build rapport, don't bore them to death with constant emails about your day! Make sure what you are sending them provides something to help make their lives better in relation to your blog niche. If you have a parenting blog, send tips related to the area you specialize in. If you blog about health and fitness, send them meal planning tips or tips for getting more sleep. See where I'm going with this? Make it relevant and helpful! (Send it to yourself and see if you want to find the unsubscribe button!)
So what should you send your email subscribers in these emails? Here is a great post on that very topic! In addition to the planned content for your emails, you can (and should) also provide a recap of any new blog posts that you've published since your last email. This way any new subscribers will have a chance to view them AND it will increase your page views! Be sure you have your social follow buttons on your emails as well and give a call to action for them to follow you on their favorite platform (build your social following).
**Always send yourself a test email before sending it to the masses! This helps you avoid embarrassing “Sorry about that last email” emails. It happens to all of us but by sending a test email, you can minimize it. Also, be sure you set all outbound links that you add to your emails to open in a new window.