When I first thought about growing a business online, I was sure the answer to driving traffic to my blog and engaging customers most effectively was going to be growing my social media presence. The people with the beautifully curated Instagram pages with 100,000+ followers seemed like they were doing well, and I didn’t know any other way to build a community at the time.
Then I started hearing more about building an email list and saw successful business owners asking people to join their newsletter. I researched email lists and the benefits and realized this is where my focus needed to go. You can drive traffic to your blog and sell your product on social media, but the true power is in the list.
Why is an email list so important?
- You own your list, and it can’t be taken from you. Instagram and Facebook algorithms are constantly changing, and you don’t know if you’re actually being seen my your audience. Also, if Instagram or Facebook suddenly ceased to exist, your entire audience would go away with it.
- It’s a direct line of communication with your audience. They have voluntarily joined your email list, so you know that they want to hear from you and are interested in what you’re up to. You don’t have to play any crazy follow, unfollow games like on social media!
- Almost all bloggers report the highest sales conversions through their email list. Even the bloggers with large social media followers have had the greatest success selling products to their email audience.
Can my specific business benefit from an email list?
- Do you own a business?
- Do you provide a service?
- Do you sell a product?
- Do you share information you want others to read?
Then yes, you most definitely need an email list.
The top question I get on email lists is whether or not you should have one even if you have nothing to sell yet. Maybe you want to do a course in the future but haven’t created it yet. I absolutely recommend building your email list from day 1, even before you have anything to sell.
If you create a product before building an email list, you won’t have anyone to launch your product to. Your product may be unique and amazing, but people need to already know, like, and trust you before they’ll consider buying from you. Your email list gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your readers on an ongoing basis before you ever have anything to sell.
How often should I be sending emails?
How often you send emails to your audience is up to you based on what you think is manageable for you. Consistency is extremely important, and you don’t want to promise weekly emails only to send them out sporadically. However, I recommend committing to at least once a month, but once a week is preferable. You want to continually build relationships with your readers and stay top-of-mind.
When you send the emails takes a little bit more thought and some testing. I recommend figuring out when your target audience would be most likely to read their emails so that your email is on the top of the list. My blog is targeted primarily to stay-at-home moms, so I often send emails in the evening to read after the kids go to bed or early in the morning so they can be read while drinking morning coffee or nursing babies.
You can send emails out at various different times and analyze your open rates and click rates through your email service to figure out if there are trends.
What should I send?
There are so many different things that you can send to your readers. Please don’t be afraid that you’ll ever run out of ideas. You may feel like you’re writing so many blog posts, posting on social media regularly, and doing lives video that there will be nothing left to send out by email.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
- Welcome series- When someone joins your email list for the first time, send them a series of emails (3-6) to let them get to know you and what value you provide.
- Email course
- Optin- A free resource you provide in exchange for their email address
- Upcoming event- This can be both online and in person events
- Deals or Sales
- Educate on an affiliate product and include your affiliate link
- Survey for market research
- Answer a common question that you receive on blog posts or social media
- Solve a problem that your target audience is having
- Customer experiences and testimonials
- Latest blog posts
- Your reaction to a popular or viral social media post
How do I even start building an email list?
Most people won’t just provide their email list in a pop-up the second they arrive to your site. We are bombarded by so many emails in our inboxes these days that we want to know that what we receive provides value. The most common and effective way to build an email list is by offering an incentive in exchange for their email address.
A few ideas for capturing emails include:
- Opt-in/Lead Magnets
- Challenges (ex. 7 day self-care challenge with daily emails)
- Pop-ups explaining what to expect from your newsletter
My biggest suggestion is to try several different methods to see what your audience responds to and is interested in. You may offer something that you think it absolutely amazing, and then it’s a complete bust. It’s hard to predict what people will respond to.
So you’re ready to create some opt-ins or content upgrades. What can you offer?
- List of tips + tricks
- How to video
- Short ebook
- Cheat sheet
- Free stock images
- Planner pages
- Goal setting pages
These opt-ins can be offered anywhere that you are working online, not just your blog. On Facebook I link to the landing page for my most popular opt-in in multiple different places. You can also do Facebook lives or post videos where you post the link in the caption.
On Instagram, my opt-ins are located in the link within my bio so that I can guide people to it in posts and on Instastories.
You can create pins on Pinterest that link directly to landing pages for your opt-in or to blog posts where you go into more detail about your freebie.
I also like to post my opt-ins on my about me page. People begin to know, like, and trust you when they learn more about you, so you increase the likelihood that they’ll allow you into their inbox.
If you don’t have a blog yet, you can learn how to start a successful blog in 2019 in this post. However, you can still build your email list while you get your blog up and running. Once you sign up for an email service (see below), you can create a landing page with a link that you can post on social media. You can start building your email list before you even have a blog!
The most important thing to remember when growing your email list is to treat those on your email list like VIPs regardless of whether you have 2 or 200,000 subscribers. Nurture and provide value by helping them, educating, and sending gifts or additional resources. The people on your list could be future customers, friends, and even potential blogging partners. You just never know!
How do I email my list?
You’re going to need something beyond gmail to start building your email list. You need a service that will capture the emails into a list and allow you to automate when you send emails and who you send them to. Here are the most popular email services:
Mailerlite- This email service is free up to 1,000 unique subscribers. Their email automation systems are easy to use and perfect for the beginning blogger or when you first start building an email list. The free version does have automation tools unlike Mailchimp.
Convertkit- This email service does not have a free option. It starts at $29 per month but provides a lot of upgraded features that you won’t find in other email services.
Mailchimp- This email service is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. I personally really struggled with Mailchimp and user-friendliness, but it’s another good option for this just starting out. The major downside is that you have to be using the paid version to use their automation tools.
What are some of your biggest fears about starting an email list? I want to give you the confidence that you can do this!
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