If you are still unaware of how important it is to build an email marketing list for your blog, read my blog post – Why Building an Email List for your Blog is Extremely Important – first.
You might know that it is extremely important but don’t know where to start or how to build an email list.
I will take you through the beginner steps of how to get your first subscribers and build an effective email marketing list.
An email marketing list is extremely important for several reasons. It helps you build brand awareness, increase your page views and monetise your blog.
You might have seen some subscriber forms or plugins on your website but find it all a bit overwhelming and don’t know where to start. I certainly did when I first started blogging, so I didn’t have a subscriber button anywhere on my blog for the first year.
How many subscribers could I have built up in this time? My blog was a very slow burner to start with and not having a subscriber button or pop-up was probably one of the main reasons.
Choosing an Email Service Provider
The first thing you need to do is choose an email service provider. You will be collecting readers’ details, sending out campaigns and emails and hopefully growing your subscriber list to large numbers.
You do not want to be doing this all from your personal email address!
Why do you need an Email Service Provider?
- Legal compliance – all emails that you send must comply with international email privacy laws and Spam acts. ESPs have to be in compliance with this legislation so will be doing all this for you.
- Tracking and reporting – your email service provider will have detailed tracking and reporting options. This can help you keep track of your subscribers, who opens your emails and your most popular campaigns.
- Email delivery – sending emails to 1000s of people at once can have a huge strain on your personal email address, not to mention it might be labelled as spam. Your campaigns could potentially end up in recipients’ spam folders or worse, you may be blacklisted by filters.
- Automated email campaigns – your email campaigns can be targeted to different subscribers with different interests. You can set up different campaigns to welcome new subscribers and send out follow-up emails to people who have bought products or services from you. Your email service provider can also decide what time is best to send out emails
- Custom email templates – one of my favourite features of Email service providers is that they have 100s of different email templates to choose from, making your life that little bit easier. A lot of them are drag and drop, so you can customise them easily and make sure your subscribers find them easy to read.
Which Email Service Provider?
This is where I got stuck, to begin with. There are many email service providers out there, all with their own strengths and weaknesses and it can be hard to choose the best one for you.
Originally, I started with MailChimp. Mainly because it seemed that everyone was using this service and they were quick and easy to set up.
It is free for the first 2,000 subscribers and has basic email templates for you to use. However, I don’t think it is very blogger friendly.
I switched to ConvertKit after a year with MailChimp. It seemed to be better geared towards bloggers with landing pages, automated sequences and sales funnels.
I used this service for around a year, but I found them to be expensive once I passed the 1,000 subscriber mark.
ConvertKit is free for the first 1,000 subscribers, but after that, it is $41 a month until you hit 3,000 subscribers. I appreciate that it has an extensive list of features, but I realised I probably wouldn’t use a lot of them.
I started looking around for another email service provider and after a bit of research, I came across Mailerlite.
I am currently on the Growing Business plan which is $9 a month. This gives me unlimited monthly emails, unlimited websites and templates and the ability to sell digital products.
Why I chose Mailerlite as my email service provider –
- MailerLite offers a Free Forever plan, but even if you start paying, it is cheaper than most email service providers.
- It is a great email marketing software tool for beginners. The interface is extremely easy to use and there are lots of tutorials to help you get on your way
- Email deliverability is extremely dependable and efficient
- It regularly got over 4.5 stars out of 5 on many email service provider comparison blog posts.
- It has a lot of great functionality. Email campaigns, surveys, automation, landing pages and pop-ups are all easy to set up and can be catered to all your needs.
- For a cheap option, it has a huge amount of templates to choose from.
How to get your first subscribers!
Whichever email service provider you’ve chosen to go with, you now need to set up your sign-up forms on your website.
This should be easy to do and is the best way to start getting subscribers. Giving your readers an opt-in to incentivise them to sign up is a great way to start.
Read more >>>
The sign-up forms you need to start with
Following the template guides from your email service provider, the first thing you need to do is start creating sign-up boxes, forms and a landing page.
If you are using WordPress, most good email service providers will have plugins you can install to make the process even easier.
You need to put your sign-up forms across the WHOLE of your website.
There is no point embedding your link within a blog post, or on your sidebar. A lot of readers or potential subscribers might never make it as far as the bottom of your blog post (I know, I think your blogs are fab too and will read every single word 🙂 or ever glimpse your home page.
A lot of my readers come from Pinterest or Google where the link takes them directly to the blog post. They often read what they need and move on, so they will never see your beautiful subscribe button in a prominent place on your home page.
The best places to put your sign-up forms and links to landing pages (I will cover these in another blog post) are –
- In your blog posts. Most people will come to your website via a link direct to a blog post. EVERY blog post needs to have a subscribe button. Put one in the middle of the blog and another at the end. The people who get to the end of a blog post are more likely to sign up
- Your About page. If potential subscribers want to read the information on what the blog is about, they’re more likely to sign up
- A dedicated subscribe button on your home page. This should be near the top and another at the bottom of the page
- A dedicated subscribe button in your menu or in a banner across the top of your home page.
- A landing page. This is a dedicated page that can show your readers what you can offer and get them to sign up, read more or direct them to other pages. This can be linked anywhere within your blog
- Sidebar. If you have a sidebar on your home page and in your blog posts, it is still a good idea to include a subscribe button here.
- A pop-up subscribe box! This is the best way to get subscribers, over 75% of my subscribers come from a pop-up box. I have it set so that it pops up 10 seconds after someone has visited my page (regardless of what page or post they’re reading) and when they go to leave.
The Welcome email
If you follow the above, you should start to see Subscribers roll in.
But what is the point of having subscribers if you are not going to send them anything?
If you have put in the standard sign-up form asking for a name and email address, then the best thing to do is to send them a welcome email, or automated email series.
An email welcome series is essential when it comes to your email marketing strategy. A blog reader has given you their name and email because they WANT to hear from you, it would be silly not to send them an email to say hi.
Now is the time to build momentum and trust with your new subscribers. You want to make a good first impression and setting up an automated welcome email series means that your new subscribers will receive an email directly after they have signed up.
Think about it, they have just read your blog post and have enjoyed your content enough to want more.
If you have set your email newsletter to go out once a month, it could be weeks before they get any information from you and by then, the momentum has gone. They might have forgotten why they signed up in the first place.
Another good way to get email subscribers is to offer them a free gift (also known as an Opt-in offer or Lead Magnet). Your welcome email would include this free gift with some welcome emails to follow it.
Email Newsletter Ideas
Once you have sent your welcome series out, you want to keep sending your email list something regularly. This could include –
- An email to let your readers know you have a new blog post out
- A weekly or monthly newsletter to let your readers know what is happening on your blog and all the latest information
- An email offering new courses or services
- An email with new products launched
- Milestone emails – to celebrate your blog anniversary, or when the subscriber signed up. These could include exclusive offers.
- Survey or Quiz emails. These can help understand your audience more and find out what you should be blogging about on your website.
Automated or bespoke?
Email service providers will give you the option to set up an automated RSS campaign which will send out your latest blog posts every time you post.
You can set up automation for any type of email sequence, like a product purchase or clicking a specific link. This is the most common type of email we receive from companies and small businesses in our inboxes and they can sometimes feel a little impersonal.
Bespoke emails are where you create a personal newsletter with your latest blog post and news and send them out to all your subscribers each week.
Even though this is a little more time-consuming, your email list will thank you for the personal touch.
When to send your emails
The most important thing you can do when it comes to your email marketing strategy is to set a schedule and stick to it.
Go for something memorable like an email on the 1st of every month or, if your blog has a regular blog posting schedule, do it at the same time.
It also depends on who your core subscribers are and what your niche is.
If you are a parenting blog, sending an email out at 8 am on a Wednesday morning when they’re running around like headless chickens trying to get their kids to school, might fall on deaf ears.
Equally, if you have a blog talking about young fashion, sending out an email at 7 pm on a Friday night probably won’t get any attention.
This is a very uncomplicated view of email marketing and there is SO much more to it.
I don’t think anyone can underestimate how important building an email list is for your business. It can have a huge impact on your page views, your brand and the potential money you can make from your blog.
As with anything when it comes to blogging, the best way to start is to start small. Choose your email service provider, add a few sign-up boxes and set up an automated welcome email.
It is best to do something than nothing at all. The rest can be built up over time 🙂