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Why Every Blogger Needs to Start an Email List – And How to Get Started For FREE


Let’s talk about email lists!


If you’ve been blogging for more than 2.5 seconds, you’ve probably heard that it’s important to start an email list.


But why? Does starting an email list really help you grow your blog and make more money?


In this article, we’re breaking down the truth about email lists, the importance of having one, and how to set one up for FREE.


Woman with brown hair typing on laptop with text overlay 'The ultimate guide to starting an email list'


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Simply put, it’s a list of contacts that have given you their email address and permission to contact them via email.


You’ll collect these email addresses through an Email Service Provider (ESP), like MailerLite or ConvertKit.


The ESP provides all the tools that email marketers need in order to collect emails and contact their email subscribers.




Firstly, I recommend thinking about your business goals.


What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to help? And what tools can help you to get there as quickly and easily as possible?


Here are the simple facts about email lists:


– The number of worldwide email USERS increases every single year. In 2020, there are about 4 billion email users worldwide. In other words, A LOT of people are opening up their emails every single day.


– The Return on Investment (ROI) for email marketing brings you the most bang for your buck. In fact, email marketing can produce an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent (if done right).


This chart from OmniSend shows the incredible value of mastering email marketing:



In other words, you can make a good chunk of change with very little investment.


And here’s why:




Most of us open and read emails every single day. We get personal emails from friends, family, colleagues, and outside companies. When someone sends us something that we really want or need, we can’t wait to open up that email!


Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I will admit that I do a little happy dance when I get a really great coupon in my inbox!


I wait patiently for my CVS Pharmacy coupons to be delivered to my inbox each week, because they give me something I truly need and use. Huge discounts on stuff that I already buy every month anyway.


Don’t judge me…In fact, maybe you should start doing a happy dance when you get a great coupon too! Get that blood pumping a little harder.


Yes, space in our inbox is precious and personal. We make room for the stuff we want to read and use, and we unsubscribe and delete everything else.


This is actually a great thing for bloggers who want to start an email list.


When people subscribe to your email list, they are giving you some room in their very precious and personal email space. They’re basically telling you they want to hear from you…and that’s good for every blogger who wants readers/followers/clients.


This personal medium allows YOU to get real with your audience, listen to them, and deliver what they want and need.




We all know that social media is great for growing your blog, but there is a downside to it: social media changes quickly and it can be taken away  from you in a heartbeat.


– You have probably heard some buzzing frustration about changing algorithms on Facebook and Instagram.

– Is Myspace even a thing anymore?

– Pinterest also changed up their game recently, and it caused a huge drop in traffic for thousands of popular bloggers.


Your email list isn’t like that.


You control who is on the list, what you send to them, and when you send it. No social media algorithm is going to hide your content from your email subscribers. Without a doubt, your email message will be waiting for them in their inbox after you hit send.


Your subscribers also give you permission to contact them, so that means you have the right to use their contact information for regular communication with them.


This puts you in a great position to share valuable stuff with your audience, and it also gives you a better chance of being seen by them.




Your email subscribers grow to trust you. They handed over personal information to you and they expect you to provide value and protect their information.


People don’t usually hand over their email address for no reason.


They usually see something they want (like a checklist, an e-book, a printable guide, or some other freebie) and they give you their email address as a way for you to deliver the goods to them and keep in touch with them.


Once you have them on your mailing list, you should be sending emails to them on a regular basis, sharing your expertise and your tips with them. Giving them value that makes them want to keep in contact with you.


I don’t do a ton of “hard selling” in my emails, because I truly want to connect with my readers on a personal level, without pushing products and services down their throat. But, with that said, I do have some pretty great stuff that can help my audience, and I will mention it to them whenever I have reason to.


As an example, I sent an email out a few weeks ago that was all about blogging strategy. I mentioned my blogging course in that email, and I had two people purchase the course from there.




I already had a connection with these email subscribers. We chatted on a personal level, I provided a genuine listening ear and a lot of free value, to show them what I’m made of and what my products can do for them.


They trusted me. And when they saw that I could fill their need, they purchased from me.


Boom-Baby! That’s the power of an email list.




Now, I hope I’ve convinced you to start an email list. Even if you just started your blog TODAY, you should always have a way for subscribers to connect with you through email, if that’s what they want.


But, how the heck do you start an email list?


I’m going to walk you through the process right now. It’s super easy, and it’s super FREE.


I personally use MailerLite. I’ve used many other email marketing services, and MailerLite is by far the easiest and most user-friendly option out there.




You can sign up for free HERE. I love MailerLite because it’s free for your first 1,000 subscribers.


This gives you the opportunity to get familiar with email marketing, play around with different freebies,  learn what your audience wants, and get comfortable sending emails to your subscribers…all for free.


If you hate it and decide that email marketing isn’t for you, you never have to pay a penny for using the service for those first 1,000 subscribers.


Basically, MailerLite is built for bloggers that want to GROW. They get paid nothing if you don’t grow, so they really go above and beyond to help you succeed.


You’ll sign up by creating a username and password and verifying your account through email.


sign up page for mailerlite




Mailerlite requires you to set up your profile and verify your website address.


This is super important because it keeps your emails from being sent to spam when you contact your subscribers.


You will also need to have an email address set up through your domain, to verify that you own it. A domain email address is super easy to set up through your website host.


I use Siteground and the process was quick and easy.


If you use Siteground, you’ll just login, go to My Accounts, go to CPanel, scroll down to Email, and set up your email account. Easy Peasy! If these steps change at any given time, just contact your host and ask them for assistance.


If you use another host, you’ll just have to contact their customer support and ask them how to set up a domain email address.


Once you verify your website and your domain email address, the approval process usually takes less than a day!




Now, the fun begins!


It’s time to login and get familiar with your MailerLite dashboard. At the top of your homepage, you’ll see Campaigns, Subscribers, Forms, and Automation.


Looks like this:



Browse around and get comfortable with the different areas of your dashboard. Practice adding subscribers, creating forms, designing email campaigns, sending test emails.


This is your baby!


Take full advantage of the many tutorials available from Mailerlite. Get familiar with the drag-and-drop email design. There will be a little learning curve, just like everything, but have fun with it! Not everything needs to feel like work.


PRO TIP: Add your personal email account to the subscriber list and send a test campaign to yourself. This is what your subscribers will be seeing when you start sending emails to them, so make it look nice!


You can add yourself as a subscriber here through the Subscribers tab:





So, what comes after we set up our email marketing account and figure out how MailerLite actually works?


Time to start capturing some email addresses and sending great emails!


Remember how I said that I wait in anticipation for those awesome CVS Pharmacy coupons that save me money every week?


Yeah, that’s how we want our email subscribers to feel about the stuff that WE send to them!


It takes some strategy, patience, and trial-and-error, but it’s well worth it.


Ready to learn how to capture emails through your blog? Here is an article that will help with growing your email list!




How to Write the Perfect About Page for Your Blog

How to Make Money from a Brand New Blog with Low Traffic

4 thoughts on “Why Every Blogger Needs to Start an Email List – And How to Get Started For FREE”

  1. Good post Cate and thanks for mentioning it to me. My understanding of all of this is building like an onion, one layer at a time! Thanks for the ‘layer’.

  2. This is one of my real struggles and Idk why??? It’s like I have an email block!😂. For some reason I just can’t get the flow of it. But I figure if I keep watching videos and reading tutorials I WILL get it one day!!!

  3. It’s a lot to learn and remember! But you’re right, after you watch some videos and read some articles, it will all start to come together. Essentially, the most important part: give people what they need. Figure out who your audience is, how you can help them, create something simple and valuable to share with them (in exchange for their email address), and then continue to provide them with valuable stuff to earn their trust and earn a position of authority in their mind. Takes some time and work, but it’s doable!

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