Why Every Blogger Needs to Start an Email List – Email Marketing Series PART ONE
You probably hear this one allll the time. If you’re a blogger, you need to start an email list.
Today I’m breaking down the truth about email lists, why you need one, and how to set one up for FREE.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no additional cost to you. I know you’ll love these blogging tools as much as I do!
WHAT IS AN EMAIL LIST?
An email list is just that: a list of people that have given you their email address and permission to contact them. You’ll collect these email addresses through an email marketing service that provides the platform for you to communicate with your audience.
Here’s the truth about having an email list: it’s valuable for your blogging biz, and you absolutely should have one.
And here’s why:
EMAIL IS PERSONAL
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 just 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 week anyway.
Don’t judge me…In fact, maybe you should start doing a happy dance when you get a great coupon too!
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.
YOUR EMAIL LIST BELONGS TO YOU
We all know that social media is great for growing your blog, but there is a downside to it: social media is always changing.
You have probably heard some buzzing frustration about changing algorithms on Facebook and Instagram. 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 potential viewers. 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.
YOUR EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BUY
Your email subscribers 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.
Once you have them on your mailing list, you should be sending emails to them on a pretty 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.
HOW TO START AN EMAIL LIST FOR FREE
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.
SIGN UP FOR AN ACCOUNT
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 and 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.
VERIFY YOUR WEBSITE
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 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 takes less than a day! Mine was seriously approved within an hour.
GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR DASHBOARD
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.
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 that Mailerlite offers. 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.
So, what comes after we set up our email marketing account and figure out how MailerLite actually works? PART TWO: Capturing 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!
But it takes some strategy, patience, and trial-and-error. The second part of this series will cover everything you need to know about opt-in forms, opt-in freebies, and email content that your subscribers will love.
Until then, tell me! Have you started connecting with your readers through email marketing? What do you love about it and what do you struggle with? Share in the comments!!