This is a great question that a lot of you have sent to me so I'm pumped to answer it. Mostly because I recently realized how important an email list is myself, so I'm DEEP into dissecting the hows and whys and how-to-grows.
It's fascinating that after all the technology changes we've seen, and the rise of social media, that it all comes back to email.
Because when you think about it, email is pretty intimate.
We HATE spam because we feel like we've got an intruder in our midst.
We check our inboxes a hundred times a day hoping to see a message from a loved one.
We only let certain people in. Much like our homes.
So yeah, getting someone's email address is a heavy responsibility and it's important to treat it as such.
To give the most value and the best messages possible.
And because email is so intimate, your email list is one of the most important elements about your blog for a few reasons:
- It's a direct line to your ideal readers, loyal readers, as well as those who may not YET be loyal but are interested in the content you're publishing.
- A direct line to your readers is valuable when you want to launch a product, an ebook, or when you start working with brands. Why? Because these are active subscribers, not passive visitors.
- Your subscribers are people that have raised their hands and said "Yes! Welcome to my inbox, please come in!" Therefore these people are more likely to open your email, click on your links, and read your messages.
To a brand working with you in sponsored posts, this is a golden ticket because if you were to drop a link to your sponsored post into your next email, you're essentially asking all of your engaged followers to click. So in theory, an email list of 1,000 with an 80% open rate is more valuable than 10,000 visitors to your website when your time on page is low and your bounce rate is high.
To put it in even simpler terms: People who have welcomed you into their homes (email list) are more valuable than those unknown faces you simply pass by on the street (random visitors to your blog).
Let's get into the nitty gritty, then.
How to Get People to Subscribe to Your List
Short answer: offer something of value.
My first "opt-in" offer was the 7 Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Moneymaking Machine — a curated list that tells people about the best ways to make money from their blogs. It's a list that, thank the Gods, doesn't include banner ads cause WHO can really make any money from that?
Sure, you could find this information on your own with some Internet research, but I've done my readers a favor by pulling it all together in one handy guide. This in exchange for an email address? It's an easy ask.
Once you have a subscriber, you've gotta keep them interested by providing valuable content straight to their inboxes. Often. You could email all of your subscribers a link to your latest blog post, but — like the Blog to Business Challenge — I like to offer extra information, freebies, videos, podcasts, all the "bonus" materials they may not find elsewhere in order to keep them interested, and full of awesome information.
So even if you are using your email list to push your latest blog post, give your subscribers something MORE. Tell more of the backstory. Offer an additional lesson. Only give out your free downloads to your list subscribers, so they feel special (cause they are). They have invited you into their inbox, so make sure you're a gracious guest.
How to Automatically Send a Download
I use Mailchimp for my email and automation. Once someone subscribes to my list, Mailchimp sends out a confirmation email (called 2-step opt-in), then an email with my free download. Here's how that works:
Create a list
Create a list in your provider of choice for people to subscribe to. The Blog to Business Challenge list for example is called . . . wait for it . . . the Blog to Business Challenge list.
Embed Your Sign Up Box
Embed the sign up box wherever you'd want someone to sign up: your homepage, right rail, or bottom of a blog post with a strong call to action.
Set Up Automation
Create an "automation" sequence with the first email in the sequence being the one that delivers your freebie. I use Dropbox to deliver my freebies, but you can also upload the file right into the email (if that's an option for you).
You can then add subsequent emails to your automation sequence that will be automatically sent in order. This could be anything from bonus content to links to blog posts. This is great for keeping the content flowing, even if you don't want to send emails manually.
How Often Should I Send to My Subscribers?
Here's the thing: the more valuable your content is, it won't matter how often you send an email — your subscribers will eat it up regardless.
Some bloggers are wary of sending more often than once a week. That's totally understandable.
But you also want to get your subscribers used to seeing you in their inbox so you don't end up in the spam folder.
There is only one rule you should live by when you're thinking about email: no matter if you send once a week, twice a week, or once a month, your email should be PACKED with the good stuff so that your subscribers know it's worth opening.
What Should I Send to Them?
There are lots of options, but I like sending:
- Bonus content
- Free downloads
- Extra insights from the day's blog post
- A video
- Links to important stories or news they need to know about
- Shoutouts to your most engaged audience members
What other questions do you have about your email list? Drop 'em in the comments and I'll add them to this post!
And if you haven’t already, sign up for the FREE 10-Day Blog to Business Challenge by clicking the button below. Getting on the email list is the only way you’ll get the freebies and bonus content, so hit it now!