Email Marketing Basics For The Blossoming Blogger
The two most important things to do when starting a blog is to self-host from day one, and to build an email list from day one.
I hear it again and again from bloggers in the community who say they wish they hadn’t waited to do these two crucial things from the start instead of waiting and then playing a painful and time-consuming game of ‘catch up’ later.
Self-Hosting Isn’t Hard Or Expensive To Do
In fact, starting a self-hosted blog or switching your current blog to self-hosted is extremely easy and affordable. To self-host all you need to do is purchase WordPress.org hosting. I recommend SiteGround for this, where hosting plans start at just $4 per month and come with all of the support, security and speed your site needs.
This small investment makes a huge difference, as once you self-host, you will own your website and all of it’s content. This means you are free to run ads, earn affiliate commissions and other revenue, which you can not with a ‘free’ website.
Check out this guide to setting up your self-hosted blog with Siteground, and you will be up and running in a matter of minutes!
As Far As Building An Email List…
Building a list, and email marketing, in general, plays an important role in determining just how successful your blog will be.
Vow to make it a top priority to focus on growing and nurturing your list from day one, and you will be all the better off in the long run. Having an email list of subscribers who read your emails is a sure-fire way to make money online.
It’s never too early to start building your list. So if you haven’t started one yet, let today be the day!
Why Is List Building So Important?
There are many reasons why it is important to build your email list, but the top 3 are:
- Your email list is the only real tangible thing you own when it comes to your audience. You don’t own your social media followers, you don’t have their email addresses, you have no access to them, as they could go offline and you’d lose them forever. But when you have an email list of subscribers you really do have access into their homes, via their inbox.
- Communication through email is so much more personal. You can say a whole lot more in an email than you can in a tweet! With email marketing, you can build a relationship with your readers and nurture it over time.
- Email marketing has a high-conversion rate. When someone opens your email they are already interested in what you have to say. With an email you are giving your reader a personal invitation to read your posts, and to try your products. Your readers are often likely to purchase what you are selling in these personal email conversations.
What Are The Best Email Platforms To Use?
I recommend ConvertKit as the best email platform to use. You can get a free trial of ConvertKit here.
These are my top reasons for why ConvertKit is the best email platform:
- Easily collect subscribers and send newsletters. Emails coming from the Convertkit server have a high deliverability percentage, meaning your emails are less likely to end up in spam folders.
- Easily set up landing pages, forms, and automations, so you can send your opt-in freebie to subscribers automatically, as well as automatically enter them into a welcome sequence/sales funnel.
- ConvertKit has no restrictions when it comes to using affiliate links in your emails. So you can manage your email marketing campaigns profitably, track clicks, and earn more money.
- You can set up ‘tags’ which lets your subscribers opt-out of certain types of emails, without having to completely unsubscribe from your list. So let’s say you blog about coffee and cats, but your subscriber hates coffee. Instead of them completely unsubscribing from your emails, you can set their profile to only receive your emails about cats, and never coffee. This way, you will know what your subscribers want, tailor your email marketing to them, hold on to subscribers and really grow your list over time.
- Ability to track subscriber activity and clicks. Ability to resend any emails to subscribers who didn’t open it the first time.
- The laws say you have to include your physical addresss in the emails you send – now who the hell would want to share that type of information with the world?? Not me! ConvertKit solves this issue by letting you use their address in place of your own, so you can keep yours private.
ConvertKit is a premium service, after your free trial month, with plans starting at $29 per month – and the price tag does tend to scare people off sometimes.
I can admit, that for the longest time I too put off trying ConvertKit simply because of the price. But once I finally tried it, I was instantly hooked and couldn’t believe that I had wasted so much time NOT using it before. It’s well worth the price!
You can try ConvertKit FREE here!
Other Email Platforms:
If you aren’t ready to try ConvertKit just yet, there are other options available. The next best thing to ConvertKit is Mailerlite.
Mailerlite allows you to collect subscribers, create forms, landing pages and automations. It is free to use up to 1000 subscribers, and plans start at $10 per month. This link gives you $20 to upgrade to a paid plan if you have more than 1000 subscribers.
But, a word of warning about Mailerlite, if you are a blogger/content marketer..
I run BeautyIsCrueltyFree, a beauty blog that offers a members-only Beauty Insider resource, where members opt-in to receive weekly updates about current sales and promotions of beauty and lifestyle products and subscription boxes. Such as secret sales and coupons for things like Sephora, FabFitFun, Cratejoy, ect.
I was using Mailerlite to send out the weekly deals to my 16,000 Beauty Insider subscribers and was paying $65 per month to use the service.
Then one day as I hit ‘send’ on an email, BOOM I was locked out, with a notice saying my account was blocked. I contacted Mailerlite and was told that they don’t allow affiliate links. Um, what?! Affiliate marketing is a huge part of email marketing, and a crucial aspect for how bloggers and make money. On top of this, it was right before one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.
Not Cool Ya’ll!
Fortunately, I was able to get unblocked so that I could access my subscriber list again. I downloaded the list immediately, canceled my premium Mailerlite account and moved over to ConvertKit once and for all.
ConvertKit actually wants to see you succeed as an email marketer, and fully supports affiliate promotions.
What About Mailchimp?
You are probably familiar with Mailchimp, and may already use it for your email marketing. Mailchimp has some useful features such as automation and easy form building, plus it is free up to 2000 subscribers. So many people like this platform.
But, I actually caution against using Mailchimp if you are a blogger, for a few very serious reasons.
- Mailchimp emails are known to have delivery issues, meaning that they tend to end up in spam folders, where your subscribers will never see them
- Mailchimp doesn’t like or support affiliate links, so from a blogger and content marketing perspective, this is simply not going to work for you
Is Email Marketing Just Selling Via Newsletters?
I touch on this more in-depth in my profitable blogging course Blog Boss, but basically, email marketing is more about building relationships and not just about selling through newsletters.
Email marketing is about building relationships with your readers, telling stories, engaging with your community and above all it’s about helping people get the information they need, that you and your product can give them. The sales that you make from your email marketing campaigns is a goal – yes absolutely – but make helping people be the driving force that gets you there.
If you truly want your blog to help people (and I hope you do), you need to focus on nurturing your email list and building a long-term relationship with those subscribers. If you do that you will be successful and you will make those sales.
How Do You Get People To Join Your Email List?
Easy! You need to offer an opt-in freebie to visitors of your blog!
What Is An Opt-In Freebie?
An opt-in is a something free that you offer your readers in exchange for their email address / subscribing to your mail list.
You can’t just throw a form in your sidebar with “Sign up for my newsletter!” beside it. No one hands over their details for that! You have to give them something of value in exchange.
You can use Convertkit to create a form to collect subscribers and set up whats called ‘automation’ to have a pre-made email automatically sent out to every new subscriber, containing a link to the promised opt-in freebie.
An opt-in freebie, also known as a ‘lead magnet’ could be a downloadable checklist or cheatsheet, an ebook, a discount for your services, a free product, ect.
HerPaperRoute Profitable Blog Toolkit
Here at HerPaperRoute, I offer a ‘Profitable Blog Toolkit‘ as an opt-in to my mail list. This is a members-only resource library of exclusive content related to helping people monetize their blogs.
The freebies in this toolkit provide useful, helpful information about blogging and blogging for profit.
When I added this opt-in to my website, my mail list grew from 0 to 1000 in the first month – a number that continues to double each month!
You can access the HerPaperRoute Profitable Blog Toolkit for FREE by joining here:
PROFITABLE BLOG TOOLKIT
Get Instant Access To My Members-only Resource Library Packed With FREE Tools To Grow Your Blog + Biz!
This was one of the ways I’ve grown my list so quickly, and I highly recommend that you create a niche-specific opt-in freebie for your readers right away. It will not only help build your audience but it will build your blog income up in a big way!
What the freebie is is up to you, but whatever it is it has to be in line with your niche and it has to specifically be something that will attract your target niche audience/customer.
Your Opt-In Freebie MUST target your Niche Audience
You want your opt-in to be something that is appealing to your target niche audience and your target niche audience ONLY!
Your opt-in is a tool to “catch” the right people for your mail list, people who will ultimately be interested in purchasing the services and products you offer.
If you don’t target your ideal niche audience you will end up having a bunch of people on your list whose interests are not specifically in what it is that you sell.
You can’t sell to them, and worse they end up costing you money by taking up valuable space on your mail list, as you pay for your mail service by subscriber count!
How Often Should You Email Your List?
Your subscribers want to hear from you, but they don’t want to hear from you too much!
Sending out a weekly email to your subscribers is considered appropriate, and welcome.
However, there are a few top bloggers who recommend emailing more during a launch. Some even say that if you are launching a project (a course for example) to email your list every single day for a week – which I disagree with!
The strategy of emailing your subscribers every single day may work for a top blogger with millions of fans, but for most people, sending out that many emails to your subscribers will only get you a ton of unsubscribers and spam complaints!
Emailing your list every day may be ok if you are an established / high ranking authority in your niche, with subscribers who are more likely to stick around regardless – but for the average person it is just terrible advice.
Setting up an automatic welcome sequence with delays in between emails is a great way to keep your subscribers up to date and engaged without annoying the heck out them.
You can try ConvertKit here!
For More Information On Email Marketing
Including how to set up sales funnels and welcome sequences, as well as how to earn money blogging with affiliate marketing, enroll in my course Blog Boss today! This self-paced course covers everything you need to create, launch, market and monetize a professional, profitable blog.
ACCESS MY MEMBERS-ONLY RESOURCE LIBRARY & START GROWING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE, BLOG & BUSINESS
PROFITABLE BLOG TOOLKIT
Get Instant Access To My Members-only Resource Library Packed With FREE Tools To Grow Your Blog + Biz!
HerPaperRoute is a resource for bloggers to learn tips and tools to improve and monetize their blog and business. As such, this post may contain affiliate links, as I recommend products/brands that I personally use in my business. For more information, see my disclosures.