If there is one piece of advice I would give to my younger blogger self, it would be:
Focus on email marketing.
I would tell myself to build a targeted email list, and not to miss out on any opportunity of getting readers onto that list.
Whenever I meet budding bloggers, I often find them asking questions like:
- How do I get traffic to my blog?
- How do I make money from my blog?
- How do I grow my blog’s following?
At the end of the day, most bloggers want more traffic (and many want more money). If you also feel the same, it’s time to understand the power of email marketing.
I’m writing this post after 2274 days of blogging, and I only started email marketing at a later stage of my blogging career. This is one of the biggest regrets that I have, as I now realize the importance of an email list.
For years, I used Feedburner to let my readers subscribe to my blog updates, which I now know was a mistake.
Having a professional email tool helps in many ways:
- You can control when to send an email newsletter.
- You can schedule follow-up emails and new subscribers will receive these emails automatically.
- You can personalize emails using the name of the reader. (Personalization is one of the most powerful aspects of email marketing.)
- You can export your email list and use it for retargeting.
Before I get too in-depth, let me share some of the benefits of email marketing for a blog:
- You “own” the subscribers. “Own” means that you can reach them anytime (everybody checks email). I have over 1 million followers collectively on my G+ profile and ShoutMeLoud Google Plus page. I have over 57K followers on the ShoutMeLoud Facebook page. But I can’t control who is going to see my updates. There are times when I want specific posts to reach out to everyone, and I can’t do that with social media marketing. But I can do that with email marketing.
- The traffic I get from email blasts is quite high, and posts are being seen by a lot of people. Here are the stats from my email marketing software (I was using AWeber) with the over 5K+ highly targeted users on my email list.
- If you do the calculations, every email I send is being opened by at 1,200 people (25%), but the CTR on links varies. Since I’m still the getting hang of email marketing, there will be a lot of growth in the very near future.
- You can also get people on a waiting list before launching something new. Having a landing page on the site, you can accrue interested customers before the launch. So far, 618 people are subscribed to the ShoutUniversity newsletter, and once it’s launched, I have a hyper-targeted list of (at least) 618 readers interested in the course. Even if the conversion rate is 5% from that list, that will mean 30 people enrolling for my paid membership program. This means about $6,000 in direct revenue. (UPDATE: ShoutUniversity is live and currently helping out many bloggers.)
The practical implications of email lists are limitless, but there’s a catch:
Your email list should be targeted, and your email newsletter should be engaging.
With the growth of the mobile web, email marketing has become even more important. Earlier, people waited to go to their computers to check emails. Now, everybody has access to emails in their palm.
According to Always Connected:
Email is the #1 most popular activity on a smartphone (78% check email on their mobile phone).
Challenges While Using An Email Marketing Tool:
One of the biggest problems I faced when starting out with an email marketing tool was understanding the tricks and techniques associated with the program.
I signed up for AWeber, and I delayed adding an email subscription form for a long time. Thanks to advancements in the WordPress plugin ecosphere, we now have various plugins to get this job done.
Another significant challenge is sending engaging emails to your subscribers. Many marketers suggest you treat your email list as a vehicle for selling stuff, which is not the right way to go about it.
Your email list is the biggest asset of your blog, and all of those subscribers are people who love your blog. These people are also your brand advocates, so your goal should always be to give them something extra.
If you are looking for a cheap solution, I would suggest not to focus on email marketing at all. That’s the cheapest way to do it.
But if you are one of those smart bloggers who understands the importance of an email list, you should start by investing in the right tool and the right techniques.
From my experience, here are best tools available. Choose the one that works best for your budget:
- AWeber (30-day free trial available).
- ConvertKit (what I’m currently using).
- Bloom by Elegant Themes or the OptinMonster plugin (use any of these two to add email subscription boxes on your blog).
- Leadpages (use it to create high converting landing pages on your blog). I have purchased a two-year license for $1000, and you can start now for as low as $25/month.
Even if you are not ready to invest a lot, I would recommend you at least take a free trial of AWeber, and follow the below guide to create and grow your first list.
Over the next 30 days, send out two emails every week, and you will be amazed to see how your engagement skyrockets!
Are you using email marketing for your blog? What are the challenges you are facing? Let me know your experiences in the comments below!
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