If I had to choose the most important channel in my business, email would definitely be at the top of the list. Hands down. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that not only do I consider my email list to be one of my biggest assets, but that it has been the single biggest catalyst for growing my business to where it is today.
But I have a confession to make.
I didn’t ALWAYS think this way, and I didn’t always give my email list the love it deserves. I started blogging back in 2010, but I didn’t even start to THINK about my email list until 2014.
In my eyes, I had no reason to! My blog was growing, I had plenty of page views, and since I made most of my income from ad revenue, email just didn’t seem that important.
It wasn’t until I hired a business coach in 2014 that I started to look at things differently. She helped me see the error in my ways, and I began shifting my focus from page views to email subscribers.
Why Is Building an Email List So Important?
If I could go back in time, I would start building my email list from day one. If I had spent those four years focused on building my email following, I’d be in a completely different place. Now I know that your email list is one of the MOST important tools in your arsenal.
There are several reasons why you’ll definitely want to invest in building your email list.
1. It’s Getting Harder to Make Money on Ads
When I first started blogging back in 2010, there was a lot less competition. Hence, it was a lot easier to bring in more income from ad revenue. I had great SEO and solid page views, so it was fairly easy to get paid a decent amount of money.
But today, it’s getting harder and harder to make money off of ads. There are 2.7 million blog posts published every single day, so getting the kind of viewership you need to make real money from advertising is becoming nearly impossible.
2. Email Converts Better
Ultimately, your goal in business is to convert your audience into customers. And email converts at a much higher rate than other media, like blogging or social media. In fact, global management consulting firm McKinsey found that email marketing converts 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter combined. It’s THAT powerful.
So when it comes to investing your time and resources, you will get 40 times the results by focusing your energy on email. Seems like a better focus, wouldn’t you say?
3. You Control Your Destiny
Building an email list is also a great place to focus because it puts you in charge of your own destiny. You’re not dependent on some outside influence to send you traffic. Outside influences, whether it’s page views, social media, or anything else, will come and go. But once you build your list, it’s yours.
A great example of this is Pinterest. There are so many bloggers that have depended on Pinterest the past few years to get massive page views. But now that Pinterest is going down the share route, those same bloggers are freaking out because suddenly those page views disappear or get cut in half.
And that’s the problem with relying too much on social media or other outside sources when building your audience. You don’t OWN your Pinterest account. You don’t OWN Facebook.
With email, YOU’RE the one who’s in charge. You don’t have to worry about any changing algorithms or Google switching things up on you. Your email list is yours, and you can do whatever you like.
4. You Build Deeper Connections
Your email list also gives you an amazing opportunity to build deeper connections with your audience. When you’re on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook, you’re competing with everyone else for a sliver of your audience’s attention.
Let’s use Pinterest as an example. When someone’s searching pins and clicks a pin from your blog, they often don’t even realize that they’ve left Pinterest for an outside site. Facebook is similar — someone might “like” your page, but then never click a link to one of your posts.
But with your email list, you’re dealing with people who are invested in what you have to say. That gives you the opportunity to build deep, lasting connections with them. You get to continually build the relationship until you have a rabid fan base. Your email list will feel like they know you, and they will connect with you. They trust what you have to say, so when you want to send an affiliate link, they’ll click it, or when you launch a new product, they’ll buy it.
Easy Email List Building for New Bloggers
Okay, so now that you know WHY you need to build an email list, let’s talk about the HOW.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown on how to get started building your email list:
Research and Set Up an Email Platform
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a great platform to manage your email list. There’s plenty of tools out there. Some of the more popular email marketing tools, like MailChimp and Constant Contact, have both free and premium options, which can be great for bloggers that are just getting started with email marketing. However, free and low-cost plans often have a limit to how many subscribers you can have, which means you’ll have to upgrade to a different plan or switch platforms as you grow.
As far as email platforms go, I recommend Drip. It’s super easy to use, even if you’re brand new to email marketing. Plus, it’s scalable, it allows you to grow your list, and it’s much more affordable than some other options on the market.
When people sign up for your email list, the last thing you want to do is ignore them. People sign up for your email list because they want to get to know you, so you need to introduce yourself and make them feel at home.
Set up a welcome campaign for your new subscribers. A welcome campaign is a series of emails that allows you to say “hello” and helps your new readers get to know you better. Send them an email that tells them a little bit about who you are, what you’re about, and what they can expect from you.
Once you’ve welcomed them, set up a nurture sequence. This sequence of emails is meant to continue building (or nurturing) the relationship. Email them frequently in their first few weeks on your list so they start to form a connection with you and your blog. Send them links to your best content and get them excited about what you have to offer.
Your welcome and nurture sequence is the beginning of your relationship with your audience. This is the time to put your best foot forward and show them why it was a good idea to sign up for your list in the first place.
Stay Consistent and Stay in Touch
Once you start adding people to your email list, you need to actually send them emails! One of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers making is not sending enough emails because they’re afraid of overwhelming or bothering their subscribers. But remember — the people on your email list signed up because they WANT to hear from you. Being consistent in sending emails and staying in touch is the only way to build that deep relationship we were talking about earlier.
Now, please note: I’m not talking about flooding their inbox with a million sales emails or affiliate pitches. The golden rule of successful communication with your email list is to always think of ways you can add value to your audience, NOT the ways they can add value to you.
Send them regular emails that are brimming with the kind of content you know they’ll be excited about. You can even take it a step further and send them exclusive content they can’t find on your blog.
I use this strategy at Living Well, Spending Less. The content I post on the LWSL blog is practical advice on a variety of topics, from saving money to cooking simple meals to better managing your time and home. But in my emails, I dig deeper and motivate my readers on how to apply that advice to make their lives better.
So while the blog is more practical, my weekly newsletters are more inspiring, which my audience finds incredibly valuable. It also helps to deepen the connection and trust I have with my audience.
By consistently adding value and building a relationship with your email list, you’re setting things up so that when the time DOES come to ask your audience to buy from you, whether you’re sending an affiliate link or launching a new product, they will be eager, ready, and willing.Building an engaged email list has been one of the most transformative things I’ve done in my business.
My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner!
What about you? How has email worked for you? How has your email list transformed your business? And what are some of your goals for building your email list in 2017 and beyond?
Leave your answers in the comments below!