Let’s start with a quick little exercise — you ready? It’s time for a pop quiz!
Without looking at the rest of this post, grab a pen and write down how many hours you spend on your blog each week. Then I want you to break that number down into how you’re spending your time.
Are you writing posts? Brainstorming topics? Posting on social media? Doing research? Anything and everything you do for your blog, write it down — and write down how much time you spend on it.
Now, I want you to go back and look at that list. Is one of your items “building your email list”? If so, what percentage of your time are you spending on building your email list?
Is it 50%? 40%? 20%? 10%? 5%? Zero?
If you’re like most people, your answer to those questions is probably either, “No, building my email list isn’t on my list,” or “Yes, it’s on my list, but I’m not spending much time on it.”
We’re here today to change that answer. Because an engaged email list?
It’s the most powerful weapon we have as bloggers.
Email is one of the best ways — if not the best way — for us to connect with our audiences. Not only does email convert significantly higher than other methods, but once we build our email list, it’s ours forever. No one can take it away from us. We don’t have to rely on traffic, algorithms, page views, or anything else. Our list is ours. There’s nothing else in the blogosphere that can even compare!
Because our email lists are such powerful weapons, it’s important that we pour all of our efforts into building that list and filling it with people who want to hear from us — and will eventually want to buy from us.
But how, exactly, do we do that?
Here are my top three strategies for building an engaged email list:
Make Email Your Top Priority
I know, I know.
You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, Ruth… That’s not even a strategy!”
Now, I know it doesn’t sound like a strategy…
… but that’s before we realize how little time we’re actually spending on our email — and how low it is on our list of priorities.
Look, I totally get it. Email isn’t necessarily as exciting as, say, getting a bunch of views on a blog post or increasing our number of followers on Facebook. So we spend our time on the exciting things and do a happy dance when our page views go up or we get a new follower on Facebook.
But here’s the truth: those metrics? The page views and the Facebook followers? They don’t actually help us. I call them “vanity metrics”. They’re nice, but when push comes to shove, they won’t make a huge difference in our business.
But email will, which is why we need to take it off the back burner and make it a top priority.
Make email the first thing you work on every day. Focus on learning different list-building strategies (you’ve already got that one covered by reading this post!). Send regular emails and engage with your list. The more you work on it — and the more you make it a priority — the better the results you’ll get.
Optimize Every Blog Post to Build Your Email List
Blog posts are not only a great way to connect with our audience — they’re also a great opportunity to collect email opt-ins.
As long as we know how to optimize them, that is.The best way to leverage blog posts to build our email list is to add a variety of opt-in opportunities to each post.
This can be anything from pop-ups to Hello bars to slide-ins. The point is that we want to make the opportunity to opt in to our list basically unavoidable to our readers.
Another great way to optimize blog posts to build our email lists is to include a lead magnet. If we create lead magnets that offer real value — and speak to our audience’s needs — they’ll want to download them. And in exchange, we get their email address. It’s a total win-win!
Now, if you’re feeling intimidated by the thought of creating a lead magnet, don’t be! An effective lead magnet doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy.
I know when I first started creating lead magnets, I totally overcomplicated the process. And, if I’m being totally honest, I probably sometimes still do!
But really, a lead magnet can be something as simple as a one-pager. For example, let’s say our blog post was on how to effectively clean a bathroom. A great lead magnet could be a checklist that reiterates the points in the post — it’s simple and it’s not difficult to create, but it adds value to the audience. As long as it adds value, it’ll help build our lists.
Run Facebook Ads to Your Lead Magnet Landing Pages
There’s another way we can use lead magnets to build our email lists, and that’s through Facebook Ads.
Let’s use that same bathroom-cleaning checklist from the previous strategy as an example. In addition to adding the lead magnet download to the end of our bathroom-cleaning blog post, we’d also create a separate landing page for the checklist, where the only option for visitors to get the checklist is to opt in and subscribe to our list. Then we run a Facebook Ad campaign that drives traffic to said landing page — and generate a ton of new emails in the process.
Obviously, it’s not quite that simple. For this strategy to work, we need to be really strategic with our Facebook targeting. Luckily, Facebook has very specific targeting tools, so you can narrow down your audience based on all sorts of criteria, like age, gender, location, interests, brands people follow… The more we can narrow it down and show our ads to the people most interested in what our lead magnet has to offer, the more successful this strategy will be in building our email list.
A quick caveat: because it costs money to run ads, this strategy only makes sense if you’re monetizing your list in some way. Don’t pay to run ads to build your email list until you know how you plan to monetize those new subscribers when they get there!
Now, if you got to the end of this post and think, “Hmmm… Where do I start?”, let me say this: it doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.
Use as many of these strategies as you possible can. Launch a full-on blitz attack to get new subscribers on your list. Run Facebook ads. Add opt-in boxes at the end of every post. Create new lead magnets and share them on social media. Experiment and try new things until you find what works for you, your blog, and your audience.
And if you’re feeling a little stressed about how much time this will take, don’t worry! If you make building your email list a priority (like we discussed in strategy #1), you’ll have plenty of time to try all these strategies and then some.
You’ve got this! Now get out there and build that list!