If you don’t have a mailing list for your blog, you should start one now. You may have heard the expression that “the money is in the mailing list,” and it’s true! Social media followers will come and go, but you will always have access to your mailing list. When someone hands over the email address to you, it’s the first step towards building a relationship. They’ve trusted you enough to feel comfortable supplying an email address, so now it’s up to you to make sure that you continue to produce great content and send them valuable information in your emails.
Setting Up Your Mailing List
If you haven’t set up a mailing list yet, this will be your first step. I use MailerLite because it’s free for up to 1,000 subscribers, but there are a number of other options including ConvertKit, MailChimp, AWeber, MadMimi and more. After you sign up for your email service provider, you can begin creating forms to embed on your website, landing pages for gathering subscribers and pop-ups if you choose to use them.
I find that it REALLY helps to have a great opt-in incentive to get your readers to sign up for your mailing list. This opt-in incentive or freebie doesn’t have to take a long time to create and you can usually put together something from content you have already written on your blog. Checklists are great, as are webinars, e-books, templates or printables.
Creating a Template for Your Emails
You don’t have to use a template for your emails, but I think it’s a great opportunity to work in your branding and set your email apart from all of the other emails that will find themselves in your reader’s inbox! I don’t like too many images in emails since they can result in your email being relegated to the spam folder and many times they won’t automatically load anyhow. I include my logo and blog tagline at the top of my email and social media buttons below the text of my emails.
Most email service providers (ESPs) have premade templates you can use, but you can also create your own. I think it’s easier to just create your own and make it unique– too many of the premade templates look a little canned or cheesy. 🙂
Don’t Forget to Follow CAN-SPAM Act Regulations!
It’s SUPER important that you adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act Regulations and include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email that is easy to locate. You must also include a physical address in your emails (at the bottom where the unsubscribe link is). If you do not have an office and do not want to use your own personal address you can rent a post office box and use that in your emails.
Setting a Schedule for Delivery of Your Emails
Just like blogging, you need to be consistent with your emails, and that’s exactly why I recommend not being too aggressive when your first start out. If you aren’t sure how much time you are going to have to devote to your mailing list, maybe shoot for every other week or once a month to start. If you find that you want to do more, you can always increase the frequency later.
Should You Create an Automated Sequence?
Some bloggers like to created automated sequences, and it’s available with most email service providers. An automated sequence is a series of emails sent out at predetermined intervals. For example, you might create a welcome email sequence that has 5 different emails that are sent every 4 days after your subscriber signs up for your list.
Automated sequences can be used not only to welcome new subscribers, but also for e-courses, to sell products, or for affiliate sales. The best part is that you only have to create the emails once and they can be sent out over and over and over!
Why It’s Important to Segment Your Mailing List
Think about all of the emails that end up in your inbox on any given day– there are A LOT. The beauty of segmentation is that it allows you to send targeted emails to your subscribers. For example, my mailing list consists of bloggers. I segment my bloggers into beginner/intermediate bloggers and professional bloggers. If I chose to send out an email about starting a self-hosted WordPress blog, I wouldn’t want to send that to a professional blogger–only beginner bloggers. Instead of sending emails that aren’t applicable to the professional bloggers, I make sure that I only send content that is relevant to that group– maybe a mailing regarding how to better use affiliate marketing.
Segmentation makes sure the right email gets in front of the right audience, who is much more likely to listen to what you have to say and continue to open your emails. You don’t need to have a ton of segments, rather start with a few and see how it works out. You can always add others as needed or take away ones that don’t seem to be applicable.
Don’t Feel Bad When Someone Unsubscribes
The natural tendency is to get really bummed when someone unsubscribes from your mailing list. We’re only human and it seems like a rejection when someone hits that unsubscribe button and disappears from your list. My advice is to reframe your thinking. I am happy when people unsubscribe from my list because it means they aren’t interested in what I’m talking about and will likely not be someone who will read my posts, schedule a coaching session or buy an e-book. They’re just not interested and instead of taking up space on my email list, I would rather them unsubscribe!
What to Send Your Subscribers
There are a couple of different things you can do with your mailing list…
Set Up an RSS Feed Email Series
Some bloggers like subscribers to get an email each time a new post is published. You can do this by setting up and RSS feed series (your email service provider will have instructions on how to set this up). If you publish several times a week, I think it’s nice to send a weekly digest of your posts instead of multiple emails throughout the week (this can be annoying and people will unsubscribe). You can include a brief snippet of the post and a link to read more on your blog (this is what I recommend) or you can send the whole post.
I think a welcome series is a great way to introduce yourself and your blog to your subscribers. It’s a way to maintain contact right after they sign up for your list and get them in the habit of opening your emails. This type of series is also great for finding out a little more about your subscribers and how you might segment them. It’s also helpful to ask open-ended questions– you would be surprised that people will actually email you back with answers! My welcome series consists of about 4-5 emails sent periodically over the course of a week and a half.
Create an Email Series to Sell Your Services, an E-book, or Course
If you have a service to sell, an e-book or course or anything else promotional, your mailing list is a great place to reach your readers! An automated series of emails (3-5) is great for introducing your product or service to your subscribers. Once again, these types of automated emails work best with a segmented list– so make sure you are sending your promotional email series to your subscribers who are interested or might be interested in that specific product or service. If you are launching a new blog, product, service, website, app, etc, this same type of email series works great for getting your loyal subscribers to check it out!
I hope you found these tips helpful for creating your blog mailing list–don’t wait to get started with it!
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