One thing I regret not doing when I started my business and blog is not creating an email list. Even after hearing from other bloggers and business owners the importance of building an email list, I allowed years to go by before setting up my email list.
The mistake in my thinking was assuming that you had to have an established and successful business before setting up your email list.
Setting up an email list is one of the first things you should be doing as a blogger or business owner. Trust me, if you don't do it now, you'll be kicking yourself later.
In this article, I want to share with you two big reasons your blog or business needs an email list and how I grew my email list to over 15,000 subscribers.
1. Email Outperforms Social Media
In the beginning, you may want to put your focus towards building your social media following. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you're putting more focus on building your email list.
This is because email outperforms social media when it comes to bringing traffic to your blog or website.
Think about Twitter and what happens when a tweet is sent out. Twitter moves so fast that it's not long before your tweet is buried underneath a bunch of other tweets.
Can you imagine how many people will never even know your tweet existed?
Now, think about email, and the odds of someone seeing your email. Your email won't fly past their page like a tweet will. It will sit in their inbox, patiently waiting to be opened.
I can tell you that my highest traffic days are the days when I send out a newsletter to my subscribers.
Social media just can't compare to the results I receive from my email list.
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2. Your Email List is All Yours
Do you remember the social media network MySpace? At one point, it was the largest social networking site in the world. Now... well, not so much.
Imagine having spent countless hours building your following on MySpace, only to lose all of them.
Changes to social media can have a drastic impact on your ability to get in touch with your readers.
Sure, having a social media following is good. But what happens if these platforms die off like MySpace did?
Your email list will always be there. It's yours, and you'll never lose it.
3. How I Built My Email List
Now that I've gone over why it's important that you have an email list, let's talk about how I grew my email list to over 15,000 subscribers.
I Switched to ConvertKit
In the beginning, I used MailChimp to build my email list. MailChimp is user-friendly, and it's free for your first 2,000 subscribers. While MailChimp worked fine for me in the beginning, there came a point in my business where I knew it was time to take things to the next level, and I knew I couldn't do that with MailChimp.
After doing some research, I came across reviews about how great ConvertKit was. I have to admit; I was hesitant to sign up for ConvertKit due to the cost. But you know what I've learned over the years? If you want to grow your business, sometimes you have to put some skin the game. I've never regretted my decision to switch to ConvertKit.
ConvertKit has made it so much easier to grow my list. They have easy to embed opt-in forms, analytics for each opt-in form you create, automated emails, sequences and much more. Since making the switch, I've more than tripled my number of daily subscribers.
I Created a Freebies Library
The majority of my subscribers join so that they can gain access my freebies library. When people sign up for my freebies, they automatically receive an email from me that includes the password to access my freebies library. In my freebies library, I offer a WordPress theme, media kit templates, printables, and more.
Here's a preview of my library:
If you're a WordPress user, creating a password protected freebies library is easy. Here's how I created mine:
1. Create your freebies.
If you want to create printables, I highly recommend using PicMonkey. They have plenty of fonts, templates, and effects to help you create your freebies.
Also, make sure you create previews of your freebies so that people can see what the freebie looks like before they download it. Here's an example of how my previews look:
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2. Decide where you want to host your freebies.
You can upload your freebies directly to your WordPress media library, or you can upload them to a third-party site like Dropbox. I use a free Dropbox account to host my freebies.
Upload your freebies to your chosen host.
3. Create a new page in WordPress and name it "Freebies Library" (or whatever you want to call your library).
4. Set a password for this page and select "ok." This is the password you will share with subscribers.
7. Click on "Create Gallery."
8. Upload the "freebies preview images" I mentioned in step 1 to your gallery.
9. Once you've uploaded your preview images, click on the "Create New Gallery" button.
10. Once your gallery is created, under each image will be a box that says "Caption this image." In the caption, you will add an HTML link that will allow subscribers to download your freebie.
In this link, you'll place the name of the freebie and the direct link for downloading the freebie. Remember in step 2 when you decided where to host your images? Go to this location and get the direct link for your freebie.
Here is the HTML link you'll use:
<a href="Direct Link to Freebie Here" target="_blank">Title of Freebie Here</a>
Do this for each of your freebies. Here's a preview of my gallery with the HTML links:
11. Before you update your gallery, you can rearrange your gallery. You can also take a look at the "Gallery Settings" on the right and choose how many columns you want your gallery to display, the image sizes, etc.
Once you're finished, click on the "Update Gallery" button.
Next, you can go ahead and publish your freebies page.
Here's how your freebie image will look with the download link.
12. Create a new page. This is the page you will link to in your navigation menu.
On this page, include a message for how to access your library. Place your opt-in form on this page too.
You also want to make sure you include a link to the password protected freebies page that you just created. This will direct people to the actual freebies library.
Publish this page.
Here's how mine looks:
That's really all I did to create my freebies library. I recommend trying this method before spending your money on a plugin.
I Use a Pop-up
I know, I know. Either you love them or you hate them. The fact is that pop-ups work. If you want to grow your email list, I recommend adding a pop-up to your site and seeing how your readers respond.
I use OptinMonster for my pop-up. I've tried other free and paid options, and have found that I prefer OptinMonster. They allow you to create attractive opt-in forms easily. No CSS knowledge is required. Plus, they integrate well with most email marketing providers.
MiloTree is also an option. MiloTree is a smart pop-up that will help you increase your followers on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. There is also an option for increasing your email list. I used MiloTree to help grow my Pinterest account to over 10,000 followers.
I Work on Building My Traffic
If no one is visiting your site, you can't expect to get very many sign-ups to your email list. Increasing my traffic has played a huge part in being able to grow my email list. Some posts that may help you increase your traffic are:
- How to Find Your Target Audience as a Blogger
- How to Diversify Your Traffic as a Blogger
- Everything You Need to Know About Writing a Viral Blog Post
- How You Can Grow A Community and Get More Site Traffic
- How I Dramatically Increased My Traffic With Pinterest
Never rely solely on social media for communicating with your audience. Work on building your email list, even if you have nothing to sell. You won't regret it.
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