If you’ve been putting “starting an email list” on the back burner for months – guess what today is… the day you’ll finally (confidently) start your email list.
AKA the day it got a lot easier to get more traffic, more sales and more raving fans for your blog. (Haven’t started your blog yet? Click here for a free step by step tutorial.)
Let me explain,
You see, 80% of people who visit your blog once will NEVER return. (Eeep).
(Don’t believe me? Check your Google Analytics).
It’s not because your writing stinks, your blog is ugly or because you’re not worthy.
The problem is there are 75 million other bloggers also trying to help readers create yummy dinners, dress better for less or eat social media algorithms for breakfast.
So the only way to truly stand out as a blogger is getting in front of people’s eyeballs over and over again with your toe-curling content.
And the most reliable & pocketbook-friendly way to do that is getting someone on your email list.
(And no, you shouldn’t wait until you have more traffic, more blog posts or something concrete to sell – like an ebook or course – to start your email list!)
After this post A Beginner’s Guide to Starting An Email List From Scratch & Make Money With It (without feeling like a dirty rotten spammer-face)
- The real secret to making money with your email list that no one is talking about.
- What to do if you think starting an email list doesn’t make sense for your niche.
- How to create an official email address for your blog (which you need legally to send emails.)
- How to create an opt-in gift so people will want to join your email list.
- How to pick an email service provider that’s right for you.
- What to actually send your email list (including 2 funnels and lots of newsletter ideas).
- How to grow your email list quickly
The real secret formula for making money with your email list (or really anything, online)
The real secret formula for consistently making money with your email list is: Know + Like + Trust = $$$ 🙂 🙂
Think about it, in real life – are you more likely to buy Mary Kay from some random person who walks up to you at a supermarket or your best friend? Exactly.
Here’s KLT in action in the blogging world:
You write an ultra-juicy guest blog post and include a link to a free gift readers can only get if they give you their email list (more on that in a sec) = KNOW.
Once a week you send personality soaked emails. Sharing stories about your life, confessing that you ugly cry every Tuesday night over This Is Us (which inspired you to create your triple fudge flourless brownies). That dials up your likeability to a zillion = LIKE.
Of course, you also send people useful, relevant posts, share success stories, even screenshots or two of nice comments you get on your blog = TRUST.
So when you suggest a product that you like, announce you created an ebook or ask people to visit your blog (so you can make ad revenue) – they’ll do it.
But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of starting an email list from scratch I want to address one more thing…
“But what if starting an email list doesn’t make sense for my niche? Once people get married, give birth or move to Ohio… they won’t need me anymore.”
That’s a totally valid thought but here’s another one…
People have friends.
Imagine that you blog about pregnancy.
You might talk a little bit about nursing and sleep training but your burning white-hot passion is helping moms-to-be eat healthily and have a natural childbirth.
Every week you shower your mamas-to-be with the best tips and resources you can find.
So when your subscriber’s friends get pregnant or people in her mommies Facebook group start talking about natural childbirth she proudly sings your praises and shares your links. Which wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t emailing her on the regular because she would have forgotten your name.
***Plus with the two email service providers I’m about to tell you about, you can easily add “Did you give birth yet? Click here to be added to our special new mommies series and stop receiving pregnancy emails” so they don’t unsubscribe altogether***
Starting an Email List from Scratch & Making Money From it in 5 Easy Steps
1. Get a professional email address for your blog
A lot of bloggers fail to tell you this, but you must have a professional email address that ends in your blog URL like – email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to start an email list.
Another great choice to create a professional email (and the one I actually use) using G-Suite (Formally Google For Work). G-Suite lets you see your business emails in the easy to use, familiar Gmail dashboard – Complete with filters, folders, tagging, and my favorite canned responses. (Perfect for when you’re constantly sending Pinterest group requests.)
I really love all of G-suite‘s extras like Google Calendar, Google Docs + Forms and Google Drive for storage. The best part is, it’s only $5/mo.
3. Choosing an email service provider that’s right for you.
It’s HIGHLY illegal to BCC a bunch of people from your normal gmail or hotmail account every week and call it your email list. Unless you have an extra $15,000 per person laying around your house and you don’t mind the FCC breathing down your neck all the time then you need an email service provider to send emails to your subscribers.
My two favorite email service providers for bloggers ar MailerLite & ConvertKit.
Should you go with a free vs paid email service provider?
If you’re just dabbling in blogging and not really serious about earning major income (more than $100 per month – mainly from ad & affiliate income) then Mailerlite is a good choice. Mailerlite is free up to 1000 subscribers, has automation, landing pages and makes sending weekly newsletters quick & easy.
The only downside to Mailerlite is since it’s free people don’t seem to really use it. Sure they set up their freebie delivery email but that’s it. Rarely do they set up a welcome series, funnel or send weekly emails – which means no relationship with your subscribers which means… you guessed it. No money or love.
If you know you’re serious about making money by blogging, you dream of selling multiple courses, ebooks, printables that you create (even if you’re not sure what they’ll be about yet), and want to build yourself up as a subject authority sending subscribers emails that are tailormade to their interests (which means less unsubscribes) start with ConvertKit from the get-go.
ConvertKit has everything you need to make money with your email list, landing pages, opt-in forms, smart sequences, triggers, tagging and so much more.
Now I know $29/mo seems like a lot but if you’re actually paying for something every month – you’ll use it! Which means you actually see the effectiveness of growing and nurturing your email list. Plus I’ve got a free month’s trial for ya right here. (It’s normally only 14 days)
As someone who started off with a free service then upgraded to a paid service because the free one didn’t have the features and capabilities, I needed to run my business…
I can tell you it’s a pain in the butt to switch from Free to Paid. I’m sure I still have random signup forms for it lurking on my site. Not to mention how much of a pain it was to move over my welcome series and funnels (more on those next)
How to get ConvertKit to deliver your freebie & talk to your blog
1.Hit “FORMS” on the top menu bar 2. Hit CREATE NEW FORM 3. CHOOSE FORMS (Landing pages are great for main freebies like courses. 4. Choose from style (I like the one with the picture of the content upgrade – more on that in a minute) 5. Customize the form copy (text). Remember to click on the button and change “Subscribe” to something more enticing. 6. Hit save then click “SETTINGS” to set the Thank You Page 7. Check off “Auto-confirm”. Customize the message including the subject line and button then if your content upgrade is a pdf, select the incentive download and upload your pdf directly to ConvertKit. If your content upgrade is a video, click the URL button and link to the page where your video is embedded. 8. Click “EMBED” to get the code to put your form on your blog. (This lets ConvertKit and your blog “talk” to each other. 9. Switch over to the “text” mode on your blog post. PASTE the code wherever you want your opt-in forms for your content upgrade. (Note if you installed the ConvertKit WordPress Plugin you don’t have to switch to text mode. You can just paste the shortcode they give you wherever you want it. 10. Hit SAVE. Look how pretty your post looks, then test the form with one of your email addresses.
4. Planning out what to send your email list.
You still with me?
Professional email address – check, content upgrade or freebie – check, email service provider – check. Now it’s time for the fun stuff – sending emails to your list!
I know this part can be scary, because no one wants to be a spammer, but trust me, if they signed up for your list, they want your help. And don’t sweat unsubscribes… seriously.
There are two kinds of emails you can send:
1. One-off real-time emails called broadcasts or campaign emails. Typically, weekly newsletters are one-off emails. What makes these emails unique is that if you send them Tuesday at 3 pm and someone signs up for your list Tuesday at 7 pm they won’t get them.
2. Autoresponders / Funnels are a series of emails that go out automatically and everyone who signs up for your list gets them regardless of the date and time. (If you’ve ever signed up for free mini-course that’s an autoresponder)
Another common autoresponder is a welcome series.
Let’s focus on autoresponders first (since that’s where the magic happens).
What to send in your welcome series autoresponder
If you’re just starting out and don’t have any of your own products to sell yet, a welcome series is the way to go. It’s a great way to get to know your subscribers, show off your knowledge (with blog posts and bonus freebies) and ask them questions. Here’s a sample welcome series for you
Email 1 – Your Freebie
Your main goal is to get subscribers to open your freebie and reply back with a yes! You can let them know you normally only email once a week but for the next couple of days it’s going to be their birthday will all the free goodies you’ll be sending their way.
Email 2 – Quick Win
You want them to physically go do something after reading this. Like: “Want to grow your Facebook group faster? Get it it’s own URL. Here’s how to set that up step by step”. DON’T OVERWHELM THEM WITH STUFF TO DO – that’s email number 4’s job.
Email 3 – Your Story
Share about what makes you tick or your rock bottom moment. Personally I like to go on a rant about my industry as a way to stand out but that’s just me. Be sure to ask subscribers to reply back if they’ve ever felt the way you did in your rock bottom story and questions they have about your topic.
Email 4 – Your Best Stuff
Send subscribers a round-up of your best blog posts, videos or even create a small pdf or extra printables. Remember to ask them what they’re struggling with most when it comes to your topic.
Email 5 – Authority Piece or Favorite Tools
If you’ve done a guest blog post anywhere or got interviewed on a podcast share it here to build your authority as a go-to expert. If you haven’t guest-starred anywhere send a list of your favorite tools.
Ask them what else they’d like to learn next or what’s holding them back.
What to send in your first product or affiliate sales funnel
This one takes a little bit of planning but can help you earn money every day.
Step 1 – Create a freebie that relates to the product, service or affiliate offer you want to promote.
Next list out all the misconceptions, excuses, concerns, myths, mistakes and feelings about your thing. The job of your funnel is to educate, inspire and empower subscribers.
Let’s look at my free 4-Day Launch Your Profitable Blog Challenge.
My goal: Affiliate income. So I need to show not only why blogging is an awesome money maker but why my tools and affiliate products will help subscribers get there faster.
Some objections to blogging & my tools might be…
- What should I blog about? I’m not good enough. It’s all been done before
- Can I actually make money with this thing? How? Which is the fastest? Best?
- I don’t have any time to blog.
- How do I actually get people to notice this thing? How to get traffic?
- What if I try my best and I still fail?
- All those other bloggers just got lucky and went viral. I won’t.
- I suck at tech. Why WordPress? Why is buying a theme better than using a free one? How can I actually build this thing? What should I put on my site?
- And the list goes on and on.
Free 4 Day Launch Your Profitable Challenge (complete with full tech tutorials):
- Day 1: Narrowing down your topic and overcoming self-doubt
- Day 2: 6 Proven way to make money as a new blogger
- Day 3: Build your site from scratch
- Day 4: Get your blog notice big time
Your funnel must address those things if you want to be successful.
Since your funnel is probably going to lead to an ebook, course or service you’ve created here’s a funnel for that
- Your freebie – Must directly relate to your offer but not be the same thing (get the reply back yes!)
- Crush a “Yeah but question” – Yeah, I could start a blog but… Yeah, I could lose weight but…
- Common Mistakes or Myths
- Case Study (it can’t be yourself) or student story (soft pitch for paid product)
- Hardcore pitch of your product
- But what about… (highlight bonus)
- Why now is the best time to make a change, and how not acting is going to affect their lives in the next 5 minutes, 5 months and 5 years
- Last chance
- Pure value
What to send in your weekly newsletter
Your weekly newsletter is typically the place you send your weekly blog post since everyone is getting that email in real-time. It’s also a great time to comment on what’s going on in your life, the world and your industry.
Should I send my whole blog post or just part of it?
It’s really up to you. One of my favorite bloggers Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanted Marketing sends bite size teasers about her latest posts. Other bloggers like Terra Dawn put the whole kit-and-caboodle in her emails.
Personally I like to mix it up.
What should I send besides just my new blog posts?
In today’s freebie, I give you 2 years’ worth of Strategically Crafted Email Topics broken down by months. That includes 3 value emails and 1 profit email (sales pitch, affiliate links, etc) So you don’t have to worry about what to email your list until 2021 but here are a couple of favorites:
- Share 3 of your favorite low-cost tools/apps/resources:
- 3 Must-Have FREE Apps Every Mom With Kids Under Two Must Have If They Want To Keep Their Sanity
- The 3 Best Places To Find FREE Stunning Stock Photos For Your Blog No One is Talking About
- The 3 Gifts Under $10 Pre-teen boys love (that isn’t food)
- Why most _____________________ fails
- Why most Facebook ads fail even if they have great targeting
- Why most new blogs fail
- Why most dieters fail
- How to_________________________ like a champ
- How to cook Thanksgiving dinner like a champ
- How to knit hats like a champ
- How to bullet journal like a champ
- I never saw it coming…
- This one is more of a personal story where you share something you never saw coming. This could be a big win – like getting featured in a magazine or something not so great like being told you had to stay on bed rest for 6 months when you already have a toddler.
- Wanna be famous?
- This is a short e-mail where you ask readers to hit reply to tell you about themselves so you can feature them in an upcoming email. This is a great way to build a strong connection with your audience
- Quick win video –
- Share a quick how-to, motivational message or tech tutorial. There’s nothing to bond subscribers to you like glue then hearing your voice.
- Camera shy? Use a free service like Screen-cast-o-matic to record your screen or a slide-show you create in Google Slides
- How to use Amazon to come up with blog post ideas
- How to add your own background in Trello
- Use these 3 magic words to get your toddler to stop whining instantly
- What I drink every day to help keep the 100 pounds I lost off forever
- You need to hear this… you are worthy.
Now that we have a plan for what to do with our subscribers once we get them it’s time to start getting some.
Note: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE SOME HUGE WELCOME SERIES WRITTEN AND IN YOUR EMAIL SERVICE BEFORE STARTING TO GROW YOUR LIST. CREATE A SIMPLE 3 PART WELCOME SERIES:
1. THE EMAIL WITH YOUR CONTENT UPGRADE
2. A QUICK TIP
3. A PERSONAL STORY ABOUT WHY YOU CARE SO MUCH ABOUT YOUR TOPIC.
And you’ll be good to go for now.
Now that we have our email marketing plan down – let’s get some people on your list!
5. Drive Traffic To Your Opt-In Forms & Blog Posts
First, we’re going to need to add some opt-in forms to your website. Opt-in forms are what connect your email list to your blog.
Both ConvertKit & Mailterlite come with free pretty opt-in forms you can easily cut and paste where you want them on your blog.
Top places to add your opt-in forms:
- Your home page
- About me page
- In the middle of relevant blog posts
- In your header (if your theme allows)
- At the end of your blog posts
For something fancier – like pop-ups, you can use bloom (it comes with Divi) or popup-ally (free)
If you’re on Squarespace and have the Business Plan you can use the promotional pop-ups boxes.
Next, it’s all about drumming up some traffic.
Next week, we’re going to break down my top ways for growing your email list and getting more traffic to your blog in detail, but for now, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Write a guest blog post and link to your freebie/content upgrade in your bio
- Reach out to 25 people and manually ask them to join your list
- Do a Facebook live and at the end tell people to sign up for your freebie
- Create 2-3 pins for your freebie
- Do a freebie swap (I have a template for that here)
- Run a giveaway
- Have a live masterclass or webinar
- Run Facebook Ads
- Create a Facebook post about your freebie
- Create 2-4 Instagram posts about your freebie
- Get interviewed on podcasts
- Get interviewed on virtual summits
- Put a link to your freebie sign up page (landing page) on your navigation bar
- Turn your homepage into a welcome mat (A picture with 2 buttons – ‘get this freebie’ or ‘go to blog’)
For even more list building tips here’s a sweet blog post.
I will say you will go crazy trying to do everything – all at once. Pick 1-2 main strategies and focus on those. Like guest posting and Pinterest.
The most important thing is that you keep at it. I’ve seen a lot of people think “Oh my freebie stinks.” But really only 5-10 people per day even see your signup page. You’d be lucky if you got 1-2 subscribers a week that way.
You’ve got this
Look, I know email marketing can seem like a lot, but it has the highest ROI, it’s the best for developing relationships with your readers and so much more.
Armed with this plan:
- Get an official email address
- Create a handful of content upgrades
- Sign up for an email service provider
- Create a welcome series and plan out some newsletters
- Start getting traffic to your blog & sign-up pages
You’ll be sure to crush email marketing like a champ. Got questions? Concerns? Leave them in the comments below.
This is an interesting post.
I agree that email lists are important, and now that I am diving into the subject, I am discovering the little tiny details that make it work or not work… There are a lot of them.
Many people commit basic mistakes, e.g. they just say, “Sign up for my newsletter”. That doesn’t entice subscribers.
I do the same thing you do – research and write posts on what works.
I’m guilty of the “Subscribe for updates” opt-in, I need to make a freebie ASAP! Thank you for compiling this, it helps me narrow down a lot!
You’re very welcome Hari
Hi Kate! Until reading this post I was lost on where to start with my email list and what to offer as a ‘fresh baked’ blogger launching soon. Now I have some CU ideas! Thank you, Kate!
Yay Shaun! I know it’s big post but I’m soo happy it was helpful. Tell me more about your “fresh-baked” blog.
I love the details on this post! it is my first time visiting here and I already Love you!!! Will be coming back for sure. And YES, I am already on your list. I’ll remember your name Kate! Thanks for this awesome post. I am currently loving emailing my subscribers, but want to learn more how I can be more efficient and more profitable at it. 🙂
I heart you too Amira! Setting up thoughtful auto-series (autoresponders) will definitely help you be more efficient & profitable. Don’t forget you can always upcycle (reuse) your blog posts in your emails especially those timeless hidden gems.
Hi, Kate, I’m working hard at creating freebies to build my list. This post is loaded with
helpful info. I especially like your tips about what not to put in your subscribe forms and
also where to place them. A great point I heard from another blogger is to use the
number of social media followers you have just before the subscribe forms as a further
incentive to sign up. Of course, this only works if you have large numbers of followers.
Thank you for this post.
So true Poovanesh. Any social proof you can add is always a good thing.
This post is the BOMB!
This is very useful. I have to read this post constantly to remember to implement some of your strategies.
P.S Your post has more than a couple of mistakes, try using grammarly. It helps me with simple grammar mistakes and ensure my post are error free.
Ironically I used that when write this post. However, I have a VA now, so I’ll make sure she re-reads and edits this post for me.