Why should you focus on email marketing for a small business ?
Because an email list is a safe place to form a relationship with your audience.
Your readers actually open your emails. You speak to them one-on-one. You make a relationship with them. You know about their problems and needs.
And, you can encourage them to take an action.
Most importantly, an email list is your own safe zone area that you proudly own.
You pay an email auto-responder that automates and set up emails for you.
– No interference of any social network.
– No risk of losing traffic or followers numbers.
– You gradually build and grow your email list.
So, if you want that trusted connection with your readers then I highly recommend you to build an email list. I made this mistake and did not build an email list from the beginning. But, I don’t want you to repeat this.
Therefore an email list a very important asset to your business.
An email list is simply a database of people’s names and email addresses. Usually, this information is collected from them via a web form, which gives the list owner (YOU) permission to send subscribers periodic emails on specific topics that interest them.
The best part of having an email list is that it gives you the ability to communicate and build a relationship with your readers, with the people who are interested in your blog.
The organic reach of social media is limited and depends on their algorithms. Social media algorithms can change anytime. So even if you post consistently on social media, you may not reach as many people as you would like. You don’t have much control over the algorithms.
Social media platforms can die out in popularity (remember MySpace?) or your accounts can be shut down for any reason. And you would lose all your followers with no way to contact them.
With an email list, it’s totally different. You own your email list. You decide whom and when to send your emails. Whatever happens, you are still able to keep in contact with your subscribers.
So, an email list is the perfect way to interact with your audience on a more personal level, to ask questions, get inspiration for new content, and tell them about products and services that can help solve their problems.
Therefore, growing an email list is one of the most important parts of building an online business, or any business, for that matter.
However, there are a few do’s and don’ts that you should know before you start your own email list:
- Always, inform people that they can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. Be sure to let them know that their information is safe and that you will never rent, sell or share their email address with anyone.
- Ideally, you want to make sure to let your subscribers know what you will be sending them. It is important that you ask people permission to send them promotional emails when they subscribe to your mailing list so that you can reduce your risk of being accused of sending SPAM.
- Ideally, you want to be clear about how people can benefit from subscribing and how often you will contact them. Let them know exactly what they will be receiving.
- If possible, contact a new subscriber as soon as you can. Welcome them with notes and tell them what to expect. A good email marketing provider will help you do this automatically.
- Make it easy to subscribe by having a highly visible subscription form or link on the main pages of your website. Signing up should take as little time as possible and don’t ask for too much information right away. A name and email address is all you need to get started.
- When you write an email, put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask, “Why shouldn’t I hit the delete key right now ?” Your readers didn’t subscribe because they want to hear a sales pitch. They have a reason for wanting information from you. It could be to save time, money, or effort, or improve productivity and success. Your emails must be compelling enough to convince people to sign up, valuable enough to keep them wanting more, and useful enough to pass along.
- Don’t add everyone who has ever emailed you to your list. Always ask permission first.
- Don’t purchase bulk email lists. Always have evidence to prove the legitimacy of the email addresses.
- Don’t offer fantastic incentives for subscribing. Although this may seem like a great idea, you will end up getting subscribers that only want the reward, not to learn valuable information about what your blog can do for them.
- If you run a giveaway, offer something that is related to your targeted audience. Don’t give away an iPhone or a gift card or you may attract subscribers that are not interested in the topic of your blog.
- Don’t bombard your subscribers with too many emails. How many are too many? This will depend on your message. During the subscription process, let people know what they are getting before they join.
- Don’t be reluctant to address the needs of your subscribers. Keep your information focused. It is important to give them what they want. This will keep them on your list and be wanting more. If your information drifts off topic or is too generic you will lose subscribers as fast as you get them.
- Don’t participate in Facebook group threads with mandatory reciprocation to subscribe. Numbers don’t matter when your subscribers are not really interested in your content. Target your subscribers carefully.
How to grow your email list
It’s never too early to start building your email list. In fact, I encourage you to start as early as possible, because you never know when a post may go viral and you don’t want to miss out on all those potential subscribers.
The best way to get people to sign up for your list is by offering an incentive of some sort.
These can be in the form of a:
– Cheat sheet.
Whatever opt-in you offer, make it valuable. Some dinky PDF you threw together in 5 minutes won’t cut it. The goal is to build trust, not fool them with a crappy product.
You could also have a password protected library on your blog where you offer different free resources, and give your subscribers the password once they join your email list.
Add a subscribe form on the home page and to every page of your blog, in the sidebar, at the bottom of a post and/or in the footer.
When relevant, add a subscribe form within a post offering a freebie related to the post. You can place the subscribe form within the post or at the bottom of the post. This is called a content upgrade.
You can also add a pop-up to your website, and from my experience, it converts very well so you may want to add one. If you add one, make sure it doesn’t cover the whole page on a mobile device and it’s easy to close or you may get penalized by Google.
Make the subscribe button stand out by making it in a different color from your blog color palette.
Change the wording on your subscribe button from the default subscribe or submit to something more compelling such as Heck, yes!, Yes, please! Give it to me!, Count me in!, I want in!
Consider building up a landing page for your freebie, and share it on social media.
Make a pin for your freebie and pin it on Pinterest.
Keep Your Email List Warm
Once you have people on your list, what do you do ?
How often do you email them, and what do you say ?
Email marketing is a whole ball game all its own, so we won’t get too specific. But here’s what you should know right now: communicate with your email list consistently.
If someone signs up for your list and doesn’t hear from you again for three months, they very well may have forgotten you already. Don’t let that happen!
One of the best ways to communicate with your list consistently is by creating a weekly newsletter. When someone new subscribes to your blog, let them know they can expect an email from you on a specific day every week.
Then be sure to email them on that day every week.
Here are a few ideas for things to include in your weekly newsletters:
- Special announcements.
- Personal stories related to your blog topics (relatable motivational/inspirational narratives work great).
- Updates on things you’re doing (e.g. if you run a food blog and are experimenting with a new kind of diet).
- Your favorite tools/resources of the week.
- Behind the scenes look at your business.
- New content on your website/blog.
- Poll your readers with questions or surveys.
Keeping your email list warm (i.e. communicating with them frequently) is vital to your business. You’re building a list of raving fans that trust what you have to say and when the time comes, will pay for what you sell, whether that’s your own product or products for which you’re an affiliate.
Email marketing providers
Email marketing providers allow you to create campaigns and automation workflows so that you don’t have to manually send an email to a new subscriber or a newsletter to your email list but everything is done automatically by the email provider.
The best email provider for bloggers from my experience is Aweber – https://www.aweber.com – but it’s a paid service.
So, if you have the budget, by all means, sign up for Aweber, because in my opinion, it’s the best on the market for bloggers.
If you’re on a tight budget, Mailerlite is an awesome FREE alternative.
What I like about Mailerlite – https://www.mailerlite.com/ – is that it is very easy to use through a drag and drop email builder.
It’s FREE up to 1000 subscribers and the free version comes with all the premium features including:
– Double opt-in ON/OFF switch.
– Automated email sequences.
– Time zone based email scheduling.
– Opt-in forms for your posts and social media.
– Pop up forms.
– Landing pages and customized unsubscribe pages.
– High opening rate.
– Easy importing feature for email list from previous email marketing service.
– 24/7 support.
– Segmenting features.
Another popular choice is MailChimp but it’s not as easy and intuitive to use and customize as Mailerlite and unlike Mailerlite, it doesn’t offer all the features for the free version nor does it offer any customer support on the free version.
To Summarize why an Email list is very important for your business:
- Your blog newsletter is all yours. Unlike social media websites such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter your subscribers are all yours. You don’t have to worry about learning the specific social media algorithm to ensure your content gets shown. Your subscribers subscribed to your blog and expect you to email them. You have their full attention since when it arrives in their email inbox.
- Your email list makes you money. We fully believe that email marketing is alive and thriving! Our email list is the most successful way we promote our affiliate products and services. If you have an email list and use it correctly, you will earn more money. Plain and simple!
- Your email subscribers are your die-hard fans! When someone subscribes to your blog they are showing you they trust what you have to say. Your email list is a great way to grow a further connection with your readers. Let’s face it blogging for money is all about providing as much value as possible and growing trust with your readers.