I read a lot of blogs about blogging. Most of these are marketing blogs that are focused around creating a product or offering a service, then selling it online with the use of blogs. They always swear by building an e-mail list and sending out newsletters. For years, I ignored that advice thinking it wasn’t really relevant to blogs like mine. Blogs that weren’t trying to sell things and act as a business.
After all, there are loads of ways for people to keep up with my blog. Bloglovin’, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, right?
Most people know that Bloglovin’ is a pile of wank. My click through rate from Bloglovin is around 40 views a day from almost 3000 followers. Facebook’s algorithm is rubbish for getting your posts seen by people who like your page, unless you pay. And after the #RIPTwitter meltdown on Twitter a few weeks ago, it’s being suggested that Twitter will be following suit. Meaning rather than your time line displaying Tweets in chronological order, it will pick what to show you based on what it thinks you want to see.
The point is, while you’re busy building your followers and audience across social media and other platforms, you never know when these networks might change their algorithm or even disappear all together. What if another social media takes us by storm and you’re left to build your following from scratch. If this now dead platform is the main platform you use to promote your blog posts (like Twitter is mine) and get traffic, you’re basically doooooooomed.
But your email list is different, because once you have someone on your list, then you can send them e-mails and newsletters as you wish. There’s no risk of it disappearing one day. The worst thing that can happen is someone unsubscribes as they no longer want to get newsletters from you.
I’ve slowly started to realise this, and while I’ve had the option for people to sign up to my list for a year or so now, I’ve never really promoted it or sent out newsletters until the last few weeks and I’ve seen a massive growth in my list since I’ve been promoting it a bit more.
People who are on your e-mail list are probably your most important readers. For them to commit to giving you their e-mail list generally means they want to read more of your blog posts. You’ll probably find it harder to grow your e-mail list than, say, grow a Twitter following, but the people on your e-mail list are more likely to come back and will be more loyal to you.
But there are a few things you can do to build your e-mail list faster:
- Call to action. At the end of each post, simply ask people to sign up to your news letter.
- Content upgrade. At the end of a post, offer to send more information around the same topic, or a worksheet or PDF/eBook of the post in exchange for signing up to your news letter.
- Offer a product. Offer to send out something to them in exchange for their e-mail address, like a short ebook.
- Create a lead page. This is a stand alone page that you can direct your readers to which tells them why they should sign up to your newsletter.
You could always just put the link in your side bar, but that alone is probably going to get over looked (a mistake I made for a long time). Or you could add a popup to your site, but I know for many this is a massive turn off and popups are usually the number one reason I leave a blog. That, and music or video that autoplays!
I’ve only really started seeing an increase in subscribers when I started putting the call to action at the bottom of my blog post and at the top of the Improve Your Blog series.
When the series ends, I may have to rethink my plan as I think most of my subscribers come from that!
How often should you send out a news letter?
I currently send out 1 news letter a week when my #ImproveYourBlog course is out. As that finishes soon, I’ll be sending out one news letter a month for now just to highlight the posts I like the most for the past 4 weeks.
How often you send out news letters is up to you, weekly seems to be a popular choice. I personally think that daily is too much.
What should you include?
One mistake you don’t want to make though, is just sending your full blog post. You almost want your e-mail list to feel a bit exclusive, maybe sharing a few bits about your life, or tips/hacks that people within your niche will be interested in as an added extra. I’m bad at doing that though, but I plan on doing this after the #ImproveYourBlog series is over and I go to monthly news letters.
My current news letters update people on the latest edition of #ImproveYourBlog and also link to 3 of my favourite posts over the past week.
I’m still deciding what I’ll do next, I guess you’ll have to subscribe to find out 😉
How do you feel about newsletters? Do you send them out or read any?