One of the best ways to make money online is with your email list. New bloggers need to create an email list as soon as possible to not miss out on this awesome revenue source. In this post I’m going to show you the 4 simple steps to create an email list.
If you have a blog up and running now you’ll hear a lot of people talking about building your email list. They say it’s so important to have an email list because “the money is in the list”.
I never believed them – until now.
How I Wasted 12 Years Of My Life
I always heard about the virtues of the all powerful email list too but ignored it.
I run a network of finance blogs, and have done so since 2006. I neglected to devote much (if any) time to building my email list.
I would always ask myself these questions:
- What would I write? I have nothing else to say.
- What would I sell? I have ads on my blogs already.
- Why bother emailing people? They already visit my blogs.
I made the crucial mistake of not seriously collecting emails nor sending emails for 12 years.
For years all I had on my blogs was a form that said “Subscribe For Updates”. That’s about the worst way to collect emails.
In 12 years I amassed a list of 390 subscribers. That’s a whopping 2-3 new subscribers per month.
Do not be me!
What Changed (What Had To Change)
I had two methods for making money with my blogs.
The first was Google Adsense. It was simple: get more traffic and make more money.
The second was: selling ads to sponsors. This was either a monthly, yearly or a one-time fee.
The danger with these monetization strategies is that with Adsense, I’m relying on Google for my income. At any time they could terminate me and a major source of my income would be gone.
Then if I had a dip in traffic my income would drop as a result. It was so nerve racking to have to keep getting steady traffic or risk missing a mortgage payment!
My second method, selling ads, was just as nerve racking. The danger with selling ads is that Google frowns on this. You get caught selling links and you could kiss your Google rankings goodbye.
My blog monetization methods were fickle and could be gone at any minute. I needed a long term strategy.
I needed a few things. I needed my own products to sell or to be an affiliate of products I recommend.
But most importantly, I needed a customer base. I needed a group of people who could buy something from me not once, not twice, but repeatedly throughout the years.
The only way of achieving this is through an email list.
Heres a super simple step by step guide on how to create an email list that rocks!
Step 1: Sign Up With An E-mail Marketing Provider
The first thing you need to do is to sign up with a company that will collect the email addresses for you and send your emails.
A great choice for newbies is MailChimp. They have a “forever free plan” with the following limitations:
- You can have a total of 2,000 subscribers
- You can send up to 12,000 emails per month
This is much more than any newbie would need to start.
If you sign up (it’s free) using my MailChimp link, you also get $30 in credits added to your account. The credits never expire, so you can use them once your list grows past the free plan.
Other popular options are Aweber or ConvertKit. I suggest checking them out just to see what MailChimp competitors are offering. You’ll find that these two other providers are actually cheaper than MailChimp for larger list sizes.
Once you get your account set up at an email list provider, you will need to create your first email list. Don’t bother with starting campaigns and sending emails just yet. Just add a list, give it a name and submit.
Step 2: Set Up Your Optin Forms
Now you have an email list with zero subscribers. The next step is to add the optin forms on your WordPress blog to begin collecting emails. There’s a few different ways you can do this.
The MailChimp plugin is fine for simple forms that go in the sidebar. But there are other WordPress plugins that do a much better job of integrating and creating awesome optin forms.
My favorite is OptinMonster.
With OptinMonster you can set up beautifully designed forms for your blog. These include forms in the sidebar, within the content, exit intent pop ups, top bar and slide-ins.
Another feature I love is the two-step optin. It’s been proven scientifically that people are more willing to complete an action once they’ve already taken an initial step first. By creating what are called MonsterLinks, you can make a link pop-up into a form. This two-step process increases conversion rates.
OptinMonster also has “content locking”. With this feature, all content below the optin form is obscured. In order for the reader to continue reading your article, they need to enter their email address. What an ingenuous way of getting more email subscribers!
Step 3: Create A Lead Magnet
When I started this blog I wanted to do things right. So I studied up and this is what I learned: Nobody wants to give up their email for free.
You need to convince your readers to give you their email. How do you do that? By giving them something for free.
It’s a fair exchange. You give them a freebie and they let you into their personal inbox.
What can you give away?
Here are some examples of great lead magnets:
- PDF report
What you can offer for your niche may be different, but you must offer something good enough to get their email.
You can then design your optin forms with your lead magnet as the offer.
A great location to add an optin form is within the content of your blog post.
If adding a signup box to the middle of your content seems like too much, you can set up what are called two-step optins. With these when a link is clicked the signup box shows up so you won’t clutter your site with forms.
Step 4: Segment Your Email List
Now that you’ve created an email list, it’s time to make it rock! To really take your email list to the next level, you need to do the following:
Create different lead magnets for different sections of your site in order to create segmented lists. Then email targeted messages to each segment of your list.
Boy that was a mouthful. Let me explain what all that means.
Most blogs have different categories which relate to the niche of your blog, but are distinctly separate.
For example, on my blog here I have the following sections:
- Blogging Basics
- Grow Your Blog
- Get More Traffic
While they all relate to blogging, they are each separate subjects.
My readers who want to start a blog are not necessarily the same ones as the ones who want SEO tips to get more traffic.
If I really want to make the best use of my email list, I would actually create 3 groups, one for each topic. Then I create 3 optin forms with 3 different lead magnets. Boom!
Each lead magnet would be closely related to the category being viewed. For example I might have an “SEO Toolkit” lead magnet for the articles in the Get More Traffic section while I’d have a “How To Create An Email List” pdf guide for the articles in the Blogging Basics category.
In Mailchimp, these segments are called groups, while other email list providers might call it tagging.
In OptinMonster, there are options to display your custom optin forms based on the category of the post being viewed.
Based on which signup form the reader subscribed via, you could know what topics interest them. Now, instead of sending a bulk email to your entire list, you only send highly targeted content (including ads) to them instead.
Segmenting is how you can get higher open rates, better click rates and improved conversions.
Now that you know how to create an email list, get started placing your first form on your blog and let me know if you have any questions!
Once you’ve finished creating your first email list, it’s time to grow your list.
Thanks for reading and please save this post on Pinterest!