The Power of Great Email Marketing for Bloggers (A Step-by-Step Strategy)
Email marketing is by far one of the most important aspects of growing a blog and business.
Today, I will be walking you step-by-step on the strategy I used to go from a list of only 20 subscribers to 415 in just 7 weeks.
Don't worry, your don't need your own Facebook group or bribe anyone to sign-up for a free iPhone (haha). I will give you simple and actionable tips you can implement today, and provide you with the tools that helped me achieve such success.
Email marketing has become an indispensable and necessary way to build your online community. To make readers into subscribers, and subscribers into clients.
No social media in between for distractions. No “car salesman” ads from sponsored posts. Simply, an intimate one on one conversation with another person about the specific message you are trying to convey, or better yet a specific action you are asking them to do.
You can have 1,000 views a day on your blog, but if no one is choosing to stick around for the long haul, then my friend… you are missing out!
Sure having visitors is nice. They might read half an article, and if you're lucky they might even click on an ad or two. Then, they'll bounce off your site, never to be heard of again. So, you made a nice little cut of a few cents from that one click, and left them the door open to bounce off your site.
Retaining readers and turning them into potential clients is the ultimate goal, if you would like to make money blogging that is.
With that said, the process isn't about being an automated answering machine. Being real, heartfelt, and helpful to your readers and followers is one of the most important aspects of this process.
Creating a trust worthy friendly connection with your readers, ensures they know we aren't some random person asking them to buy a product. Instead, they see a friendly and helpful name in their inbox increasing the likelihood of a click-through.
Ever since I started this journey, I knew building an email list was fundamental to build a successful profitable blog and business.
Initially, I opted for MailChimp. At the time, MailChimp offered a free subscription up to the first 2,000 subscribers. So I figured, having already invested in BlueHost (hosting company), Genesis Framework, Restored 316 Themes, Tailwind (Pinterest pin scheduler), and some learning material, a free email provider would be awesome to have, right?
Well… not so much!
Nothing against MailChimp, but from personal experience it was very confusing to navigate and it lacked key elements I would want from an email provider. In their defense, that's why it is a free service in the first place. Furthermore, I think it's a good option for those that are on a tight budget.
However, if I wanted to make blogging my business, then I had to treat it as such. If I wanted my blog to generate fast income, then I had to invest in the necessary tools that would maximize that potential.
I had already invested in the main foundation of my blog by acquiring top of the line hosting, theme framework, child theme, and pin scheduler… but I had failed to add the last key element to that solid foundation.
The last brick for a rock solid structure that would set everything in motion. A stellar and powerful email marketing company.
Here's what happened next…
After much research, word of mouth from my Facebook groups, and asking fellow successful blogger.. the answer was clear. I opted for ConvertKit!
Here is a perfect example of my market research.
This question was asked by Erica Madden, the group administrator from one of my favorite Facebook groups “My Pro Blog + Biz with Erika Madden” (currently know as “Work With Class”). Here are some of the answers of these savvy bloggers and entrepreneurs.
See a pattern? Talk about market research jackpot! 🙂
ConvertKit is an email marketing company that is made specifically by bloggers for bloggers. It has all the tools you need to help you gain subscribers and retain subscribers. I opted for their annual plan and saved 17%. My readers receive a Convertkit 30-day free trial when they sign-up through this link.
Obviously just having ConvertKit isn't the whole enchilada! Lol. We will talk a bit more in a minute about what goes along Convertkit to maximize its potential.
ConvertKit facilitates that process by providing you with strategic and user-friendly tools that are easy to use, which in turn helps improve conversions.
Here is a quick rundown…
1. Forms: Allows you to create customizable forms that you can easily embed on your site. You can create a single sign-up form OR a full-blown landing page.
2. Sequences: Create email sequences to send out to your readers. For example, a sequence of 2 emails to your new subscribers (a “welcome” email the day after subscription, and “come join us” email on the third day after subscription). Sequences are perfect for email challenges and email courses.
3. Broadcasts: These allow you to send mass emails to all of your subscribers or to those of a specific segment, date, name, location, etc. This is the ideal place to write and schedule newsletters.
4. Subscribers: This is where all of your subscribers are. Here you'll also find the tags and segments:
a. Tags: It tags subscribers into specific categories depending on the action they take. For instance, if your niche is home and gardening, when you build an opt-in form you can create a tag that goes along with it called “cooking”. For another opt-in form you can create a tag called “gardening”, and so on… so that they are easily identifiable.
b. Segments: Allows you to group together subscribers at a larger scale. For instance, if I am getting ready for the pre-launch of my Cooking book, I would want to create a segment that includes all of the subscribers on my “cooking tag“, my “favorite recipes freebie tag“, and my “eat healthier checklist tag“. That way I can easily and strategically reach my target audience. Later, I just simply create a broadcast and specifically select my “Cookbook List” segment.
5. Automation: One of my favorite perks of ConvertKit! This my friend, allows you to set any “rule” you wish within your settings. This is also where you set the rules for tags. For example, whoever clicks on the link “5 of my favorite drinks” found in one of my email broadcasts, then they would be added to the “cooking” tag. Or, if someone opts in my “The A.C.T Method Form” then they would be added to the “Pinterest A.C.T” tag. I mean, genius!
SO LET'S TALK NUMBERS…
MailChimp: 2 months = 20 subscribers.
ConvertKit: 7 weeks = 415 subscribers! (including a 2 week vacation)
MY SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY
Let's go over all of the elements that made these incredible statistics possible.
1. ConvertKit– With ConvertKit I was able not only to create a form and upload a freebie, but I was also able to create a landing page for it.
This creates a distraction free zone where a reader is sent to specifically in order to read more about what you are offering. It gives you a bit more time and space to explain its value. It turns out, landing pages have a higher conversion rate than a sign up box alone.
2. OptinMonster– It's the best lead-generation plug-in for WordPress that allows you to create and integrate highly effective email sign-up forms for your website.
After creating an attractive landing page for my freebie with Convertkit, I also wanted customizable opt-in sign-up boxes that fit my brand and my style. I also wanted to make sure they were mobile friendly since mobile users account for the majority of today's web users (74% of my readers to be exact- as per Google Analytics).
You can signup for an exclusive FREE month trial of Convertkit, here.
At that point OptinMonster was a no-brainer, AND it integrated wonderfully with ConvertKit. All I had to do was follow the instructional video on how to sync both accounts and that was it. In other words, if I wanted to create a “floating bar” as an opt-in for example, all I would have to choose is what landing page from ConvertKit I wanted to link to, and it does it automatically.
3. Tailwind– With Pinterest currently being one of my top traffic source I knew I had to incorporate my ConvertKit landing pages on my Tailwind rotation. This strategy has been instrumental in helping my list skyrocket quickly.
Tailwind allows for automatic pin scheduling throughout the day (or weeks), depending on how far ahead you want to schedule them. So, after creating a pin to go along with each landing page, I then use Tailwind to help me pin them all across my Pinterest Group Boards.
Pinterest Group boards give your pins exposure and have the potential to reach thousands of people at any given time. To join a group board, read the board’s description and follow the instructions provided to request an invite to that group.
4. A killer Freebie– As imperative as ConvertKit is at helping achieve these stats it would be hard to do without a great freebie (a.k.a lead-magnet or opt-in). Let me help you answer the million dollar questions….
What can I offer as a freebie? What makes a really good one? How do I promote them?
Think of your niche, what do people need? Look for inspiration in your Facebook groups, what are people asking? What are they having trouble with? What can't your readers find easily for free?
Solve a problem. Answer questions. It has to be something that is helpful to your audience.
Here are some examples:
- a checklist- simplify a process
- a tutorial- a step-by-step guide
- printable of something they can print and use
- a mini eBook
- some sort of helpful list
- a planner/ calendar for something.
You can do that with Canva or Word and turn it into a PDF.
5. Promote, Promote, Promote!
From the last week of June and first week of July my husband, the kids and I took a much-needed vacation. Nothing fancy, just family down time away from the city buzz.
The graph below shows the impact that lack of promotion took on my list. Don't get me wrong, I was extremely happy seeing 3-7 subscribers a day still trickle in with everything on complete autopilot. But I just wanted to show you the importance of promotion and networking.
I could have easily added another 100 subscribers those two weeks alone.
Here are some ideas to promote your freebies:
- Promote your freebie on social media.
- Facebook groups- This is my favorite way to promote a freebie. Join a few Facebook groups, write a compilation of all the “promo” days, and make a note to post on those days.
- Circulate your freebie pins on Pinterest using Tailwind.
- Tweet about it.
- Create an Instagram image for it.
- Write the freebie's URL on you social media accounts' bio.
- Mention it on blog posts when applicable
Related: “How to Grow Your Email List Fast (Tips, Tricks, and Strategies)”.
If you need help with starting and growing your email list highly recommend List Growth by Tracie Fobes.
This info packed course teaches you everything you need to know about staring your email list from scratch all the way to making money with email marketing.
The List Growth eCourse you will not only help you set up your email system but you will learn how to make and share forms and ideas to get people to want to sign up. Once all of the systems that Tracie teaches in her course are in place, you can turn your email list into a simple way to make money blogging.
Exceptional email marketing is a crucial aspect of any successful blog and business.
As a blogger, Convertkit is hands down the smartest, most useful, and strategic tool I invest in.
By investing in tools that take your email marketing to the next level, it increases the chances to earn more money faster, elevating your traffic, and skyrocket conversions.
Make a plan. Gather the right tools. Put them in motion together to enhance their potential, and brace for impact. 🙂