Ask any successful blogger how to succeed and they will tell you without hesitation email marketing is one of the most important things to tackle fi you want to make money with your blog. It’s one of the first things you should focus on when starting your blog.
You start by setting up a simple email opt-in form in the early stages of building your blog and begin collecting emails and potential customers.
One important fact to understand is you will never, ever again see most people who visit your blog. That is, unless you capture their email address...
But turn some of those article scanners into interested readers with your email list and you are off and running.
Email Lists Build Trust with Your Audience
The main reason to build an email list is to be able to have an ongoing conversation with them and develop trust.
Knowledge + trust = more paying customers.
An email process gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself. It pays to provide your audience with valuable content of interest to them before trying to sell to them.
Your opt-in page and email series are the heart and soul of your sales funnel.
Use this funnel to offer knowledge and build trust first. Then you’ll find better sales conversions at the back end. This is the very basis of most online marketing success stories.
An Email List Provides Customer Feedback
Most people who start out blogging think they already know what their target market (niche) is interested in.
So many bloggers create a product or service based on their assumptions and get little or no response from potential customers.
A well-built email list will give you important feedback about what your audience is interested in and what problems they are looking to solve. This process can lead you to create products they really want to buy.
Your email funnel NEVER stops being valuable. It will continue to help you optimize your sales process.
No one can take your emails from you
You’ll find a lot of gurus and course creators wanting to sell you a marketing process or “hot” software or app to help you use social media to build your brand and sell products. This is a bit risky because social media algorithms change all the time.
Look, imagine a time when (not if!) Google decides to change their algorithm or Instagram kicks you off their feed without notice. The same goes for Facebook and Pinterest.
The rules are always changing. Now while change can be good thing, not so much if your business is only growing with social media.
There are many stories in the online world about how people wake up one day and their social media channel has stopped accepting their ads or reduce their post visibility.
Using social media as part of multi-pronged strategy can be valuable. When something changes for the worse, you can still make money with your email marketing.
Your Email List is Your Most Valuable Asset
Email marketing is a digital strategy where emails are sent to connect with leads and ultimately convert them into customers. Email marketing develops familiarity and trust with your subscribers through a series of automated emails.
You begin by creating a system that entices readers of your blog to become email subscribers. The way this usually works is to offer a lead magnet or “freebie” that gives them valuable information they are interested in.
The objective is to convince readers to provide their email in exchange for the free or otherwise enticing offer.
The reader gives you his or her email, and you give them your bonus offer.
You then create a series of automated emails with your email service provider. These emails act as a brand builder to help them get to know your brand, message, and products in an organized way.
The Benefits of Email Marketing
A well-designed email marketing campaign nearly always beats social media results.
- 60% of people spend most of their time checking emails on mobile devices.
- More than 70% prefer marketing emails over spending time on social media.
- On average, email generates $38 for every dollar spent.
- A smart, proactive email marketing strategy can deliver 30-40X more customers.
Plus, you own your email list. The same is not true with your social media followers. If Pinterest or Facebook decided to close their doors or change their systems, your social media followers could fade away.
Lastly, email marketing is an effective strategy for converting people into customers. It offers the best opportunity to build a list of customers interested in your content and ready with their credit card.
An automated email marketing strategy with proper segmenting and funnels helps you to nurture prospects and ultimately convert them into supporters and customers.
No other marketing channel lets you do this so effectively.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing
To begin your email marketing efforts, you will need two things:
A way to capture email addresses
An email marketing service to segment and automate your communications
There are both free and paid options. I’ll go over a short list of some of the most recommended tools so you can pick from the one that works best for you.
Capture Email Addresses Using Opt-in Forms
An opt-in form is a place on your blog or website that allows you to capture emails.
Embedded opt-in forms offering the least reader resistance usually convert the best. There are a range of items and resources that generally work best as as your free offer. The best of these include these items:
Home Page to Landing Page Opt In Example
The first image below shows a home page promotion that leads to an opt-in offer. The second image is the actual opt-in form on a landing page, where the reader provides their email address to get access to the information or product being offered.
There are many tools available with options for building your opt-in and landing pages. We use Thrive Themes, where you can find customizable forms which make it easy to find what your audience likes.
Most Popular Email Marketing Lead Magnet (Freebie) Offers
Once you have selected your opt-in and landing page provider, it's time to decide on your free offer. Use your knowledge about your niche to decide what will capture the highest number of emails. These are the tactics consistently used to turn a viewer into someone willing to get on your subscriber list.
Key placements for capturing email addresses
Once you’ve selected your opt-in and landing page tool, it's time to start capturing leads. You can do this by placing your opt-in forms in one of a number of locations.
Having a call to action above the fold near the top of your page is an easy way to present an attention-grabbing signup form and alert new readers to what you’re offering.
It works because there are no other distractions. You’ll quickly learn most people understand you and your blog are offering information that eventually leads to selling a product or service.
Having an opt-in form in the header will capture some early viewers who are already interested, and it shouldn’t distract others who land on the page.
A great way to grow your list is by providing a free offer that connects with the blog post they are reading. This is usually a content upgrade and it can convert up to 30% more effectively than other places on your website.
Content upgrades can offer more detailed information on certain blog post, a summarized version like a checklist or a more comprehensive walkthrough of the blog post topic.
Another good example could even be a free video or webinar that gives more actionable advice.
Dedicated Landing Page Or Splash Page
Creating a landing page for your offers can help your conversion rates dramatically.
This is a must for list building. By having a dedicated landing page for your opt-ins, you can promote that page on social media and your list. Their click on their ad, post, or email will take them directly to the offer.
Pop-ups are signup forms that unexpectedly appear, or “pop up,” while a user is on your website. You may think pop-ups are annoying but they are effective at converting more than most traditional forms.
You can build a blog that uses pop-ups that are timed (say after the person has been on the pag two minutes), exit-intent pop-ups when the reader appears to be leaving the page and pop ups that just come out of nowhere at any time. Let’s just agree that in most cases “less is more” if you are building a blog for long term success.
Putting an opt-in form on a blog’s sidebar used to feel a bit cheesy, but not any longer. Today blog readers expect to see a photo, a signup form or other content on your sidebar.
A lot of reputable online marketers and bloggers have done a great deal of research to confirm what motivates people to take action online. This research has confirmed that a blog post with a sidebar layout is highly effective. It’s always important that your sidebar look, feel and content relates to the blog post article.
Most readers on your blog arrive on a specific post they were guided to by Google keywords or social media promotions. However, once there a good number of them may be interested in learning more about you and your blog in general.
This makes your “about” page a valuable piece of online property. If they like what they see and read here, they may be willing to fill in their email address on your opt-in form.
Choose an Email Marketing Service
Now is a good time to walk through some of the email service providers you need to succeed. They are designed to help you with email marketing strategies covering segmentation, automated delivery, tracking of click-through and open rates.
There are lots of well-known email marketing services, but we’re just going to focus on a few today.
Here are some excellent email marketing services for you to consider:
ConvertKit is sort of the new kid on the block, but the email service provider has signed up a large and growing number of bloggers and creators.
Bloggers like ConvertKit because it makes email marketing automation easy to use and relatively uncomplicated. An important highlight they offer you is the ability to edit all of your emails on ONE screen.
Some of the other email provider options force you to navigate through a series of prompts and screens just to edit one email. This process can make it difficult to read through emails in sequence in your sales funnel.
The simplicity of ConverKit is what makes it stand out above the rest. They have a great email editor, numerous landing page designs and forms you can embed in WordPress.
You can actually start with a free ConvertKit account and create unlimited landing pages and start getting subscribers from your blog right away. Their service has the ability to send one-time broadcasts to your subscribers.
ConvertKit has the usual features like tagging, segmentation, a visual automation builder, great deliverability, and strong integration with most of the popular internet marketing tools.
ActiveCampaign is a comprehensive email marketing software made easy for marketers and small business owners. Active Campaign uses “tags”, which are used to segment your email list. Email segmentation enhances subscriber engagement, click-through rates and sales conversions.
ActiveCampaign’s user interface is user-friendly and requires minimal training to begin. You’ll be able to create well-designed email campaigns that convert and enhance your customers experience.
Mailchimp offers a "forever free" plan for up to 2,000 subscribers and 10,000 emails per month. It’s hard to beat if you’re a beginner and looking to get started on a low budget.
Their drag and drop editor makes it easy to create emails that match your brand style, which really speeds up the design process. The in-built analytics are great at showing you how each email has performed.
MailChimp’s automation process allows you to create a series of targeted emails that are sent when triggered by a specific date, event or subscriber’s activity.
You can make a customized opt-in form from MailChimp and put it on your site in no time at all. And because they’re so popular, many companies partner with them on integrations.
We tell our audience that affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make money with your blog. MailChimp has some clear rules about what steps you can take if you use affiliate marketing to make money. Be sure to check out the details before signing up.
AWeber was one of the first email service providers that really helped bloggers become professionals. For many online marketers, they were the first easy-to-use email marketing service out there for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Their original, simple autoresponder functionality has grown to include automations, powerful analytics, drag-and-drop email creation and more features that make it easy for beginners to set up campaigns.
Their pricing starts at a fairly low $19 per month and doesn’t increase too sharply as you grow your subscriber base and send out more emails every month.
Automating Your Emails
Automation sets up targeted emails to be sent automatically once a condition is met.
For example, once someone signs up to someone’s lead magnet on – let’s say golfing over the age of 50 - they are sent a series of automated emails like setting up content like:
- How you struggled to break 100 (personal connection)
- The way exercise can help with a back pain issue (offering value)
- The best way to improve your golf swing (offering value)
- Eventually moving on to a golf bag deal (making a sale)
Automation provides a better (more targeted) experience for your subscribers, which translates into a lower opt-out rate. Plus, automation frees up your time. You can set up an automated sequence once and let it do the rest.
Automating your emails is an excellent way to nurture your list.
There are many things you can put into your email marketing series, like getting your eBook offer, signing up on your Facebook group, or listening to your latest YouTube video.
Each email has a purpose with the intent of educating your subscribers. Some key email categories include:
- The problem email (shows you understand them)
- A case study email (builds credibility)
- Key tools email (lines out the nuts and bolts)
- The benefit email (you know how to help them)
- A powerful transition email (first step/soft sell)
- Resource email (this is what you are looking for)
- The offer email (jackpot)
These targeted emails build the awareness ladder with your audience. They help you connect with readers at every step along the buyer’s journey.
A Welcome Email Series Example
To give you an automated email sequence example, let’s look at some key elements of a basic “welcome” email series.
Each welcome series is different, but this will give you an idea of the basic structure:
The Lead Magnet/Thank You Email
A common welcome email series starts with sharing the freebie/lead magnet offer download and thanking them for signing up.
Since welcome emails have the highest open rates, you need to make the most of this email.
It's okay if you don’t have any products to sell. Use this email to mention where they can find you on social media. Or, give them a second freebie as a token of appreciation. In some cases you can consider including a low-cost offer that is perceived as having a high value.
Tell your story
Online marketing success can depend on your personal brand – especially if you are a blogger. It’s important early in the process that your audience – these new folks who were intrigued enough by your free offer to share their email – get to know you.
That being said, don’t make it completely just about you – the story you tell should communicate:
- That you understand them and their problems and opportunities
- You’ve faced and conquered similar problems
- What you learned in your personal journey can help them
This is all about starting the process of gaining trust – a primary element in moving them from prospect to customer.
Share a Case Study
The next email in your welcome series can be educational. Help unaware subscribers learn more about what they’re struggling with and how you can help them.
A case study email can help boost the relevancy and make it clear to your subscribers what they need to focus on to change their situation.
If you don’t have an evergreen webinar or document to offer, you can re-purpose a popular blog post where you share a case study as your follow-up email.
Offer Helpful Information
The next email in your welcome series can be nurturing — helping new subscribers get to know you and how your content can help them.
Focus on one primary issue that is a substantial pain point for your subscribers.
It’s up to you how many emails you want to automate for a welcome series.
The Selling Phase of Your Sales Funnel
In most cases, you should be ready to move into the selling phase of your email marketing funnel after 4-6 emails designed to bring them along and build trust.
Email Marketing Builds Blogs and Income
Simply building a list of email leads isn’t enough…
- You need to nurture those leads.
- You need to convert them into customers.
- Then you need to turn them into dedicated fans.
Do this as outlined here and you will be able to grow your blog and income with email marketing over time. Best of luck and good fortune.