How To Build An Email List From Scratch (How I Did It)
T hey say that “the money is in the list.”
What do they mean? In simple words, they are trying to tell you that building an email list from the beginning is very important, especially when you want to make money blogging.
This is not one of those “how I gained 50k email subscribers in one month” kind of post, but one where I share just a small win.
Note: This is a post for a newbie blogger trying to gain even one email subscriber. I decided to share the small win because I believe we grow better by holding each other’s hand.
So I started blogging in March 2018, and growing my email list is one of those areas I saw little achievements until this month (July). See my stats below;
Number of subscribers
Did you notice a pattern in the stats above? If you did not the thing is that my email list subscribers doubles every month.
There are two reasons for this: 1) the four strategies below 2) I created a new freebie (an email course) at the end of June.
The four strategies I used to grow my email list
1. I choose one of the best email marketing service provider
I first started out with MailChimp, but I found it was limiting in several ways, so I switched to Convertkit.
Note: Convertkit changed its name to Seva just a couple of days ago.
Five reasons why I love Convertkit
A) I can complete all tasks on one dashboard. This is one of those reasons which made me shift from Mailchimp to Convertkit because I find such an interface time saving and easy to use. For example, when creating an email sequence in Convertkit you will be able to perform all the changes and settings from one location without moving from one tab to the next.
C) In Convertkit I can group my email list subscribers into tags and segments. This helps me to send relevant broadcasts and information to each group. See examples of some of the rules I use below.
D) The RSS feed function in Convertkit helps me to automate the sharing of my new blog posts to my email list subscribers. I can send a single broadcast or a digest of all posts weekly, monthly or annually.
E) You get analytics for everything. In Convertkit you can be able to track the conversion rate of your forms, landing pages, sequences, and Convertkit gives data on the open rates, click through rates, and number of new subscribers/unsubscribes among other statistics.
Note: There are many benefits you can get from Convertkit. I kept the list small because I do not want to shift from the main agenda which is to show you how I have been growing my email list.
2. I created several freebies and lead magnets
Lead magnets and freebies are the incentives that you must offer your readers and target audience for them to join your email list. For example, a free ebook, checklist, course, planner, worksheet, and guide among others.
The bitter truth is that no one will join your email list unless they get something in return, such as a discount, a free guide download/course, checklist and any other digital offer.
Four freebies I created to get subscribers to my email list
B) A downloadable PDF toolkit for online entrepreneurs
C) A downloadable SEO checklist
I also add this form to all my posts on SEO and any other related subject.
a) Swipe files
b) Coupons, discounts and other exclusive offers, such as free consultation
c) Cheat sheets
d) Free Trials
f) Templates, worksheets, printables, and planners
Tips for creating better email list lead magnets
- Keep it specific and targeted to your target
- Use clear calls to action and make them stand out from the rest of the text or graphics.
- Use attention-grabbing design and emotional headlines and descriptions to increase conversion.
- Do not give false expectations
- Always give your best to keep them coming back and motivate them to sign up for the next offer.
- Use A/B testing to discover which lead magnets to appeal to your audience and business type more.
- Stay on brand
3. I placed the email signup forms on strategic locations on my website
You may create attractive lead magnets and highly valuable freebies for your email subscribers, but if they are not placed on strategic locations on your site/blog, you are hindering your email list from growing.
Five locations I use to market my email sign up forms on my blog
A) I add them to my blog posts with similar content or subject. For example, on my recent post on how to do keyword research, I added the SEO checklist form. See the image below or visit that post to see the form. Convertkit produces a code for every form, which you can use to embed every form within your blog posts. They also have a WordPress plugin you can use to do the same.
B) Below every blog posts, I market the free email course. To achieve this, I use Bloom from Elegant themes, a WordPress plugin which will allow you to create and embed optin forms on several locations on your website. I love Bloom because it supports integration with Convertkit where you will be able to link every form to a specific list or form in Convertkit.
C) I use popup and fly in forms on every page to market the free online entrepreneur’s toolkit. Just as I mentioned above, I use Bloom to create my pop up and fly in forms.
D) I place some of the sign-up forms on the sidebar. I think you see the newsletter and free email course forms on the sidebar as you read this post.
E) I add at least one sign-up form on the footer. Visit any page on this website, and you shall see the newsletter form on the footer.
F) I have included some sign-up forms on my Thank you Page.
Other suitable locations
You can find more locations here: 14 highly converting locations to place your email sign up forms
b) Homepage header: You can make it the first thing your website/blog visitors see when they visit your site.
4. I promoted the freebies, landing pages and lead magnets on multiple platforms
Yes, you have done a great job placing the sign-up forms on the right locations on your website. Unfortunately, if your traffic and page views are still low, you need to promote on other places.
Four places I use to market my sign up forms
- Facebook: I use Sproutmentor Facebook page and Facebook groups, which allow self-promotions, such as Bloggers promotion.
- Twitter: I use Twitter cards to pin one of the landing pages at the top of my profile. I use to promote the freebies on the main Twitter timeline.
- Pinterest: I create pins for each landing page and pin them to relevant boards weekly
- Email signature: At the end of every new email broadcast I add a link to the course and toolkit.
My primary goal was to show you that indeed those strategies work!
I ignored most in my first three months of blogging (March to May), and in June and July, I have hope that my email list will keep growing further because I have the right strategy in place.
Over to you now!
Feel free to leave a comment sharing your experience of building an email list or email me for any clarifications of further assistance.
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