Have you started your email list yet? I am pretty sure by now you have heard the old saying: “The money is in the list”. You might be wondering what the heck this means. What money? I am just a simple blogger.
Well, you might be “just a simple/small blogger” but fact of the matter is; you need an email list. Email list is different than simply offering your loyal readers a means of following you by entering their email address. It’s more powerful. With an email subscription, the only thing they get is an automated notification with your new post attached.
They can read it straight in their email, and delete it without ever coming to your site and making a comment or sharing your post with others.
With an email list, you can do so much more. It’s not just about selling. In fact, you never, ever have to sell people who sign up anything. On top of sending them your new posts, you can send them only a part of it – so they have to come to your site if they really want to read it.
You can send them a personalized email to let them know what’s going on OTHER than just your new posts. You can send them freebies or offer tips that you do not normally offer on your blog.
You can include your social media profiles and invite them to follow you, you can even include sharing buttons straight into your emails.
To cut it short: email list opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your blog, and you are definitely missing out if you don’t have one.
Today, I am going to show you how you can easily set one up in 10 minutes and give you some tips on how to promote it and build it. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Since you are just starting out, we will go ahead and sign up with MailChimp. They are one of the more common choices for setting up an email list – and best of all – they are free to start with. With the free plan, you can send 12,000 email to 2,000 subscribers – and as your list grows, you can always upgrade your plan.
1. First, let’s head over to MailChimp and click on Sign up – it’s free:
Enter your email, your desired username, and password and click on Create My Account. You will receive a couple of welcome emails from MailChimp – tutorials that will help you with your first steps. I recommend reading them and getting familiar with all the features. You will also need to confirm your email address before logging in and creating your first email campaign so make sure you use a valid email address!
2. Clicking on confirm will bring you to the next screen where you need to enter your basic information such as your real name, your organization information and website URL.
Make sure you enter your blog name as your organization and your blog’s web address as this helps them add those necessary footers at the bottom of emails that offer the unsubscribe option. It’s just their way of making sure you are not spamming anyone.
You also need to enter a physical address; however if you are not comfortable having it available publicly, you can also enter a P.O. box in it’s place.
After you have filled all that out, go ahead and click on Save and get started.
3. Next page will give you a brief overview of their Dashboard so stick with it and learn where everything is.
4. Once you have familiarized yourself with the Dashboard, go ahead and click on Lists. The following page is where you can create your first list – go ahead and click on Create a list
On the next page fill it out the fields with your information – you can name it whatever you like, that’s for your eyes only. In the “brief description to remind people how they got on the list field” you can put something as simple as: “Howdy, you got this email because you subscribed on my blog (insert name of your blog here)”. You can choose to receive updates about your list – whether or not you gained subscribers. I have mine set to daily, you can leave it blank or select your own preference.
Once that is done, you need to create an actual form to embed in your site. Without this form, the email list you just created is pretty much useless!
After saving your list, you will automatically be taken to the next screen which will give you the option to create the form for your list. You can see that option on the top menu bar, or below in the image:
We are going to go select Embedded forms – that will give you the most straightforward option to use directly on your blog! After you have familiarized yourself with everything MailChimp offers, you can come back to this section and play around with the design option.
To keep things simple, click on Embedded Forms and on the next screen you can choose between Classic, Super Slim or Naked. The form is the same, the only differences are the way the form looks. Personally, I always go for the Naked form and do all the styling myself, but if that is a bit too much for you, then go ahead and pick the Classic form.
You will be given a box with code that you need to copy and paste into your blog where you want the form to appear. If you are using WordPress, you can even install their official plugin which will automatically give you the form where you want it to appear.
To do it manually, go ahead and select all the code in the box, log into your blog’s dashboard (this won’t work for WordPress.com users – since hosted WordPress blogs do not allow pasting external scripts); click on Widgets and select Text Widget. Drag it to your sidebar and paste the code in there. Click on Save and your form is now comfortably sitting in your blog’s sidebar.
Congratulations, you are now ready to start growing your email list!
Simply creating your email list and then pasting the form code into your sidebar is not enough. It won’t grow if you don’t put in a little effort. However, growing an email list doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started!
1. Place your sign up form above the fold – before the readers have to scroll down to see it. Good place for a sign up form is your sidebar, and the bottom of every post, as well as your About/Contact me page.
2. Make the default text prompting people to sign up personal – don’t leave the same old boring default text everyone uses.
3. Offer them a freebie – this doesn’t have to be anything complicated: a free printable, a couple of your older posts combined into one such as Best Tips To Talk To Your Teen, or 20 Best Pancakes Recipes – you get the idea
4. Link to your email list on your social media profiles
5. Offer special freebies for people who signed up via Twitter or Facebook
6. Create a tab on Facebook which offers email sign ups – MailChimp has an option for creating those as well as a tutorial on how to do it
7. Don’t just promote your posts, promote your list on social media – tell people what they get when they subscribe and what can they expect.
8. Create a separate page on your blog that has nothing but your email sign up form and use it in place of your regular URL when you comment on other people’s blogs.
9. Link to your list in your email signature
10. Most important of it all: be personal – always include a personal message in the emails that you send out!
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. Have fun building your email list!
This post was written by Ana Amelio.
Bio: Mom. Wife. Blog Designer. Blogger. Founder & editor of Our Blended Marriage. Croatian born, American at heart, I love helping people get the most out of WordPress and sharing the ups and downs of parenting.