There are a lot of aged old tips in blogging that seem to be regurgitated so often that they lose their meaning a bit. You don’t know how many times that I was told I needed to build an email list before I ever added a subscribe form on Mostly Morgan, and even then I never worked very hard at growing it.
Now after just 4 days here on Morgan Timm, I have already built up my email list to half of my Mostly Morgan one, and it hardly took any work at all. But I’ll get into that later on. For now we are going to reiterate why it is so important to work on building your list.
Your email list is yours. And only yours.
The people who signed up for your email list are tuned into you and you only. On any other avenue of promoting yourself you’re sharing that platform with hundreds of thousands of other people. Plus, on any social media you are at the mercy of others, you may get a ton of traffic today from Facebook, but tomorrow they may completely change their algorithm leaving you high and dry.
In fact, let me tell you a little story about when I got a little too comfortable relying on Pinterest:
Back in the summer I was consistently getting at least 250,000 pageviews from Pinterest alone, leaving me feeling pretty confident that the traffic (and in turn the income) would continue flowing steadily. Welp, not too long after school started my traffic tanked. I lost about 80% of my Pinterest traffic over night. It took until November to get my Pinterest traffic back up teaching me the value of diversifying your traffic sources and creating a traffic source that will be consistent.
The consistency of email marketing is what makes it so valuable. You are in control. No one can change the algorithms on you or suspend you for nothing.
iterate why it is so important to work on building your list.
You’re reaching your reader directly.
Maybe it’s the combination of college student/entrepreneur that urges me to check my email obsessively, but I know as soon as any of the fab bloggers I’m subscribed to send out an email, it’s read within the hour. Whereas I’m not checking Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest the way that I check my email.
Having that direct line of communication with someone is so valuable to growing your business. Being able to be present and say, ‘Hey, just checking in to tell you this super amazing blogging tip that will change your life‘ is going to make your readers: a.) Think you’re amazing and b.) trust you. You become your audiences online BFF when they’re seeing you in their inbox and you’re giving them fantastic, exclusive content.
You can effectively pitch yourself.
Ok, so since the beginning of time all of the ‘big players’ in the blogging game have been preaching about creating and selling your own product. (Which I’ll be doing shortly!) What better way to sell your product than pitching it to people who already know, like, and trust you? Remember how I said you’d be giving your readers fab tips and advice through your emails and basically brightening their days whenever they see you in their inbox?
Well chances are if they are loving what you’re giving out for free, they might be excited to support you by buying some of your super awesome content.
Ok, great. But how do I build my email list?
Building and email list (as I have discovered) actually isn’t too difficult at all. The number one tip I have for you is to ask people to sign up. Yep, it’s that easy.
Remember how I mentioned neglecting my email list on Mostly Morgan? Well basically my big list building strategy was slapping a subscribe form widget into the sidebar. Yep, that was it.
As soon as I launched Morgan Timm I put up a post asking people to subscribe. And you know what? They did. In fact, in these four day I more people have subscribed to Morgan Timm than I’ve had subscribe to Mostly Morgan in the past three months.
Now I know that they didn’t all come from just asking and saying please, I’m offering you something, too. And I think that is very important. You can build a list without giving anything in return, but it’s going to be a slower process and a one sided relationship.
I mean, if your readers are offering you their emails, shouldn’t you give them something in return?
What you offer is going to depend on your goals and on your niche.
Here at MT I am sending bi-weekly newsletters with exclusive blogging and business tips that readers aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else. But when I start list building for real on MM I will be focused more on college and young adulthood.
Being a tease can also help you grow your list.
You guys, if you’ve been on MM, you’re probably sick of me going on about the course I’m creating that I’m actually a bit in love with and obsessed with. I’ve packed so much love and time into it that I just know people will get a lot from it and I cannot wait to polish it up and launch. But until then y’all can sign up for my email list so I can alert you to when it goes live.
Ok, so I was a bit dramatic above, but I got my point across, and I’m sure that I got at least one or two of you to subscribe to blogging course I poured my soul into. Drama over now.
But promising your readers something amazing, letting them sign up to be alerted to when it goes live, and then delivering. Is going to be one of your greatest list building methods.
Offering content upgrades is the bomb dot com.
Ok, so this might be hypocritical as I don’t have any content upgrades yet (the tech side is a work in progress) but I know from personal experience that every single blogger I’ve subscribed to has drawn me in with either the promise of a course or an incredible content upgrades.
Content upgrades can be a lot of things: planners, guides, exclusive content, case studies, infographics, the list goes on.
Really you just want to create something supplemental (and valuable!) that goes along with your blog post.
You can also have passive forms to gather emails.
The final way I’m promoting my email list is through hello bar. If you’ve read this far chances are a slim (non-intrusive!) form has popped up on the bottom of the screen requesting your email address. The key here is that it’s small (but noticeable) and it doesn’t hinder the reader’s experience.
Personally if I click onto a blog with an annoying pop-up or any in your face opt in I will click off as quickly as I entered. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) I think it’s best to respect your reader’s time and patience by using something less in your face but equally as effective.
And make sure that your opt-in is mobile friendly! Even if it is working flawlessly on desktop, so many of your readers are going to be reading from their cellphones you want to make sure that it’s working everywhere!
There are so many ways that you can build a list, and I am sure that I haven’t even touched on half of them. But please, if nothing else, take this time to start an email list and start gathering leads because they will make all the difference in building your business.