Do you know what is the biggest mistake someone can make with their online business?
 
Social Media Promotion?
 
Learning investment?
 
Hiring a virtual assistant?
 
NOOOOOOO….not at all..
 
It is Not Building Your List.
 
If you’re a blogger, online marketer, coach, author, online business owner or basically any profession that requires you to have an online presence, you must’ve have an email list.
 
I never realized the importance of building my list until I have decided to monetize my blog. You might have heard this “ money is in the list”.
 
It is not only about making money, building and nurturing a healthy list will help you to maintain a strong relationship with your audience.

SO WHY THE HECK DO YOU EVEN NEED AN E-MAIL LIST?

Lemme list down the four benefit of building a list:

You OWN your list.

How will you get an email address? It is when somebody willingly signs up for your opt-in freebie or newsletter. What does that mean? Your subscriber gave you the permission to email them. They have shown an interest in your content and your freebie, and they want to hear from you again and again.

You can communicate directly with your list. It is very simple logic.

If you post something on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, your posts will be quickly pushed down by someone else’s newsfeed. And the result… only a few people will see your post out of your huge following.
 
But if you send an email to your list, the chance of getting it read by your subscribers are high. And the emails will be there in their inbox until they delete it. They also can mark it as important for future reference. I always do that when I find an interesting and informative email.

It will help you to build the relationship and gain trust.

Emails are personal. Even if you’re writing to a list of 10,000 people, you can and should make it feel as though you’re talking to just ONE person. E-mails are brilliant opportunity to connect with your audience and build a relationship with them, which is where the whole trust thing starts to develop. Through sending high-value emails, you can gain the trust of your subscribers.

More opportunity to be awesome and sell

If you want to sell any product or service, or want to promote affiliate products, very few people are gonna buy it the first time they come across your site. People will not buy things from whom they don’t trust. They should know
 
  • How amazing are you?
  • How valuable your content is?
  • How much can they rely on you?
  • Are your products or services worth paying?
The best way to convince your audience is through emails. Sending value-filled e-mails can be great for making sales.
 
Alright, so I think we’ve understood that why you really need an email list, yeah? So now let’s get into the whole e-mail list building part!

Choose An Email Service Provider (ESP)

An Email Service Provider is a dedicated service that helps you create, manage and grow your list.
 
You might think now WHY can’t I send emails from my Gmail account?
 
You need to adhere to marketing and anti-spam laws of your country. Sending bulk emails without an email service provider will likely mark you out as a spammer.
 
Which Email Service Provider should I choose?
 
There are many Email Service Providers available. But how will you choose the one which help you grow your business?
 
I recommend you consider few things before choosing an ESP.
 
  • Your requirements
  • Your budget
  • Your subscriber list
 
What are your requirements? Do you need to send only weekly newsletters? Do you want to send autoresponders? Do you want to segment your subscribers?
 
The next thing is how much are you willing to pay? Do you want something which offers you free service to some extent? Or Are you willing to pay up to $30/month?
 
Next thing is the number of subscribers you have any already?
 
I use MailerLite for my email marketing. It has all the features I want like Optin Form, Landing pages, easy segmentation of subscribers, Automation and many more. And the most important thing it’s completely free until you reach 1000 subscribers. Another favorite feature is the easy integration and plugin that allows me to add sign-up forms to WordPress once I created it on Mailerlite.
 
Another great option is Convertkit. It is a premium service that is popular amongst bloggers. It starts with a payment plan of $29/ month for 100 subscribers.

Create Your Optin Freebie

Now that you have a platform to use, it’s time to start getting people on your list. And you do that with opt-ins on your website.
 
What is an opt-in freebie? It is something which a person offers to her reader in exchange of an email address.
 
But opt-ins are more than just having a spot for someone to enter their name and email address. You need to give them an incentive. Why would someone give you their email address? What are they getting in return?
 
This should be something that provides value to your reader. It should be something that is educational or a resource that helps your reader to solve a problem.

How to decide what offer as an optin freebie?

When creating your opt-ins, you need to focus on the website visitor. What would they want to take their experience with your website to the next level?
 
No one is going to enter their email just for fun. We want to know what we will get in return. Because by handing your email over, you risk the chance of being blasted with emails every day! So it has to be worth it.
 

Let’s see an example:-

Your Audience – A stay at home mom who want to start a freelance writing business
Your opt-in freebie – 10 step framework to start a freelance writing business
 

Another example

 
Your Audience – A blogger who wants to promote affiliate products through her blog
Your opt-in freebie 15 point check list to get started with affiliate marketing
 
I am listing down types of optins you can create to build your list
 
  • A free download – Short Ebook, checklist, cheatsheet, workbook, planner, swipe files
  • Access to a resource – Free email course, resource library, video tutorials
  • A discount code
  • Enter a giveaway
  • A free consultation with you

Create Your Sign Up Form

Once you created your opt-in freebie, it’s time to create those sign-up form that people can fill out to join your email list.
 
Come up with something catchy and stimulating to get people in. For example, if you go with the generic “Join my newsletter and get updates” and “Subscribe now” button, you might not get the best results and appeal to people on a very personal level.
 
Use enticing headlines and persuading button text to increase sign-ups. Eg:-Join Now, Get Instant Download, Send me my checklist etc..
 
So create a sign-up form that is totally in line with your brand. Mailerlite allows you to customize the colors, fonts and buttons of all your sign up forms as well.
 
You can also create an opt-in graphic that will visually appeal to your audience and urge them to sign up and download your content upgrade!
 
You can create different embed forms for every post if you want to track which post attracts more subscribers.
 

The different types of forms you can create using Mailerlite are:

  • Popup form
  • Landing page
  • Embed form
  • Subscribe button
  • Create A Lead Page Or A Landing Page
If your freebie can stand alone, creating a landing page is a great strategy.
 
A lead page or Landing Page is a page on your website dedicated to getting people to sign up for your freebie. It has no menu and no distractions.
 
Creating a landing page will increase the percentage of sign-ups.
It will include:
 
  • An enticing headline
  • A mockup image
  • A brief description and couple of dot points about the benefit of the opt-in
  • The signup form itself
  • Submit button
Here’s a great example:

Create A Thank You Page

In addition, to a lead page, you’ll want to create a thank you page that they are directed to once they click submit.
 
This page serves two main purposes:
  • To thank your subscriber and advise them to check their inboxes and confirm subscription
  • For you to link to your Google Analytics goals so you can track your success
In addition, you could include links asking them to share on social media.
 
Once the thank you page is created you will need to go back to your email service provider and change the setting for “on submit” so that they get redirected to this URL.

Set Up Automation Series

This is another important step when it comes about email marketing. And this is one of the most important step. Simply collecting email address will not help you and your subscriber.
 
For that, you can set up an email automation workflow for your new subscribers.
 
An email automation workflow is either a single email or a series of emails you can send to new subscribers after they join a list.
 
An automated email sequence is your opportunity to start building a relationship with your new subscribers.
 
So what do you send to these strangers who sighed up on your blog?
 
With the automated email sequence, you can send:
 
  • A simple thank you email
  • A link to download your freebie
  • A welcome email series
  • Weekly newsletter
  • Weekly/monthly roundup
  • A multiple-day email course
  • A sequence of emails introducing readers to your expertise

Place Your Optin Form In All Prominent Places Of Your Website

Now that you have created your opt-in freebie, opt-in form and lead page, automation series, create a gateway for subscribers to sign up for your opt-in.
 
The lead page mentioned earlier is the main page you will refer people to when promoting your opt-in from outside sources.
 
However, you also want anyone who comes to your website for a different purpose to see the invitation too.
 
For every page on your website, you need to have several spots for someone to opt-in to your email list. So yes, having a lot of opt-ins is important!
 
You will want to include this in a number of places on your website.
 
At a minimum, you will need it somewhere on your homepage and on each of your blog posts/content pages.
 
Other places you may want to include it are:
 
  • Below the menu bar (Above the fold)
  • In your sidebar
  • In your footer
  • As a pop-up
  • Within the text of your blog posts
  • As a banner across the top of your site
  • A Welcome Mat

Create Social Media Promotional Images

Now it’s the time to create social media promotional graphics. I recommend you to create multiple graphic for the social media platforms you are in to.
 
Here are some examples
 

Promote..promote….promote

Now you have everything setup it is time to spread the word about your amazing opt-in.
 
There are tons of ways to promote your opt-in, but here are a few of the more popular ideas:
 
  • Share regularly on your social media accounts
  • Pin it on your Pinterest boards as well as group boards
  • Use a scheduler to promote on Pinterest (I use Tailwind for scheduling my pins)
  • Make it your pinned post on Facebook Page and Twitter
  • Use your Facebook or Twitter Cover Photo to promote it
  • Share in Facebook Groups
 
Do you feel overwhelmed? Confused? I know this is a lot of information. But trust me, if you want to turn your blog into a business, growing your list is a must.
 
The more you get to know your target audience, the more you can help them and you can create product or services according to their requirements.
 
So don’t hesitate. Start building your list now.
 
Have you started building your list yet?
 
Comment on your experience in list building.