Email Marketing and Bloggers
Email marketing is direct communication with your subscribers.
When someone subscribes, it is a direct invitation for you to contact them in the future. No other platform allows you to go directly into the customers INBOX! With Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram we have to work through agorithyms to (hopefully!) get in front of our audeince. There is no computer equation to work around when it comes to email marketing. Your email is sent straight to your audience.
I’m sure you can see why an email list is an important aspect of blogging. In this guide we will discuss:
How to build your list with an opt-in or “freebie”
Selecting an email provider for your email marketing
- How to add an Opt-in form to your website.
- Set up your email welcome email/ confirmation email with opt-in product
- Create automated email sequence for grouped subscribers
Below we break down each of these areas and how to best set them up to prevent any hiccups down the road.
Create an Opt-in or Freebie your Readers NEED
The best way to build your email list is with an freebie. In other words, give your future subscribers something in exchange for joining your list.
The easiest way to decide what your freebie should be is to look at what your readers are ALREADY telling you they love. What is your most popular post on your blog? How could you build upon this?
When it comes to opt-in’s, they are not one size fits all. An opt in that a fitness blogger creates for someone aiming to run a marathon might not be the best content for someone interested in the Keto diet. Each area of interest on your blog should have their own freebie.
I vividly remember racking my brain, attempting to come up with a freebie to offer. It was tough! Here’s a great question you could ask yourself to get your wheels turning: what is something your audience is paying for else where, that you could create for free? A Cook-Book? A mini course on Photography? An Organization guide? The things they are currently paying for will be the things they will gladly love to get for free 🙂
Coming up with a general idea of your freebie will be important before selecting an email provider. More on that below.
Selecting an Email Provider
Not all email providers are created equally and some offer features that will be vital to your email marketing plan. For example, if you want your opt-in to be a free 5 day course filled with holiday craft ideas, you will want an email provider who allows you to set up automation in your emails. This is not a standard feature with all email providers. Here are a few of the key questions you should be asking before committing to a provider
- Does this plan allow for unlimited emails each month? Or am I limited?
- Is automation a feature I will have access to?
- Do they provide mobile friendly templates?
- What type of integrations do they offer? Can I connect this service with my blog in order to streamline the process of list building?
- What type of analytics will I be able to see? (more on why this is important below!)
- What level of customer support to they offer? 24/7? Live Chat?
- Are there any key components of you plan that are not included in the package deal?
- Overall, what will it cost you monthly to run your email marketing plan and does this align with your budget? As your blog and your list grow, how will your cost?
There are TONS of providers to pick from. Here are a the top ones that seemed to be recommended the most by other bloggers:
- Free up to 2,000 subscribers
- Easy Drag and Drop Builder
- Automation available as of May 2017.
- TONS of templates to pick from
- Analytic Information Available
- Lack of support for free users
- No Landing Pages
- Tags not available
- Duplicate subscribers- BIG CON! Here’s the lingo straight from their website: “MailChimp treats each list in your account as a completely separate entity, and counts each subscriber toward your total subscriber count. Duplicate subscribers are included in your total subscriber count. For example, if a subscriber’s email address appears on three different lists, it is counted three times.” Considering their pricing plans are based on number of subscribers… this really sucks.
Here is a look at their pricing structure. If you want more details, use their pricing calculator.
- Free up to 1,000 subscribers
- Autoresponder even for the free edition
- Landing Pages Available
- Easy Drag and Drop Builder
- Forms Builder for PopUps and subscriber boxes
- Pricing is very competitive compared to MailChimp and ConvertKit
- Analytic Info Available
- Account will have to be approved and this may cause sometime when you are not able to use the features, however it only takes a few hours for approval.
Here’s a little insight to MailerLite pricing:
- 1,000 subscribers: Free (automation included in free plan!)
- 2,500 subscribers: $10/month
- 5,000 subscribers: $20/month
- 10,000 subscribers: $35/month
- Landing Pages Available
- Automation Available
- Analytics Available
- Front Runner when it comes to Workflow Automation and Funnels
- Paid service from day 1, most expensive out of all the options.
- Limited options with Forms builder (high HTML knowledge required to really customize)
- No template builder
Here’s a look at their pricing structure:
- 3,000 subscribers: $49/month
- 5,000 subscribers: $79/month
- 8,000 subscribers: $99/month
Again, do your research before selecting. Ask fellow bloggers for their input and their advice. It can be a headache to switch providers down the road (I’m speaking from experience here!)
Add the Opt-In Form to Your Website
Once you have selected an email provider and created an opt-in, it’s time to add your opt-in form onto your blog. There are a variety of different form types available: pop up, landing page or embedded form.
When it comes to collecting email addresses through forms, I prefer the embedded form. A pop up is a close second in terms of preference. Embedded forms are great because I have the power to place them EXACTLY where I need them within the contect. If I am offering a free meal planning template with 50+ recipes on my blog, I’m going to build up the momentum as to why meal planning is so critical to weight loss success. I’ll build up the issues some see with meal planning and how a good template can solve those problems, then BOOM, here is a template PLUS recipes to fill it in with.
My email provider of choice is MailerLite. It’s really has been one of the easiest email systems to use and I would highly recommend it.
Here is a super quick look at how simple it is to create, customize and embed the form into your blog:
The Power of Automation
In the MailerLite tutorial, we use the example of a Keto Blogger setting up a freebie of a 30-day meal plan. Once a reader opts in, they receive and email with the digital product. But then what? Obviously, a second email should be sent out. Maybe some tips for sticking to your meal plan or hacks to making meal prepping easier. But what if you are busy and not able to send out emails a week or so after they subscribe?
This is where automation comes in. And it is such a valuable tool.
Let’s continue with our example above see how email automation works.
Day 1: Subscriber Opts-in and receives freebie
Day 5: Subscriber receives support email
Day 8: Subscriber receives email with 3 top fat bomb recipes to add to their meal plan
Day 12: Subscriber receives email to join the Keto Support Facebook Group
Day 15: Subscriber receives email with the biggest mistakes made in the Keto diet
You could continue this automation for as long as you want. What’s even more great is that all of those emails are crafted and perfected just once! There is no need to go in and create new content every single week! However, it is simple to go in and add new material to the series at any time.
Here’s a very basic look at the MailerLite Automation feature:
Another commonly asked question… how often do I send emails?
This really depends on your goal of the email series. Weekly seems to be the shortest interval of time suggested for a “newsletter” type email. However, if you are setting up a “free seven day email series”, then emails will be sent every day for a week.
What to Send your Subscribers
Even with the power of automation, it can still be tough to come up with all the content for your series. Start by asking yourself what the main goal is for the series. Is it to drive traffic back to your blog? Is it to make a sale of a digital product you offer? Start with the end goal and work your way backwards.
Here are a few “types” of emails you could use to get your wheels turning!
- The Myth Breaker Email- What topic needs to be set straight in your niche?
- Free Tools and Resources- Gather up a list of freebies that complement each other and solve a collective problem your niche may have
- The Most Asked Questions Email- Is there a common theme among the comments in your post? Chances are more people are wondering!
- Round Up Emails- Collect your favorite things surrounding a topic that interest your niche. Showcase 3 or 4 but save the best for the blog post you want them to read!
- The Highlighter Email- What blog post is the most popular on your blog? How can you highlight it in a way that will drive those who have not read it to check it out?
Email Marketing Analytics
As with any part of blogging, tracking email marketing analytics is crucial.
This is one of the BIG things I LOVE about MailerLite. I am able to see the open rate, click rate and even unsubscribe rate for each email.
Anytime I see a low open rate, I know my title might need tweeking or I need to analyze my last email to make sure it left my readers with valuable information (if it didn’t that might be why they are not compelled to open my latest email!).
If I have a low click through rate, I know I have not created enough momentum leading to the call to action.
The analytics let me know what is working and what needs imporvement.
A few last things to keep in mind when it comes to email marketing:
- Keep them short and sweet. They should not be a full blog post length story, but the content should be just as compelling as the title and lead them to think “I have to know more!” Too much material for them to read may have them clicking out of your email before they even get to their intended final destination.
- Include social media follow options in emails. Readers may decide after receiving your first email that they love you even more and want to follow along! Again, make this compelling. Put a fun title above your links: “I just posted a ton of pictures from behind the scenes in my kitchen while making this recipe, follow along on my Instagram” will always perform better than ” Follow me on Instagram”.
- DO NOT include Amazon Affiliate links in your emails. You CAN include a link to a blog post which includes affiliate links, but direct links in an email is a big Amazon no-no.
- A frequently asked question I receive: Do you have a PO box for your email marketing. YES! I do. There are certain anti-spam laws in place that require you have a mailing address listed on your emails. I was not comfortable listing my home address and sending it to thousands of people.
Have any other tips you’d like to share? Comment below!