In our 3-part series on blogging we discussed the process of blogging as a business model and in that series it was very briefly mentioned that using your blog to build an email list is something which should absolutely be done. Today let’s see how to build an email list for your blog.
Before We Discuss Anything In Detail…
It’s going to be assumed you already have, or will soon have a blog of your own set up and ready to roll. If you don’t then you may wish to go back and check out the other posts to get a few ideas to help you with that process.
What you’re going to need is an email management system, something like Aweber for example.
If you don’t yet have an account with Aweber you’re going to want to get one for this. You can use the Free trial period for a whole month so this little experiment won’t even cost you anything extra to implement and test, how convenient is that?
Paint By Numbers or Draw Outside The Lines?
The fact of the matter is that there just is no “one size fits all” in every case. You can take a proven business model and copy it and it will usually work but the little detail you won’t usually hear is the fact that markets and methods change to adapt to the current times. If you don’t adapt with it you will be left behind.
Something we strive for in Powerhouse Affiliate is keeping up to date on all the latest and greatest methods and techniques to not only ensure our own success in this booming industry but to also more importantly ensure the success of our wonderful students and affiliates!
Setup Your Aweber Account
The reason we talk about Aweber as opposed to any of the alternatives is simply because it’s the autoresponder platform that we use so we know a whole lot about it.
You’re going to need a working phone number when you sign up for your free trial account as well as a working credit or DEBIT card. You’re not actually going to be charged for anything when you sign up unless you wish to keep using the service. (Just make sure you contact their support and cancel your account before the 30 days is up… mark it on your calendar.)
Once your account is active you’ll need to be sure that you have a valid address on file as this is something necessary to stay compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act.
If you’d like to watch a video on how to properly set up your account once you’ve started your trial period of 30 days then you can watch the Introductory video on the help page of Aweber’s website:
Everything is pretty straight forward and it’s best to always ask for help with any technical issues from the Aweber support team as it is their platform and they are far more knowledgeable and capable of helping with most tech related issues than anyone else.
Something which is very important to take note of is the “from” field within Aweber’s list details. When you send emails to your subscribers from Aweber those messages will show any email address you specify (so long as you can verify it as your own) which means you’ll want to use an email address you have created from your blog or website’s domain name. If you don’t yet have something like this set up it would be a good idea to look into how it’s done by searching something like:
Of course you should use whichever hosting provider you have an account with, but the idea remains the same. Search for how to make an email account with your hosting provider and you will most certainly come across lots of information to guide you through the process.
Design Your Autoresponder Series
It’s a good idea to first get any messages you want in your autoresponder already set up. Inside Aweber this is called the “Legacy Follow-Up Series” just to avoid any potential confusion. In order to do this you will first need to create a Draft Email Message which will then be assigned to your legacy followup series. This article isn’t meant to be an instruction manual for Aweber so to keep it simple I’ll link you to their official help documentation to set this up. The great thing about Aweber is they’re very helpful when dealing with their customers and they have super simple help documents and videos to get you on the right path.
Some things you must keep in mind when creating an autoresponder series are:
- What will your very 1st message say to brand new subscribers?
- What is the purpose of your autoresponder series?
- Is this particular series temporary or semi-permanent?
The very first email sent out to your new subscribers must be direct & to the point. If you’ve offered some sort of lead bait then you must deliver it along with a short blurb about what it is, why they’re getting it and what they can expect in the future for joining your list. This introductory message is quite possibly the most important so be sure it makes sense and try to keep it fairly simple.
If you’d like more quick and simple tutorials on the Aweber platform itself (the technical aspects) then take a look at this quick search I performed which helps you get right to the point.
When considering what the purpose of your email list is meant to fulfill you need to take into account why people sign up and what they expect from it:
- Is it a newsletter?
- Is it a vehicle to promote affiliate offers directly?
- Is it a combination of the above two?
Having an email list can serve many purposes but the most important is keeping in touch with your subscribers and controlling the flow of traffic through sending emails. A lot of marketers refer to email marketing as “cheap traffic” and though that can certainly be true in the longrun, it does take work and dedication to build a list up to that point.
A great way to get ideas about what you could do for your own email marketing campaigns is to sign up to a bunch of lists within your target market and see how other marketers run their lists. This isn’t so you can copy them but instead to gather inspiration for your own ideas.
Making Your Sign Up Forms
Something we need to discuss quickly is the concept of Double Opt-In vs. Single Opt-in. Now, the quality of your list will be higher if you use a Double Opt-in and this is simply because it forces anyone who signs up to your list to confirm they indeed do want to be apart of your list by making them open an email message and then clicking on a confirmation link. For those who initially sign up to your list and then do NOT confirm, they’ll simply be left alone and never actually added to your list, nor will they be contacted by you again unless they opt-in in the near future.
A lot of marketers used to dislike the double opt-in feature as it does drastically cut down on the number of subscribers which wind up on your list which can seem bad at first. However, in recent years with the fact that spam emails have become so common there are now measures in place to make email marketing more difficult which could mean your list might suffer if you don’t guard it. It will be up to you, the marketer to test these things and see what methods work best for you but for now just know that unless you are building a list with the intent of perhaps pushing the envelope in terms of aggressively promoting… you probably don’t want want to use single opt-ins these days. Again, it’s worth testing, but in some cases you’re better off with a smaller, yet much more responsive list.
Typically you don’t need to collect anything more than just the subscriber’s name and email address. In many cases you don’t even need a name. There are a lot of split opinions on the subject of using names within your emails or not, both sides make valid arguments for or against this practice so again it really comes down to testing as do most things in the marketing realm.
In order to get the best opt-in rate from your forms you’ll want to create something which offers something for free and the way somebody get’s this is to sign up and then have it emailed to them.
The ad copy of your sign up forms should be very simple and to the point. It must be evident what the person reading your form is going to be signing up for, in other words what your opt-in bait is offering. If you have a helpful ebook with some tips to make someone’s life easier for any particular reason then state it in your opt-in form ad copy. Tell them precisely what it is you’re offering and keep it simple.
Optimal Blog Placement
Knowing where to put your opt-in forms is important as they must be seen in order to be used by anybody. In many cases you’re going to find blogs love to use the lightbox style which is a form that pops up directly on top of the entire blog and basically forces you to look at it. This is typically the highest converting type of form and for good reason, it’s forces you to look at it.
There will be instances where this type of form is not appropriate but it’ll be up to you to try things out and see what works best.
There’s almost no limit to all the possible places on a blog or website one could place opportunities to sign up for a list. Instead of making your head spin with all the potential what we’ll do is link you to a handy Google Search which will help you decide on placement for forms yourself.
Have a look at the search results and take it all in then make up for yourself which ones seem like the right fit for your individual situation.
Learn Email Marketing
We actually teach this stuff through a completely comprehensive course which is all about email marketing and it’s included in our “One price to get them all” membership plan. We used to charge members for individual courses based on what they wanted to learn but over the years we discovered that it works best when everything is given to you without restriction so that’s just what we’ve done… nothing is off limits now, it’s all available to you if you’d like to check it out for yourself.
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