A quick assessment of some of the most popular blogs on the Internet should reveal the fact that most of them are intent on collecting email addresses from subscribers. The reason for this is obvious of course, because the point of many of these blogs is to convert that communication into a business which is sustainable. In order to do that, it’s necessary to build an email list of potential customers. You too, can use your new blog to build your own list of possible clients, who will then become supporters for your business.
In order to get set up to build your email list, you’ll need to have a blog, an email service provider, and a marketing tool for your emails. The email service provider will equip you with the means to collect, store and distribute emails to those individuals on your list. There are a number of good options you can choose for an email provider, but one of the best is MailChimp, which is the only company offering a free plan up to a threshold of 2,000 email subscribers.
This would be a good way to get your business started, and if it turns out that you achieve greater success, you can simply pay MailChimp for that next level of service. Some kind of email marketing tool will help you to create professional-looking forms from which you can collect emails. You may not have to spend additional money on an email marketing tool if that capability is already built in by your provider (which it is, on MailChimp). However, if you do purchase a marketing tool, you’ll enjoy the many different kinds of forms, customizations, and designs that you can use for your emails. One of the best of these is a tool called Sumo, which only costs about $25 per month.
Begin collecting emails
Once you reach this point, you can begin collecting your emails via your blog, although you’ll need to decide on some kind of opt-in incentive before you get going. If you’re not familiar with an opt-in incentive, that’s what you will be offering users in exchange for their email address, and this will be necessary because most users simply will not surrender their email address for nothing. Just asking a user for their email address will probably get you a very low return, even if you have relevant and meaningful information contained in your periodic blogs.
A better idea would be to offer a free e-book on a topic of relevance to your target audience, and you can do this simply by typing the content into a word processor and saving it in PDF format. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of creating an e-book, you can create a one or two-page document which contains bullet points that might have great value to your target audience. This might be something like how to stay on an interesting new diet, or how to save money for retirement.
Placement of your forms
There’s a lot you can do with the way that you collect emails from users, and you can test out which method works best for your blog by experimenting with several of them over a period of time. For someone starting out with a brand-new blog, the ideal collection strategy for your form is probably just to use a popup with a dedicated landing page, or a sidebar form.
Your popup should be invoked just as a user is about to press the Back button and leave your page. This has proven to be a very successful approach, and it increases conversion rates dramatically over conventional pop-ups. It’s also far less annoying for readers of your blog. Your dedicated landing page should simply be a full page which requests the user to provide their email address, in exchange for whatever you have decided on for your opt-in incentive.
There should be no other distractions on the landing page, and users should only have two choices: to enter their email address, or to hit the Back button. This too is a very successful proven strategy, and that’s why you should link to this page from within your blog as often as you can.
The sidebar form is probably the most frequently used method for collecting email addresses, and the majority of blogs will have these kinds of forms on their sidebar. They don’t have the same success rate as dedicated landing pages coupled with pop-ups, but it’s still a very easy access form which users can see displayed on all pages. By using one of these two methods for collecting email addresses, you should have no trouble gathering a significant number of addresses which you can use to get your business up and running.
The type of emails you should send
For a person starting out with a new blog, you should focus on sending out the types of email which include updates on any new blog posts you are developing or have already posted. Every time you publish something new, you should send that information out to your email list, and you should include a link to the blog you’ve put posted most recently. The point of this is to consistently drive traffic to your blog, and hopefully to generate a number of shares, comments, and links to the new page.
Perhaps even more importantly, this will help to keep your list active, and will allow you to stay in touch with users on that list, while also providing them with valuable content. The worst thing you could do is collect a huge email list, and then never follow up with all those individuals, because they will certainly forget all about you.
What you should be trying to achieve is a connection with each of the users on your list, such that when they see your name in their email inbox, they will instantly recognize it and know who you are. Because you’re providing them with something of value in each of your emails, and not necessarily trying to sell them anything, your emails will be better received. This in turn, will increase their receptivity when you are ready to sell them something, and you’ll find that your audience is much more willing to listen and to then make a purchase.