How to build an email list

You want to make money from your blog but you have no idea where to start?

Let me guess, you’re probably thinking about (or already) using affiliate links in your blog posts. It’s a good way to make an income from blogging but you need lots of traffic to make any decent earnings. What if I told you that there was a different way to make money from blogging that didn’t require a ton of traffic?

Let me introduce you to email lists. You’ve probably heard a little about building email lists. It’s a strategy a lot of bloggers now use to gain subscribers. Why? Well, there are two reasons for why you should consider building an email list;

*You own your email list. It’s not subject to algorithms or bots. I have managed to build up over 11,000 subscribers on Bloglovin, but if the platform closed tomorrow, I’d be back to zero. In other words, it essentially means nothing. With an email list, you can download your subscribers’ email details in a CSV file and take those to any email provider you choose.

*It’s also much easier to monetise your blog with an email list – you don’t even need to have lots of followers elsewhere or have tonnes of blog traffic. Use affiliate links or create your own products to sell – having an email list is a valuable marketing tool.

So, how can you build an email list on any type of blog?

How to build an email list – a beginners guide!

Choose an email provider

Before you start to think about getting subscribers, you need to decide on the email provider you’re going to use. I use ConvertKit which I love as its so easy to use. You can draft and send emails quickly, tag subscribers in different lists to organise your list and create varying forms to capture email subscribers. ConvertKit also delivers all of your emails so you don’t have to worry about your subscribers not receiving your newsletters or free downloads. *BLACK FRIDAY OFFER – you can get a free 30 day trial of ConvertKit if you sign up now*

Convertkit is a paid email management service so think about your budget when setting up your email list. If you’re on a tight budget then you might want to opt for a free option like MailChimp. I used Mailchimp when I first started and for me, it just didn’t cut it due to email delivery issues and its complex system. However, as your subscribers grow, you will need to pay for Mailchimp as its only free for your first 2000 subscribers. I prefer ConverKit as it makes growing and sending an email list less daunting and I find the overall look of the capture boxes more professional.

Get a PO Box or alternate address

By law, you need to include your address in your emails. Obviously, you don’t want to use your home address as this could create all kinds of problems. To get around this, you could use a PO box or alternate address. If you use ConvertKit, you are allowed to use their address in your emails. If you’re using a different email provider, you’ll need to use something like a virtual PO box for an address. If you’re in the UK, you can use UK Postbox for free.

Create a sign-up form

Once you’ve set everything up, its time to collect email addresses by creating a sign-up form. If you’re planning on writing a weekly newsletter then you’ll probably want to put a sign-up form where readers can easily find it – somewhere like your sidebar, the bottom or top of your website or in your blog posts. You can create sign-up forms with your email provider and copy the coding to paste them on your website.

Grow your subscribers with a lead magnet

Unless you have a lot of readers, you’ll probably find it a struggle to grow your email list with a newsletter. One of the best ways to grow your subscribers is with a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a freebie for your readers in exchange for their email address. For example, my lead magnet is currently my free blog planner. On my other blog, Diary of a Freelancer, my lead magnet is a free email course. Your lead magnet needs to be something of high value that your audience needs. Think about your niche and what your readers might be looking for. If you write a food blog, this could be a recipe e-book. If you have a beauty blog, this could be a free guide on how to find the best foundation for your skin type. While your lead magnet might take time to create, it’s going to be at the forefront of your email marketing strategy – make sure you have a sign-up form on your homepage and in other places on your blog. You’re going to have to promote your lead magnet to ensure your readers can see and sign up for it. It’s also a good way to entice new readers to find out more about you – if they enjoy your lead magnet, it’s more likely that they’re going to check out your other content. You can easily create things like digital downloads and e-books in Canva – a free graphic design platform.

Grow your subscribers with a content upgrade

Another way to grow your subscribers is with a content upgrade. A content upgrade serves as an additional resource to a blog post. For instance, one of my blog posts on how to create magnetic blog post titles contains a content upgrade with 53 blog post titles. A content upgrade works in the same way as a lead magnet, except that it relates to a particular blog post. So, if you’re writing a blog post on your favourite cleansers, you could include a guide to finding the perfect cleanser as your content upgrade. A content upgrade could be a list, worksheet, challenge, printable, swipe file, tutorial or cheat sheet. Again, you’ll need to use a sign-up form on your blog post so your readers can receive your free content upgrade. You don’t need to make a content upgrade for every blog post – you could use the same content upgrade for similarly themed blog posts, for example.

Keep in contact with your list

One of the biggest mistakes I made when starting an email list was to not send emails. Once you’ve started getting email subscribers, it’s a good idea to nurture your email list by sending them regular emails. This could be a weekly newsletter offering valuable information or it could be regular emails detailing your content upgrades and blog posts. Don’t worry about getting unsubscribers – it’s completely natural to have unsubscribers when sending emails to your list. Some people may only sign up for a free guide or lead magnet. These people aren’t interested in your ‘brand’ or what you have to potentially sell. Concentrate your energy on providing value to those who are interested in what you have to say.

Have you started an email list yet?