What Exactly is an Email List —And How To Get Started

What is an email list and how to get startedYou’ve probably heard the expression dozens of times… “you need an email list.” Sounds good, but what exactly is an email list?

In this post, I will share with you what an email list is and how to get started:

What Is an Email List?

First, let’s be clear that by “list” we’re talking about an email list that consists of your targeted audience. They came to be on your list because they signed up for it because they were interested in you and your offerings.

A list is housed via an email service such as Aweber, Convertkit, or ActiveCampaign. You own the list and you can build it in many ways.

Disclosure: Any affiliate links earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to buy after clicking.

Why building an email list is important?

Many bloggers don’t realize the importance of building an email list when they’re first starting out.

Here are some reasons why building an email list is so important:

  1. You have full control
  2. Get returning visitors
  3. Email is personal
  4. Email builds trust
  5. Provide targeted information
  6. You’ll make more money

What Do You Need to Start Building an Email List?

By now, you know the importance of building an email list and why ignoring it can be a BIG mistake.

So let’s discuss what you need to start building your own email list.

3 Things You Need to Build an Email List:

  • An email marketing service
  • Opt-in Freebie
  • High-converting opt-in forms

All these are easy to set up, and none of them need programming or design skills.

A Good Email Service Provider

There are a lot of email service providers available out there that are free and paid.  Often new bloggers use the free option to save cost, which is understandable.

However, in my experience, ConvertKit is the best choice for new bloggers.  Here’s why:

  • It’s an email service provider that offers a headache-free user experience. This means you can do your everyday email marketing tasks, without a ton of effort.
  • Converkit makes marketing automation very accessible to even non-techie people. This means is that you can easily create a free email course and deliver freebies to help you grow your blog.

You can try out ConvertKit for an entire month for free. Yes, that’s an affiliate link but I truly believe it’s one of the best email service providers for bloggers. Especially if you are a non-techie who wants to automate your email marketing.

Opt-in Freebie

Now that you have a good email service provider, the next thing you must figure out is this: what can you giveaway?
If you want your readers to sign up for your email list, you need to offer them an incentive.
This is what we call a lead magnet or opt-in freebie. A lead magnet usually solves a problem of your ideal customer.

How to create a lead magnet?

To develop a lead magnet, think of how you can expand on blog posts to create a more in-depth, valuable resource. Depending on the topic, consider using checklists, cheat sheets, and other items to help your ideal audience. Factor in the needs of your audience segments.
Also, consider where individuals are in the buying cycle to create highly targeted lead magnets.
  • Content Upgrades – In most blog posts, there are bits of information you can expand on. Instead of making another post, make a lead magnet available only to your subscriber. This adds perceived value to the content offer. It also enables new subscribers to test-drive your items, risk-free. (You can set this up EASY with ThriveLeads…😉)
  • Cheat Sheets / Check Lists – If the post is about doing something, you can make an easy checklist or cheat sheet for them to use. Turn it into a PDF set it up so that you have to collect an email address to get the PDF.
  • eBooks / eReports – When you have a general overview blog post, you can expand on the details and steps within a lead magnet. Consider creating a series of ebooks and reports for the beginner level, the intermediate level, and the advanced level users. This can help to convert subscribers to buyers.
  • Webinars – Hosting webinars is a great way to collect email addresses. Most people don’t think of them as lead magnets. In exchange for an email address, provide them with a webinar that promises to give them answers to questions as well as solutions to a problem. Live attendees frequently receive bonus resources.

The idea of the lead magnet is to help them with information or a first step to how to solve their problem. The paid product or service you are offering after sign-up is where they will get the complete solution.

High-converting opt-in forms

Now that you have a freebie, you need to put these opt-in forms on your blog to get some subscribers.
You must give careful thought and consideration to your form placement options. Each location choice must be supported by a sound marketing strategy. Also, it should be based on your audience’s preferences and measurable behaviors.
Each reader’s viewing experience is different due to the device used and their personal setup. If they don’t see your main offer and opt-in form immediately, it won’t do much for you.

But, where do you put these forms?

According to Derek Halpern, there are seven high-converting places on your blog to add an opt-in form.

  • the featured box
  • top of the sidebar
  • after a single post
  • the footer of your website
  • on your about page
  • the little bar across the top of your site (also known as hello bar)
  • the dreaded lightbox pop up

Are you ready to build an email list?

Back when I was a social media manager, I focused on building my client’s email list. I’ve helped them build their list from 0-300k and yet I neglected building mine.
Back then, I relied heavily on social media. I didn’t want emails. I wanted hot leads… because more leads meant more revenue for me.
How dumb, right?
Today, I believed building an email list is one of the smartest things you could do to grow your business.
Are you ready to build your own email list?
Start with ConvertKit today.

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