If you’ve been a blogger for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve been through your share of ups and downs in terms of web traffic. That’s the reality when you depend on Google for all of the visitors your blog receives. Some months, it feels like everything you write immediately lands on Google’s first page. Other months, Google’s ranking algorithm never seems to smile on you, and you begin to wonder if your blog is ever going to be on top again.
How would you like to stop depending on a search engine with ranking algorithms that you can’t control or understand? Wouldn’t it be a great thing to control your own traffic to a certain extent, so it no longer hurts quite as much when your rankings aren’t doing so well? That’s exactly what a mailing list does. A mailing list makes it possible for you to reach out directly to your readers instead of waiting for them to come to you, and when you have the ability to do that, the possibilities are endless.
Why Should Your Blog Have a Mailing List?
Your blog should have a mailing list because a mailing list is a traffic source that you control. It’s the only traffic source you can control, in fact. Google has its own ranking algorithm, and there’s no way to tell whether something that you write will end up on the first page. Even on social media, your followers may not always see your posts because social networks are advertising networks first and foremost. They’re set up to prioritize paid content.
What’s the result of having more traffic? It’s very simple: You’ll earn more money.
Now, at this point, you might be asking: “What if I don’t sell anything on my blog? I don’t have an e-commerce site like Vape Juice. I’m just posting content and hoping people will read it. I’m not blogging to make money.”
Although you might be sharing your content for free right now, that might not always be the case. Once your blog begins to generate significant traffic, you’re leaving a large amount of money on the table if you don’t monetize. Blogging could even end up becoming your full-time job. You might eventually decide that you’d like to release a product like an e-book. Maybe you’d like to ask your regular readers to sponsor you on a site like Patreon. If you want to take a major step like that, you’ll want to announce it to your readers – and to do that, you’ll need a mailing list.
How to Add a Mailing List to Your Blog
Some bloggers assume that starting a mailing list isn’t for them because they aren’t technically inclined and don’t think that they’d be able to figure out how to manage the list successfully. Adding a mailing list to your blog, though, is much easier than you might think. If you know how to use a blogging platform like WordPress, you already know just about everything you need to know about managing a mailing list because the interface is going to look very similar to what you already use every day.
To start a mailing list, you’ll first need to create an account with an email marketing provider. MailChimp is one popular option. You won’t have to pay anything unless you have a very large mailing list or send newsletters constantly. By the time your list is large enough that you need to pay for the email marketing provider, the list should generate enough revenue that it pays for itself.
Once you’ve created an account, the email marketing provider will give you a snippet of code that you can copy and paste into your blog. The signup widget for your mailing list will appear where you paste the code. When people enter their information into the widget, you’ll gain subscribers. It’s that simple.
Getting people to give you their email addresses, however, isn’t quite so simple.
How to Grow Your Mailing List
You use the Internet every day, and you see signup forms for mailing lists constantly. It’s probably extremely rare for you to give your email address away, because you’re not exactly in a hurry to receive more advertisements. If you’re going to give someone your email address, you’d better get something in return – right? Well, your readers are the same way.
As a blogger, there are two reward strategies that you can use to grow your mailing list rapidly.
- Offer a content upgrade. If you have a successful blog post that’s full of useful information and generates consistent traffic, create a PDF file with even more information that people will find useful if they enjoyed the blog post. Offer the PDF as an instant download for anyone who signs up for your mailing list.
- Offer a random giveaway. If you happen to review products on your blog, it’s likely that you receive samples on a regular basis. After you’ve written your reviews, you probably have no further use for those samples – so give them away. If you don’t publish product reviews on your blog, give away an Amazon gift card each month instead. Since just about everyone uses Amazon, it’s like giving away money – and you can write it off as a business expense. To discourage people from losing interest and unsubscribing, tell your subscribers that they’ll be eligible to win any giveaway as long as they remain members of your mailing list.
Making Your Mailing List a Success: Final Tips
We’ll leave you with some final words of advice about how to get the most out of your mailing list. First, you should not expect your mailing list to be a significant revenue generator until you have thousands of subscribers. That’s because the typical click-through rates for email marketing newsletters are quite low. Using the reward strategies outlined above, it won’t take long to build up a large subscriber base if your blog receives a good amount of traffic each day.
Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that your mailing list generates a high rate of engagement.
- When you create a newsletter, make sure that the headline will grab subscribers’ attention. If the headline isn’t interesting, no one will open the newsletter.
- Your newsletter always needs to provide value. There’s nothing worse than clicking an engaging headline only to find that the newsletter doesn’t deliver the goods. If your subscribers feel like that’s happening to them, they’ll unsubscribe or stop reading.
- Don’t send newsletters so frequently that people begin deleting them without even looking at them. Once people begin ignoring your newsletters, it’s very difficult to regain their attention.