When you’re a blogger or starting a tiny business, knowing how to start an email list is essential. Your email list will be the life blood of your business. It needs to be nurtured from Day 1.
Why? Because it’s your direct contact with your customers. A chance for you to build a relationship over time and essential if you want to make money blogging. Read on to find out why you need an email list and how to set one up.
Why You Need An Email List
For more expensive products your email list is a way of building trust with your customers, trust which is essential for selling.
People still read emails. They may not read ALL emails but if you’re providing relevant information and adding value, customers will look out for your missive.
An email list is something you own. You can have a tonne of social media
contacts but these platforms come and go, change their rules and suddenly the hard work you’ve put in goes up in smoke.
A quality list of people, genuinely interested in your brand will pay dividends. With my last eCommerce business, sending a missive to 25,000 people every week was my biggest source of revenue.
How To Set Up Your Email List
To collect email subscribers and send out newsletters, you need an email marketing service. There are lots of options but these are the main ones used by bloggers…
Mailchimp has a forever free plan for less than 2000 subscribers.
I used Mailchimp for years and it’s a robust system. It’s mainly aimed at eCommerce and Business to Business, (B2B). Compared with other providers I do find it difficult to use.
You can’t edit sign up forms easily and you have keep opening and closing windows when you’re working on a sequence of emails. Yet it’s free starting out, which is a good plus and you can pay for a plugin to build better looking forms with Ninja Mail.
I recommend you set up your email list with Mailchimp when you’re starting out. However there is a proviso. Mailchimp has quite a vague policy around affiliate marketing.
It seems that adding affiliate links in your newsletter campaigns is acceptable provided this isn’t the main focus of your newsletters but their policy is a concern.
I suggest you start out using ConvertKit from the get-go if affiliate
marketing or sponsored products is an important part of your strategy.
I switched to ConvertKit a few months after I started this blog. It has a ton of benefits if you’re selling digital products. It’s easier to segment your list and build automated sequences.
The extra benefits come at a price starting at $29/month. ConvertKit will help transfer your subscribers from Mailchimp. I suggest you set up your email list with Mailchimp when you’re new to blogging and transfer to ConvertKit when you’re starting to get traffic.
Both providers have detailed knowledge bases to help you get started but I’ll walk you through the basics for both services.
How To Set Up Your Email List With MailChimp
Step #1 Sign up for an Account with Mailchimp.
Step #2 Set up Your List by following these instructions. The link will walk you through the details but you simply select LIST from the header once you’ve created an account, click CREATE LIST and follow the instructions.
You need to decide if you require Double Opt and GDPR settings. The GDPR settings are relevant if you’re likely to attract visitors from the EU.
Step #3 In your Mailchimp account Go to LIST > SIGNUP FORMS and select the Embedded Forms option. Here you can generate the code required to embed a Mailchimp form directly on your site wherever you want it.
Step #4 Go to your WordPress dashboard. Go to Appearance > Customise > Widgets and select where you want to add your form. I have a sign up form in my Primary Sidebar.
Add the Custom HTML widget into one of your widget areas. Paste the Mailchimp Embedded Forms code in the content box and SAVE.
Congratulations you now have a signup form for your blog! Take a look at your blog and check how the form looks.
You can also add forms in pages and posts using a Custom HTML block.
Here’s an example of how it will look:
Mailchimp does work really well for image rich eCommerce promotions and I used it for years to promote products in my eCommerce store.
However, not all browsers support images and it’s often better to send out plain text emails to subscribers. These can be more effective.
As your business grows, the cost difference of Mailchimp vs ConvertKit is minimal. I had around 25,000 subscribers with my last business which would cost just over $200/month with both services.
Mailchimp is still a little cheaper but not by much. It depends on your sector but ConvertKit is the better choice for blogging.
How To Set Up Your Email List With ConvertKit
Step #1 Sign up for an Account with ConvertKit.
Step #2 Dive into the ConvertKit Knowledge Base . ConvertKit covers the set up process brilliantly and even provides tips to writing your first emails.
Access all the information you’ll ever need by clicking the ? on the top right hand side of the Toolbar. Beginners Guide To Forms is a great place to start.
You can easily customize forms to match your blog design and embed the form in your website.
If you want to embed a form into a page (or post) go to your WordPress
dashboard. Go to Page > All Pages. Select a page and click edit. Add the Custom HTML block.
Paste the ConvertKit HTML Embed code in the content box and SAVE.
Alternatively you can install the ConvertKit WordPress Plugin and add the shortcode provided under the WordPress tab.
All the forms on this blog were created quickly and easily using ConvertKit. You can easily add forms to your Primary Sidebar, to post footers or part-way down a page.
Constant Contact is a terrific option if you need to send out newsletters for an eCommerce store or if you want to send an image rich newsletter for a magazine style blog. Unlike ConvertKit, Constant Contact has a range of templates for promoting products and an easy way to link to your blog posts.
It’s an easy to use platform with a drag and drop editor. Create professional looking newsletters quickly and wow your followers.
Constant Contact is known for good delivery for emails – you want to make sure your emails are reaching your customers!
Conclusion – How To Start An Email List
There’s so much going on when you start a blog and it’s very easy to neglect how to start an email list. It’s yet another item on your to-do list.
I really suggest you make it a priority. Set your email list up and you can gradually learn more about how to capture signups for your list.