When you’re a blogger knowing how to start an email list is an essential way to create extra income. Your email list can become the lifeblood of your business, driving affiliate and product sales. Nurture it and thrive.
Why? Because it’s your direct contact with your customers. A chance for you to build a relationship over time and essential for most money making blogs. Read on to find out why you need an email list and how to get started.
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 ton 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 blog will pay dividends and can easily become your biggest source of revenue.
Email Marketing Providers
Your choice of email marketing providers will depend on what you need from the service. I’ve listed some of the best email marketing providers below. I suggest you check out their full list of features and decide what you need before signing up.
Do you need to send image rich newsletters? Is segmentation important? What about downloading freebies? Or do you need an abandoned cart feature for selling products? When you’re ready, make the most of my deals specially negotiated for Simply Hatch readers!
This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
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!
Getting Started With Email Marketing
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to selecting your email marketing service provider. Start off with how you want your emails to look. Do you want your newsletters to be mainly text or do you want a choice of terrific looking templates to showcase your images and products?
Now images are great. Most of us are very visual people but think about this before you make a quick decision. Many email clients such as Outlook will block images in newsletters for your privacy protection. You have to agree to download them. Suddenly that terrific template doesn’t look quite so good.
For most bloggers, setting up automated email sequences, being able to offer freebie downloads and segmenting lists are a high priority. You want landing pages to grow your list rapidly and the ability to tailor your emails to your customers interests. ConvertKit is the ideal choice. A platform designed for bloggers and creators by… bloggers and creators!
If you’re selling a wide range of physical products online or maybe you have a magazine style blog with lots of image rich articles, your needs for your email list provider will be very different.
Maybe you need to send abandoned cart notifications. (A must-have feature for store owners). Or perhaps send details of up-coming events and add trackable coupons.
With a magazine-style blog your template newsletters need to be fresh and visually appealing. A drag and drop editor allows you to up-date your newsletters quickly to inspire your readers.
Constant Contact is a terrific choice for eCommerce stores and magazine-style blogs. It’s a platform with a huge presence and it’s going to be compatible with most applications.
Combined with their excellent support and a packed list of features, Constant Contact should be on your radar if you’re a small business looking for an email list provider.
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 with a simple form. You can gradually learn more about how to capture signups for your list as you become more competent at blogging.