As a blogger, you spend countless hours (and maybe a few sleepless nights & tears) creating content for yourself and others. But how can you ensure that your readers return to your site on a regular basis? And how can you bring new readers to your blog?
In a nutshell, email marketing allows you to communicate with people who elect to sign up to receive messages from you. You can send them new blog posts, company updates and more information that might be valuable to them.
And when you do that, you can develop loyal blog readers, reach new ones and even monetize your content.
While there are a myriad of ways to connect with your blog readers, email marketing is often the cornerstone for many successful blogs. And we’re confident that it’ll help you establish the right foundation for taking your blog to the next level.
Imagine this scenario for a minute.
Someone ends up on your blog after a friend shares an article with them. They read your post, share it on Twitter, and then never return. That connection is lost forever, or until they happen to come across another piece of your content in the future.
Here’s what that situation would look like if you had an email marketing strategy.
Someone ends up on your blog after a friend shares an article with them. They read your post and share it on Twitter. After noticing a sign up form to receive more blog updates from you, they enter their name and email address. Every time you send out an email, they read a recent blog post or two and share the ones they like with friends on Twitter.
After months of receiving your content, you become one of their top bloggers that they follow and tell others about. And they sign up to your email list as a result. And the cycle continues.
Now that you have a growing and loyal fanbase, you begin selling eBooks and other products to your email list. Since you’ve given your subscribers a reason to trust you and enjoy your content, they see the value in your paid content. After buying it, they might even share it with others.
With email marketing, you have a chance to extend the connection with your readers beyond a single blog post.
Here are some additional benefits of email marketing:
Unlike other types of marketing that are difficult to measure, you can determine the ways in which your email efforts are impacting your blog by reviewing data, such as open rates, click-through rates, traffic to your blog and more.
Email marketing delivers a return of 4,200 percent and is more cost-effective than other forms of marketing.
61% of consumers prefer to be contacted by companies through email. When someone gives you their email address, they’re telling you that they’re interested in the content you have to send them, such as recent blog posts. This gives you the chance to build a relationship with that person and get their feedback to help you take your blog to the next level.
Considering that most people prefer to communicate with brands through the inbox, email marketing is a no-brainer. So what are you waiting for?
There are a number of ways to encourage people to subscribe to your email list. In this post, we’ll cover the easiest and most effective tactics you can use to grow your blog audience with email marketing.
The first step to collecting new email subscribers is creating your sign up form and adding it to your blog.
A sign up form (also referred to as an opt-in form) is where your blog readers will submit their email address to receive your emails. Typically, it lives in the header or sidebar of a web page. Or you can have it display over the content on your page (this is known as a pop up or lightbox form). As a blogger, you want to make sure that your form doesn’t interrupt your readers’ experience with your content.
You might also want to consider a form that slides in from the side of the screen on individual blog posts. This way, you can get your email list in front of people who just got a taste of your content and want more.
So what should you write in your sign up form?
The goal is to convince your blog readers that they need to be on your email list – they need to know the value of your emails and why it’s worth their time and entry to their inbox. The best way to do so is simple: tell your blog readers exactly what they’ll get out of signing up to receive your emails right on your form.
This might be new blog posts, a weekly update of featured blog posts, or anything else you plan on sending them related to your niche.
In addition to including the value of your email list, be sure to add fields to your form that ask them to submit their name and email address. You can ask for additional information, such as how they heard of you or how often they read your blog, but remember that less is more. You don’t want to lose potential email subscribers by making them answer too many questions.
Sometimes people who are on the fence to sign up to your email list need a little encouragement to commit to the decision.
A great way to give them a gentle nudge is by offering a valuable incentive your audience would be interested in.
For example, many businesses will offer a discount off a product or a free item. If you don’t have a product to sell necessarily, consider giving away exclusive content that your audience wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. This could be a long piece of content that dives deeper into a topic, such as a PDF guide or eBook.
Just make sure it’s something that is related to your niche and is interesting to your audience.
Incentives also give your new subscribers a taste of your content, so it’s perfect for establishing trust and proving your value before they even receive your emails.
Once you have an incentive to offer, be sure to mention that information on your sign up form.
Guest blogging is a great way to expand your blogger network and reach new audiences. When you do so, it creates a great opportunity for you to encourage new readers to sign up to your email list.
To start guest blogging, reach out to other bloggers or brands whose audience might be interested in your content.
For example, if your blog focuses on gluten-free cooking recipes, you could potentially reach out to a variety of companies and blogs in the medical field. From hospitals to bloggers that focus on healthy eating or eating with food allergies, there are a number of options. As long as they have an audience that will find value in the content you share, it’s a great opportunity to expand the reach of your blog!
Once you’ve gotten past the stage of pitching your content idea and writing the post, be sure to include a link to a web-hosted version of your email sign up form. Encourage readers to sign up to your list to receive more blog posts if they like what they read.
At the end of each of your emails, consider including a standard set of social share buttons, along with text that says “Forward to a friend.” This will allow your current subscribers to share your email content on social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, or forward to specific contacts in their email list.
Again, this is where having interesting email content comes in handy – the more valuable your emails are, the more likely your subscribers will share it with others. It’s a win-win!
Does your blog have a presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
If so, that makes three audiences you can reach out to right now to see if they’re interested in joining your email list.
The benefit here is that while you have access to your social audience today, you can’t predict if a platform like Instagram will make it more difficult for you to communicate with them tomorrow.
Your email list, on the other hand, belongs to you. Encouraging your social followers to sign up to your email list ensures that you maintain communication with them in the long run, or until they unsubscribe. Here are two ways to encourage your social followers to sign up to your email list.
Share a link to your landing page or link list with your followers in a post or in your bio. Be sure to include reasons why they should sign up to your list, as well as any incentives if you offer one.
Connect your email list to your Facebook account. It’s easy to add a Facebook app to connect your email list to Facebook, so your followers can sign up directly from your business page. Or change the Facebook call-to-action button to direct to your landing page.
When attending conferences or local meetups, use this opportunity to promote your blog.
To showcase your content to people you meet, ask them to sign up to your email list. This way, your emails will remind them after the event is over to check out your blog.
To simplify the process, consider creating a separate email list for events you attend. You can set up one or two automated emails that thank new subscribers and include a link back to your blog.
You told your subscribers what to expect from your emails – now it’s time to deliver the goods. The content in your email is the first step to establishing a connection with your audience, so it’s important to carefully craft your message.
As a blogger, you already have an advantage to getting started with email marketing. Why? Because you already know how to write for your audience.
Just as you had to develop your writing style for your blog and readers, so too will you have to adapt it slightly for email.
While your voice and tone should be consistent across all channels of communication between you and your readers, there are different types of content you can include in your emails.
Here are some ideas to help you get started and get the creative ideas flowing.
Sending a blog newsletter is a simple way to ensure that your audience returns to your blog and engages with your content. Unless everyone adds your blog to their daily reading list, sending them your content is a great way to stay top of mind.
At the end of every week or month, consider sending out an email with your most recent or most popular blog posts. This way, they’ll get your latest posts even if they forget to check your site.
As a blogger, you have a certain level of expertise in what you’re writing about. In addition to your blog, there are other ways to educate and engage your fans, both new and old.
Find a specific area that many people struggle with, and develop an educational email course that people can sign up for and go through.
Let’s say you’re a food blogger that focuses on whole-foods and developing recipes made with natural ingredients. You might create an email course using an automated email series that educates people on the basics of whole-foods, including tips that’ll help them implement the change right away.
This is a great way to expand the reach of your blog and attract new loyal readers.
To monetize your email and content efforts, you might want to consider making this a paid educational course. If you do, you can offer a discount off the course as an incentive to encourage people to sign up.
If you want to share new information with your audience that doesn’t directly come from you or your blog, you might want to send news related to your niche.
For example, a whole foods blogger might share stories they’ve seen in the news related to steps other food companies have made towards eliminating chemicals from their products.
If you’re not sure what your blog readers want to learn more about, consider sending them a survey in an email asking them for more information. You can leave it open-ended, or give them options from which to choose if you already have parameters in mind.
Collecting this kind of insight from your readers is vital to the success of every blog and business, and email is a great way to elicit the information you’re looking for.
If you want to send new content to your subscribers, but aren’t sure if it’s going to resonate with your audience, consider running an A/B split test with your emails.
This will allow you to create two different emails, one that has your original content and one that has new content. The split test will ensure that half of your subscribers receive one email, and the other half receives the other email.
Also, be sure to test one small content tweak at a time. This will help you identify whether or not the new content is more engaging than the original content.
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Growing a blog audience isn’t just about the content. Tap into the power of other marketing channels — like email — to grow your readership.
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