Do You Need an Email List to Grow Your Blog in 2020?
Online marketing can be tricky, partly because what works now may not work in the future. Search engine optimization professionals will tell you that the ever-changing landscape in search makes their jobs difficult. The same is true, in varying degrees, when it comes to other online marketing strategies such as blogging.
If you rely on your blog to draw in visitors to your site or to sell your product, then you might be wondering if building an email list still makes sense in 2020. After all, with all the social media platforms and instant messaging services cropping up, there are already people who are saying that email is dead.
The truth is that email marketing is still as valuable today as it was many years ago. In fact, building an email list is one of the best ways to grow your blog’s readership.
What Is an Email List, Anyway?
Your email list contains the email addresses of your readers who have opted to stay in contact with you for one reason or another. These are people who have visited your blog at least once and:
- Subscribed to updates from you
- Signed up for a specific email series, free product, or e-book
- Bought your products and gave their email addresses for further updates
But how can a collection of email addresses help you grow your blog?
Bring More Visitors to Your Blog… and Make Them Come Back
Your blog is probably your most powerful marketing tool, as it’s versatile and can branch out to include different kinds of marketing.
You can plan out content marketing on your blog, have the search engines index your blog posts, and even spice up your social media marketing by sharing your new and older, evergreen posts. As such, your blog becomes the cornerstone of nearly every marketing strategy that you employ.
Blog posts are a great way to attract visitors to your site. By giving them engaging, entertaining, and educational content, you’ll establish relationships with your readers. At the very least, it gets them to the door, and if they like what they read, you’ll get them to stay.
But if nobody reads your posts, what good will your blog do? An email list is a good way to announce new blog posts that will entice your readers to check out your site again. You no longer have to rely on people stumbling upon your blog because of a search; you can actually invite your readers to take a look.
Utilize Your Superfans
Engaging your readers consistently nurtures your ongoing relationship, and your most loyal readers can become superfans. According to HubSpot, 27 percent of your readers read your posts from headline to end, while 73 percent admit to skimming parts of blog articles. Among the 27 percent, you may already have a superfan.
Why are superfans important? They are consumers you can tap to help you market your blog or your products. On social media, they are the ones helping other consumers discover and use your products. Superfans often know your content and can direct other people to a particular blog post you have that answers a pressing question or entertains. They can generate a lot of social buzz on your behalf.
Superfans tend to be more credible than the company itself. In one study, Forrester found that more than half of American consumers rely on customer ratings and reviews when making a purchase decision.
More likely than not, superfans have already subscribed to your email list, devouring every piece of content you publish. Giving them first dibs on new content, product previews, and other promotions can encourage them to evangelize your blog or products.
Let Your Subscribers Do the Work
Email lists can even help you find more readers who in turn become subscribers. Once you have an exciting new blog post out, notify your email list. They read your blog post and like it enough to share it with friends and family.
There are also tools that make it simple for your readers to share your content. For instance, the ShareThis Email Share Button allows your readers to share your content via email with just one click. No more copying the link and then opening up an email app to send a blog post to their friends, family members, or professional contacts. ShareThis also offers social media sharing buttons that allow visitors to easily share blog posts and other content on their social media accounts.
A Nielsen Global Trust report found that 83 percent of respondents trust recommendations of friends and family, so giving your readers and visitors easy ways to share your content can help you build your brand reputation and earn the trust of a larger audience. Plus, when readers recommend your content, the people they share it with will be more likely to click on a link or post and visit your blog.
Your Email List Represents People Who Already Know You
In sales, repeat buyers are more valuable than first-timers, because it costs less to retain existing customers than it does to acquire new ones, and your repeat customers are more likely to refer more people to you. The same is true with your blog visitors.
Your email list subscribers are recurring visitors. They already know that you churn out great content, and your emails let them know that you’ve published more content that they’ll want to read. What’s more, they are more inclined to share your content and tell people about it because you’ve established trust with them.
You Can’t Rely on Just Search
Search traffic contributes to 65 percent of e-commerce activities. That’s to say that on a typical website, more than six out of every 10 of your buyers found your site via search engines.
However, considering that there are approximately 1.8 billion websites, you’re facing a lot of competition. What’s more, more than 5 million blog posts are written every day. But while you can use keywords to help your blog posts become visible on search engines, you can’t rely solely on search to generate blog traffic.
Give your blog a head start by contacting previous customers and readers on your email list. This is a surefire way to make sure that people who are interested in what you have to say know that you have a blog post out and, as mentioned, they’ll be able to help you get the word out to others as well.
Email Marketing Works
With 3.9 billion email users worldwide, email marketing has the highest potential to bring you a windfall. Small business owners rank email as the second most effective strategy when it comes to building brand awareness. It’s also the strategy that offers the highest return on investment.
Litmus surveyed marketers and brand managers and found that the average email marketing ROI is at 42:1. What’s more, email makes people click links to your blog. Campaign Monitor compared the click-through rates of email and social media links and found that:
- Your emails are five times more likely to be read than a Facebook status update.
- Your email recipients are six times as likely to click on a link in an email, compared to a tweet.
Sending an update to your email list recipients increases the likelihood that your new blog posts or promotions will be read.
It’s Easier to Get People to Subscribe to Your Email List than It Is to Get Them to Follow You on Social Media
Social media is all about ease and convenience. You can ask people to click on subscribe, follow, or like, and you have their attention. Meanwhile, to subscribe to your email list, readers have to type in their email address and then confirm their subscription.
You would think that it’s easier to get people to follow you on social media, right? It’s just one click, and they don’t have to share their email addresses with you.
Derek Halpern found that when he sent 1,000 visitors to an email opt-in form, he got around 500 new subscribers. But when he asked the same number of visitors to follow him on Twitter, fewer people complied.
So, if you want to take advantage of every avenue to grow your blog’s audience, email opt-in lists are a must.
It’s Easy to Do
Growing your email list is very easy to do, and the returns are beneficial to you as a content marketer and a blog owner. Getting people to sign up is a matter of putting opt-in forms in the right places.
For instance, having an opt-in form that asks your readers to subscribe to your newsletter on your blog’s home page is a great idea to cast a wide net and lure more subscribers in, because the home page is probably the most-visited page on your blog.
You can also add a subscribe button on every blog post, or add a subscribe checkbox to the comment submission form to make it easy for commenters to opt-in.
You can also create a landing page that aims to get people to subscribe to your email list. Having a separate page will help you explain the benefits and give them more reasons to subscribe. It’s also an excellent opportunity to show them sample content, inform them of how often you’d be in contact, and even give them a taste of what your blog is about.
Adding statements such as “Join more than 10,000 gardening experts…” if you already have a sizable email list adds powerful social proof, as well.
It’s Something You Can Control
Email lists are a business asset that you can control. For those who built an audience on the Google+ platform, this is an important lesson. If you were one of the businesses that used Google+ to connect with your readers, then you probably lost contact with some of them when Google pulled the plug on the social platform.
Email lists are different. You control and own it. People give you their email addresses, and that signifies permission for you to contact them. Additionally, as your email list gets more and more subscribers, it becomes increasingly more valuable.
The control doesn’t end with your email list. You can use it for other purposes, such as announcing a new promotion, a new blog post, or invitations to participate in online surveys. You basically have control over what you send to your subscribers.
There’s a reason why there are shady companies that sell email lists for anywhere from $100 to $400 per thousand personal email addresses. That price goes up to at least $600 to more than $1,000 for business email addresses.
With your blog and high-quality content, you can build your own list for free. What’s more, there is a lower likelihood that your emails will be tagged as spam because your list is populated with people who want to receive your emails.
The Importance of Maintaining a Clean Email List (and How to Keep It Clean)
The last thing you want is to earn a reputation for sending unsolicited or unwanted emails, so email list hygiene is a must. Emails often get lost or forgotten as subscribers change jobs or switch email providers. Sometimes, people decide to scrap their old email account entirely and start over fresh, whether in an effort to keep their inbox clear of clutter or for other reasons, such as creating a new email account after a name change or switching to a more professional email address they can utilize for business purposes.
Your email list can also accumulate nonexistent emails that bounce, contacts that have unsubscribed or reported you as spam, old and outdated emails, and emails that were improperly registered over time. Ridding your email list of these unwanted email addresses can save you money by reducing the volume of emails that you’re sending and improve your email marketing stats like open rates, clicks, and conversions by ensuring that you’re only sending emails to current email addresses and people with a genuine interest in your content.
If you want to ensure that you are working with a clean and high-quality list, you can verify the email addresses on your list with the Verify tool from Norbert. This tool ensures that most, if not all, the addresses on your mailing list are working. Having a clean list will increase your deliverability rate while also helping you avoid spam traps or getting tagged as spam.
Email Lists Can Help You Grow Your Blog
An email list contains the email addresses of engaged readers who already know and trust you. They had a good experience with you in the past and want to hear from you again.
Having an email list means that you are genuinely interested in engaging with them, too. It helps you remind your subscribers about your blog and keeps them updated on what you’re doing. The best part of it is that they gave you permission to contact them. In today’s world, with new privacy laws like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are cropping up regularly, that’s worth a lot.
Email lists can help you re-engage with people you have engaged with in the past. These are people who are more likely to recommend your products, services, and blog posts to friends and family. They are also the readers who are more likely to share your content on their personal social media sites.
Gaining all of these benefits and having an easy way to grow your blog is relatively easy today, thanks to the many tools available to support email marketing. You can use tools that can help you capture emails, make it easier for your readers to opt-in to your email list, and yes, even allow them to share your posts with their friends and family with the simple click of a button.