Hello friends! If you haven’t already gotten onto the email marketing train, now is the time to do it — no matter how far along you are in your blogging journey. It’s always better to begin building and using a mailing list sooner rather than later. The more you put your mailing list on the back burner, the more engagement you lose with your audience. Imagine all of those one-time visitors that could have easily been converted into a committed readership. Eek!
Why is having a mailing list important, you ask? Well…
‣ It builds community and connection.
You get to know your audience better. They get to know you better. Since inboxes are a sacred place for many people, email exchanges are really the starting point for growing a bond and an understanding between both parties.
‣ Your favourite social media platform can shut down or turn its back on you.
It happens. And if it happens to you, you’ll still have your email list because they are your subscribers. Social media followers are a great way of growing your brand, but think of them as “rented” — you do not own them. The social media platform does.
‣ Email is less competitive than social media.
Comparing how many emails one individual receives in a day vs. the constant stream of social media posts you’ll be competing against — Your audience is more likely to see your email than your social media post. Then compare this to how many times a person checks their inbox in one day vs how many times a person checks your blog or your social account. Unless you have a mega fan who is on your social media page 3 times a day, every day — The winner will still be email.
‣ No medium converts better than email.
Facts! Social media and other mediums simply do not compare to the sales you can make with them vs the sales you can make through your mailing list. The people who have signed up to be a subscriber are already interested in your content — making a sale is really a hair away from there.
‣ It indicates loyalty.
Most blog readers can be an in-and-out type of situation, so when subscribers allow you to pop up in their inbox on a continuous basis, it really shows that they’re interested in your brand and are looking forward to hearing from you.
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1. Sign Up For ConvertKit
Begin by signing up for ConvertKit and choosing a plan that best aligns with your business. The plans are based off of how many subscribers you currently have. So, if you’re just starting out, the 0-1k subscriber plan is the right one for you. As your business grows, you can always upgrade your account.
2. Create A Sign Up Form
Once you’ve entered in all of your information and you’re all signed up, it’s time to create a newsletter opt-in form for your website.
Begin by clicking ‘forms’ in the navigation menu, followed up by the ‘create form’ button.
You’ll be led to a page asking you how you’d like to gather your subscribers — once again, select ‘form’.
Now you’ll be given an option to select which type of form you’d like to create. There are 3 different styles. Choose the one that you feel best works with your homepage layout.
Select the little wand-looking icon in the secondary menu. This is where you’ll be able to customize your form to your brand’s colours.
Change the form’s wording by clicking on what text you’d like to customize. Hit ‘save’.
Navigating the secondary menu once again, click ‘settings’. You’ll now land on a page with a sidebar menu. Remaining on the ‘menu settings’ tab, name your form and change the success message (if you’d like to make it more personal). Hit ‘save form’.
Navigate over to ‘style’. Although not mandatory, this is where you can input some custom CSS to change up the look of your form. Tutorial for that here.
3. Create Freebies for your Audience in Exchange for Their Email Address
You’ll also hear these being called ‘lead magnets’, ‘content upgrades’, and ‘opt-in incentives’. These are basically a trade off — You give your visitor a complimentary piece of content, and they give you their email address. You can really create anything that aligns with your niche.
For example, if you’re a food blogger, you can create a form stating that they’ll receive a free new recipe if they sign up to your mailing list. Or if you’re a beauty blogger, you can create a checklist to accompany your blog post in regards to makeup essentials so your audience can check off what they have and don’t have.
Now, before you begin sending these goodies, you’ll need to create them. Yes, it may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get the hang of it, they’ll be as easy as pie. Here are 3 free ways you can begin creating freebies for your online friends.
Once you’ve created your ebook/worksheet/challenge/etc., it’s time to place it into a ConvertKit form so you can begin offering it to your audience.
Select ‘forms’ > ‘create form’ > ‘a form’.
Select the form that displays an image, aka the ‘full form’, so you can give your audience a sneak peak of your freebie.
Once again, style the form to your liking. Change the colours in accordance to your brand colours, replace the text with your own, and place a screenshot of your own opt-in incentive in the photo area.
Head on over to ‘settings’ in the secondary menu, and input your information in the ‘main settings’ and ‘style’ sections of the menu. To pretty up your form even further, copy and paste some code into the ‘custom css’ section of this page. (It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, promise.)
What you’re going to do differently with this form, is navigate over to the ‘incentive email’ section of the menu. This is where you’ll upload your freebie. Ensure that the ‘send incentive/double opt-in email to confirm new subscribers’ is checked. From there, enter in the subject and message you’d like to give to your audience, and select ‘incentive download’. Upload your creation and hit ‘save form’.
Embed your form into your page or post using the ’embed’ tab.
4. Create a Welcome Sequence
A welcome sequence is a series of emails you send out to a new subscriber, over a period of time, so they can continue getting to know you better.
Your welcome series can go something along the lines of:
Email One: Welcome + the deliverance of the opt-in you promised
Email Two: An introduction of yourself and what you do (give them links to some of your best work)
Email Three: Your story (open up the conversation and allow your audience to tell you theirs)
Email Four: Share one of your best tips (that is associated with your line of work)
Email Five: Provide unexpected value.
Email Six: Provide more unexpected value, but this time send it off with a subtle hint towards your product or service.
Email Seven: Fully showcase your product or service and explain how much it can help them. Cover any questions they may have in this email.
Keep in mind that it’s always best that your email sequences lead your audience to take an action.
Here’s how to set one up in ConvertKit:
Select ‘sequences’ in the navigation menu and click on the ‘create a sequence’ button. Name your sequence.
You’ll be led to a page that looks similar to the form creation pages we’ve covered above. It’s kind of the same concept, except this time the sidebar will be filled with the emails you’re including in the sequence. ConvertKit gives you suggested content for your emails as you can see in the image below. Delete, adjust, and customize the subjects and content to your liking.
Once you have completed your emails, go through them and select how many days apart you’d like for them to send after the subscriber’s last email. Also, check off any days you wouldn’t like your sequence emails to send. For example, if you don’t want your subscribers to receive emails on the weekend, only select Monday through Friday.
Look over everything! Send ‘previews’ to yourself if you want to see exactly how it’ll look like for your subscribers. Once everything is a-ok, select ‘published’ under ‘status’ for each email, and hit ‘save all’.
Every new subscriber your website collects will now immediately begin receiving your sequence.
5. Begin Communicating With Your List
Once you’ve sent off your welcome sequence, don’t just leave it there. Keep the conversation going! By no means is this an encouragement to bombard them with emails upon emails (you’ll get unsubscribed from a lot), but it simply suggests that you should keep in touch with your mailing list from time to time. This could be an email sent out once a week, just to let your audience know what you’ve been up to. Kind of just like how you’d post on social media to talk about something, the same goes with your emails — except emails are a much more personal way of engaging with your audience. Also, if someone replies to your email, do your best to reply, busy bee. This lets them know you care.
Here’s how to send off a singular email:
ConvertKit calls emails ‘broadcasts’. Thus, head on over to the ‘broadcasts’ tab in the navigation menu and click ‘new broadcast’.
Select which subscribers you’d like to send your email to. If you’re just starting out, you’ll most likely select ‘all subscribers’. As you become more comfortable with ConvertKit, you can begin using forms, sequences, tags, and exclusions to filter out who you’d like your broadcast to be sent to (or not sent to).
Enter in the subject and content of your email. ‘Preview’ to see if you’re digging it and if you are, hit ‘save’ and ‘next step’.
You’ll now get another preview of your email, and if you’re satisfied, you can either a) schedule it by clicking the ‘schedule’ link, b) immediately send it by selecting ‘send broadcast’, or c) simply save it for a later time by clicking ‘save draft’.
And voila! You’re now rockin’ a brand new newsletter! 🙂
Hope this was helpful! If you guys have any questions at all, feel free to leave them down below and I’ll get back to you.