If you run a blogging business, you’ve probably heard all sorts of cliches about entrepreneurship. For instance, you may have heard that, like a table, your business should have multiple legs. In other words, people may pressure you to move away from your blog or primary income instead of suggesting various revenue streams.
The mentality here is: If one revenue stream fails, the others can succeed.
The advice is sensible enough, but bloggers put so much energy into their work that they likely don’t want to add another job. Plus, as an entrepreneur, adding yet another task to your list may sound completely unmanageable — since 61% of entrepreneurs already take on more than three roles.
Luckily, one of the most straightforward revenue streams you can add to your existing business is email marketing, and the good news is, you don’t need a ton of additional time or content to do it. As a blogger, you can start email marketing right away.
Why should bloggers start email marketing?
As a blogger, you can utilize several social platforms, so why should email be a primary focus for your business? This article will explain not only why you should use email, but steps you can take to make it successful.
Sure, it probably comes as no surprise that a writer for an email marketing company is telling you to get with the inbox. But that doesn’t mean email can’t be a boon for your business—think the highest ROI when compared to other channels, and the place where audiences want to hear from you most.
What are the six need-to-know things for bloggers who want to start email marketing?
So, okay, now that you’ve seen the numbers, maybe this email thing appeals to you. But how do you start? Are there steps you should follow? We’re going to answer these questions and show you how to make a successful email strategy by providing six basics for bloggers who want to start email marketing:
1. Remember: the people who already love your brand will also enjoy your list.
The scary aspect of starting a new revenue stream is the potential for failure — it can seem like a new business with the added risk of no return. But luckily, email does have a proven return on investment, and you’re not starting from scratch, because you already have loyal followers who will likely subscribe to your list.
If you’re a blogger or influencer, your followers probably feel like they know you. They like to hear from you. Email is a simple way to hear from you consistently and get the latest updates on your content.
So, how do you attract those followers? If you have an engaged Instagram following, consider putting a link to an email signup form directly in your bio. On the other hand, maybe your blog is your primary source of traffic and followers. If this is the case, you can easily promote your email newsletter with a banner.
Pro-tip: For best results, tell people what they can expect from you: what they’ll receive and how often they’ll receive it.
2. Remember: website visitors are future email subscribers.
So, we know your loyal followers are interested in your list, but what about the people who happen to stumble upon your blog? Before answering this question, we have to consider how people are arriving at your site.
If you need help with steady traffic, you may need to optimize your content for Google. Optimizing your content isn’t exclusive to big names or tech-savvy companies; virtually every blog you’ve found on a search engine uses SEO best practices, and it’s no coincidence. High-traffic bloggers know text and keywords signal to Google that their posts are relevant and high-quality.
You may already be an SEO pro, in which case, you can use your high-performing content to point to your email list. If you’re not, there’s plenty of time to research keywords and explore lesser-known subjects in your niche.
Once you have a few high-ranking posts — that is, they appear on the first page of Google during a search — then you can start to use that traffic to encourage list signups. You might have a banner on your site, as we previously mentioned, or you can advertise gated content, like ebooks, printables, and classes. With this content, people will have to sign up to receive it.
Another way to capture those would-be subscribers is through an intentional popup. After someone has been on your page for a while or moving their cursor toward the back button, you can include a shadow box or an exit-intent popup.
Popups sound spammy to those of us who lived through the early days of the web, but they can be relevant (non-spammy) ways to encourage email signups. A shadow box is a popup in which the screen goes dark except for the signup form, and exit-intent popup is the last thing a user will see before exiting the site.
You’re not merely broadcasting an ad at your users; instead, you’re encouraging them to sign up for your list. And you can incentivize signups by offering a discount on your shop or providing a free download (e.g., a printable, a worksheet, etc.)
Fashion news publisher Glossy hits home with their lower popup, with an excellent description and simple design.
3. Remember: if your email is made to be read, it will be fun to read.
As a blogger ready to begin email marketing, you might find it relatively easy to write 1,000 or even 1,500 words on a topic. This is great for your blog and SEO, but it’s not so great for your email.
You want people to read your emails and use them to jump into your site. Think of emails as content teasers, providing updates, blog previews, and product showcases. This means your copy needs to be short and sweet, and it needs to point to the CTA quickly.
And a proper email involves more than copy; it also requires quality design. Your designs should be crisp; images should be beautiful (with accurate meta descriptions); and your emails should organically point to the CTA (a colorful button, not hyperlinked text).
4. Remember: relevant content beats salesy sends.
As readers, we like a little conflict. We love reading about people overcoming obstacles, feeling emotions, and considering opinions. Purely promotional emails contain no conflict and no emotion. There’s a time and a place for promotions, of course, but subscribers also want to see the real you. This means you should aim to tell a story in your newsletters, and your emails should contain personality. Your customers should know there’s a human behind the screen. Take a look at this email from #BlogHer, with a fun, brand-forward note: “After you watch… tell us what you think! Your insight is oh-so valuable to us — which is why we want to hear from you!”
And for your promotional emails? Consider giving back to your reader. Giving back doesn’t mean you can’t promote products, but it does mean recommending purchases based on buying history, providing helpful tips, and organically leading readers to visit relevant blog content. Here’s an example from mom-owned-and-operated Project Nursery.
5. Remember: relevant content is easy with personalization.
Okay, so we keep discussing personalized, relevant content—but what does that mean? You obviously can’t send a personalized email to every single subscriber, but you still have options.
Segmentation (separating sends based on subscriber groupings) can instantly make your content much more relevant for subscribers. It might even give a 760% boost to your revenue from email.
You can segment by location, gender, shopping habits, and so much more. You’ll need the information, of course, which you can request in a signup form, or preferably, a survey.
Pro-tip: the more required fields there are in a signup form, the less likely you’ll be to attract subscribers.
And when it comes to data and email sends, your subscribers may want to change their minds on what they’re receiving. As an email marketer, the best way to facilitate this is through a preference center. Providing a preference center directly in your emails provides greater agency for your subscribers.
Bespoke furniture retailer Koskela asks for interests upfront so they can deliver relevant content in every email sent.
6. Remember: automated sends make your life easier (and their inboxes better).
Interestingly enough, as you personalize more, you should probably automate more, too. It seems counterintuitive to “set it and forget it” in an industry like email, where relevancy holds so much weight. But automation actually increases engagement, opens, and click-throughs (it’s trust — you can read about it here).
You can easily automate specific emails, like Welcome emails, Replenishment emails, and Re-engagement campaigns. This allows you to coordinate your sends in relation to your subscribers’ actions, providing timely content that makes them feel seen and remembered.
Additionally, you can automate processes, such as A/B testing. For instance, if you wanted to see how audiences engage with emojis, you might A/B test a subject line with an emoji vs. one without. The automated process would then choose the winning subject line based on a few sends, and you would be able to increase your engagement, all through a computerized test.
If you’re worried about adding another revenue stream to your business or simply want to build relationships through consistent communication, email marketing is a simple way to achieve your goals.
With a few tricks — like utilizing existing relationships and taking advantage of email tech — you can easily personalize your content and engage people who want to experience your content. And if you’re looking for an email software to help you do it, consider trying Campaign Monitor.
About Kaitlin Westbrook
Kaitlin Westbrook is a content writer for email marketing brand, Campaign Monitor. Kaitlin covers business, creative content, professional writing, and more. You can follow her on Twitter.
About Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor is a global technology company that provides an email marketing platform that’s easy to use yet extremely powerful. A part of CM Group’s family of brands, we give more than 250,000 customers the tools to make lasting impressions on their audiences using email.