If you’re a blogger and haven’t already started an email list, then it’s definitely something that should be a top priority. The basic principle is collecting emails from your readers so that you can contact them directly.
You own your email list, and no-one can take it away from you. It gives you access to your fans’ inbox and this is such a useful and vital part of starting to turn your blog into a business. Whilst social media is a great way to speak to your readers and contact them with the things you want to share with them – social media can change at any time.
The algorithms social media platforms use to connect you with people can be altered whenever they see fit. And not only that, but the popularity of them can also change. Remember how everyone loved MySpace not too long ago? How many of you use it now? Things can change dramatically and it’s best to have your own method of contacting your readers directly.
Your email list is yours, and there’s no algorithms for you to navigate! It’s sooo vital for your business and I can’t stress enough how important it is to get started straight away rather than wait. You might well regret it!
You are best off using an email subscription service, which makes collecting emails and contacting your subscribers super easy. The service will provide ways for you to gather emails. They are usually called forms, and they consist of entry spaces, for your readers to enter their name and email address. This will then link to your own service, and add them to your subscribers list.
Personally, I use a service called Get Response. I’ve used a couple of different ones since starting my blog – MailChimp and MailPoet, before settling on GetResponse.
I found that it’s definitely the easiest one to use, and you can set up really beautiful forms! It’s got a drag and drop editor, and so many stunning templates to use. You can make endless different forms that suit the nature of your own business.
GetResponse also has great tracking and reports so that you can see how your newsletters and emails are being processed by your subscribers. It helps you to know what’s working and what isn’t – and it’s not got all that complicated jargon and unclear charts and graphs!
You can sign up to GetResponse below – you definitely won’t regret it 🙂 You get a free 30 day trial, so if you’re not sure, you can give it a go and then cancel before the trial runs out and you won’t be charged a penny! Although believe me, you won’t want to cancel!
GetResponse has a great function of setting up auto responders. These are emails that send out automatically to new subscribers, and you can set them up on a really easy to track calendar. This really can make life easier for you, because you can simply create the emails, and they’ll get sent to your readers automatically when you schedule them to go out! Do it once and it’s good to go.
They also have a great webinar function built-in, which I am mega-excited to try out myself. Not all providers give you that option, so I definitely give them extra points for that!
It also provides you with a survey function, where you can set up and send out surveys to your subscribers on any topic you like. Surveys are a great way to bond with your readers, and find out ways that you can serve them better. After all, we are writing our content to serve our readers – to make their lives easier, to give them some knowledge or expertise, or simply to give them something to enjoy!
Once you’re ready, first off you need to create a list. Click on ‘Add Contact’ and add an email address to the system. I have my own email set up, so that I can see the emails in real-time, and know what’s being sent out accurately. It will give you the option to name your list – pick something obvious to you, but be careful as your subscribers will see it!
Now, you’re ready to get on to the nitty-gritty part!
Go to your dashboard screen, you will see three large icons in the middle of the page. These are the most used buttons, and so they have put them in an easy to click place, which I love.
Click the ‘Create Form’ button in the middle of the screen to get started on creating your first form!
It will take you to this page, where you have a few options on where to go next.
For the purpose of creating your very first form, we are going to stay on the List Builder Wizard option. The other options take you to more in-depth ways of creating subscriber forms, which I will be going into in another, dedicated post.
The List Builder Wizard option will already be selected, and it will have a screen at the bottom full of the GetResponse templates that you can use to start. It doesn’t matter if the one you choose doesn’t match your brand or style to begin with, because you can edit every single element of it in the next stage.
Simply choose one that you like the look of and it will load up into the next screen, where you will be able to edit and alter the look of it.
I chose this one as an example to show you:
As you can see, on the right-hand side, there are all different options. You can add elements in, such as new images or text, or you can remove current things from the template. At the top, you are currently on the ‘Add Field’ section, but you can choose the ‘Style’ section, and alter the background, font, and more to suit your own branding needs.
Here’s the juicy bit!
To help get subscribers, it’s always worth offering them something free in return for their email address. They are giving you something that is personal, and you will have the ability to contact them at any point! Giving them something useful in return seems like a fair deal to me.
You have a few options – you can add a PDF download, an EBook, a help sheet or something else that you think will add value to your readers’ lives!
Once you’re completely happy with the look of the form, the next step is to complete your thank you page. On the top left-hand corner, there is a tab labelled thank you page. Click on the tab, and it will take you to the template’s version, which you can edit to match your own design and theme.
Here, you can add in your download or the link to your freebie. Simply add in the element from the drag and drop editor on the right-hand side, and add the link to your freebie.
If you want to send someone a PDF, simply upload it online and then use the link to add it to the thank you page. On WordPress, you can simply upload it to your media library, click on the icon it creates, and then copy and paste the URL into the box on the thank you page of your form.
Once you’re done, you simply click the ‘Save and Publish’ button in the top right-hand corner of the page, and it will take you through to this screen:
If you’re using WordPress, this stage is super simple. It depends on where you want to put the form. If you have a sidebar on your website, simply hover over the ‘Appearance’ icon on your wordpress admin area, and select ‘Widgets’. You can add the code to your sidebar by adding in a ‘Custom HTML’ element, and copy and paste the code from GetResponse in the box.
If you want to add it into a page or post, just copy the code on to the ‘Text’ version of your page. You can switch between the different types of pages on the post editor page – simply click on the tabs on the right hand corner. I have a plugin called page builder, so you might not see this option if you don’t have it downloaded!
It shouldn’t take too long before you start to see the subscribers coming through! If you offer something that interests or educates the kind of people who will be reading your blog, then they will snap it up 🙂
It can take time to build up a large list – don’t beat yourself up! Spread the word via your social media, and people will soon catch on.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful; let me know in the comments if there are other ways that you started gaining subscribers or if you prefer a different service provider.
You can also ask questions in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them for you! If you haven’t started a blog yet but want to know how – check out my post How To Start A Blog – The Shortcut!
You can also check out my 5 most useful resources that every blogger needs to help you with the additional things that will help get your blog off the ground and running smoothly!
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