Your Blog Doesn't Need Email (and 4 Other Lies You Tell Yourself)
I talk a lot about how to set up email newsletters and how to create opt-in offers...a lot of "how-to" stuff regarding email marketing. But the truth is, there are still so many bloggers & business owners who just don't see the importance of email marketing for their blog.
Today I'm dropping truth bombs: Your Blog Doesn't Need Email (and 4 Other Lies You Tell Yourself). Buckle up, baby.
Lie #1: I just started my blog, so I don't need an email list yet.
I hear it time and time again.
"I've only been blogging a few months and haven't gotten around to setting up my email list yet."
"I only have a handful of readers right now, and those are friends & family, so nobody would sign up for an email list anyway."
"It's on my to-do list, but it's not a high priority."
LIES! Giving your readers the opportunity to sign up for emails should rank right up there on your "New Blog To-Do List" with setting up social media accounts and getting a custom domain.
TRUTH: Starting from the beginning means you will build loyal readers right from the start.
You'll have those readers who become friends and are able to say "I knew her when...". These loyal readers will be more than fans, they'll be fanatics, shouting your blog from the proverbial rooftops and excited for your growth!
How do I know? Because I've experienced it firsthand. Back in the day when I was blogging under the name "One Tough Mother", I started an email list. There are readers I know on a first name basis who have been supporting & encouraging me through all the ups & downs that have come with this blog journey, including prayers when I took a six-month break, applause when I came back and rebranded to "Sweet Tea & Saving Grace", and a huge virtual high-five when that little blog turned into this new business, Sweet Tea, LLC.
Bottom Line: Loyalty starts at the beginning, not at the end.
Lie #2: I use social media to connect with my readers so I don't need an email list, too.
Are you sitting down for this one? You don't own your social media accounts.
I know, right? Mind-blowing. The Mark Zuckerberg's and Jack Dorsey's of the world own your social media accounts.
Whether you have 50 or 50,000 Facebook fans doesn't mean you have contacts. If you've been using a Facebook page for even one day, you've probably figured out that Facebook decides which of your fans see your posts, not you.
Truth: Social media can disappear in an instant, but email lists last forever.
Here's a true story: There is a very high-profile blogger who has an amazing following on Facebook. She currently has over 150,000 Facebook fans who are all very actively involved in her brand.
A few weeks ago, all that went away. Vanished into thin air. Facebook said she violated their terms or some such nonsense, and without any warning they removed her Facebook page.
Can you imagine? You've worked so hard to build that following, you interact with them day in & day out, they are the life blood of your blog and business...then POOF! Gone.
(Fortunately, the "powers that be" at Facebook listened to her pleas and decided that she did not, in fact, violate their terms and reinstated her Facebook page after several days. But that doesn't always happen.)
When you create an email list, you own it. It's yours. You can download it to your computer and save it until the end of time, even if MailChimp or MadMimi or ConvertKit or any of those other platforms go the way of MySpace.
You can email those people any time you please, and you can send them practically anything you want to send them (with a few guidelines that mostly fall into the "common sense" category).
Bottom line: Make sure you are in control of who sees your content & who you can contact.
Lie #3: It's too complicated to set up an email list.
Raise your hand if you learned how to speak the English language when you were a teeny tiny kid.
The English language is complicated. Setting up an email list is not.
Trust me, I understand. The whole email marketing thing can seem overwhelming, which makes it appear to be this big complicated monster, but it doesn't have to be such a chore.
Truth: Setting up an email list can be done in less than 10 minutes in a few simple steps.
Since I'm a MailChimp girl, let's use that platform as the example here. You can simply go to MailChimp*, create your free account, and create a new list. That list will automatically generate a basic sign-up form that you can use to collect email addresses.
Start to finish, you're looking at less than 10 minutes and BAM! You've got an email list!
Bottom Line: Stop making excuses and set up an email list already!
Lie #4: An email newsletter is just a regurgitation of my blog content.
My short response to this? Not if you're doing it right!
While I am a fan of giving your readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog posts via email, a true newsletter is something totally different (and awesome). (So why not do both an RSS-driven email & a newsletter.)
When I work with clients or students, they come to me already knowing they need an email list, but totally unsure of what to send. This is the advice I give to them:
- Treat your newsletter like an extra blog post.
- Treat your subscribers like VIPs (because they are).
- Create conversation & community.
- View your newsletter as a personal message to each individual subscriber.
- Allow yourself to get a little more personal than you might on your blog.
Truth: Newsletters are your place to share your BEST content with your most loyal fans.
People don't just haphazardly throw around their contact information, so when you are gifted with a reader's email address, it's kind of a big deal. Treat that subscriber like the VIP that they are by going above & beyond with your newsletter content.
Share family pictures & stories that relate to your blog or brand. Create additional freebies that you don't advertise on your blog and send them to your subscribers just because they're awesome. Schedule time to write the content as if it were a blog post, rather than waiting until the last minute to throw something together.
Bottom Line: When a reader gives you their email address, they are asking for MORE - more content, more value, more YOU. Give it to them.
Lie #5: I don't ever plan to sell anything so I don't need an email list.
When you write a blog post, you are selling something. The act of selling doesn't always mean the exchange of a physical product or service for money.
Truth: You are selling your words in exchange for pageviews and fans.
And how do you get more fans that you can actually interact with? Say it with me now...
Yes! You're learning!
Besides, you can't see into the future. You have no idea how your blog is going to grow and evolve over time. When I started blogging as a creative outlet in 2010, I never in a million years imagined that it would turn into a full-blown business with products and services and an active community, all of which allow me to work from home.
Had I not established an email list from the beginning, I wouldn't have made the connections that have allowed me to build my brand. My most loyal readers have watched me grow and have cheered me on along the way, helping spread the word to their friends.
Bottom Line: A solid email list of loyal readers will benefit your blog & help you grow more than any other tool in your marketing toolbox.
What lies have you been telling yourself about email marketing?
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