“You need to build an email list!”
You’ve probably heard this advice before while listening to a podcast, watching a Youtube video, or reading a blog post related to building a blogging business.
Or perhaps this is your first introduction to an email list and you are wondering why in the world you need one and how you would go about starting one.
No matter whether you are just starting and don’t have a website yet or you are an experienced blogger, this statement is 100 percent true. You need to be collecting emails today! Right now! Pronto!
Your blogging business and email list go together like Tacos and Tuesdays, macaroni and cheese, coffee and cream, (insert whatever food analogy you’d like) An email list is a key ingredient in your blogging business recipe for success.
In other words, an email list is essential for your business to grow and make money!
In this post, I break down why it is so important to start collecting your readers’ email addresses right away. I’ll also discuss how you can build an email list for free starting today – even if you don’t have a website yet!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more info
An email list is something you have full control over.
You do not own any of the social media platforms or your followers on those accounts. That means if Facebook or Instagram decides to shut down your account one day, you lose all of your followers. All your years of hard work building up a following disappears.
With an email list, no one else gets to decide how or when you communicate with your audience. You have full control.
Through your initial emails, often referred to as a welcome series, your subscribers are able to learn more about you and discover how you can help them with their pain points. They also have the ability to directly reply to you and ask questions.
These conversations help you to build a strong relationship with your audience. Your subscribers will be your most loyal fans.
When you send an email to your list and include a link to your newest blog post, podcast, video, etc. a percentage of people will click on the link and go check it out. That means that with a press of the send button, you can instantly get traffic to your site.
If you consistently offer value to your list, you will have a warm audience that is ready to buy when you have an affiliate product to offer or a service or product of your own to share.
Email is still the BEST way to reach your audience.
With algorithm changes occurring frequently on social media sites, less and less of your audience is seeing your messages. As things are shifting to more of a “pay to play” model with promoted ads, you cannot be sure of how many of your followers are actually seeing your posts.
When someone gives you their email address, they are giving you permission to keep in touch with them. People typically check their email every day, so if you have an important message that you want to ensure your audience receives, email is still your best bet.
Now that you know why you need to build an email list for your business, let’s talk about how you can start an email list for free.
An email service provider is a company that provides an email marketing platform whereby you can create and send bulk emails to a list of subscribers.
Your regular email provider like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. are not bulk email providers, so you cannot use them to send bulk emails without them getting flagged as spam or reported.
The good news is that there are numerous email service providers to choose from for your email marketing needs. Each has their own unique options and pricing.
I have tried out a bunch of email service providers during my six years of blogging and I can say with full confidence that ConvertKit is where you want to build your email list.
ConvertKit is the best email marketing provider (in my opinion) and they just made it even better by starting to offer a free plan this past year!
To learn more about their free plan click here
When a potential customer visits your website or landing page you can offer them a free “quick win” in exchange for their email address. This offer is often referred to as an opt-in, freebie, freemium, or lead magnet.
This freebie could be in the form of a cheatsheet, small course, tutorial, ebook or anything else that is relevant to a pain point your audience needs help with.
Give them something that is very helpful, but leaves them wanting to learn even more from you. Your freebie should also be closely related to the topic you plan to offer products and/or services for in the future. This way you are gathering a list of people who will be excited to buy when you launch.
Canva is the number one place I recommend to create your freebie. I use it to create all my freebies and they have amazing, professionally designed templates that you can use.
Canva has a free plan, but I highly recommend the pro plan for the ability to upload your own fonts, brand colors, and access to over 75+ million premium stock images, photos, videos, and graphics.
Get a 30-day free trial of the pro plan here and get access to everything for the next month! If it’s not right for you, you can go straight to the free plan.
Step 3 – Create an email opt-in form
The process for creating your opt-in form via your email service provider will vary by provider. Since I use and recommend ConvertKit for both beginners and professional bloggers, that is what I am using for this example.
Once you set up your free or paid Convertkit account and login, there will be a link in the top left that says, Landing Pages & Forms. Click this. Once you are on that page, click the button on the right-hand side that says, Create New
Then you will be able to choose how you want to start collecting email addresses.
If you choose a form, you then get to choose the layout of this form.
Inline form: Within the text of your content
Modual: A pop up form
A slide in: That slides onto the page
Sticky Bar: A horizontal bar that “sticks” to the top of your website page.
Next, you get to choose your template. This will determine how your form looks.
Lastly, you can customize it to fit your needs, by switching out photos, background colors, etc.
Yes, you absolutely can! You can start growing your following with a landing page while you are building your website.
A landing page is a stand-alone web page that a visitor can be directed to when they click on a specific link in an email or on social media. This page has one goal, to get you to take a specific action. In this case, it is to get someone to sign up for your freebie.
You can use a company like LeadPages or Click Funnels to create high-converting landing pages, or you can use the ones provided by your email service provider if they are available.
ConvertKit is also a landing page company so its users have access to all their 40+ landing page templates as well. This is an awesome perk and it is now also offered to those on the free plan too!
Start sharing your freebie everywhere! This leads me right into the fourth and final step …
Once your freebie is created and connected to your email service provider, you are ready to start promoting that freebie to your audience!
Some really great places to promote your opt-in form on your website include:
You also want to be sure that you are linking to your landing page and blog posts on the social media channels you use frequently like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
Now that you know why you need an email list and how to start an email list for free, it is time to take the following action steps:
1. Sign up for ConvertKit’s free plan or do a 14-day free trial of the Creator plan and create your opt-in form and/or landing page.
2. Create a free account on Canva or start a 30-day free trial of the pro plan and start creating your freebie.
3. Start adding your opt-in form to pages and posts on your website and begin promoting it!
Wonderful post and I appreciate your hard work.