List Building Made Simple: The Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

List Building Made Simple Beginners Guide to Email Marketing

If you’re not capturing emails on your blog yet, you’re missing out.

Email marketing is one of the most powerful and cheapest ways to promote your blog and drive more leads to your business.

It allows you to transform a one-time visitor to your site into a life-long customer that you can keep marketing to (until they unsubscribe, of course).

As a blogger, it gives you the opportunity to develop a deep relationship with your readers and gain their trust, making it much easier to sell them products or services in the future.

Here are all the topics we’ll be covering in the beginner’s guide to email marketing:

Let’s get started!

Why You Should Be Email Marketing

Nowadays, with all the hype around social media, people tend to forget how effective email marketing truly is.

First off, the total reach that it has is practically unbeatable―there’s currently close to 2.7 billion active email users in the world, and the majority of them check their email at least once a day.

Yearly growth of active email users

Not surprisingly, email marketing is also the traffic source with the highest return on investment―on average, each $1 spent on email marketing returns $43.

Still not convinced?

There’re plenty of statistics that back up the importance and efficiency of email marketing:

  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day. (ExactTarget)
  • 89% of marketers say that email marketing is their primary tool for lead generation. (Source: Mailigen)

They say that for every subscriber on your mailing list, you should aim to make 1$/month in sales. On that basis, you could be earning a 6-figure salary with an email list of just 10,000 subscribers.

Not bad!

Now that you understand the importance of email marketing and why you need to start building your list, we can talk more about implementing it into your site.

Setting Up Your Email Marketing Service

Before you can start building your list, you need to sign-up to one of the many email marketing services out there.

Essentially, these services enable you to send mass-emails and keep track of all your subscribers in one place. On top of that, they also allow you to automate some of your marketing by giving you the option to program emails ahead of time.

I recommend Drip to all my readers since it provides all the latest marketing automation technology at just a fraction of the cost of similar services. I can safely say that in my opinion, Drip is the absolute best email marketing service out there.

Drip logo

One of the key features that makes Drip so unique is Workflows. Using Workflows, you can easily set-up world class automation for your email list in a simple and clean visual interface.

Drip visual workflow

Although your automation probably doesn’t need to be as complicated as the one illustrated above, it’s nonetheless a great feature to have to save time and make your list more valuable.

Some other email marketing services worth mentioning are:

Once you’ve signed up to one of these services, it’s time to learn how to capture emails on your blog and start actually building your list.

How To Start Building Your List

Before you can start building your email list, you need to have some traffic incoming to your blog.

I won’t be talking about getting traffic in this post since I’ve already covered the topic in depth inside my guides on making money blogging and promoting blog content.

However, even as you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to plan out your email marketing strategy so that you can begin capturing emails when traffic starts rolling in.

Here’s what you need to do in order to start collecting emails and transform your readers into active subscribers:

1. Create An Irresistible Offer

The most efficient way by far to capture emails is by using lead magnets.

Simply put, lead magnets are basically a bribe that you offer your visitors in exchange for their email. Here are some examples of good email opt-ins pages using lead magnets:

Example Lead Magnet Business
Example Lead Magnet Coupon

A lead magnet can be really anything that you can offer to your website visitors. Here are some ideas:

  • Step-by-Step Guides
  • EBooks
  • Free Shipping
  • Free Trials
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Free Consultations
  • Coupons
  • etc…

The key to making a good lead magnet is finding out what your website visitors really want.

The best way to do this is to research more about your target audience and coming up with your website’s buyer persona.

Developing your buyer persona

A buyer persona is basically the ‘ideal’ person to represent your target audience as a whole. Creating buyer personas can help you figure out what your target audience really wants, and can help you create better, more relevant content.

Here is a template to help you create your own buyer persona:

Buyer persona

Another thing you can do to find inspiration when creating your lead magnet is spying on your competition.

Odds are at least one of your competitors will be using lead magnets with their opt-ins, so you can see what’s working for them and learn from it.

Learn more about how to create an efficient and high converting lead magnet: List Building on Steroids: 7 Types of Lead Magnets That Work Amazingly Well (And Examples)

2. Implement Your Opt-In On Your Blog

At this point, you have a good lead magnet that your audience will want badly enough to exchange their email for.

The next part is making sure that our visitors are actually presented to it in the best way possible.

Using pop-ups is the most popular way people integrate their lead magnets because it works. The problem with pop-up ads is that you’re interrupting the readers browsing and they might not like that.

In fact, 70% of Americans say they get annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads – this means you need to be offering them something worth their while to make up for interrupting them.

Although it is intrusive, integrating a pop-up email opt-in can dramatically increase your conversion rate.

For example, blogger and crafter Nikki McGonigal experimented by implementing a pop-up email form rather than a sidebar form. This was the pop-up she used:

Nikki McGonigal Opt-in

This resulted in her getting 1375% more sign-ups than from the sidebar form. Imagine if she was using a quality lead magnet! These were her stats after 8 months:

Sidebar Form Vs Pop Up 1375 Increase

Even though some readers will find your pop-ups annoying, it’s a worthy sacrifice to exchange for super fast list building.

Plus, it’s been found that adding relevant pop-ups to your website barely has any effect on your site’s traffic and bounce rate (visitors who view only one page and leave).

Another way to integrate your lead magnet is within your content. Here is a great example of something like this in action:

Lead Magnet within main content

Email opt-in within content

Doing this takes a bit more work however because the lead magnet needs to be very relevant to the content of your article, so you will most likely need multiple different lead magnets which can be hard to manage.

In the example above, the lead magnet used was a cheat sheet version of the whole post.

A free and simple way to start integrating email opt-ins to your site is the WordPress Plugin ‘SumoMe’.

SumoMe

SumoMe is basically a complete toolkit to grow your website. You can use it so set up pop-up forms, top bars, and many other cool features. Although full access requires a monthly subscription, they offer a free version for all of their tools.

They also provide super easy integration with most big email marketing software, so you don’t need to know a single line of code to integrate this to your website.

3. Split Test Your Opt-Ins to Get The Best Results Possible

You should always be trying new things and split testing to make sure you’re getting the highest conversion rate possible on your email opt-ins. If you haven’t heard of A/B Split Testing, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

How AB Split Testing Works

It’s pretty straight forward – you send some of your traffic to Version A of your website and some to Version B.

Then, whichever is converting better is the winner. You can keep split-testing practically forever as there’s so many different little things you can split test that can affect your conversion rate, such as:

  • Lead magnet
  • Headline text
  • Colors
  • Button text
  • Removing or adding fields to your form
  • etc…

You only want to split test a single change at once so that you have a constant variable to compare too. For example, a blue button vs an orange button while the rest of the opt-in is the exact same.

That way, you can actually see what changes are boosting or decreasing your conversion rate.

If you are making visually appealing email opt-ins with tempting lead magnets, you will be able to convert a good amount of your website visitors into email subscribers and hence quickly build up your email list.

Warming Up Your List

Ok, so you have your email list.

Now, I should start sending them emails filled with affiliate products right away, right?

No. Right now, your list is cold – your subscribers probably just heard of you and still don’t completely trust you.

That’s why you want to spend some time actually sharing good content to your list for a while and make them like you.

Warming up your email list

If you warm up your list efficiently, you will not only build trust and get constant open rates on the emails you send out but you will also sell your products much easier because your subscribers will actually like you, rather than the email seeming like some SPAM ad.

The first goal is interest. You wouldn’t ask a person to marry you on the first date, would you? This applies to cold traffic marketing.

Creating Emails That Perform

The truth is that most of your email subscribers won’t always open and read your emails.

If you want high open and click-through rates, you need to be creating perfect emails that will excite your readers enough to get them to visit your landing page.

Here are some important components that all successful emails share:

1. Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

Having a good subject line is critical to have for your email to be successful. In fact, 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone – this gives you an idea of how important it is to have an optimized subject line.

Remember those buyer personas we talked about? This is another situation where they can come in handy.

You want to make the subject line relevant to your buyer personas’ probable problems or concerns.

For instance, if your target audience is single mothers who tend work too much and don’t get to spend as much time with their kids as they want, a subject line like “Wish you could spend more time with your kids?” could work well.

Another great way to make your subject lines more attention-grabbing is by personalizing them. In fact, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

Not only that, they also improve click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10% on average.

The downside to this is that you need to capture both the user’s name and email rather than just their email and this can result in lower conversion rates on your opt-in.

2. Recognizable “From” Name

Although this seems like something of minimal importance, it’s not.

With a number of commercial emails people are getting nowadays, consumers are spending less time on irrelevant mail, making it much harder to stand out even with a good subject line.

In fact, 43% email recipients report emails as spam based on the from name – that’s why it’s important that you pick a name that you readers will recognize instantly.

If your real name plays a big part in your branding and you think that you would be recognized with it, using it can make your readers feel like they are more personally connected with you.

Neil Patel constantly brands himself on Quicksprout , so when subscribers receive an email from ‘Neil Patel’, they instantly make the connection.

Integrating your name into your brand

The key to choosing the right sender name is simply to pick the most logical and recognizable name for your company.

Also, make sure that you stick with the same name and don’t try changing it – with time, people will recognize your sender name as trustworthy if you properly warm up your list and changing your name could screw that up as you won’t be under the name that they are expecting you to be.

3. Good Body Copy

It’s important to be writing effective copy in your emails so that you can properly convey why they need what you are offering.

Once again, using your buyer personas can be really helpful while doing this – you want to speak to your subscribers on a personal level and make your emails as relevant to their concerns.

A great way to do this is to adopt a conversational type of writing. Conversational content is written in a friendly tone, and the goal is basically to make it seem like the content was written specifically for your prospect.

To do this, you must be writing as if you were having a conversation with your reader. For example:

“Have you been finding it hard to …? I know exactly how you feel.”

Another great way to really engage your subscribers with your emails is by telling stories. People love about hearing stories that they can relate to – especially when the outcome of the story is where they want to be.

The solution for the conflict in your story should be the product you are promoting.

Reflect on how much this product helped you and even throw in some specific results to increase your credibility.

Writing good copy is a huge topic on its own and requires years of mastery. It’s a skill that you are going to be wanting to learn, as you will be needing it for nearly every aspect of affiliate marketing.

4. Strong Call-To-Action

Since the main goal of your email marketing is to generate leads, having a strong call-to-action is arguably the most important part of your email.

Depending on the purpose of your email, you will be using different call-to-actions. Firstly, find the main focus of your email – what is the first thing you want your subscribers to do after reading your email?

Then, use this to create your call-to-action. It’s important that it stands out from the rest of the email and that it is visually distinctive since it is the main focus of your email.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your call-to-action is located above the fold – this means that your readers won’t need to scroll down to see it.

Here’s an example of an email with a good call-to-action:

Effective call to action email

As you can see, the call-to-action clearly stands out from the rest of the email and the text tells us exactly why you should take action and what you will get from doing it.

The button is also in a bright orange color that stands out and immediately catches the eye, which is exactly what you want when creating a call-to-action.

Conclusion

Email marketing is a very powerful tool for us marketers and should definitely be cherished.

Focus on building a targeted email list and on creating trust between you and your subscribers.

Always focus on helping your subscribers and providing them with quality content, and the rest will follow on its own.

And don’t forget: The money is in the list.

Have you been capturing emails on your website? Let me know in the comments.

Gabriel St-Germain

Gabriel St-Germain

Canadian student/affiliate marketer who makes money online. He discovered internet marketing at the age of 16, and has been successful since then (within just 18 months of starting, he had already made over $100,000).
Gabriel St-Germain