If you are new to blogging, then you might have heard the word “Email Marketing”?
You may have also read several times where bloggers keep telling their readers to start building an email list.
But, you don’t know exactly what it is and how to start one. Right?
Don’t worry! In this guide, I will exactly tell you how to start building an email list from scratch for free.
So, ensure you read it till the end.
What Is An Email List?
An email list is a list of email addresses you have collected from your blog or website.
Having such a list is a great way to promote different products, content, discount coupons, etc with your subscribers so you can help them in solving their problem & make money as well.
Overall, an email list is a must for any online business to have a successful long run.
Why You Need An Email List?
1. Helps in Building Relationship
Having an email list is the best way to build a relationship with potential customers that can result in repeated sales.
People always like to buy products from a trusted source and not from an unknown source.
So, building an email list is the best way to build that trust & relationship.
2. Gives You Full Authority
An email list gives you the full authority that means those who have subscribed your blog has given you the full permission to communicate with them.
Having such authority is always a plus point for sales.
3. Ability To Understand Your Audience
You can easily figure out what your audience is interested in.
Every email marketing service provides analytics options which can give a wealth of useful information to analyze your subscribers.
You can easily see
- Which emails are getting clicks?
- Which ones are getting fewer clicks?
- Which ones are getting ignored?
Using this analytic, you can figure out which subject line, email contents are appealing well with your audience so you can redesign your email marketing strategy accordingly.
4. Easy To Communicate
If someone is in your list, then you can easily communicate with them by sending emails.
But if the same person is following you on Twitter or Facebook, then always remember, you are not the only one, he/she is following.
There might be thousands of people just like you.
So, in this crowded environment, it’s harder to convey your messages through social media & it has a higher chance of getting ignored.
Whereas E-mail is a more personal approach that holds a lot of value until you’re using it to scam people.
5. You Don’t Have To Depend on Traffic
With an e-mail list, you can make consistent sales even if you are not getting enough traffic.
Think about it, what if your traffic has sunk or your main source of traffic has shut down?
This can easily affect your sales and revenue.
In such a case, the only way to communicate with your readers is through your email list which will be their forever unless they unsubscribe you.
That means you don’t have to worry about any social media or any other platform. Just slowly build your email list and you are good to go.
Till now, you must have understood how important an email list is? What potential it has in an online business?
So, if you are planning to start one, then don’t worry I will show the exact steps you need to do to start your own email list with Mailerlite.
What is Mailerlite?
Mailerlite is an email marketing service provider used by online businesses for email building, automation, landing page creation, pop-up management, and more.
They offer both free and paid plans where you can use their service up to 1000 subscribers for free and then; you need to pay a little fee for their service which is usually $15/month for their basic plan.
Being a beginner, it is a great tool to start building your email list & moreover; it is free & cheap compared to other services.
Features of Mailerlite
- Drag-and-drop Editor
- Custom HTML Editor
- Rich Text Editor
- Free Newsletter Design Templates
- Built-in Photo Editing Feature
- File Manager
- Subscriber Management
- Landing Pages
- Embeddable Web Forms
- Unsubscribe Page Builder
- Campaign Reports
- Click Maps
- Open by Location
- Email Automation
- RSS Campaigns
- Auto Resend
- A/B Testing
- User Permissions
- Developer API
Reasons I Prefer Mailerlite
I have been using Mailerlite to build my email list & to be honest; I am having a wonderful experience with it.
I love every feature they provide in such an affordable price. Here are a few reasons to choose them.
- They provide beautiful forms & landing pages which are very important to lure your readers.
- Many of your emails may land in the primary Inbox of your readers which means more probability for clicks. With other free services, most of your emails land in the promotion or spam folder which increases the chances of getting ignored.
- It provides free automation i.e. you can send a list of emails to your subscribers automatically when they subscribe to your blog. You can use this feature to nurture your list further to build trust. For example, when someone subscribes my blog, then they receive a series of emails automatically which adds a lot of value.
- They provide better customer support to solve all your e-mail related problems. Once, I had a doubt about affiliate links and when I contacted them via their live chat; I got a reply within 2 minutes & moreover; they helped me a lot to clarify my doubts.
- Even, when you hit the 1000 subscribers mark, you can upgrade to their paid plan for just $15/month which is a lot cheaper than other services.
These are a few positives on why I choose Mailerlite. However, you must know their fair usage policy before using them to avoid getting a ban.
Mailerlite has clearly mentioned that you can’t promote pornography, affiliate marketing, pyramid schemes, MLM, Get Rich Quick, Forex, Escort services, gambling, weight loss material, mobile unlocking services or offer illegal goods and services.
They state that Affiliate marketing is prohibited but affiliate links are only allowed when it is relevant & meet your subscriber’s need.
This means if you are in a travel niche, ensure you are promoting a travel niche product & not a mobile unlocking system.
How To Start Building An Email List Using Mailerlite?
Step 1: Sign Up for Mailerlite
- You can click here to sign-up.
- Then, click on the sign-up button.
- Enter your company name, email address, password and click on “create an account” button.
- Your Mailerlite account is ready to use.
Step 2: Analyze Your Content & Offer a Lead Magnet (Freebie)
Have you seen ads where the brands offer a free product if you buy their main product?
For example, a toothpaste company may offer a free toothbrush if you buy their toothpaste.
They basically do this to attract new customers to make sales and it works perfectly.
Brands use this strategy to lure their audience so they buy their products & increase their revenue.
Looking at this strategy, you can also do the same thing by offering something useful to your audience for their email address.
But for this, you need to analyze your content and niche to figure out what will the best freebie you can give them for free.
The best way to find out is to follow other successful bloggers in your niche and look for what they are offering.
Is it a checklist, an e-book, an email course or something else?
Another way is to analyze your content and see if you can provide any content upgrades like a checklist, cheat sheet, videos, etc.
Once you’ve figured it out, you can use any editing tool like Canva to create those lead magnets.
Step 3: Create An Opt-in Form for your Lead Magnet
After creating your lead magnet, the next thing you need is an opt-in form where your readers will enter their email address to download the freebie.
You can easily create such opt-in forms using Mailerlite.
For this, sign in to your account and start by creating a group where all your subscriber’s email address will get stored.
To do this on Mailerlite, follow the below steps.
A) Create A Group
- Go to your dashboard and click “Subscribers” which is at the top.
- Select groups and then click “Create a new group”.
- Enter the group name and click “Create” to create your group.
After creating a group, the next thing you need is an opt-in form where your readers will enter their name and email address.
B) Create An Opt-in Form
- First, click on Forms in the navigation menu.
- Select Embedded forms and click Create Embedded Form button as shown above.
- Give a name to this form and click Save & continue.
- Now select your group which you have created earlier and click Save and continue to link your opt-in form with the group. As an example, I am using the Freebie group.
- Once done, you will get automatically directed to the form builder page where you can create & customize your form as per your liking.
- Once you’ve created a form, click on “Done editing” button to finish the procedure.
Step 4: Include Your Form in Your Blog
You can include your opt-in form in two ways.
- Add a text link which opens the opt-in form when clicked.
- Add a complete opt-in form inside your blog.
A) Add a Text Link
You can do this by going to your form settings page and copying the Share URL to paste it anywhere in your blog with an anchor text.
B) Add a Complete Opt-in Form
Another thing you can do is add a complete opt-in form inside your blog.
To do this, go to your form settings page & copy the code which starts with <div & paste it anywhere in your blog whether it is a sidebar, page or post.
Step 5: Prepare Your Emails
After creating your opt-in form, its time to create three emails
- Confirmation email
- Thank You email
- Welcome email
A) Confirmation Mail
A confirmation email is sent when you need the confirmation of your reader’s email address to avoid any spam emails getting added to your list.
B) Thank You Email
Thank you mail is the next mail sent to your new subscribers when they confirm their email address.
This email has two purposes
- Thanking your subscriber for subscribing your blog
- Offering them the promised lead magnet
Thank You emails are a great way to show your gratitude towards your subscribers when they subscribe you.
By doing so, your subscribers will have a positive feeling towards you and your brand.
However, the most important purpose of this email is to offer your lead magnet.
If it is a PDF file, then share the download link & if it is something else, then offer the same in this email.
C) Welcome Mail
After receiving a thank you mail, you need to send them a welcome mail where you introduce yourself and your blog.
According to the Experian website, welcome emails get 86% higher open rates than other emails which means you need to make sure you set a good impression with your readers while sending them.
While writing a welcome email, you need to mention certain things to have more impact & friendly relationship with your subscribers.
If you include them, you will have a more professional approach with your subscribers and they will have a more positive feeling about your online business.
Here are the things you need to add in your welcome email:
- Introduce yourself and your business. Tell them who you are and what you do. What your business does and how your business can help them in solving their problems.
- Tell them your own story in 2-3 paragraphs so they can have a connection with you from the beginning itself.
- Don’t forget to set expectations by telling them what they can expect from you. What emails they will receive and how it will help them.
- Most importantly, ask them to whitelist your email so they can receive your emails directly in their primary Inbox. For this, I include a YouTube video link in my welcome email so they can visually see how it’s done.
Step 6: Configure Your Emails
To configure these 3 emails, you can easily do it on Mailerlite.
If you go and check out the form settings page, you can see the double opt-in option.
If you turn it ON, you can see the confirmation & thank you email settings where you can configure your emails as shown below in the screenshot.
For welcome email, you need to create an automation that will automatically send this email after the thank you email.
Step 7: Create Automation To Send Your Welcome & Other Emails
Now, the next question is what to do next after sending all the mentioned emails?
You know these subscribers are still new and don’t trust you enough (If your business is not well known). So, the only thing you need to do is win their trust.
If they trust you, then they can be your loyal readers and buyers too.
Think about it, whose suggestions will they prefer if they need to buy a product?
A random blogger or you who is helping them in solving their problems?
Obviously, it will be you and this is only possible if you nurture your email list by sending them helpful emails
And you can do that by following a simple formula
GIVE, GIVE, GIVE…..& THEN ASK
Now, you might get confused about what I just wrote?
Well, what I am trying to say here is start helping your subscribers. Give them helpful tips, guide them, solve their problem for free.
Make them feel that you are here to help them. When they start looking at you as a genuine friend or a helper, that’s when they start trusting you.
And when they trust you, that’s when you need to promote your affiliate products or your own product to them which is more likely to convert.
Building trust is very important otherwise there is no point in having an email list.
Now the burning question is how will you pull off all these?
Well, if you need to build trust, then start helping them by sending a series of valuable emails.
These emails will highlight problems related to their niche and how they can solve them by giving them suitable solutions.
Now, the only problem is you always need to keep an eye on your new subscribers so you can send them all these emails manually.
Now, manually mailing is a kinda hectic work when you have a lot of subscribers getting added daily.
In such cases, AUTOMATION work like a charm.
What Are Automated Emails?
Automated emails are automatically sent to your subscribers at specific time intervals or as a response to the actions of the recipients on a particular website.
It is a great way to give value to your new subscribers by giving them helpful tips & suggestions.
Moreover, you shouldn’t have to worry about sending the same emails again & again manually to your new subscribers which is a kinda big relief.
How To Create Such Automated Emails?
- In Mailerlite, click Automation link & then click on the “Create a new workflow” button.
- You will land on a page where you need to enter your Workflow name (your freebie name) & then set the trigger to “when a subscriber joins a group” & hit save. What this will do is whenever someone joins your email list, Mailerlite will send your automated emails to them.
- After you have done this much, you will see another option popping up just under it. Here, select a group name (previously created group) which will link this automation to the chosen group & then hit save.
- After saving, you can see a plus sign on the main screen. Click it & choose the delay option where you can set the delay time for emails. For example, if you select 3 days, then your automated mail is sent to your new subscriber after 3 days of signing up.
- I prefer a 3-day gap for my email series so I don’t annoy them.
- After setting the delay period, again click “+” sign under delay box and click on the email. This will add an email window.
- On the right side, enter a subject name & then click the Design email button. Here you need to design your email which you are planning to send. After doing all the designing & writing work, you are ready with your first email.
- Now, do the same thing again to add more emails to the list i.e. add another delay and e-mail. In this way, you can add many emails in your automation.
So, this is how you can start building an email list from scratch.
This may seem a lot of work but trust me, once you have set-up all the things correctly, everything will run smoothly.
Another thing is, ensure to keep emailing your list on a weekly basis where you can share your latest post updates & strategies that can help them in solving their problems.
If you will follow this practice, you can surely nurture your email list which will eventually lead to more affiliate sales.
Have any doubt? Feel free to drop your questions in the comment section.
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