We’ve all heard it: an email list is imperative to increasing your income as a blogger.
Some will even say it’s necessary for earning any real income at all, but I disagree, since I earned a full time income for 5 months in a row without a list.
The income I’ve earned, though, has been dependent on writing strictly profitable content and keeping up great page views. There’s nothing wrong with earning income this way. It’s great, in fact. BUT.
This method of making money blogging has one seriously massive flaw.
Every single month I look at the income I made and I think, “That’s nice. Sure hope it doesn’t vanish into thin air next month!” (Soooo… that’s kind of stressful.)
In order to grow your income (let alone maintain it) you need to be able to ensure that you can continue to get traffic to your profitable content.
Problem is, no can do that. Ever. There is no way to ensure that traffic won’t plummet. Unless you are such a big blog that you are literally a household name, your blog will live and die by internet algorithms.
The only people you will ever be able to reach consistently are the people on your email list.
One day you have Facebook favor, and the next day you don’t. My page views have been down a bit the past two months – they’re still good, thanks to my unique Pinterest Strategy – but they aren’t as good as they were before.
Each month I wonder if this will be the month that page views will tank, and each month I wonder if this is the month the blog won’t make a cent. I am busting my butt to change that now.
Why didn’t I start an email list in the beginning?
I hate the idea of email marketing.
Let me just put that out there. I hate it when I get 6 emails from the same person in two days, and I hate that 80% of the people emailing me are selling the same things and only emailing when these things are on sale. If that’s the only way to do it, then I don’t wanna.
I also hate that the email opt in “freebies” are increasingly some sort of ten point checklist that should be published for free and almost certainly contain information that IS free somewhere else. I couldn’t come up with anything that I felt was worth asking for someone’s email in exchange for… and the whole thing just seemed like too much work. (There is A LOT of learning going on when you start blogging. You can’t do it all.)
SO I just didn’t. (Sure, I threw up a popup and collected a few emails, but I didn’t really email anyone.)
As I’ve watched my page views fall with the new algorithm changes, I started to realize that if I don’t get on the email train… my worries about vanishing income will likely become a reality.
I also realized that by not starting with email collection in the beginning, I had missed out on literally hundreds of thousands of opportunities to capture emails.
So I determined I would get serious about email, and just see what happens.
I chose MadMimi as my mailing platform for 3 reasons.
- Mimi is WAY cheaper than similar popular email platforms.
- They have 24 hour support via chat (or email, after hours. They respond super promptly).
- It’s what Amy Lynn Andrews uses, and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me. (ha!)
It took me a few months to really get comfortable using it, and a few more months to feel ok sending emails. (The key to feeling ok about it is to send out useful information, I’ve discovered. And when you DO try marketing, only sell things that you genuinely use and love!)
What happened when I sent out my first “sales” email?
A few people unsubscribed. One person marked me as spam (ouch!).
But … some people bought the thing I was selling!
I resent to unopends (more on that in a minute) and I sold MORE of the thing! What?!
I did this a few more times during the month… and even though page views were down over 50% from the previous month, income was over 50% higher. (I KNOW.) Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting on the “you can make a bunch of money with terrible page views” train. I still had 100k page views. But it was pretty awesome all the same.
It totally convinced me that I needed to get on board with this email marketing thing, once and for all. Because I need to know that I could still generate an income if page views fell further. Having an email list takes the edge off the fear that income might evaporate overnight.
And that is huge.
If you are blogging for profit, I hate to say it, but you need to be serious about email. If you choose not to grow an email list, you are choosing to build your blog on a sandy foundation.
So, if you are ready to take your blog income into your own hands, I suggest starting by watching this free training from Kate Doster on how to write emails so good they’ll like the screen!
A few tips for successful email marketing:
Don’t JUST email when you have something to sell. Stay in touch, send out relevant blog updates and share free useful information. People are interested in what you have to say, so don’t just take advantage of them with sales. PLUS people will be more likely to buy things that you are recommending if they feel like they know you and can trust you.
Don’t try to sell things you haven’t tried yourself / don’t believe in. Just don’t. You won’t be believable and people won’t buy the things anyway.
Resend to un-openeds. If 80% of your email list doesn’t open your email, they missed what you have to say all together – but they might have just not seen your email or maybe the subject line didn’t interest them. I always resend to un-openeds a few days after the original email went out, with a new subject line. It almost always results in more opens, and often, more sales.