There’s a reason why so many bloggers say “the money’s in the list.”
Most of your website visitors aren’t going to instantly turn into loyal fans. They’re probably checking out dozens, even hundreds of websites this week, and it’s unfortunately easy to forget yours after they click away – unless you stay in touch with them.
You might think that social media is an ideal way to keep your visitors interested. And social media does have its uses, but when it comes to building your loyal audience and monetizing your blog, it can’t compete with email.
Email may be ancient technology compared to social media, but it’s still better at getting your message heard. On social media, messages are ephemeral and often drowned out in all the noise. An email, on the other hand, stays in your audience’s inbox, and doesn’t go away if it’s ignored.
That’s why the money’s in the list. Here’s how to get your list working for you.
How to Build Your Email List
Obviously, in order to make any money from your email autoresponder, you first need subscribers.
But not just any subscribers – you only want subscribers who are interested in what you have to offer. It’s important to focus your efforts on building a quality list that consists of your ideal target audience.
Email Opt-in Forms
If getting email subscribers is the main goal of your blog, you need to make it the focus of your website.
Your opt-in forms should stand out from your content. If your website is cluttered, no one will see your opt-in forms. Clear out the unnecessary distractions and make sure your opt-in forms are clearly visible.
Consider using a non-annoying, user-friendly pop up form to get even more subscribers. Here on WHSR, we use Ninja Popups. You can purchase Ninja Popups at CodeCanyon. We also recommend OptinMonster, a WordPress plugin that can create beautiful opt-in form designs.
Freebies and Content Upgrades
A popular method for getting more email subscribers is by offering a freebie, such as an e-book or an email course, to new subscribers.
Another effective list-building method that’s become popular recently is content upgrades, where bloggers offer unique freebies to complement (“upgrade”) individual posts, available only to email subscribers. You can read more about how to implement content upgrades in our post, How to Triple Your Subscribers With Content Upgrades.
While offering freebies requires an up-front time investment, many bloggers find that it helps to skyrocket their email list growth.
However, make sure you keep in mind that you don’t just want more subscribers – you need the right subscribers.
Your freebie should be exactly what your target audience wants to download. If your freebie attracts the wrong audience, it’ll just result in a high unsubscription rate. Consider using reader surveys to find out exactly what freebies are compelling for your unique audience.
How to Monetize Your Autoresponder
In order to monetize your email autoresponder, you’ll need something to sell.
Affiliate links are a popular way to make money with email autoresponders. You can use a website like CJ Affiliate to find opportunities, or partner up with brands you already use who have affiliate programs, such as your web hosting company.
You can also earn money by selling your own products and services. Digital products, such as courses and ebooks, are a common way to earn passive income. While they require an upfront time investment to create the product, they can keep earning you passive income once your autoresponder is complete, with no further work required on your part.
How to Plan Your Autoresponder Series
Next, you’ll need to plan your autoresponder series.
The first email you write should be a welcome message to your new subscribers. Be sure to thank them for subscribing, and introduce yourself. Let them know what to expect next, and don’t try to hard sell them right away.
The rest of your autoresponder series will depend on your website and what you’re selling. Some email ideas you can include are:
Customer testimonials and success stories
Samples of your ebook or online course
Answers to common customer questions
Links to your previous blog posts (with affiliate links, or links to your products)
Not every email should have a hard sell, or you’ll face a lot of unsubscriptions.
However, according to email marketing expert Dan Fagella of CLVboost, you should leave the door open to sales with each email. Even your informational emails can link back to your site, where visitors can find links to purchase your products or click on your affiliate links.
With your early emails, you should build trust with your audience. If you’re just getting started and your list is still small, don’t be afraid to invite subscribers to reply and contact you directly.
For the most income potential, offer a range of products and services at different price points throughout your autoresponder series. Just because your one email selling a $500 course doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you should give up on those subscribers. Try extending your autoresponder series to offer a $50 mini-course as well.
GetResponse is our recommended email marketing tool with a big focus on autoresponders. They’ve been around for over 15 years. We use it to design, send, and track email newsletters to our subscribers at a very affordable price. Check out our GetResponse review (Dec 2013) to find out more.
AWeber is a popular email list tool that includes an autoresponder feature. They also offer an RSS-to-email tool so your subscribers can automatically get your latest blog posts, making your newsletter entirely passive.
MailChimp is a popular email list tool famous for its ease of use and gorgeous templates (not to mention their cute monkey mascot). MailChimp offers an autoresponder tool with their paid accounts only. With their automation tools, you can easily set up a series of emails for new subscribers, or even set emails to be sent after certain triggering events (like sending a coupon after a customer buys a product).
Start Building Your List Today
If you want to make money blogging, it’s crucial to build an email list.
The good news is, it’s never too late! Get started by signing up for your email list tool of choice, and placing some opt-in forms on your website. Once you have an idea of what your audience’s needs are, you can create a product they’ll love.
While money-making email autoresponders take time to set up, once they’re in place they can be a very lucrative source of income for bloggers and online businesses.
Article by KeriLynn Engel
KeriLynn Engel is a copywriter & content marketing strategist. She loves working with B2B & B2C businesses to plan and create high-quality content that attracts and converts their target audience. When not writing, you can find her reading speculative fiction, watching Star Trek, or playing Telemann flute fantasias at a local open mic.