Welcome to our weekly column by Blogger Babes co-founder Ponn Sabra. Check back every Monday for the tips and tricks you need to take your blog to the next level!
As I mentioned last week in my inaugural Blogger Babes columns, building an email list is a neglected but crucial marketing tool for fashion bloggers, and something you can capitalize on almost immediately.
I rarely see an email opt-in option on fashion blogs. RSS email subscriptions don't count—I’m talking a complete email management and autoresponder system. So for my second column (read the first one here for 6 marketing principles you need now), I'm going to lay out the benefits of starting an email list, stat.
You own your list.
You have 100% access to it no matter what. Social media, on the other hand, can change privacy or user settings at any time. If you depend solely on social media to build a customer list, you are at risk of losing your ability to communicate freely with your target audience. You don't have control over any social media sites.
Your email list allows you to communicate with a targeted audience.
These individuals are more likely to pay attention to what you have to say, simply because they opted in to your list to begin with.
You can drive traffic where you want it to go.
You can use email to drive your audience to Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites, and especially to your own blog. You’re not at the mercy of search engine traffic alone. For example, if you have a new sponsored post with a brand you really want to impress and work with again, you can share the news with your list. Ask them to read, comment, and even share this post as a quick favor to you.
Your message goes directly to your subscriber’s inbox.
They opted in to hear from you, so you have their permission to share and communicate with them directly in their own private inbox!
You can share news quickly.
Email is a quick way to communicate newsworthy content to your audience. If your industry has a new plugin coming out, you can let your subscribers know before it goes live to the public. Remember, speed trumps everything. For example, say you get a tip there’s a first-come first-serve e-invitation to a private grand opening for a new boutique in town. You want all your family, friends, and fans to join you before all the spaces are full. Email them this time-sensitive alert before your competitor or colleague does.
Almost everyone has email.
Not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter. There are still those strong souls who refuse to be on various social media sites. They either don’t trust or don’t want to be a part of the latest craze or online fad. However, most of these people own and live faithfully by their email accounts.
You will build trust.
An email list allows you to build a friendly relationship with your subscribers, causing them to have more trust in you and your brand.
Selling through email is expected and accepted.
Unlike on other platforms, such as social media or blogs where we expect more content than advertising, subscribers assume there will be discounts, gifts, coupons, and even sales coming their way. The more email subscribers you have, the better your success rates will be. Most successful bloggers will agree “Money is in The List”—your email list, that is!
Email is active and interactive marketing.
Social media, on the other hand, is passive marketing. Your blog and social media sites—although known to be interactive and in real-time—still require you to publish, post, and comment yourself first, then sit and wait for others to like, share, or respond. But once someone opens an email, they took action and are likely to act upon your suggestions, recommendations, or advice.
Track your emails. You can view your open-rate and click-through-rate when and where they occur.
Your blog will be more attractive to potential brands, PR companies, sponsors and advertisers.
Marketing professionals are aware of the benefits of an email list, and while blog statistics and the number of social media followers are impressive, the pros find appeal in bloggers with an established or growing email list. These bloggers can accurately measure click and response rates, and thus, they have an exact measure of return on investment (ROI).
You can create automated ecourses.
You can make a 7, 10 or even 365-day ecourse that automatically sends a themed-tip or activity. You set it up once, and it automatically sends to subscribers whenever they subscribe. Add links to your related blog posts throughout the ecourse, and you can drive captured leads to your blog anytime of the day or night. No matter when your subscriber discovers you, they will receive the same ecourse you preset many days, weeks, months, or even years ago.
Tip: Always send at least a 7-day ecourse, because marketing research shows that 7 is the magic number. When a person is exposed to a brand 7 times, they will finally buy or act upon your recommendation.
Email marketing is not as overwhelming as social media.
The numerous social media marketing tactics (plus the inability to track success and conversion rates) overwhelm many brands, companies, marketers, and even social media gurus themselves. Tracked email marketing statistics are much more straightforward, as well as easy to understand and implement.
An email inbox is a less distracted arena.
A social media website is crowded with all sorts of messages. Once an email comes in, it remains there until you open it. With the enormous amounts of posts coming in on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. your messages can easily get buried and they’ll be hard to rediscover. Email inboxes have much better search options to dig up old messages.
People read their emails more immediately.
If someone misses the live comment on social media, and it doesn’t get shares to bring it back to the top of your feed, your reader may never see the great content you wanted to share.
Email subscribers have a higher attention level.
As explained briefly of the difference between social media and email marketing above, the mindset of a person reading your blog versus your email varies greatly too. For example when people read blogs, many times they’re in a research-mood. They consume a lot of content, clicking from one link to the next…and away from your blog they go. People researching online search frantically for immediate answers to their questions. They don’t necessarily come to your blog to enjoy your content—though we’d all love to believe that.
Reading email is seen as much more personal. Outside of spam, most people’s inboxes are filled with emails from family, friends, brand-discounts, news, and hopefully, your opted-in email list! When you write your emails correctly, addressing them with their first name and using copy that looks, sounds and feels personal, you create a mood that makes your reader want to click and read from the subject line to the postscript. [More on this topic below]. You can also configure your settings to show your personal email as the sender, and ask subscribers to reply directly to you for comments, questions, and feedback. This personal touch is apparent to the receiver, and she’ll appreciate your thoughtful message. You can write to that one person and make her feel like you’re writing directly to her alone, rather than writing to a mass email list. It’s not easy, but learning how to develop this kind of email builds the quality list you want to achieve.
Email builds your credibility.
You have a unique opportunity to offer original content with a defined purpose that seems exclusive and more private than on your blog. You can build your reputation as an authority figure by sharing more professional work in your emails. At the same time, you can write more personable messages to build that trust and respect you need to become a treasured authority blogger.
Email is easy.
Everyone knows how to send and reply to one, so there’s less of a learning curve to get people on your email list than other forms of online marketing, like social media or even commenting on your latest blog post.
Building and growing your email list is necessary for your success as a blogger. The ability to build and grow relationships with people who are interested in you and your brand is crucial and should not be underestimated. Subscribers care about what’s going on in your life and the products you recommend. They opted in for this kind of information, education, and inspiration.
These benefits listed above are an excerpt from eGuide 3: Why Bloggers Need an Email list, presently sold for $7.
For a list of my favorite email list services and the benefits of each, check out this recent Blogger Babes post.
So, what are you waiting for? Go create your email list now! Already have a list? I'd love to hear how it works for you. Please weigh in below!