There’s a lot of advice out there on the great wide internet telling you what you should do as a blogger and how you should do it. If you’re even remotely considering adding a business element to your blogging venture, there’s even more advice. Perhaps advice is a bit too soft a word. Plenty of people are telling you what you absolutely MUST do to avoid being left behind as the world sails past you.
This post will be about one of those musts that I’m rebelling against – building an email list. Not that there is anything wrong with choosing to build an email list because that works for you; the rebelling here is against the “must/should” part of it. And just to clarify, this isn’t getting people to follow your blog via email rather than via WordPress. This is getting people to give you their email address as part of signing up for a newsletter you create, as an example.
Whether you’re trying to sell a book, products, services, or anything else, supposedly building up an email list is a high priority goal in and of itself, because apparently this will keep people buying your products ’til kingdom come. Email marketing is considered more valuable than social media following because social media connections aren’t really yours. Social media followers come and go, but if you’ve got their email, you’ve got them on lockdown.
According to Blogger.com, “The most powerful asset any blogger has is their email list.” Campaign Monitor calls email marketing “vital” for bloggers. AWeber says “email marketing and blogging go together like s’mores and campfires” and if you’re a blogger without an email list, “you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your audience.”
So what’s the big fuss about? Well, because it allows you to get in people’s face, whenever you want, and get them to listen to what you have to say. Apparently people are a much more captive audience (and more wallets-open audience) when you can connect with them via email as opposed to any other methods.
So how to get people to subscribe? “Lead magnets” are freebies that are given in exchange for people giving you their email address. There is lead generation software like Optin Monster and LeadPages to set that up. Once you’ve drawn people in, there are a variety of services that will help you manage your email marketing, including Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and the oh-so-obnoxiously-named Constant Contact.
I am fussy about how I navigate the internet world. Pop-up messages to subscribe bug me. I know many sites use them and I understand why they use them, but as I said, I’m fussy. I don’t like giving out my email, because I don’t want mailing list emails clogging up my inbox. I suppose I could approach marketing in a way that wouldn’t appeal to me, but I just don’t want to.
Plus, I don’t want to write a newsletter. If I have things to say, I will say it on my blog. Perhaps that’s what it really comes down to for me. I do have some plans to bring a business element to my blog, but at its core my blog will still be a blog, and that’s how I like to connect with people.
So, do you need to have an email list as a blogger? If it serves a purpose for you, that’s great; run with it and make it work with you. But if that’s a path that you don’t want to take, despite what all the marketing sites will tell you, skip the email list and do your own thing. And that’s my grumpy blogger advice for the day.
A few articles on the topic to check out if you’re curious:
- Bookworks: How to Build Relationships with your Email List Subscribers
- Blogging.com: Email Marketing
- Quicksprout: Lead magnet creation
- Neil Patel’s blog topic: email marketing
My new book Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, with contributions from members of the mental health blogging community, will be released on September 9. My first book, Psych Meds Made Simple, is available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.