Blogging Basics

What is an email list?

If you’re thinking of creating a business online, you may have wondered “what is an email list, and do I need one?”. We will explain in simple terms what an email list is and why you should have one!

white background with phone showing empty email inbox

For bloggers and others who run an online based business, an email list can be one of your most valuable assets. An email list, in basic terms, is a list of people who have signed up to receive emails from you!

Do I need permission to email people?

Yes you do! There is a law called the CAN-SPAM Act that prohibits you from sending bulk unsolicited email.

Therefore, you should have express permission from people before adding them to your business or blog’s email list.

How do you get their permission? Having a signup form on your website or a sign up landing page is the easiest option.

How do I get a signup form? Where do the email addresses go?

In order to collect the email addresses from people, you’ll need to have an email marketing tool. There are many out there, from free to paid and they all have their benefits and drawbacks.

For bloggers, we typically recommend using Convertkit, for the balance of great features, good pricing, and being user friendly and easy to set up.

Convertkit or you email marketing service of choice will provide directions for creating forms and landing pages that you can embed on your website or share a link to for people to sign up for your list.

They then keep the emails in a list for you that you can organize, sort, tag and more with!

two women holding phones having a conversation at a table

What should I send to the people on my email list?

The wonderful thing is, you have so many options! But to keep you from feeling overwhelmed, we have a few suggestions if you’re just getting started.

  1. RSS feed – this is when you set up an automatic feed from your blog, and every time you publish a new post, an email can be automatically sent to your subscribers. You can either have it include just a few sentenced or the entire blog post, and pictures. We recommend just including a few sentences with a link back to your site for people to read the post.
  2. Weekly/Monthly Newsletter – this is an email that you will need to create each time, and could include a summary of your recent or favorite blog posts, or something else entirely! Many send out newsletters to stay connected with their readers and to provide additional valuable content over what you would read on the blog.
  3. Welcome Series – this is typically done as an automated series that starts sending over a specified time period after someone signs up for your email list. This is a great opportunity to connect with your reader, provide them additional valuable content and to direct them to important posts on your site. You will be able to let them know what your site or business has to offer, and to hopefully have them respond to you with feedback, requests and suggestions.

Is there a benefit to having an email list?

For most bloggers and online businesses, absolutely!!

People on your email list have given you something valuable (space in their inbox) which means they are interested in what you have to offer! This group of people is much more likely to buy from you or to be engaged with your content in the future.

Think of it this way, how many blogs have you come across and enjoyed and then moved on and forgotten? Other people probably do the same with yours. If you can get them on your email list, you can keep them coming back time and again, because even if they forget, your email will remind them!

Most experienced online business owners and blogger will tell you that they get far more conversions from their email list than any other form of marketing. People are also more likely to see your email than your social media post.

And speaking of social media, by far the most important reason we believe in having an email list is that you actually own your email list! This is an important point to consider. You don’t own your social media account, and it could disappear at any time. Your email list is yours to keep, and could very well be the most valuable tool you have to grow your blog or business.

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