Why Bloggers Need to Build a Subscriber List

This is a guest post by Christine Brady of Insightful Mommy.

If you have been blogging for any length of time, you have no doubt heard the phrase list building or building a list of subscribers. But what does building a list of subscribers have to do with blogging you may be wondering…

As bloggers, your focus is much like mine – creating great content to share with our readers, staying active on social media, connecting and promoting your blog. But every one of the daily task that we work hard on are all subject to finding your audience.

And unfortunately, your audience may not always follow your blog or follow you on social media. Some may have your blog loaded in their RSS, but what about the readers that don’t?

You need a way to reach them. This is where building a list of subscribers becomes a vital part of your online business strategy.

Let’s face it – list building is all the rage in the Internet Marketing arena. There are Internet Marketers out there who run their businesses solely based on their list on subscribers. Some don’t even have a blog or a Twitter account, but they have a subscriber list that they care for and nurture.

That is an incredible business model – and one that we bloggers are in a great position to pick up on. Bloggers are actually in an even better spot as we have mastered great content and know how to connect with our audience.

The idea of building a subscriber list is not complicated as it may seem.

First, the Basics

List building comes in many forms –

  • An email list
  • A list of followers
  • Feed subscribers
  • Direct mail lists
  • A buyers list

In every case of list building, there is the idea of building a list of willing subscribers that are interested in what you have to say.

People who subscribe to your offer are letting you know that they found value in what you offered them and they are now giving you permission to send them more information, to talk to them, to help them out.

I Have a New Subscriber – Now What?

When you get a new subscriber, the real fun begins. For someone that has just joined your list, the beginning stages are a true relationship building time.

Don’t let this scare you though – this is something you already do on your blog. With your list, you’re just taking it in another direction.

What I have found in my years of list building is that you actually develop even more of a relationship with your list than with some of your blog readers.

Hard to believe?

Picture it this way – my blog is written on the premise of writing for the masses, even though I know my readers fairly well, I still write for the general public. So that if anyone visits my blog, they know what they will find there and the material will be pretty general.

But with my subscriber list, I can go much deeper in conversation. I can give them tips and advice more targeted to what they want. Much of it, I don’t put in my blog posts.

In other words, it’s a relationship unlike any other.

And it’s a sustainable relationship as well.

Your blog can go away. Your Twitter account can go away. Even your other social media outlets can go away. But a list of email subscribers will be yours as long as you want them.

Just Do It!

So here’s what to do next:

  • Head over to Aweber (aff link) and sign up for an account.
  • Decide on an incredible offer to offer to people who sign up on your list – easiest way is to browse through some of your old blog posts and compile a short report.
  • Generate a web form from AWeber to place on your blog.
  • Place the form in a widget area on your blog.
  • Write a blog post to let your readers know that you are offering a free report.

That’s all it takes to get started!

There is no greater blog marketing piece than a list of people who subscribe to your offers and feeds because they perceive you as offering them value.

Done the right way, list building develops trust, offers value and worthwhile information and can create a stream of revenue for you for years to come.

Are you ready to begin building your list of subscribers?

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the lovely insights Christine. I’ve been able to successfully build a list with my authority site in the dating niche. However, I just started a blog in the internet marketing niche and find it harder to grow a following.

    I see that you run a ‘make money online’ blog as well. Do you have a website in another niche? If so, do you seem to have lower conversions with with internet marketing blog?
    Sean King just posted Monthly Income Teaser

    • says

      Hi Sean,

      I’m sorry, I didn’t respond to you sooner – completely missed your comment -

      I do have other blogs and lists in other niches besides IM. The conversion rate of that list is better than the CR of this IM niche. I think it’s just the nature of the niche though.

      What I have found to be pretty beneficial in my IM niche is to get in targeted FB groups and a lot of forum participation.

      Discuss and contribute, but ultimately, bring them back to your place to play -

      Hope that answers your question.

      ~Christine
      Christine Brady just posted Building a Subscriber List in 30 Days

  2. says

    Hi Dean,

    Short reports are the best thing to use to entice a sign up!

    Take a few of your blog posts and compile them into a report, give it a catchy name, set up your autoresponder and you’re done -

    It is not complicated – basically anything you have will work for a short report – just some minor tweaking and you should be set.

    Hope that helps!

    ~Christine
    Christine Brady just posted Why Challenges? Because they Work

  3. says

    I’m often being told I should make more of my list but I have been short on ideas of how to make more of those subscribers so thanks for giving some constructive ideas as well as just saying to make the most of a subscriber list.
    Matt Kinsella just posted Make It Happen

  4. says

    Coming up with a report/enticement is on my list of things to do. But I have a somewhat sacrilegious question to follow up on this topic – I’ve been thinking of removing the “follow on twitter” option from my site. I KNOW some will think this ridiculous but wanted your input.

    My thinking is this – when people follow me on FB or preferably, email I have a direct connection to them in a way that I can reliably count on them getting/reading my messages. Even with things like BufferApp I feel like I’m likely to get lost on Twitter (and traffic #s back this up). If the goal of getting people to connect is to expand the relationship Twitter seems a relatively ineffective way to do this. What are the odds they’re following when I happen to tweet? Do I just HOPE the create a list, add me to it, and then regularly check that list?

    Meanwhile email clickthrough rates are awesome. So I while I offer multiple ways to connect what I REALLY want is email subscribers. Am I crazy to think this?
    Alexis just posted The Ferber vs. Weissbluth CIO Smackdown

    • says

      Hi Alexis,

      I don’t think that’s crazy at all – interesting yes, but definitely not crazy :)

      So, let’s say you do remove the option to follow on Twitter from your site –

      Then what I would do is move the social icons below your opt-in form and make the optin form the first thing on the upper right. Offer your freebie there and the subscribe button underneath.

      I somewhat follow what you’re saying about Twitter – it is VERY easy to lose track of people!

      So, ultimately remove one avenue but add another one that is even better for both your readers and you.

      Love to know how this goes…

      ~Christine
      Christine Brady just posted Why Challenges? Because they Work

  5. says

    I think it’s always important to show a little personality to subscribers in order to keep them interested and so they will recommend you to their friends! Make sure that the content you are writing is interesting and relevant and make sure it aligns with their goals and needs. I’ve never heard of Aweber before, so thanks for the rec! I’ll have to check it out :)

  6. says

    I love my subscriber list because it’s like the perfect target audience…. you already know that they are interested and willing to invest time into your stuff, so you can really take your time with it. And it can be really fun, because you get to know people that have similar interests. This can help you build relationships and make some friends in that world. It’s a great idea. Thanks for the great post!

  7. says

    These are all some great points, Christine.

    I’ve been building my list for a little while, and I have been thinking recently of what I can do to improve a few things with it. Reading your post here has given me some ideas of some things that I can do! I really need to work some on the relationship building that I am doing within my list.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Grady Pruitt just posted The Abundance in the World Around Us

  8. says

    Christine,

    Right now I have a list and send original emails to that list from what I write on my blog… If feels like a completely separate blog almost.

    But I see a lot of “A-Listers” that create a list and then just sent updates to the list whenever they write a new blog post.

    What are your thoughts on these two methods?

    Thanks,

    Ryan H.
    Ryan Hanley just posted 7 Completely Stupid eBook Publishing Mistakes

    • says

      Hi Ryan,

      I actually have quite a few lists that I interact with completely differently. I have a blog post update list where I only send them my latest blog posts. Nothing commercial – I do, however, sign my emails with a “Recommended Resources” listing of about 3 tools I use – right now, I believe I’m using my PLR source, my hosting source and a social media link. Hop over and see for yourself :)

      Then I have a list generated by a freebie that I mail to quite often with a little bit of everything – products, tips, resources, etc.

      All things considered, this works very well for me – I have my lists very segmented so I know (almost) exactly who is on what list.

      If readers opted in to get your latest blog posts, you might try adding the recommended resources at the bottom – it might be a good way to ease into offering a product.

      Hope that answers your question -

      ~Christine
      Christine Brady just posted Why Challenges? Because they Work

  9. says

    Hi Brent,

    Excellent point – I recommend Aweber because if you are or plan on doing any selling of your own products or recommending others’ products you must be with an autoresponder service that accepts marketers. Mailchimp does not :(

    When in doubt, check the Terms of Service to be sure. Aweber, GetResponse and 1 shopping cart are all marketer friendly.

    So glad you asked!

    ~Christine
    Christine Brady just posted Why Challenges? Because they Work

  10. says

    Christine

    When I started my on-line business 6 years ago I had no clue. I got myself a internet mentor and the first thing we did was create a ‘giveaway’ and build my list. It was the best decision I made. I come across so many clients who don’t have a list and they are missing out.

    But the list builidng is only half the sotry…as you say…it’s all about the relationship. Provide excellent advice and help your list out is a good start.

    Andrew
    Andrew just posted Is this The Best Marketing Copy Ever?

  11. says

    It took me 4 years after all before I decide to build my Email list. I don’t say everyone need to build an Email list because it depends on the way they want to monetize their blog.

    If their blog earn just from Adsense, they won’t need to build an Email list. But if one day they think they will not make any progress with Adsense, I think it is time to start building an Email list and make connection with the readers, make them become the lifetime fan and buyers.

    And I believe this way would be a substantial business model online.
    Santel just posted Cambodia Is A Land Of Opportunity

  12. says

    Christine,

    Some great lessons here. One of the single best thing that I ever did was to begin to build an email list a few year back. It has worked wonders and really been worth the effort.

    I would say that anyone who has a site online and is NOT taking steps to build a list REALLY needs to look long and hard at that and think seriously about following your steps and getting a start on what may be one of the most important things you can do for long term success online.
    Steve just posted 7 Questions for Finding a Profitable Niche Market

  13. says

    Such a marketing list is really what companies have been searching for since the dawn of marketing theory. A list of people that is your target market? What a wonderful thing. A subscriber list is such a great thing to have. Not only in the sense of having a definite list for direct contact purposes, but it’s got to be a bit of a personal confidence boost to have a tangible list of people that are interested in what you are doing.

  14. says

    Great tips Christine. I’ve had success building lists in the past by offering visitors a chance to win something free :)

    Also, I would recommend people to check out mailchimp. Great alternative to aweber and free if you have less than 2000 subscribers.
    Anita just posted Comment devenir avocat

    • says

      Hi Anita,

      Glad you liked it!

      Mailchimp is another alternative, but not good for marketers – they don’t like them and don’t allow it. So, if you are just communicating with your list and never plan on recommending or selling a product or service, they will suit you just fine.

      Always check the terms of service just to be on the safe side!

      ~Christine

  15. says

    While to the veteran internet marketer a post like this may appear overdone, getting into the importance of list building is something that can’t be mentioned enough! I have clients who understand how it works to their advantage now, but it took a lot of training. I totally get it though, my first reaction years ago was “Why would I want to bug people with updates?” but if you’re doing it right, they want that message.
    Ross Taylor just posted Google Launches Big Webspam Algorithm Update

  16. says

    I manage some blogs for others and have some of my own.
    Lists are my love. I have always tried to have lists of my followers/readers, buyers (from an old e-commerce site I had), fellow blog writers, etc.
    I don’t want to rely heavily on facebook and twitter in order to find my returning customers. I tend to think what would happen IF suddenly facebook changed its policy and then didn’t let me contact my customers? Thoughts like this make me feel more comfortable when I have my lists safe in my drawer.
    Thank you!!!
    Jim Antoine just posted Time to go Freelance

  17. says

    I have been gathering subscribers for a while now without any incentive and haven’t really sent them anything other than the posts that get sent automatically. I know I need to take this to the next level but there just isn’t enough time in a day, once I get a VA, this will be at the top of my agenda.
    Jamie Northrup just posted Top 10 WordPress Themes from April 2012

    • says

      I totally agree, Mitch. I receive newsletters (usually with affiliate links) from blogs like mine and always think, “Huh, I read this already on their blog.” It’s nothing new or exclusive to the newsletter. If I don’t have a product to sell/offer, I just don’t see the point of having the list.
      Gina just posted 15% off and FREE Shipping at Children’s Place

  18. says

    Hi Mitch,

    Having a subscriber list has been one of the best business decisions I have ever made. It definitely took me some time to find the value in it as well. Now, I have a great list of attentive subscribers who I communicate with frequently and am able to pass along incredibly helpful tools and tips.

    Plus, the best part is, since you’ve captured their email, they can be repeat blog visitors and not just another random one-timer visitor.

    ~Christine
    Christine Brady just posted Link Cloaking 101

    • says

      Hi TJ,

      I personally think building a list is suitable for every blogger.

      And here’s why – an instant audience!

      When you spend time crafting a great blog post, wouldn’t it be nice to have visitors with the click of an email!

      That is exactly what having a list can do for you, plus the monetization, which you mentioned as well.

      ~Christine
      Christine Brady just posted Link Cloaking 101

  19. says

    Great insights, Christine! Email is still a main communication method and with proper list management and content making it may just surpass in effectiveness the other means of promotion (social media, direct advertising). I totally agree with you that often bloggers miss on potential readers if they neglect people who aren’t that active on social media, e.g. those above 40 years old. The best way to reach them is a well crafted newsletter to arrive in their inboxes.
    Laura just posted White Label Forms & Surveys