So, when I first started blogging, I went crazy researching the heck out of everything. How do I make my blog beautiful? How do I increase my traffic? Pinterest? Instagram? Make money? Email lists? WHAT?
(This post contains affiliate links – see disclosure for more info)
If you’re reading this, you know there is A LOT involved with blogging if you are looking to make it more than just a hobby. And if you’re doing it alone, well, good luck.
And good luck indeed to me because I’m in this solo!
A big part that I was struggling with was engaging with my readers. That’s such an integral part of having a blog because, without your readers, you just have an online diary. I know many of you want more than that.
So to research more is what I needed to do. Almost every “successful” blog (I have successful in quotations because I know it’s subjective but in my case, successful would be to have my blog be my full-time gig) has told me to have an email list. Why? Because those who sign up for your email list liked you enough to do so and are willing to hear from you again.
What do you do with these email addresses?
- Update them weekly on what’s new on your blog.
- Update them with anything exciting coming up.
- If you have a free product, you can promote this via email.
- If you have a paid product, you can promote this via email.
- Ask your readers for advice (eg. What to write about, what direction your paid product should take, etc.)
And so so SO much more!
Your readers are valuable. Super simple as that.
But now the next question – how do I get people to sign up for my email list?
I struggled with this for a long long time. I would have a few subscribers here and there. Some from Facebook groups, some friends, and a couple other people. But, it was nothing like the other bloggers I’ve seen where they have huuuge lists and are able to keep them up to speed on their blogs.
I wanted to be like them.
It was then with some more research and coaching I was steered in the direction of offering a freebie in exchange for email addresses. This freebie, of course, has to be of value and connection to my blog’s niche. My blog has mostly been about mental health, blogging, saving money, and some food, so I wasn’t about to offer a freebie of step by step directions to knit a blanket. (Also, I tried to knit once and let’s just say someone’s cat can use the scarf I made… barely)
Then I thought about my passion, I thought about what people want, and I came up with the journal templates for mental health & positivity.
You can check out the posts here:
Here I offered free templates of the journals I’ve created and used, for my readers to try out!
And let me tell ya, they were a big hit! They still are! This has been my most successful blog post for both readers and engagement with the freebie offer. It helped my email list grow from something like 110 to almost 650 in ONE month! Isn’t that nuts?
Definitely off the wall..nuts. No? Ok.
One other big thing I can attribute my email list success to is ConvertKit. Again, with my neurotic OCD, I researched the heck out of all email list capturing partners, there was Sumo, MailerLite, MailChimp, ConvertKit and a whole bunch more. Some had free options, some were paid. But I’m always thinking, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to make it an investment and paid options provided the most comprehensive ways to capture emails than their free counterparts.
I eventually signed up with ConvertKit as it looked like it was the most used and had the best reviews of everyone. I signed up for the monthly plan because I was still a little leery about it but wanted to give it a shot.
And guys, it’s so so easy to use. Let me show you!
How to get started with ConvertKit
Get signed up for their basic plan. BUT GUYS USE MY LINK AND GET YOUR FIRST 30 DAYS FREE.
You’ll want to click on “+Create Form” to get started.
Now you come to a fork in the road and have to choose between Landing page and Form. Today we will choose Form to just have a simple sign up place in your blog post for your readers.
A landing page is a totally different page your reader gets directed to. It can house a bunch of more information about your product or why they should enter their email address, whereas the form will be embedded in your blog post where all the info should already be.
I really like the first option to integrate into my blog post and it looks simple and clean.
The middle one I really enjoy for pop-ups as they’re quite eye-catching.
The one of the very right is also great but a little TOO minimal for me. You might find the better use for it than I, however.
Here you’ll get to customize how your form will look. You can change any of the tests by clicking on it, and change the colors by clicking on the magic wand in the corner. I chose my blog colors for this one.
You can play around with all the settings, change your text, how you want your message to appear, etc.
But for your freebie part, you’ll want to change this area to “Incentive download” and upload the file you are offering – this way your readers will get an option to get the freebie after they confirm their email address.
The very last step is to embed this into your blog post. You’re most likely on WordPress, so make sure you download their plugin and connect it to your account. Once you’re set up, you can copy and paste this shortcode wherever you want the form to appear in your blog post.
AND YOU’RE DONE! Ready to go! Again, make sure you use my link to get 30 days free of ConvertKit!
Good luck and please let me know below in the comments what freebie you’re offering! I’d love to check it out!