Why Your Blog Needs An Email List (And How to Create One) // Session with Hoang-Kim Cung of Color & Chic

I want to talk about something I think every blogger or entrepreneur should have in place — an email list. You may already have one, and if so, great! If not, today’s the perfect day to start one and I’m going to show you how.
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(This topic isn’t something I’d usually talk about, but I think it’s vital for every blogger!)
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I’m also excited to share this shoot with Hoang-Kim Cung, fashion blogger at Color & Chic and Miss Nebraska USA 2015! I loved meeting her in Dallas before she headed to Miss USA 2015 earlier this month.
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So what is an email list?

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Your email list is an email management system that allows you to email large groups of people whenever you want and is independent of your blog post notifications. So you don’t actually have to post something to your blog to reach your subscribers.
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It’s different than someone subscribing to your blog and you can track your reader’s open rates and clicks.
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Why does your blog or business need an email list? 

  1. Builds trust — You can build trust with your readers and let them get to know you and your blog or business. According to Marketing Strategist Brittany Becher, it takes an average 7 interactions before someone will either buy a product or buy into you as a brand — and trust can take even longer! If you’re selling something online or as a service, people are going to be more likely to buy from you if they know, like and trust you.
  2. Curates engaged readers — You’re curating people who are actually interested in what you’re sharing, so they’ll be more receptive and engaged in what you’re creating or offering. You know they’re more engaged because they actually took the time to sign up for your list which often requires their name and email.
  3. Direct communication — You have a direct reach to your subscribers when you have something to offer them (e.g., free resources, event, giveaway, product, or service). People may be following you on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but when you appear in their inbox it’s much more personal and direct. Social media channels are frequently changing, but with an email list you know you’ll always have control over your communication.
  4. Private content  With an email list, you’re able to send content that’s not already live on your blog or website. Your subscribers can have a first look at your content, a bonus that’s not available to the public, hear more personal insight or see a behind-the-scenes look at your blog or business.
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I started my email list at the beginning of 2013 and have over 400 subscribers so far. It lets me stay in contact with people who are interested in my blog and business, and I wouldn’t have been able to build these personal connections with people all over the US without it!
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How can someone get on your email list?

People can subscribe to your list through an opt-in on your blog or website. They typically give you their name and email in exchange for something of value (e.g., your free content, newsletter, free ebook, etc.).
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Here’s a couple reputable email management systems that can help you start growing your list today:
  1. Mail Chimp — It’s free to set up for up to 2,000 subscribers (score!).
  2. Aweber — They offer a 30-day free trial then $19/monthly and also have quarterly and yearly plans. (This is what I use and love it!)

Where does the opt-in go on your blog?

Some of the best places to put your email opt-in is the top of your sidebar, top of your pages, about page, at the end of your blog posts and as a pop-up. This will typically be a box that says what you’re giving them in exchange for their name and email.
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What do you send to your email list?

Send them content that will be valuable to them. Not sure what they’d like? Ask them. I do this in my welcome email and also send out a survey asking them what they’d like to learn. I use Survey Monkey but you could also use Google Consumer Surveys, or ask them on social media.
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Since I’m a photographer who works mainly with bloggers and entrepreneurs, I try to share content that would be helpful for their photoshoots (in front of and behind the camera) — and blogging in general. (You can sign up for my free email course on shooting with confidence here!)
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A few things you could send are free resources, tips, advice in your niche, helpful interviews with experts in your industry or let them know about a product or service you offer.
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Keep in mind nobody wants to be constantly sold to, so try to give WAY more than you ask for and it will come back to you — trust me!
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How often should you email your list?

I think this varies based on your business or blog, but I try to send at least once a week. However, on a particularly busy week, this doesn’t happen. It’s more important to be consistent in how often you email them (e.g., every Thursday or every other Monday) so they know when to expect something from you.
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Can blog content and newsletter content be the same?

Definitely! I typically send my newsletter out before it hits the blog so my readers have the first look, but often I will share more personal information and content on the newsletter. My subscribers also have priority when I offer online classes and have contests or giveaways.
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Have a question about email lists? Email me at hello(at)meganmuellerblog(dot)com or leave a comment below and let me know!
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P.S. Want to work with me? I offer photography sessions for bloggers and entrepreneurs in Dallas, online photography classes, and I teach photography workshops.
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