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The importance of having an e-mail list

 What you will learn:

  • What is e-mail marketing
  • How profitable an e-mail list
  • Strategies to start growing your list

Hustlers, it's time we had a serious talk about marketing.

E-mail marketing to be exact.

There's trends in online marketing where the new "it" thing comes and goes, but e-mail marketing never goes away. It is by far, the most powerful form of online marketing there is. It's also one of the most effective and cost efficient. 

Talk to any veteran internet marketer, and they will tell you their most valuable asset is their lists. (right after their knowledge) "Their list" is referring to their e-mail subscriber lists. That list is your private audience of willing customers ready to receive information from you at any given moment. It's a powerful, powerful asset to have.

Which is why, YOU need to start building your e-mail list ASAP. Not tomorrow, not next week or the week after. You need to do it right now. It's the best thing you could do for yourself if you want to create a stream of income online. Shops can get shut down, rules on platforms can change overnight, products just simply become redundant. BUT e-mails will never go out of date. (I know a thing or two about stores getting shut down overnight and rules turning my SEO on its head within hours...)

It's like saying humanity will suddenly stop talking to each other. It is simply not going to happen.

And as long as you have a person's e-mail; you have the ability to communicate and sell to that person. It's very simple, so simple it's actually shocking to think some people still don't have one. Now, I'm not advocating SPAM or any kind of "throw-the-net-out-and-hope-for-the-best-type-of-method", quite the contrary. A quality e-mail list is a profitable one without needing to sell anything.

That's right. You don't actually need to sell anything if your e-mail list consists of the right type of people. That's not to say you don't want them to buy products or services you make or introduce them to. But it means you don't need to give them a sales pitch, because they're already looking forward to your e-mails and are ready to buy. We call this "targeting".

Targeting is the act of identifying and catching the desired audience's attention. You target people by first "segmenting" the market and identifying which segment is the one most likely to be interested in what you have to share.

e-mail list maketing

Take a moment and think about all the times you've signed-up to an e-mail list or a newsletter or something of that sort that required your e-mail. Now, think about the type of e-mails you got sent by them after signing up.

It's always rather specific in topic and the content never changes too much right?

That's because if you signed up for a DIY newsletter, you're not going to suddenly get an e-mail about cars. Or if you signed up for a beauty product blog, you're not going to be given an email about internet marketing. These e-mails lists are subject focused and every single person who signs up to them knows exactly what to expect. They sign up because they want to receive e-mails about that topic! You signup to things because you want to hear more about a topic. And that's why e-mail marketing is so effective.

Everyone who signs up is a ready and willing consumer of your information.

You're no longer trying to put the right eyes in front of paid ads. You aren't fighting for search engine ranks to grab the attention of casual browsers. The browsers and eyeballs are coming to you. It's marketing at it's finest.

The industry average for the value of an e-mail lead is $3. That means, if you have 1000 subscribers and send out an e-mail to all 1000 of them to read something that can be monetised. You will make on average $3000. Not, too shabby. Of course this is all textbook and real life has more ups and downs, but this shows you how fast the numbers add up. 1000 subscribers isn't a lot. Some people have 6 digit email lists and have above average stats. Many marketers make the bulk of their money from e-mails and everything else they do is to simply facilitate their email lists. This includes bloggers.

So let me give you a quick e-mail marketing 101 to get you started and you can use this information right away.

1. Your e-mail list needs a clear subject area

You need to figure this out before you do anything, because you can't build the system properly until you figured out who your audience is.

The best case scenario is for you to have a list about something you know a lot about and can continuously provide valuable information on. You don't want to create a list around a subject area you know nothing about because it'll make it painfully hard for you to create newsletters your audience wants. And the whole premise of good marketing is to only give the customer what they want.

We're not trying to sell to the reader. We're aiming to market to the reader.

But of course, you can always create a list around any subject you want because of the miracle called outsourcing. I don't recommend this route for anyone creating an e-mail list for the first time though.

2. You need an e-mail marketing SaaS

E-mail marketing requires a lot of support to make the whole thing run smoothly, which is why you need an e-mail marketing software as a service (SaaS) to run your e-mail marketing campaigns from. A good email marketing platform should have the following features:

  • Excellent customer service: The platform should be responsive and able to handle your problems promptly because any delays or errors can potentially cost you 1000's of dollars. Waiting for someone to answer your ticket might seem fine with a small list, but the consequences can be dire if your list is huge. You don't want to house your marketing material on a platform that doesn't care about your business.
  • Attractive email templates: Good email marketing platforms keep up with the industry changes and understand the small details needed to make emails appealing to subscribers. The internet is becoming very visually focused and plain text emails just won't cut it anymore. You want a platform that has great templates you can use easily and are attractive to your subscribers.
  • Useful analytics: Every type of marketing needs a feedback loop, and in most cases it's going to be your analytics of various metrics. It would be impossible to make the needed decisions to tweak marketing campaigns without good analytics. Which means you will never be able to master email marketing and create a reliable stream of passive income from it. Every platform will provide some form of analytical data to you, but not all will provide good ones. Good analytics should at the minimum include the following:
    • Open rate
    • Click rate
    • Device usage
    • Autoresponder tracker


  • Autoresponders and smart segmenting: Autoresponders are the key to making email marketing semi-passive. That's right, it's impossible for email marketing to 100% passive, but autoresponders can minimise the amount of work. Other than minimising the workload, autoresponders are an effective way to roll-out marketing campaigns. Another feature you need is the ability to segment your lists into sub lists according to your subscriber's behaviour. I talked about segmenting a bit earlier in this post and it's a fundamental concept in marketing you need to do successfully in order for your marketing efforts to also be successful. The ability to segment your list gives you the power to provide different emails on the same subject area within your list. Thus you can better provide value to each subscriber and each subscriber is more likely to convert into a sale.
  • Easy integration: Every email marketing platform is separate from your blog and in order for you to get the frontend onto your site, you need to integrate the two together. Sounds awfully easy to do when I type it out, but it can be a pain in the arse if systems are not compatible with each other. It doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you will need to be a little tech savvy to get it done, but why go through any of that trouble when there are platforms that are easy to integrate with wordpress, blogger, shopify and the like. Before signing up to a platform, check how easy it is for you to integrate and update.
  • Attractive forms and landing pages: This one is similar to the email templates. You want a platform that understands what internet users like and enjoy. You also don't want to use a bunch of third party services to get your email marketing up and running. You ideally want it all in one place, so your chosen platform needs to have attractive signup forms and or landing pages for people to use. A good signup form or landing page is the first point of contact within the email marketing process. It's also the point where the subscriber makes the decision to signup or not, so it's pretty important that you make a good impression. Unappealing forms convert at far lower rates even if you use the same wording. Don't pick a platform that doesn't have the bells and whistles for you.

I use GetResponse for my email marketing needs. It has everything you need to run your marketing campaigns successfully.

3. You need a place for subscribers to sign-up

This is going to be your website or a landing page. You need real estate online to house the frontend. People can't subscribe without a location to go to online. So if you want to have an email list, you inevitably also need to have a domain.

Okay, that's a lie. A good email marketing platform will provide landing pages under subdomains for you, but you never want to use this option because it looks unprofessional and you'll see lower your signup rates. Instead you want your own domain and then host your designed landing page on that domain.

Web Hosting

You can get a cheap domain name for as low as $0.88/per year with namecheap and get hosting as low as $3.95/per month at siteground. I use both of these services so I can vouch for them on their quality and value of service, but you can use any domain registar and hosting service provider. You just need a domain name and a hosting service to get real estate online.

4. How to get people to sign-up: basic methods

By this point you should have everything up and running. The only thing you need now are subscribers. I'm going to show you the most basic methods of getting subscribers in this post. I won't go into great detail here because this topic alone deserves a post of its own.

Method 1: Freebie exchange

This method requires you to exchange something to the subscriber for their email. The most common ways to go about doing this is to provide free exclusive information that the subscriber would enjoy.

Example: If you where on a travel blog; they will most likely provide a free ebook on something related to travelling in exchange for your email.

The signup is incentivised by the freebie, which means you have to provide something your subscriber wants in order for this method to work.

e-mail list marketing opt in
Credit to The Canadian Wanderer

Method 2: Information gate

This method is a little more complicated to execute but very simple to grasp. You are still exchanging information for the subscriber's email, but instead, the information is not the freebie. The subscriber is actually exchanging their email for access to exclusive areas on your website, that has information they want.

Example: If a travel blog has a members only area, the blogger can put a gate on that area by requiring members to signup to the email list.

5. Communicate regularly and only of quality

It's time for you to nurture your relationship with subscribers once you have them. A common mistake for people just starting out is to ignore and neglect their email list. Don't do this, you want to send out emails of value on a regular basis. The key point is "of value", because if you aren't then you're just simply spamming subscribers and they will unsubscribe.

If that's the case, you're better off neglecting your list than sending them stuff they don't want.

And that's the end of my email marketing 101 for you guys. If you need any resources or recommendations you can click the links below:

Getresponse (Email marketing SaaS)

Namecheap (Domain registar)

Siteground (Hosting service provider)

Other resources you should also check out:

Good things need to be shared
4 comments
    1. Winnie MD

      woah, those are very kind words. I’ve been blogging for…*counting in my head* 6 months. Though I have dabbled in microblogs on tumblr before. Does that count?

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