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Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

http://davidmerrill101.comBloggers need to have clear email marketing strategies in order to make their blogs viable business enterprises.  

Now, I know many bloggers don’t really intend to make a business out of their blogs.  But even those bloggers want to connect with their followers and build a base of support in most cases.

Network marketers typically use their blogs to create some personal branding for themselves, and in the process, collects lists of highly qualified leads and prospects.

List Building on Your Blog

Probably the single most strategic aspect of blogging is list building.

Once you’ve attracted readers to your blog, you want to have an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with them.  You do this on site, of course, in terms of the content you give them.

Let’s face it though.  Most visitors are here today, gone tomorrow.  So, you need to have a mechanism for following up with them.

Collecting their email address while they’re on your blog, ensures that you can continue a conversation with them, even after they’ve click away to something else.

The people who give you permission to email them by opting in to your invitation, become subscribers to your “List”.

 

What Do They Want?

Forget about what you want from your subscribers.

This is where many email marketers go wrong.

They start writing a bunch of emails to give their subscribers by going through this mental process:

  • What do I want this guy or gal to buy from me?
  • What can I say in my emails to make them know, like and trust me?
  • What sort of subject lines will make them open my emails?
  • How should I structure my messages to entice them to click on the links?

I give them (which will take them to some sort of sales page)?

This sort of thinking is all about you… the emailer.

Forget about what you want.

What do They want?

Maybe some things like this:

  • Engage in conversation with someone who really cares about the struggles I’m experiencing.
  • Obtain some good content that will really help me out.
  • Develop a relationship with someone who I can trust.
  • Be encouraged as I work toward my goals.
  • Know that I’ll be making progress just by reading these emails.
  • Look forward to the next step in my journey with a “tour guide” I’ve grown to like… almost a friend.

 

What Can You Give?

Give your readers the sort of content and messages that will make them feel like they’ve just made a friend, not turned on a commercial.

Engage with them, sincerely.

Let them know you have the same goals and desires they do.

Relate stories and accounts of how you’ve “been there” too, and the things you did to overcome your own struggles.

Assure them that their goals are not beyond their reach.  You did it, they can to.  This thing is “do-able”.  

Show them that you will make the solutions to their problems simple enough, if they’re willing to listen carefully and take action.

Give your subscribers leadership, first and foremost.

After that:

  • Friendship
  • Valuable content
  • Strategies they can actually implement
  • Mentorship as they move forward
  • Community they can connect with for continued support

 

Best Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

I think the first things bloggers ask themselves, when they actually get subscribers on their list, are these:

  • What do I write in my email messages?
  • How often do I send out messages?
  • How long should the messages be?
  • How do I ask them to buy stuff?

 

What do I write in my email messages?

Think of why they opted in to your list.  What did you promise them?  

There’s your answer.  Whatever you promised to give them, now it’s time to do it.  If you said “sign up for my free ebook about email marketing”, and they opted in… they want to know about email marketing.  Don’t start talking about your business opportunity, or trying to sell them the latest, greatest Facebook marketing course.  

That’s now what they asked for, so that’s not what you should be giving them.

To take it a step further, consider what the biggest challenges are for people who are looking for more information on your topic.  What do they typically struggle with.  Help them out with those things and they’ll look forward to opening your emails.

 

How often do I send out messages?

I was talking recently, to a copywriter who was making the point that stories are the best way to write to your email list.  

I told him that I couldn’t write good stories, and that was why I only sent one email a month to one particular list.

Now once a month is crazy.  You’ll never build a business emailing a list once a month.  But this particular list was one I had decided to use the story-telling method with.  Because I got severe brain freeze every time I tried to tell a story… I just put it off.  Over the course of about 6 months, I realized I was only averaging one email a month to this group.

This “story” (hey, I just told one!) should tell you 2 things.

  1. Don’t try to write the way someone tells you to.  Even if your way is not the “best proven way”, it is still your own voice.  Use it.  Be yourself and people will appreciate what you say far more than if you try role playing someone else.
  2. Don’t expect to build a business or earn commissions by sending one email a month.  I will typically send my new subscribers an email a day for the first week they’re on my list, then maybe 3 a week for the duration of the first 2 months, then once or twice a week after that.

You can change that up, but the point is… email often, but don’t be ridiculous.  People have other things to do than to read your emails.

 

How long should the messages be?

I know very successful email marketers who repeatedly send out messages that are 3 or 4 word doc pages long.  I know others, equally successful, who send a paragraph.

The answer to length is, it should be as long as it needs to be to convey your message.  That said, I don’t think too many people will read extremely long emails on a regular basis.

I like to make my message 3 to 8 paragraphs, with a maximum of 2 sentences per paragraph.  That’s my comfort zone for relaying my message without boring folks to tears.

You need to establish your own comfort zone.  That comes with practice, for sure, but also through testing.

Send long emails, short ones, medium ones… see which ones are the opened the most, receive the most click-throughs and convert best in terms of your target action (ie., making a purchase).

 

How do I ask them to buy stuff?

The email marketers I’ve worked with that struggle the most, are those who just can’t bear to ask people to buy stuff.

I don’t suggest you use your email list like an “ATM”.  Remember what I said to start this article.  Forget about what you want.  What do they want?

Your subscribers want solutions to their problems and answers to their questions.

As often as you can supply GOOD solutions that are truly going to help them reach their goals, is the frequency with which you can and SHOULD ask them to buy something.  

If your solutions are good (make sure they are), and if they will help your subscribers reach their goals (make sure they can), it is your obligation to offer these products and services for sale.

Your subscribers want you to come up with answers, and they’ll be willing to pay for them if they are serious about achieving their goals.

If you withhold these solutions because you’re too timid to ask for the sale, then email marketing may not be the best method for you to employ in your business or on your blog.

If, on the other hand, you get excited about being able to help your subscribers along the way by offering them products and services you know will serve them well, then you are well positioned to build a super business by building a list on your blog, and employing the email marketing strategies I’ve just outlined for you.

Need some help with any of this? 

Struggling to turn your blog into a thriving business?

Click Here to see a cool program Donna & I have set up just for you!

(I promise it’s not what you think).

How big a part of your blog or online business is email marketing?  What strategies have you found useful, or what challenges have you run up against?

I’d love to hear your comments below, and thanks from the bottom of my heart for your social shares 🙂

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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20 Responses to Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  1. Leslie Denning April 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    What great strategy tips, David. I was watching a Frank Kern video yesterday, and one of the points he made is that we sometimes forget that what makes up our list is people. I end up unsubscribing from so many things because all they want to do is sell, sell, sell. I am going to use these tips to develop a better email strategy. Thanks so much.

    All the best,
    Leslie
    Leslie Denning´s last blog post ..Up the Beanstalk, Part 3

    • David Merrill 101 April 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      We can drive ourselves crazy with copywriting tactics, sales funnel strategies and all the rest. But people are just people, and even if we’re not the best writers or marketers in the world, if we can just connect with folks in an authentic way, email marketing can be the linchpin to a very successful business. Thanks for stopping by and contributing today, Leslie.

  2. Rachel Lavern April 6, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Love the strategies you present here David.

    It seems that people know us and decide that they like us within a few emails. Trust seems to take longer. They are looking for consistency–we have to demonstrate that we are in this for the long haul. We do have to present offers to them and ask them to purchase several times before they conclude that we can be trusted. But they are watching and if we keep up the contacts, we will notice a shift in a while and they will be ready to work with us.
    Rachel Lavern´s last blog post ..How Finding and Attracting a Niche Increases Productivity

    • David Merrill 101 April 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Excellent advice, Rachel.

      It is important that our subscribers see that we are, as you say, in it for the long haul. There are so many hit and run marketers out there who want a fast sale, or else they’re out of your life.

      Convince your subscribers that you are in business, and plan to be around to help them for the foreseeable future and many of them will advance to customer and client status. Patience and persistence go a long, long way.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  3. Julieanne van Zyl April 6, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Hi David, you’ve given a lot of valuable information here, about email marketing!

    I agree that stories definitely sell, so long as the story is interesting and not all about “selling”. But, if we can write stories that relate what we’ve done in the past, and bring it round to how that will help our subscribers, then it makes it easier for people to get to know us. And, once people know us, they’re more likely to buy because they’ll trust us more than the person who simply writes a sales letter.

    I used to think I couldn’t tell stories too, but I discovered it’s actually easier than writing something technical, especially once I get started. I have to watch out now, that the story doesn’t go too long!
    Julieanne van Zyl´s last blog post ..4 Steps To Implement Your Sales Funnel on a Blog

  4. Sarah Arrow April 7, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Love your wisdom here David, simple and yet effective. Like you I struggle to tell the right storied in my emails, even though I know they have a better connection and engagement. I recently discovered that my newsletter liked hearing about my clients and what they were achieving, giving me the opportunity to share their stories rather than my own.

    Still not got to the daily emails though… I think that will be a while yet. Jon McCollough has a great daily email, everyone contains a story however todays mentioned spiders and got deleted immediately!
    Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..3 things that turn your audience off of webinars

  5. David Merrill 101 April 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Ha Ha… great story, Sarah 🙂

    And a good reminder that we better tell stories that our readers resonate with. Spiders is probably not the best one to pick.
    David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

    • Sarah Arrow April 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

      True. I’ve read things about lasered scrotums and all other crazy stories but the spiders… instant delete. And here I am, doing his marketing for him, talking about his stories so clearly it works!
      Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..3 writing rituals to give up

  6. Alan Jenkin April 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    I love your strategies, David. I particularly appreciated your remark about focusing on what the reader wants, not what the writer wants! I have found myself on many lists in the past where the author just kept pitching more products at me every day or two. Thank heavens for the unsubscribe option!

    Thanks

    Alan
    Alan Jenkin´s last blog post ..Are You Ready for Retirement?

    • David Merrill 101 April 14, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

      It’s pretty sad, but true, Alan… that the majority of email lists we find ourselves on don’t have any value for us.

      It’s always about somebody pitching you about something, seemingly anything, that you might be persuaded to buy. And it’s typically done totally out of context with the overall purpose of the newsletter, or should I say “stated purpose”.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  7. Dr. Erica Goodstone April 11, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    David,

    You have really explained, in detail, what we need to do in order to optimize the opportunity we have with our list. First, we need to provide something they want and are willing to opt in to get. Then we need to give them what they asked for. I have done that several times. Where I have slipped up is the next step, providing a frequent series of emails. Most of my lists have emails scheduled for once/week after the first email. And then there are a few optins I have with no followup emails. The reason is that it all takes time to set up initially. Many online marketers fail to mention that part, the part about the fact that we have to do the work, put in the time, write the emails. And we need to write them in such a way that they are appealing and helpful for our readers. At first, this can seem like a daunting task, but as we get into the groove it becomes enjoyable, sharing with our followers, sharing with the people who really want to hear what we have to say. And then the selling part becomes just a natural part of the sequence.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone´s last blog post ..Pain Relief – What is the BEST CHOICE for YOU?

    • David Merrill 101 April 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

      I guess that marketers fail to mention all the work that goes into putting together a good email sequence because they’re too intent on convincing us that everything is “easy”.

      No push button solutions here. As you say, Dr. Erica, you’ve just got to put in the hard work and effort. But it’s well worth it.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  8. William Earl Amis, Jr. III April 12, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    This is the one of the best outlines David, I have read in a long time. Most people forget that without interaction their blogs and business is nothing. The more you share experiences of your own. The better the quality of writing is given to all readers.

    You want to give readers a chance to develop their own insights on your core message of each article. I never indulge with things I do not know or experience myself in all of my articles.

    The things about list, is that they are naturally developed with just being yourself. You have to learn that listening constructively is the best things. My blog stores everyone’s emails without or with their real names. I just reverse my interaction at that point. I direct people on how better to be approved with their comments on my blog. They get it, and then a new relationship develops. That brings a multitude of possibilities in the future.

    Thank you David for keeping it real. We love your honest experience being shared each week. I look forward in speaking with you in the future. Love what your doing for all of us readers.
    William Earl Amis, Jr. III´s last blog post ..Perception A Natural Gift?

    • David Merrill 101 April 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, William.

      As you point out, keeping your email marketing sharp and focuses is really a matter of learning to listen to your audience. Too often, we want to make sure they’re listening to us, but if we listen very carefully to them, they’ll tell us exactly what they want, how, when and where. We only need to respond to them, and give them what they’ve asked for.

      Again, thanks for getting to the core. We (including me) tend to over complicate things sometimes.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post .. Email Subject Lines

  9. Marquita Herald April 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Great advice as always David. I especially like your point about finding your (our) own comfort zone because what works for one blog/niche doesn’t necessarily work for another. One of the few lists I subscribe to these days is from Chris Brogan and it’s absolutely refreshing because it’s never a ‘canned’ message. As corny as it sounds, it’s like I’m getting an email from a friend. Plus he has this funny thing he does where in the subject line he includes ‘Selly sell!’ so you know before you even open it he’s pitching something – but even then I don’t mind because it’s always relevant. Thanks for the tips and interesting read!
    Marquita Herald´s last blog post ..Inspiring Thoughts on Creating New Beginnings

    • David Merrill 101 April 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      There’s totally too much emphasis on “here’s what works” kind of trainings related to email marketing (among a long list of other things).

      The truth is that “what works” one day, may not the next, or for one person may not work for another.

      You just have to find out what works for You, with Your audience and then put it together in your own unique way. After all that, you’ve got to monitor it closely to see if and when “what works” has changed and morphed into something else. Then, get back to the drawing board.

      Sorry… no quick push button solutions here.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  10. Mark July 20, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    Great advice David!

    As powerful and proven as email marketing is and has the potential to become! As you point out, just by going overboard on the sales tactics and abandoning the service/problem solving approach.

    BTW, I really like how you warn not to try and use your email list as some type of ATM machine! That’s excellent advice!
    Mark´s last blog post ..Why These Examples Of Target Marketing Really Work! Part Five

    • David Merrill 101 July 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks for the visit, Mark.

      That whole ATM thing just converts your whole business… or certainly the email marketing aspect of it… into a spam fest. Nobody’s gonna hang around for that kind of stuff. It’ll only help put your out of business… fast.
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post .. Email Subject Lines

  11. Mandy Allen June 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    Brilliant tips, David, I have advocated building relationships with your subscribers for a few years now. It seems a lot of marketers are too keen to get in the sale and not so bothered about nurturing the relationship for longer term.

    Enjoy the journey!
    Mandy Allen´s last blog post ..Ebook Profit Academy Product Review

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