Sometimes getting traffic to new blog is no big deal. One-time traffic, I mean.
A single guest post on an authority blog in your niche can bring several thousand new visitors to your blog within 3 days. And a single Facebook or Twitter update containing a link to your blog can generate thousands of new visits within one week.
Similarly, paid ads on social media, Google Adwords, and high-traffic blogs in your niche can send thousands of new visitors to your blog. Getting traffic could be that straightforward.
But the sad part is, such spikes in traffic are usually short-lived. After just one or two days—or maybe a week at most—the whole thing dies down. And your blog is back to its “low-traffic self”.
All those thousands of new visitors have landed on your blog, read the stuff that attracted them, and left for good—forever in most cases.
You don’t want that.
What you want is consistent traffic.
You want your blog to attract hundreds to thousands of visits consistently—with minimal effort on your part.
Well, the truth is, you can easily achieve that by setting up what is called an “email list” (also called mailing list or newsletter) right from the start.
An email list is simply a collection of emails. And by setting up one, you’d be able to capture the email addresses of some of your visitors with the aim of communicating with them and sending them to your blog to read your subsequent posts.
So, rather than attracting visitors and then losing them forever, you’d be able to retain some of them with an email list.
How an email list works
As I stated earlier, an email list is simply a collection of email addresses. But collecting emails into your list isn’t as simple as it sounds.
You need to put up a mailing list subscription form through which interested visitors will voluntarily opt in to your mailing list. Note that it is illegal to add people’s emails to your list without their consent (that’s spam!).
Now, the huge challenge is that most people will not readily give you their email addresses, especially now that spamming is common. So, simply putting up a mailing list subscription form might not be enough to convince people to opt in to your list.
To overcome the challenge, you need to offer what is called an “ethical bribe”. This is an incentive that is attractive enough to compel visitors to subscribe to your mailing list. It could be an e-book or video containing information that most of your visitors will deem valuable and will be eager to have.
So, if you promise to deliver a free e-book or e-course to anyone who subscribes to your mailing list, many of your visitors will be compelled to opt in to your list because they don’t want to miss out on the freebie. But then, your freebie must be very compelling.
With time your email list will grow gradually as more and more people opt in. The rate at which new people will join your list depends on your traffic volume and your ethical bribe—how irresistible it is.
7 reasons you should have an email list
Here are seven strong reasons why you must have an email list for your online business.
1. Personal and private communication
Email allows you to land your message directly into your subscriber’s inbox, without any external factors limiting your reach. This helps you to build a one-on-one relationship with your subscribers.
Your subscribers can read your message privately because it’s not on a public wall or timeline. And they can ask you questions directly with confidence. Many people are not comfortable with asking questions on forums and social media.
2. Targeted recipients
By subscribing to your mailing list, your subscribers have already indicated their interest in learning more from you. And they’ve given you the consent to send them stuff.
This means they will most likely click to read any email you send to them. And they will take any action request—whether it’s to read your latest blog post or buy a product or service that you recommend.
As you send more and more emails to your subscribers and study their feedback patterns, you’ll be able to understand what they like and deliver more of it to them.
3. Consistent and repeat traffic
Even if you’re not getting traffic from any other source, your email list subscribers will always be there to read your blog posts. If you have a mailing list of 2,000 subscribers, and each of your emails get a 10% open rate, that means about 200 subscribers will read your email.
So, sending a message to such a list notifying them of your new blog post will drive 200 visitors to that blog post. And that’s cool. The more your subscribers, the more traffic you’ll send to your blog posts.
I understand that SEO, if done well, can also bring traffic consistently. Yes, that’s true. But most visitors won’t come back again unless you capture them with a mailing list. SEO brings consistent traffic, but not repeat traffic—which is what you need to build trust.
NOTE: Don’t ever expect 100% open rates for your emails. Some subscribers will only get your ethical bribe and never read your subsequent messages. Some will read your emails at first, but will stop later.
4. Higher chances of being read
In terms of probability of being read, email trumps social media and other blog promotion methods. The average Facebook or Twitter user receives hundreds of updates daily, so chances are high that a message sent to your followers on those channels will get buried in the heap or pushed down the feed even before they get to see it.
Not so with email. The average email user receives less 10 or less emails daily. So, your email will most likely be seen and read.
5. Increased trust
Since email communication is one-on-one, it helps you to build a relationship with your subscribers quickly. The more they receive valuable emails from you, the more they’ll trust you. And what happens when you succeed in building trust? Whatever you offer for sale, sells like wild!
Virtually everything about managing a mailing list is automated. You can automatically deliver your free e-book or e-course to a new subscriber. You can send an email to thousands of subscribers with the click of a button.
You can even automatically add each subscriber’s name to the email, so it appears to them as if you mailed them personally. And you can schedule series of emails for future delivery.
An email list gives you peace of mind as a netpreneur. If, for example, you lose your blog to hackers or something goes wrong elsewhere, you can rest assured that you can always reach out to your subscribers whenever you want. So, you can keep communicating with them via email until you get over the problem.
Now that you’ve understood what an email list is, how it works, and why it’s important, your next step is to learn how to set up your own mailing list …and actually set it up.