What is an email list and why is it important in your online business? Quoted from Wikipedia
“A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as “the mailing list“, or simply “the list“.”
So, simply put, you build a collection of email addresses so you can send an email promoting your products, promoting for someone else, to send a newsletter, to send out a survey etc.
Why Have an Email List
The main purpose of having an email list is to build a relationship with your subscribers. It’s the most direct way to communicate and engage with subscribers and, if you are planning to sell something, the list is often the primary way of making money. That’s why you might have heard the saying “the money is in the list”.
So you have your website, you’ve added affiliate links and you’re starting to get traffic to your site. The next step is to start to build a relationship with your website visitors and this is done by collecting email addresses with what is called an “optin” form. You can see one to the right on this site, when you add your name and email address you “optin” to receiving emails from That Helpful Chick. You can also setup a “popup” which is literally a form that pops up when you first land on our home page.
A Reason for Signing Up
You need to give your visitors a reason for giving you their email address, this can be something as simple as “sign up for the latest updates“, or a free ebook, if you’re in the sewing niche, some free patterns would work. There are lots of ways you can “entice” visitors to give you their email address. You can see on our sign up form we offer a free, comprehensive guide to niche blogging.
Once you’ve collected email addresses it’s good to keep in regular contact with your subscribers. Not too often so people get fed up and unsubscribe. One list I subscribed to were sending out 2 to 3 emails a day, TOO much, I unsubscribed pretty swiftly! Everyone had different opinions on this and it’s something you have to test for yourself. We find no more than once a week works well.
We like to send out free tools, newsletters and offers we think are value for money and, that will help you in your on-line business.
How to Collect Email Addresses
There are a number of ways to do this, you can use a stand alone plug-in but we don’t recommend this. Sooner or later you’re going to need an autoresponder. An autoresponder is a program that automatically generates a set response to all messages sent to a particular email address.
If you build a list with a standalone plug-in, such as “Email Subscriber” you’ll have problems importing that list to an autoresponder due to anti-spam laws.
The good news is, there ways to do this for free when you first start and even the paid ones don’t have a huge monthly cost for starter packages. The following is a list of auto responders we’ve personally worked with, there are many more of course, but these are probably the more well known ones.
- Mad Mimi – Lets you get started for free with 100 contacts, the price then goes up according to how many subscribers you have, how many emails you’re sending and the delivery speed. We found Mad Mimi fiddly to set up initially, but once you work out how, you can customize your form to suit your site. There is plenty of support and a live chat, they aim to answer questions within 24hrs.
- Mail Chimp – Probably have the best free account with up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Bare in mind that they don’t allow the affiliate marketing niche, but are good for things like hobby or travel sites. We found Mailchimp frustrating to use but there are plenty of attractive ready made form templates available.
- Get Response – Prices start at $15 monthly for 1000 subscribers and you can try it free for 30 days. We found Get Response a bit of a learning curve to set up but good value for money once you learn your way around.
- Aweber – Let’s you get started for $19 a month and they also have a free trial. Although not the cheapest Aweber is easy to set up with excellent support and good delivery rates.
- Active Campaign – Prices start at just $9 a month for 500 or less subscribers. Active Campaign is our favorite and what we currently use in our business. They have great support and are constantly adding new features.
This is just a brief overview of what an email list is, why you need one and the more well known autoresponders.
We’ll go into more detail about setting up an email campaign and using an autoresponder at a later date. If you’ve any question in the meantime please leave a comment below or contact us via our contact page