Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing?

By Yaro Starak
69 Comments

Wow - Email Marketing Is GreatOver the weekend I worked hard on video presentations for the release of Blog Mastermind. Obviously the core topic of the videos is how to make money via blogging, however I’m introducing a new form of blogging for profit, something that can lead to income quicker, it’s more stable and in the long haul is a much better model for bloggers to follow.

I’ve got a name for this type of blogging that I will reveal when the video comes out but what I can tell you now, it is based on email marketing. I’m not the only person doing this form of blogging of course, but I’m one of very few compared to the total number of professional bloggers out there.

How The Humble Email List Changed My Business

Back in 2005 I started blogging. A few months later I began studying the work of some prominent Internet marketers and a trend arose – everyone talked about how you had to have an email list.

Strangely enough, I didn’t listen. Well, at least I didn’t take action, which is just as bad. I could see how having an email list was valuable, but my focus at the time was my editing business and I just didn’t see how email marketing was going to help it. My blog at the time was still more hobby site than a money maker.

Fast forward to the end of 2006 and I decided to finally launch an email list. However I still didn’t get it completely right because instead of leveraging my blog for continuous email opt-ins, I created an off-site landing page and wrote a few blog articles pointing towards it. At least it was a start.

When it came time to do a blog redesign I was well and truly convinced that I had to include an opt-in for my list on my blog. I asked my designer to put the opt-in in the right column at the top in the above the fold area. You can see it in action in most of the 2006 archives of my blog at the Way Back Machine.

Instantly my opt-ins grew and I quickly found myself generating an extra 20-50 new leads per day, which continued to increase as my blog traffic increased.

Since then, nearly every success I have enjoyed online has come thanks to making these decisions. I finally understood what Internet marketers were talking about when they said you have to have a list – and yes, that applies in EVERY niche online, not just the make money topics (email marketing is so good in non-business markets because not so many people use it well there).

How Email Will Make A Difference To Your Blogging

I don’t think bloggers totally understand how the email list fits in with blogging, since on the surface they seem like very similar mediums, both delivering content with the focus on increasing the number of subscribers you have.

Oh, and to clarify, when I say build a list, I’m not talking about a list that just replicates your RSS feed service. This isn’t a list that sends out your latest blog posts and that’s it. This list provides unique value and has a defined purpose within your business.

People read email immediately as it comes in. People read blogs when they want to and tend to skip a lot of it because they scan due to consuming so much at once.

The mindset a person is in when reading blog content is different to email. When reading blogs you are either looking for entertainment, going from blog to blog in a mass content consumption frenzy, or searching for answers to a particular question.

When reading email you are consuming much more personal content. Outside of spam of course, emails are addressed to your name, some even come from family or friends, and while a message from a list you subscribe to isn’t necessarily that personal (it does have your name if the list owner does it right), it comes to you in a place where by nature you pay a special kind of attention.

Simply put – people pay more attention and a higher quality of attention to their email because of the state of mind they are in while reading messages.

This may change if spam and marketing messages destroy email, but for the time being, with our current system, email is the most responsive medium we have as online marketers (John Reese mentioned this when talking about how responsive Twitter is during his tests, second only to email marketing).

Email As A Conversion Tool

Email, when combined with blogging, is a fantastic tool for escalating relationships you have with your subscribers. I consider a person who opts-in to my list a higher quality prospect than a blog reader who subscribes via RSS. Some bloggers may disagree with that, but I believe they will be few and far between.

A lot of this has to do with the reason why a person subscribes to you blog or your email list. The intention they are expressing when they subscribe stems from a deep purpose and if that purpose is linked to something related to your business, for example selling a product or service that helps them satisfy the cause of their action, then you are in a position to make sales.

Blogs focus on a specific topic – we all know we need to have a clear niche for successful blogging – but even within that niche, bloggers tend to move across quite a varied range of topics. This I believe stems from the reasoning that you need to have daily blog updates to build traffic and eventually make money.

In order to build a popular blog you need a constant stream of fresh ideas. As a result, when you write about a topic you cover it in the fashion of a magazine, entertaining and educating readers with ideas that don’t necessarily link together in a linear fashion. Each edition is new, and every reader no matter when they discover you, starts their subscription with today’s content.

Email marketing, at least in some forms, is linear, has a narrower topic focus and allows you to reuse content over and over again as each new subscriber moves through your sequence in order, starting from the beginning. As a result of this structure and refined purpose, email marketing requires less content than blogging, yet is a better conversion tool for selling.

Can you image if every blog reader you have started from the beginning of your blog – your first blog post – and then moved through each post since then consecutively? This is what email marketing is like, but that’s okay because of the nature of and the purpose behind the list.

Why Bother Blogging?

If you read carefully over those last few paragraphs you should be able to see how different a blog and an email list are. In fact, the email list looks superior to the blog, at least as a marketing tool right?

Well yes and no.

Internet marketers have always had difficulty with two major concerns when it comes to email lists – how to find subscribers and how to build relationships with them so they don’t just delete the messages.

Email marketers either need to spend money through pay per click and other forms of advertising to drive traffic to landing pages to build their lists, rely on joint venture partners to send them traffic or build some kind of content based web presence to attract an audience.

What’s the best form of content based web presence available today? Yes, blogging! (well I think so anyway).

Bloggers of course also face the challenge of building a readership, but in today’s changing Internet landscape, the blog “fits in” well with the language spoken online.

Blogs are part of the world of Web 2.0 and in most cases, are the central tool for leveraging social media traffic from bookmarking and voting sites like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon. Let’s not forget that search engines love them too. Blogs are created by “normal people”, in fact most blogs will never try and sell you anything and even those that do attempt to make money from it will only go so far as to slap a few slightly obtrusive text boxes with little ads in them. Hardly a strong sales pitch.

In short, blogs are perceived as content and value providers first – purveyors of entertainment and education. If you learn to speak the language of content, blogs are the most powerful free traffic generators available to individuals today, and – here’s the key point – are fantastic tools for fostering strong relationships with an audience.

The true power of building a business with both blogging and email lists is to leverage the blog as the traffic creator and relationship starter, and then finish the process with email marketing.

There’s a lot of subtleties to this system, but the tools work. Best of all, blogging is one of the easiest things to start no matter where you are coming from, which is why blogging has taken a place in mainstream popular culture.

Now all we need to do as professional bloggers who want to profit from our work, is learn what Internet marketers, and direct marketers before them, have been doing for years.

Stay tuned, my upcoming video continues this thread and will teach you more about email and blog marketing.

Update: The video is now available – Click here to watch the Conversion Blogging video

Yaro Starak
Coining Terms

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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69 Comments

  • I like this article – looking forward to the video – I think most peoples biggest problem is finding ideas for the fresh content of either blog or e-mail (that’s mine for sure).

  • Great post Yaro.

    You are absolutely right. Blogs and email lists are a great combination. I think one reason why bloggers don’t unterstand email marketing is that they don’t think like business people. They are in most cases authors, experts, hobby bloggers or interested (to much) in tech stuff. As “Old Man” Casey tells us: Experts don’t make money.

    I managed to built a small email list through my blog (6 months old). But there are only about 200 subscriber right now and I’m wondering how to speed up the process. Would you do some paid advertising (maybe for a free ebook for subscribers only) or do I just have to be more patient??

    • I think you might want to answer that question yourself Haris. If you are in a hurry, then by all means, pay for advertising or find joint venture partners to help build your list.

      If you have patience, build a great blog and by default you will build a thriving list at the same time.

  • Yaro,

    You hit it right on :-) I think most bloggers fail to realize the true potential of combining the email marketing and blogging. Contrary to popular belief – email marketing doesn’t have to be related in any ways to spam activiteis. People are not only willing to get your emails if good content provided but are thankful for the time savings it provides them with.

    My blogging eZine is published once a week and provides a summary of posts since last email and has some of the highest “open rates” I have seen. That shows – people are waiting for it.

    Using aweber blog broadcast is is also quite simple to implement :-) and not doing it cost you dearly in what is not gained …

    Alex

    • Hi Alex,

      I’m glad you agree, but just to clarify, while the blog broadcast tool is great, that’s not the type of email list I am referring to.

      Blog broadcast is just emailing out your blog content. That has no additional value than what your blog already provides, nor is it focused the way the type of email list I am talking about is.

  • Yaro,

    Thanks for this.

    While I’ve understood the idea behind email marketing, I’ve been on the net since the mid 90’s – I hadn’t really utilized a list until this year. Creating community through creating and using proper list / email marketing is a major focus of my company’s changes this year.

    I’m glad there are folks like yourself, and the other friendly neighborhood internet marketers out here, offering support and advice to the rest of us!

    Sincerely,

    Meg Meyer
    Small Business Services | Executive Business Coaching

  • Yaro;

    A nice post. I especially love the fact that you learn things just like the rest of us, and that you were not born as a A-List IM guru/blogger that knew everything from day 1 (and that you are willing to admit that).

    Question: I am trying to decide if I should implement the Aweber blog broadcast feature weekly. Will this “dilute” the effectiveness of my other emails to the list? Or, is it an automatic way to repurpose content already on my blog to the benefit of my list subs?

    How do you personally decide when to promote blog posts through your list? Do you have a schedule/plan/formula for what you send?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    • Hi Mark – if you use blog broadcast, I recommend having it as a separate list that people join to get just your blog posts (plus any additional one time broadcasts you do that are relevant).

      With your main list there should be a specific reason to join it beyond what your blog already provides. It’s okay to email links to your blog posts to this list, but only when it’s relevant. I do this to my list, but usually just to highlight the really good pillar posts that relate to the reason people joined that email list in the first place.

  • Looking forward to the video!

    Your paragraph says it all:

    The true power of building a business with both blogging and email lists is to leverage the blog as the traffic creator and relationship starter, and then finish the process with email marketing.

  • Hello Yaro,

    Yet another thought-provoking article. Human beings tend to stick with the familiar, especially when it’s something that works. Your post is a timely reminder that if we’re in business, we should always be on the lookout for ways to expand that business.

    I mean if someone claims to be a “marketer”, why shut off other business opportunities by restricting that marketing to e.g.”internet marketing” or “e-mail marketing”.

    I recently attended an “Entrepreneurs Bootcamp” in the UK. The 4000 “entrepreneurs” in the audience didn’t seem to recognise that they were a hungry market. Why was I the only one to think of leaving my business card (promoting the opt-in on my blog) on everyone’s seat at lunch?

  • Alright Yaro, I have heard this message enough times from you now. I am now convinced, email marketing is a must forever more whatever I chose to do online.

    • Lol Mwangi! You are in the lucky position of reading my blog, my email list and as a member of Blog Mastermind, so this message is rammed home quite often.

      If you don’t get it, then I’d be worried :-)

  • I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers don’t even offer an incentive for people who join their list. Just a lonely sign up box in the top right hand corner. I find a lot of people just won’t sign up (they think they will remember to come back) unless you give them a reason to.

    I agree that there is a different relationship you create with an email list as compared to a blog reader. They had to give you something (their email), so the relationship is stronger. The changed from a person “looking” for information, to someone “asking” for information.

    This is a powerful distinction if you know how to take advantage of it and deepen the relationship. (For mutual benefit of course)

    I’m interested to see your take on the combination of blogging and email marketing.

  • I completely agree and also think that email subscribers can be more valuable than RSS readers, (they’re putting more trust in you because they’re giving you their information) but I also love email because it seems to be more personal.

    When I send out a newsletter and get replies back from my subscribers, it makes me feel better than when I receive comments on a blog post. Not sure why, but it does.

  • Thanks Yaro. I’m going to stay tuned. I am trying to learn all I can about marketing (it’s my weak spot). Content comes easy to me. Marketing my content has been my challenge.

    Rick

  • Interesting post – I read thru half of it and still not clear about what exactly you are refering.

    Look where you explain what is e-mail list

    ” to clarify, when I say build a list, I’m not talking about a list that just replicates your RSS feed service. This isn’t a list that sends out your latest blog posts and that’s it.”

    Exactly after chewing 450 words.

    now i know what you wanna say here. Thanks anyway.

  • Well, I think the reason a lot of bloggers don’t build lists is that they are following the magazine model–writing content they enjoy writing and charging for advertising next to it–and aren’t trying to sell anything.

    I drop by the Warrior Forum now and then and understand the potential in list building, but I just don’t have any interest in creating or promoting any products on my biggest blog. I’ve weighed the pros and cons of creating one anyway (the possibility of bringing a lot more readers back to the site on a regular basis vs. the extra effort you have to put into writing those emails for your list) but haven’t had a compelling enough reason to yet. I will watch what you have to say on the subject though and maybe you’ll win me over. :)

    I am planning to implement a list for another site where my intention is to eventually write a book. That’s, IMO, a no-brainer. I’m surprised more authors don’t blog first and publish the book second. With a mailing list, you’d already have a set of fans ready to buy the book before it comes out. :)

    Anyway, looking forward to what else you write about on lists.

    Ta,
    Lindsay

  • I haven’t added subscribe thing to my Sell More Games blog yet for a simple reason – even if I got subscribers I would have no clue what to do with them :D

    Though I have been collecting email addresses for my main business ANAWIKI GAMES since the very beginning of it and it is working great.

  • Yaro,

    email marketing absolutely makes sense. With an email list, it is like follow-up with visitors that you can “call back”. I came to realize this with a site promoting offline business that visitors leave and some of those visitors can be converted by email marketing.

  • Yaro,

    Great post. I am really looking forward to the video.

  • Great post Yaro! There is so much power in email marketing that to leave it at RSS subscribers and blog broadcasts would be leaving money on the table.

    Email marketing is a great way to build/continue the relationship with people. It takes it to a new level beyond blogging.

    Thanks!

  • Yaro,

    I guess email list is still hot right now :)

    You right about people tend to read email than blog, simply due to the fact that it is delivered directly to their inbox.

    I’m having difficulty in increasing my Noobpreneur blog RSS subscribers – and one of the solution might be building an email list (like what you did with this blog).

    Cheers!

  • Yaro,

    Great article. This is one of the major procrastination points of mine. I have a bunch of blogs that get quality readers, yet I’ve failed to build a good email list. Marketing without an email list is pretty foolish, and if I want to utilize these channels I have, I need to increase my chances.

    Thanks for the tips…

  • Great post about adding email marketing to your blogging business.

    You can do a lot more with a regular group of people in a mailing list and since it is set up once, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to increase your earnings. A mailing list lets you run everyone through the same marketing path and you can test and tweak until it accomplishes what you want.

    Great point about offering a freebie to get the opt in. Really increases subscribers and how long they will stay on the list.

  • I think your approach on email marketing depends on your niche in a big way. There’s certain age groups and markets that assume EVERYTHING is spam — so your returns probably wouldn’t be nearly as good.

  • I think this email list is something I need to start looking seriously into.

  • Jen

    Point well made. Bloggers like to relate without having a business sense about themselves. Perhaps your product will help to change that.

    Jen
    Muvar Software

  • This was a great post, this is something of an issue for me and definitely something I need to work on.
    Thanks Yaro,
    JR

  • I just wanted to say one more thing, Why Don’t Bloggers Use the Correct Font Size on their blogs?

    Thank you for you using a readable font, Yaro, I am so sick of blogs that use like a 10 or even 8 font size??!!???

    WTF is that???!!!! It’s bad enough that we spend so much time looking at a screen if I have to strain my eyes to try to read a post, I’m outta there!

    Thanks,
    JR

  • I agree with this 1000%. I’ve probably read in dozens upon dozens of articles, newsletters, etc. about growing your online business that you’ve GOT TO have a list (and a list that grows).

    Joint ventures are happening every day with folks who sell to another’s list. And the amount of income being made by both parties is sometimes mind-boggling. These are of course lists of tens of thousands of names, ideally quality names.

    I’m intent on growing my list so I look forward to your ideas on this.

  • Great article!
    I will definitely try to make my own mailing list now. If anyone knows where I can learn how to technically do it – please share.

  • Yaro,
    Looking forward to the video!!
    I need help

  • Really looking forward to your video. I get lost and then when I get an email from you Yaro I seem to find my way again. Thanks for all your help, keep up the great blogging.

    Thanx again….Mike

  • Great information. I’d like to see you focus on what to give as enticements (giveaways) to get people to signup.

  • eve

    Hi Yaro,
    It’s me again,eve….yes,I really want to learn.I’ll be watching your video.

  • Yaro, You are absolutely right. Email List is still the fundamental of a Hawaii Trip or Fiji trip business model. ;)

  • Definitely looking forward to the video. Also read your email on Mixing Travel, Business and Pleasure. I loved that one.

  • Yaro, I still don’t entirely get it. I understand your point about how valuable an email list can be and that people treat email differently than a blog, but I don’t understand what to do with an email list and how do I make the message different than a blog.

    I know that for everyone’s niche market it will be different, but could you give an example? Say someone has a site on model-train collecting and he writes blogs such as about historical trains, the company that makes the model trains, and his own childhood memories of his first model train. What would this person do with an email list? Thanks.

    • Hi Mary,

      Hopefully the video I released today will help you somewhat –

      http://www.blogmastermind.com/video/

      Bear in mind my strategy will not apply to absolutely every blog topic out there. There are some where a list won’t logically slot into the model currently followed.

      However, I think at least 95% of the blogs out there could use an email list. Take your model train example. This person should start an email list and offer a 7 day email course as the incentive that presents how to begin collecting model trains.

      – How to pick the right train for you and your house (depends how much space you have)
      – What brands are good, what brands should be avoided
      – How to source the cheapest prices for model trains
      – The best magazines to read and conventions to go to

      etc etc.

      From there, the list could be used to sell model trains as an affiliate, or even as a retailer if the person goes so far as to start selling the product themselves.

      Or, produce an ebook/report that can be sold for $27 or similar, that details, with pictures, how to set-up and install a model train in your garage.

      All of this will work great with a blog and email list and thanks to the e-course in the list, the person can continue to deliver value over and over again, and make sales, without needing to keep writing new content to the list – the course just keeps delivering on autopilot.

      I hope that helps to clarify.

      • Thanks for taking the time to explain, Yaro. It definitely helps. My wheels of thought are definitely in motion. It’s starting to click with me that this is an important tool and bloggers need to wrap their own individuality into creating a successful email list campaign.

  • Well, must not have been paying the electric bill, cause the light finally went on. Great article, looking forward to the video. And to think I even have the techie knowledge to code in the silly little opt-in on my blog. Thanks for making it crystal clear.

  • Personally, I’ve been enjoying my small but growing email list. I send them thoughts and ideas that don’t make it into the blog. I’ve not made it too structured yet. I’ve been doing it more as a newsletter than what you are suggesting and what you do in your Blog Traffic Tips list. I might implement a “lessons by email” mailing list, or something along those lines.

  • Great post!

    Most of us are familiar with email marketing but very few are actually implementing this strategy with blogging.

  • bryang

    I want to blog but im always wondering how long it is going to be relevant….I just question the relevancy in 10 years I just dont know if Blogs will still be a source of info in a decade? Anyone share this thought? I have my qualms but I still think there is chance of withstanding the test of time but its uncharted territories.

  • That was AWESOME !!!

    I have always been your great fan. I love the video and I will always pass on the knowledge I have been learning from you.

  • That’s a great strategy to use. Thanks for the information.

  • I have tried my best in email marketing. I even setup a newsletter service and planned to hire some experts, but it didn’t really take off. I canceled the idea after that. Maybe it is not my cup of tea.

  • what a great blog you have here. At last i found another good source to learn about making money through internet. I just start my blog, i hope i can learn a lot from you.

  • [...] way to do this is by offering an RSS feed. Another way that many successful bloggers advocate, is the blog [...]

  • Great post! To build a successful business I think you need both a blog and an email list.Placing the email opt-in form above the fold is a good idea.

  • Buz

    I think one of the reasons why many don’t start email lists is because it feels like a lot of responsibility, like deciding to have children. They don’t want the responsibility of being an authority figure and having to be their for their new family every day, week, month etc. Of course what they don’t realize is that new little family will pay the bills.

  • [...] Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing? [...]

  • I always utilized the RSS newsletter, it seems now that I have to focus more on a “personal” letter. Thank you Yaro

  • [...] wrong Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs Journey How To Write Great Blog Content – The Pillar Article Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing? Jeremy Schoemaker from Shoemoney My Top 10 Worst Ideas to Make Money Why You Should Embrace [...]

  • It’s great to build a list but you have to understand first that list building only works if you can drive traffic to your website.

  • Great post! I have to say I have been of the same mindset with email lists that you were when starting out with the blog! I will definitely have to take action after reading this!

  • I ignore a lot of emails that I signed up for. Of course, I might be in a small group but I think not. Probably, a lot of people cherry pick emails like they cherry pick blog viewing time.

    Therefore, I don’t know for sure if blogging plus email would work. Perhaps it would work for a high demand product. However, in today’s economy it’s tough for any internet marketer.

  • My business is advertising so I just need visitors not signups. If I can deliver the traffic then other sites will pay for ads on my site. However, if your selling a product then email marketing is a smart option.

  • [...] Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing? [...]

  • @ Jason : even if you run an advertising business, email is still needed. You can promote your business via email. One no need to sign up, just need to be informed for you’re exist on the business.

    Good luck

  • Email Marketing is one way to “attain” blog traffic in the long run thus if you build an email list yourself, you’ll be doing yourself some great doing. However people don’t like spam and bloggers should only try to send at least 1 email to it’s list members rather than a lot. One other thing is that people like pictures. So your emails might convert better if you’d be sending out html emails.

  • ben

    How long have I been on line studying about blogs – too long. and the topic of email lists is always there. undoubtedly the most important part of the blog. no list no money.
    but now I am thinking with social media perhaps people are spending less and less time on email and more time on their social media so I am thinking doing a switch now – my email list is empty but my social media following is growing by day. Don’t you think that this is a clue for all of us bloggers?

  • I think, Yaro even though I really want to see what the big deal is about email marketing . . . I really don’t get it. I think it’s really for more advanced bloggers as you and others in your league.

    I would think, seeing to it that there’s so much spam lately that you’re really going to have an email list that goes to people who really read their mail.

  • Great info about email marketing thanks for sharing man

  • I agree most bloggers don’t see the value in an email list. not only does it allow you to attract a certain group that is already interested, if done right it can be profitable in traffic and or money, depending on your goal.

  • [...] Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing? [...]

  • [...] Why Don’t Bloggers Understand Email Marketing? [...]

  • Hi – I have just started my blog and at the moment i am making baby steps to grow a list. I hope that i do it right and that it works out. Thanks for your helpful blog!

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