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April 5th, 2010
4 min read
To most of you guys, this is probably not any kind of news alert. After all, building an email list from day one is probably one of the most common pieces of advice I give.
The most obvious reason is so you can sell things. We all know that email lists are powerful weapons in the monetization arsenal. In fact, you’re climbing a steep, uphill fight to attempt to make real money from a blog if you don’t have an email list.
However, this fact doesn’t seem to do the trick for many bloggers. We’re still at a point where most bloggers haven’t begun building a list yet (to their loss). Or they build their list on Feedburner (again, their loss).
I’ve actually seen some bloggers say they refuse to build a list. Why? Because they think it is what spammers do. They say they don’t want to sell things because it spams their audience. They don’t want to bug people. Well, this one is their loss. And, quite frankly, such bloggers are raving idiots, but each to their own. 🙂
The REAL reason why all bloggers need an email list goes deeper than selling things.
An email list gives you the ability to MOBILIZE your audience.
In other words, it gives you a medium by which you can take a scattered group of people, point them in a particular direction, and say “go”. If you don’t have the ability to do that easily, you don’t have an audience.
Some stubborn bloggers might say, “Well, I can do that with my blog.” Yes, you can, but very inefficiently. With your blog alone, you’re basically waiting for people to happen by. Plus, when they are on your blog, they are often in a more distracted frame of mind. Email is a personal experience. People pay attention to their email boxes FAR more than websites. Most people have their email going all day without closing it.
The power of audience mobilization comes in super handy when you’re trying to build your audience and build your traffic. The list allows you to:
- Keep your audience once you’ve gotten them. Without a list, most people just come, leave, and don’t come back. With a list and an enticing reason to join that list, you have an opportunity to mobilize them to come back, to build that relationship, and make a truly dedicated reader out of that person.
- Notify people of new posts in a much more efficient and powerful way than RSS alone. Send them an email which entices them to come read your new post and comment. This will increase your comment counts remarkably, plus keep your traffic up.
None of it has anything to do with monetization. Simply put, you’re on the slow-lane to traffic-building if you don’t have an email list.
Even if you never intend to make any money with your blog, you still need an email list if you want decent traffic. To grow your blog substantially without that ability to mobilize your audience is going to prove much more difficult unless you already have a blog which is established.
My highest recommendation for building your list is Aweber. You can get a 30 day trial with them to get a feel for it. I would recommend that you create something enticing to give to your crowd when they join your list BEFORE you sign up for the Aweber trial. This way you can use the whole 30 days building your list rather than mess around with the stuff you need to actually do so.
Another option is MailChimp where you can get a free email list up to a certain point. I’ve not used Mailchimp, but I know people who have and the consensus is that Aweber is much better. However, you can use Mailchimp as a good starting point without cost.
If you still don’t have a list, you really need to get on that. All the traffic building tips in the world don’t mean jack if you’re not KEEPING the people once you’ve gotten them.
Page views don’t matter – AUDIENCE matters.