Alicia Magda, who heads up the SEO and email division of marketing firm Solid Cactus and writes a running blog, provided tips on how bloggers can use email marketing to increase readership, at social and blogging conference NEPA BlogCon on Oct. 5.
“Ninety-one percent of consumers actually check their inbox at least once per day. That means if you get your blog audience to subscribe to your mailing list, you have a 91 percent chance that they’ll actually read your blog at least once per day,” said Magda, adding it’s important to reach readers both on mobile and desktop.
She said that email marketing is important for both interaction and retention.
1) Focus on one topic per email. For example, a recipe of the day.
2) Use email marketing plugins such as Wysija (What You Said is Just Awesome), SendPress, and Newsletter Manager. Also, email marketing providers sometimes offer their own plugins.
3) Place a newsletter sign-up form on the top or bottom of your blog. Keep it simple.
4) Use list segmenting, which means breaking down your audience into groups.
“Say, for me, I have a running blog. I break out my audience into newbie runners, and then say, ultra-marathoners. I’m certainly not going to send them the same type of newsletter content. So, by breaking down my audience into a few different groups, it allows me to tailor my content to the interests of those groups, and then send out newsletters that are appropriate to those interests,” said Magda.
5) Create an opt-in message through an email marketing provider. Thank the reader for subscribing, and include a link.
6) Plan your content. Examples include weekly roundups of the most popular posts; exclusive content; best of and top five blog awards.
“Through the newsletter, you as the blogger could give your take on a certain topic that you wouldn’t normally post about on your blog, but that is relevant for your readers,” said Magda.
7) Newsletter-only giveaway and promo codes from your sponsors. “That’s another reason to get people to actually sign up for your email list, instead of only just coming back and reading your blog posts,” Magda said.
8) Include a message from sponsors, and give your vote of approval.
9) Link to other sites and blogs relevant to your readers. “You could talk about the five best blogs, in addition to your own of course. So, the five best websites that your blog readers can get running sneakers from, something like that,” Magda said.
10) Use prominent email service providers such as MailChip, Constant Contact, Vertical Response or iContact. The chance that your email will end up in a spam folder is lower.
11) Use design templates that will load on all common email providers, and use image alt tags. “It gives your email a little more trust and increases the likelihood your email will actually be delivered to the inbox of your mailing list subscribers,” said Magda.
12) Great email newsletters, according to Magda, include: Short headlines, large images, snippets of blog posts, read-more links, social media icons, links to related blog posts, and giveaways.
Magda explained that the frequency of your emails “makes or breaks an email campaign.” She recommends sticking to once a week but encourages experimenting to see what works best for you.
Readers, what strategies do you use to make your email newsletters awesome? Let us know in the comments.