If you're feeling festive, which you should be, check out some of these festive themed Blogger templates, here. Anyway, hope you all have a great Christmas, I leave you with this short film by Eliot Rausch, enjoy!
December 24, 2011
December 13, 2011
Posted by Chris 22:40 6 comments
An electronic mailing list is a collection of email addresses which are available to receive a widespread distribution of information. Such a list may be kept by any company for sending relevant information to its members or customers. Building is a list is one of the most important things you can do to for your online business and is crucial to capture those people visiting your blog.
What’s the difference if readers sign up to your mailing list or feed?
For those of you thinking you’ve already got an email sign up form, it could be for your blog’s feed. No matter what blogging platform you’re using (Blogger, wordpress, Tumblr etc.), your blog will have its own feed, either RRS or Atom. Feedburner offers a widget to allow readers to sign up to your updates via email. When they sign up, they receive updates from your blog’s feed directly to their inbox. Although this is a great feature to keep your readers updated, the content they receive is normally just what you post on your blog which can’t really be modified. This is where a mailing list comes into play. Once your readers sign up, they gain access to any mass emails you choose to send, for example, a monthly newsletter, which you have complete control over.
Who should host your mailing list?
You could manage your mailing list yourself, but as it grows you may want to think about using an external application to host your list. There are many websites offering to host mailing lists. To get an idea of what they offer and their cost, check out this list, however the prices may have changed since it was published.
Aweber, which is currently offering a generous $1 free monthly trial. As well as hosting your list, they also offer many other fantastic services including email tracking, an autoresponder, and sign up widgets amongst others. Their pricing is realistic considering what you receive is probably the best quality out there.
If you don’t have the money to host a list, I’ve found that MailChimp offer a free service to host your first 2,000 email addresses and also allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, which is more than enough to start with. Although the free service includes most of the premium features like privacy protection and reporting, it doesn’t include an autoresponder. Once you reach 2,000 subscribers, you can choose to upgrade your package with MailChimp which, price-wise, is reasonable compared to other hosting plans from say Aweber.How to get people to sign up?
How to create your first mailing list for free
Step 1. Sign up for a free account with MailChimp, no credit card details are required for a free account, just a valid email address.
Step 2. Once you’re logged in you’ll be faced with the Dashboard, from here you can create and manage a subscriber list, design sign up forms for your list and also create campaigns to mail to your list (ie. A newsletter, special offers etc.).
Step 3. Choose ‘Create a subscriber list’. Now simply fill in the boxes to complete your brand new mailing list, how awesome. Creating the list is easy, filling it, not so much. You’ll want to design your sign up form which is pretty easy using their interface. Just decide on your categories and background colours. You can then link people to this page or MailChimp gives you other options to include sign up forms on your blog.
Once your list is set up, now comes the difficult part; actually persuading people to sign up. If your blog is already established in the blogosphere, persuading your current readers to sign up shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, it’s capturing new visitors which can prove difficult. You’ll not want to overpower your blog with sign up forms, but include at least one above the fold. Here are some methods to add sign up forms to your blog.
An interesting way to add a sign up form without altering your blogs layout is by using a lightbox like the one above, offered by Aweber. The lightbox will appear to the reader depending on the settings you choose, for instance the first time you visit, or perhaps every other visit. If it’s only appearing once to your reader, it shouldn’t be much of a turn off as it can be easily closed and doesn’t open in a new window like a pop-up.
Another similar method without changing your layout is by displaying a sign up form in a page footer. Using Aweber, you can modify the settings similar to the lightbox, customising it to suit you and your readers.
I think the smartest place to include a sign up form is in your post footer. If a reader has enjoyed reading through a specific post then they’re definitely more likely to sign up there and then. Your post footer can be crucial for capturing leads to your blog. I remember the first time I visited Steve Pavlina’s blog, and as I scrolled to the end of an interesting article, there would be another ten similar articles waiting for me that tickled my fancy. Anyway, back to your mailing list. Once you’ve added sign up forms to your blog you’ll then need to entice you valuable readers into signing up to your magnificent service.
By offering something of good value, i.e. a free e-book or perhaps just the first few chapters can intrigue visitors, especially if the rest of your blog has quality information. In fact, if you’re too lazy to produce an e-book, you can find PLR material related to your niche from a quick Google search. Remember, never send your readers irrelevant content or products just to make some quick money. They can opt out just as easily as they can opt in. If you’re planning to use your mailing list to sell products, the best advice I can give you is to build a relationship with your readers first and only offer them relevant products now and then.