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Blogs and Email – How to Get the Best of Both Worlds

Today Hendry Lee from BlogBuildingU explores the power of combining blogging with email.

Most people think email is dead, at least for marketing. A few years ago when blogging was just reaching mainstream, some aggressive marketers claimed that blog would replace email in its marketing role.

But that never happens.

I don’t know what it is about such news, but every time someone claims that an older technology is about to descend in replacement of something shinier, people flock to it as if their businesses are going no where without it.

Regarding blog versus email, obviously the dust has settled down. Now it is time to look carefully what you could do with them to get the most out of your business.

It is true that email comes with its own problems. Bounce back, phishing, spam filters, authentication and reputation are just a small list of the issues.

Still the fact that email leads all other channels by a wide margin in terms of performance is something every blogger should not overlook. Just as a comparison, 80.4 percent of more than 3,000 survey participants chose email as a strong advertising performer, compared to 56.8 percent who chose search.

How Email Can Help

Consider this scenario. First time visitor arrives at your site. Usually she knows very little about you, if at all. The current page, or perhaps the homepage, is your chance to make the first impression. It is obvious that you should make every possible entry page counts.

Once she’s done with the first page, perhaps she is going to view a few others before quitting. Unless you find a way to keep in touch with her, most likely she is not going to come back.

Just face it. How many times do you come back to a site after visiting it once? For me, it happens rarely and I know I’m not the only one. Unless, of course, the site is extremely good.

Both RSS and email are tools to help you get those readers back to you. Although RSS is reaching the mainstream, email is still “the” communication channel. All Internet users are familiar with it.

There are always subscribers who prefer RSS to email, but others would like to receive updates via email only or both.

Don’t believe that email is still effective? Just ask Darren. He had passed 100,000 subscribers for the DPS weekly newsletter.

Here’s the rule of thumb. Reach your readers whenever they want and via content distribution channels and formats they prefer. There are other channels like audio podcast, video and so on, but let’s start with email because it is the most common one.

Whether you are just getting started or have been blogging for some time, you are leaving money on the table if you don’t integrate email into your marketing mix.

From Recognition to Interaction

Email allows you to get in touch with your subscribers and build awareness of your brand. In a nutshell, here’s the process:

  • Delivery of content on a regular basis promotes recognition. Each email is an opportunity to reach your subscribers with your message. Make sure the message brings an impact.
  • Content creates interest. It’s not just any content. Every message has to be particularly good for the readers to stay on the list. You can’t be boring with your content, although subscribers are also forgiving if you do it occasionally.
  • Interest encourages interaction. If the subscribers can relate to your content, sooner or later they will write back and start the interaction. It doesn’t matter if it is just a blog comment or email, what matters is your relationships with your audience. Email just makes it easier because this medium is designed for communication from the start.

At this stage, you may continue the nurturing process to build trust. Each of the process above moves a subscriber closer to the buying decision.

That certainly sounds pretty much like a blog or other marketing channels, because there is indeed a pattern. After all, the end goal is to turn strangers to prospects and prospects to customers.

This applies as well to bloggers who only generate revenue from selling ad spaces. You need to build relationships to get more traffic and convert visitors to advertisers. Repeat readers also mean more pageviews. Best of all, this interaction may lead you to more opportunities.

Again when it comes to a reader’s favorite content consumption channel, you just can’t shove one thing or another down anyone’s throat.

Either you also communicate via email or you miss a segment of your audience.

Email Marketing for Bloggers

Without a doubt, the most obvious application of email marketing for bloggers is an e-newsletter.

With an email newsletter, not only you can drive traffic back to your blog, but also generate more advertising revenue through pageviews, increase sales and do virtually anything that is possible with communication. The latter means almost every marketing activity, right?

If you are interested about starting an email newsletter, Darren has written a few interesting articles in the past. You can also find a few tips for bloggers here.

Email newsletter is just one example though. The following are a few other ideas. With emails, you can do the following in additional to the benefits you get through your blog:

  • Create a series of lessons for an e-course. Queue those lessons in a sequence autoresponder. It will follows up with your subscribers on your behalf. You can create content-laden articles and deliver them one at a time at a predetermined interval. It is like relationship building on autopilot.
  • Use email as customer retention tool. Reduce chargeback by reminding customers about their purchase. Offer additional bonuses. Suggest a few ways to use your product. This is where email is still the most appropriate communication tool.
  • Recover abandoned shopping carts. It is possible to follow up 24 hours after someone abandons your shopping cart to recover sales. Such emails have higher open and click-through rate and may reclaim back your otherwise lost revenue.
  • Generate sales and extras. This is not just for e-commerce sites. Email can help close deals for a consulting work, among others.
  • Build buzz. You can see this example in most product launch emails. Using email and blog, the product owners build buzz around the product so even before launch date, the subscribers are already anticipating it.

Especially for service professionals, a lead can potentially worth a few thousand dollars. Using email to follow up with them, even if it is to a few people at a time, is a strategy worth considering.

Email follow up and broadcast technology is now very affordable. At $20 or less per month, there’s no reason you can’t start today. Have fun reclaiming the otherwise lost traffic and revenues back.

Hendry Lee helps people overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their web businesses.

Visit Blog Building University if you need more ideas for blog promotion. While you are there, download your free blogging eBook and subscribe to his blogging e-course where he reveals his secrets about blogging and content writing!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nate says:

    I use email, but only for an alternative to RSS. I think that now I will start developing an email newsletter. What do you recommend for the autoresponder? Is there one that is free?

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. Writer Dad says:

    Email may be going somewhere, but it isn’t happening for a long time. An inbox is still more personal than a reader. When someone reads an email there is a part of their mind that can believe that email is just for them, even if there a 100,000 just like it. Of course this takes a lot of skill on the part of the sender, and the same thing can be done with a blog post, but as far as “intimacy,” I would have to say the scales definitely tip in favor of email.

  3. Dave Olsen says:

    Good advice. The point is you need to keep in touch with as many of your visitors as possible, so you have to give them as many options as you can to subscribe.

    While RSS is big in some niches, I’m sure there are many where the audience is just trying to solve a particular problem —that day. Those people aren’t likely to subscribe to your feed, but they may be willing to give you their email address in exchange for a short ebook that is related to your topic.

  4. Isaac says:

    Gotta agree. Email is the best. Texting, IMing, all that stuff is immediate and personal, but for blogging, email is the single best way to reach people in a personal manner.

  5. ITrush says:

    Interesting, thanks for giving us tips on how to effectively use email to generate extra earnings.

  6. I think it comes down to the simple point of developing as many points of contact as possible with you and your customers. So with that said I agree that email is not dead and many people still rely on it and love it.

    But email has to be done carefully. To many times I sign-up for newsletters and end up getting 3emails a week. It should be done sparingly with unique info each time. I would much prefer 1 large email like a monthly newsletter. Rather then 3emails a week pointing out little things that I should check out or remember.

  7. Personally I still prefer Reader. As Writer Dad said, email inbox is more personal.

    BTW, CONGRATULATIONS to you Darren for passing the 80k subscribers ^_^

  8. Blog Expert says:

    I love email subscribers because they are easy to market to.

  9. RhondaL says:

    I try to remember that I am a customer, too. And I prefer email for continued contact.

    I can’t remember the last time I checked my Reader.

    And, if a blog doesn’t have an email subscription option, I say, “So sad, too bad”– and move on.

  10. A point you mentioned that will probably go unnoticed is “Unless, of course, the site is extremely good”. Well surely you should be trying to make your site extremely good in that case! I personally don’t put anything on my site that I don’t think IS ‘extremely good’ and I wouldn’t want to keep in touch with anyone who doesn’t agree. I use my email list to update my readers and make it EASIER for them to read my content, not as a vain hope to cling on to their readership!!
    Thanks,
    Sam http://www.sparklife.info

  11. I must admit, I am very hesitant to use email marketing. Maybe it’s just the bad rap it’s gotten – almost akin to telemarketing. Is there a way to maintain authenticity and close connection with those I email without becoming spam.

    Thanks for the great advice!

    - Chas
    http://chas.willowrise.com/

  12. Unoblogger says:

    A gr8 article…. now I am inclined in creating my own news letter for the blog. Thanks for the inputs.

  13. hack says:

    I use email, but only for email subscribers and link exchange ,

  14. James says:

    Thanks for writing a thorough article about effective email marketing. I learnt something new and hope to test drive your ideas soon. Awesome article!!

  15. I personally get emails from other marketers and that do contain sometimes useful information I have never known before.

    It makes sense to see that as we build a mailing list, even a 0.1% of them buying our product or doing something for us, will be a great success when the list grows.

  16. I find that email is still a strong tool to communicate with my Customers. It servers as a reminder and offers them an incentive otherwise they would not receive if not registered.

    For my blogging sites, I have not used email as much. I know how effective it can be, so I will be using some of your tips.

  17. I like “Creating an E-course Lesson” with your email subscribers Hendry. I beleive that is a wonderful way to provide additional value to your readers as well as “keep” your readers from unsubscribing. Good point. =)

  18. Using e mails is a terrible idea if done wrong.
    So caution should be taken before clicking that botton to spread the word around,one example,Pumping e mails to your readers on a dairly basis could turn to be so annoying hence wont read them anymore or sending very long mails could be another storm to scare them away..However if done right then you will have a big smile all the way to your google analytic page!

    http://www.frogblogger.com

  19. Excellent article. One of the principle aims for my blog is to collect as many email subscribers as I can.

    With an almost unlimited number of sites to visit, getting people to come back on a regular basis to my site is my number one priority.

  20. Some of my market aren’t hugely technical and wouldn’t know what RSS is so email is still a really important aspect for my blog. Next step for me is to look at developing an email newsletter.

  21. I’ve just started using it to subscribe/broadcast blog updates. I really need to finish my ebooks at the moment so I can offer people some incentive to sign up. Watch this space.

  22. Oh yes,now you are talking!once you finnish your e book then you have all the reasons to run your mail campaign. Please let me know when you done with your e book so that i could also be one of your subscriber.thanks alot

  23. Ryan McLean says:

    Email is defiantely the best marketing tool because it is more personal than blogging.
    When someone is reading an email it is directed at them, when they are reading a blog it is directed at the world.
    So email will always trump blogging, until people stop using email, which is not going to happen any time soon

  24. Rick Vaughn says:

    I think we are over thinking this one.

    Email is the best because almost 99% of the time people get on the net is to check their email. That alone makes it pretty power tool.

  25. Parth says:

    Nice post. I realized the power of email marketing about a month back. My goal right now is to boost my conversion rates in terms of email sign ups. I’ve tried a few things, even Darren’s pop up idea. I just recently realized what was getting me the email in the first place and simply expanded on the idea.

  26. Anders Holm says:

    An e-newsletter seems like a good idea. I have tried these in the past on different projects with not much luck. My problem was not to do with subscribers but rather to consistently come up with content. Good content at that. I have never tried the e-newsletter in combination with a blog. It might be easier in combination with a blog due to the fact that you are steadily producing new content. I will probably implement one at a later time.
    Thank you for reminding me of a useful resource that I may have overlooked due to my previous experiences.
    Anders

  27. elix says:

    still a newbie. my blog is being hosted on google’s blogger.com based on the topic disussed above, what are the free autoresponder services i can use to deliver newsletters to my readers. can this newsletter hosting service work with a subdomain and free hosted blog like mine. if there are paid autoresponder services you know, what are the prices like.

  28. Hendry Lee says:

    Well, I apologize for not including this in the content. If you don’t use email – or generally multi channel marketing – to reach your audience… you are nurturing your traffic and then let others get the sales.

    People want to be contacted in various ways if they are interested in a topic.

    So, there you go. For those who hate their customers taken away from them, that should get them thinking. :)

  29. Fadzuli says:

    From technologist point of view, email marketing is a must have for internet businesses because it is the CORE system.

    Everyone on the internet will have an email in one form or another just to communicate. It is also the most basic Internet technology that exist, hence it shouldn’t be forgotten either.

    Social networks like facebook, multiple and others rely so much on it that a common person actually wont realise it.Seriously.

    Imagine if you dont shut off the notifications systems in Facebook. The moment someone PM you or do something, an email will be sent to your inbox, hence such action actually drives people back to the site.

    So don’t look down on emails. If you have a membership site, the more you need to utilise email technologies.

    It may be old but its important. Hence don’t miss out on this function.

    Rss is cool but not everyone knows how to use it.

  30. I agree email needs to be treated with importance. I wanted to subscribe to a few blogs but they did not have a email option. I even emailed the owner of the blog and he said its not yet available. I could not subscribe and I dont use RSS readers.

  31. Whenever I send a newsletter alerting readers to a new post, my traffic increases at least 300%.

    Great post! ;)

  32. Hendry,
    Great post. I couldn’t agree with you more that e-mail isn’t dead and for some of us we need to understand how the new technology like blogs can work together to accomplish results. You are right on the money when you say reach readers when they want to be reached and by the preferred method whether it’s e-mail RSS or others

  33. If I have a successful blog with a large readership, you can create an additional stream of income (and repeat visitors) by having a newsletter. Right? The topic is moneymaking. I have readers who wish to receive a newsletter that contains more in-depth information. I started by creating an email opt-in list of newsletter subscribers. Marketing is very usefull.

    Thanks

  34. Paul Morales says:

    I still have yet to create a newsletter. Not to sure what to put in mine ;(.

    I don’t think blogs will take over email but blogs are very helpful in finding information you need. Email is rather for communicating to a single person.

    I think they both have their own uses.

  35. Hendry, I am in complete agreement with you about the effectiveness of email marketing. In the past two weeks, after a session of mass emailing, I have received a 20% increase in caller volume for my business which is providing virtual assistants. Thanks.

  36. E-mail wins here. More personal and is likely to be remembered more if that one person read both e-mail and blog.

  37. eyeman says:

    of course i need both and i hope all my site will be the best of world..

  38. Luke says:

    this is a sweet article I’ve have been looking into starting a newsletter for a while but think I need to do some research first to make it really stand out from the crowd and offer something more than my site

    thanks for another great article

  39. Interesting, thanks for giving us tips on how to effectively use email to generate extra earnings.

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