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I was recently listening to a podcast produced by Pat Flynn and he was interviewing Fraser Cain. Fraser is the creator of the Universe Today. In the midst of their conversation about the many changes of Google, Fraser made a profound statement:
“There is only two things you can count on. You can take your mailing list and your reputation to the grave.”
If you aren’t aware, Google has been making many changes to the way they rank webpages over the last few years. Many webmasters and bloggers are frustrated because it appears that some low-quality sites are out ranking better sites on many common searches. The point Fraser was trying to make is you should place your focus in two key areas:
- Building a mailing list – Collecting email addresses from people who share a common passion is one of the smartest things you can do. Google can stop sending you traffic, but you still have a way to get people back to your site.
- Building a positive reputation – the other area you should place your focus is in building a positive reputation. Be known as someone who provides tremendous value. Be known as someone who can be trusted. Whether you like it or not, your reputation follows you.
If you have a mailing list (whether big or small), here are 3 ways you can improve your reader’s engagement.
3 Ways to Improve Engagement with Your Mailing List
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1. Ask them to reply to the email. It may sound simple, but it can give your emails a personal touch. Mailing list services and autoresponders have simplified the process for bloggers. Still, there is always the danger of coming across impersonal.
Every once in awhile, send out an email that demands a response. I recently did this with my first Kindle Book. I asked for anyone who was willing to review my new book to reply and I would send them a complimentary copy. I had a huge response and many of the people who responded I had never talked to before.
2. Strive to improve your open rate. Another way to improve your engagement is by getting better open rates for your emails. Open rate is the percentage of people who actually open up your emails and read them. Many mailing list subscription services will tell you the open rate of every single email campaign you run.
When it comes to improving your open rate, start by creating better subject lines. I could spend a whole post on this topic. My simple recommendation would be to create a dummy gmail account and subscribe to a few blogs in your niche. Look for the subject lines that grab your attention and create a swipe file.
One more area to improve your open rate is the first sentence in the body of your email. Many email providers show a preview of what is contained in the email. By making your first sentence more compelling you can improve your open rate as well.
3. Segment your list for maximum impact. Segmenting may sound a bit technical, but it is fairly simple to do. You can divide your list by date, geography, hobbies and even certain actions. For example, you can send out the same email to all those who did not open your first email. If you sent an important email to your list two weeks ago, you can send out the same email to just those who joined your list in the past two weeks.
If you are going to hold a conference in Florida, you can email just those who are within driving distance of your event. These are just a few ways you can segment lists. The whole point I am trying to make is you have the ability to be very targeted in your email blast.
If you have not started an email list, we recommend that you get started with MailChimp. It is free for the first 2,000 subscribers. Start collecting email addresses of those who share your same passion. Build a reputation as someone who can be trusted. Those are two specific areas in your blogging career that you can depend on.
Question: What are some ways you try to engage your email list? Comment below…
6 thoughts on “3 Ways to Improve Engagement with Your Mailing List [Podcast]”
This is good stuff! And I love Pat Flynn. He’s a real cool guy!
Thanks! Yep, we like Pat Flynn too…Bob has had the opportunity to meet him. I have not as of yet.
Really? Where? At one of the blog conferences?
At the last Financial Blogger’s Conference.
Thanks for the shoutout at the end of this one Jonathan! That was unexpected. Here’s the irony… I’ve actually been procrastinating starting my email list for my main site – Dumb Passive Income. I get 1500+ visitors per month on that site, mostly from search, and I’m not collecting emails yet! The really dumb part is that I’m paying $19/month to aWeber because I started a list on one of my sites that gets very little traffic.
I just haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what I want to do with a list for Dumb Passive Income, or what I might offer as a lead magnet.
Hi Matthew. I know how you feel I was there once. If I had to do it over again, I would ALWAYS have an optin form on my blog. Even if I had no lead magnet or strategy I would start collecting email addresses.