Here’s a quick run down of how to get your email list set up:
#1 – Choose An Autoresponder Service
If you have an online business or blog, you need an email list. And for that you need an autoresponder service. This is a company that stores your readers email address and other pertinent information and allows you to send emails to your list. These can be weekly newsletter, frequent update emails, solo offers, or a series of autoresponder messages.
Let’s look at a couple of different autoresponder providers and compare them. I hope this information will help you make an educated decision when it comes time to sign up. All options we’re discussing here are subscription services – meaning you’ll pay them a monthly fee for their service, similar to your hosting fees. There is a second option – a self-hosted autoresponder, which I do not recommend you try. There are all sorts of technical and legal hot waters you can get yourself into by hosting your own autoresponder service. Leave that to the guys that know what they are doing and sign up for a reputable Autoresponder provider. Here’s a short list and comparison of a few of my favorites.
Aweber has been in the business of list building and providing autoresponder services for ages. They have a great reputation and work hard to ensure their emails are delivered to your reader’s inboxes.
Over the years they’ve expanded and added a lot of features for list segmentation, testing and tracking, and list building templates. They offer a free trial if you want to check them out.
One of the big disadvantages of Aweber is that they charge you for duplicates (same people subscribed to multiple lists of yours) and unsubscribes unless you go in and manually delete them. Since pricing depends on your list size, this can quickly add up.
If you’re looking for an EASY, AFFORDABLE option for starting your email list, I recommend Aweber.
Mail chimp has long been the autoresponder darling of bloggers. It’s easy to use, has a lot of functionality and some beautiful templates to make your newsletters and emails look just as pretty as your blog.
Like Aweber, you are charged for duplicate entries and unlike Aweber it is hard to segment your list and track to see what’s working. If all you’re worried about is one main list for your blog, Mail chimp is a great option for you.
If you want a little more functionality and data, and you want to be able to set up multiple opt-in forms then this may not be the right choice for you.
Honestly, if you’re looking into doing all the work to build your email list, Mailchimp doesn’t offer a lot of options for managing your list to it’s full potential so this would be my least likely autoresponder recommendation.
Convert Kit is the new kid on the block that seems to give us the best of both worlds. It’s easy to use and has very pretty options like mail chimp, but with all the bells and whistles of Aweber. And since it was developed by a professional blogger who was sure to include everything he’d want in an autoresponder service, this might work even better for you.
The only downside here is that the company is fairly new and still small. Let’s hope they make it and stick around for decades to come.
Convert Kit is what we use here at Blogelina and I LOVE all the options it offers! It has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to getting set up but if you’re willing to put the work in, the benefits are great. Convert Kit also has a great support team.
#2 – Set Up Your Lists & Forms
Each of the autoresponder services I mentioned above will give you detailed tutorials on how to set up your email lists and subscription forms. As you’re just getting started with list building, I would create one main email list for now – and worry about segmenting your subscribers into groups later.
Once you have your list set up and your email opt-in form created, be sure to add it on your blog. One of the easiest places to add your form is at or toward the top of your sidebar. You want it as obvious as possible so people know to subscribe!
#3 – Different Ways To Send Email
When it comes to email marketing, there are 3 basic ways to send email to your subscribers. They are a/r or autoresponder messages, broadcast emails, and blog broadcast messages. Most popular autoresponder services allow you to set up and use all three with your lists. Let’s take a look at each of these email types in turn as well as when and how you may want to use them.
Let’s start with a/r emails. These are emails to go out to your readers in the order they signed up. It’s a little hard to grasp at first, but it’s a very efficient way to email your list. Often the very first email you send to your subscribers is an autoresponder email. I’m talking about the welcome email your readers receive in their inbox as soon as they sign up. You usually thank them for subscribing in this message and if you offered a freebie for signing up, you deliver it in this email as well.
The autoresponder function allows you to schedule more emails to go out to your readers on a regular basis. The big benefit of using this type of email is that you write them once, get them scheduled and you know that every single person that signs up for your list will see every one of these emails. This is perfect for evergreen content and offers.
Broadcast emails on the other hand are more like the emails you send through your personal account. You send them today and whoever is on your list today will get the email. Someone signing up tomorrow or next week never sees this email. It works very much like your Gmail account. The big difference is that you email hundreds or thousands of people at the same time.
This type of email is great if you send out a weekly or monthly newsletter and any content or offer that’s time sensitive.
Blog Broadcast Emails
The last option is a blog broadcast. This is a pretty cool feature and an easy way to automate some of your email marketing if you’re a blogger. The autoresponder service generates and sends out an email as you blog. You can set it up to send out an email each time you publish a new blog post, or create an email every so often (once a week for example).
Ideally you want to use all three types of emails on a regular basis. Mix and match them to get your email messages out in an effective way. Having options gives you leverage and it allows you to make the most from every email message you write.