I recently had a discussion with one of my colleagues the other day. She operates her own e-commerce site and has tested a number of different strategies to grow her brand and generate sales. Although many strategies have worked over the years, her funnel depends more on email than anything else. The reason is obvious-email works very well.

While email is one of the oldest mediums on the Internet, it remains the most effective way to promote your offers. The ROI email marketing is over 4,400%.

So why don’t more marketers create email marketing funnels? One of the biggest reasons is that building a list can be overwhelming. Fortunately, list building is much easier if you create a solid blogging strategy and create great content.

Here are some blogging tips to build your email list.

Blogging tips for email list building

Target buyer centric keywords in your posts

Keyword research is very important when you are merging blogging and email marketing. Too many marketers focus on keywords that generate the most search volume. The problem is that high volume keywords don’t necessarily convert well.

Focus on keywords that are most relevant to your conversion goal. You need to look carefully at your keywords and determine the intent of the visitors using them. No keyword tool can do this for you, so you will need to use your judgment.

If you are building an email list to promote vegan products, you probably don’t want to target keywords such as:

  • Vegan benefits
  • What is the vegan diet
  • Vegan news

These keywords may have a lot of volume, but they won’t match your conversion goals very well. They will also probably be very competitive.

You are better off targeting keywords that focus on your conversion goals, such as:

  • Vegan recipes
  • Vegan ebook
  • Free vegan meal recipes

People reaching your site with these keywords will be more likely to join your email list.

Use scroll mats to convert new visitors

Using the right forms is key to building your email conversion funnel. One form to test is a scroll mat.

A scroll mat is a specialized opt-in form. It drops down shortly after users visit your blog posts. It is slightly intrusive, but not enough to alienate your readers. If they aren’t interested in joining your subscriber list, they can simply click the button to move on. There are a number of really good plugins for your blog like Sumo, Optinmonster and HelloBar.

I recently started using scroll mats on a couple of my own blogs. I am still collecting data, but the conversion rate across off blog posts after using them is nearly 1%. Before using the specialized forms, I only got subscribers on specialized pages targeting specific keywords.

Gary Vaynerchuk speaking in a conference as a keynote speaker
photo credit: Silicone Prairie News / Flickr

Build relationships with your readers

People don’t just read blogs to find interesting stories and tips. They also like getting to know and engaging with the people who create the amazing content they read regularly. Building a large email list requires you to create a personal touch. Here are a few ways you can build relationships with your readers:

  • Be highly active in your blog comments. It’s not enough to just reply to comments on each blog post. Go deeper than wider in your responses. Give as much value and detail in replying to each comment on your blog. This is an opportunity to create personal relationships with readers that will equal more subscribers.
  • Engage readers on a personal level across your social media channels. This takes time but pays dividends tenfold. Just like replying to blog comments, social media gives you direct access on a personal level. Use those connections to create value for the rest of your followers. Gary Vaynerchuck is an expert at doing this. You can find him creating quick videos answering specific questions from individual social media followers. This not only helps to convert that one individual into a subscriber but will also result in the sharing of that content to their followers giving you more opportunity to grow your email list.
  • A form of relationship building that will supercharge your email list growth is email. Personalizing your email content once a reader becomes a subscriber will lead to them sharing with friends. Unlike blog comments and social media, you can use email automation to provide a personalized experience to your subscribers. Email automation platforms, like Campaign Monitor, give marketers the ability to personalize content based on data points such as age, gender, geo-location and engagement behavior. For example, you may send blog subscribers your top posts each month to your list and want to personalize the content for each individual based on what they’ve read in the past. If a subscriber clicked on your Facebook advertising link in the past email, your can set up your email automation software to automatically send them more Facebook advertising content in future emails.

Freebies

Create a free informational or SaaS product

You can only convey so much information in a blog post. Also, customers don’t want to have to return to your blog every time they want to reference one of your takeaways. The best way to fill the void is by offering a free e-book or white paper.

You can also create your own online tool that customers can use. A number of websites have free keyword research tools and other services that offer features they won’t find elsewhere. Creating these SaaS services and using your blog to promote them can be a great to build long-term customers.

Of course, you can use informational products and SaaS solutions to build your list by requiring customers to subscribe to benefit from them.