Bloggers have a lot of tools at their disposal. They have the onsite content they produce in the form of blog posts, the social networks they (should) maintain, and email lists. Of these, the most important is arguably the first listed. If you don’t have good content, you shouldn’t even bother trying to get people to your site to read it.
Assuming for the moment, though, that you do have something interesting to say, the second most important item isn’t social networking. It’s your good (semi)old-fashioned email marketing lists.
Email marketing is often disregarded as newer methods of advertising come into play. But it’s dangerous to throw away reliable, proven advertising tactics for sexier, flashier tactics. Just because there’s a little leg showing doesn’t mean it’s going to get the job done.
Emails represent a powerful medium because they’re something that readers are opening and seeing every day. Facebook doesn’t show every single update by every single fan page, and the ones that are shown tend to get buried quickly. If you’re sending an email, the recipient will get it. There are very few quirks and kinks in the system. There are no gatekeepers to email unless you have some unsavory words in the title that leads it to the spam folder.
Beyond that, people typically enjoy reading their email. If you’re only on Facebook, you’re one voice in a sea of hundreds. Among those voices are your readers’ friends and family. As interesting as you may be, it’s a tough crowd to compete against. With email, you’re the only voice that’s being heard. It might be a lonely scenario, but that’s just what a marketer looks for.
Once you have your readers’ full attention, you have to be deserving of it. Don’t squander their time with repetitive blog updates. Fill a weekly newsletter with information on the best posts that have gone up that week, or relate it to an upcoming holiday. You want to keep it timely and relevant to their interests.
Part of keeping it relevant is knowing what your readers are looking for. It’s tempting to simplify the sign-up process and only offer a single line to your readers, but the smart way to do it is to ask a few simple questions. Find out what they want to see by asking if they’re looking for a specific update or just a general newsletter. This will help you put them on the correct list to ensure you’re personalizing your email marketing campaigns.
Another part of it is timing: don’t email them daily, or heaven forbid several times a day. They’ll get sick of hearing from you and they’re going to unsubscribe. Aim for a weekly email and maybe an extra one if something really interesting comes up.
As simple as it seems, email targeting can become incredibly difficult. But as long as you’re not flooding your subscribers’ inboxes with irrelevant, untimely information, it’s a surefire way to keep your readers happy and coming back to your blog for more.