Building an email list is often touted as one of the most valuable things you can invest in as a blogger, and it’s easy to see why. You “own” your email list, so no algorithm changes or hot new social media platforms are going to decrease your traffic. Plus, you can reach out to users where they’re most likely to be receptive and click through to your site.
And it pays off. In a recent survey, ConvertKit found that bloggers who use email marketing earn 447% more revenue than those who don’t.
Of course, if you’re already spending your days working hard on your blog, adding in email marketing might sound like a whole second job (if you haven’t yet started a blog, here’s a solid guide to getting started).
But it doesn’t have to be. With some simple automation strategies, you’ll be able to automate your blog marketing and get back to the actual blogging and engaging with your readers. These automation strategies will:
- Create your newsletter for you
- Attract new subscribers with content you’ve already created
- Make it easy to get your readers back on your site automatically
- Ensure that readers get the content they want
Create Your Newsletter Automatically with an RSS-to-Email Rule
The staple of a blog’s email strategy is a newsletter. While it’s great to have another chance to get eyes on your posts after they go up, it can also be a bit tiresome to put together each week (or month, or every day, depending on how often you’re sending your newsletter).
With the RSS-to-Email feature, Drip can automatically create your newsletter for you. Click here for a step-by-step guide to setting up an RSS-to-Email rule in your Drip account.
Just set the frequency, time of day, and day of the week you want to send, and Drip will create an email with the new posts in the period of time since your last RSS-to-Email broadcast. In this case, it would pull all the posts from the last week.
The simple snippets of Liquid markup you see in the body of the email will pull in the blog post title and link and a description.
If you don’t want to send the same thing every week, don’t worry. Just leave “send emails automatically” unchecked, and you’ll get a notification when your email is ready and
Then, Drip will still do the work of aggregating your links and posts for you, but you can edit your newsletter before sending. You get the best of both worlds!
Repurpose Blog Content into an Email Mini-Course to Attract New Subscribers
If you’re focused on building your email list, one great way to do that is to offer an opt-in incentive. Luckily for you, if you’ve been blogging for a little while, you probably have everything you need to put together a great opt-in incentive using material you’ve already written.
How? Just turn your most important posts into an email course.
Right at the top of his homepage, speaker and author Dan Norris offers his 7-Day Startup Course using the “7-day startup” concept he’s already developed elsewhere on his site and in his book.
If you use Drip, you’ll find a campaign blueprint designed just for this purpose. For a 5-day email course, just set up a campaign that sends your series of 5 emails, each one day apart.
You can adjust the number of emails or the delay between emails if you think your readers need a little more time to process the information.
Collect a few posts around a theme that you know will help your ideal customer. Now, just fill in the emails with your most helpful, actionable blog content, boiled down to about 500 words.
Then, add an email course opt-in incentive to your site and watch casual visitors become subscribers automatically. Take a page out of Dan’s book and enhance the perception of your email course’s value with elements like:
- Social proof demonstrating that other subscribers have already benefited (e.g. “thousands of entrepreneurs from around the world”)
- Specific results to be gained from the course (e.g. launching “high-growth companies)
- Monetary value (especially good if you’re including material touched on in a for-sale ebook or paid course)
- A definite timeframe for achieving results (e.g. “go from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur by this time next week”)
If you’re using the Drip widget, you can even set this up once and then collect course subscribers from any (or every) page of your site.
Welcome New Subscribers With Bonus Downloads Tailored to Their Interests
Already working hard to grow your email list from your blog? Then you probably know about the content upgrade strategy. (If not, go read this post from Leadpages.)
One great thing about offering a content upgrade, besides helping you get new subscribers, is that it provides a little bit of extra information for you.
For instance, if someone downloaded my photography resource guide, I can assume that they’re interested in photography—and use that information to get new subscribers a bit more invested in my blog and brand.
Here’s an automation workflow I could use to do exactly that.
After applying a tag to update the subscriber’s record, this workflow:
- Sends out the requested download
- Welcomes the new subscriber to the blog
- Sends out an extra bonus download tailored specifically to the subscriber’s interest in photography
I call this bonus email the “How’s it going?” email. I might check in to see if my resource guide was helpful, and then give subscribers a bonus download of a photo editing checklist. I could also use this opportunity to point readers toward photography-related blog posts that they would enjoy.
It’s an easy automation sequence that will delight your readers, keep them loyal to your blog, and send them back to your site.
Send an Accountability Campaign After Ebook Downloads to Keep Readers Engaged
If you offer a free ebook or other content gold mine as an opt-in incentive, good for you! It’s probably jam-packed with information that will help readers trust you and prove you know what you’re talking about … if they get through it. With some ebook companies reporting that 40%–50% of ebooks are never opened (much less finished), that’s a bigger “if” than most authors would like.
A simple accountability email can keep subscribers engaged with your content.
David Bach, for example, sent me this email when I didn’t download his ebook. He reminds me what I’m missing out on by not reading his ebook and drives urgency by noting that he won’t be reminding me again.
If you’re not sure whether or not a subscriber has read the book, you could ask if they liked a certain section, or how they’re going to implement the technique you suggested in Chapter 2. This is a great opportunity to engage with your readers and get feedback.
Send a Reader Survey to Keep Subscribers Subscribed
To keep readers happy and opening your emails, you’ll want to make sure that they’re getting what they want—when they want it. And one of the easiest ways to make sure they’re getting what they want is to ask them.
If you don’t offer multiple subscription options on the front end, you can add a simple trigger-link survey to your welcome email sequence. you can easily tag your subscribers based on the type of content they want to receive, the frequency of emails they want to get, or both.
In this example, I can tag readers who want my daily emails, and readers who would prefer a weekly roundup. Then, when I go to send my daily update emails, I’ll send them only to those who have indicated that they actually want to hear from me every day.
This is a simple way to be sure your subscribers are happy being on your email list, which will help them stick around longer and engage with you more.
Get Readers Back on Your Blog With a Roundup Email
If someone hasn’t engaged with your content in a while, you might want to send them a little nudge to come back over to check out your newest content. There are a couple of ways you can find these subscribers.
If you have the Drip tracking script installed on your site, you can track subscribers who haven’t visited your site in the last 30 days or so. Then, you can send them a “What You Missed” email, rounding up some of the top posts of the month.
Similarly, you can engage subscribers who didn’t open any of your newsletters for the month, and automatically send them a “Don’t miss this great post!” email to regain their attention with one of your top posts for the month.
You can set up this workflow to automatically send the email to subscribers who haven’t opened your last 4 emails:
Email a Ready-Made Audience When Your Next Course or Book Goes Live
Freelancer consultant Brennan Dunn shared this idea with the Drip community. Using the Drip tracking script on your site allows you to track subscribers who visit certain pages on your site, meaning that you can track which blog posts your subscriber is reading. This information could be exactly what you need to send targeted emails when you launch your next book or course.
Just build a rule that applies a tag based on visits to certain blog posts that are relevant to your next launch.
When it comes time to launch, you can send an email letting them know that they’re getting the email because they read your post, and filling them in on your new project. You can even offer a sneak peek of a relevant chapter to entice them to purchase.
Building a list is a crucial step if you’re a blogger hoping to take your blog to the next level, but only if you know what to do with those subscribers once you have them. With some simple automation, it’s easy to get readers back to your site, invested in your brand, and buying your products.
What email automation strategies do you use for your blog? Share your ideas in the comments!