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I consider myself to be a newish blogger Let me explain…a few years back I had a health and wellness blog where I shared healthy recipes, fitness-y products that I loved, and my favorite workouts. I enjoyed blogging at first but quickly lost my passion and shut it down after only a year or so.  

I never put any time or effort into building an email list. I didn’t really understand the importance of it or, more importantly, how to start one.

My one major regret about that whole experience was never building my list.  I did have the email addresses of those people who clicked “send me new posts” when they left a comment, but they weren’t really mine; I didn’t own them, so when I closed that blog, the very small “list” I did have went away with it leaving me nothing to show for it…

Now I’m back with a brand new blog, a brand new niche (that I’m super passionate about), and a brand new strategy for monetizing my blog, growing my list, increasing my traffic, and trying to serve as many of you as possible.

Like most newish bloggers, I don’t have much of a budget. After being on a seven-month journey to pay off all of our debt, there wasn’t much left over, and I decided my new blog had to be [mostly] self-sustaining. Scroll through Pinterest for about 2.5 seconds, and your feed will be flooded with a plethora of amazing essential blogging tools.  

It’s like a kid in a candy store for a new blogger.

Every established blogger has a huge arsenal of the best plugins, schedulers, and eBooks that you just have to have if you want to be successful!? It gets overwhelming….and fast!  Just to clarify, I am a big believer in investing in your business, but I’m a bigger believer in not going into debt to do so.

I believe that fancy tools are a huge help, and they can absolutely speed up the process, help with time management (holla), and aid in organization, but for the broke new blogger, these premium tools can really add up.

Think for a moment about why you started your blog.  Most blogs are born out of your passions. The things you love so much that you can’t stop talking about them, so you decide to write about them too! 

If you’re anything like me, your blog is your happy place, and you don’t want it maxing out your credit cards because you’re putting out hundreds of dollars each month and haven’t yet begun to make an income from it.

You can (and should) absolutely run your business how you see fit, but for me, I decided to press pause on the majority of my blogging tool wish list and focus on a [very] few key products until my blog starts bringing in enough money to support the rest.

This brings me back to the email list….that’s what you’re here for anyway, right?  Had I focused on building an email list when I had the previous blog, I would have been able to retain all that information even after I shut down my blog.

I could have emailed my entire list when I started this blog and asked them to come to visit me at my new virtual home! And while all of them likely wouldn’t return, guess what? A bunch of them would have, and I probably would have a ton more readers than I do now!

There are a bunch of free programs out there you can use to collect email addresses, but I have read many stories about bloggers growing a large list and losing a great deal of the addresses once they finally transitioned to a premium service.

Building an email list takes work! It takes lots of time and effort to gain subscribers and nurture them! I don’t know about you, but I’m lazy.

I do not want to bust my butt to grow a list only to lose half of it and have to do extra work again to gain them back?! Double the work? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I decided almost immediately after starting this blog that the one thing I was willing to splurge on would be an Email Service Provider.  I started doing some research into the usual suspects and stumbled upon a name I hadn’t heard before (remember, I’ve been out of the game for a while)…ConvertKit.

The reason I decided to go with ConvertKit is that all my research pointed to it being the easiest, most user-friendly program specifically tailored to bloggers. 

This was exciting for me because I am SO not-tech savvy!  I was worried about having to set it up and create my own forms to capture email addresses and how to modify the program to get it to do exactly what I wanted.

That’s why I love ConvertKit, though….it’s already set up perfectly for bloggers! 

It’s very simple to use, and they have amazing customer service.  One night I tried to create a landing page (which is also included in the program…score!) and had half a meltdown when I thought I had messed it up.  Customer service emailed me back within an hour, telling me they had tested it, and it was all running perfectly.

I’m not going to put some crazy headline here about how I grew my email list by 4 trillion people overnight once I set up ConvertKit because the truth is that will probably not be the case.  It’s my job to attract readers and persuade them to give me their email addresses; it’s the service provider’s job to house your list for you

I’ve really only been active for around two months now, so, no, my list isn’t giant. But, thanks to ConvertKit, I did reach my goal of 50 subscribers in my first month, and I have an aggressive goal to double that number each month.

I am planning to create some awesome freebies for you guys to help you improve your finances and help me build my list.  

I’ve been able to create forms to embed in my blog like this one below * why don’t you subscribe while you’re at it 🙂 * in less than 5 minutes and use them to collect email addresses and grow a list where I can serve my subscribers while also driving traffic to my site! And they have a very simple site, which I prefer as too much clutter tends to overwhelm me.

I have to say, I’ve been so focused on trying to tweak my blog, publish content and grow my list and my Pinterest that I have yet to even use my list to connect with my subscribers. 

I have set a goal for myself to have my first email sent out to my lovely subscribers by the end of this weekend (eek, I’m kind of nervous, what if you guys don’t like it?)

And I’m pumped because ConvertKit has a YouTube channel I’ve been stalking, watching step-by-step videos of how to do everything you need!  So I know I won’t end up taking my whole weekend to set up my new welcome sequence. 

There are also options to sort and segment your subscribers so you are able to send different emails to different groups based on their specific interests.

Here’s the thing…I know I’m a [very] small blogger, and you don’t really have any reason to listen to my advice, but from one newb to another, trust me when I say that in this day and age, the most important asset to your business is your list.

If you ask most big successful bloggers what their one mistake was, many of them will tell you that it was waiting so long to build their email list. 

They have been there, done that, and can help us save time and avoid major mistakes while building our businesses…why wouldn’t we take their advice?

Once you build your list, you can do anything with it!

Want to drive traffic to your site? Use your list.

Want to send a monthly newsletter to keep your subscribers up to date? Use your list.

Want to build up some hype for your not yet released product or service? Use your list.

Want to sell the crap out of that new product or service? Use your list.

Want to get some eyes on your newest affiliate partner? Use your list.

Ok, you get the point…

If You Build it, They Will Come

I think an email list is the single most important part of my blog and therefore warrants a small investment. Once I build this list, the last thing I want to do is risk losing a major chunk of it once the time comes that I have to switch to a paid product because, eventually, you will have to upgrade once you reach a certain level.

Free providers are awesome, don’t get me wrong, I love free. But they are also limited in what they can offer because they’re free. I’m in this for the long haul, and I plan on being around for a while this time, so I’m focused on the big picture and trying to make the choices now that will serve me best moving forward.

If you offer value to your readers: a great printable guide, some useful Pinterest-worthy graphics, or an email course, you will be giving them something useful in exchange for their email address. 

This allows you to build your list while helping your readers and, in turn, gives you the opportunity to get to know them and develop a relationship with them through your email exchanges.

Once you develop that relationship and they begin to trust you, they will visit your site more often and stick around longer and longer….which is kind of the point, right?

I want to encourage you to start building your list right away, especially if you have any intention of monetizing your blog down the road. 

Your list will be the best way to market your future products and courses, etc. Don’t forget to give your loyal subscribers a special discount or bonus to show how much you appreciate them being part of your community.

I’m glad I made the decision early on to sign up with ConvertKit and learn how to use the program. I feel as though it will be (and already has been) really beneficial to my business, and I’m looking forward to utilizing even more of what their platform has to offer.

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