If you want your blog to be profitable at all, you’ll need an email list. When many bloggers hear this piece of advice, they simply go sign up for a free RSS-to-email list at Feedburner – which isn’t a bad start, but simply won’t cut it. And in fact, that step should be completely skipped over if you want to make money from your email subscribers.
The main reason you should avoid making a list at Feedburner and then transferring it to somewhere else when you’re ready to run a “real” list is that by transferring your list, you’ll have to re-confirm everyone that has signed up to the list. During this process, you can easily lose 50-60% of your subscribers – not a small chunk, by any means.
Here are some other compelling reasons to sign up for a full-featured email list management service, like Aweber:
- Email subscribers are generally the most responsive of your readers. They care enough about you, your blog, and what you have to offer to let you send them messages that they’ll see next to emails from their family and loved ones (and that sale that they need to check out). This makes them more responsive than general web traffic or RSS subscribers, and email subscribers to a well-done list usually have a higher conversion rate than those groups when it comes time to buy something.
- An email subscription can be the first step in gaining a reader’s trust. You can jerry-rig it so that a free report or ebook can be sent out with a Feedburner email subscription, but it’s not easy or optimum. It’s much easier to send your cookie content with a service like Aweber, and once subscribers have read your cookie content and been impressed by it, they’re that much more likely to buy for-pay products you offer down the line. If you do a biweekly or monthly newsletter, with content that only the subscribers see (another option you can’t do with Feedburner), you’ll also build their trust and cultivate a feeling of exclusivity among email subscribers, which in turn makes them more likely to purchase from you in the future.
- Many people simply prefer to subscribe via email. When it comes down to it, RSS readers are still unintuitive for a lot of people, and they’d rather just receive posts sent straight to their email inbox. An email inbox is guaranteed to get checked on a regular basis, and most emails are read – especially if the subscriber knows that the content you offer in your newsletter is good and worth reading. This is unlike Google Reader, where someone can easily get overwhelmed at the amount of unread posts and simply click “Mark all as read”…without ever seeing your latest launch post or offer.
For all of these reasons, as well as other, smaller ones, you definitely need to set up a real email list if you expect to make money off of your blog. Feedburner might be easy right now, but it won’t help you in the long run – a full-service option like Aweber is a much better choice.