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This came up as a question in our Academy forum, and I wanted to publish a post about it, because it is so fundamentally important to the success of your blog – and so many bloggers aren’t clear on this.  A member was asking about the differences between using Jetpack email subscription, and opt in forms for services such as Get Response.

I cannot emphasize enough, how important it is to be building your own list of customers/readers/etc.  When I say YOUR OWN list – I mean, you have a list of emails that you have full access to, that are stored at an email marketing service (services such as Get Response, Mad Mimi, Aweber, etc).   Where you can send an email out at any time, any day, day or night – and it goes directly to those people’s inbox.   These are NOT just RSS subscribers.

rss-to-emailNow one thing I should point out, is that you can still set up your emailing service, to send out your RSS updates – and actually, you SHOULD be doing that.   You don’t need to publish a newsletter for your subscribers.  Just integrate your RSS feed into your email service, and they will get the updates as they did previously through RSS services such as Feedburner or Jetpack.

 

Your list will eventually be one of the most vital/profitable assets of your business. These are contacts who know you, love your stuff, and that you can contact at any point if you have a new service or product coming out – RSS subscribers/feeds do not accomplish this for you. I know many of you are just starting out and its an expense that might be tough to justify, but I promise you – if you don’t make this a priority now, you WILL regret it down the road.

We had a conversation going in our member area, and Scott Jangro from Shareist.com had a great comment to back this up:

 “An email list is the number one thing that anyone with a website should be developing. All traffic you get on the internet is borrowed, unless you capture that user as a customer. If you get someone to sign up to a newsletter, they’re yours. It’s never too late to start.  It’s also important to keep a list warm by setting expectations and emailing them when you say you will. It doesn’t have to be that often, once a month is even ok. But do send updates. Don’t let “I don’t have anything to email about” be the reason/excuse you don’t collect emails.”

Maybe you aren’t considering your own products or services just yet, but you probably will down the road. Maybe you will want to offer a workshop series, or write a book, or publish photos of your work, or offer client/consulting services – whatever it may be. Your email list is made of people who already know you and love you, and will likely be your biggest customer base for that product. If all you’ve done is capture people who are subscribed to your RSS feed, then you cannot contact them separately from publishing posts on your blog. You can’t send them a friendly reminder or notice of your upcoming book release, special project, whatever. You would have to publish everything as a public blog post, that their RSS reader hopefully delivers to them.

Autoresponder-GetResponseIf you want to take your blog to the next level, and make it a business – you have to have an email service – I use Get Response, but Aweber, Mailchimp, MadMimi – they all accomplish the same thing (be careful with Mailchimp as they have a lot of restrictions about the kind of content that can be sent out).   Ultimtely, it doesn’t as much matter who you go with to start, just set something up and replace all of your existing Jetpack/Feedburner type opt in forms, with real email capture forms.

I’m emphatic about this, because its one of the biggest mistakes I made in my 10 year online marketing career – I didn’t make this a priority until about 4 years ago – and I SOOO regret the 6 years of lost contacts – 6 years of loyal customers/clients/etc who would have followed me to this day, had I been better about using an email service, and building my list. Don’t be like me!!!

So while I know its an expense – just take my word for it…   and hopefully you will thank me later.  🙂

 

Ready to take the next step?

  1.  Click here to learn how to begin building your email list
  2. Want to take your list building to the next level?   Check out my Email Marketing Workshop where I walk you through the steps of setting up your email platform and how to use it.  You’ll learn how to create great looking pop ups, how to use the autoresponder feature, and you’ll even get a free autoresponder email template.   It takes about an hour, and you’ll be on your way to building a huge list of raving fans!
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