When you start a blog, one of the first things you NEED to do is sign up with an email marketing service provider.
I know it might seem weird – because your blog is new and you don't really have anything to email people about yet.
But collecting email addresses and developing a good email habit right from the start is important for the growth of your business.
An email service provider has the tools that you NEED to make this easy and to keep you in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, and other best practices surrounding email newsletters and communication.
Related: How to Start A Blog Using WordPress
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What is an Email Marketing Service Provider?
An email marketing service is a service that you use to collect email addresses and send out bulk emails to people who sign up for your blog newsletter (also known as your “list”).
These providers have lots of tools that you will use to manage your list including many of the following features:
- create sign up boxes to embed on your blog
- send confirmation emails to people who sign up on your list
- compose newsletters to send to your list
- group and segment people on your list based on their interests
- schedule emails to go out in the future
- automate sequences of emails
- unsubscribe people who no longer want to be on your list.
Why You Can't Use Your Personal Email Address
In the beginning days of your blog, it might be tempting to send out a newsletter using your personal email address – something like a free Gmail or Yahoo type thing.
This is a bad idea.
First, sending out business emails from your personal email address is probably against the terms of service for your free account.
Second, a free personal email does not give your subscribers the option to “Unsubscribe” which is a big deal – because that is required.
I know it might just be your mom and your best friend on your list at first but your blog is sure to grow, so set it up correctly right from the start.
The Benefits of Using an Email Marketing Service Provider
Here are some of the benefits of using an email marketing service in more detail.
You Need an Email Service Provider to Capture Email Addresses
To get more people to join your “list” you need to give them an easy way to sign up.
You will might do any or all of the following:
- embed a sign up box on your website,
- use a sign up sheet at speaking engagements or pass around an iPad for instant sign up,
- have people text you to sign up
- place sign up links on social media.
When these people – who you don’t know yet – give you their email addresses they are also giving you added responsibility.
They are handing over their email addresses with the expectation that:
- you will send them the information they requested
- you will communicate with them regularly
- you will protect their email address from spammers
- you will protect their privacy – ie, not share their email address
- you will give them a convenient way to unsubscribe from your list
An email service provider has all the things that you need to meet those expectations.
Using an Email Service Provider Will Save You Time
When you use an email service provider, you are also saving yourself a lot of time.
When someone signs up using a form on your website or on social media, they are automatically added to your list.
When someone clicks “unsubscribe” from within one of your emails – they are automatically removed from your list.
No further work required on your part.
How easy is that?
You Will Be Able to Segment Your Email List
Email marketing service providers make it easy for you to segment your lists, too.
What this means is that you can keep track of people by different categories.
For example, let’s say you own a pet store.
You might want to send a one newsletter to dog owners and a separate one to cat owners.
This can happen automatically or with minimal effort, if you use an email marketing service provider.
Composing Your Blog Newsletter Is Easy
Many email service providers provide templates that you can use to create decent looking emails and newsletters.
My email marketing service – Mailerlite – even makes it possible for me to create my own custom template. (You can read my Mailerlite review here to see why I think it is the best email service for new bloggers.)
You can also save information to a draft throughout the week and send it out once weekly after you’ve put on the finishing touches.
You Get Powerful Email Analytics
Once you send out an email blast to your list – it is really nice to know a few statistics about your efforts.
- How many people opened your email?
- What items did they click on?
- Were all the addresses valid?
- How many people shared it?
- How many unsubscribed?
All the data is good to know and can help to craft future emails that really meet the needs of your audience.
You Can Resend Your Email to People That Didn't Open It
Some email marketing service providers make it possible for you to resend your email campaign to people that did not open it the first time.
I do this with my blogging newsletter in Mailerlite and get a good number of opens on that second email.
You Will Comply With the Law
This one is a biggie.
In 2003 George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law.
The gist of this law is that
- you must provide an “unsubscribe” link that people can use to opt out of your list,
- you must provide a physical address in your emails (PO boxes are acceptable), your subject lines must be relevant,
- and more.
If you use an email service provider, they take care of the compliance by adding the required elements to each of your emails automatically.
They also stay up to date on laws in regards to email (like the more recent GDPR requirements) – so you don’t have to be on top of that stuff.
Why You Should Not Wait To Use an Email Service Provider
The ideal time to set yourself up with an email marketing service provider is before you start your blog.
It really should be step number one.
Don't let your readers leave your blog without giving them the option to stay in touch with you.
Using an email marketing service right from the start is the only way to make sending email easy for you and your subscribers.
Are You Ready To Get Started?
Here is a list of a few email service providers that you can explore.
Keep in mind that they are not all created equal. You will find differences in:
- ease of use
- look and feel of subscription boxes
- affiliate marketing rules (some providers don't allow this)
- and a host of other things.
You really need to do your research on the features of each one to figure out which is right for your business.
Keep in mind that moving to a new provider can also be tricky – so it’s best to be forward thinking and try to pick a service that can grow with you and handle your future needs as well.
Personally, I have tried so many different email marketing service providers.
My favorite – and the one that I decided to stick with is Mailerlite.
They have great tools for automation and list segmentation, which I love.
You can also build great looking sign up boxes for your blog right within their service – however, I use a plugin called Thrive Leads to build mine.
The cost of Mailerlite is also very reasonable compared to other email marketing service providers – and they do have a free level as well.
Another email service that is popular with bloggers is ConvertKit.
I used ConvertKit for many years and they, too, have lots of great tools for your blog.
What Email Marketing Service Do You Use?
Tell me about it in the comments below.