Why Every Writer Should Build an Email List and How

By Rohi Shetty

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
~Stephen Covey

If you are an online writer, blogger, solopreneur or publisher, starting and building your email list should be your top priority. Even if you are a newbie. Because the money is in the list.

The biggest regret of most online entrepreneurs is that they didn’t start building an email list earlier.

Lend your ears to Pat Flynn, founder of SmartPassiveIncome.com: “One of the biggest mistakes I made when starting my blog was NOT starting my email list at the same time. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson and have always started new businesses with an email list in mind. In many cases, I’ve built a list FIRST, even before launching a website!”

Not convinced? Here are five excellent reasons why you should focus on setting up and growing your email list right away.

  1. Preferred mode of communication

We rely on email as our most important form of communication both in our personal and business lives.

  • 91% of adults in the U.S. like to receive emails.
  • 72% of U.S. adults prefer to use email as a communication channel (over not only snail mail but also newspapers, magazines, text messages, TV ads, social media, and in-person communication).
  • 69% of the respondents made purchases influenced by emails.
  • About 33% of Americans check their email throughout the day.
  • Another 39% check it up to three times a day.

What is true for Americans is true for the rest of us. You and I, we would be lost without email, right?

  1. Time-tested communication pathway

Digital Equipment Corp, an equipment company, sent the first email in 1978 promoting its machinery to 400 people, 12 years before the public was introduced to the internet. It resulted in $13 million in sales.

The total number of email accounts is more than 5.2 billion and growing exponentially. Even accounting for a large number of inactive email accounts, this is a mind-boggling number.

  1. Independent and reliable tool

Unlike social media like Facebook and Twitter who can change their terms or algorithm whenever they please, email is a communication tool where you have total control. You own and control your email content and data. Also, we can segment our audience based on their response and customize our communication with them. For example, we can resend an email to subscribers who haven’t opened it the first time.

  1. Accurate performance tracking tool

Email is a highly measurable marketing tool. You can use easy-to-use dashboards to monitor exactly how well your emails are doing.

Open rate measures how many subscribers open your email.

Click-through rate measures how many subscribers clicked on a link in your email.

Email conversions measure the number of subscribers that clicked on a link in your email and visited your site or made a purchase. It shows the return on investment (ROI) of your email marketing.

Unsubscribe rate measures how many people opt out of your email list. Your unsubscribe rate should be fairly low. It is usually 2% or less.

  1. Most effective marketing mechanism

Email marketing is their primary communication channel of 89% of marketers. It generates the highest return of investment (ROI) among all communication channels – $38 in ROI for every $1 spent, which seems unbelievable. In fact, email ROI can be as high as 70:1. Email is about 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in customer acquisition.

For writers, email is the best way to build our audience and to engage with them because we can use email for not only one-to-many but also one-to-one communication.

If you are a new writer, you should start building your email list right away because it’s the best way to get instant feedback on your writing by tracking your email analytics as mentioned above.

Three steps to build your email list from scratch

Getting started is paramount so here are three free resources to give you a flying start:

  1. Pat Flynn’s 72-Hour Email List Building Challenge (free course)

Join the Pat’s challenge and go from zero to 100 email subscribers in three days. Pat will send you step-by-step instructions to help you build your list, even if you don’t have a blog or business yet.

  1. Divinely Connected BIZ JV giveaway (free)

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is by taking part in Joint Venture (JV) giveaways. Check out this ongoing JV giveaway to help you:

  • grow your email list quickly and easily;
  • get in front of your target audience, so they can learn all about how fantastic you are;
  • gain visibility, so people know you, like you and trust you (remember that’s the reason people hire you!);
  • be seen as the expert in your field, so you get new opportunities and offers; and
  • make fabulous new connections!

Best of all, it’s free. Be sure to sign up for this giveaway right away so that you have plenty of time to set up your gift and email system before the 4th March deadline.

  1. Free Tutorial

Check out this Hubspot article containing 29 simple ways to grow your email list.

Three crucial steps to set up your email list

If you get stuck, take help from a friend or fellow writer. Don’t give up at the first hurdle.

  1. Choose an email service provider

MailChimp is the most popular email service because of its Forever Free plan. This means that if you have less than 2,000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails in a month, you don’t have to pay anything. Start with MailChimp or any other email provider. You can always switch to another provider later if you wish. Don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis hell.

  1. Create a lead magnet

A lead magnet is a free report, checklist, e-book, audio or video that you gift to your prospective subscribers in exchange for permission to add them to your email list. Again, create a freebie that is easy to create, easy to consume, and reasonably valuable to your target audience.

  1. Set up email opt-in boxes on your website

Use your email service to set up one or more opt-in forms on your website. Make it easy for visitors to your site to enter their email addresses.

Action steps:

  1. Make the decision to start growing your email list and block some time to work on it this week.
  2. Join this free JV Giveaway (time-sensitive, so sign up right away)
  3. Check out Pat Flynn’s free 72-Hour Email List Building Challenge
  4. Read 29 Simple Ways To Grow Your Email List

Join the conversation:

Do you have an email list?
Do you have a lead magnet?
Post a link to your lead magnet in the comments below (on the How to Tell a Great Story website).

(15 February 2018)


Rohi Shetty is a doctor, health writer, and digital publisher. Check out his Kindle books on Amazon and connect with him on LinkedIn. You can contact him here if you want his help to create your lead magnet or to grow your email list.

Click here to return to the index of stories for Stillness and Flow


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