Why Your Blog Needs a Newsletter

In Yaro’s video post about Conversion Blogging, he talked about the importance of setting up an email or newsletter list to maximize blogging profits.

With the rise of RSS, the newsletter list has kinda taken a backseat. However, if done correctly, the blog newsletter could be one of your most profitable streams of income. Like RSS, a newsletter allows you to keep in constant contact with your readership. Unlike the RSS, you can use the newsletter to send more than just your blog posts. In Yaro’s video example, he used his newsletter list to make over $6,000 from a promotion with John Reese. That’s not bad for just one mail out! Now you see why you need a newsletter list? Here’s how to build one.

Aweber – The List Server of Choice

The first thing you need to do is set up an account with Aweber. They are the newsletter service provider of choice for bloggers and email marketers. I’ve been using Aweber to handle my newsletter lists and have nothing but good things to say about them. Their pricing and feature set is among the best in the business.

Depending on how many subscribers you have, prices start at $19 per month and goes up from there. The service is extremely easy to use and offers a lot of customization. For example, I only ask for the name and email of my readers, but you can add as many custom fields as you like to get more demographic information. Aweber allows you to create an unlimited number of list and auto responders.

My favorite function of Aweber is the Blog Broadcast feature. This feature lets Aweber take the contents of your RSS feed and automatically turn it into a newsletter. If you’ve ever received an email newsletter from me summarizing my last 15 blog posts, that was created using Aweber’s Blog Broadcast. Here’s the real kicker. Aweber Blog Broadcast counts towards your FeedBurner counter. If you already have an Aweber account with a few thousand subscribers, turning on Blog Broadcast will add those subscribers to your FeedBruner RSS chicklet. 😈

Make It Easy for Readers to Subscribe

Now that you’ve set up your Aweber account, the next step is to get readers to subscribe. The easiest way to do that is to prominently display your newsletter sign up box.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get my ebook on making money online FREE!

You can put it in the body of your post like I did in this example but the best way is to add it to a highly visible part of your blog. My newsletter sign up box is at the most visible part of my blog for a reason. I want readers to subscribe! Aweber provides simple copy and paste HTML codes to insert the sign up box into your blog.

Offer an Incentive to Subscribe

You can greatly increase your subscription rate by offering a free incentive. In my case, I use my eBook, Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com. Readers can download the book for free by signing up to my newsletter. You don’t need a 54 page eBook like my one in order to get people to subscribes. I’ve seen blogs used “special reports” that are less than 10 pages to get people to sign up. If you really want to be lazy, you can offer a Private Label Rights (PLR) ebook. However, I wouldn’t recommend that.

You can also use the OptIn Comments WordPress Plugin. This plugin emails new readers who made a comment on your blog to say thank you and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. If they hit the confirm link, the plugin adds them to your Aweber list. The plugin cost $97 (John chow dot Com readers can get it for $57) but it’s well worth it. OptIn comment is adding an average of 30 to 40 new sign ups per day for me.

Another thing you can try is to offer a newsletter only contest. Give away a nice prize but say the winner will be announced in the newsletter. The only way for readers to find out if they won or not is by subscribing.

Monetizing The Newsletter

At this time, my newsletter is not monetized. Right now, I’m working on building the subscription base. However, when the time comes, there are many ways the newsletter can make money for you. For bloggers like Yaro, the newsletter accounts for a significant part of their blogging income.

I estimate that if I go balls to the wall and monetize my newsletter, I can add another $5,000 per month to total blog revenue. However, it’s not time to monetize the newsletter yet. By not making money from it now, I’ll be able to make a lot more from it later. The newsletter is part of my strategy to push past the $40K per month barrier.

If your blog doesn’t have a newsletter, it’s time to get one.