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If you’re like me, you’ve waited for so long to create a newsletter. If you want to take your blog seriously, you need to start building your email list and sending out newsletters to your subscribers right now. Yes, it is great to have 10,000 followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. But did it ever occur to you that you could lose all of those followers overnight?
If Facebook decides to cut you off, there goes your followers! Suddenly, all the hard work you’ve put into growing your reach quickly evaporates into thin air. Same thing goes for why I recommend you get a WordPress self-hosted blog. Oh, let’s not even get into the algorithm changes on Facebook and just recently, Instagram.
Your email list is the only thing you have control over. You send an email, and it goes straight to your subscriber’s mailbox. It is not affected by any algorithm. Got a new post, update, or product? Simply send a news blast. No need trying to guess aimlessly about the best time to post. Your email list BELONGS TO YOU and it provides a direct path to connect with your readers on a more personal level.
Now that you know why you need an email list, I will work you through how to create a newsletter and an opt-in form using the email service provider I use and recommend, ConvertKit.
As an exclusive offer for my blog readers, you can try ConvertKit free for 30 days. Billing information is required but you will not be charged for the free month. You will not find this free trial anywhere else.
When it finally dawned on me that I needed to build my email list, I, like many other bloggers instantly signed up for a Mailchimp account. The interface on Mailchimp was overwhelming and I couldn’t get my newsletter to look the way I wanted it to look. But it was free.
With the Free Mailchimp account, you could hit your 2,000 free subscriber count pretty quickly. Why? Mailchimp counts your subscriber limit anytime that subscriber signs up to be on any of your mailing lists. So for my blog, if someone wanted both my fashion and blogging tips newsletter, Mailchimp would count them twice! I needed to move… fast! After researching, I chose to go with ConvertKit. I am so glad I chose ConvertKit. Here’s why:
1. Simple and Clean
My new newsletter is simple and clean. I quickly created a custom form to make my newsletters match my brand and personality. The opt-in forms are visually appealing and almost everything can be customized. When you click on the “subscribe” button on my sidebar, a lovely popup shows up for you to enter your email. I love this because it keeps the reader on my blog rather than taking them away (like was the case with Mailchimp).
2. One-Click Embed
On WordPress, you can embed ConvertKit into every post and page with just a click. So on my post on how to make money blogging, I simply select the opt-in form I want readers to see from within my WordPress dashboard. There is no need to mess around with html codes or copying and pasting every time I created a blog post (like I did with Mailchimp).
3. Built by Bloggers for Bloggers
One other reason why I love ConvertKit so much is that it was designed by bloggers who were frustrated with other email service providers. How cool is it that bloggers built ConvertKit for bloggers? It means that they know exactly what you and I need. I am not super tech-savvy and prefer to not spend my whole afternoon figuring out a boring tech stuff. ConvertKit solves this problem.
4. Awesome Email Sequence
When someone joins my email list for the first time, they automatically get added to a sequence. The sequence drips a series of emails to the subscriber to get to know me better. For a few days, they receive a fun, information-packed email directly from me. The best part? I only have to create the sequence once. This by far my favorite feature of ConvertKit.
5. One Subscriber = One Subscriber
ConvertKit counts each email address as one subscriber even if they opt-in on 1, 3, or 10 forms. On Mailchimp, that subscriber gets counted each time they opt in on a new form which means you’d be paying to host that subscriber’s information 1, 3, or 10 times!
6. Automation Rules
Automation rule is a way to trigger certain actions on my list. So if someone signs up for a form, I can create a rule that adds them to a particular sequence, list, or even receive a course based on their interest. Automation rules allow me to organize my list by segments so that way I only email people who are interested in a particular subject.
Here’s a 5-minute demo video to show you the power of ConvertKit.
(SOURCE: used with permission)
HOW TO SET UP CONVERTKIT
Some of you have asked me how I create those amazing pop-up boxes on my blog and those sign up forms that you see at the end of all my blog posts. Keep reading to find out how to setup an opt-in form with ConvertKit.
- A blog – a way for visitors to sign up (follow this tutorial to create a blog)
- Convertkit – an email service provider to send your newsletter. Click here to create a ConvertKit account and try it out FREE for 30 days. This is an exclusive offer for readers of my blog. You will not get this offer elsewhere. Click on “Pricing” and select the number of subscribers you have. You’ll need to enter your email address and a password.
- An email address – this will be the email address that ConvertKit will use to send your newsletter to your subscribers.
HOW TO CREATE AN OPT-IN FORM
After setting up your ConvertKit account, sign into ConvertKit and click on “forms” > “+ Create Form“. Here, you have the option of creating an opt-in form or a landing page. A landing page is different from an opt-in form in that it is page hosted by ConvertKit and its sole purpose is to capture email addresses.
A form on the other hand, allows you to embed an opt-in option within your website in a post or page. Let’s create one together. For now, click on “A form.”
Select the style you want from the three options. I love the style of the middle form so let’s go with that form. Click on the middle form to select it. The form will look like this:
Time to customize it. Add an image if you have one. Add a more compelling reason for someone to subscribe to your email list. I prefer to add my image in the text section. You can also add a URL, change font size, add an attachment and even do more advanced customization in HTML code.
To change the color of your button, click on the little magic wand at the top right corner next to “Save”. Any text in this form can me modified. Click on the text to modify it. Hit “Save” when you’re satisfied. My customized form looks like this:
Next, click on “SETTINGS”
Name the form in this section so you can easily identify it in your dashboard. Your subscribers will not see the form name. Hit “Save Form” on the bottom of the page.
Then click on “Incentive Email”. This is where you add an opt-in freebie like an eBook or free PDF document. An opt-in freebie encourages visitors to join your email list. If you have a freebie, select “Incentive download” and “Upload a File” that your subscribers will get when they sign up. Hit “Save Form”.
Click on “Style” on the left navigation menu. Here, you can change the form style that you had originally selected in the beginning.
Under “Show this form as” you select how you want the form to be displayed. Choose:
Inline – to embed your form in your blog post. I usually put mine at the end of a post.
Modal – if you want it to appear as a pop up.
Slide in – Yup, to make the form slide in.
For this example, let’s go with “Inline”. Click “Save Form” at the bottom of the form.
And you’re done.
Here’s an example of what the form will look like inside your blog post.
You can follow the similar steps to create a landing page. At the end, you get a code (which also contains the URL) that you can share on your blog or on social media.
HOW TO CREATE A NEWSLETTER
Now that you have a few subscribers on your list, start nurturing the relationship by sending them frequent newsletters called Broadcasts in ConvertKit. A newsletter can be a recap of the previous week’s blog post, an important update, a sale, the launch of a product, anything you want.
Click on “Broadcasts” from the top menu bar. Select “+ New Broadcast” to get started.
Next, select “all” from the “Matching” dropdown menu to send to everyone on your email list or choose a filter to send to a specific group of people. Now click on “Next Step” to start composing your broadcast.
Your progress will automatically be saved as you work. Preview the look of your broadcast in a new window or send preview to your email. Once you’re done, click “Next Step” to send your newsletter “immediately” or “schedule” it to be sent at a later time.
High five! You just created and sent your first ConvertKit broadcast.
Having a newsletter is absolutely necessary in this day and age. A large percentage of first time visitors to your blog never return. You need an email list to convert these first time visitors into returners. This is an area that I see many bloggers, particularly fashion and beauty bloggers like myself, overlooking.
I’ve grown my list using the tactics above from a under 100 subscribers to 4,000+ subscribers in 18 months. Readers are excited to get my weekly emails. And they have a closer relationship with me and conversion rate is amazing. I include these stats in my media kit and pitches to brands.
ConvertKit is very affordable at a price of $29/month for 1,000 subscribers and gives you all the features that a big blogger with 20,000 subscriberswould get. You get the same features that a brand with 20,0000 subscribers gets even if you have under 100 subscribers like I did.
Now if $29/month for ConvertKit is not within your budget and you are just starting out, you can try out ConvertKit free for 30 days (an exclusive offer for readers of my blog) to see if you like it. This will give you a feel for how the program works so you can decide if it is right for you. I am sure you’ll fall in love with it like I did.
I get it, ConvertKit is not for everyone. It was created by bloggers for bloggers because they know the struggles. If you decide that ConvertKit is not for you, you can cancel anytime. The interface makes it super easy to move your subscriber list to another newsletter platform.
The $29/month is definitely worth the cost for me to cultivate a relationship with m audience. You can add your list size to your media kit when you pitch yourself to brands. And if in the future you decide to create a product, you can easily promote it to your readers in a newsletter series with social media promotion as the cherry on top 😉.
I hope you found this tutorial on how to create a newsletter and opt-in form helpful.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. Have you tried ConvertKit? Why or why not?
If you found this post helpful, you’d love these popular posts:
- How I Used Pinterest to Grow my Blog and Revenue
- 33 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog from Pinterest
- How to Quickly Setup a Professional Email Address for Your Blog
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