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As faith bloggers, there is a hesitation by some about building your tribe or your email list subscribers. What if I’m spammy and turn off my audience? What if they think I am just selling to them all of the time? What if they unsubscribe?
All are great concerns, but most are unfounded.
Faith Bloggers – The Importance of Building Your Tribe
As faith bloggers (or a blogger of any niche really), building your tribe is a key ingredient to a successful blog.
An engaged email list is a boon to your site for many reasons. Let’s look at the top three reasons
If you include links to your website in your emails, you will increase traffic to your site. The people on your list are there for a reason: they are interested in your content. They are truly your tribe! By sharing a link to your most recent post or a topic that relates to a post, many will want to read more. The more clicks to your site, the more traffic and the more traffic the more money you will earn.
By building your tribe and regularly communicating with them, you are building a relationship with your audience. They will get to know you as a person and your heart for Jesus. It becomes more than a transactional exchange of ‘read post then click away’. Instead, they will learn more about you, what you offer and how your content can help them.
By getting to know your audience (and, them getting to know you) you are going to have readers that turn into raving fans. These are the people that will keep coming back to your site and, when you have something to sell, will buy. They will also tell others about you!
What other benefits can you think of for building an email list?
How to Start Building Your Tribe
So, now you know that building your email list as a Christian blogger is important, but how do you do it?
The first thing you’ll need is an email platform. For our sites, we use both Mailerlite and Flodesk for different reasons. In an upcoming post, we’ll compare different email platforms for you! But, for purposes of this post, let’s assume you are already using one.
What if you have had a site for some time and have never started a list? It’s never too late to start!
To build your list, you need something that your target audience is interested in, something that can help them solve a problem or have fun with. You offer this “gift” to them in exchange for their email. Once they provide their email address, they are giving you permission to send emails to them.
Opt-ins may also be called, freebies, or “ethical bribes”.
You may be thinking, great, but what in the world can I create as an opt-in?
The ideas are truly limitless!
Ideas to Build Your List
- Challenge or mini course (One of my most successful challenges was 7 days of prayer for your husband)
- Printables (i.e.: coloring pages with Bible verses, printable notes for your child’s lunch box)
- Checklist (i.e.: Planning a women’s retreat)
- List of Bible verses related to a topic (For example: Bible verses when you are feeling down).
- Discount on products or services that you sell (or are an affiliate of)
- E-Book (i.e.: 3 ways to make Bible study a priority)
- List of resources (i.e.: 20 free Bible study resources)
- How-to guide (i.e.: how to create a prayer journal with items you have at home)
- Access to a members-only library (a “gated” area of your website with resources available only to subscribers)
Keep in mind that you may need to create several different opt-ins to meet the different needs of your audience. For example, I write about everything from Christian marriage and parenting to Bible study and verse mapping. I have multiple opt-ins to cater to each of the interests a reader might have.
Someone visiting your site to read a post about Christian marriage may not be interested in an opt-in on teaching your toddler about Jesus.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and brainstorm opt-ins that your audience might find useful or will solve a problem.
(In our upcoming course about building a successful email list, Email Excellence, you’ll learn exactly how to set up a list, segment your subscribers and deliver your opt-ins)
Where to Promote Your Opt-in
Ok, so now you have an amazing opt-in that you know your Christian audience will love. Now what? Get the word out!
Where can you promote your opt-in to get subscribers for your Christian blog?
You will certainly want to add an opt-in form on your website. If people are already on your site, they are interested in your content. Invite them to take the next step and grab your opt-in.
You’ll also want to create eye-catching graphics to use on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and, of course Pinterest.
Post your opt-in to your social media channels about once a week – more than that could be considered “spammy”.
You may also want to consider “email swaps”. An email swap is where you collaborate with another Christian blogger, you send an email to their list (including your opt-in for their audience to your list), and then they send one to your list.
Email swaps, however, will only work, if you already have a list. Usually, email swaps work best when each of the participants has a similar sized list.
What Should You Send in an Email to Your Subscribers?
So now, you have an email list! Woohoo! Congratulations! Now what do you do? You should email, them, of course!
We recommend doing several things so that your new subscribers don’t forget about you (or wonder who is this person that keeps emailing me? They may not remember signing up for your list or opt-in.
Once someone new subscribes to your list, of course, send them what they subscribed to. Then, schedule a “welcome sequence”. These could be tips or tricks based on the opt-in or some of your most popular posts.
You should also keep in touch with your subscribers once or twice week, as well. There may be times (such as during a launch of a product or program) that you email them more frequently than that, but studies have shown emailing your list more often than once or twice a week (unless they subscribed to a mini-course or similar where they would expect more emails for a short period of time) is considered spammy and will turn off your subscribers.
In addition, you will find that your unsubscribe rate skyrockets when emailing your list too often.
Here are some additional ideas for emails:
- Exclusive article, post or download just for your subscribers
- Behind the scenes look at your ministry, life or course development
- Video with a short devotional
- Repurpose a blog post and turn into an email with insightful information
- Round up of recent blog posts they may have missed
- Your favorites (books you are reading, latest projects, Christmas wish list, etc.)
Also, ask questions for them to respond to or offer to pray for specific prayer requests (and respond to every email!) Responding to every email lets your readers know that they are not just a number and that there is a true, genuine person behind the email and website. It also helps build that connection we spoke about earlier.
Building your tribe is not just about emailing them but also encouraging them to email you as well.
What Not To Do With Your Email List
- Email too frequently (see above)
- Offer freebies that have nothing to do with your business or ministry. (For example, sending them a coupon for half off honey-baked ham when your site is not a food blog, but a ministry).
- NOT email them. As discussed above, you want to regularly engage with your subscribers. If you collect their email and then “ghost” them – not emailing for weeks or months, chances are they will unsubscribe or worse, feel that they are unimportant to you.
Some Other Tips For Building Your Tribe
What if they unsubscribe?
That’s ok! When I first started my blog and email list, I took it personally when anyone unsubscribed. Don’t do that. Just let it go. If they unsubscribe, they aren’t your ideal audience, anyway. Remember, you want to focus on building your tribe and if they leave they were not your tribe! You cannot be something to everyone!
How can I not seem spammy or salesy all the time?
You should not sell in every email. Perhaps every fourth email if not even more. In each email, share value, unique content; answer a problem they may have. If you do have something to sell, then, they will be more likely to purchase if they feel you are only sharing something you truly believe in and not trying to sell them all of the time.
Extra tip: The same goes for social media. If you are constantly dropping affiliate links and not adding regular value (for example, posting 5 times per day and dropping 2-3 links per day), then you will turn off your audience.
It took focused effort but within two years of my website being live, I grew my subscribers to over 18K. These women have grown to be prayer partners and my biggest cheerleaders when I introduce something new.
If you don’t have a list, start building your tribe today. If you do, how can you better nurture and serve them? You may even set a goal for 2020 to build your email list for your Christian blog to X amount of subscribers.
What is your most successful opt-in? If you don’t have one, yet, what ideas have you come up with to create one?
What other email questions do you have?
Tell us in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We love to hear from you!
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