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Why Every Blogger Needs Email List Goals (and How to Set and Smash Them)

Have you ever wondered how some bloggers seem to grow their email lists so quickly? They talk about adding 50, 100, or 200 subscribers on a daily basis!

When I first started blogging, I had no idea how powerful an email list could be. But I soon figured out that building one was something I needed to pay attention to. Because growing an email list and nurturing your subscribers will increase your blog traffic and, in the end, increase your income. 

So, in this post, I’ll share why setting clear email list goals is absolutely essential for taking your blog to the next level and reaching your full potential as a blogger. 

Why You Need an Email List

Just like me, you might be wondering why you should build an email list for your blog. After all, you’re already putting out great content and sharing it on social media. Isn’t that enough? Well, there are actually some really important reasons to start an email list when you’re a blogger.

First, an email list gives you a direct line of communication with your audience. When a reader signs up for your list, he or she is giving you permission to land in their inbox. That’s a pretty special thing! It means you can build deeper relationship with your reader and create a sense of community around your blog.

Plus, email is a great way to drive traffic back to your blog consistently. Think about it: when you publish a new post, you can let your email subscribers know right away. They’re more likely to click through and read your latest content because they’ve already shown an interest in what you have to say. 

Another key reason to focus on growing your email list is that it can help increase engagement and conversions. When someone is on your email list, they’re more likely to:

  • Leave comments on your blog posts
  • Share your content with their own audience
  • Buy products or services you recommend
  • Sign up for your courses or memberships

Email marketing is pretty powerful and the conversion rates are higher than other channels like social media or paid ads. That’s why so many successful bloggers prioritize building their lists.

Finally, having an email list helps future-proof your blog against algorithm changes. Social media platforms are always adjusting their algorithms, which can impact how many people see your content. And even Google is not always so reliable in giving you and your readers the best results, as we have seen in the latest updates.

But with email, you have more control over reaching your audience. Even if Instagram or Pinterest change their rules and Google is acting up, you’ll still be able to connect with your subscribers.

So if you’re not already building an email list for your blog, now is the time to start. Believe me, your future self will thank you. In the next section, we’ll dive into how to set smart email list goals to keep you on track.

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How to Set SMART Email List Goals

Alright, let’s talk about setting goals that will actually help you build an email list and get more subscribers. Just like any other goals, the key is to make your email list goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Here’s how to create goals that check all those boxes:

  1. Get specific. Don’t just say “I want to grow my email list.” Put a number on it! Maybe your goal is to attract 100 new subscribers this month. The more specific, the better.
  2. Make it measurable. If you can’t track your progress, how will you know if you’re hitting your target? Choose goals you can measure, like increasing your open rate by 5% or getting 50 new sign-ups from a freebie or lead magnet.
  3. Be realistic. While it’s great to dream big, your goals need to be achievable. Look at your current list size and growth rate to set subscriber targets you can realistically hit with the time and resources you have.
  4. Keep it relevant. Your email list goals should tie into your overall blogging vision and strategy. If your main objective this quarter is to launch a course, focus on goals that will build your list with the right audience for that product.
  5. Set a deadline. When you put a time limit on your goal, that’ll help you stay motivated and accountable. Do you want to get 500 new subscribers in the next 3 months? 6 months? Choose a time frame that works for you.
a poster with the words Smart Goals and an image of a empowered woman hanging on the wall over a desk in a home office - email list goals

Let’s look at a few examples of SMART goals in action:

  • Grow my email list from 500 to 1000 subscribers in the next 90 days by creating an irresistible lead magnet and promoting it on social media and in my blog posts.
  • Increase my average open rate from 20% to 30% over the next quarter by writing more compelling subject lines and segmenting my list based on subscriber interests.
  • Convert 100 of my email subscribers into paying customers for my upcoming course launch by sending a targeted sales sequence to my most engaged subscribers.

See how each of those goals is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to bigger blogging goals, and has a clear deadline? That’s the SMART goal formula for success.

So think about what you want to achieve with your email list in the next month, quarter, or year. What would it mean for your blog and business if you could hit those subscriber milestones?

By creating your SMART goals and making a plan to achieve them, you’ll be well on your way to building an email list full of raving fans who can’t wait to hear from you. And that’s the real secret to blogging success, right?

If you want more information on SMART goals specifically, go read my post A Practical Guide for Setting SMART Goals for Blogging Success.

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7 Proven Strategies to Grow Your Email List Faster

Now that you’ve set your SMART email list goals, it’s time to talk about how to actually achieve them. We all know that growing an email list takes time and effort, but there are some proven strategies you can use to speed up the process. Here are 7 email list growth strategies that will help you get more subscribers:

1. Create a highly targeted and irresistible lead magnet

You probably know that a lead magnet or freebie is something valuable you offer for free in exchange for someone’s email address, right? It could be an ebook, checklist, template, or video series that solves a specific problem for your ideal reader. 

The key is to make it so good they can’t resist signing up! For example, if you blog about healthy eating, your freebie could be a 7-day meal plan with grocery lists and recipes. Who doesn’t want that?!

2. Optimize your blog’s opt-in forms and pop-up timing

Make sure you have opt-in forms in multiple places on your blog, like your sidebar, header, footer, and after each post. 

You can also use pop-ups or slide-ins to grab attention but be careful not to overdo it, especially on mobile. I get so annoyed when a pop-up comes up while I’m reading an interesting article, and I can’t X-out of it. Mailerlite has some great tips on using pop-ups effectively without annoying your readers.

3. Leverage the power of social proof and FOMO

Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to do something if they see others doing it too. You can use this to your advantage by sharing your subscriber count or featuring testimonials from happy readers. 

The fear of missing out, aka FOMO is another powerful motivator. Try using phrases like “join 10,000 other bloggers” or “don’t miss out on exclusive content” to tap into that feeling. But be sure you better live up to your subscribers’ expectations, OK?

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4. Use content upgrades to convert engaged readers

A content upgrade is a bonus resource that’s specific to a particular blog post. For example, if you write a post about “10 Tips for Better Sleep,” your content upgrade could be a printable sleep tracker. Readers who are already engaged with your post are more likely to sign up for the extra resource, so it’s a great way to get targeted subscribers.

Another good idea is to have specific freebies or lead magnets for blog categories. That way, you can segment your list and funnel your subscribers to receive targeted newsletters and offers.

5. Partner with other bloggers for joint webinars or blogging bundles

Teaming up with bloggers in your niche can help you reach a whole new audience. You could co-host a webinar on a topic that’s relevant to both your audiences and promote it to your lists. 

Or you could join (or even run) a blogging bundle where people have to sign up for your lists to get a free product or service. Just make sure you partner with bloggers who have a similar target audience and values as you.

My accountability partner Sarah is doing very well joining webinars and bundles. She has gained 1350 subscribers over the past couple of years, and all her subscribers are her ideal clients. Now if that’s not proof then I don’t know what is!

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6. Run a viral contest or challenge to generate buzz

People love a good contest, especially if there’s a valuable prize up for grabs. You could run a social media contest where people have to sign up for your list and share the contest to enter. 

Or you could create a challenge, like a 30-day yoga challenge or a 7-day decluttering challenge, and have people sign up to participate. The key is to make it fun, engaging, and shareable.

7. Repurpose your lead magnet into multiple formats

Once you’ve created a high-quality lead magnet, don’t just let it sit there! Repurpose it into different formats to get more mileage out of it. Turn your ebook into a video series or your checklist into a webinar. You could even break it up into smaller pieces and share them on social media or in your email newsletter. 

I once did a webinar for a closed group of people, and it was basically an explanation of my freebie. I got multiple signups because people saw the value and wanted the freebie, which included a workbook. 

The more ways you can share your freebie, the more opportunities you have to get new subscribers.

Remember, the key to growing your email list is to focus on providing value to your ideal readers. Think about what problems you can solve for them. What content would they find irresistible? Keep that in mind as you implement these strategies, and watch your list grow faster than ever before.

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Crafting an Email Content Plan That Nurtures and Converts

Once you are actively building an email list for your blog and getting new subscribers every day, you may be asking yourself: “But now what? How do I keep those subscribers engaged and turn them into raving fans and customers?” 

That’s where your email content plan comes in. Here’s how to create a plan that nurtures your list and leads to conversions:

1. Develop a welcome sequence to onboard new subscribers. When someone first joins your list, they’re highly engaged and excited to hear from you.

Take advantage of that by creating a series of 3-5 emails that introduce yourself, share your best content, and set expectations for what kind of emails they’ll receive from you.

2. Share a mix of educational content, personal stories, and promotional offers. Your emails shouldn’t be all about selling. In fact, aim for an 80/20 ratio of valuable content to promotional content. Share blog posts, tips, and resources that help your subscribers solve their problems.

But also sprinkle in some personal stories and behind-the-scenes glimpses to build a stronger connection. When you do make an offer, it will feel natural and not icky.

3. Set up list segments based on the interests of your subscriber. Not all your subscribers are the same, so why send them all the same emails?

Segmenting your list means dividing it up based on things like interests, location, or past behavior. For example, if you have a group of subscribers who always open your emails about a certain topic, you could create a segment just for them and send more targeted content.

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4. Establish your email voice and visual branding. Just like your blog has a unique voice and style, your emails should too. Are you funny and irreverent or more serious and professional? Find a voice that feels authentic to you and use it consistently in your emails.

You should also use visuals like photos, graphics, and colors that match your blog’s branding. This helps create a cohesive experience for your subscribers.

5. Improve your email copywriting to boost engagement. The words you use in your emails can make a big difference in how people respond. Use attention-grabbing subject lines that make people want to open your emails. Write in a conversational tone, like you’re talking to a friend.

Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and bold or italic text to break up the content and make it easy to read. And always include a clear call-to-action so subscribers know what you want them to do next.

By following these steps, you can create an email content plan that builds trust, provides value, and eventually leads to sales. Your email list is one of your most valuable assets as a blogger. Treat your subscribers like VIPs, and they’ll keep coming back for more.

If you want to learn more about email marketing and how to do it right, I recommend Liz Wilcox. She has fantastic courses in her shop, like the Welcome Sequence Workshop and Open Sesame, a training on how to increase your open rates. 

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Measuring Your Progress and Adapting Your Strategy

You’ve set your email list goals, implemented some growth strategies, and started sending awesome emails to your subscribers. But how do you know if it’s actually working? That’s where measuring your progress comes in. By tracking the right metrics and adapting your strategy based on the results, you can keep improving and reaching your goals faster. Here’s how:

Key email marketing metrics to track on a regular basis

There are a few numbers you should be watching closely to see how your emails are performing. 

  • Open rate tells you how many people are actually opening your emails. 
  • Click-through rate shows how many people are clicking on the links in your emails
  • Unsubscribe rate lets you know if people are leaving your list 
  • Conversion rate measures how many people are taking the action you want, like buying a product or signing up for a webinar.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of these metrics and what they mean.

How to run A/B tests to optimize your emails

A/B testing means sending two slightly different versions of an email to see which one performs better. You might test different subject lines, calls-to-action, or even the time of day you send your emails. 

Most email marketing tools make it easy to set up A/B tests and track the results. By constantly testing and tweaking, you can find what works best for your people.

Surveying your subscribers to uncover valuable insights

Numbers are great, but sometimes you need to hear directly from your subscribers to really understand what they want and need. Why not send out a survey asking for feedback on your emails, your products, or your blog in general?

You can use a tool like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to create a simple survey and link to it in your email. The responses you get can help you improve your content, come up with new ideas for freebies or lead magnets, or even create products your audience will love.

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Regularly pruning your list to maintain high-quality

Over time, some of your subscribers may become inactive or disengaged. They might stop opening your emails because either you’ve solved their problem and they moved on, or the subject of your blog is not relevant to them anymore. And that’s alright.

To keep your list healthy and your numbers accurate, it’s important to regularly clean out those inactive subscribers. Most email marketing tools will let you segment your list based on engagement and remove people who haven’t opened your emails in a certain amount of time. This can actually improve your deliverability and make sure your emails are getting to the people who really want them.

When it’s time to clean up my list, I send my inactive subscribers the Break-Up Series, which is basically the opposite of the Welcome Series. It’s a total of three emails in which people need to click a certain link to stay subscribed. If they haven’t clicked any link in the third email, they will be automatically removed from my list. By doing this regularly, my list stays healthy.

Celebrate your wins and learn from your failures

Email marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the small victories along the way, like hitting a new subscriber milestone or getting a great response to a particular email, because that’s just the best feeling in the world, right?

But it’s also important to learn from the things that don’t work so well. If an email falls flat or you lose a bunch of subscribers, take a step back and try to figure out why. Was the content not relevant enough? Did you send too many promotional emails in a row? 

You can ask your subscribers, when they hit the unsubscribe button, why they don’t want to receive your emails anymore. Use those insights to do better next time.

As you can imagine, measuring your progress and adapting your strategy is an ongoing process. Your blog and audience grow and change, and so will your email marketing. But by staying on top of your metrics, listening to your subscribers, and being willing to experiment, you can create an email strategy that truly serves your audience and helps you reach your email list goals and, ultimately, your blogging goals.

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My Final Thoughts

I know email marketing can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out. But I hope this post has shown you that it doesn’t have to be complicated or scary. By focusing on providing value to your ideal readers and being consistent in your efforts, you can build an email list that becomes your most powerful tool for growing your blog and your business.

So here’s my challenge to you: if you haven’t started your email list yet, what’s holding you back? Don’t let fear or uncertainty stop you from taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper level. And if you already have a list, take a look at your current strategy and see if there are any areas where you could improve or experiment.

Your email list is all about building relationships with your readers. So don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your emails, to share your struggles and successes, and to ask for feedback and ideas. The more you treat your subscribers like friends, the more loyal and engaged they’ll become.

Building an email list takes time and effort, but it’s so worth it in the long run. So keep showing up, keep providing value, and keep learning and growing. 

If you have any questions or want to share your own email marketing tips, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send me an email. Let’s keep the conversation going and support each other on this crazy blogging journey.

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One Comment

  1. Great article with lots of useful tips. I’m thinking about running a contest on my social media in the future so I’m definitely saving your article for later. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and tips.