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Four Ways to Crush Your Email Challenge and Build the List

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of September 2014 General 0 Comments

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This is a guest contribution from Luke Guy.

I support building your email list more than any other thing. It’s the building block to any platform-building. You should be collecting emails before you even build the blog or write the book. I Wish I did it this way to begin with.


Collecting emails has got to be the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to build a community. You can approach someone and more likely get their email than a “like” on Facebook. Email is about discovery. Facebook is about liking what we already like.

You know this though. You know that email is the way to build your online presence. You know the benefits and have heard it plenty of times. But like anything though, everything has it challenges.

Challenges With Email

1. Collecting the Emails

2. Providing Content For Those Emails

3. Keeping Your Email Open Rates High

4. Keeping Unsubscribe Rates Low

You’ve probably read the “8 Reasons Why Your Email Open Rate is Nosediving” that I wrote for Problogger a while back. These points listed within that post will give you insight on how to format those emails. It was mostly about format, and how Google sees your email campaign.

Either as spammy or as friend, you’re one or the other with Google.

Today isn’t about the technical side of things though, it’s about your performance in content. You can do all the things mentioned in the previous post, as formatting goes, and still miss potential readers and customers because the content was horrible.

How To Crush Email Challenges

Okay, so you have these challenges looking at you like a ban of ugly monsters and not sure how to tackle them. You’ve tried everything and no one wants to join your email list, your open rates are low, and the few that have joined are unsubscribing just weeks after joining.

I want to solve this for you. If you focus on this one thing, it will make your email list explode, Connecting with Quality Information.

Here’s four ways to Make This Happen:

1. Making your list a secret club

Let’s think about this for a second. What’s in it for them when they join your list? If you think they’re joining so you can punch them every week with a pitch, you’re wrong.

You’ve got to offer benefits. Make them feel part of a secret club. People love feeling like they’re “in”, you know? To feel connected with someone they look up to is one reason why they join.

Here are some other things you could be offering to your list:

  • Offer instant contact when they join your list
  • Give your list exclusive opportunities like when your product launches
  • Let your list be the “beta testers” with any new software, program, app. Get their feedback and make them feel like they created the product with you.
  • Skype with them individually. Pick out five a month and just email with them back and forth. Do it as a surprise though. This makes things exciting.
  • Offer free courses on the email list, get their feedback, improve the course based on that feedback, and then sell it on your site. They feel special because they got it free, and they just made it huge because of the amazing feedback. Then on top of that, you’re making money on a product that was formed by a community. Isn’t that cool?

2. Only send emails that are useful

Make sure every time you send out an email it gives them a feeling. A good feeling. A feeling of hope, inspiration, and success. An email, that when they’re done, makes them feel like they’ve walked away with something valuable. Don’t just send an email that reminds them you’re still alive. It should never be like that. Send an email that is worth a lot and makes that reader a raving fan. If that means one email instead of two a week, then let it be. How To Find CONTENT For You To Write About is a great post if you’re stuck on how to create more valuable content.

3. Offer something of value to push them over (like a contest).

You remember all those benefits I mentioned in the first section? List it on the signup page. Make it feel like a free membership with benefits, because if there is no benefits, you’re not getting many subscribers. Advertise the benefits on that page creatively.

But on top of that offer something that is enticing to new people who haven’t experienced those other things yet. Offer a product, service, ebook etc, that you know is something they would crave. Something that would make them sign up today! Make sure it’s relative to what you do. Offering an iPad is not a good idea by the way.

Then start a contest and offer this prize. Your list will grow quickly, but understand it takes a lot of energy and can’t be done too often. You’ll lose the buzz.

I’m offering the Kingsumo contest plugin ($594) here free in my contest. You have to be in it to win it!

4. Don’t be like other bloggers. Be available

Make your email list about connectivity. Offer your list more availability than anywhere else. I don’t care if you have 100k readers on your list, answer every email in a timely manner. This is a major problem in the blogging world. You can email most bloggers, and you’re lucky to get a reply. The ones making the money though, many of those will.

Is there a connection? Yes.

I’m not saying all millionaire bloggers respond to email, because they don’t, but more of them will. It’s why they’re making money, they respond to every question or at least most.

Why? You never know where this conversation could be going.

Besides, you should want to reply. It’s exciting! To think, someone is reaching out to you and wanting to hear from you. It should thrill you. When you get to the point that you feel like your readers are a nuisance though… You won’t be in business for long. So make it #1 priority and answer every email.

Apply these and your list will grow within time. Hope you have walked away with some fresh ideas and spark some more creativity within your tribe.

Did I forget something? Comment below with your ideas on how to build your list and beat the email challenges. 

Don’t forget to join my contest and win Kingsumo ($594). This plugin is essential in growing your list. 

Luke Guy blogs at Lukeguy.com. He researches email marketing and how to grow businesses doing it. He talks about other things but usually it involves emailing. If you need further help with your email challenges, you can join him here!


About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Hey Luke,

    What an awesome surprise to find my new friend (and subscriber) Luke Guy guest posting on my favorite site! Awesome job, man. Well done.

    All your tips are great, but I think “be available” is my favorite. If a subscriber responds to you, don’t ignore them. Email them back. Thank them for writing you. If they asked you a question, answer it for goodness sake!

    One I will add is to give “shout outs” to subscribers inside your email every so often. For example, one time a very helpful reader notified me of a bug on my blog. In addition to thanking her, I made sure to thank her in my next newsletter, and I linked to her site.

    Gestures like that should be common courtesy. But you’d be surprised how many bloggers ignore their readers!

    Once again, awesome job, Luke.

    Hope you have a great day.

    – Kevin

    • Kevin,
      It’s good to be on your list and glad to called your friend. You live this very well. You’ve answered my emails and we’ve had some good conversations.

      I hope I never get too big to where I don’t reply to my readers.

      Keep me straight Kevin.

      Your fan,

    • You live this yourself and I’ve seen it! Keep it up Kevin and never change the way you are. May you always connect with your reader

  2. Hi Luke,

    Super smart post here. I run no list – for interesting, clear reasons – but when I did, I followed each. I’ve subscribed to 1 list in my life, that of Chris Brogan. The world renowned, ok, famous guy, responds to my emails is seconds to minutes sometimes. He is the most accessible super star on earth in my opinion and that’s what makes him successful. He’s there, he reads, and he responds.

    I’m not just saying that because he endorsed my first eBook ;)

    Deliver value to become valuable. Email is another way to share value with folks, to improve their lives. Keep this idea in mind to rock out your online or offline gig.

    Just see your list as a group of people, of human beings, with hopes, dreams and problems to solve and you’ll crush your challenge. I like seeing myself speaking to 1 person at a time. Personalizes the experience.

    Thanks so much Luke.

    I’ll tweet this in a bit.


    • Ryan my man. I saw the endorsement by Chris. I’m sure you was thrilled.

      Also I would highly recommend the list. You too can be the super star like Chris. It’s just a cool way to get people to email you and open doors like never before.

  3. These are seriously valuable tips. I wish I’d had any idea how important my email list was when I first started blogging. Silly me, I thought you only had email addresses so you could send newsletters. Yikes.

    That’s a great point about being available and actually responding to your emails. I don’t always get to mine every day, but I do get to them. Personally I’d rather receive a response weeks later from the person I sent the email to than a scripted response from their VA the next day. (If you are going to have a VA answer your emails, at least get one that sounds like a human being! Haha)

    I love the idea about making your email list your “beta testers.” I’m about to undergo a big re-branding/relaunch project, and I will definitely be sending out an email asking my readers for their feedback and input first.

    Thanks for the great list!

  4. e-mail marketing and collecting e-mail addresses for personal newsletter distribution is one of the most effective ways of keeping your readers up to date with everything you’re doing. It also provides as a great avenue for free advertising and promoting your site, thus, keeping your self relevant in the minds of your readers and increasing the likelihood of converting your readers into repeat customers which can result in increased online revenue from selling ad spots and making money from affiliate programs. Google’s feed burner is also a great service where publishers can use the service for free in hopes of effectively building an e-mail list for free.

    one thing that also makes in e-mail list more effective is when you take time to personally respond to your readers sending you individual e-mails. When you take time to answer their questions it shows that you are concerned about down as a blogger-affiliate marketer-website publisher, which results in a deeper relationship with that reader and increasing the likelihood of them promoting your site for free just because you show that you care. Thank you for providing this thought-provoking blog post about e-mail marketing.

  5. Hi Luke

    Very informative post with quite a new points which I didn’t know before.

    Email subscribers do want any priviledge as reward of their subscription. So a smart email marketer should hold a few benefits of any offer exclusive for them.

    I think conversion rate of email subscribers is higher than other types of online customers. So main focus of attentions should be on them.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post of great value.

  6. yeah some of the points really worked out for me! :)
    well being active and following influential bloggers can help me a lot actually especially i have to mention you and other famous bloggers like kristi hines can influence me to pitch a powerful list, but sadly i have only 670 subcribers in my list i think i will work hard on email marketing from today!
    thanks and regards
    your reader and fan! supreeth

  7. Keeping the audience busy through email’s is tough job, and call to action sometimes fades away with stupid content in the mail.
    I agree with the point that we should try and connect with everyone, but sometimes, there isn’t time for any of this, I personally do feel the need of doing other things than just replying to someone – who just wants to say hello.

    But on the whole, engagement with users is a must for every blogger and it should be done on a regular basis

  8. I have always hesitated building an email list because I feel like I have to be some kind of salesman in order to get people to sign up. I hate invasive tactics and want to keep my blog fresh, clean, and real. No pop ups, etc. I am just now starting to play with the free ebook offer. What other ways can emails be collected?

    • Dan, I just wrote an article that was published today that mentions all the ways you can grow your list. You should go look at that.

  9. I have to laugh at the last suggestion, about not being like other bloggers, and make yourself available. I’ve made several attempts to contact “bigger” bloggers, and was unsuccessful. They were not available!

    I, however, am.

    Of course, I’m only a “medium” blogger. Is that why I cannot find the magical stepping stone that will transport me to the uber-elite echelon level of the blogosphere?

    • Lorraine, you should never be unsuccessful. This is becoming a weakness of the bigger bloggers. If you learn from their mistake, you can build an audience and learn what not to do.

      • So, are you saying that these bigger bloggers should try to connect with their audience more? I sure hope so. Can you give me any insight into why they don’t, Luke?

        I’ve tried reaching Darren on several occasions, to no avail. (Just FYI.)

        It’s one thing to grow a blog to success, but when you’re there, it’s also important to remember the “little people” who helped get you there, including the readers/fans. I think a lesson in humility is in order from these guys, if you ask me.

        I’d appreciate your take on this.

        • Darren probably get’s 300-600 emails a day from readers a day. He’s going through extreme growth, which is great! But I imagine he’s trying to adjust with it and soon things may change with response. Some people reply differently though. Like Social Networks maybe a better bet for people like Darren. You just got to test the waters and see.

  10. Hi Luke, I think that the single best piece of advice that you share here has to be to make sure that emails are useful. If you only send things that your list can benefit from and which they are interested in then they won’t feel like you are being intrusive or spammy.

  11. You can email most bloggers, and you’re lucky to get a reply. The ones making the money though, many of those will.

  12. That was an awesome post Luke !

    As I’m growing my list day by day I’m sure that this post will help me for sure :)

    Thanks for sharing man !

  13. Hello Luke,
    Actually, I read every single sentences above and I am proBlogger reader. I understand what are you sharing about here and thank you for sharing this kind of information.

    I have one question regarding about number 3. Offer something of value to push them over (like a contest) and Offering an iPad is not a good idea by the way.

    Can you please clarify, why we can’t offer something like an iPad? To me, it is good to attract readers to join and subscribe our list. Perhaps, there is something hidden that I can’t see. I need this point.

    Thank you.

    • Bukit,
      You want to use a prize that relates to your business. Why? It keeps the list tighter and makes your conversion rates higher when you need them to do something.

      Certain bait catches certain fish.

  14. It’s the building block to any platform-building. You should be collecting emails before you even build the blog

  15. Hanou says: 09/19/2014 at 1:55 am

    Great tips. I am new to blogging and I have been building a list prior to launching it. My main take away are using the contacts as beta testers and always respond. Thx

  16. Hi Luke,

    Email subscribers are indeed the best people out there to help any business succeed online. You touched all the sensitive corners to keep the email going and alive.

    The best thing is to make them feel connected and special every now and then. If one has the same feeling on and off the list, then the magic is missing.

    Beautiful post.

  17. I have been combing the web for emails (especially facebook), and it has been very challenging. I like your strategy and I will try it out

  18. One of the things I struggle with is deciding whether to send blog updates via email, or a completely separate customized series (possibly autoresponder). Any thoughts?

  19. Hi Luke, Very informative article.The way you explained the four steps is nice. I am into same Profession so its very helpful for me to follow the four ways, what you have mentioned in article.Can you tell me in mail how many words I can use to make it attractive. Thanks

  20. Hi,luke

    Those tips you just shared here are really great and awesome.Very nice post.Thanks for the share.I appreciate it.

  21. I almost give up on email marketing, I’m still trying to get subscribers but I always fail.
    But thank you for giving me hope.

  22. The pagerank on some of my sites jump about from time to time.
    Great tips. I am new to blogging and I have been building a list prior to launching it.

  23. Email marketing is indeed a great way but lots of spammer do spamming through it,so I just give up from it :/

  24. Just don’t send an email that reminds them you’re still alive. It should never be like that. Send an email that is worth a lot and makes that reader a raving fan.

  25. This is a major problem in the blogging world. You can email most bloggers, and you’re lucky to get a reply. The ones making the money though,

  26. Loved these practical suggestions. So often, it’s the basics, isn’t it? Will definately be implementing these ideas. Thanks!

  27. i will try this.. i never give attention to emails maket.. Now its time to do something..

  28. Thanks for sharing these great tips Luke, insofar subscribers don’t open emails a different approach might be good to get to know where your email marketing strategies fails.

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