Building an email list is one of the most important things you can do to market your blog. If you’ve been blogging for a while and haven’t started building a list, it’s never too late to start. If you’re only starting out on your blogging journey and haven’t started building a list, it’s never too early to start! This post will give you ten excellent reasons why you should start building an email list today. But first, let’s dismiss the myth that social media is the best marketing tool for your blog.

Is Email Marketing More Important than Social Media?

Let me answer that question with some statistics:

  • Twitter has more than 310 million users (as of March 2016)
  • Facebook has more than 1.65 billion users (as of March 2016)
  • Email has more than 2.6 billion users (as of 2015)

Everyone who has a digital device – PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet, whatever – has an email address. Here’s another way to think about it: everyone on Facebook and Twitter has an email address, but not everyone with an email address is on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re not using email marketing, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the market.

And it’s not just a numbers game. People who subscribe to your email list are more likely to invest in your blog and products than someone who simply follows you on Twitter.

How many tweets or Facebook posts do you read every day? Even the most ardent user of social media can’t read all the posts or tweets in their timeline, but I bet you read all your emails, even if it’s just a quick glance at the sender or subject before you send it tumbling into the recycle bin. Your email inbox is a much more personal space compared to your Twitter feed. Building an email list is the best way to get inside your readers’ personal space.

Building an email list is the best way to get inside your readers' personal space Click To Tweet

Ten Reasons for Building an Email List

1. Track Progress

What do you think is the best criteria, other than income, for tracking the success of your blog? Traffic? No, traffic comes in peaks and troughs. Publicity? No, because once you’re out of the spotlight, you’ll soon be forgotten. The best way to tell if your blog is growing is by the number of new email subscribers you get every day, and, of course, how many unsubscribers. Your subscription and unsubscription rate is a signpost of the success of your blog.

2. Increase Profit

While some people blog just for fun, most of you reading this will blog to make money. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth spelling out: the more people who are aware of your blog, the more money you can make. Having an email list is invaluable for this because once someone is on your list you can try to sell to them again and again and again (via emails that add value to the reader of course!) With email you don’t need to rely on your reader seeing your tweet or returning to your blog. A regular schedule of quality, value-adding emails will help you make more money. That is why your email list is the best indicator of the success of your blog.

3. Take Control

Apart from your blog, your email list is the only thing you own. There’s always a new social media platform in vogue or the standard ones are changing the way they do things. The one thing that isn’t changing anytime soon is email. With an email list you can communicate with your readers even if Facebook or Twitter reduces your reach by stopping you freely promoting your posts (grr!). With email you can switch blogs or domains and not lose any of the ground you’ve already made.

4. Increase Your Reach

If your posts have more reach, your blog can make a bigger impact. This also has a knock-on effect, because each person on your email list is a potential ambassador for your blog who will forward your emails beyond your existing subscribers.

5. Clarify Your Message

If you’re creating an email subscription form and asking people to join your email list, you need to be very clear about how you will add value for your subscribers. If you don’t have success with one approach, try something different and see if you get a better response. Keep trying alternative approaches until you hone in on a successful one. This type of experimentation can help clarify your message to you and your readers.

6. Increase Engagement

Email is not a broadcast medium (though some marketers seem to think it is), but a two-way communication device. This means that you can ask questions of your email subscribers, just as you do of your blog readers, and initiate a conversation. Too many email marketing strategies are robotic in nature. Instead, try the personal touch; it goes a long way.

7. Prove Your Authority

If no one knows about you or your blog, how are other people going to find out if you are worth listening too? If you don’t have subscribers, it doesn’t matter how great your blog is, there’s no one to spread your message. Once you’ve accrued a list of loyal followers, your blog gains authority which sends a signal to others that you are worth taking notice of. Once people hear how much value your emails have, they’ll want to subscribe too.

8. Increase Opportunities

There’s a positive feedback effect that happens when your email list starts to grow. The more people that know about you and receive your emails, the more likely you are to be approached for interviews, guest posts and other opportunities. Other bloggers in your niche will want to partner with you, or do events, promotions, or advertise with you. This in turn will help grow your email list even more.

9. Keep in Touch

Email is the best way to share big announcements and keep in touch with your readers. Not everyone checks their social media or your blog every day, but everyone checks their email! If you have something important to share, a product to promote, or an announcement to make, and want to be sure your readers know about it, an email to your subscriber list is the best way to achieve it.

10. Improve Your Effort to Return Ratio

This is where a lot of bloggers fail: the time and effort needed to maintain regular emails. But keep this in mind: every subscriber on your email list is an actual person who will hopefully read your email and click on your links. Your email subscribers are a captive audience. Putting some effort in to maintain a regular email schedule gives a better return than churning out blog post after blog post: emails have a better effort to return ratio.

Tools for Building an Email List

There are two key tools you need for effective email marketing: Lead Generation and Email Management.

Lead Generation

A lead generator is something that encourages your readers via optin forms to give you their email address. They can do this in exchange for a free ebook, newsletter, entry into a giveaway or updates, or sometimes just to make the annoying popup box go away (not recommended!)

Here are a few options for you to consider:

The one I recommend is OptinMonster.


At just $49 per year for the basic package (which boasts a lot of features), this is a very good deal. There are free plugins available for this function, but because generating an email list is so important for monetizing and marketing your blog, you really should go for the best.

Add opt-in forms to a few strategic places on your blog – the top of your sidebar, top of your pages, and your about page for example. I’d advise against using popup opt-in forms. They’re quite annoying and, speaking personally, a guaranteed way to NOT get me to sign up to your email list!

Email Management

An email management system allows you to manage your list of subscribers, allowing you to send emails to all or subsets of them. You can also set up your welcome emails for new subscribers and upload documents or ebooks to incentivize readers to give you their email address.

The one I recommend is AWeber.


Your email subscribers are the base from which you can grow and develop your blog and generate profit. That’s not something you want to scrimp on. It is vital that you set yourself up with the best software to capture and manage email subscribers effectively. Starting at only $19 per month, AWeber offers a fantastic product at a very affordable price. If you’re not convinced AWeber is the email management service for you, you can take a 30-day free trial. What have you got to lose?

Sign-up for a 30-day free trial with AWeber!
I hope this post has convinced you to start building an email list today. If you have any success stories with building an email list, please let us know in the comments below.

About The Author


David is the founder and editor of Blog Cogs, a blog about making a living from blogging. Learn more about him here.

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13 Responses

  1. Chelsea

    What a great post. I just hit my 1,000th subscriber and I was so excited!!

  2. Amanda

    I have yet to make an email list, but the more I see it being utilized on other blogs the more I’m considering it. I don’t want to be too “in your face”, but I think it’s a great way to grow my blog.

    • David Borrowdale

      It really is a valuable resource. The great thing is if people sign up it’s because they love your content and want you to be in their face. I’d avoid aggressive sign-up techniques like pop-ups though.

  3. Ruthie

    I love number 9!! This is so good!! I need to get more into building my list!!

    • David Borrowdale

      Thanks, Ruthie. Yes, it’s important to use email just to keep in touch with your subscribers. Too much self promotion and selling is a turn-off.

  4. David Lee

    It’s funny to hear people who don’t have an email list say that email is dead. When you are building a following giving value that people actually want and need, they WANT you to email them.

  5. Nikki

    This is a good list. I just starting up my list, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it.

  6. Jenny

    ConvertKit is what I use for both of my blogs and its amazing. For right now I just use their forms but plan on investing in LeadPages eventually.

  7. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi David,

    Good points! I resisted list building for years. Then I dove in with both feet. So much easier to squeeze our blogging behinds into email inboxes 😉 Because it’s convenient. Readers may check social but you know they check their email at least once daily. And it’s easier to filter through email versus filtering through social. Fab post. Thanks for sharing 🙂