Why Your Blog Needs a Newsletter

In Yaro’s video post about Conversion Blogging, he talked about the importance of setting up an email or newsletter list to maximize blogging profits.

With the rise of RSS, the newsletter list has kinda taken a backseat. However, if done correctly, the blog newsletter could be one of your most profitable streams of income. Like RSS, a newsletter allows you to keep in constant contact with your readership. Unlike the RSS, you can use the newsletter to send more than just your blog posts. In Yaro’s video example, he used his newsletter list to make over $6,000 from a promotion with John Reese. That’s not bad for just one mail out! Now you see why you need a newsletter list? Here’s how to build one.

Aweber – The List Server of Choice

The first thing you need to do is set up an account with Aweber. They are the newsletter service provider of choice for bloggers and email marketers. I’ve been using Aweber to handle my newsletter lists and have nothing but good things to say about them. Their pricing and feature set is among the best in the business.

Depending on how many subscribers you have, prices start at $19 per month and goes up from there. The service is extremely easy to use and offers a lot of customization. For example, I only ask for the name and email of my readers, but you can add as many custom fields as you like to get more demographic information. Aweber allows you to create an unlimited number of list and auto responders.

My favorite function of Aweber is the Blog Broadcast feature. This feature lets Aweber take the contents of your RSS feed and automatically turn it into a newsletter. If you’ve ever received an email newsletter from me summarizing my last 15 blog posts, that was created using Aweber’s Blog Broadcast. Here’s the real kicker. Aweber Blog Broadcast counts towards your FeedBurner counter. If you already have an Aweber account with a few thousand subscribers, turning on Blog Broadcast will add those subscribers to your FeedBruner RSS chicklet. 😈

Make It Easy for Readers to Subscribe

Now that you’ve set up your Aweber account, the next step is to get readers to subscribe. The easiest way to do that is to prominently display your newsletter sign up box.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get my ebook on making money online FREE!

You can put it in the body of your post like I did in this example but the best way is to add it to a highly visible part of your blog. My newsletter sign up box is at the most visible part of my blog for a reason. I want readers to subscribe! Aweber provides simple copy and paste HTML codes to insert the sign up box into your blog.

Offer an Incentive to Subscribe

You can greatly increase your subscription rate by offering a free incentive. In my case, I use my eBook, Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com. Readers can download the book for free by signing up to my newsletter. You don’t need a 54 page eBook like my one in order to get people to subscribes. I’ve seen blogs used “special reports” that are less than 10 pages to get people to sign up. If you really want to be lazy, you can offer a Private Label Rights (PLR) ebook. However, I wouldn’t recommend that.

You can also use the OptIn Comments WordPress Plugin. This plugin emails new readers who made a comment on your blog to say thank you and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. If they hit the confirm link, the plugin adds them to your Aweber list. The plugin cost $97 (John chow dot Com readers can get it for $57) but it’s well worth it. OptIn comment is adding an average of 30 to 40 new sign ups per day for me.

Another thing you can try is to offer a newsletter only contest. Give away a nice prize but say the winner will be announced in the newsletter. The only way for readers to find out if they won or not is by subscribing.

Monetizing The Newsletter

At this time, my newsletter is not monetized. Right now, I’m working on building the subscription base. However, when the time comes, there are many ways the newsletter can make money for you. For bloggers like Yaro, the newsletter accounts for a significant part of their blogging income.

I estimate that if I go balls to the wall and monetize my newsletter, I can add another $5,000 per month to total blog revenue. However, it’s not time to monetize the newsletter yet. By not making money from it now, I’ll be able to make a lot more from it later. The newsletter is part of my strategy to push past the $40K per month barrier.

If your blog doesn’t have a newsletter, it’s time to get one.

61 thoughts on “Why Your Blog Needs a Newsletter”

  1. zk says:

    Newsletters can be a good medium to email offers to a select audience base

    1. Yep, it’s definitale time to get one. I’ve been putting it off for way too long.

      1. Shaun Carter says:

        I agree, I have several other sites that would benefit from a newsletter in addition to my blog.

        Thanks for the links to some good resources John.

        1. Abdul says:

          Well it is in his Make Money Online Book as well!

    2. Like Yaro said in his video, you can use the newsletter approach to segment your market online just like in traditional offline marketing.

      1. I guess the one obstacle for the newsletter is coming up with additional content. Bloggers who blog daily always hit a wall with content. It’s tough to maintain a consistent level of quality. A newsletter seems to add to that difficulty level. I would suggest that only established bloggers with a consistent level of income from their blogs should up the ante by introducing a newsletter.

  2. I subscribe to a few newsletters and rarely read them. I will read the rss and website before i waste time on imageless newsletters.

    Actually I prefer Google Reader to anything else.

    1. John Chow says:

      Aweber offers HTML newsletters too. I just never used it.

      1. MJ says:

        Shout out to JC for using “balls to the wall” in a post…

    2. Google Reader is the best out there. But I found out that some of my visitors don’t like the reader format and prefer email.

  3. Good article.
    I think people relate newsletter to ‘old school’ stuff and don’t realize that its a very good form of targeted marketing.

  4. juzten says:

    i need to add a newsletter to my site, i looked into it before but never got around to actually doing it,
    Daily Free Software

  5. Greg Ellison says:

    I think a newsletter is a great idea. It is another form of communication that you can connect with your readers.


  6. dcr says:

    I wish John Chow would stop reading my mind. I’ve been preparing for doing a newsletter on one of my new blogs. Now, he posts about it.

    On the flip side, I guess maybe it’s a good thing that I’m now a step ahead of John Chow! Now, if only the money would follow…

  7. Mr Chow! You’ve just earned a serious upgrade in rep in my books, it’s irked me for a while that you didn’t disclose that Aweber newsletters can crank up your RSS stats, it’s bugged me since the now famous RSS competition you had with Jeremy. I was wondering if you would share that juicy tidbit and you have. A+++

    I suppose I need to reward you too… 🙂 hmmm, how about a stock tip? Do you invest in the stock market at all John? Right now, to me (and this is just my opinion, not financial advice) it looks like the semiconductor sector is tanking fairly significantly. In the natural order of things computers will follow and lastly software will also follow… the three are connected. Wise panda loving men say: “git outa tech and into biotech, dude”.

    Race you to a million!

    1. PaulB says:

      Yeah I was wondering if this was the trick Shoe used to game John during the contest.

  8. browie says:

    Ah man where is my cheap OptIn Comments? I need to get the hook up.

  9. Newsletters are meh… if you ask me they are kind of redundant to subscribing by mail list to a feed.

    1. Who says you have to put the same thing in your newsletter that you have on your blog/rss feed? I think weekly re-caps of a blog are nice in a newsletter but it can do so much more.

      1. dcr says:

        You can also offer your newsletter subscribers extra bonuses and information they won’t find on your blog.

        But, maybe that’s giving away too much information… 😉

    2. I’d use them all instead of mutually exclusive. you never know how people like to receive your content…

    3. I don’t think they’re useless. With a feed, you’re just getting the posts. You can do a whole lot more with newsletters.

  10. Gabriel Lai says:

    I’ve subscribed to JohnChow’s email subscription too… It’s a great move to have this on our blog too 😀

  11. Using Aweber to feed your blog posts as a newsletter is fine and dandy as long as your blog posts are not the only reason why a visitor subscribed in the first place. I use my Aweber account to generate leads for my members. They are certainly not interested in my blog post updates. I tried.

    It all depends on your list target. Do not lose focus on why your list was created in the first place! At the very least, make sure that your blog compliments your list and very closely for that matter. Else it may not work. It did not, in my case.

    I just add a blog link in my newsletters. That should suffice.

  12. Freeman LaFleur says:

    hmmm interesting…ive never really considered it with RSS but I think I may have to integrate a monthly newsletter into

    thanks again!

  13. ms danielle says:

    aWeber is the sh*t. apparently it gets through most of the email servers pretty good. i can’t complain about their service…they’re pretty helpful as well. they’re WAYYYYYY better than that crappy constant contact, which only allows ONE list per account. wth…

  14. G says:

    I guess its time to get one since I still have an early start.

  15. Another great post! A newsletter is a great idea. I just need to think of what I would write in it. 🙂

  16. Chip says:

    Well, the newsletter is a good idea, however, I’m not sure if it will catch for my readers, so I’ll first try a free plugin for my blogging platform and see the results.

  17. Chris Silver says:

    🙂 I think AWeber has the best optin boxes by far. The free HTML based subscription boxes out there just don’t deliver. People want to see quality.

    Chris Silver

  18. I’ve had a newsletter from the start. The first one I ever went with was ListBot [remember them?] As time went on, I was averaging around 200 signups a week. I never really had the time to check out Aweber though.

    1. dcr says:

      Don’t remember ListBot. Do you remember OneList? I started a list on there, and still have it. They were bought out by eGroups who was then bought out by Yahoo. I currently have over 3,000 subscribers on that list.

      1. I believe ListBot was owned by Microsoft. It has been years, so I don’t remember. It was pretty flawless though.

        I remember OneList. They were good until eGroups came along.

        1. dcr says:

          I barely remember eGroups. I don’t think they lasted long before getting bought by Yahoo. I liked OneList, and I’ve liked Yahoo too, because that brought in a base of users that helped grow my list!

  19. Oh wow, I *do* remember listbot – talk about a blast from the past!
    And messagebot as well.

    Newsletters are critical for online marketing; I run over 60 autoresponders, many of them specifically for newsletters. Even wrote an affiliate blueprint on how to use them specifically for blogs – you can check that out over at my products section.

    Lots of good stuff you can do with newsletters!

  20. I second the statement on AWeber. They provide and excellent service and are very easy to use.

  21. Great post!

    Time and time again, we all know about this but very few are implementing it on their Blogs.

    1. dcr says:

      Few people implement a lot of things the big name bloggers recommend. 😉

    2. I still see newsletters on some sites, but you’re right. It seems like most people just put up a link to their RSS feed & that’s it.

  22. i think newsletters could boost your income online, 😉

  23. J.C. says:

    I am doing a research on establishing a blog that could generate some income, Adweber is the word that gets repeated everywhere – in an extremely good light.

  24. Implementing blog posts to your list or the opposite is not always recommended. Keep in mind the reason why your subscriber signed up for the list. Make sure the blog interaction to the list goes hand in hand with the original intent of the list.

    I did that (added my blog posts) to my list and found a higher than usual rate of unsubscribes. This may not happen to everyone. But now, I add the blog link within the newsletter.

    Works just fine.

  25. Matt P says:

    Yeah but my question is for blogs that don’t have a very high readership (less than 1,500 uniques per month) then does spending $50 a month on Aweber make sense? What kind of numbers do you need to make this pay off?

    1. dcr says:

      Start with a less expensive service, or, if necessary (though I’d avoid it if possible), a free service. The point is to start a newsletter and build your list. You can always upgrade to something else in the future as your list and needs grow.

    2. If someone doesn’t have many readers, I’d recommend starting off with a free service.

      1. Abdul says:

        I doubt that there is a free service available out there!

        1. You can just use FeedBurner. It has an email subscription feature on it as well for people who don’t use RSS. That’s what I have on my blog. Its fairly basic (for example the only option is to email once per day assuming there is at least one new post that day, which I think is a little too often to email). I’ll probably switch to Aweber now that I have grown a bit, but the FeedBurner email subscriptions are great to start out with and free.

  26. fas says:

    Fantastic post John. A newsletter is very important but not the easiest to do.

  27. there are other alterntives Icontact, GetResponse, EmailLabs, ExactTarget, Listrak, Lyris

  28. Besides an incentive like bonus content, it’s also crucial to let people know what they are subscribing to. Otherwise it’ll be useless traffic numbers and they will not convert to anything you offer them down the road.

  29. Roger Samara says:

    You can also monitize your list by sending the leads to Datran.
    Has anyone worked with them?

  30. Zak Show says:

    Very good informative post, I should get a newsletter too, It’s time to start building my email list 😎

  31. Germz says:

    I have aweber… they are expensive as hell.

    1. Abdul says:

      That is only until your blog earnings are very low, if you’re earning even 1/4 of what John earns, that really doesn’t matter!

  32. Hong Kong says:

    Hey guys,

    my blog has about 500 unique readers per month. Until this number increases a lot the 19$ of aweber are too much per month. Even if 10% of my readers signed up. I would go for it if it was Hong Kong Dollars 😉
    Anyone know a cheap alternative? (apart from writing my own little script)

    1. MJ says:

      I current use bravenet.com

  33. fas says:

    I agree Honk Kong untill you have alot of Unique visitors, it doesn’t make sense to go for a news letter.

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