At Constant Contact, we are big believers in the power of using email marketing to help build a successful blog.

This is something we talk about a lot when educating our small business customers, and is also something we’ve experienced firsthand.

We re-launched the Constant Contact Blog in 2012.

At that time, we brought the blog onto a new platform, introduced a new URL, and really redefined our strategy for content marketing.

Knowing that we wanted to build an audience for the blog, we decided to start with the people who knew us best — our existing email subscribers.

We were fortunate to already have an engaged email audience that was familiar with our content, so after re-launching the blog, we began using our Hints & Tips newsletter to drive traffic to posts on the new site.

Email quickly became our biggest driver of new traffic to the blog.

By focusing on our existing contacts first, we were able to make smarter decisions about the content we were creating and also started to see better engagement from people visiting the blog.

As more people began sharing our posts with their own network, we were able to extend our reach. This became a driving force in helping us establish credibility with search engines, which opened up yet another channel of new visitors.

Today, we are focused on growing each of these channels, but email continues to play a critical role in our content planning, creation, and promotion efforts.

To help you introduce the power of email marketing to your business’s blog, I thought I would share four important lessons we’ve learned along the way.

1. Make it easy for people to sign up

Remember that your blog isn’t just a place to host your content. It should also serve as a valuable entry point for people to discover your business.

As your blog grows, and people begin to discover it through different channels like social and search, you’ll need to make sure you‘re encouraging and incentivizing them to come back.

This will allow you to generate valuable return visits to your blog, and build trust by providing more education about your business and the products and services you provide.

If you’re using an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you can easily add an email sign-up form to your blog and have new contacts automatically added to your email list.

2. Choose the type of emails you want to send

Here at Constant Contact, we use an email newsletter to help build an audience for our blog.

Our Hints & Tips newsletter typically includes snippets of three blog posts with links to read more on the blog. We also include other education assets like guides, webinars, and videos that can be hosted on our blog, website, or YouTube channel.

The newsletter format works for us because we are able to choose assets based on a particular topic, and control the education we are delivering to our audience each month.

Many blogging platforms also give people the ability to subscribe to receive emails automatically each time you publish a post. While these emails can be helpful for driving traffic to your site, there are also some limitations when controlling or editing those emails before they go out.

3. Decide on a frequency and stick with it

Next Wednesday around 1 pm ET, subscribers to our Hints & Tips newsletter will receive a newsletter with helpful posts about marketing their business. This month, we are focused on promoting an upcoming webinar about getting your small business found online, so our newsletter will include a number of helpful assets related to the event.

I know this because we have planned ahead. We decided on the right frequency for sending out emails, and built our promotional strategy with our mailing dates in mind.

Sticking to a set frequency — for us it’s twice a month — is important for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is that you start to build trust and familiarity with the people receiving your updates. They will have a better sense of when to expect your emails, and won’t be surprised to see your name pop up in the inbox.

Finding the right frequency can take some time. The best way to do it is to listen to your readers. You can use email metrics like opens and clicks to see how your audience responds to different frequencies, or you could send a survey to let readers tell you how often they’d like to hear from you.

4. Listen to feedback

As your blog grows, your email subscribers will be the best audience to tell you what’s working, what’s not, and what you can be doing differently to improve your results.

You can track your results by looking at traffic to your blog, and use your email reports to see which links are generating the most engagement.

Comments can also offer valuable insights into which type of content is making the biggest impact, and what other questions people need answered.

You can use these insights to come up with ideas for future content, and also use the feedback you receive to tweak your strategy over time.

Focusing on creating content that’s interesting, relevant, and helpful to your most engaged contacts will be your best route to expanding the size of your audience and building a successful blog.

To recap:

  • When using email marketing to promote your blog, it’s important to make it easy for people to sign up. This will help bring people back to your blog and keep your audience growing.
  • There are different types of emails you can use to promote your blog. You can use an email newsletter to curate certain posts and deliver them to your audience, or you can use “announcement” emails to drive traffic to a single post.
  • Consistency is key. Choose a mailing frequency that’s right for you, and your audience, so that you can plan ahead and build familiarity with your readers.
  • Use the different forms of feedback you receive from readers to improve your results, and deliver a better experience to your audience.
Have questions about getting started? Let me know in the comments below.