Both email marketing and guest blogging are supposed to be dead by now. Since 2012, I’ve been reading about the death of email marketing and how it’s no longer an effective strategy.
More recently, guest blogging got the death sentence when Matt Cutts declared it a spammy marketing technique.
Thankfully, though, both are still very much alive and kicking.
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A recent study suggests that email marketing has an ROI of 3800% for ecommerce companies and the average order value of email is 3x higher than social media.
Email subscribers are three times more likely to share your content on social media and convert at a much higher rate than traffic from search or social.
Email subscribers are the only asset you actually own as an online marketer which is why they are more important than any other marketing channel – more than Facebook Page Likes or group members, Twitter followers or even organic search traffic.
And there are few better ways to build a hugely responsive email list than guest blogging. Many leading marketers and bloggers have used it to build huge email lists.
Entrepreneur Noah Kagan built a list of more than 50,000 subscribers in 1 year just with guest blogging. Jon Morrow, the founder of SmartBlogger, used guest blogging to build the initial momentum for his new blog that now generates more than a million dollars per year. Danny Iny, founder of Mirasee, built the foundations of his six-figure online business with guest blogging.
So how exactly can a strategy as simple as guest blogging be used so effectively for email list building?
Let me explain.
1. Be very clear about your guest blogging objective
You know why Matt Cutts called guest blogging a spammy marketing technique?
Because most marketers use it solely for building backlinks to their content. And there’s nothing wrong with it as long as your content is relevant to the overall theme of the host blog and the links are built in a natural way.
Here’s what Matt said in an update to his original post on guest blogging
“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.”
But the real benefit of guest blogging is that it allows you to reach a much bigger audience, helps you build a strong brand image and route people from a bigger blog to your own email list.
Traffic and backlinks are secondary benefits that you’ll get anyway.
So before you start a guest blogging campaign, be very clear about the objective you’re trying to achieve because that will ultimately determine the blogs you target.
2. Identify the right blogs to pitch
To build an email list with guest blogging, you’ll need to target blogs that are closely related to your niche and attract a similar audience.
Look for the ones with the highest reader engagement. A smaller blog with an engaged audience is much better than a high domain authority blog with no engagement at all.
The simple way to measure engagement is to see how many comments and social shares are generated on a blog on average.
Jon Morrow recommends targeting blogs with at least 50 comments per post.
For someone just starting out, I’d say even 10 comments on average is a good starting point. Similarly, look for blogs that receive a lot of social shares on their content. You can find them by searching your target keywords on BuzzSumo.
You can find guest blogging opportunities in your niche with a few Google searches. For example, if you’re looking to guest post on content marketing blogs, you can use the following search queries
“content marketing + write for us”
“content marketing + contribute”
“content marketing + contributor guideline”
“content marketing + guest post”
Twitter is another place where you can easily find guest blogging opportunities.
How? Let me explain.
Most writers who publish guest posts on other blogs share them on Twitter as well. And most of them mention that it’s a guest post. Look what I found when I searched “guest post content marketing” on Twitter.
You could reach out to these blogs with your own guest post and get published.
You can also find guest blogging opportunities on sites like AllTop and Problogger Jobs.
I have written more than 1000 guest posts for some of the most popular blogs on the web.
In my experience, most blogs accept guest posts even if they don’t have a public “write for us” page. All you need to do is to find the right blogs and offer them a detailed, in-depth and high-quality blog post that their readers would find useful.
If you think a blog is relevant to your niche and can be used for guest blogging, send a quick email to the editor asking if they’re interested in a post.
3. Create a post specific lead magnet
What’s the most common way to use guest blogging for email list building?
Find the right blogs, submit a quality guest post, get an author bio link, and then hope people click on it, visit your blog and subscribe to your mailing list.
Not exactly an efficient strategy.
If you’re really serious about building your email list with guest blogging, you need to use an enticing free offer and strong calls to action to drive people to your list.
How do you do that?
By creating post specific lead magnets or content upgrades.
A lead magnet is a free resource, a free tool, a discount coupon or anything free that your target audience would love to exchange their email for.
Most content marketers use eBooks, checklists or video trainings as lead magnets. But the possibilities are endless.
For example, if you’re running a Saas business, you could offer a discounted version or an extended free trial of your tool as a lead magnet.
The secret to making this work is that your lead magnet should be highly relevant to the content of your guest post and the overall theme of your target blog.
It should also promise additional value to the reader.
Here’s a good example.
This guest post on LeavingWorkBehind, a freelancing blog, offers a free eBook to the readers on a topic that is closely aligned with their interests.
The readers are much more likely to click this eBook link as compared to a simple byline link to a blog’s homepage.
They could’ve made it even more enticing by using a strong call to action like “Download her free eBook now to learn….” Or something like “Claim your free eBook”.
In my experience, if you create a post specific lead magnet and let the editor know about it in advance, most of them would be happy to allow it in your byline or even in the main body text.
Many other leading bloggers like Neil Patel, Brian Dean and Bryan Harris use post specific lead magnets on their own blogs as well.
Such lead magnets work so well because they are highly relevant to the article people are already reading.
4. Set up a Landing Page to Capture Leads
Routing visitors from a guest post to the homepage of your blog is one of the easiest ways to ruin all your hard work.
As I said in the last point, people need a strong push to convert into subscribers. Routing them to your homepage doesn’t serve any purpose.
Which is why you should always use lead magnets in your guest post byline and route the visitors to a landing page that converts them into subscribers.
Here’s a good example of a simple landing page with a strong call to action.
There are dozens of landing page apps available on the web that can be used for this purpose. But you could even start with a simple WordPress landing page plugin to quickly set up a working landing page.
You could also use Sleeknote on your landing page to convert visitors into subscribers. It’s user-friendly features and drag & drop interface allows you to quickly create eye-catching opt-in boxes and exit intent pop-ups.
There are multiple case studies to prove its effectiveness.
For example, Bravo Tours generated more than 32000 leads with Sleeknote. JYSK, an online retail chain, gets more than 17% of all its monthly subscribers using Sleeknote.
At the backend, it can be integrated with any of the leading email marketing tools to start building your list.
It’s that easy.
Email list building is an on-going activity for most online businesses. By leveraging the power of guest blogging, you can not only accelerate your list building process but also attract much more relevant subscribers who’re likely to convert into paying customers in future.