A couple of days ago, a chap posted on Warrior Forum that all things being equal, he would prefer an email list to a blog. Almost every poster (with the exception of a few) agreed with him. Then I chimed in and said that I would use both, because I can use my blog to build my list. Next everyone else started saying that they too would use both…. That says something about the forum, eh? :)
That was probably the last time I managed to post there. From the very next day, the whole forum was 'down'- I could neither post anything nor PM anyone. The forum was also in a maintenance mode for a couple of hours yesterday. Everytime I tried to post a topic or send a PM, a message said: "Sorry, but the forum is temporarily shut down for posting topics and should be available soon". Now it looks like it has been fixed!
Anyways, this article would give you the pros of maintain a blog as well as an email list. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which route to take (although I offer you my suggestions).
Advantages of Blog:
1. Wider reach: Instead of getting yourself cocooned into a tinderbox (that is, instead of being self-satisfied with your existing list size), why not widen your reach with the help of blogs? You will be able to reach a wider audience that way, become more famous, and who can predict you won’t get a couple of JV contacts through your blog?
2. You can sell ad space, or just place your own or affiliate ads
3. You can inform and educate your visitors and become an authority in your niche. You can use your blog either to post valuable, informative content, or unbiased reviews of affiliate products!
4. Use your blog to connect to your subscribers. Publish your newsletter issues on your blog and invite your subscribers to comment on them
5. No need to worry about email filters. You can sleep peacefully knowing that everyone will get your message, even if you use the dreaded *F* word multiple times! :D
6. Use it to build your list: If your content is really good, and if you put a link to your newsletter signup page at a very prominent place on your blog, people will subscribe to your email list automatically without you having to giveaway tons of freebies (I know I get a couple of subscribers from my blog regularly). Thus, even if you are interested only in list building, your blog serves that purpose.
7. Blog doubles up as your newsletter archive: When you send out your newsletter issues by email you also need to archive them separately on your website for the posterity. With blog, however, you don’t need to take this additional step.
8. You can get high rankings in Google, because Google as well as the other SEs love blogs. Why? Because blogs are a continuous of source of food (read content) for these hungry search engines! :D
Advantages of Email lists:
1. More effective marketing: When it comes to blog, people (and NOT you) have the liberty to choose whether to read it or not. With email lists, they simply have no choice! The only thing they can do to stop getting your messages is just unsubscribe.
2. Blogs are usually assumed to be content-hubs; you maybe looked down upon by others if you continuously post promotional messages on your blog. With email list, however, your subscribers already expect you to send promos (depending on how you have trained them).
3. More people are subscribed to email lists than RSS feeds. Let's face it: most people are not too social media savvy; many don’t even know what RSS means (okay, I am referring about the general public here, NOT Internet marketers). Email is a common medium used by many people worldwide to connect with their friends, colleagues, family, etc. Can we say the same thing about RSS Feeds?
4. People check their emails almost daily. I do, and I know many others who do as well. IF you treat your business like business, you cannot afford to miss even a single important email – it could just be a refund request from your customer! :-)
I usually don't keep myself up-to-date with RSS feeds, though. I check them once in a while, but not as frequently as email, and I know that I miss out on important stuff, but I really don’t care! ;)
5. Email subscribers are more likely to buy from you, provided of course that you treat them well. People care less about the RSS feeds they subscribe to and more for their email address. I am myself subscribed to 30+RSS feeds.
Most people won’t giveaway their email addresses to everyone and the sundry. People value their email addresses as much as their personal phone numbers; the fact that they have given you the permission to email them means that they WANT to hear from you, BUY from you and TALK to you!
6. With autoresponders, you can manage to keep your subscribers happy even with very little content: Let's say that you offer a free ecourse on traffic generation. You setup a 7-day free ecourse. Now, each new subscriber who joins your list goes through the same autoresponder message sequence! Totally hands-off, won’t you agree?
Can you say the same about your blog? Can you offer an ecourse through your blog, and expect every subscriber to start reading right from the first post? Of course not! Blog readers are accustomed to reading only the top, current posts; everything else is ignored!
7. No unknown identities: With blogs, you cannot know the names and other details about your subscribers – to you, a RSS subscriber is just like a bot: no name, no identity, nothing! With email however you can always know more about your subscribers by looking at their subscription details.
8. No unknown stats: When you use blogs, statistics such as how many read your blog, how many clicked through your link, etc., remain unknown to you as much as the identities of your subscribers. You can get some basic CTR stats if you use the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin, but that is far from what I'd call an accurate data.
On the other hand, with email, it is possible to know the CTR (click-through-rate) as well as open rates (if you send your newsletter in HTML format) of your newsletter!
One disadvantage that is common to both email and blog is that of regular maintenance. Just as you need to maintain your blog by posting content regularly, you also need to keep in touch with your subscribers. If you don't post content to your blog at least once per week, your blog's rankings will go down and down, until you no longer see your blog in Google. Quite similarly, if you don’t maintain regular contact with your list, it will become stale and unresponsive.
So what do I recommend? Use BOTH RSS feeds and email list. Look, people are more familiar with emails than RSS feeds, but there are a few who prefer getting content through RSS, usually because their inboxes are full to the brim, or they're unable to cope up with the amount of incoming emails they are receiving . If you use both, you will reach a wider audience! Just because you have started a blog doesn't mean you should give up on email newsletter, and vice versa!
If you use Aweber, you can turn every blog post into an email message! You can literally send your email newsletter through your blog – you know I do that :) . Aweber has gone pricey lately but I still recommend this service because it is one of a kind of service and I personally use it!
Of course, if any day, I am hard-pressed to choose between my blog and list, I would choose my list, but I would any day prefer a small, customers' list to a large, freebie seekers' list! Maybe that is why I don’t advertise my Nuttiezine newsletter as much as I should. :D
What do you think? Feel free to post your comments below!