Email Marketing: The 6 Most Important Tips For A Powerful Email List

If you’re trying to grow your email list or if you want to build one and don’t know where to start, these 6 tips should help you.

As a blogger or a writer or anyone whose work depends on reaching an audience, having an email list is an essential part of the job.

Not only is it important for sharing your work and driving traffic to your website or for making sales, if you offer products, but it also helps create a relationship and a connection between you and your audience.

People who subscribe to your list are most likely the hardcore fans, ones who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and they voluntarily signed up to receive more of what you have to offer.

To make it worth their while, there are a few things you should pay attention to in order to ensure quality of your emails and more interaction from your subscribers.


6 tips for a powerful email list:

  1. Choose an efficient email marketing service
  2. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your list
  3. Add value to your emails
  4. Send out emails consistently
  5. Do not spam your subscribers
  6. Write an attention-grabbing subject line

1. Choose an efficient email marketing service

Having a decent service will make your life easier in reaching your audience, sending them appealing and organized looking emails, having access to stats to be able to target the right people and provide them with the material that they are actually interested in.

There are plenty of services available for you to choose from. Some of the popular examples out there are: Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, GetResponse, and AWeber.

Mailchimp is one of the best and most reliable FREE services out there, and it is also compatible with WordPress with a built-in widget (it is the one I’m using, too!)

Mailchimp has a user-friendly interface and it provides you with in-depth stats and analytics to know your subscribers better and offers you ways to learn what you can do to enhance their experience.

Some of the stats you get to learn are things like the type of interaction you get on your emails, subscriber locations and how often they open your emails, helps you create different categories/groups of subscribers and target them with different campaigns, and to top it all off, it offers you a free plan up until 2000 subscribers.

The only downside I found with Mailchimp is that there is no customer service available for the free plan. So, if you need help with something you will need to search through their knowledge base.

And if you’re on WordPress, their customer care have actually been helpful when I had questions about the service at first.

You can read more about some of the other email marketing services in this article and learn more details about their different features and the plans they offer.

2. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your list

In order to have a powerful list, you need to have subscribers on that list first. So how do you build this list?

You should use every opportunity you get to make people subscribe to your list. People shouldn’t spend too much time looking for a way to subscribe.

In fact, no one will try to search for a way to subscribe, if it is not right there, front and center, asking them to do it, 99% of the time, they won’t even bother.

So make sure you have the following on your website:

  • Set up a dedicated page on your website where people can go to sign up.
  • Create a pop-up form asking your visitors to sign up when they are about to close the page or when they have spent a certain amount of time on your website.
  • Ask them to subscribe at the end of every blog post you publish by adding a small subscription box or by adding a link to your subscription form.

Make subscribing to your list an easy, simple, and quick task, and make sure you tell people why they should subscribe to encourage them to do it.

Learn how to get more people to subscribe to your list.

3. Add value to your emails

The reason people bother to subscribe to your email list is because they want to receive more. So if all you send out in your emails is a link to redirect them to your new blog post, then how is subscribing to your list any different from simply following your blog?

People on your email list should have access to something different: more information, more tips, better discounts, first access to a product, free products, etc..

Whatever it is that you offer through your website, your email list subscribers should have more. So make sure to look at every email you send out and think, “how does this add more value for my subscribers than my non-subscribers?”

4. Send out emails consistently

If you promise weekly emails, then make sure you send out weekly emails. And I will have to admit that I have personally fallen short to keep that promise the past two weeks due to some technical problems (such as my laptop crashing for a week) and other life-just-got-in-the-way kind of reasons.

However, apart from this recent hiccup, I always make sure to have an email sent out every week. Your subscribers need to know that you will deliver what you promise them.

One more reason to send emails consistently is that you don’t want your subscribers to forget about you.

If you send emails and then stop for a month or so and then start sending emails inconsistently, you will lose that connection which you have built with your subscribers and they could lose interest in your emails all-together because they will have forgotten about you.

Real life example:

I remember I once signed up to a financial advisor’s email list that promised a 7-day free course on a certain topic. I was interested in this topic and I signed up expecting I will be receiving an email every day for 7 days that will cover the subject.

But what happened was that I received the first email and then received the second one about 3-weeks later and then the 3rd one a week after that, it was so weird and got me puzzled. Of course by the time I received the second email, I had completely forgot about this course and already lost interest.

I eventually unsubscribed from their list because I was no longer interested in the subject; they failed to provide what I needed at the time they were supposed to provide it.

5. Do not spam your subscribers

There is the sending-consistently-to-not-be-forgotten-about, and then there is the sending-too-many-emails they will want to forget about you.

While your email list subscribers are mostly your loyal audience, they still have the option to unsubscribe from your list at any given moment.

And the reason most people would go through this step is if they feel like they are receiving too many emails from you. I know this is the number one reason why I would unsubscribe from a list.

If you promise your subscribers a 7-day email course, then sending an email every day that is part of this course they subscribed to get is okay and acceptable.

But if you send out an email every day, unannounced and unasked for, to ask people to check your new blog post, buy your new product, enroll in your course, or send emails with affiliate links and ask them to go buy this or that, this is called spamming.

And most people will feel that you are distracting them from probably more important and more useful emails that they have in their inbox. And so they will end up unsubscribing from your list.

If you want to have people buy your product or visit your website, flooding them with emails will not make that happen.

Instead, if you want them to buy a product, you can send out one email to announce that a product is in the works, another when it is available for purchase, and maybe one more as a reminder email that this product is now available.

Make sure that there is a space of a few days between one email and the other, and within this email make sure you explain why this is a good product and how it will benefit them.

If what you want is just for them to visit your website to read your new posts, then an email once a week to send a recap of what has been published on your website is enough.

It is also a good idea if you mention clearly from the start, in the sign up form, how many emails you will send out or how often your subscribers will be hearing from you, be it daily, twice a week, weekly, or monthly, so they would have an idea and know what to expect before signing up.

6. Write an attention-grabbing subject

Before sending your email, you should put in mind this one final thought: Why would someone open this email?

Every website asks their visitors to subscribe to their mailing list and most people have their inboxes full of those mailing lists emails. You know this is true because you are probably also subscribed to a good number of other websites yourself.

So if you don’t know how to grab your subscribers attention to your email, it will get lost in the piles of other emails of product offers and newsletters in their inbox.

When writing the subject line of your email, make sure it is as descriptive and as short as possible. In 4 or 5 words you will have to attract this person’s attention.

The way to do this is if you know what your subscribers actually need or what they may be interested in learning or buying.

If it’s an offer make sure it says so, if there is a discount/sale mention it, if it is information that will help them achieve something or learn to do something then make sure they know what they will learn in the subject line.

As easy and effortless as it is to press on an email to read it, but even this task requires you to push people to do it, because when there are dozens of other emails that require the same simple task, it becomes competitive for you and daunting for the reader.

So they will only open the email they feel has a potential to benefit them and be worth the little time they probably dedicated to check their emails.

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Till next week, happy days!

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Vogue Parody: 73 Questions with Ray

I intended to publish this post as an extra weekly post on Tuesday, not the Saturday one, however, due to the technical difficulties I am facing at the moment, I had to go with this one for the week.

Vogue questions, for those who are not familiar with it, is a segment where an interviewer behind the camera asks an artist/celebrity 73 random questions.

I like this segment and have watched most of them. I have to say though that I find many of them rather awkward because I feel they try too hard to make it look like it’s unplanned/unscripted which sometimes comes across cringe-worthy.

However, there are some that I do enjoy watching because I like the person being interviewed. And it’s fun too.

I was surprised to find that bloggers have created their own version of the 73 Vogue Questions as a “get to know me” thing and I think it’s cool!

I was tagged in this by the beautiful Mikaela, you can read her answers here.

I have attached an audio file below of me answering the questions to make it easier for those who don’t want to read the whole thing. Because that’s a lot of trivial reading!

But don’t mind the weird sound differences, I recorded this on more than one sitting and it’s only done on my phone. I may have also screwed a few names here and there.

Audio version: vogue-73-questions-with-ray-1.m4a


73 Vogue Questions

1. What’s your usual Starbucks order?

I don’t drink there that often, but mostly it’s Caffe Mocha, no whipped cream.

2. What does your work station look like?

It used to be my desk in my bedroom near the window looking out on a few buildings and a garden. But recently I have been just using my laptop on the couch.

3. All-time favorite food?

 I’d have to say chicken.

4. Favorite author?

Tough question! I think it would be a tie between Agatha Christie and Paulo Coelho.

5. What do you think of open relationships? 

I think it’s a weird concept, however, if it works for you then cool. I wouldn’t ever be part of one though, quite jealous for that.

6. What is your favorite video game?

I love racing games in general. I can’t quite remember names, but I remember there was a motorcycle racing game that I was addicted to. Back in the day I used to play super mario a lot too!

7. Guilty pleasure treat?

Don’t think I have one. Unless we’d consider pizza a guilty pleasure..

8. Your favorite movie?

A movie that has good plot twists, real scares, about cooking, or simply one that makes me laugh all would qualify as a favourite movie.

9. Favorite book?

It’s hard to pick a favourite book. But I’ll go with the first two that came to mind: The Secret: Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. 

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My mom used to tell me when I was younger, “If you’ll have no problem if the whole world finds out what you’re doing now, then do it.” This has been kind of my moral compass.

11. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter to interact and share my thoughts. Instagram to me is like a reality TV show; I get a sneak peak at everyone else’s life.

12. Are you a desktop or laptop person?

Definitely laptop. I love a desktop for the keyboard, but overall a laptop is my choice.

13. What projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on an ebook at the moment and have just gotten back to writing fiction again, so hopefully I’ll manage to finish a few short stories in the near future.

14. What’s your favorite color?

Black overall; however, in clothing, I also like Red a lot.

15. Did you get good grades in school?

School here is education up until Secondary school only not college/uni.

So in school I only got good grades in the subjects I liked which were languages, literature, psychology and philosophy. Everything else was average.

16. Dream job?

When I was younger I wanted to become a forensics analyst. And when I grew older my wish was to be part of a cabin crew.

17. Played any sports?

Karate and swimming but I didn’t last long in either.

18. Do you have a degree?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Telecommunication Engineering.

19. Nationality?

Egyptian.

20. What’s your favorite kind of blog post to do?

I like ones that have a lot of information that not many people may have heard of.

21. What do you like to collect?

I used to collect local comic magazines when I was in school, now I don’t collect anything.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?

Empathetic, thoughtful, and indecisive.

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?

I can’t really think of one, it would be a ridiculous one though like Big L or something.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?

My sister

25. What’s on the top of your wish list right now?

Vacation, on the beach.

26. Sorting House?

Not a Harry Potter fan, if this is what that is.

27. How many tattoos do you have?

None. I only get temporary ones.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

Grateful for everything I managed to accomplish so far to bring me a few steps closer to my goal.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

 I’d say the fact I have managed to spend more time with family.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

I had my hair cut at last!!

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Sunrise.

32. Favorite season?

Winter.

33. Favorite holiday?

It’s a tie between Ramadan and Christmas. I’m not a christian but I really like Christmas time.

34. Which fictional character do you relate to the most?

I didn’t put much thought into this, but off the top of my head I’d say Mort Rainey from the Secret Window.

35. Do you like surprises?

I love surprises. But the only surprises I actually get are in the form of plot twists.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you ever had? 

I think it was back in prep school. A surprise birthday party the class arranged for me along with all the teachers. It had a profound effect because I had just moved there, so I was new with not many friends. I was also a little sick at the time, so it meant a lot.

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?

I can’t remember if I actually cried in that one above or not but if not then probably none.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?

I think a birthday present which was a huge package with all this person’s favourite stuff.

39. Do you like muffins?

Wouldn’t turn down a chocolate or a vanilla muffin.

40. Do you cook often?

I cook when I feel like it.

41. What’s your favorite dessert?

A Black Forest Cake.

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like? 

I don’t have one in particular but I’m not a heavy dessert eater either.

43. Cake or pie?

Cake.

44. What’s your least favorite food?

Crabs.

45. What’s your favorite condiment?

Ketchup and Mayo

46. It’s 4 AM on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

I could very much bake a cake at 4 AM.

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

It would be a research based class probably.

48. Best animated film?

Lion King and Toy Story.

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

A guy brought flowers and got down on one knee in the middle of the university’s entrance, asking to forgive him…

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Listen more than you talk maybe.

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Show up late.

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?

Not a clue.

53. Best comic book character?

A tie between the Joker and Loki.

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

A hand cream, a mirror, and a pencil attached to a tiny notebook for when inspiration hits.

55. Favorite drink?

Tea.

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?

Cleopatra.

57. Kittens or puppies?

Definitely puppies.

58. Tell me your favorite sushi roll?

I’m terrible with memorizing names, but it was a shrimp roll with rice and seaweed.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?

Currently it’s NYX.

60. What kind of fountain do you use?

Don’t use one.

61. Blow dry or air dry?

Blow dry, don’t like the feeling of wet hair.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

Don’t have one.

63. Favorite Disney Character?

Probably Ariel.

64. What are you doing for tomorrow?

Relaxing probably.

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

A Bad Moms Christmas.

66. Movie that made you cry?

There’s a lot of them, the last one was probably Avengers: Endgame.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?

Adam Lambert.

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

The beauty and the tragedy. It’s an actual song by The Age of Information.

69. What’s your favorite animal?

White big cats and elephants. Sorry couldn’t pick one.

70. Favorite illustrator?

I don’t have one favourite, I mean I do love illustrations but names don’t seem to stick.

71. Person you wanna have coffee with?

Jennifer Garner.

72. What’s the country you wish to visit?

There are so many, but Malaysia and Italy are both at the top of the list.

73. Best way to decompress?

Pizza + Comedy + Couch.


I’m supposed to tag 10-12 bloggers for this one but I’m honestly not sure who would be interested to be tagged. I might add a list later. 

For now though if you want to be tagged let me know and I’ll add your name or simply just go ahead and write it without being tagged. This is how this thread has started actually.

Till next week, happy days!

Blogger Recognition Award (x6)

Happy to have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award!
Read in this post what the award is about, the story behind starting this blog and a list of amazing bloggers I nominate.

blogger recognition award - the ray journey
There is no official badge for the award, so I just designed this one. Feel free to use it or create your own.

I am extremely humbled and honored to have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award five times in the past 3 weeks. It is honestly wonderful to be recognized for my work by my amazing fellow bloggers.

My first nomination was by one of my favourites, Roger Petersen (mind and love).

Roger’s blog is a place where he shares thoughts on life and all that comes with it. I really love the way he writes posts in the form of a story, because his story-telling technique is brilliant and he has such a good sense of humor that makes it all the more fun to read.

Make sure to check his blog out, you’ll grow addicted.

I was then nominated by Gurru Says and Mama Robins (An Undistracted Life). And it is ironic because these two amazing bloggers were already on my list of nominees when I was preparing this post after my first nomination. But they both beat me to it!

Gurru Says is probably the most versatile blog you will come across, you will get lost there in all the different kinds of information you can learn. You definitely shouldn’t miss this one.

Mama Robins’ blog is about self-improvement, family and parenting. She shares so many valuable information and life lessons to learn. So make sure to check it out too!

I then got nominated for the award by the ever so lovely, Emily Mae Hood (New York Family Adventures). She writes about ways to go on adventures and explore the world around you within your budget. It’s a really lovely blog and you can read more about how she started it here.

An update to include the 5th nomination by one of my very good blogger friends Sean Flac (Sean Flac 2.0). His blog is a mix of health and fitness, consumer product reviews, parenting and a lot more. Make sure to check it out!

Another update to add the 6th nomination on the 30th of May

My 6th nomination was by one of my very good blogger friends Sandy (Sunday Morning with Sandy). Through the posts of her blog she shares her story and what she has been through in life and the lessons she’s learned. You will be moved, inspired, and amazed by everything you will find there.

About the Award

The Blogger’s Recognition Award is an award handed out by bloggers to bloggers to recognize the hard work, effort, and dedication they are putting into their blog.

It was created as a symbol of approval and motivation; and to let readers know more about other bloggers who deserved to be followed.

Award Rules

  • Write a post displaying your award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Nominate 10-15 bloggers who you believe deserve to be recognized.
  • Let the nominees know they have been nominated.

How My Blog Started

I started this blog two months after I had quit a job I hated, and at a time when I was uncertain of what my next step was going to be.

All I knew at that time was that my goal was to create a life for myself where I don’t need to work in a job I hated just because it pays.

So I started searching for alternative ways to have income, and I found that the one thing most of those people who succeeded in achieving financial independence had in common was that they all had some kind of an expertise and an outlet to share it on.

It was either a book, a course, a website, a youtube channel, or a podcast. Some kind of an outlet to have a presence and share their knowledge, and maybe even charge for it, because they were experts in one field or more.

So, I sat there and wondered how to do this myself. What is it that I know so well, or that I am so good at, that other people would be interested in learning? What can I offer?

To my sad surprise, I had a big, fat nothing. I had not excelled in anything that was worth sharing with anyone.

This was a moment where I felt a huge disappointment in myself; but I wanted, no actually, I needed to get out of this situation and figure a way to make it happen. I started to think, “how can I do something different? What will make someone interested in listening to what I have to say even though I am not an expert?”

That’s when the idea of this blog came to me.

I figured most of those websites in the specific niche of creating financial freedom are created by people who have already made it.

I can be different by being me, being honest about my situation and my journey. I’m going to be sharing from the point of view of the beginner who is still trying to learn and figure everything out themselves. I will share what anyone like myself would have to go through to achieve the kind of success that those experts have reached.

And I hoped that maybe this would create some kind of connection with whoever reads my words; that they would find that the information I share really helpful and do tackle the areas that they would have wanted to search for, if they were heading towards the same path.

This idea for a blog came to me sometime during the last 3 days of November 2018 and I published my 1st post on the 1st of December 2018. The speed of which this happened was because I didn’t want to have second thoughts about it.

I just needed to start, take a step ahead and not worry about the outcome.

Fast forward to April 2019, my blog is actually being read by a good number of people and I am writing a post sharing my nomination for my 7th blogging award and being recognized by my fellow bloggers.

So, yea, so far it’s going great!

Two Pieces of Advice For New Bloggers

I feel it’s funny I would be giving an advice, given that I sort of am a new blogger myself, but here are my two cents:

  • Pay attention to your stats, number of visitors/views, (yes you read that right) because this is how you will measure your progress and know if you are heading forward or backward; however, this should only be for awareness purpose. Do not give it much of your time or energy. Instead, focus most of the time, energy, and attention to the content and the quality of what you are putting out there. When you do your best to create great content, readers will find you and will recognize your work.
  • Be consistent. I know this is probably something that everyone says about blogging. But it really is crucial to any new blogger. And it is not only because you are still trying to build an audience, but also it is for you, for your own sense of accountability. If you are serious about your blog, you need to mentally treat it as such. Once you start slacking and missing one post after the other, you will lose that sense of seriousness and commitment. So, whenever you find yourself losing motivation to create content, remind yourself of the reason why you started in the first place.

List of 15 Nominees

Below is a list of 15 blogs that I have enjoyed reading and believe they should be recognized for their work.

I also tried to list ones that did not receive this award before; however, if you already did, I guess you just deserve more of them then!

The nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award (in alphabetical order, yes I did):

  1. Baby Boomer Super Saver
  2. Baby Steps
  3. Frantasmagoria
  4. Going Places with Kendra
  5. Hedy Zhou
  6. In Asian Spaces
  7. Kekoas Korner
  8. Life of Siobhan
  9. Pinwheels and Piggy Banks
  10. Queen Media Collective
  11. Sam Space
  12. Steph’s Social Pie
  13. The Conflict Expert
  14. Tranquil Trekker
  15. Write On Ejaleigh!‏

Again, a big thank you to the amazing bloggers who nominated me and congrats to all the nominees!

Till the next awards season, happy days!