Ultimate Guide To Building an Email List for Your Travel Newsletter


Travel Writer - AWeber, Bret WagnerThis is the last how-to guide you’ll ever need to start and optimize your email list and travel newsletter.

I promise.

Building an email list is an often-overlooked component of running a successful travel site or online business. As they say, the ‘money is in the list’. Earning your first $1,000 from your travel blog is a lot easier to do through your email list than it is from, say, advertising through banner ads on your site.

Before we get started, I need you to do this right now, before doing anything else:

  • Bookmark this post. You’re going to want to refer back to it often, as I’ll be updating it regularly with fresh information.
  • Share this post. Your travel writer colleagues will thank you. You’ll earn some serious street cred for getting information like this into the hands of others.
  • Create a $1 AWeber trial account. If you don’t currently use an email service, open an account at AWeber. They offer a $1, 30-day trial. You’ll get the greatest value from this guide if you follow along in real time as we discuss these topics.

travel writer - aweber 1

Now… the Good Stuff: Getting Started

You’re here for one of two reasons:

  • You want to start a newsletter.
  • You want to improve your existing newsletter.

There was a time when, if someone wanted to earn your business, they had to try to get your attention through direct mail, telemarketing or face-to-face. Think back to before the Internet- can you remember what life was like before the Internet? I’m having trouble remembering how I communicated before email.

So what is the problem with these methods? For the most part, these marketing methods were completely unsolicited – they were push, as marketers pushed information to consumers. As a result, we often refer to these solicitations negatively. We use terms like junk mail or spam to describe these kinds of interruptions.

So how is email marketing different?

The major difference between email marketing and the other marketing methods is that people opt-in – or choose – to receive your marketing message.

This is the absolute most important key in your travel newsletter campaign, because it removes an important barrier between you and the customer. It’s like an open-door invitation to share your message with your audience. And that, friend, is something money just can’t buy.

Have I sold you yet on the value of email marketing?

Then let’s talk about where to start.

In this Ultimate Guide to Building an Email List for Your Travel Newsletter, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about sending your first travel newsletter with one of best email marketing services on the Internet: AWeber. If you aren’t willing to believe me when I say it is one of the best (which I don’t expect you to- we are just getting to know one another, right?), I encourage you to sign up for their one month trial for $1 and explore their services yourself.

I couldn’t figure out why AWeber was so popular when I first started using them. A friend recommended the service, similar to how I’m recommending the service to you now. It took me two months and one well-crafted email from their customer service staff that sold me on AWeber as the best partner for running DIWYY email newsletter campaigns.

Here’s what I’m going to cover:

  1. What is Email Marketing?
  2. How Do You Get Newsletter Subscribers?
  3. Why Build an Email List?
  4. Why Use AWeber for Your Newsletter?
  5. How to Set up Your Newsletter List & Opt-in Form
  6. How to Set Up an Autoresponder in AWeber
  7. How to Send Out a Broadcast Newsletter in AWeber
  8. How to Set Up a Travel Blog Broadcast in AWeber
  9. HTML or Text Messages or Both?
  10. Finding Targeted and Interested Subscribers
  11. The Rules & Laws Around Collecting Email Addresses
  12. Email Marketing Statistics & Reports
  13. How to Earn Your First $1,000 with Your Email List
Before you go any further, I’ll say this once more – you’ll get the greatest value from this guide if you follow along in real time as we discuss these topics.

You can sign up for a trial that gives you AWeber access for 30 days for only $1. Grab that and learn as you go here:


Just click ‘order’ and you’ll see this:

travel writer - aweber 2

All signed up and ready to go? Great! Now here comes the really good stuff.

What Is Email Marketing?

We’ve touched a little on the concept of email marketing and how it can be a highly effective way to build your business. Now let’s dig a little deeper into the concept of what email marketing is.

Let’s start with some definitions:

Email List

An email list is simply a collection of email addresses. Most will also collect the person’s first name with the email address so that the email can be personalized through automation software. For example, instead of just saying “Hi”, you can say “Hi, Tom!” in the emails. It’s also possible to collect information such as location or phone numbers so you can further segment your list and target them based on certain criteria.

Opt-In Form/Squeeze Page

An opt-in form or squeeze page is an online form where visitors to your website fill in their contact information to join your email list. With services like AWeber, that information is automatically added to your email list with no action on your part. Automation rules!


Someone who has joined your email list, typically by filling out an opt-in form. They are now part of your “list,” and you can contact them via email with information, updates, fundraising requests and more.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

A company that provides the email software you can use to send out emails. I use AWeber as an example in this guide, a top-ranked online ESP. There are other ESPs out there, including Mailchimp and iContact.


A list of email messages that goes out in sequence, automatically. For autoresponders, it doesn’t matter how many people sign up to your list or when they sign up. They’ll get message #1 automatically, then message #2 a set time later, message #3 a set time later again, etc. It’s a great way to automate parts of your travel blog and engage your supporters through consistent communication.


This is the standard newsletter. A broadcast email goes out at a specific date and time. It’s different from an autoresponder as it’s a one-time deal. Everyone on your list receives this broadcast message at the same time, regardless of when they joined your list. These are often used for time-sensitive announcements, updates on fundraising goals, and the like.

Like any specialty, email marketing has its own vocabulary. Knowing the basic terms will help you understand what I’m talking about later on in this guide.

How Do You Get Newsletter Subscribers?

Having a fantastic series of autoresponders and travel newsletter broadcast emails that you send regularly is great. But what if no one’s on your list?

You’re going to have trouble generating any revenue if there aren’t readers to turn into customers.

You need to build your list – and list-building is an art in and of itself.

Ultimately, email marketing is a way to market your message, products and services through email. You can build your email list in a number of ways. Here are just a few:

Opt-In Forms

The most common way to build a list is by placing an opt-in form on your website and have people fill it out. Whenever someone visits your blog or website, there should be a clear place for them to subscribe to receive more information from you.

Appsumo grew quickly to over 500,000 subscribers with this opt-in:

travel writer - aweber 3

Keep the number of fields short. There are other guidelines to optimizing your newsletter opt-in.

Customer Lists

Online fundraising systems have automatic processes for adding donors to your email contact list. This is something you’ll definitely want to integrate, because donors are already a step further down your fundraising funnel than prospects. By donating to you, they’ve proven that they want to support you, they know how to donate on the Internet and are comfortable doing so, and they have money to donate.


At the bottom of every email you send, AWeber has an option for others to subscribe. You can add a PS or signature line that says, “Did you like this newsletter? Forward it to a friend!” Then when that friend receives your email from someone they know and trust, they can directly subscribe to your list by clicking on the enclosed link. Just another reason to love AWeber!

Buying Lists

This is a sore spot for many. It certainly is for me. While it’s possible to buy email lists from other companies and bloggers, I recommend that you do not go this route. Even though this sounds like a great shortcut, it really isn’t a shortcut you want to take, especially when you’re just starting out.

Many times, lists are extremely expensive, the names and contact information are outdated, the people aren’t targeted to what you’re offering, and they may see a contact from you as spam. You’re much better off doing things with a little elbow grease and creating your own list from scratch. Stick with the people who know, like, and trust you.


Getting people on your email list may seem difficult in the beginning. There are strategies for making it more compelling for people to give you their email address, such as by providing an opt-in gift or bonus of some sort. I’ll talk more about getting targeted and interested subscribers further in this guide. For now it’s important that you understand you need to offer a compelling reason to subscribe to potential readers.

Now, let’s talk about why building an email list might be one of the smartest investments you can make for your travel blog.

Why Build an Email List?

Some travel writers start email lists, get a few subscribers and then give up. They get discouraged because they don’t really understand the true benefits of building a large, responsive email list.

Here are seven reasons why you need an email list:

1. Automatically Follow-Up

An email list allows you to multiply your time in a way that would require your clone. With autoresponders you can have a follow-up system in place that brings in money for you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

2. Consistently Build an Engaged Audience for Your Travel Blog

New readers can be signing up to your email list automatically, every day, without your help or involvement. This is a way to be consistently building your audience.

3. Turn Visitors Into Followers, Followers Into Customers

You’ve put tons of work into your website. If you’re not capturing visitors, they’re coming and going, possibly never to return again. If you capture their information, you can keep in contact with them and build the relationship so that someday they might turn into followers and later customers.

4. Stay on Their Minds

Most of your potential customers won’t be ready to buy from you right now. Through email marketing, you can stay on their minds through your email autoresponders and newsletters (broadcast emails, remember?). Then, when they are ready, they’ll look back for your emails or remember your website and they’ll go there to buy.

5. Save Yourself Time

Instead of sharing your message one-on-one, over and over again, you can now reach one-to-many. This is going to not only save yourself time but also leverage your time into long-term, consistent paying customers.

6. Be Super-Human

It’s simply not humanly possible to connect one-on-one with all your readers and customers the way you can with an email system. The great thing is, if you set your newsletters up right they can seem very customized and personal even when they are completely automated.

7. Increase Your Income

Of course the goal here isn’t just to be awesome (though that’s a good goal in itself). What you’re really looking for is an increase in income. An email list can make this increase possible

Heads up: here comes a pep talk from me to you…

The challenge is that if you give up too soon, you’ll never see these benefits. Yes, email marketing starts out slow, but don’t give up! Every business owner / blogger – even those with hundreds of thousands on their lists – started with one subscriber, then two, then ten. Yes it takes time and yes it can be frustrating waiting for the rewards but be patient and diligent, and you will see your efforts pay off over time.

Why Use AWeber for Your Travel Blog’s Newsletter?

Some people will start building an email list in their email account, such as Outlook. This is OK if you have only 15 or 20 people to email but when you start getting more and more prospects this can be a big problem.

For one, if you try to email hundreds of people from your own email account you’ll most likely get flagged as a spammer. And secondly, by US Can-Spam laws you must have a way for people to unsubscribe from your emails at the bottom of every email.

There are plenty of email service providers out there, but my choice is AWeber. Here’s why:

  1. High Deliverability – One of the most important factors you need to consider is whether or not your emails are getting to their targeted inboxes. If they’re not, all your efforts are for nothing. AWeber provides top-deliverability to its customers. They are constantly working hard to establish relationships with internet service providers so emails from AWeber will be delivered, not diverted to the Junk Folder. AWeber has one of the highest deliverability rates in the industry.
  2. Pricing – AWeber is competitive in terms of pricing. You may be able to find less expensive options, but that lower price comes at a sacrifice in terms of deliverability, options, and support. At the same time, AWeber is very affordable. You can start with a $1 trial and then continue at just $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers. With this plan you can send an unlimited number of emails per month.
  3. Emails – In AWeber you have a number of features and options when it comes to sending emails. Most email software programs allow you to send both autoresponders and broadcasts but not many have a blog broadcast feature. Blog broadcasts are a way to send your latest blog updates directly – and automatically – to your subscribers. AWeber is also up to date in terms of social media functions, allowing you to automatically and instantly post your emails to Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Templates – If you’re not a programmer (I haven’t come across very many bloggers who are) then it’s not easy to create great-looking opt-in forms or newsletters. AWeber has a very large selection of both that you can use as-is or easily customize to fit your needs.
  5. Customer SupportAWeber’s customer support is top notch, offering phone support, live online chat, email, webinars, a free e-course, tutorials, and more. When you start to use the program there is even a set-up wizard walk-through. If you’ve got problems or questions, there is no shortage of ways to get help.
  6. Subscriber Statistics – Understanding how many new subscribers you have, where they come from, what they click on and when they unsubscribe is important to your business. AWeber does an excellent job of subscriber management. One of the best features here is that you can send out emails to your lists separately or all at once. Even if your subscribers are on multiple lists (maybe you have a specific list for donors and another for volunteers) they will only ever get one email – a great feature to save your subscribers the frustration of deleting multiple emails from multiple lists. You can also view detailed reports or even have them mailed to you.


Choosing an email service provider is an important decision. It can literally be the backbone of your business so you’ll want to choose wisely. I encourage you to sit down and with pen and paper write down the features you need, then seek out the provider who gets you closest to that list. In most cases it will probably be AWeber, but no matter what you choose make sure you do it and start building your email list as soon as possible.

What is the first thing online business starters say about their newsletter email list?

“I wish I’d started building my list sooner!”

How to Set Up Your Newsletter Email List and Opt-In Form

Deeper down the rabbit hole we go. In this next section, I ‘ll show you how you can painlessly set up your email list and opt-in form in AWeber.

Step 1: Set up your newsletter list

After you log in to your AWeber account, the first thing you’ll want to do is click on the Create and Manage Lists button. It looks like this:

non-profit newsletter manage lists

Then you’ll need to click ‘Create a New List’ on the next screen:

non-profit newsletter new list

Next, there are three sections for you to fill out:

  1. Basic Settings
  2. Personalize Your List
  3. Confirmed Opt-In

On the Basic Settings Page you’ll find the following:

  • List Name
  • List Description
  • ‘From’ Name
  • Address – By law, you are required to provide a physical address for your newsletter.
  • Notification Emails – If you want to get an email every time someone signs up to your list, enter your email address and name here. This may seem like a great idea, but you might soon be overwhelmed with opt-ins. In the early days of starting my nonprofit, I set this up to receive emails. I think you’ll find that, like me, I was energized when I saw another supporter subscribing to my list. In the early days of your business, you need shots in the arm like this to keep you going.

If you choose to receive notification, I recommend setting up a separate file folder in your inbox where these emails are automatically sent so they aren’t cluttering up your in box.

On the Company Branding Page you’ll find:

1. Company Branding

  • Company Name
  • Website URL
  • Email Signature – This can be automatically added to all your emails.

2. Social Media/Sharing

  • Tweet Your Broadcasts
  • Share Broadcasts on Facebook
  • Broadcast Archive – This allows your email broadcasts to be archived on AWeber’s website so you can direct people to view past archived issues of your emails or newsletters.

3. Global Text Snippets

This is another great feature of AWeber where you can set certain ‘snippets’. For example, if you want to include your phone number in your emails you may want to set it up as a snippet. That way, if your phone number ever changes you can change the snippet and not have to go back into all your emails and change it in every spot you added your phone number. Another example is adding your Twitter profile. Saves you time to plan ahead!

On the Confirmed Opt-In Page you’ll find:

1. Your Confirmation Message

This is the message your subscribers will see before they confirm they signed up for your list. You can customize it for best results and a personal touch.

2. Require Opt-In on Web Forms

This is the double opt-in option. It is recommended you have people confirm that they signed up for your list by getting them to double opt-in.

3. Success Page you can add a custom page for your subscribers to see after they confirm their opt-in.

non-profit newsletter opt in setup

Make sure you fill out each section according to the instructions and then press the save button at the bottom of each page.

Next, you need to create a web form. Click the tab that says Web Forms:

travel newsletter create opt in

Click the Create a New Web Form button:

non-profit newsletter create web form

Now the fun starts! There are many options to choose from. AWeber has templates that would suit many different travel blogger’s needs. Do some exploring to find one that fits your needs.

non-profit newsletter templates

Next, you can use the easy editor to add text, effects, change colors and customize the form.

As usual, make sure you save the form. Click the green Save Web Form button at the bottom of the screen once you’re done. Here’s an example for a local animal shelter:


travel newsletter opt in edits

Once you’ve saved the web form, click on the Settings tab at the top of the page and fill out the basic information, including:

  • Form Name – useful for record-keeping. I will create multiple web forms for the same email list and then place these web forms through the web site. This allows for tracking each individual web form to see which ones are converting the best. Do I get more signups from my about page? How about on the right-hand sidebar?
  • Thank You Page – This is what the new subscriber sees immediately following signup.
  • Already Subscribed Page – Maybe the subscriber is already subscribed but just forgot (this is a good sign that you are not engaging your newsletter list enough).

travel newsletter opt in settings

Click the green Save Web Form button.

Now you’re ready to add the form to your website! Click the Publish tab on the page to get your code. This section allows for three options:

  1. I Will Install My Form – This option allows you to grab coding and paste it wherever you can add HTML.
  2. My Website Designer Will Install My Web Form – This option allows you to simply send your web designer an email with the code to add for you.
  3. Have AWeber Host My Form – This is a neat option where AWeber will actually host the web form on their site. It makes for a quick way to get a web form ready to accept sign-ups. The great thing about this is you can easily build your email list, even if you haven’t launched your website (if you are looking to launch your website, check out how to get started here).

There you have it. Follow the steps in this section and you will have your first email list set up and your opt-in form ready to collect subscribers.

Before you go to much further, you’ll want to add a welcome email for your subscribers by clicking on the Messages tab and adding a Follow-Up email. This is likely the first communication the follower will receive from you, so make it a good one. First impressions count!

Not sure how to create a follow-up email? No worries! Just read the next section for instructions on how to set up your autoresponders, broadcasts and blog broadcasts in AWeber.

How to Set Up an Autoresponder in AWeber

Autoresponders are email messages that are pre-set to go out at certain time intervals. For example, you could set them to go out daily, or weekly, or monthly, etc.

In the previous section I showed you how to set up your email list and opt-in form. Now once people get onto your list you’ll want them to receive a nice, warm welcome message. This message will go out automatically upon signup. This is called an autoresponder.

Here’s how to set up your first autoresponder message in AWeber:

Click on the Message tab across the top of the screen.

Click on Create a New Follow Up Message.

travel newsletter messages

Next, you’ll want to fill out the appropriate section:

  • If sending HTML you’ll need to fill out both the HTML and Text sections.
  • If sending Text then you’ll need to leave the HTML section blank and fill out the text only.


travel newsletter messages html and text

Other important sections to note:

  • Spell Check – Run your email through this quick spell check to keep it looking professional.
  • Personalize – Use the personalization feature to call people by name, mention their location, email, etc.
  • Attach a File – Add an attachment to your autoresponder emails.
  • Track Clicks – You can find out what people click on within your emails. Just be aware that if you are using text-only emails then people will see the tracking links in the emails.
  • Interval – Your first message will go out immediately, but any messages you create beyond that will need to have an interval set. The interval is the days between messages.

When you’re done setting up your email click the green Save Message button.

Congratulations. You’re done! You’re set up with your first autoresponder message that will automatically go out when a supporter signs up to your email list.

Once you get used to this process you’ll see the power in having the ability to set up these automatic messages. Put some time and effort into the path a new subscriber follows once they sign up and you’ll turn those subscribers into supporters, supporters into donors. All while on auto-pilot.

How to Send Out a Newsletter Broadcast in AWeber

Broadcasts are email messages that go out to an entire email list, all at one time. This is what is commonly referred to as the email newsletter. They differ from autoresponders as an autoresponder goes in sequence and subscribers receive different emails at different times depending on when they signed up. With a broadcast message, all subscribers get the same message at the same time.

Broadcasts are great for time sensitive messages such as travel deals, engaging stories, and your site news and updates.

Here’s how to send a newsletter email broadcast in AWeber:

Hover over the Message tab at the top of the screen and then click Broadcasts.

Click on the green button that says Create A New Broadcast Message.

travel newsletter broadcasts

Fill out the appropriate section:

  • If sending HTML you’ll need to fill out both the HTML and Text sections.
  • If sending Text then you’ll need to leave the HTML section blank and fill out the text only.

Important sections to note:

Spell Check – Run your email through this quick spell check to keep it looking professional.

Personalize – Use the personalization feature to call people by name, mention their location, email, etc. Circling back on the opt-in, I recommend collecting the subscribers email address and first name. Long opt-in forms mean less signups, but it is nice to personalize communication. Strike a balance between these two priorities.

Attach a File – Add an attachment to your autoresponder emails.

Send Immediately or Send Later – You can schedule your broadcast to go out right away or at a later date.

Send to Segment – You can segment your subscribers in many different ways. For example if you’d like to email people only signed up in the last week then choose that in the send to segment section.

Include or Exclude Lists – If you have multiple email lists in your AWeber account, you can choose to send to more than one at a time using this option.

Track Clicks – See what your subscribers are clicking on by tracking clicks. Beware these clicks are not cloaked and show up as long, messy links in your emails. You can get around this by creating hyperlinks in HTML, but there’s no way around in for text emails.

Social Media/Sharing – Tweet your email or send it to Facebook with this option.

Quickstats Notification – You can find out some great stats right away by having them emailed to you.


travel newsletter broadcast options

When you’re done setting up your email click the green Save Message button.

Many people will use their broadcasts often but not take advantage of the abilities of autoresponders.

Here’s a quick tip: Send your broadcasts out, then ask yourself if the content is ‘evergreen’,’ meaning it never expires or becomes out of date. If so, add that evergreen content right into your autoresponder, allowing it to do double-duty for you. That way, you’ll receive the benefits of the instant message AND the long-term benefits of an autoresponder.

How to Set Up Travel Blog Broadcasts in AWeber

Travel bloggers (or anyone reading this with a blog for that matter)- you’re going to love this AWeber feature. The blog broadcast allows you to hook up your blog and your email list. Every time you create a new post on your blog your subscribers will get an automatic, customized email.

Here’s how:

1. Hover over the ‘Message’ tab at the top of the screen and then click ‘Broadcasts’.

2. Click on the green button that says ‘Create A New Blog Broadcast’.

travel newsletter broadcast setup

The first thing you’ll need to set up your blog broadcast is your blog’s RSS Feed. Not sure what it is? Start by trying to surf to www.yourdomain.org/feed – that will normally take you to your blog feed. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to check with your website designer or with your website management system’s help files.

Next, you’ll need to choose a template for your blog broadcast. After you choose it you can customize the information and look you’d like.

Important sections to note:

Spell Check – Run your email through this quick spell check to keep it looking professional.

Personalize – Use the personalization feature to call people by name, mention their location, email, etc.

Send Time – Choose what time your blog broadcast goes out.

How Often Should We Send Out Your Blog Broadcasts – In this section you can determine when your blog broadcast goes out. You can choose to have it go out automatically or you can have it saved in your ‘Broadcasts’ section so you can approve it before publishing.

Track Clicks – See what your subscribers are clicking on by tracking clicks. Beware these clicks are not cloaked and show up as long, messy links in your emails. You can get around this by creating hyperlinks in HTML, but there’s no way around in for text emails.

Social Media/Sharing – Tweet your email or send it to Facebook with this option.

Quickstats Notification – You can find out some great stats right away by having them emailed to you.

Using the Blog Broadcast feature is another great way to do double work. Instead of having your content show up on your blog and nowhere else, you are exposing your market to your information in more than one way. That’s smart email marketing!

HTML or Text Messages or Both?

When creating email lists and messages, you may wonder whether to use HTML messages, text messages or both in your autoresponders and broadcasts. Let’s start with some information about the difference:

  • HTML – You know those emails you get that are colorful, include pictures and fancy text? Those are created with HTML code. Newsletters or ‘Ezines’ are often created with HTML messages.
  • Text – Text messages are simply, text. There is no formatting, or color, images, graphics, bolding, italics or other accents.

So… what to choose? Let’s start by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each format.

HTML emails have a lot of advantages:

  • Can be branded to the business look and image, conveying an overall congruity in marketing message.
  • Allow for easier hiding of link tracking, allowing you to see what customers click on while still making the links look user-friendly.
  • Formatting of text using bullets, bolding, italics, headings and other effects can increase readability of your emails.

HTML emails also have just about as many disadvantages, including:

  • You must create or customize HTML. This takes longer than doing plain text.
  • Some email providers block the HTML formatting and images, leaving you with just text anyway.
  • If you’re looking to build personal relationships with your customers, HTML is probably not the way to go because it doesn’t look like a regular personal email.

Text emails also have advantages, including:

  • Less likely to get filtered or blocked.
  • Looks the same no matter what email program it’s viewed in.
  • Quick and easy to create and send.
  • Have a much more personal feel than HTML emails.

Text emails also have disadvantages, including:

  • No formatting, images, or branding.
  • Can’t use hyperlinks for affiliate links or other long, ugly links.

Something worth noting here is that if you do choose to use HTML then you’ll also need to use text. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Some email programs will not display HTML. If you provide a text version you can get your messages through to the people using these settings.
  2. Spammers use HTML messages. If you don’t add a text version of your HTML page you increase your risk of getting blocked by the spam filters on a regular email account.

Ultimately what you choose is going to depend on your business needs. There is no right or wrong answer.

Finding Targeted and Interested Subscribers for Your Newsletter

Now comes some real digging in and working on list-building. Don’t expect your list to build itself. It’s your job to get yourself out there and find as many targeted and interested subscribers as you possibly can. Here are my best suggestions:

  1. Website Opt-In Form – This is an oldie but a goodie. Put a form on your website. It’s not enough to put a form on your homepage saying ‘Sign Up to Our Newsletter’, though. You need to present your visitors with an irresistible offer, something they’ll have no problem handing over their closely guarded email address for. This method can show you immediate results if you’re getting enough traffic. If your traffic is low to nil, then keep reading for other great ideas to build your list. Examples are a free report, an audio or video, or a workbook. Make it valuable – this is no time to cut corners!
  2. Guest Blogging – Bloggers are always looking for great, unique content. You can take advantage of this need by becoming a guest blogger. Target your blog to lead your reader to signing up to your email list. To do this you’ll want the information in the blog post to be highly relevant to your email list. Deliver great information and value but leave them wanting to take the next logical step, which of course will be to sign up for your list.
  3. Joint Ventures – Start making friends with other bloggers and travel business owners. Networking with other bloggers is a smart move, particularly if you deliver complementary services. You’ll develop relationships that can turn into win-win partnerships.
  4. Advertising – Finding highly targeted websites where your supporters hang out can be a great way to build a list fast. Make sure you are careful with this method as you must have a very relevant offer that visitors will respond to.

The ways to build your list are only limited by your own imagination. You will be the best person to determine how to get the most qualified subscribers onto your list.

Think about where the people you want to reach hang out. Do they visit chat forums to talk about their topic, read a certain kind of blog, visit certain news websites, etc.? Your common sense and knowledge of the services your space provides is going to lead you to the answer. Keep trying new methods, testing the results and moving forward.

The Rules and Laws Around Collecting Email Addresses

Before you start building your email list, you should know about the rules and laws that govern this industry. First off, if you are in the United States, you need to get familiar with the Can-Spam Act. Even if you are in a country that isn’t governed by this law, it’s a good idea to follow it anyway to be safe.

If caught abusing email and in non-compliance of the Can-Spam Act you could be subject to penalties up to $16,000.

Here is a summary of the requirements under this act:

  1. Don’t Use False or Misleading Header Information – The From, To and Reply To information must be accurate and not misleading in any way.
  2. Do Not Use Deceptive Subjects – It is not acceptable to try to trick readers into opening emails by using deceptive email subjects.
  3. Identify The Message as an Ad – You must notify your subscribers that they are reading an ad.
  4. Include Valid Physical Location – You must identify your location within every email you send out.
  5. Tell Subscribers How to Opt-Out of Emails – In every email there must be clear directions on how to unsubscribe from your email list.
  6. You Must Honor Opt-Out Requests Promptly – You must honor opt-out requests within 10 business days.
  7. Monitor Your Services – It’s not OK to hire someone to help you and expect the responsibility of complying with the act transfers to them. You must be aware of what is being done on your behalf as you could be responsible for it as well.

The great thing about AWeber is that it helps you do many of these requirements automatically. For example your physical location is added automatically to the bottom of each email. You also have directions on how to opt-out of your AWeber email lists automatically added to the bottom of each email. Finally AWeber unsubscribes people immediately upon request, so no worries about getting yourself in trouble with the 10-day removal time frame.

In most cases you’ll have nothing to fear, especially if you use AWeber. Just make sure you know, understand and follow the laws.


Running your email in a manner that gives your subscribers the ultimate in freedom and respect will produce a seriously high quality list. This is a list that will appreciate that you value them as people and will respond by being loyal, dedicated subscribers that actually READ your emails. Now that’s a win-win situation!

Email Marketing Statistics & Reports

Congratulations! If you’ve followed through this report in order while taking action along the way, you’ve got yourself an email list with AWeber and you’ve added some fabulous subscribers to that list.

I’m truly excited for you. You now have the opportunity to use the latest technology to connect with your market in a way that just wasn’t even possible twenty years ago.

One of the most revolutionary things about your email list is its ability to give you very detailed statistics and reports. AWeber is an industry leader in analytics at just about every step of the way in your email marketing process.

Let’s review some of the most useful features for your business:

Email Opens & Click Tracking

Want to know how many people opened your email?

Want to know WHO opened your email?

Better yet, want to know what they clicked on after they opened it?

Maybe you’d like to know what they clicked once they got to your website?

Or maybe you’d like to know if a sale resulted from that click.

This is all possible with AWeber’s Email Opens & Click Tracking system.

travel newsletter stats

Below is a screenshot of the detailed stats you get with every single email you send out. You can click on any tab to get more details about:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Sales (if you set this tracking up)
  • Web Hits (again, needs to be set up)
  • Unsubscribes
  • Domains

Below the chart it also breaks down clicks by individual email accounts.

travel newsletter stats 2

Email Split Testing

Not sure which subject line will work best? Want to send your subscribers to two different salespages to see which converts better?Then you need split testing!

AWeber handles this for you. As long as you have at least 100 subscribers you can split test your emails. This means your email can be divided up two to four ways between your subscribers. What you do is select what percentage goes out to each section.


travel newsletter split test

Let’s illustrate with some examples:

  1. 50/50 Split Test – If you want to just send have of your list one email and half a second email then you could do a straight 50/50 Split Test.
  2. 10/10/80 – If you have a large list try this trick. Send one email to 10% of your list and another to 10%. Wait and see which performs best and then send THAT one to the remaining 80% of your list.

Email Marketing Reports

What if you need a larger snapshot of what’s going on with a particular email list? Maybe you want to know how many subscribers you’re getting daily, or how many people are opening up your autoresponders, how many people are actually verifying their subscriptions versus not, etc. All of this and more is available in the Reports section of AWeber:


travel newsletter reports

Statistics can help your email marketing a lot. The gang over at AWeber really get this and that’s why they’ve put so much effort creating user-friendly, beautifully designed and detail rich statistics. I recommend when you get to the point of having an email list and a few good subscribers, I would recommend you take full advantage of these features. It would be a shame to let them go to waste!

How to Earn Your First $1,000 with Your Email List

We’ve talked a lot about the technical details: choosing what type of email to send, getting your lists set up, the rules and laws, etc. But what about the practical art of earning money from your email list?

I call it an art because once you develop the skill of earning income from your list, you’re truly an email marketing artist. When you really understand how to send out an email that gets attention and results, you’ve mastered an art that most struggle with.

Let me emphasize this point: You can master sending effective email messages.

When bloggers first start an email list they are thrilled to have a medium by which they can share information to a large group of followers. Most share freely with no hesitation. When it comes to asking for money, however, they freeze up and shut down. They think… “My list will leave me if I send them too many marketing messages!” or “I’ll get reported as a spammer!”

To that I say “hold on!” We didn’t just go through all the work of setting up your email list only to use the list to share information. Why not use this opportunity as an additional income stream?

Let’s get back to that question of how with the two main ways to earn income from your email list:

  1. The Information Sell – There are going to be many prospective customers who sign up to your email list just for information. They’re not in the mindset to purchase products or services from you… at least note yet. Perhaps you have a compelling story that caught their attention, or maybe your mission aligns with their professional interests. Regardless of why they signed up, once they are on your list, it’s your job to show these prospectives that they can trust you 110% percent. You do this by providing high quality information that is useful to them but also not entirely complete. Tell a story, but stop short of giving away the ending. Capture their attention and hold it, like a good novel, for a few days, weeks, or even months. Invisible Children does this very well, creating campaigns that last for months and allow the supporter to follow the story as it unfolds. (Fundraising through your list is different beast entirely. We’ll have to save it for a subsequent post.)
  1. The Direct Ask – There are going to be people on your email list who are ready to purchase right away. Don’t neglect these people. Send them direct, to the point email blasts asking them to buy. The people ready to pay will appreciate you making it easy for them.

If you feel unsure of where to start and what to write to your email list, think of your prospective customer. What do they need? What problems might they be facing? How can you help? The best answer for writer’s block is to put yourself in their shoes and use your voice, your creativity, to talk to your followers.

When it comes down to it, earning income from your email list is about communication. The only way to communicate with people is to start talking. Then ask for a response. You may not get a written response but your list responds by either unsubscribing, clicking, purchasing, etc. Pay attention to these actions and bit by bit you’ll get on the same wavelength as those you’re looking to engage as customers.


Whew! Those were some serious email marketing lessons. To close, I’ll leave you with some parting advice:

  • Don’t try to do everything at once. It takes time to perfect the art of the email list.
  • Take action. Don’t wait to get your travel newsletter blast just right. Set a timer and tell yourself “I’m going to proofread and schedule this email draft in 45 minutes” then do that and take satisfaction in completing the job.
  • Network with other travel writers. Find out how they use email marketing to pursue their goals.Be sure to share what you learn below in the comments section.


What email marketing strategies are working for you?

Share them below in the comments section.

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