Building a profitable blog/vlog depends heavily on your e-mail list.
And the more targeted that e-mail list is the better.
Two and a half years ago when I started this blog, I was completely oblivious to this fact.
Thankfully at the beginning of last year, I wised up and when I did, my e-mail list building efforts literally jumped from 40 (or 50 on a good month) to around 180 subscribers per month.
Here’s a screenshot of my e-mail list growth from January 1 until April 8 2017.
Not phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination but I did learn A LOT from that jump.
A lesson I don’t want you to forget as we go through today’s content – while your e-mail list numbers do depend on your traffic to an extent, if you are not offering anything valuable, it is still possible to get abysmal results. So while I am all about you increasing traffic and getting the right tools, like I am about to share here, the right offer will do more for you.
The E-mail Marketing Strategies That Took Me From 40 to 180 Subscribers Per Month
If anyone tells you that you need to create content upgrades for your blog, please believe them !
They take a bit of work but they work wonders.
What’s a content upgrade, Gee ?
Glad you asked.
A content upgrade is simply an extra valuable freebie that you create as an extension of content you have already created but which you offer as an incentive for people to sign up for your e-mail list.
So for instance, if you have a post on your blog like this guest post that was written for me by Giorgia Martinucci, you can create a 4-page PDF that adds some extra information not included in the post. Since people are already engaging with that piece of content they are very likely to subscribe to your e-mail list for that specific freebie.
The advantage of putting the work into a content upgrade is that you build a targeted list from the onset and so you can tailor your product sales to that particular audience. Win win if you ask me.
How to create a content upgrade :
- Take a look at your Google Analytics (or whatever analytics software you use) and note your top 3-5 content pieces
- Review those posts/videos. Look at the comments and the questions your content generated. Is there something extra you can add to the post ? We are going to create a content upgrades for each of your top 3-5 content pieces.
- Content upgrades can take many forms. Here are 7 ideas.
- a PDF of the blog post (easiest content upgrade to offer by far)
- a cheatsheet that allows your reader to go through a process you just described
- a video tutorial to give your reader a visual of something you described in the post
- a list of tools you use to create something
- eBook chapter related to the post you have written
- Bonus content – e.g. you created a list of 30 headlines people can use for blog posts and then you give an extra 20 as a bonus via content upgrade
- A challenge
- Based on the type of content upgrade you want to create there are a number of tools you can use.
- To create a PDF of the blog post you just wrote you can install the Google Chrome Extension Print Friendly & PDF to turn the post into a PDF in less than 5 minutes.
- Use Screencast-o-matic to create a video tutorial
- Use Canva, PicMonkey or any one of the graphic design tools I list here to create cheatsheets, checklists and other visually stunning content upgrades
- Upload your content upgrade to a Dropbox or Google Drive. I personally prefer Amazon Web Services for this. Once you have uploaded it, you will usually get a link you can now place in e-mail that can be clicked on each and every time someone signs up for your list.
Increasing How Many Times A Reader Sees An Opt-In Form
I actually learned this from listening to this episode of Side Hustle Nation where Nick Loper interviewed Rosemarie Groner.
She talked about making e-mail list building a focus on her blog and the reason why she was making 6-figures a year with her blog. This meant that she made sure her readers were seeing more than one opt-in form when they came to her blog.
And like I good student, I came home from listening to that podcast and implemented that nugget of wisdom.
So as you can see, I have an opt-in form in the side bar (which actually converts quite well I must say !), I have a pop-up and I make sure to include a content upgrade or an opportunity to sign up for my e-mail list in each post I write typically in the top third of the blog post.
Doing this certainly has contributed to the growth I have seen.
Investing In The Right Tools
If you are having thoughts about moving to a better e-mail service, please do. These days we are blessed to have an array of tools you can use to build your e-mail list. For a long time I used Mailchimp and loved it but when I decided to get super serious I needed something that was a bit more streamlined.
I saw a member of a paid group I am a part of suggest ActiveCampaign (over ConvertKit actually) so I decided to give them try and have not regretted the decision.
ActiveCampaign has really neat forms you can customize and mini-landing pages you can use. The lowest plan for up to 1000 subscribers is $17.
Thrive Landing Pages has also played an important role in the growth I have seen recently. It has allowed me to create simple high-converting landing pages in minutes like this one and it was just $67 for the plugin. They also have a monthly membership offering that allows you to access all their amazing tools.
Pop-Up Ally (free) for my current pop-up and it has not let me down !
Investing in the right tools (and using them properly) will pay for itself almost immediately.
Setting Up An Autoresponder Series
Or better known as “don’t just give them a freebie and then run!”
Autoresponders will save your life my friend. AND it will keep fewer people from unsubscribing from your list.
Even an autoresponder series that sends out 3 strategic e-mails after a person signs up for your list will work in your e-mail.
Just to give you an example of what I do personally for one of my autoresponders :
Social Media Manager Sign Up (3-part)
Day 1 – 7 Characteristics That Make A Phenomenal Social Media Manager (full webinar recording)
Day 2 – E-mail Script that landed me my first social media management client
Day 4 – E-mail reminding them to access freebies if they haven’t plus mini-motivational message on building an online business with extra resources.
That’s it. It does not have to be complicated or long but it does have to be engaging enough that they keep opening your e-mails each day.
Sending out an engaging autoresponder will allow you to provide a great intro of your business to the subscriber and get your relationship off to a great start.
Secondly, since Gmail is the most widely used e-mail, once their algorithm notices that a person tends to open e-mails from you, your e-mails will start landing in their Primary inboxes increasing the chances of your e-mail getting opened and the subscribers engaging with you/your content.
Know. Like. Trust.
This is how you build a profitable e-mail list. This point probably deserves a post of its’ own but I will say this – sending frequent e-mails to my list each week has changed things for me dramatically.
Last year, I would send e-mails whenever I felt like it. Which meant there was a whole 3 month stretch where I sent nothing. THAT IS NO WAY TO BUILD A BUSINESS. So naturally when I finally did get to writing, my open rates were abysmal (15-20%) and barely anybody was engaging with me in response to my e-mails.
At the beginning of the year when I finally switched to ActiveCampaign I decided to get very serious and at least show up once in my subscribers inbox per week with a super value add.
I immediately saw the difference – 20-30% e-mail open rates and for the first time since I started, people were writing me back after they received my e-mails AND buying products from me or via my affiliate links ! And all it took was sending them e-mails weekly.
So yeah. I cannot underestimate the power of sending weekly e-mails in building relationships with your people and building your very own tribe of advocates who will buy from you and recommend you to others.
And that, my friend, is how I went from a struggling to gain 50 subscribers per month to 3.5 times that number in just a matter of months.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.