Want to Make Money Blogging? Build An Email List

A lot of people want to start a blog and make money. If you ask people, they will tell you that the blog market is saturated, and you can’t make money. Lies.

“If you have a blog about smurfs, smurf if up.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

As funny as that sounds, it’s true. You can make money talking about anything online. There are niches and communities for everything.

For ideas on what type of communities you can create, check out the subreddits on Reddit.

Check out this list of the top 200 subreddits categorized by topic. Remember there are thousands more.

So how do you make money blogging? Simply build an email list.

If you focus on this and this alone, you will be able to make money online.

Why Email Marketing is Important…

EmailMarketing

Because people check all day long. Someone giving you their private email is like someone giving you their home address and saying “yea send me stuff. I like what you have to offer”.

Email gets viewed way more than social media. You can post stuff on your Twitter timeline or Facebook fan page, and your viewers can completely miss it. But with email they have to act on it. They will view it and choose to open it, click it, archive it, spam it, or delete it. They have to take action with it.

Other mediums have a high probably of being completely missed or overlooked.

Email Pays Off

To put it in perspective, let say that you have a blog about fresh organic, eco-friendly DIY projects. You have been active in creating content for the site, guest blogging, and outreach. You are capturing emails and have a list of 1000 people.

You send out relative information to your list, and they look forward to your emails. One day you announce that you are creating an ebook or video course on how to do some advanced DIY projects that will save your readers 100s of dollars a year in energy bills.

Let’s say 5% of your email list buys the video course at a price $49 each. You just made $2450 from your email list.

Keeping this same conversion rate, let’s say in one year you grow your list to 5,000 people. Now you introduce an expanded version of your course with interviews, a private community, etc. for $97. You sell 250 (5%) at $97 each. You just made $24,250. Imagine if your list was 10k or 50k?

Growing a list can be profitable.

Proof That It Works…

I have a course called the Import Crash Course that I created after validating it online in a couple different forums. I was able to build up a list of 1,200 interested people and sell 300 copies of the course when I launched it.

I grow the email list by giving away awesome content like recorded webinars or case studies of people who have succeeded or failed at importing. I get their emails and after providing value, I offer them the full course (which is more valuable than any free content they have received).

How to Get Email Subscribers

SubscribeStamp

There are are a couple ways to get subscribers. Most people think that just creating great content will attract people to your site. The “build it, and they will come” approach doesn’t work unless you write something super amazing or have an established brand. People like Neil Patel can just publish and get 1000s of views and hundreds of comments.

Guest Posts

I always thought this was a waste of time. Write something for someone else’s blog and let them have it? What the hell? Blasphemy!

Well, countless entrepreneurs have created 6 figure businesses doing this. If you don’t have an audience in a particular niche, write for a bigger brand who wants content and drive traffic back to your site.

It’s no secret that this guest post will drive many visitors back to my website.

Interviews

Interviews are easy and fun. Find people who are influencers or experts in your industry and request to interview them. For the Import Crash Course, I wrote about my experience importing from China. It was good buy itself. But I increased the value of my product by interviewing seven people who have been importing for a long time.

This strategy increased the perceived value of my product.

Now your guests share their interviews with their audience, and you get traffic and email subscribers.

You can use these interviews to grow your email list. Sites like Mixergy and Entrepreneur on Fire are prime examples of how you can use interviews to build up an email list and create a large revenue stream. John Lee Dumas has over 14,000 subscribers and according to his last month’s income report, generated $282,353.16.

This flow summarizes what I have talked about plus a couple other methods.

Grow Your Email List 2

Tools You can use

There are a couple tools that you can use to grow your email list.

Sumo MeThe best free option is Sumo Me. It is a suite of marketing apps design by the guys at AppSumo. They are designed to help you grow your blog traffic. List Builder, Smart Bar, Leads, Scroll Box, are all apps in the suite designed to capture your email subscribers.

Here are some great paid options.

There are many others. Your goal should implement an email capture tool on your blog in some fashion to capture emails.

Give Value

This is the most important part of the entire process. People will only give you their email address if you can give them something of value.

What can you give? Video courses, checklists, blog posts, presentations, or guides. Keep it simple.

Closing Thoughts…

Every time I ask an entrepreneur if they had to do it over, how would they start, they always say through email. Relationships for through email, the deal can close via email, and you can build a brand and audience through email.

Build your list and you will grow your business.

How are you using email marketing in your business? Let me know in the comments below.

15 Quick Fixes To Increase Your Blog Opt-in Rates Today

In blogging and Internet marketing in general, conversions are everything. Really.

Just think about it – getting 1,000 visitors a day is great. But if none of those visitors subscribe to your blog, i.e. converts, what’s the point? You might be getting hoards of traffic, but if none of those visitors actually hop onto your mailing list, chances are that you won’t be making any money.

E-mail marketing and focusing on getting people to opt in to your lists is something that will not only boost your credibility and popularity across the blogosphere, but will also bring you revenue. In fact, many Internet marketers (Michael Dunlop, for example) will tell you that 80% of their online income (or more) comes solely from their list.

Clearly, list-building and getting those opt-ins is very important. That said, here are 15 nifty tips to increase your blog opt-in rates from the pros.

1. You Are Giving Something Away, Right?

People are always looking out for themselves. Believe it or not, 99% of your visitors won’t subscribe to your mailing list just because you regularly post high quality content to your blog (even though high quality content is a must). Readers look out for benefits, and what they stand to gain from subscribing to your list.

They need an incentive. An eBook, access to an exclusive interview, or even a subscriber-only membership with subscriber-only content, like what CopyBlogger does.

Make sure that whatever you offer up as an incentive is actually of some sort of value. Don’t just rebrand and give away cheap PLR, or rehash/spin your blog posts and call the conglomeration an “eBook”. Take the time to craft a value-filled eBook or video that your subscribers will love and thank you for. 

Additionally, make sure it’s relevant to your niche. If you blog about weight loss, your readers probably don’t want a video tutorial on how to grow petunias.

2. Look Pretty Ugly

I bet you’ve always wanted those “cool” squeeze pages – the ones that look sleek, modern, and very high-tech. I sure know I did in my initial blogging days.

But the truth is, the plain ugly Janes actually convert much higher. “Sleek Sally” squeeze pages don’t even begin to compare to a plain, ugly headline and a plain, ugly background with a plain, ugly opt-in box.

The reason why they work much better is because, ugly as they are, they grab your attention and hold it. Those modern squeeze pages, on the other hand, usually have too much confusion going on and simply don’t engage viewers.

3. Don’t Ask For Information You Don’t Need

People are always hesitant to giving out their information, especially online. For all they know, you’re just another insurance salesman (and they certainly don’t want to give insurance salesmen their home address or cell phone number). And let’s face it – you don’t need either of those details to send someone an eBook. All you need is a verified e-mail address.

If you can go without their first name (and you usually can), then don’t ask for it. Keep in mind that all you need for a sales-generating autoresponder sequence is an e-mail address. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Add In A Testimonial Or Two … Or Three

If you haven’t noticed, great sales letters often include a bunch of customer testimonials to add as proof the product is legitimate.

If it works for sales copy, then why shouldn’t it work for your squeeze page?

After having secured a few opt-ins, send out an e-mail broadcast as king subscribers to reply to your e-mail address and say whether or not they found the book helpful. Better yet, randomly pick a few e-mails off your list and send them a personal message. If you can get something along the lines of “I can’t believe Mr. X is giving this info away for free!!”, it will sure be a lot easier to get those opt-ins rolling in.

What’s even better is if you can get a testimonial from a widely respected and popular man in your industry (like Darren Rowse in blogging).

5. Channel Your Traffic Into Your Squeeze Page

As soon as any visitor hops onto your blog, you should have one purpose for them – to subscribe to your mailing list. Once they’re on your list, then you can worry about things like getting them to interact with your blog posts and share/link to your articles and perhaps even purchase your (affiliate) product.

With that goal in mind, set up your blog so that it’s just one big funnel channeling all traffic into your squeeze page.

6. Use A Pop-Up/Lightbox Plugin

There’s quite a bit of controversy and debate over whether or not you should add a pop-up/lightbox on your blog. You’ll find die-hard lightbox fans, and you’ll find webmasters out there who are on a quest to eliminate all pop-ups from the universe.

But seriously, there’s simply no denying the fact that pop-ups increase conversion rates. Leslie Samuels reported a 548% overnight increase in subscriptions after installing and activating a pop-up plugin. Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, increased their subscription rate more than six times over by using their premium plugin “OptinMonster”. Pop-ups are quite possibly the best way to ensure that all your viewers know that you’re giving away something of value in exchange for their e-mail address.

If you’re willing to suffer a bit in the bounce rate department while gaining an increased opt-in rate, then go for a pop-up.

7. Target Your Traffic

Even though most of us probably already realize that all traffic was not created equal, some need it to be reiterated one more time.

Different kinds of traffic from different sources of traffic will get you different conversion rates. If you don’t drive targeted traffic to your blog (in other words, visitors who are actually interested in what you blog about), then you won’t get conversions. It’s that simple.

On the other hand, if you zero in and narrow your focus market down so that every visitor who arrives at your blog is hungry for what you offer in your blog posts, you’ll boost your conversions by a whole lot overnight. Plus, your bounce rate is likely to plummet and your average visit duration and pageviews per visitor metrics are likely to skyrocket.

8. Insert Your Opt-in Form At The End Of Every Post

Right after someone gets through reading one of your awesome posts, they’re looking for what they should do next. Comment? Take a look at a related post? Hit the “exit tab” button?

Why not make them subscribe?

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income increased his opt-in rate by 25% when he added an opt-in box at the end of every post as a fresh addition to his new blog design.

9. Be Upfront & Honest

If you’re going to send subscribers daily tips on how to grow their biceps, fine. Tell them that in the squeeze page.

If you’re going to send them affiliate promotions every-so-often for whey protein supplements they’re sure to love, fine. Tell them that in your squeeze page.

Always be upfront and honest in your squeeze page. While telling them they’ll get a few product promotions might not directly increase your conversion rate, it will pre-qualify your traffic. You’ll end up building a much more responsive list that will actually buy products (since they already know that they will get those affiliate promotions) and not just hunt around for freebies.

10. Their Private Details Are Safe With You

Don’t worry. Your details are 100% safe with me.

Going back to the “people don’t wanna give out their private details” theme, make sure that you’re telling your leads that your details are absolutely 100% safe with you. Locked in a vault with the key thrown away.

Also re-assure them by telling them that they won’t see a promotion in their inbox every 3 hours, unlike what they might be getting from most of the mailing lists to which they are subscribed.

11. Add Some Authority Into The Mix

The more weight your name carries, the better.

If you’ve seen The Hobbit (great film, by the way – definitely mark a date on your calendar to watch it soon), then you would have Authoritynoticed that whenever the name “Thorin Oakenshield” is mentioned, a certain awe and deep respect is evident in the faces of those in the vicinity. His name is great, his name carries weight, and his name has a stamp of authority across it.

The more authority you wield and the more respect you command in your niche, the more likely people are to subscribe to your blog.

12. Brag A Lot

Have you been featured in a national magazine related to your niche? Tell your visitors. That’s right, stick up a huge header telling everybody where your blog has been featured – the New York Times, MSN, ProBlogger (if you’re in the blogging niche), and in any other written publication that carries a lot of authority.

You’re building credibility for yourself and letting all your visitors know that you’re an expert.

13. Show People Your Face

How Faces Impact Conversions
Photo courtesy Epsos via Flickr.

Fact is, people are much more likely to subscribe to your list and buy from you when they see your face and realize that you are not just a faceless mask behind a computer screen. We all like to be reminded that those we buy from are humans, and not robots.

Keep your profile image professional and neat (NOT your Facebook cover depicting your family’s most recent snowboarding trip). Smile – look friendly and approachable.

In other words, ensure you’re not building a distance between you and your potential subscribers. Instead, you are making a connection with them.

14. Use The Right Color Combination

Color Conversions
Courtesy Doug88 via Flickr.

A recent infographic from KISSMetrics showed the effect color has on call-to-action, links, and “buy now” buttons. Different colors schemes fire different brain synapses and convey different feelings and emotions to viewers.

There’s no one-fits-all color for your links and buttons, but HubSpot showed that a red “subscribe” button increased page conversions by nearly 21% when compared to a green button. Think of it! 21%! If you average a fair 20 subscribers a day, that’s an extra 7000 subscribers per year – just by changing the button color!

15. Test, Test, And Re-test

If your squeeze page isn’t converting well, change it around and test the results of the new page versus the results of the old one. Pick the winner.

Then test again. And again…until you’ve got your squeeze page converting at a healthy 30+% percent at least.

Good old-fashioned split-testing can get you miles closer to where you want your blog to be.

Summing Up

Just to recap:

  • offer a free incentive, and make sure it’s displayed everywhere (especially at the ends of posts)
  • choose “plain Janes” over “Sleek Sallys”
  • don’t ask for information you don’t need, and keep their details private
  • use a pop-up if you’re willing to risk the bounce rate and overall user engagement
  • add in a testimonial … or two … or three
  • target your traffic
  • be upfront and honest
  • be authoritative
  • be human
  • think color psychology
  • and above all, split-test till the cows come come

With these fifteen tips, you’re well on your way to a high-converting blog that brings you subscribers, sales, and ultimately, revenue.

Psst! While you’re at it, why not take a look at our squeeze page and take a few leaves out of our book?

*Featured image courtesy Beantin via Flickr.