How to Make $1000 With Your Blog…even if you have a tiny list

Before we jump in, let’s get something straight.

You do not need a big email list to make money with your blog.

You don’t need a ton of social media followers or amazing SEO.

(I know, shocking, right?)

So, what do you need?

make money blogging

You need some traffic, a solid understanding of your audience, a good lead magnet, a product that you know your audience wants, and a great email sequence.

That’s it. Seriously.

And lucky for you, I’m going to go into each one and how to make it happen.

1. Get traffic as a beginner blogger

Many bloggers get overly focused on their social media following in the beginning. Or they spend hours optimizing their blog posts for organic search.

Neither of these strategies works all that well.

What works better than anything else? Blogger outreach.

You want to build relationships with bigger bloggers so that you can get in front of their audiences. That is the quickest way to get high-quality traffic to your site.

Blogger outreach consists of:

  • Regularly commenting on other blogs
  • Asking influencers in your niche to contribute to round up posts
  • Making pitches for guest posting

Do these 3 things and you will get a lot more traffic in your first 6 months of blogging than you’ll ever get from social media or SEO.

Make a list of 20 bloggers with whom you want to build relationships. Comment on 2–3 of their blogs every day.

Once you’ve gone through the list a few times, you’re ready for the next step, which is asking them to contribute to a roundup post.

Reach out to your list of 20 (add in a few smaller bloggers if you want a bigger roundup post – 37 is a great number!) and ask them all the same question. Make it something that your audience really cares about.

Then publish a post with all of their responses. Email them to know it’s live. Many of the influencers will share your post with their audience, and you’ll see your traffic numbers go up.

After your round up post is published, don’t stop your relationship building there!

If any of your influencers accept guest posts, it’s a great time to ask if you can submit one to their sites. Since they know who you are at this point, and you’ve given them a valuable link in your round up post, they will be far more likely to have you guest post than if you had just reached out cold.

If you want to know more about making your first $1k blogging, sign up for my upcoming free training class, How To Earn Your First $1k Blogging: The Simple 3 Step Strategy You Can Use To Generate A $1000 A Month With Your Blog…like clockwork

2. Get to know your audience

Now that you have some traffic coming in, it’s time for the next part of our 5 step plan: getting to know your audience. This step is essential to creating an irresistible lead magnet and making an initial offering that your readers want.

A few ways to get to know your audience:

  • Survey them
  • Set up phone conversations with them
  • Chat with them on social media
  • Look up books on your topic on Amazon and read the 3-star reviews
  • Read the comments on popular blogs in your niche

The better you know your audience, the more you can tailor your content and offerings to them.

If you can survey your audience members or get them on the phone, that is the best way to learn about them.

Or you can use the trick of asking them, in the very first email you send them when they subscribe to your list, what they are struggling with the most in your niche.

However, if you don’t have the audience to talk to directly, the strategies of reading 3-star reviews on Amazon or reading blog comments on other blogs work as well.

3. Create an irresistible lead magnet

Once you know what your audience struggles with the most, it shouldn’t be too hard to create a lead magnet for which they will eagerly give you their email address.

Great lead magnets:

  • Have intriguing headlines
  • Provide a quick win for your readers
  • Get them ready to buy from you

Remember, your lead magnet should be designed to not only grow your list, but to grow it with people who are likely to buy in the future. That’s why it should be directly related to your paid offering.

And don’t forget that no matter how great your lead magnet is, you must also make it visible on your blog and write copy around it that inspires your audience to download it. I suggest putting it across the top of your blog and in an unobtrusive, exit intent pop-up, as well.

4. Make your first product

In my course, Profitable Blogging, Simplified, I teach bloggers the process of creating a pocket launch to sell their first product.

They price their initial offering at $97. It’s a low-priced product or service, but if they get even 10 buyers, they’ve made $1k. Not bad for a beginner blogger.

A short course is a perfect first product for a blogger. When you teach it live, you can get input and feedback from your students so that you can improve it the next time.

Think about your audience’s biggest struggle. Can you create a 4 to 6 part course or coaching package that will help them through it?

Your offer doesn’t need to solve all of their problems – just offer one solution that is worth $97.

5. Sell your offer through email marketing

Once you’ve created your offer and outlines and planned it, it’s time to sell it to your audience!

As you probably noticed in the title of this post, you don’t need a huge list to sell 10 spots in your program – just a small list of high-quality subscribers.

Send them a series of 3–5 emails letting them know about your offering, answering FAQs about it, and getting them excited about the transformation you will help them achieve.

If you’ve done your homework on your audience and are selling something you know they want, you will make money from your blog.

And I promise it will feel really, really good.

If you want to know more about making your first $1k blogging, sign up for my upcoming free training class, How To Earn Your First $1k Blogging: The Simple 3 Step Strategy You Can Use To Generate A $1000 A Month With Your Blog…like clockwork

Comments

  1. says

    Hey Sue Ann,
    Totally agree with you, you nailed it. A lot of bloggers neglect the fact that it’s not easy as a beginner to get your guest post approved, as they have a lot of other in house writer who writes for them more frequently. Glad that you mentioned this point.
    Here blog commenting plays an important role in reaching out to those bloggers and get themselves noticed before requesting them again for guest blogging.
    Nayab Khan recently posted…Ways to make money onlineMy Profile

    • says

      Making money with a tiny email list is not hard if you know your target audience well.

      Most people focus on the quantity of their list rather than the quality. Even if you have a massive email list, if no one is opening your emails, it’s of no use.

      Focus on the relationships from the beginning. Create an email autoresponder series that connects with your audience.

      Also focus on networking with other bloggers so you can know their list building secrets.

      • says

        Love this comment, Anil! You are so right.

        I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.
        Sue

  2. says

    Hi Sue,

    All excellent points.

    If you focus on outreach, while publishing to your blog regularly, you will make scratch even if your list is small. Because folks will find you through all sorts of channels.

    People find my blog through probably 50 channels, when you account for the groups and communities and tribes and bookmarking sites and social sites and the 5 to 10 guest posts I have circulating out there over every 1-2 weeks. Having a big list rocks; having 50 channels of traffic rocks even more 😉

    Thanks for sharing the smart tips.

    Signing off from Thailand.

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…6 Things to Know about Riding a Motorbike in ThailandMy Profile

    • says

      Love this comment, Ryan! You are the perfect example of blogger outreach – you comment on lots of great blogs, you write books and blog posts, do videos, etc. The perfect blogger 🙂

      Thanks, Ryan.
      Sue

  3. says

    Hi Sue,

    So true about focusing on blogger outreach. So many people focus on SEO and social media. I’m not saying that those aren’t important, it’s just nice to know that we don’t have to spend all day using them.

    I’ve actually, just started guest posting and blog commenting to start building relationships with other bloggers.

    To tell you the truth, I really enjoy the relationship building part of blogging.

    It’s nice to know that we don’t actually need a huge list if our list is targeted to our perfect audience.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, I know they will help so many people take a look at how they have their lead magnet set up 🙂

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • says

      Hi Susan,

      Good for you about the commenting and guest blogging. That alone grew my list from 2,600 to 7,500 in one year.

      Thanks for sharing your story!
      Sue

  4. says

    I think SEO and social media are important depending on your niche. Blog commenting, group building, and guest posting are great ways to attract traffic. As a DIY refashion blogger, however, I find that the number of influencers in my niche are limited. However, I get tons of traffic from Pinterest and Twitter, which translates into email subscribers, albeit a lot slower than what everyone here is probably used to. I am about to launch my first guest post! I’m hoping to see some traffic boosts! 🙂

    On a side question, what plugin are you using to add the twitter handle? I love it.
    June Rostad recently posted…Refashion a Plain T-Shirt with a Bow Front T-ShirtMy Profile

    • says

      You will see a boost if it’s a popular blog. Send the readers to a landing page to get their email addresses instead of to your blog itself.

      Pinterest is great for fashion bloggers!

      My Twitter plugins are JM Twitter Cards and Social Warfare for social sharing the right size images.
      Sue

  5. says

    Hi, Sue. This is an amazing post and so helpful! Also it is very positive and I guess many bloggers need this positive input. The general opinion is that you need a huge number of subscribers to make money. Which is depressing to hear.
    I have maybe 100 now and people have reached out to me through email with their problems. In this state where my blog is now I guess it’s easy to create a course.
    Now I need to get start it.
    Do you still have the training on how to make a class for your blog? How long does it last?

  6. says

    It is so inspiring to see how important and powerful sticking to blogging basics can be. Thanks for the reminder and cutting through the clutter.

  7. says

    Sue,

    Thanks for your post! I just started blogging 3 months ago. My site is called Families of Influence. Your article was very practical and I look forward to giving it a try. Have a great weekend!

    Ken

  8. says

    Hmm. Solid recommendation in here. I’ve been fretting over my social media following, not to mention it takes up so much of my time. But your point about guest posting and round ups etc, I knew it all along but never thought about it like this. Thank you so much. I already feel better!

    • says

      Hi Hena,

      So glad I could help! I appreciate you letting me know in your comment.

      Sue

  9. says

    I love the tip to read three star reviews to identify pain points. That’s actionable even with a super tiny list. Thank you!

  10. says

    Hi Sue,

    You Have Inspired me a lot about my blog. I am a beginner but your posts are so important to me.

    Your Small blogger,

    Aliko Musa.

    Tanzanian

    • says

      I so appreciate you, Aliko. Let me know if you ever have any blogging questions!

      Sue

  11. says

    I’ve been working on creating my first product but to be honest it’s easier said than done for me. However, I do see the endless possibilities and it sounds like loads of fun. I guess procrastination is my biggest blogging weakness. Thanks Sue for this article. I will continue to brainstorm more about the perfect package.

    • says

      Totally understand, James. The easiest way to start is set a timer for 25 minutes and just start.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Sue

  12. says

    Excellent ( and super helpful) post Sue! It’s amazing how easy it can be to turn a blog into a business, and I wish that when I started blogging years ago I understood it’s possible with even a small list! So many bloggers waste their time on trivial tasks and make small amounts from Adsense or affiliate sales when they could focus their attention on creating a course or offering a service.

  13. says

    Hi Sue, I like that you don’t have to have thousands of subscribers to begin to make money blogging. SO many people focus on that one metric. It’s like in real life – it’s who you know and connect with. The same goes for blogging and social media.
    The only thing that slows me down is time to write on my own blog and on others too. It’s quite a balance act. I’d love more on how to succeed doing it all.
    Thanks for the inspiration Sue Anne!

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for your feedback on list size. I so appreciate it.

      I use a timer and the Pomodoro Technique of working for 25-minute intervals and then a 5-minute break. After 4 intervals, I take a 30 minute break. It really helps me stick to my plan. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

      Sue

  14. says

    Thank you Sue, I will surely try that out. I need to stick to my plans 🙂

  15. says

    Hi there Sue,

    It’s been a while that I haven’t been here.

    You are still rocking!

    After I got back, this post really inspired me to blog more.

    I just bookmarked it. Will analyze it carefully

    Regards,

    Clay Smith.

  16. says

    Hey Susan I really like your ideas. I will look over more in depth. I really don’t have much in email users but I have membership that in 1000’s. Could I use these techniques with my membership?

    • says

      Totally! And get those members to sign up for your list, OK?

      Thanks for your comment and question, Anthony.
      Sue

  17. says

    This was really great information! I think you really hit on points that us bloggers sometimes forget. Thanks so much for continuing to give us amazing and actionable information!.

  18. says

    Hey Sue,

    Developing connections with pro blogger can be beneficial for newbies to drive more and more audience. Blog commenting and guest posting on bigger and famous website provides a healthy opportunity to become famous in least time.
    Understanding or analyzing about audiences really helps to make them satisfied and it is considered as genius strategy to drive maximum traffic. Eventually, thanks for exploring these potential tips with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  19. says

    Really nice post. I like part to make relationship with big bloggers. They can help to grow traffic.

  20. says

    Great information here. I am implementing some of these suggestions now.

  21. says

    Hey Sue,

    Thanks for this.

    Every time, I go off course, I check your blog and I feel like I’m back on course.

    Love from London

    Happy Easter

  22. says

    Thank you, Sue. I’ve been blogging for years without putting any effort into making money at it. However, I’ve just written my first course and want to be able to launch it successfully. I appreciate your clear explanation of the basic approach. Now to implement those steps you’ve outlined and watch it translate it into people signing up for the course. . Thank you again.

  23. says

    Hi Sue Anne,
    Solid, realistic, prudent, and most importantly, honest advice, is so rare on the internet today. Thanks for sharing. It’s greatly appreciated.
    Kind Regards,
    Barry

  24. says

    Blogging has become very popular and a trusted way to make money online. One have to learn the basics first and then stick to a solid plan. Patience and hard work is the key to get success in blogging and then making money is really possible. Thank you for sharing this wonderful share here.
    Santanu Debnath recently posted…How To Connect Instagram To YouTubeMy Profile

  25. says

    I am planning to make a blog about fashion designing but in the past, I have some query regarding how to make money through the blog and that all query are solved by reading this informative article thank you so much, Sue Dunlevie, for this article.

  26. says

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for sharing. Your idea on using roundup post as blogger outreach strategy is a wonderful idea.

    Though I haven’t used it on my blog but remembering the level of traffic I got on my blog as a result of a roundup post I was featured in tells me that it works.

    Next, when you share quality content for free, you can also up-sell to them afterwards – that way, you may hit your first $1,000 with little or no list (when you are using social media).

    Emenike
    Emenike Emmanuel recently posted…How to Write Powerful Blog Post Titles that Get Readers Hooked on Your SiteMy Profile

    • says

      Great idea, Emenike!

      Thanks for sharing it with me and the Successful Blogging team.
      Sue

  27. says

    Sue,

    Another very valuable post! I never thought about approaching influencers using this method, but it is a great idea.

    It would also be smart to approach some of these influencers for podcasts and guest posts after you get to know them.

    I usually look for influencers that are very serious about what they are doing but have not reached guru status yet. It is very easy to approach these folks because they are looking for good writers that want to add valuable content to their site without having to pay for it. Of course, the contributor receives link juice and traffic from the site they are approaching.

    It would also be a good idea to have a short, well written bio ready so that when you contribute the piece the owner of the blog can post your information. You may even want to include the HTML link to your site so that it is very easy for the owner to drop the code onto his or her site with your information on it.

    One last point. It is always smart to present a professional look to any correspondence or work you may do for someone. People that are serious and potential leaders are inundated with loads of messages from wannabes that think they are going to make it to the top fast.

    You can very easily stand out from the crowd by approaching individuals in a very professional manner.

    Once again, thanks Sue for your outstanding post and great insight. I love the way you present honest and practical advice.

    God Bless,

    Mark “Elmo” Ellis

    • says

      Great points about approaching influencers in a professional way, Mark. LOVE it!

      I always appreciate you stopping by, reading and taking the time to comment.
      Sue

  28. says

    wow ! great article …
    hey, I am a newbie … and I started a blog on step by step sketch and painting …
    how can I optimise my blog…
    I am facing the problem of slow page loading and also the traffic is very less …
    blog commenting really helps to gain traffic ???

  29. says

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Well explained and easy step by step instructions for beginners.
    It’s good to keep in mind that top bloggers are pretty busy and get lots of emails every day so if you want to get their attention you should spend some time to get to know them. Like you said…build relationships.

  30. says

    Hi Sue Anne,

    Thanks for a great read. I’ve been a freelance writer for a few years, and I’m just now considering ways to diversify my income. I’ve been going back and forth between building a niche site or making/selling a digital product.

    I was really leaning toward niche/affiliate marketing, but now you’ve got me thinking more about building a product. I also just finished reading your “Best Way to Make Money Online” post & your tips about pre-selling. You make it look so easy.

    But, I dunno. You’ve certainly given me something to chew on.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Jordan

    • says

      Hi Jordan,

      You could go either way and make money online. It’s easy to explain but a lot of hard work 🙂 And I know what works after doing it for almost 7 years.

      Thanks so much for your comment!
      Sue

  31. says

    Actually,I have a tiny email lit.few targeted subscriber in my list.I don’t know,which types of product will be suitable for my list.I already got some idea from your wonderful post.thanks for the useful post.keep sharing good stuff

  32. says

    Dear Sue, amazing blog lessons on monetization part. Keep them coming.

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