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?
You need some traffic, a solid understanding of your audience, a good lead magnet, a product you know your audience wants, and a great email sequence.
That’s it. Seriously.
And lucky for you, I will go into each one and how to make it happen.
1. Get traffic as a rookie 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 comprises:
- 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 and you’ve given them a valuable link in your round up post, they will be far more likely to have your guest post than if you had just reached out cold.
2. Get to know your audience
Now you have 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.
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. 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.
4. Make your first product
In my group coaching program, Profitable Blogging, Simplified, I teach bloggers the process of creating a pocket launch to sell their first product.
They price their initial offering at $100. 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 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 need not solve all of their problems – just offer one solution that is worth $100.
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.