Do you feel like everywhere you turn you are hearing about the importance of email list building? Many bloggers know that they need to have an email list, and may even try, but they can't seem to get subscribers.
I’ve received so many messages from you guys saying things like, “My list isn’t growing, people don’t open my emails, and I have a high unsubscribe rate. How do I fix these things?” So today I'm talking about common email marketing mistakes AND I have a bonus workbook for you!
It’s from my ConvertKit Essentials course and it’s got some questions that you can answer to get the brainstorming and have an organized game plan for your email marketing.
Ready to talk about the 5 mistakes I see people make with their email list? Let's go! Click to watch the video below or scroll down for the text version of this post.
Mistake #1: You were too shy to ask people to join.
There’s no shame in asking people to join your list. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and Facebook friends to hop on board!
Let people know why they should be on your list and how it will benefit them. So make sure you have something awesome to offer.
Mistake #2: You weren’t connecting often enough.
This is a common situation where we see a very high unsubscribe rate. If you don't connect often enough, your subscribers are likely to forget your name or that they even signed up for your list. Let's say they sign up for your list, get their subscriber incentive the same day, and then don't hear from you again for 3 months. When you finally send out that next email, they (along with many others on your list) will unsubscribe because they have no real attachment or connection to your content/personality anymore.
So how often should you email them? Think back to when you invited them in the first place. What kind of content did you promise them? My personal recommendation is to connect at least once every three weeks, but try to do it more often if you can swing it.
Mistake #3: You were connecting too often.
On the flip side of things, maybe you were connecting too often! Were you emailing them every week but didn't really have anything to share? Don't reach out just because you feel like "it's time." Send them something that will brighten their day or add a little sparkle to their lives.
Some companies or blogs need to reach out every day because that's the content they've promised their readers. Only you can tell if this rule applies to you. In most cases, bloggers and online entrepreneurs don't need to reach out every single day.
Mistake #4: You were sending the wrong content.
Unless you’re changing your niche, you should really try to stay consistent with your content. I really love fashion but I know my subscribers aren’t on my site for that kind of content so I won’t be sending any emails exclusively about the clothes that I wear.
If you have dual niches, then you definitely need to make it a practice that you only send relevant content to each of those niches.
For example: If you write about parenting and personal finance, you need to separate those email lists so that you only send relevant content to the right lists. People who are interested in personal finance aren't necessarily interested in parenting. You don't want to lose subscribers by sending them the wrong content!
I personally use ConvertKit (<-- affiliate link, but girl I only recommend stuff I love!) to handle segmenting my list into different sections so I can keep everyone organized. It doesn’t make any sense for me to send a sales email encouraging someone to buy a course if they've already purchased it. Can you imagine how annoying that would be?
Mistake #5: You made your emails about you, not them
Would you invite someone into your home and say, "Let's talk about me and only me, okay?" No!
Always remember that while they certainly want to get to know you on a personal level, your readers are busy people. You need to show them that subscribing to your list is worth their time because you're sharing content that will help or inspire their lives in some way.
Alrightly, that wraps it up for this post! If you struggled this year working on your email list, hopefully one of the issues or tips I mentioned will help you create a game plan. And don’t forget to grab your free workbook!
Let the games begin…
This is one of the most controversial posts in this bootcamp because people are primarily split between Team Email and Team Social Media.
Pssssttt...I run a series called Ask Allison where I answer readers' questions about blogging and business. You can ask yours by emailing email@example.com. This post is for the question, "Which ad network should I use?" Click below to watch!
Fortunately for you, the answer will be obvious based on your niche. If you run a blog helping others master their social media, then you better have some awesome social media profiles, otherwise people aren’t going to take you seriously. The same goes for your email marketing.
But what if you don’t fall under the social media or email marketing niches? In this case, I recommend you take a peek at your business goals.
Want to provide a product or service in the future (hint: you better, girlfriend!)? Then you need to start building that email list so you have a list of potential customers for your launch. Running a hobby blog with no business goals in mind? Then you have the flexibility to do either email marketing or social media.
Regardless of what you want to do in the long run, I always recommend placing the importance of email just a tad higher than social media. Social media is great for building relationships and getting free traffic. But email marketing is a stronger, more controllable asset for growing your business and actually making sales. Hey, it’s true. You don’t own the list of names in your Twitter profile.
Interested in starting a blog and making money from home? I earned my first $200 within 3 months of starting Frugal on the Prairie then went on to earn a full-time income from home about 6 months later! If you're ready to get started, I have a step-by-step tutorial for setting up your domain and hosting here, which can be a headache to figure out by yourself if you've never done it before! I also highly recommend and use Bluehost for my hosting! (<---That's an affiliate link but girl, I never recommend something I don't love or use ;)
Want to watch the video version of this post? Click below or keep on scrollin' to read the text version!
Free chapters are so 2015. Everyone offers them so they've kind of lost their appeal. Give yourself that extra sparkle by going above and beyond and creating something different! I used to offer a free chapter and it just didn't convert as well as my other incentives. We're talking a handful of subscribers per day, my friends. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I would think, "What am I doing wrong? Why aren't more people signing up? Am I terrible at blogging?"
If you've been feeling this way too then you should know that you're not alone...and your online journey is not over! I was once exactly where you are now. But I was able to change things around and that means you can too.
The first thing you need to know is that content upgrades are like magic when it comes to increasing your conversion rates. If they're helping your readers solve a problem, then you are more likely to have people sign up. Readers love solutions!
Here's a sneak peak at my conversion rates for the various Leadboxes I have around the site. When I offer something highly valuable (like a course or a resource library) my opt-ins perform better. You'll notice that the free chapter I used to offer doesn't even make it on the list. But do you see my free blogging course? Seventy-four percent is an awesome conversion rate!
Psssst... I'm hosting a webinar called How to Get Your First 1k Subscribers Using Pinterest + ConvertKit on Saturday, June 25, 2016.
Let's get you started with a list of my favorite content upgrades to offer.
Don't overthink this. You could create a worksheet on grocery lists, cleaning schedules, or debt payoff plans. It can be one page or ten pages long. In color or black and white.
I like to use Canva and Apple Pages for all of my worksheets and workbooks. And don't forget to leave copyright and other identifying information on there. You don't want to anyone to be able to waltz in and sell your work behind your back.
Reach out to all those wonderful Type-A personalities visiting your blog and make their dreams come true with a checklist. In the example above, I offered both a worksheet and a checklist but you don't have to. I've also offered a weekly cleaning checklist that performed well. Again, make it useful!
3. Step-by-step text/photo tutorials
What better way to help your readers than by walking them through a difficult task, step-by-step. I did a photo tutorial in my How to Start a Blog post. It's already been shared over 5,000 times. The people have spoken and their message is that they love it!
4. Video tutorials
Can we just talk about how much easier it is to learn something new by watching someone perform the task? This could be why people love to sign up for webinar trainings or other live tutorials. If you're not comfortable offering something live, you can always just pre-record something and share it.
Personally, I do a lot of computer-based tutorials for my courses and subscribers. I highly recommend Screenshare for this task if you're in the same boat.
5. PowerPoint file from webinars/trainings
While people love following along in webinars (myself included), they can't always write down everything fast enough while you're talking. If you're comfortable, you can send them a copy of the slides once the webinar is over. I get so many requests for this and it's such an easy bonus to offer.
6. Design templates
Raise your hand if you're not very good with design of any kind. *this is me waving both hands in the air* If you run a web design blog or crafts blog, you are in a good position to offer templates as subscriber incentives. They are lifesavers for people like me.
Why give away just a chapter when you can hand out your whole book? "But that's crazy, Allison! I'm missing out on sales!"
Look, I get it. We all gotta pay the bills but you don't need to hand out a 500 page book for free. Create a free 20 page book, jam-packed with incredibly useful information, and pass it out to anyone who's willing to subscribe. You will never get rich by being stingy with your awesome resources. Show people how smart you are!
8. Exclusive sneak peaks of your products
I personally love sneak peaks at courses/products because it helps me feel like I'm a part of an exclusive club and can help me decide whether or not I really want to buy. Not everyone will buy from you because not everyone is your ideal client. But the more people you help, the more connections you will make, and the more your business will grow.
You don't have to give everything away either. You can simply give a few screenshots like the one below.
This screenshot is part of my ConvertKit Essentials course.
Are you talented at creating printables for crafts and school activities? Subscribers love getting free stuff for their kids!
Use Photoshop to create whatever suits your fancy and offer it as an incentive. Yes, I've subscribed to get a printout for my son and was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information that blogger offered afterwards. It was the beginning to a great relationship! Don't underestimate the power of a freaking cute bookmark for kids.
10. Email course
Hands down, my email course converts at the highest rate so it's a content upgrade I highly recommend offering! Email courses aren't just about you passing out awesome information. It's about the honor of appearing in someone's inbox time and again and connecting with them on a personal level.
When I started offering free courses, my entire business changed. I made more connections, more fully understood my readers' issues, identified exactly what they were looking for, and grew my business.
If you're looking for a set-it-and-forget-it way to deliver courses, I highly recommend ConvertKit. In fact, I love their platform so much that I offer a course on it. Click here or the photo below to read more about what I teach.
11. Resources list
Have you ever had a reader say, "I want to do what you're doing but I don't know where to start! What do you use?" This is where a resource list comes in handy! You can provide these if you write about fashion, DIY projects, business, and countless other categories.
12. Downloadable PDF’s
Is there something you want to offer that I haven't mentioned? If you can create a document and save it in a PDF (and it's a seriously awesome resource that'll blow your readers away!) then you should certainly offer it as an incentive. Nine times out of ten my students will say, "I really loved that lesson! Do you have a PDF version so I can refer back to it again and again?"
Remember, content upgrades don't have to be elaborate or even expensive to put together. They just need to be exceptionally useful for your readers.
What's your favorite content upgrade to offer?