Let Me Take a Sec and Be Real Honest With You..
When I started this blog a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was doing!
I actually started out blogging about weddings and was just blogging for fun and didn’t really take it seriously. After I started to get into the blogging world for a while, I reached out to few other bloggers and quickly realized how a lot were out for themselves. I also searched for helpful posts online and so many of them were sales pitches and promised instant success if you did this, this and this.
I felt really lonely and lost and decided that I was NOT going to be like that.
So, after much thought, I almost quit my blog but instead I decided to rebrand my blog to a lifestyle niche and started writing real, vulnerable and honest posts about my faith, life, marriage and my blogging journey.
I decided I want to actually grow this little blog of mine so I started to really do my research. I would come home from work, scarf down dinner and then go right to my laptop to watch webinars, tutorial videos and even purchased a few courses.
It was NOT easy by any means but after about 6 months of taking this blog seriously, I quit my 8-5 job to blog FULL TIME.
Since taking on this journey full time, I have been asked SOOO many questions about blogging. Now, while I am NO expert (I mean I don’t think anyone is really), I did promise myself I would always share what I did wrong AND what I did right and NEVER EVER promise someone instant success.
The truth is, blogging is hard work and its a lot of trial and error. The one thing I heard preached in every webinar and every course, AND what I have found TO BE SO TRUE, is start growing your email list.
If there is ONE piece of advice I can give ANY person wanting to start a blog it is START AN EMAIL LIST FROM DAY ONE!
Okay, now I know what you’re thinking (because I thought it too!) ..
Why should you start an email list?
What would you even say to an email list?
How do you grow an email list?
Who would want to be a part of my list?
Oh my stars, let me tell you!
Why You Should Start An Email List
Okay, I thought when I first started my blog that I needed to focus on writing a ton of posts and social media. I was ALLLL about growing my Instagram because that is where I saw numbers increasing.
BUT, LET ME JUST DROP A TRUTH BOMB ON YOU REAL QUICK— YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS!
If Instagram were to disappear tomorrow you would be left with NOTHING. How in the world would you get in touch with those followers? I bet you’d wish you’d had their email address, haha!
I will tell you when I started paying attention to my email list and building a relationship with them, I TRIPLED my sales in ONE MONTH! Yes, TRIPLED! BUT, I want to make it clear that I did not treat my e-mail list like a sales pitch. You need to nurture your list, HELP them, give away FREE tips and advice and always always always answer questions that they have.
I also strategically marketed to them and let them know about certain things I was posting on my blog. The number one way I was able to achieve this was with convertkit and tags, this is HANDS DOWN the BEST tool I could have EVER invested in for my blog. With convertkit, I am able to tag a subscriber on what they are interested in and ONLY email them based that interest.
But its not just about getting your followers from your social media to your email list, its why you want them there. So, for me, I didn’t really have a why in the beginning.. I just knew I needed an email list. But, after I started to take my list seriously I started to ask myself why I needed them there. Well, I wanted to help them.. I wanted to let them know about a new blog post they might be interested in, I wanted to let them know about something I LOVED that was currently on sale and I wanted to build relationships.
Once, I started to implement my why, I saw a HUGE increase in my engagement and my blog traffic.
How Do You Grow Your Email List?
Okay, there are several different ways I have implemented to grow my email list.
Free resource Library– I blog about business and blogging tips so I created a Free resource library that is password protected and I created a form that people could subscribe to. On this form I wrote something like “Want FREE resources I used to grow my blog!? Just enter in your email to gain access.”
I would then post this form on every blog post I had written about business and blogging because those people reading that blog post would most likely be interested in resources. I then set up an automation email for that form, that would automatically send that person an email with a link and a password to my free resource library. I could also see who subscribed to that form and “tag” them under a category so I know if I ever sent out an email about business tips, they would most likely be interested in reading it.
So I am targeting my subscribers on what to send versus sending an email to the masses.
Need Some Ideas For your resource Library? I Got you, Girl!
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Giveaway– Create a form for a giveaway and advertise it on your homepage or any blog post related to the giveaway
PDF files– When I use to blog about recipes, I would write a post on a recipe BUT instead of writing the recipe out on the blog post, I would create a PDF file that my readers could print out. I would then create a form saying something like “Want a easily Step by Step PDF print out of this recipe!? Just enter your email and I’ll send it right over!” I then set up an automation email that would send them the link to download the PDF file. You can also do this with ANY post really. Writing a DIY post, create a step by step PDF file that your readers can subscribe to. Give them something they want!
Email courses/challenges– You can create something like an email challenge in which someone can subscribe to and you can set up an automation email to send out for the course of the challenge. For example, I created a 5 day step by step email course on how I grew my Instagram to over 10k followers in less than 6 months. I created a form (example below)and when my readers subscribed, I set up an automation email to send them 1 email a day with a different step each day!
Tired of all the fake-ness on Instagram?
Well, Darlin', ME TOO! I was tired of all these FAKE and un-genuine methods when it came to growing my instagram, so I set out to try something new!
In just 6 short months, I grew my instagram organically to over 10k LOYAL & ENGAGED followers and even started making money from my Instagram.
And I want to help you do the same! So, I created a FREE 5 day Step-by-Step Instagram Challenge spilling all my secrets!
Want in? Well, Darlin' I thought so!
Monthly update/newsletter– Okay, so I’m sure you already advertise a newsletter, BUT make your newsletter something someone would want to subscribe too! Tell them WHAT they will get if they subscribe to your newsletter.
Subscribe Page in your menu- So I actually created a menu bar at the top of my blog and included a subscribe page where I linked a form telling them what they would get if they were part of my newsletter. To be honest, I have gotten way more subscribers with this than a sidebar opt-in form because people see my menu easily and right off the bat.
These are just a few creative ways I have used and since implementing them my list has sky-rocketed!
Follow Along & Stay In The Know
What Would You Even Say To An Email List?
Okay, so now that you have created all these forms it is time to GET ORGANIZED.
This is also made SO easy by convertkit. When I first started building an email list, I used a free platform called mail chimp. I didn’t hate mail chimp but it seemed every time I sent an email to my entire list, I had a lot of people unsubscribe. Why? Because I was sending out an email to the masses! When I switched to convertkit, their platform allowed me to ORGANIZE my subscribers.
So let me breakdown for you!
With convertkit, I would create different forms and when someone subscribed from that form, they were automatically given a “tag”. So for example, say I wrote a wedding based blog post and someone subscribed on that post because they loved what I had to say about weddings. Well, with convert kit, it would automatically tag that person as “weddings” so I know that if I were to send out an email saying I wrote a new post about weddings, that person would be interested in reading it. BUT, say I wrote a post about gardening, that person who subscribed to my list on that wedding post, probably would not be interested in a email about gardening so she would most likely unsubscribe if I was emailing her on every topic. Does that make sense?
When I first started, I was emailing out random things to my ENTIRE list and I was losing subscribers every single email so I eventually stopped emailing (WHICH IS A NO NO!).
So, here are a few examples that you can email about based on your list.
For your entire list, you can send out a monthly newsletter with updates on your blog that month. That way you are including all topics and updates that your list would be interested in. I also like to from time to time, send a gift to my subscribers in the form of a gift card.. yes, seriously! I will load a Starbucks gift card with a couple hundred dollars and send out the barcode in an email and tell my subscribers to have a cup of coffee on me and once the card was empty that was it! This was a HUGE hit with my readers and it was a way to thank them for their support.
You can also send out topic specific emails like I talked about earlier. If you are a blogger about gardening, you can send your subscribers who are interested in gardening based off the “tag” and let them know about a new post you have written about gardening!
The possibilities are endless!The Possibilities Are Endless! Click To Tweet
Who would you want to be part of your list?
Your ideal reader of course!
Okay, so how do you figure out who that is? This goes hand in hand with the topic above with the tags but it also goes into what you blog about. So for example, I suggest anyone who blogs pick 3-4 topics they are passionate about and someone weave them together.
So, for example, when I first started blogging, I was all over the place! I blogged about weddings, home decor, fashion, life, recipes, marriage, fitness.. etc. Seriously, there were so many topics and I didn’t intertwine any of them. Therefore, I would have people come to my blog for one thing but they would quickly leave because they didn’t care about the 50 million other things I blogged about. When they don’t care, they don’t engage or subscribe!
So, when I rebranded my blog, I decided to choose 3-4 things and figure out how I could combine them. So, if you come to my blog, you will see… fashion, faith and business. So with the name of my blog, The Belle Life I played off two meanings. Belle meaning Southern Belle, and belle meaning beautiful in French. Therefore my fashion posts are usually a “southern” style and pretty comfy and plain. I also explain what a “beautiful” life looks like to me and that is a life with Jesus and being open and honest about the journey and gift he has given me in both my faith & marriage and in my job and talents. So even though these 3 topics don’t really go hand in hand I intertwined them so if someone came for one thing, they would most likely stay for the other things. That also means they would most likely subscribe to my email list because they wanted more!
You want people on your list who want MORE. So give them something to want! I know this journey is hard but you’re doing a great job and keep on going!
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