Fundamentals of Monetizing Your Blog with Email Marketing
Ask any blogger how they got started blogging and they’ll likely tell you it started out of a passion for a particular topic, whether that’s teaching people how to sing or sharing helpful photography tips or educating others on the importance of essential oils. (We’re passionate about email marketing, which is why we blog about it.)
The unique thing about bloggers is that most aren’t looking to earn an income when they’re first getting started. It’s simply a natural expression of their passion and desire to share their knowledge or solve others’ problems.
But there comes a point for most bloggers when they start to think, “I’ve got a good number of people reading my blog. I really enjoy writing. I wonder if I can make money at this?”
The most effective way to monetize your blog is through email marketing. For starters, it’s highly personal — people have to opt-in to receive your emails, which means they are expressly saying, “I want your emails.” Plus, email marketing is more effective in converting customers than other marketing channels, including social media and search engine marketing.
Monetizing your blog isn’t difficult and it doesn’t have to be intimidating either. Here are three steps you should follow to begin monetizing your blog today.
Step 1: Determine what “product” you want to sell.
If you already have something to sell, great! You’re ahead of the game. Skip to the next section. If not, keep reading.
To begin monetizing your blog using email marketing, first you need something to sell.
Now, you may be thinking, “Duh! Isn’t that obvious?” And you’d be right. But for many bloggers, this can be the hardest step.
Finding something to sell doesn’t have to be intimidating. Providing the knowledge from your blog in a different form is a simple way to start finding something to sell.
Here are several examples of “products” you can sell as a blogger:
Providing a service can take your expertise to the next level. For example, if you have a fitness blog where you share all of the latest and greatest ways to trim the fat and get fit, you could consider offering coaching services over the phone or online. This adds another dynamic to who you are and what you can offer.
Bonus: You can also offer others’ services as part of an affiliate program (like the AWeber affiliate program) and promote that on your blog. Just make sure whatever affiliate service you represent is relevant to your expertise and existing audience and is something you use and are passionate about.
You’ve already spent hours pouring over engaging blog posts, so there’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel. Simply turn your most popular posts into an ebook or an ebook series.
For example, Running Shoes Guru packages and sells three of its ebooks to subscribers and website visitors.
Courses can take various forms, including email courses, video courses, live courses and more.
As with ebooks, you could get your ideas for courses from your most popular blog posts or even from readers’ comments or questions. Are there common themes? What skills do you have that others can benefit from in this type of format?
The course could be something they log into or they buy as a DVD or series of DVDs. Whatever format you decide, it can be an effective way to generate revenue from your blog.
For example, singing coach Felicia Ricci, offers a free signing course, and sells a full course to her free course participants.
Creating a membership program is a fun way to create a following and generate revenue. These programs provide members with exclusive incentives and discounts, something you don’t offer anywhere else.
An example of this would be Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur community, where he provides exclusive content, coaching and more to fellow entrepreneurs struggling with the challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.
Your audience has connected with your blog content. A great next step would be to allow them to connect with you personally through a live workshop.
These can be especially effective if you have a local audience, where you can hold local workshops. But you can also do these workshops in the form of a webinar, blab or Google Hangout.
Photography blogger Courtney Slazinik runs a live workshop where she teaches up-and-coming photographers how to take better photos.
Step 2: Build an email list with valuable content.
Now that you have something to sell, you need people to sell it to.
Many bloggers make the mistake of trying to sell their services, courses, workshops and more exclusively on their blog and social media. But the truth is most people aren’t ready to buy the first time they arrive on your blog or see your pin, “gram” or Facebook post.
Email marketing is a way to invite your readers to continue the conversation until eventually they are ready to buy.
Your first step with email marketing is building an email list of subscribers.
The key to building an email list is the same as blogging — you need to provide value. Luckily as a blogger, you’ve got this covered — you’ve already been providing value on your blog.
Start building your email list with your blog readers. They’re your best potential buyers because they already value the content you provide.
Invite your readers to sign up to receive the latest updates from your blog, or offer another incentive for signing up. Many of the examples I shared of things you could sell can also be used as incentives, but here are a few other examples of incentives you can offer:
Step 3: Use email autoresponders to nurture and sell.
With something to sell and subscribers coming into your email list, you’re ready to monetize your blog with email marketing. And you do that through emails autoresponders (aka email automation).
Autoresponders are a series of emails that are automatically sent to your new subscribers after they subscribe, saving you time and effort so you can keep your focus on your passion.
The first email in your autoresponder series is your welcome email. If you offered an incentive upon sign up, this is typically when you would deliver it. Your welcome email is also the first email your subscribers receive from you, so it should set the tone for the types of emails your subscribers can expect from you.
Your welcome email may also be your best opportunity to make a sale because welcome emails on average have the highest engagement rates of any email you send your subscribers. Be sure to introduce them to your product and encourage them to purchase.
Expand upon your welcome email with a welcome series. All additional autoresponder emails should continue to provide value to your readers. For example, if you’re a wellness coach, your welcome series could share top blog posts, more about you and your business, a survey of your subscribers to learn more about them and their interests, and more.
If you’re offering multiple incentives, which means multiple autoresponder series, you can link them together into one autoresponder series once each of the other series concludes. This allows you to continue the conversation further.
Pro Tip: Use email autoresponders after your readers have made a purchase to continue the relationship you have with them. Add additional “products” you can sell to your buyers. The best business is repeat business!
Tools to make monetizing easy.
Now, a note on the more technical side of monetizing your blog: how to handling transactions.
There are a ton of e-commerce solutions on the market. One of the great advantages of these services is that many of them integrate with email marketing service providers like AWeber.
By connecting or integrating your ecommerce solution with your ESP, you can automatically add customers to your list and continue to nurture your relationship and attract repeat business.
Monetizing your blog is easy with email marketing.
Monetizing your blog is easier than you might expect with the help of email marketing. By determining what you can sell, building your list, and using relevant autoresponder emails, you’ll be able to keeping your focus on your blog and passion.
How are you monetizing your blog? Share in the comments below.
This article was originally published on the AWeber blog.