Engage, Grow, Monetize with your Blog's Secret Weapon


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Slides for my Blog World Expo session, on how to create an kick-ass email marketing and monetization system for your blog.

Delivered live and in person at BlogWorld Expo, Loas Angelese CA, November 2011.

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Engage, Grow, Monetize with your Blog's Secret Weapon

  1. 1. Engage, Grow, Monetize with your Blog's Secret Weapon Phil Hollows @phollows
  2. 2. Or… Phil Hollows @phollows
  3. 3. The MONEY is in the LIST Phil Hollows @phollows
  4. 4. What You’ll Learn Today <ul><li>Your secret weapon is your email list. </li></ul><ul><li>You have more ways to monetize than you realize. </li></ul><ul><li>That YOU can combine the two into an ass-kicking inbox-busting revenue-generating engagement-building money-making selling machine. </li></ul>
  5. 5. About Phil Hollows <ul><li>Founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the premium FeedBurner alternative. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clients include: Seth Godin, Fred Wilson, Denise Wakeman, Lee Odden, Debba Haupert. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Author of “List Building for Bloggers” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why is Email my Blog’s Secret Weapon? Email is the most powerful, effective and relevant subscription option that exists today.
  7. 7. It’s All About Engagement! <ul><li>“ I get ten times more response to my blog from my email subscribers than I do from anyone else.” </li></ul><ul><li>Seth Godin </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ubiquity, Commitment, Engagement <ul><li>Everyone online has at least one email account. </li></ul><ul><li>Email readers typically outnumber RSS readers 3:1 or better. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hubspot said 12:1 in 2009! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Email subscribers are more committed to you. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: You are not your audience. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Email Updates Drive Engagement <ul><li>Full branding. </li></ul><ul><li>Activity tracking. </li></ul><ul><li>Committed subscribers. </li></ul><ul><li>Mini web sites in the inbox. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Email Subscriptions are the Essential Complement to SEO <ul><li>SEO increases traffic to your site … and then what? </li></ul><ul><li>Email options convert visitors into subscribers, and subscribers into money. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Dangers of Digital Share Cropping What if Google Went Away? <ul><li>It won’t, but the traffic it sends to you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook’s new UI has significantly reduced traffic from Pages to bloggers’ sites. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://bit.ly/oZNgsF </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who else are you “share cropping” on? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Etsy? FeedBurner? MySpace? Twitter? Klout? AdSense? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can you generate other revenue streams? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From your LIST! </li></ul></ul>
  12. 15. List Building – Basic Tips <ul><li>Learn from the leaders. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a clear subscription form above the fold. </li></ul><ul><li>Use social proof if you have it. </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives work. </li></ul><ul><li>Brand, baby, brand! </li></ul>
  13. 16. More About List Building <ul><li>BWE NY deck on SlideShare: http://slidesha.re/lm3QLt </li></ul><ul><li>BWE NY session on YouTube: http://youtu.be/9KjvFvKCN2w </li></ul><ul><li>Book: http://ListBuildingForBloggers.com </li></ul>
  14. 17. Let’s Talk Money You’re Missing Out … … and How to Fix It
  15. 18. It’s OK to Make Money You’re not “selling out.” You deserve to be paid.
  16. 19. Overcome Your Fear
  17. 20. But I Have Nothing to Sell! <ul><li>My blog is free. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What can I sell if I’m giving it away already? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So-and-so is already doing it. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re way bigger / better / cooler than I am. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I don’t have time. </li></ul><ul><li>This is hard! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Edison </li></ul></ul>
  18. 21. Enough with the Stinking Thinking
  19. 22. Your Blog is Your Platform <ul><li>Your blog is content marketing . </li></ul><ul><li>It builds trust, audience, engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>It generates SEO-friendly, keyword-rich posts. </li></ul><ul><li>It grows your subscriber list. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t stop blogging and “giving away” free content. It enables everything else. </li></ul>
  20. 23. How to Monetize Your Free Content <ul><li>Turn it and you into what people value. </li></ul><ul><li>Be disciplined about finding and exploiting monetizable opportunities. </li></ul>
  21. 24. There are Different Kinds of People <ul><li>Killers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance themselves at the expense of others. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Achievers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal-oriented, value recognition. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explorers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The value is the journey, not the destination. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow their leaders, collaborative. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 25. How You Can Monetize Yourself <ul><li>Convenience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repurposed, packaged and bundled content. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Memberships, coaching and training. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Premium content and special privileges. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consulting and speaking. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising and sponsorships. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Productize </li></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Affiliate programs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community roles. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 26. Convenience <ul><li>Repackaged content. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The e-book. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The video of the e-book. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The audio book of the e-book. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The free sample chapters as sign-up incentive. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Checklists. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating your repackaged content. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From posts in the same category. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posts in series. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People love “how to” educational books. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 27. Case Study: List Building for Bloggers (LBB) <ul><li>All chapters bar one were basically already published in my blog, for free. </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone could have read it all online, for free. Some had! </li></ul><ul><li>Yet: ~$10k of books sold, ASP ~$15. </li></ul><ul><li>LBB buyers aren’t stupid . </li></ul><ul><li>LBB buyers are paying for convenience . </li></ul>
  25. 28. Bundling and Selling to the List <ul><li>Rise and Repeat! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>List Monetization for Bloggers is on its way. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So is Community Building for Bloggers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s 10x easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell to existing LBB buyers first. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage existing affiliates first. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How? Directly, via email of course! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bundling Opportunities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The complete For Bloggers suite at $X. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The remaining two for $Y. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individually at $Z. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 29. LBB: The Process <ul><li>Started life as a series of related blog posts. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Edit and format into e-book. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell online (e-Junkie). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog and book become the platform for speaking opportunities. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create new book(s) the same way. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bundle together for packaged sales. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Later: Conversion into checklists, free samples. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives for new subscribers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rewards for existing customers. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 30. Affiliate Programs, Part 1 <ul><li>When you are the affiliate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You generate commissions from other people. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be a good way to monetize free content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose products / partners / networks with care. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to disclose! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Affiliate email tips: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Place affiliate links in the 1 st paragraph so visible / clickable in preview panes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you use partial feeds or email abridged content, double check your links come through OK. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 31. Affiliate Programs, Part 2 <ul><li>When you are the vendor: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Others generate revenue for you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You pay commissions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your affiliates become your sales force. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They reach buyers you can’t, so be generous . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Easy to do for e-books and similar virtual goods sales. </li></ul>
  29. 32. Case Study: List Building for Bloggers <ul><li>46% of gross sales (by value) came through affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>I used the purchase transaction process to grow the affiliate list. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customized the “thank you for buying” email. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pointed out generous rev share (50%), selling two makes the book free. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links directly to affiliate signup page. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: 29% of buyers became affiliates. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transactional emails have stellar open rates. Use that to your advantage! </li></ul>
  30. 33. Access <ul><li>Memberships, coaching and training. </li></ul><ul><li>Premium Content. </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting. </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking. </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising and Sponsorships. </li></ul>
  31. 34. Memberships, Coaching and Training <ul><li>Premium membership program. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30-60 min con-call / webcast per week, private newsletter. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charge between $69 and $399 per month. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell as many as you can! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repackage: Archive the calls and sell them later. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coaching. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1-1 calls monthly, advice, maybe bundle products, e-books or services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited availability – say 5-50 concurrently. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price: $300 to $1,000 per month (sell annually or quarterly). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In person master classes, similar fees per person for 1 day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repackage video of non-confidential content, sell later. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 35. Premium Content and Special Privileges <ul><li>Members-only areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Custom content, private forums, direct access to you. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Special privileges: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance access to public content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preview sales or head start on sales prices. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steeper discounts, more items in their cart, free gift-wrap, birthday offers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Badges for their web sites, certificates for their walls, tchotchkes for their shelves. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t underestimate serendipity! </li></ul></ul>
  33. 36. Consulting and Speaking <ul><li>Your content is your platform. </li></ul><ul><li>Find and pitch speaking opportunities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Or create your own! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video your talks no matter how local or small. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start small and work your way up the food chain. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conferences love engaging, new speakers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The more visible you become the more opportunities you will create. </li></ul>
  34. 37. Productize <ul><li>Package your expertise as a service, or software product. </li></ul><ul><li>Poster child for this: Copyblogger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thesis and Genesis themes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Premise sales page plugin. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third Tribe. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 38. Advertising and Sponsorships <ul><li>AdSense is easy and pays well. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But you need a LOT of page views to make decent money. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is passive and tends to make one lazy. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Find other networks better suited for your niche. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. BlogHer, Federated Media, etc., etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider pay per post programs: e.g. Collective Bias, Izea etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some affiliate programs might be better fits, e.g. Escalate, Amazon. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sell directly. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You will likely make more, especially if you are very specialized. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be ambitious with your pricing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can also sell email newsletter sponsorships, either separately or bundled. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ll need an up to date media kit. </li></ul></ul>
  36. 39. Using the Tools: Interactions and Processes <ul><li>Look for monetizable transactions, processes and landing pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Make the most of the engagement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular posts (“sneeze” pages). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Squeeze pages for products, courses, videos or e-books. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliver serendipitous rewards. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up-sells and advertising. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affiliate and partner programs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for social proof and referrals. </li></ul></ul>
  37. 40. The Point? <ul><li>You have a LOT you can sell because you deliver value . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can monetize it in many different ways. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t have to do it all. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You don’t have to sell your soul in the process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ALL BASED ON YOUR “FREE” CONTENT. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your challenge is this basic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Find what you can do that gives you the best bang for your buck. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Start it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Finish it. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 41. Making Money: Be your Blog’s CEO <ul><li>Is your blog a hobby or part of your business? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s a hobby, you’re in the wrong session  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Take time to plan and work on your business. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of when you’re wasting time in the business. </li></ul><ul><li>Step up. Be disciplined. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure you’re spending time on the right thing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the hard things you’re putting off to grow your business. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take the tough decisions when you must. </li></ul></ul>
  39. 42. Intermission Who’d like a T-Shirt? 
  40. 43. Now You Have Something to Sell... Making the most of it with your email marketing
  41. 44. Four Types of Email <ul><li>Autoresponders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triggered email sequences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually designed to move subscribers to a specific goal. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transactional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support processes, such as signing up or purchasing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have the best open rates of any email. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Email Blasts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20% off, free shipping! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergencies and breaking news. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 46. Typical Blogger Email Subscription Sequence Fill in form Dual opt-in activation Check inbox landing page Thanks for subscribing! Content mailings
  43. 47. Autoresponder Subscription Sequence Fill in form Dual opt-in activation Autoresponder sales sequence Check inbox landing page Thanks for subscribing! Autoresponder sales sequence Autoresponder sales sequence Autoresponder sales sequence Autoresponder sales sequence Autoresponder sales sequence Content mailings
  44. 48. Autoresponder Ideas <ul><li>Thank the subscriber. </li></ul><ul><li>Coupons and offers. </li></ul><ul><li>Sell on: e-books, videos, courses. </li></ul><ul><li>Solicit engagement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forums, surveys and sneeze pages. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“How are we doing?” check ins </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1, 3, 6, 12 months later in the sequence </li></ul></ul>
  45. 49. Transactional Emails <ul><li>Have stellar open rates. </li></ul><ul><li>May contain advertising and marketing messages … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… Provided that these don’t overwhelm the transactional component. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can be used to cross-promote and trigger autoresponders. </li></ul><ul><li>Monetize landing pages in a multi-step transactional process. </li></ul>
  46. 50. List Building for Bloggers Email Sequence Buy e-book Affiliate email pitch Thank you landing page Download link email Manual import Content mailings New buyer email to Phil
  47. 51. Transactional Emails #2 <ul><li>YOU get transactional emails when: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Someone joins your list, registers with your forum, becomes a user, joins your site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buys a product, e-book etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use automation (“parsers” or “rules”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extract the visitor’s email address. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trigger a multi-step autoresponder to upsell. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attach rules to the autoresponder to transfer the subscriber to your main list when it completes. </li></ul></ul>
  48. 52. Ideal LBB Email Automation Sequence Buy e-book Thank you landing page Download link email Affiliate email pitch Content mailings New buyer email to Phil Forward to parser Autoresponder sequence Autoresponder sequence Autoresponder sequence Autoresponder sequence Autoresponder sequence New affiliate email to Phil Forward to parser New affiliate sequence New affiliate sequence New affiliate sequence New affiliate sequence New affiliate sequence
  49. 53. Newsletter / Content Mailings <ul><li>Consider a multi-list strategy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate lists by content, so subscribers choose to receive only what interests them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer multiple schedules (e.g. ASAP, daily and weekly digests) to reduce complaints. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great for re-engagement campaigns too. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain a “master list” using rules: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When a subscriber joins list A, add them to list B. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enables you to blast a single list when you need to, instead of sending the same email to multiple lists, potentially hitting the same subscriber multiple times. </li></ul></ul>
  50. 54. Content Signup Sequence Fill in form Content mailings Dual opt- in email Check inbox landing page Thank you landing page Thank you autoresponder 10% off 20% off 40% off 50% off Stops sequence New buyer email Forward to parser Purchase made
  51. 55. Email Blasts <ul><li>Time sensitive information. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deals: 20% off, free shipping! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergencies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Breaking News. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Segmented mailings. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Select subset of subscribers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. by custom field, location, activity, demographics. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beware making the subscriber feeling bombarded. </li></ul></ul>
  52. 56. Re-engagement and List Hygiene <ul><li>Remove subscribers who aren’t engaging with your mailings. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improves list quality and delivery metrics. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May save you money on your service. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be careful! Opens are difficult to track. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choose your parameters. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. >6 months old and no recent interactions (opens and clicks). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t simply delete subscribers who fit. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Run a re-engagement campaign. </li></ul></ul>
  53. 57. Architecture of a Re-engagement Campaign <ul><li>Checking you still want to hear from me, did you miss this great content? Want a different list? </li></ul><ul><li>Offer an incentive. </li></ul><ul><li>We’re going to unsubscribe you unless you click. </li></ul><ul><li>Last chance! </li></ul><ul><li>You’ve been unsubscribed. Here’s how to get back on the list. </li></ul>
  54. 58. Re-engagement Sequence Still want us? Here’s a deal! Removal soon Last chance! Buh-bye Stops sequence Thank you! Reader engages End of sequence rule unsubscribes reader from main list
  55. 59. Your Goal: An Automated Email Sales and Marketing System <ul><li>Target the right people at the right time with the right messages . </li></ul><ul><li>Create a mix of autoresponders and lists. </li></ul><ul><li>Automate using activity-based triggers and parsers. </li></ul><ul><li>Use them to reduce your digital share cropping risk. </li></ul><ul><li>You keep engagement UP and complaints DOWN. </li></ul><ul><li>Run periodic re-engagement campaigns if necessary. </li></ul>
  56. 60. For Further Research <ul><li>Multi-feed content emails </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include other feeds to augment your content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Deals, industry news, events. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personalization, based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Custom fields, demographics. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business relationship. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychographics / Neuromarketing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A/B split testing </li></ul>
  57. 61. So, Remember... <ul><li>Email ROCKS for engagement and for selling. </li></ul><ul><li>You have many ways you can monetize your blog! Plan your first product TODAY. </li></ul><ul><li>Transactional emails, autoresponders and automation are the keys to your success. </li></ul><ul><li>Take the first step TODAY. </li></ul>
  58. 62. Engage, Grow, Monetize <ul><li>THANK YOU! </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Step Up! </li></ul><ul><li>You’re more than welcome to chat with me here at the conference too. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@phollows </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.feedblitz.com </li></ul>