A lot of reasons why entrepreneurs aren’t successful is because they build a house out of duct tape and sand, so when the storm comes they’re screwed.
The picture on the right is the full MASTER PIECE of the eiffel tower in Paris. It took 2 years to build the tower and probably more years planning it. What we fail to realise is that the most important piece is the foundation…”the groundwork”…the unsexy part…the blood sweat and tears it took to BUILD it.
It’s the foundations that are the most important. The bricks, the grit and not the candles or pictures on the wall.
Same goes for you…
If you want to learn how to make money from blogging, you need to have a foundation.
And yes, you can make quick wins writing sponsored posts, promoting affiliate links and sponsored brand collaborations.
But you want to build your business from a place of sustainable action so it can take any storm.
When you focus on fast strategy, such as ads, affiliate links or promoting books on Amazon, you’re also missing out on long-term sustainable income. (And you’re missing out on the journey of cultivating the character of someone who is resilient, resourceful and who can add value).
Instead, writing blog posts that have been the foundation of my business. But blogging is not as simple as slapping together some words, placing keywords in strategic places and hoping people read them. Your blog needs a strategy. So, in today’s post, I’m explaining – top to bottom – how to make money blogging.
How To Make Money Blogging
First, here is a little about my blogging story.
This story starts just after I left my job as a product consultant for a psychometric consultancy. I felt accomplished for getting a job related to my degree in business psychology but I felt like something was missing.
I knew that I wanted to break away from the shackles of the 9 to 5 but I didn’t know how.
So I joined a group coaching program and started learning about email lists, digital products, webinars and online courses.
So I started blogging on marketing and offered consulting on content marketing and digital strategy. That month I made £500 from my first client and I felt like I was onto something.
Then I headed to Pinterest to try and figure out how to make money blogging.
I saw things about growing an email list, Facebook ads, selling ebooks, launching online courses and creating a value ladder to get more clients.
I became so inspired that I made a conscious effort to step up my game with blogging so that I could create a full-time income and travel.
So, I invested my time in learning about Pinterest marketing, blogging, email marketing, list building, online courses and Facebook advertising.
Soon after I started creating ebooks, mini courses, digital products and a value ladder of services on my website. To my surprise I sold 7 ebooks in one week and made £100
This was a nurture wire (And yes, I prefer the term nurture wire because tripwire sounds evil and manipulative!) that I offered to my audience after subscribing to my email list.
So I promised myself that when I figured out how to make money blogging I would teach other people.
Which brings me to my first tip.
1. Create A Nurture Wire To Build Trust And Boost Sales
If creating a fully blown signature online course feels overwhelming, a small digital product, such as a nurture wire is a great first step.
Here’s how it works:
- Someone jumps to your blog post to learn about painting with watercolour paint.
- You have a painting with watercolours online course that you want to sell, so you create a freebie to invite that reader to learn more from you.
- They enter their name and email address to download your guide to watercolours.
- After they smack the “send it to me” button, they get redirected to a thank you page. On the thank you page you say: “your download is on it’s way to your inbox. But while you’re waiting, here’s something that I think you might like”.
- And here you offer a digital info product or physical product to serve your reader beyond a free guide. This might be a lesson or tutorial on painting.
- Chances are, if they’re interested in learning more about watercolours and it’s a small risk-free product, they’re going to purchase your offer.
The great thing about a nurture wire is that it’s a lower barrier to entry. Typically bloggers and content creators will give a nurture wire a smaller price tag between £7-£47. The benefit of this is that having a low risk digital product allows you to build know, like and trust with your audience. If they achieve a small win from your product, then they’ll start asking “what else does she have?”. Can you see how that works?
2. Draft Up a Profit Plan
When I first started my blog I had no idea what I was doing. I was throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping that something would stick.
I learn’t the hard way that I needed to have a blog strategy and a profit plan if I wanted blogging to become an online business.
With this in mind, your blog (and more specifically your blog posts need to have a strategy).
Before writing a blog post ask yourself…
- Is this blog post going to solve a problem for my ideal customer?
- How is this blog post going to lead to more sales?
- Does this blog post lead into a sales funnel or does it attract more potential clients?
And yes, you can write blog posts that are going to serve you audience, but for 99% of your posts you want to have a monetisation gameplan.
Ideally, you want to start with the end in mind.
- What products or services do you want to sell on your blog?
- How many hours do you want to spend a week working with clients?
- How are you going to price your products and services?
- How many sales do you need to make a week to hit your monthly income goals?
Once you know what you’re working towards, you can be more strategic with your blogging and create clear pathways on your site. So, once someone jumps to your site and reads an epic post on watercolours, they end up wanting to learn more from you and sign up to your online course. #winning
3. Have a Unique Focus
When I started learning about how to make money blogging, I learn’t the hard way that my blog needed a unique focus.
What is your unique focus?
Your unique focus is a combination of what you’re good at and who you serve. It’s the sweet spot of your skills, passions and experience. If you want to sell services or make passive income online, you want to get really clear on what type of audience you want to help. This is going to be impossible if you don’t know your own value and what you want to offer people.
How do you find your unique focus?
To find your unique focus for your blog, you need to do some soul searching. Doing some soul searching on your own skills and passions is a great way to find how you add value.
Here’s some questions to find your unique focus:
- What topics are you most passionate about?
- What comes naturally to you?
- What skills do you have experience in?
- What do people usually ask you advice on?
- What is the future dream business that you want to create?
Now that you’re onboard with your unique focus, you can figure out what topics you’re going to focus on. Usually, bloggers and content creators will stick to 3-4 topics or blog categories and create products or courses related to those categories.
4. Double Down on Your Pinterest Strategy
Pinterest is my main source of blog traffic and my primary focus for promoting my blog content. I started experimenting with Pinterest earlier this year within a matter of a few months I started growing my blog traffic.
Most people believe that Pinterest is a social media site where women look at veggie recipes or home decor.
But Pinterest is more of a search engine than it is a social media platform. And over the last few years it has become a resource for bloggers and small business owners to grow their website traffic.
Here’s how it works:
- People use the search bar to type in content that they want to learn more about, like “veggie recipes”, “make money online”.
- They’ll click on a pin that pops in the smart feed and start reading you blog post.
- If they like what they read and they want to keep it for later, they’ll “pin” the content to their audience.
- You can also discover high-quality content to pin from other content creators and bloggers in Tailwind Tribes. This is a feature that Tailwind offers to encourage people to share each others content, so that you can expand your reach.
And that’s why Pinterest is a powerful platform… Your pins can go “viral” and you can get hundreds or thousands of traffic from your pins from someone sharing your content to their audience.
5. Don’t Use Advertisements
A lot of bloggers and content creators will use sponsored ads to bring in an additional income stream. However, the problem with ads is that they take away traffic from a blog.
When a reader clicks on your ad, they are taken away from your blog to go buy something that isn’t bringing in any money for you. And yes, you might make some income but we’re talking $2 from every 1,000 people that see your ad. The problem is, you’re not making a sustainable income stream from this and the big companies are.
Ideally, you want to retain your readers and create products that are going to serve them. Plus, if you have a ton of ads on your website it distracts your customers from your content and lowers the degree of trust with your readers.
Instead, you want your end goal to be selling services or comprehensive online courses in areas that you want to be known for. This is going to help you create sustainable income in your business and once you’ve created them and launched them you can build systems to sell them on evergreen.
6. Be Strategic With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an incredible way to make money blogging.
When I first started blogging I was unsatisfied with my affiliate income but I learned the hard way that I needed to have an affiliate marketing strategy.
Affiliate marketing is not as simple as slapping a few links on your blog. You need to have a strategy.
The keys to affiliate marketing are:
- Having a “tools of the trade” page on your website where you promote tools that you use in your business
- Having no more than 2-3 affiliate links per blog post
- Knowing how to drive traffic to affiliate links
- Creating sales funnels that lead to affiliate links
- Knowing the process of launching to promote affiliate products effectively
Most people think that affiliate marketing is a cheap way of monetising your audience. However, over the years many pro bloggers and content creators have used affiliate marketing to serve their community.
You can also tap into affiliate networks, such as Share a Sale and AWIN to get started with promoting tools such as Tailwind or Fresh books.
7. Build an Email List
If you haven’t noticed there’s a LOT of information online about how to grow your email list. (Okay who are we kidding, you totally noticed).
For the first year of growing my business, I barely had an email list. #FAIL
To be completely honest, I focused waaay too much on social media to get my message out there and it was barely converting my followers into customers.
I discovered that email marketing brings MUCH greater results when it comes to selling my offers and making money alone.
And once I got my shit together, I was able to grow my email list pretty quickly.
The question is:
Why is an email list more important than social media?
Here’s 5 reasons why.
Your message is more likely to be seen
You probably already know how distracting social media can be, which makes it harder for your audience to determine which post is the most “important” for them.
Typically, social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook are designed to be addictive.
So, you’re audience is less likely to leave the platform and check out your latest blog post or read about your product. Are ya with me?
They’re more personal
Getting into someone’s email inbox is like being invited to someone’s home for dinner. So, it’s a pretty big deal when you’re invited!
Chances are, they had a problem, found you and trusted you enough to give you their email address. Essentially, they’ve given you permission to contact them indefinitely.
PLUS, your message to them is “private” — only they can read your email. So, you can connect with your audience in a much deeper way. (And you can share with them personal stories, failures and mistakes that you might not share on your blog!)
Another reason why you need to have an email list is because it has a higher conversion rate.
Basically, your email list converts more subscribers into customers better than any other marketing channel.
And if you’re planning on selling products and services, you’re going to get more sales from your email list compared to your social media.
Let’s say for example, you create a post on Instagram sharing info on your product. On average 1% of people will purchase your product. So, if 100 people saw your post, you’ll have 1 sale from that group of people.
But with an email list?
If you share the exact same information but you send it to your email list, 1-3% of people will purchase your product so you could make 3 sales! Big difference right? Right!
Grow and prime an audience for your digital product
Want to create digital products and online courses? Perfect!
An email list gives you the solid foundation you need to validate, sell and build online courses.
Once you’ve grown a targeted audience of people, you can leverage that email list to VALIDATE your course idea before you create it.
For instance, you can survey your audience to find out what they’re struggling with the most and what topics they’d like you to focus on. (So that you know what your ideal audience’s biggest pain points are!)
This is a waaaay better strategy compared to spending weeks, months creating an online course only to find out that no one is interested in it. A complete waste of time, money and energy!
Instead, you only start putting in the time to build your online course once people hand over their credit cards. And then you’ll know that your online course is going to sell when you launch it! Guaranteed.
Sell digital products on autopilot every single day
Biggest reason why an email list is more important than social media?
To sum it up in one word: SCALABILITY.
Once you’ve got an email list and you know what emails are working you can do the other cool stuff, such as webinars and funnels to scale your business.
SerIously, you can create a well-oiled machine that nurtures your audience and sells your digital products on auto-pilot.
8. Create a Value Ladder
When I started offering services I didn’t know what I was doing. I learnt the hard way that I needed to create a value ladder to attract and create clients in my business.
What is a value ladder?
A value ladder is a lineup of product or services that increase the lifetime value of a customer. Here’s how it works:
- You offer your audience something for free, such as a free guide or masterclass to help them with a specific problem.
- Then, you invite them to learn more from you and offer them a lower priced offer or “intro offer”, such as a tripwire. (This might be an ebook, lesson or mini course).
- They purchase your tripwire offer and you pitch your “lead offer” as your next step, which might be a strategy session.
- And you can present your “bullseye offer”, which is likely to be your premium consulting or coaching service.
You can also experiment with your value ladder. For example, you might offer something free such as a masterclass on painting. At the end of the masterclass you might pitch your bullseye offer, such as your signature online course on watercolour painting. But for those who don’t buy your bullseye offer, you can create a trigger in your email marketing system and downsell them your intro offer, such as a mini course on watercolours.
By having different offers at various price points, you’ll have something to offer people based on where they’re at and how much they’re willing to spend.
A Value Ladder Increases The Lifetime Value Of A Customer
By having a lineup of offers at different price points, you increase the chances of creating repeat customers in your business.
An intro offer, such as a tripwire can be a way to significantly increase your revenue and generate a passive income on auto-pilot. If you’ve got a freebie that’s converting well, you could create a tripwire so your customer can learn more from you.
Plus, a lead offer, such as a 1 hour strategy session can help you shorten the sales cycle and create more customers. Instead of wasting time pitching your services to people who are never going to become a client, you can focus on investing your time and energy in people who become clients.
How Do You Create A Value Ladder?
If you’re going to offer a few services in your business you want to create a value ladder for every service line. So, if you have services in email marketing, digital strategy and launch strategy, you want to create a value ladder for every service line.
But to create an effective value ladder you need to know who your dream customer avatar is and the problem you solve.
Here’s my value ladder for my email marketing service line:
(Dream customer avatar: course creators who need an engaged audience but don’t know how to get started with list building, engaging and selling to their audience)
- 4 Easy Ways To Grow Your Email List (Free offer)
- Victoria’s Wildly Successful Email Sequence (Intro offer)
- Email Marketing Toolkit (Lead offer)
- Email Marketing Playbook (Bullseye offer)
Ready to create your own own value ladder? GAME ON.
Step One – Bullseye Offer
When you create your value ladder, you want to start with the end in mind. Basically, you want to start with the premium offer or “bullseye offer” and reverse engineer the steps your customer might take to get there.
Your “bullseye offer” is your core or premium offer where you pull out all the stops and do whatever you need to help your ideal client with their problem. This is a higher-priced offer or a comprehensive online course on an area that you want to be known for. For example, it might be a signature course on painting with watercolours or a 12 week group coaching program on Facebook ads.
Here’s how to create a bullseye offer:
- Think about what their number one problem is and the end result or transformation that they want to create.
- Map out the steps they’d need to take to get from their pain point (point a) to their desired result (point b).
- Highlight the key steps they need and create a bullseye offer based on these steps.
- Choose a name for your bullseye offer and a sub description that elaborates what your offer is about.
Step Two – Lead Offer
Now that you’re onboard with your bullseye offer you can create a lead offer. Here you can create a lead offer, such as a small course, info digital product or you can offer 1 on 1 services.
Your lead offer has a larger financial commitment than a small digital product but isn’t as premium as your bullseye offer. Usually, it’s something that solves a specific result for your ideal client.
Here’s how to start: Think of a small quick win that you can help your clients to achieve. Ideally, you want to create a service that you can repeat with other clients, so that you can become a go-to person in this area. This might be 1 on 1 consulting/coaching or a done for you playbook or strategy book.
Step Three – Intro Offer
An intro offer is an “easy yes offer” that you promote to your audience to create more customers and earn the trust of those who might be hesitant.
Ideally, it needs to be a lower priced product between £10-£50 and it shouldn’t include working with clients. For example, it might be an ebook, workshop course or mini course.
Here’s how to start: Think of your lead offer and one step that you might focus on. Is there an aspect of this offer that you can break apart as a first step? For example, I have an email marketing playbook to help people engage, nurture and sell to their email list. One of the steps in this is engaging their audience with an effective welcome email sequence. So, I created an email sales sequence as my intro offer.
Step Four – Free offer
Every time someone signs up to your email list you’re beginning a new relationship. The purpose of your free offer is to create a good first impression, show credibility and help your dream customer achieve a small win.
Once you’ve helped someone solve a problem they’ll be confident that you can help them. So, they’ll start asking “what else does she have?” and they’ll check out your other products and services.