Why You Need An Email List + How to Start One

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Why You Need An Email List + How to Start One

In all kinds of relationships in life, it should be a two-way street in order for that relationship to grow and be the best it can be. I scratch your back and you scratch mine. It’s built on mutual understanding and trust with one another. It’s these two qualities that build healthy personal relationships, friendships and of course business relations. 

The most successful bloggers or online businesses take the time and effort to get to know their audience and build a repertoire. You have your loyal followers. They read all your blogs and they like all your posts. They are essential to the popularity of your blog, but if you turn them into loyal subscribers then they are essential to the prosperity of your blog. Doing this will not only increase your credibility, but it will definitely increase your sales. 

That is why you need an email list and the right time to do this is now. An email list is a collection of emails of your subscribers that you have acquired from your blog. They are the ones that are really invested and want to learn more or get more from you. They simply love who you are and what you do. 

Why You Need An Email List + How to Start One

How do you get the emails?

You can either use opt-ins or lead magnets. This is an exchange for something free for a person’s email. You could offer,

Whatever you would like to offer them, make sure it is something you think your audience needs. If it isn’t then you will see little to none people signing up. You have to know your target audience and offer them something very valuable. Use catchy titles and get creative with your opt-ins.

Once you get their emails, this is the time to have a mini celebration and to get those ideas going! Getting their emails means you can start building that relationship we have been talking about. That is why it is so important to treat these emails with care.

Don’t just send them anything you want. It needs to be a steady exchange between you and your subscriber. You can’t just bombard them with emails telling them what they should buy. In fact, the less your emails seem like a sales pitch the better. 

Why You Need An Email List + How to Start One

What to do once they opt-in

1. Send them a welcome email. - Thank them for subscribing, include their opt-in and let them know what they can expect from you. 

2. Let them get to know you -  Next, you can email them about who you are. Tell them little details about you that would make them trust you more. You can also share your story as a blogger and what your goals are for your blog. Doing so makes you seem more human and sincere. Your audience will feel closer to you.

You can also ask them to share a little about themselves, that way you will also get to know them more, what they need and what they want from the relationship. Ask them what they think about your blog and treat it as constructive criticism. 

3. Send valuable content -  Continue to send them content that is relevant to the topic they opted in for. This can be your weekly newsletter, supplemental content or freebies just for your email subscribers. 

4. Introduce your paid products/services - Once you  know each other a little better, you can now slowly offer them what you are selling. Remember, don’t make it sound like a sales pitch! You need to always offer them something free and valuable in your email. It could be as simple as advice, tips, what the latest is on your blog and other kinds of newsletters you can come up with. 

Remember! It is also good to send emails in between that offer them exclusive items. This will help your retention rate! You can give discounts to your product or affiliate links, exclusive content or freebies. Or give a sneak peek at a new blog series, ebooks or online courses that you will be launching. If you keep them posted on all the new and exciting things on your blog, the more you encourage them to participate.

Always answer your emails and offer them help. Like I said, you need to nurture your relationship and part of that is to keep in touch and be someone they can turn to when they have an inquiry, problems or even questions. This will make them feel closer to you and when that time comes when you need help from them, they will most probably return the favor. 

Why You Need An Email List + How to Start One

Email service providers

Now it sounds like having an email list is a lot of work. Well, it is! Luckily we have email marketing services that we can use to do most of the leg work for us!

1. MailChimp - MailChimp is one of the most popular email service providers. They offer a free account when you have 2,000 or less subscribers and with limited features (does not include automation). If you sign up for a paid account, you pay more but the amount depends on how much subscribers you have. 

2. ConvertKit - I personally switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit. If you plan on incorporating email marketing into your blog or business that you go with ConvertKit. Its features are much more robust. You are able to tag and segment subscribers so they are only seeing content relevant to what they opted in for. I have found ConvertKit to be well worth it! (P.S. Checkout my comparison of MailChimp vs. ConvertKit and which might be the best for you). 

Having an email list is like an investment. It takes time and smart decisions to be able to earn from it. Not just earning more money but earning a faithful following that will only show more and more of its value as time passes. 

Tax Tips For Bloggers

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Tax Tips for Bloggers

“I’m excited to do my taxes!” said no one...ever. Now before you shrug and look away, let’s remind ourselves why we need to do our taxes for our business. First of all, it is required. No, you can’t escape it if you want to run your business legally, you need to face it. 

If you are in any kind of business, you are obligated to contribute to your country and pay your taxes. In our case as bloggers, we are considered as self-employed. We are entrepreneurs and we are our own bosses. To be able to pay taxes as a blogger, you would need to have a blogging income of at least $400 a year. Any less than $400 dollars then you can’t be officially called a business.

The good news about this is that you are eligible to get tax deductibles! This means that any form of expenses that is related to your business are deducted from your gross income and you will only pay taxes on your net income. 

Now you can’t just say that everything you’ve spent this entire time is for your business. You need proof to back that up, which we will talk about later below. These are a few examples of what will qualify as tax deductibles.

Tax tips for bloggers

Tax Deductions

1. Supplies and Equipment

Anything you purchased for your home office is tax deductible. Items such as printers, office supplies, craft supplies and even software can be counted. Furniture, computers, mobile phones, and cameras are included as well.

2. Professional Fees

If you decide to hire an assistant, lawyer or an accountant (which would definitely be a big help to do your taxes if you have money to spare), their professional fees are tax deductible. Whoever you have paid to help manage or grow your blog. 

3. Travel and Transportation    

If you’re one of the lucky ones who get to travel for their business, then these are tax deductible as well. 

4. Advertising and Marketing Kits

Everything you paid for that involves marketing will be tax deductible. This includes freebies, giveaways, calling cards, posters, website fees, maintenance and other items. This is a mix of hard and soft copy marketing tools.

5. Home Office and Utilities

The rent space, realty taxes and utilities in your home office is eligible as well. Things like air conditioning, electricity, phone bill, internet bill, water, etc. are included. However, note that not the entirety of these are counted. Only the portion of your home that is exclusively dedicated to your business.

6. Ebooks and Courses

Your journey to be a better blogger might also include taking blogging courses. Whether they are online or on site, if they are related to your business then they are tax deductible too. 

These examples are just a few ways to get back the money you had invested into your business. It’s important to know these because these deductions can save you a ton of money! 

To be able to file your taxes properly and accurately, you would need to do some planning, some research, and lot of discipline. Here are some tips to help you with your taxes as pain and stress-free as possible.

Tax tips for bloggers

Tax Organization

1. Keep All your Receipts

Keeping receipts can be bothersome. Remembering to keep them can be annoying, but you have to do it! Just do it! All your receipts from business coffee meetings to purchasing paperclips, you need to file them. Make a copy of each of them and file them to make them last longer. These will all be needed when the time comes for you to make your annual report.

2. Start Doing your Taxes Now

Everything done last minute is always done haphazard. Of all things to do right and precisely, it should be your taxes. Start slowly throughout the year by compiling papers, files and knowing which expenses can have possible deductions. If you keep this habit then you won’t have any panic attacks when tax season arrives. 

3. Hire a Professional

If and only if you have money to spare, by all means, hire a lawyer or an accountant. Either you can hire them to do all your taxes every time, or hire them to teach you how to do your taxes. If you feel more secure if you hire a professional then why not. 

There are basically two ways to organize your taxes. You can do it the traditional way with folders, boxes, staplers etc, or do it digitally. Personally, I would go digital since this is quicker, cheaper in the long run and it won’t take up too much space in your home office. 

Tax Tips for Bloggers

Accounting Programs

There are many online programs that you can look into and see which one works best for you. Some of these are:

1. Freshbooks

Freshbooks is specifically made for service-based businesses. You can keep your financial records and invoices on this online program. 

2. Webexpenses  

Webexpenses is a cloud-based software that you can work on with any browser and mobile device. That means you can access your expenses and information wherever you go. 

3. Wave

Wave is specifically for small businesses. You can do your accounting records here as well as invoices and payments.

4. Expensify

Expensify helps you make and submit your expense reports in real time. They emphasize on saving you more time in doing the paperwork for you. 

Blogging is a lot of fun and your profits can be great when done right, but bottom line is that it is a business. If you want to be a professional blogger then treat it like a business and be responsible for all the requirements.

Take time to associate yourself with the formalities, the legal terms and the different ways to make your taxes easier to do. Once you get used to it, you can file all your receipts with your eyes closed. 

Also read, 

How To Set A Budget As A Freelancer

The Do's & Don'ts of Direct Sales

The Do's & Don'ts of Direct Sales

Hi, Cuties!!

How have you been? I took a brief intermission from the blog after relaunching Pinterest to Profits a couple weeks ago. I’d love to say that I was relaxing on a beach somewhere but this mama was still hustling. Here’s why. 

A few months ago I made an observation about many of the readers and students in my course. Over 10% of them were doing direct sales businesses. 

I’d never done direct sales and pretty much had sworn off doing direct sales because in the past I hadn’t had the best experience with a few other consultants. I a bit of an introvert and I am terrified of coming off to salesy. I began thinking about my social media/online marketing strategies and if I could implement those so I could generate sales without every having to pressure a customer. 

I realized that for the beautiful women that read this blog and have chosen to pursue direct sales this could be ultra helpful for you. So I did one of my favorite things, I dove right in and signed up for a direct sales (MLM, multi-level marketing, network marketing) so I could do a case study for you!

Yep! I joined a direct sales company. You heard me right…

The Do's & Don'ts of Direct Sales

And boy it has not been what I expected at all! 

I signed up with LipSense at the end of November, which was crazy in and of itself because I was working like mad trying to get things ready for the launch of Pinterest to Profits all of December and early January. Fortunately, I was able to carve out a few hours per week to devote to my new business adventure. 

I started a new business page and group on Facebook, and a brand new Instagram account.  I invited a few of my friends to join my group and had about 120 in my group and about 170 that liked my page. Small potatoes so far, right? 

Well, two months in I am at over 1,400 followers on Instagram, 1,400 in my Facebook group and 7,000 on my Facebook page! 

How? Making strategic investments and creating a social media strategy that works! 

As you guys know this isn’t the first business I’ve ever started, so I’ve got a trick or two up my sleeve. One thing that I do that has helped me ensure that each of my businesses become profitable is that I don’t take a profit from my business for at least the first three months. 

Any profit that I make in those first three months is immediately reinvested back into marketing, tools, and resources or inventory. Instead of collecting profits in those first few months I make strategic investments that will grow my business.

If you invest in yourself and in your business you will take yourself more seriously. You will be committed and by reinvesting your profits you will have the tools and resources you need to grow. 

The Do's & Don'ts of Direct Sales

In my opinion, the reason why so many small businesses don’t succeed is because they don’t have the right business mindset. They are so focused on making money right now that they see the big picture and where they could be at in two or three years from now! 

By making smart investments I have made thousands of dollars in sales and have 21 brilliant girls on my team! Teaching female entrepreneurs how to build businesses is my passion (hence this blog) so the fact that I get to coach them on how to build their own profitable business and create financial freedom is so fun for me! 

If you are interested in being a LipSense distributor and getting one-on-one direct sales coaching with me check out how to sign up here!

Now, there is a right way to approach direct sales and a few VERY wrong ways to approach direct sales. 

Do nots of direct sales

Fake friendships - Everyone has had the friend they haven’t talked to since second grade that all of the sudden hits them up to buy their new and incredible product. Don’t be that person. Yes, network marketing can include talking to your friends but don’t pressure them, don’t be salesy, and always keep it real. 

Bait and switch invite a friend to lunch to “catch up”... but really talk about your products during the entire conversation.  - You may think getting your friend in person will increase your likelihood of a sale. Which it probably will, but it also will probably ruin your friendship for life. If you really would have gone to lunch with them before selling your product, then cool, go to lunch! But, please don’t corner your friend and try to sell them your product the whole time. 

Sacrifice friendships for a sale - Really think about it. Is it worth it to lose a friend just for a small sale?

Do's of Direct Sales

Leverage social media - I am serious when I say there is great power in social media and you can do it without spamming your friends. I make it a rule to only post about once a month on my personal pages. For me, I have found that that is an okay balance. The remainder of your posts should be on your accounts that are specifically for the product you are selling. 

Share why you love the products and how it can help benefit their life - Remember sales isn’t about you, it is about them. Think about the direct benefits for the user. So for example, for LipSense I talk about how beautiful and confident they will feel or how much healthier their lips will be. See? Isn’t that way more persuasive than buy now, buy now, BUY NOW!! 

Make strategic business investments - so many businesses fail because of fear. It totally can be scary when you are starting your own business to make additional investments, but those that are super successful are the ones investing in their business and thinking outside of the box! For example, if you do a giveaway that costs you $15 but because of that giveaway, you make $30 in profit that is a 200% return on investment, which is amazing! Star with small risk/small rewards and work your way up from there. 

Set long term and short term goals - if you are building a business chances are that you want to have it last! The “don’t” strategies will burn out your business as soon as you have sold to all of your friends and family. You need to leverage other ways of marketing to reach outside of your immediate network of people. 

Treat others how you would want to be treated - The Golden Rule has been told to us since we were children, but sometimes it is so hard to remember it! If you were in your customer's position would you want to be aggressively sold to, or would you want someone that shows you the benefits, let’s you order when you are ready and truly cares about your happiness, not about a quick buck? 

The Do's & Don'ts of Direct Sales

One of the beauties of multi-level marketing companies is that there are two ways to earn. 

  1. Through sales
  2. Through building your team

Making sales is a short-term goal. You want to make the sale so you can have money in your pocket today. Building a team is a long-term goal. Your team most likely won't make you much money in the beginning. You will spend hours training them and helping them build their businesses so at first your “hourly rate” or return on your time investment will be lower. But as you nurture your team and coach them the income will build and so will your profits.  

Direct sales can be an amazing way to start your own business from home and if you get in with a great company and a super awesome mentor you can even replace your full-time income working in direct sales. 

I personally chose LipSense/SeneGence because I love their products, it is only $55 to get started and it is growing so quickly there is a huge opportunity to grow. If you want to read more about why I love the company and how to become a LipSense distributor (plus get awesome business coaching from me for FREE!) check out my post here. 

If you are going to do direct sales please remember to sell without being salesy, don’t sacrifice friendships and treat others how you would want to be treated. 

Have you ever been in direct sales? What was your experience?

A 5-Step Plan To Beat Email Overwhelm

A 5-Step Plan To Beat Email Overwhelm

Every week you groan when the day comes for you to send an email to your list. You sit in front of your computer and think hard.

You know an email list is important but if only it wasn’t so difficult to actually send them something. You’re already pressed for time with the hundred and one things you have to do for your blog. How do you manage email as well?

In this post, we’ll discuss a simple 5-step plan that will help you overcome email overwhelm.

Step 1: Determine what types of emails you want to send

Think about what you’d like for your subscribers to experience from your emails. How do you want them to feel? Like a friend who has their back, like they’ve found a mentor and leader, that you made their life easy with hacks and tips or that you’ve given them a new way of thinking about things?

What do you hope to get out of it for yourself? Do you want to be seen as an expert? Do you want to spread your love about a particular subject? Do you want to inspire a community?     

The answer to this question will determine the type of email content you send out. It sets the tone for your entire list.

Step 2: Have a specific plan to sort your email marketing calendar

Now that you know the types of emails you want to send, how do you plan out your email marketing calendar? Here some ways you can do so.

Monthly Themes: If your blog content follows themes, your email content can complement these themes as well. For instance, if you write about a particular topic for the whole of the February, your emails can do the same so that they lead to your posts. You could summarize the points of your post with a personal takeaway that you didn’t include.

Launches: If you’re launching courses, services or products during certain periods of the year, block your email calendar so that your audience receives launch specific content.

Weekly themes: You could also plan to send out different email content for each week of the month. You could have weekly themes that rotate through the month and start over.

Here are some ideas:

  • Quick action emails are filled with easy to implement and digestible tips
  • Audience highlight is when you showcase one of your readers
  • Email Takeovers are where you get a blogging buddy to share her wisdom to your list
  • Coffee chat emails are when you share a personal story or personal takeaway.

Decide now on how you plan to sort your emails. Then, lock in a day and time that you will send these emails out. A weekly email is a good email frequency to start with.

Step 3: Get stuff out of your head

Once you’ve ticked off on these two steps, you’re going to start getting ideas to include in your emails. These could be points you didn’t use in a blog post. Or a post that didn’t get fleshed out fully.

You could also be inspired by an email you received from someone or a post you saw on Facebook.

This is where a swipe file comes in handy. Start to flag or move emails that you like into a folder. Study these emails and determine what about them do you like? What is it about their style that draws you?

Keep a Google doc or folder with snapshots and content pieces that you’d like to keep for inspiration. Consider using Evernote or Trello for your email planning if you use it for other areas of your blog and business.

As you start to fill these up, you will never run out of email ideas because you always have a well-stocked content library to dip into.

Why not start with my swipe file of email content ideas?

Step 4: Block out time to write your emails

This is where you have to actually write your emails.

I usually send emails on Tuesday so I block out an hour every Monday morning or afternoon to write my email. I make this task non-negotiable. I don’t move it around my schedule so that it gets done.

Here are some pointers that make writing emails easy:

-Determine your call to action.

And in email, that call to action is usually to click a link back to your blog, head over to a sales or landing page, or to engage and respond to your question.

Decide what that call to action is and craft your content around it.

One email. One call to action. You give too many choices and your readers don't take any.

-Keep your emails distraction free

Remove unnecessary distractions such as sidebars, fancy fonts, and huge graphics. You want the focus to be on your message or call to action.

-Tell a great story

You’re not writing a tech manual. Be vulnerable. If you have a great story, share it. People retain stories better.

You don’t need to have a ‘rags to riches’ story. You had a horrible client...Or you moved to a new city...you quit your job...all these are stories. Provide a take-away from each of these and link them up with your call to action.

-Check your tone

Your emails should be a natural extension of your blog. If your tone is invigorating and bossy in your blog posts but warm and mellow in your emails you're going to confuse your readers. Make sure that your voice is consistent across.

Step 5: Keep track and review

What metric will you use to track your progress?

Opens? Clicks? Testimonials? Feedback?

Determine what’s more important to you.

If you’ve been sending emails for some time, have a look at your open and engagement rates to gauge what type of email content your audience likes. If you’re just starting out and haven’t sent a whole lot of emails, give it time before reviewing your stats.

But what if your list is dragging beneath its own weight? It’s stale, bloated and unresponsive. You have inactive subscribers who haven’t responded, opened, clicked or interacted with your emails in any way in 6-12 months. You hardly get any engagement, click-throughs or opens.

If that’s you, it’s best to clean your list and delete inactive subscribers so that they don’t affect your email engagement rates. You also don’t want to be paying unnecessarily for inactive subscribers.

The truth about emails

I hate to use the term ‘train your subscribers’ to open your emails. But if your subscribers come to view your emails as ones that provide value, you will get steady click-through and open rates. Give them a reason to open your emails.

Be consistent about sending your emails too. Give unexpected value and respect your list.

Make these 5 steps a part of your email routine so that you start to enjoy email and reap the benefits of having an engaged list that loves hearing from you.

 

Author Bio:
Meera is a certified email marketing specialist, and contributor at Addicted 2 Success, Marketing Profs and several other sites. She helps ambitious bloggers and solopreneurs find focus, build authority and stand out online.

Wondering what to send your email list? Steal her Swipe File of 2 years worth of email content ideas.

Are You Making These Pinterest Mistakes?

Are You Making These Pinterest Mistakes?

Are you using Pinterest to grow your blog? Then chances are you may be making one of these Pinterest mistakes!

Pinterest is a fabulous way to increasing your traffic, subscribers, and income, but it needs to be implemented strategically. In this post we talked about things you should do, now I want to cover what you should not be doing on Pinterest. Let’s dive in!

THE EIGHT MOST COMMON PINTEREST MISTAKES
 

1. INCOMPLETE BRAND PAGE

Your brand page or your homepage on Pinterest should be complete and that includes verifying your website. All the links and details provided should be filled out properly and everything should link back to the right pages.

This is important because pinners need to be able to easily understand what your company is about. A complete profile says a lot about your professionalism. Provide all the correct information + use thoughtful keywords.

For your social accounts, I recommend connecting it to your Twitter profile, but NOT your Facebook account. Currently, Pinterest only connects to personal Facebook accounts. I recommend maintaining some separation between your business and personal life.

2. POSTING EVERYTHING AT ONCE

Some people would think that posting a lot at one go would make a bigger impact, but that is actually incorrect. Posting everything at once will overwhelm their followers and might make them lose interest.

Scheduling your posts to trickle out throughout the day does better in the Pinterest Smartfeed and allows you to reach more followers at different times throughout the day. There may be key times when your followers are online. However, none of them will ever all be on at once, so some will be missing your pins if you do them all in one sitting.

Getting your followers to see your pins and repin them is crucial to your growth. Over 80% of pins are repins compared to 1.4% of tweets that are retweeted and the lifespan of a pin is actually the longest in any social media platform. Pins on Pinterest have viral potential. A pin can last 3.5 months as opposed to 90 minutes for a Facebook post. That is approximately 1,680 times!

Want to learn how to make your pins go viral? Grab the checklist below!

GRAB THE VIRAL PIN CHECKLIST!

8 Steps To The Perfect Pin

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3. HAVING DISORGANIZED BOARDS

Boards are places where you can compile many pins of the same topic. Think of them as folders where you can separately file each category. Just like filing things in real life, you don’t want anything unrelated to your board topic to be randomly included.

These boards should be organized and Pinterest users should find exactly what is described inside each of these boards. Adding random pins can result to people unfollowing simply because they see something they are not interested in.

4. INCOMPLETE TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS

Providing the correct information is important. Your followers need to know what exactly is being pinned. This is also a way that users can find you when they hit the search button.

Your titles and descriptions should be straight to the point and use keywords related to your post, brand page, or niche. Hashtag use on Pinterest does not work the same as other social platforms. Instead, focus on identifying and maximizing keyword use for your boards and pins.

Are You Making These Pinterest Mistakes?

5. NOT SHARING THE RIGHT CONTENT

Sharing the right pins is crucial because this builds your target market. Have posts that are related to your business so you can easily attract the right audience for your product. Also be sure to share others content, not just your own.

It may be tempting to post only your own content, that is the whole point, right? Wrong! Pinterest isn’t just marketing your product; it’s about engagement and interactions. You need to put some effort in sharing other people’s content, repin, like and comment, as long as they are related to your business.

6. NOT CONNECTING TO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

Pinterest makes it easy to connect and share on Facebook or Twitter. This is convenient because you widen your scope of audiences. This also works vice-versa.

Make sure to include a Pin It (or Save It) button on your website. You also can implement tools like SumoMe that make sharing your content incredibly easy. Also, be sure to have your social media icons in an easily visible place on your website.

Are You Making These Pinterest Mistakes?

7. NOT USING PINTEREST ANALYTICS

If you are using Pinterest for business, you have access to their analytics feature. Analytics is crucial to have when you are doing online marketing and if you run an online business. The data you can find in this feature will greatly help you monitor the progress of your company online.

In the analytics section of your Pinterest account, you can track how many pinners are viewing your pins, your most popular content, follower demographics and interests and much more. As you study these statistics you will identify what is working with your pinning and what can be improved.

8. USING POOR QUALITY IMAGES

This could be one of the most important things not to do when you use Pinterest. Pinterest is heavily driven by visuals. You need to post strong images. They don’t have to be professionally done. They just need to be composed well and sized well. It was studied that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.

I put together this post about my 20 Favorite Free Feminine Stock Photo Resources. This is a great place to start if your budget is small but you still want professionally done photos. For a quick Pinterest image use one of these gorgeous photos, add an overlay in Canva or PicMonkey, and text about your content and you are set.

Have you made any of these Pinterest mistakes? Which are you going to work on first? 

P.S. Ready for your pins to go viral? Grab my eight-step viral pin checklist below!

VIRAL PIN CHECKLIST

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Eight steps for creating a pin that will increase your, repins, clickthroughs and traffic!

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