21 Free Productivity Tools For Bloggers

productivity-tools-bloggers

Have you ever had a day with an extra long to-do list, but it seems like nothing actually gets done?

We all have! So many times the projects pile on or distractions keep popping up (ahem, I mean you social media notifications). As mamas, we are busy and have to maximize every minute, and these will help you do just that 😊 . 

After using these tools I have noticed a significant increase in my productivity and I waste way less time! It is amazing how much more you can accomplish when you focus and block out the distractions. 

Here are some of my favorite apps to help you be more productive as a mommy blogger. 

1-3-5 List

This app will help you determine which tasks to prioritize and complete. Aside from helping you achieve your goals, this will also prevent you from trying to take on all tasks all at once so you don’t end up failing or giving up.

Asana

This is one of my favorite project management tools. You can outline tasks, upload files, make notes and organize your calendar. If you are a visual person like me it makes it so much easier to be able to see all of your projects outlined on one calendar.

I try to map out my calendar one week at a time. That way in the morning when I wake up I can look at my calendar and I immediately know what I need to work on that day. No more guessing or getting distracted!

productivity-tools-bloggers

Coffitivity

This app will make it seem like you are in your fave local coffee shop, listening to your favorite playlist and getting those creative juices flowing (this will start playing the coffee shop sound when you click on the link, so if you have a little one sleeping near your turn your volume off first). 

Dropbox

This cloud storage tool allows you to access your files from any device. This means you wouldn’t need to use a USB or email files just to get your important data. Since it is on a cloud, your files are backed up online and you wouldn’t need to worry about losing your precious data for when you have any accidents and mishaps with your laptop.

E.ggTimer.com

This app can be placed in your browser and is good for when you would need to be reminded to return to your work. If you are browsing pages like Facebook or Twitter, you could easily get distracted by a lot of things and by setting a timer, you can stay on track.

Evernote

When you’re working with a group or a team, things could get pretty hectic. Evernote will help you with assigning tasks, setting up reminders, and saving notes for all the members to be on the same page. You will be able to exchange ideas and get everything done in a smooth flow.

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator

If you are going to use only one of these tools use this one. Facebook is one of the biggest time-wasters and it is one of the sites that can draw us in the worst. This chrome extension will block it so you can't see your newsfeed and instead it is replaced with an inspiring quote.

You can still access your notifications, messages, and groups, but the main newsfeed won't show up when you log in. I do a lot of my business on Facebook and I can't tell you how many hours this has already saved me! 

productivity-tools-bloggers

Grammarly

This might make me sound bad, but...I really hate proofreading, especially when I’m trying to finish up a blog post really late at night and my brain is feeling a little mushy. When it’s one in the morning and I miss the difference between to and too Grammarly will catch my little mistakes.

Inbox by Gmail

You can have your inbox sorted out and streamlined to prioritize your most important tasks so you can act on them asap. You can separate those that can be for later and you can even set a reminder to help you get back to that email at the proper time. You no longer have to spend your mornings sorting out your inbox. How awesome is that?!

LastPass

Tired of remembering all your passwords? This app will store all of them for you in a ‘vault’ so everything is found in one place and you can easily log into multiple accounts with great ease. It will also help you create better passwords.

productivity-tools-bloggers

Mindly

Having a lot on your plate can thwart off productivity since you don’t know where to start and have too much on your mind. With this app, you can organize your thoughts, goals, and objectives to make it clearer and even edit them to help you complete your tasks.

Momentum

This app sends you a daily goal complete with motivational images and quotes to give you that inspiration to get things done and achieve your goals.

Noisli

You can create your own mix of background noises for those cases when you need music and sound to help you focus and boost productivity.

Plan

You will be forced to make time for those tasks that you have to complete with this app and the help of Google calendar.

productivity-tools-bloggers

Pomodoro Keepers

If you are working four hours straight, you probably get burned out and tired. By working in small bursts of time with some breaks, you can accomplish more and still feel energized and not drained out. This app has the timers to help you with these breaks and increments.

Rescue Time

This app will track down which websites you spend a lot of time on. It will also let you know which times during the day are you most unproductive. You can then schedule your breaks to fall around this time and optimize your work day.

Simple Habit

If stress is starting to get to you, you can take advantage of this app to keep you back on track. With meditation, you can relax, center your attention, and get rid of any anxieties.

Stay Focusd

This is a Google Chrome extension that will lock you out of your favorite sites so that you can keep from being distracted and it will also help you finish your work faster.

SwiftKey

It predicts words and phrases in English and even in other languages to make email and texting from your mobile device really fast.

Toby

You can now have your active tabs stored in customized folders so that all the open tabs won’t distract you, but you can still have them ready for when you need to use them.

Unroll.Me

This app looks through your inbox and searches for those newsletters that you are subscribed to that you never open. If you don’t ever read them, then there is no point in keeping them all in your inbox. You can easily mass unsubscribe from newsletters you are no longer interested in.

Have you tried any of these tools? Which are your favorites?

I saved one of the best resources for last! Pinterest is so important for marketing your blog, but it can be super distracting, so I put together this free guide with my three best strategies for optimizing your system and saving you TONS of time on Pinterest. Just enter in your email below and I'll send it over to you!

The Ultimate Guide To Creating Your Online Course

This post may contain affiliate links

This is exactly what I was looking for! She covers it all. This is a must read for anyone considering creating an online course. Plus, her Teachable tutorial was super helpful.

Have you taken an online course?
 
I am what you may call an online course junkie. I seriously love taking online courses and it turns out that I love creating them too!
 
Online courses have changed the way people take in information and learn new things. People are looking for a straight path to solve their problems and an online course is a neat little package that can help them reach their goals fast. 
 
You have your own unique experiences and visions that can be shared with people and monetized at the same time. An online course is also a reusable asset since it is an e-product that you can sell over and over again. Once you’ve created it is a resource that can continue to bring in revenue, even when you aren’t working. 
 
The good news is you don’t even have to be an expert at coding, building websites or even on the course topic. You only need to be one step ahead or know 10% more than the next guy!

Plus, due to new tools that have come out in the last few years creating your online course is seriously a breeze.

If you want to check out my full walkthrough of my favorite online course platform check it out here. Plus, click here to get a month of Teachable for free! 

If you are new to creating online courses it can seem overwhelming, but I’ve broken it down into nine simple steps to help you create and launch your online course.

Step 1: Decide on what topic you would like to teach in your online course

When figuring out what kind of online course you want to teach, it is best to choose a topic that you feel comfortable with, something that you can use your knowledge and experience in order to create the best e-course possible. 
 
Ask yourself questions like, 

  • “What topic is exciting to me that others would want to learn?” 
  • “What topic is helpful for others?” or 
  • “Is there a demand for this product?” 

It is important that you ask these questions in order to determine if the project is worth the time and effort you will spend on creating it. 
 
Validating your course topic is super important too. Try surveying your audience to see what they are most interested in learning. 

  • Let them choose between a few different course ideas (or if you aren’t ready to announce the course, let them choose between potential opt-ins)
     
  • Presell the course. This is the best way to validate your course idea because you know that your audience is willing to put their money where their mouth is. As you see the pre-sale sales come in, it will keep your motivated and it makes the course creation process so much more enjoyable because you can create with those specific students in mind. 

When it comes to coming up with a topic, the more specific it is, the better. This is to help you stand out amongst others and also create a bond with your audience. 

Step 2: Outlining the content for your online course

This process is where you will brainstorm your course outline. At first, this can be a collection of bulleted lists, questions your audience has asked about the topic, or simply the transformation you want your student to experience. Once you have gotten your ideas out, you can then sort them out to have a clear outline of the order of your content. 
 
Then group your notes into, 

  • Modules 
  • Lessons
  • Bonuses
  • Worksheets
  • Etc.

Make sure you cover everything you need to and that it is clear and easy for people to understand. 

Step 3: Selecting a medium for your online course

This step is all about how you want to deliver your course to your students. This can be done through audio, video, or written content. Depending on your preference and goals, you can pick the right kind of medium for you. 
 
In my courses, I usually do a mix of video and text lessons. I have found this has been the most helpful to my students, but ultimately the choice is yours. It is YOUR course! 

VIDEO

Video is a great way you can teach your course since it combines both visual and written content. You can also have the option to teach on-screen or off-screen. If you are teaching on-screen, you can engage and form that personal connection with your audience. 
 
If you choose to be on screen for your videos try to choose a place with a clean background and natural lighting. 

Creating video content for your course can actually be relatively inexpensive depending on your goals. 

If you are off screen here are the tools I recommend, 

  • Screencast-o-matic - This ultra cheap tool only costs $15 a year and allows you to record your screen. It is a lifesaver for recording “over the shoulder” type video tutorials or slideshow presentations. 
     
  • A Microphone - This isn’t mandatory but it will significantly improve your sound quality. I personally use the Blue Yeti Microphone and love it. If you can’t afford it yet try using iPhone speakers with the built in mic. That will pick up the sound better than your computer's built-in mic.  

If you are on screen there are a few additional resources you may want to purchase, 

  • A higher resolution camera or webcam - To increase your video quality and resolution pick up a camera or a webcam. If you need a higher end camera for other aspects of your business, check out a DSLR like this one, or for a more budget-friendly option, check out this super effective webcam
     
  • A lighting kit - If you don’t have access to an area with natural (window) light (or you have to film at night after the kids are asleep), you may want to invest in a lighting kit or a ring light. These kits will give you just the right lighting balance.

TEXT

Text is the easiest type of content to create, but generally, is perceived as lower value and impersonal, so I don’t recommend that your entire course is text-based. However, this is the easiest option and has no additional expenses.

You can write up your lessons in Microsoft Word, Pages or in a Google Doc and when the lesson is completed you can paste it into your course-hosting platform, easy peasy. 

AUDIO

Using audio as your medium is another option you have. These are like podcasts that you can use to not only educate your audience but also get your personality across.

Good sound equipment like a quality microphone is an asset to have since it can really make a difference and improve your final product. Like I mentioned above, the Blue Yeti Mic is an inexpensive yet good quality option that is a popular one among podcasters. 
 
This a good option if your students have little free time or long commutes since you can make these audio lessons downloadable so they can listen to them anywhere. 

Step 4: Creating Your Online Course

Using programs like Keynote, PowerPoint, or Google Slides, you can create slides out of your content. Create bullet points to guide your students on the important things to remember and you can explain the bulk of it through your audio. 
 
You can come up with a script for when you record your video, or you can just use your bullet points to naturally guide your lesson and to make it feel as authentic as possible. 
 
Depending on how you would like to come across, you can edit your videos as much as you would like. You can do the same with audio files. Screencast-o-matic and many of the other screen recording software have easy edit functions built in.
 
For written content like emails, you can start writing them down on Google Doc and then upload it to your course-hosting platform on when converting it to a PDF. The most important thing to remember is to pick a medium that will be the most beneficial to your students. 

Step 5: Styling your online course

In order to get a professional feel to your course, you need to determine design elements that can work for you and that will truly represent your course or product. 
 
Stick to branding that is similar to what you already have on your site. You can branch out to some extent, but make sure the colors and the design are complementary to the branding that you have on your blog. 

To create your PDF’s you can design them in Word, Canva, Adobe Indesign or even PowerPoint. 
 
For free stock photos, you can use sites like, 

Or for premium stock photos, I like to use Deposit Photo

Step 6: Delivering your online course

When it comes to video and audio files, they need to be hosted somewhere online.

Some options include: 

YouTube

When uploading videos, you can make them “unlisted” which means only the people with the link to the video will know about it. You can use a platform that will allow you to embed the videos so that you will be able to host the video content for free. 
 
Wistia
 
This is another video host that allows you to customize your player and have custom thumbnail images which can give a more modern and high-quality look to your content. Since this is a paid service, you would need to set aside a budget for this. 
 
SoundCloud is great for audio files and it even allows you to customize button colors. 
 
Teachable

 
It is simple to navigate but at the same time, you can do advanced things you can implement.
 
I love the built in affiliate program, co-authors, and user-friendly interface. 
 
Related: Why I chose Teachable to host my online course
 
If you want to take a sneak peak at the back end of Teachable, I’ve put together ten video lessons to walk you through how to get set up. PLUS, click here and you can sign up to get your first month from Teachable for free!  


ConvertKit
 
An ultra important and beneficial feature of ConvertKit is it allows your email subscribers to opt-out of a product launch without totally unsubscribing from your list.  This will help you retain your subscribers that are interested in your other content, but aren't ready to purchase.

They can just click on a link that will allow them to not receive the emails in case that product will not be applicable to them.  
 
ConvertKit can also automatically connect with Teachable so when someone enrolls in your course they can be added to a list. This is a great way to send a follow-up sequence to your new students. 

Related: The Beginners Guide To ConvertKit

Step 7: Creating Bonuses for your online course

In order to improve your online course and make it more appealing, you can put in additional resources like worksheets, PDF downloads, and a course community in order to support the learning experience of your students. 
 
Worksheets or study guides can help them understand each stage of the course and put what they’ve learned into action.

Chat apps like Slack or a course community like a Facebook group can help them get in touch with other people who are also taking the course and share their knowledge and experiences. 
 
Bonuses can be a huge selling item for your course, so try to come up with a few additional resources that will complement your course content. 

Step 8: Marketing your online course

When getting your online course out there, it is important to have a good grasp of who your target audience is. 
 
You can ask questions like, 

  • Who will benefit the most from this course? 
  • What problems will this course solve for them? 
  • Where does your ideal student hangout online?
  • What are their possible hesitations when it comes to buying your course? 

Based on this, you will know where to market your online course. It is important to really focus in on your demographic because a potential customer is much more likely to buy if they feel like this course was created just for them than if it is a broad, blanketed course topic. 
 
If you do not have a marketing budget that is totally okay! You can begin by promoting your course to

  • Your email list
  • On Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Or guest posting on other sites.

 
You also can reach out to other influencers in your niche and invite them to be an affiliate for your program.
That way you can leverage their audience and they will earn a commission when someone buys through their affiliate link. 
 
If you have a bit of a marketing budget or as you begin to see revenue coming in from your course you can invest in,

  • Facebook Ads
  • Promoted Pins
  • Or sponsorships on other blogs or podcasts etc. 

Step 9: Pricing your online course

Pricing your online course can be a bit tricky, but it is good to do some analyzing and consider the following factors. 
 
Determine your target audience’s financial condition and how much are they willing to spend for your online courses. 

A course targeted at college students is going to need to be a smaller price point than a program targeted at B2B sales executives.
 
You also can compare what similar products are selling for. I recommend starting on the lower end of the price range and then you can increase your prices as you add more content and test the demand for your course. 

Step 10: Launching your online course

A sales page is where your audience will be sent to in order to purchase your course. Make sure you design it in a way that would give them a clear idea of what they can get out of the course and how you can provide them a solution to a current problem or issue they have. 
 
Before officially launching go through your checkout process to ensure there are no errors and that you have a smooth flow for people to pay for your product. There always seem to be tech issues on launch day so try to double check as much as you can ahead of time!
 
Evergreen or Open Close?
 
It is important to also figure out how long you want your course to be available for. There are a lot of opinions about if you should have an evergreen (always available) course or an open and close launch. I personally think it is up to you to try it and see what your audience is receptive to! 
 
If your course is always on sale, people will not feel urgency to purchase your product right away. On the other hand, when someone who needs the course will land on your sales page, they would be able to order now instead of waiting until your next launch.

With an evergreen course, I recommend setting up a sales funnel so you will also be able to earn consistently throughout the year. 
 
Limiting your launch window will make people purchase your product on the spot and creates urgency because they know they won't be able to purchase it again until the next time you open the cart for your course. You can test out these different options and see which ones drive the most sales from your audience.
 
You have something the world needs to learn! You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be one step ahead of someone. 
 
You’ve got this! Grab your free month of Teachable and get started

Moms Make Cents: One Year Blogging Update

one-year-blogging-update

Are you one of those people that like to seem like they have it all together?

Yeah, me too.

So, this post is a little hard to write. You are going to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of the journey of the blog this last year.

This will be a post where I “keep it real.”

I published my first blog posts on Moms Make Cents exactly a year ago today. 

I remember nervously hitting publish on my first few posts on Moms Make Cents. I had a vision, but I had no idea where the journey was going to take me.

Well, what an amazing whirlwind it has been. I started with the goal in mind to help other moms start their businesses and understand their finances so that they could have the choice to stay at home with their children.

BACKGROUND - BEFORE MOMS MAKE CENTS

So you may be wondering what is my background in the blogging & online marketing realm.

I started my first blog five years ago, back in June 2012. It was a lifestyle blog and was when I first dipped my toes in the blogging sphere. This is where I learned the importance of connecting with other bloggers, taking high-quality pictures, and little touches of web design.

Since then I created a handful of other small blogs that varied from a couponing/frugality blog to a more professional lifestyle blog.

In January 2015, I began helping an old friend with social media and influencer marketing for her startup company. It initially began as an unpaid thing helping her on the side, but eventually turned into a paid position.

During this time I managed all of their social media accounts, created the majority of their content and coordinated collaborations with dozens of bloggers and influencers. This period of time helped refine my experience with working with bloggers from a business perspective.


Around this time the company my husband worked for began to have some serious challenges. He worked in the oil industry and in that industry there are a lot of ups and downs.

This was in the third trimester of my pregnancy, right before I was about to have our first baby. We were panicking.

His pay was immediately cut by ⅓ and over the course of the next year, 60% of his co-workers would get laid off.

In hopes that he could get a new job with more stability, we rented out our home and moved in with family.

I continued to work my businesses, while my husband kept applying for more and more jobs. After a few months more and more of his co-worker's wives began to ask me how they could start their own businesses to help offset the pay cuts that they’d experienced.

One night I remember sitting up writing a 2,000-word document on how to get started selling on Amazon FBA and then it clicked.

If there were this many people so close to home that needed help, I could help so many more people if I published them online. That 2,000 word how to I sent to my friend, ended up becoming one of the very first blog posts on this site.

Now I want to cover the awesome, and not so awesome things that happened on the blog this year.

I’m a bad news first type of gal, so we will start with the not so awesome.

NOT SO AWESOME

1. One thing I struggled with A LOT this year is comparison.

There are so many talented people online and for a while, I was getting down on myself because I didn’t feel like I was measuring up. Now, this was all in my head, but it caused me a lot of anxiety. The turning point for me was when I heard this quote.

“Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle.”

How true is that?

When I changed my thinking and stopped comparing myself I felt loads better about myself and my blog.

When I look back on how much my blog has grown and changed in the last year, if I could have just seen my potential, in the beginning, I would have never felt down on myself.

2. I went down the rabbit hole of over analyzing & distraction.

With blogging there is so much to do, to learn, to experience and sometimes I got caught up in it all! I would find that I was reading so much about how to do something, that I would never actually do anything. Sound familiar?

This can be a major productivity killer so now I try to focus on one thing at a time and have batch days where I get similar projects done all at once.

I also recently downloaded the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook chrome extension to help me from getting distracted when I go on Facebook for work.

AWESOME

Here are some of the awesome experiences from this year,

1. I made so many friends!

When I sit back and think that a year ago I didn’t have any of these blogging friends, it is like, “how did I survive without them?!” They have become some of my closest friends and I know there is always someone I can talk to or count on.

Now, I am blessed with friends all over the world, that enjoy the same things that I do, that I can talk and collaborate with.

Plus, motherhood can be lonely sometimes, right? If you are a mom with little ones it can be hard to not have a single adult conversation during the day. Having your blogging friends can be your lifeline for socialization.

2. I learned so much!

Now, I am kind of a nerd and love learning and school. So much that I actually got two bachelor's degrees while I was in college. But, I feel like this year I have learned even more than I did when I was in school.

I learned about,

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Finances
  • Graphic design
  • Webdesign
  • Online course creation
  • Interpersonal skills

I’m the type of person that can’t sit still and loves to be learning something new and this year I feel like my knowledge and experience exploded.

Many bloggers start out as “amateurs” in their field. They have an interest in a topic and know more than the next person, but haven’t reached that “expert” status yet. As you blog, engage more with your writing and hone your trade you truly become an expert in the topic you cover on your site.

3. I made almost $35,000 😱

When I added it all up and showed my husband that I’d made almost $35,000 in revenue from my blog in its first year. His jaw hit the floor. That was like the salary at my first full-time job out of college and this I was doing during nap time and in the evenings in my pj’s!

The income from my blog has seriously blessed our lives so much.

There were two primary ways that I generated income from my blog this year.

1. Digital Products / Courses

In September of last year I launched my course Pinterest to Profits and in January I relaunched it with a big update. This is an evergreen (always available) course that I sell using a funnel.

Recently I also launched a mini product called Traffic Trajectory. This is a collection of resources including Pinterest group boards, blogging Facebook groups, blogs accepting guest posts, and blogs to comment on to increase brand awareness. Because it is at a lower price point it has sold very well, with little promotion.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been a big player for me ever since I started this site. I only recommend products that I have used and actually like and I know that my readers appreciate that. I focus on promoting offers that my audience may be interested in and that are complementary to the topics I cover on my blog.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing check out these blog posts,

1. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: The Secret to Making $50,000 a Month Blogging. 

 2. How To Make Money Blogging With Affiliate Marketing

3. Eight Affiliate Networks To Boost Your Blog's Income

THINGS THAT WORKED

1. I focused on one social media platform

In the beginning I tried to do it all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and I was spread too thin. I observed which actions were getting me the most return on my time and Pinterest was by far the most valuable. So I shifted my efforts and put the majority of the focus on Pinterest. 

There are a million ways to succeed online, but if you try to do all of them, you won't succeed at anything. 

2. I invested in my business

By no means am I saying that if you don't invest you can't succeed, but by making small strategic investments you can scale up your business and your income much faster. For example, in my first month blogging I invested in the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and by my third month blogging I made over $1,200 in affiliate income. 

3. I built relationships

By connecting with other bloggers in my niche I've been able to bounce off ideas, get inspiration and have support while working in this industry. These connections can also help you secure guest posts, affiliates, and you can cross promote each others posts! 

GOALS GOING FORWARD

This year has truly been phenomenal and I am so excited for what the next year will bring.

Here are some of my goals for year two,

  1. Come out with a new opt-in or freebie every month to provide more value to my readers
  2. Be more active in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs
  3. Create more digital products
  4. Double my blogging income
  5. Spend more time with my family

Where are you at in your blogging journey? Do you have goals written down for the next year or your blog?

What Is A Tripwire + How It Can Diversify Your Income & Grow Your Customer Base.

This post may contain affiliate links

Want to know how to increase your blog income and ignite your email list? This guide to creating your first tripwire is SO helpful! I must read for bloggers that sell physical or digital products. |what is a tripwire|

If you are reading this post there is a good chance that you want to make money from your blog.

Am I right? 

There are lots of ways to make money blogging, but today I want to focus on how you can create a high converting tripwire to diversify your income. 

So, first, what is a tripwire?

A tripwire is a super discounted offer that is given after someone opts-in for one of your freebies or content upgrades. The offer is usually a one-time-offer (OTO) that can only be accessed on that page or is a timed offer that is only available for a few minutes or hours. 

Why are tripwires so dang effective? 

They tap into one of the most effective ways to increase conversions. Urgency. 

If you have products, but you aren’t giving your potential customer a reason to buy now, chances are that they won’t. With a tripwire, they have to choose in that moment if they are going to act. 

Your tripwire should be an irresistible offer. Something that is so good that the person wouldn’t want to miss out on it (remember we all have the fear of missing out). 

Your offer can be irresistible for a few different reasons, 

1. It is a product that isn’t available anywhere else. If they want the product this is their one and only chance to get it. They literally can only buy it on that specific page.

2. It is incredibly discounted - Usually, a tripwire is a product that is either inexpensive or heavily discounted. Most tripwires are at least 50% off. I currently am running mine at about 63% off. 

Now I want to walk you through my process for creating my tripwire and some of the statistics from its first week it was live. 

Creating a tripwire is really a two part process, 

1st - You need to create an enticing freebie that will get a lot of opt-ins. This can be an ebook, email course, or really anything that you think your audience would feel is very valuable. 

The topic of your freebie should be highly relevant to your tripwire product. This way you know that those that are opting in are interested in that subject. 

For example, the freebie that I created is called Traffic Tactics. It is a twenty-five-page ebook on how to create and share your content so your blog will get tons of traffic. Most of my readers are newer mom bloggers and after listening to my audience, generating traffic was one of their biggest issues. 
 

 
what-is-tripwire
 

2nd - You will create the actual product. Remember this a product that is super valuable and should be a “no-brainer” purchase for your audience. 

For my product, I created the ultimate collection of resources to help my subscriber grow their traffic fast. My tripwire is called Traffic Trajectory and it is, 

  • A spreadsheet with over 150 group boards
  • Fifty of the best Facebook groups + their thread/promo schedule
  • Over 200 blog that accept guest posts
  • And 100+ blog to comment on so you can get your name out there. 
what-is-tripwire

Traffic Trajectory is seriously a gold mine and will save the reader so much time. The $7 price tag for everything that is included makes it an “irresistible offer.”

What made this convert so well is that usually, Traffic Trajectory sells for $19, but on this one page for a limited time they are able to snag it for only $7 which is more than half off. 

Once the reader hits “submit” on the opt-in page they are immediately redirected to this page that says that their freebie is on its way and give the subscriber the chance to buy Tripwire product. 

The sales page is short. It describes what is included + the main benefits as well as a preview of what is inside when they purchase. At the bottom of the screen, there is a countdown timer that explains that they have fifteen minutes to get a huge discount. This nudges the reader to act now, so they don’t miss out. 

Once the fifteen minutes is up if they don’t purchase they are redirected to the main sales page and will not be able to get back to tripwire page and get the discount. 

I use a tool called Deadline Funnel which powers the timer and creates the automatic redirect when the time runs out. Implementing this one tool in my business has dramatically increased my conversions on my products. If you want to check it out you can get a free one-month trial here. 

In the first few weeks of testing my tripwire product, it has been converting at approximately 20%. So for every five people that opt-in for that freebie one person will go on to purchase Traffic Trajectory. Pretty cool, right? 

what-is-tripwire

How do you deliver your tripwire product?

There are multiple ways to send your product, 

  1. Use a tool like SendOwl or Digital Product Delivery (DPD) to complete the purchase and deliver the digital product (for the tripwire I used DPD, but SendOwl is phenomenal too).
  2. If it is an online course you can easily give them access if you use a site like Teachable.
  3. Set up an automation in ConvertKit so when the purchase is made they are sent an email with instructions on how to access or download the product. (This option would require you to have another platform where you accept payments that can integrate with your email service provider. 

So what are the options with the revenue from your Tripwire product? 

You can, 

1. Enjoy the small profit on the product and work to organically get more people into your funnel and increase the conversions, or

2. You can use the profits from your tripwire to offset your advertising costs. Let’s say for example your Tripwire product is $7 and you decide to run a promoted pin for your opt-in. Now, let’s estimate that you spend $.50 per opt-in and of those subscribers they are still converting for your tripwire at 20%. 

That means if you are spending $.50 per lead and it is even only converting at 10% you need ten people to opt-in in order to sell your $7 product. That means that you are paying $5.00 in advertising ($.50 x 10) in order to make $2.00 in profit.

Now, are you maybe thinking, “Two dollars? What am I supposed to do with two dollars, that is like a candy bar.” 

But the beauty of it is you just essentially made $2 and got 10 new subscribers FOR FREE!

Do you recognize how powerful that is? When you leverage a tripwire effectively you can increase your ad spend (or start advertising) in order to quickly scale up your email list and customer base. 

This is an amazing opportunity to scale up your business quickly. 

In addition to growing your email list and making a small profit, you can include an “upsell” for those that purchase your Tripwire product. This is an offer that is a bit more expensive but is still very valuable. 

This could be a paid course, more expensive physical product, coaching program or even a service you offer and typically this will convert better than if you went straight to this after the opt-in. 

Why?

Because this individual has now changed their mindset from expecting only free things from you to becoming a buyer. Even if it is only a $7 tripwire product they have already committed to the belief that you provide value and you are worth the investment. 

Isn't the psychology of marketing fascinating?! 

If you want to check out my tripwire you can opt-in below. Right now it is the $7 tripwire, but I am thinking about adding an upsell. What product do you think I should add as the upsell?

How To Use A Free Email Course To Build Your Email List And Make Sales On Autopilot

This post may contain affiliate links

How to Use a Free Email Course to Grow your Email List and Make Sales on Autopilot

Making connections is one of the most important parts of your business. 

If you want to make money from your blog first you need to connect with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you are selling your own products, affiliate products, ad space, sponsored posts you name it.

In order to be successful before selling anything, you need to sell yourself. 

People need to know, like, and trust you before they are going to take the leap and take your advice or purchase your product. 

This type of relationship needs to be nurtured through time and personal communication. 

Marketing yourself and your brand to the right people, in the most efficient way possible is what you should focus on when you dive into your online business, and here is why. If you are anything like me you are most likely that you are doing this all on your own. You are most likely a one woman (or man) show. 

You have a limited amount of time and resources. You are only one person, right? 

That means that you can’t market to everyone under the sun. That would take too much time and is not very effective. So, you need to focus on your target market, but where do you start?

One of the most effective ways to concentrate and find out who our target market is is through an email list. An email list is your personal (and very precious) collection of possible customers or clients.

These are the people who signed up for something on your website. It may be they downloaded a freebie, signed up for an opt-in, subscribed to your newsletters, or they could have signed up for an email course. This is generally the first step for you to get that very important connection.

Free email courses are a great way to get the ball rolling. Since it is free, people are most likely to sign up out of curiosity or with the interest to get to know you better or the topic that you have to offer, especially since it is at no risk to them.

This is a way for a reader to get to know you better and for you to establish your expertise in an area. It is a great way for you to give your reader a ton of valuable information which will then help them begin to know, like, and trust you. 

Email courses can also be used as a sales funnel. You start with a wide “cold” audience, that has little knowledge about you or your site. Then as they go through the series of email lessons they will get to know you better. 

Some won’t stick around or not like you, but that is 100% okay. That is why it is called a funnel. It is taking that wider audience and narrowing it down to those that truly are your target market. These are the ones who will purchase whatever you may be pitching at the end of your email course, whether it is a paid course, an affiliate product or even a service you offer.

A free email course is a great way for you to grow your email list. I’ve had over 3,000 students go through my free course Pinterest Primer. But, it is also a way for you to keep on earning for a long period of time without having to do much after the initial setup. 

Here are 4 things to remember when creating your free email course:

1. Understand who your target market is

email-course-build-list-sales

Before planning anything, you need to know who you want to attract for your email course. It’s very easy to stretch yourself too thin when it comes to marketing yourself out there. 

There’s a reason why people “shoot for the moon” and not “shoot for the entire galaxy”. You need to focus on one destination, one community and it’s even easier if you think about it as focusing on one type of person. This is commonly referred to as your “avatar.” 

Determining who this person is would make your choices in making your email course much simpler and clearer. 

Try giving this avatar a name, or even find a picture online of someone that represents your avatar. It sounds a bit strange at first, but the more specific you are the more successful you can be! List where they like to shop, what they like to read, how many kids they have, if they are married, etc. 

All of these things that you now know about your avatar will help you as your write your email series. 

2. What does your target market need?

email-course-build-list-sales

A good businessman would ask themselves, “What do I have to offer?”, but a great entrepreneur would ask first, “What do they want that I can offer?”. The big difference is considering your follower's needs and wants to come up with your business strategy. Without asking this question, you might end up wasting your time in offering something that no one even wants. 

So what does your target market want? You can get some ideas by monitoring what are your most popular posts or what posts on social media get the most engagement.

Once you’ve narrowed down a topic, you can then decide on what your free email course should be. But remember the free course topic should be relevant to whatever product or service you are pitching at the end of the course.

3. Create great content

email-course-build-list-sales

Now that you know what your readers want, it’s time to create your email course. Planning out the series of emails you will be sending out should be simple and fun. Each day's lesson should take about 15 minutes to complete. Whether you are having them read an email or watch a video keep it short and sweet. 

Your reader is looking for “quick wins,” or things that the can implement now that will help them get results. End each lesson with a call to action encouraging them to apply what you’ve just taught in the lesson. 

For an email course usually, I will send five days of lessons followed by 2-4 emails that promote a special offer just for those that go through the course. Generally,  an email course or challenge will last between four to seven days.  

The first two emails will be full of value and really build up your reader's trust. By day three you will continue to provide high-value content, but you and start to hint at your offer. Days four and five will be more value-based content and day six you can start to do the “hard pitch” of your product. After nearly a week of interaction, you customer is much more likely to purchase from you because they know you. 

4. Use an email service provider

email-course-build-list-sales

Don’t get overwhelmed! I swear this is going to be easy. Creating an email course takes a bit of effort up front, but once you have a strong system going it becomes an income stream that can be very passive. 

Setting up your email course with an email service provider is absolutely necessary. I use ConvertKit for all of my email marketing. ConvertKit is a platform that is very easy to understand but has much more advanced capabilities. You can check out my beginners guide here.

In ConvertKit, you would set up your email course as a Sequence. 

Once you have your course set up with your email service provider you are ready to go! You can stop at this point, or continue reading for a couple bonus ideas. 

Bonus Idea #1

One of the benefits of evergreen courses or products is also one of its challenges. It is always available. Because it will still be there the next day people don’t feel the urgency to act. 

There are two things that increase conversions. Urgency and scarcity. 

If your course is evergreen there is a good chance that you aren’t capping off the number of registrants so scarcity doesn’t work for you, but creating urgency can be a gold mine. 

But how can you create urgency for a product that is literally always there? ...By including a limited time offer. 

This could be a discount, added bonuses, or anything of additional value to your potential customer. 

I use Deadline Funnel to create my evergreen timers. This tool tracks a subscriber all the way through my email course funnel and creates a timeline unique to them and when they signed up. It is connected with ConvertKit so it completely automates it for me. 

They have built in timers that you can use in your email or on your sales page and it will track their exact timer even if they switch devices or internet connections. Cool, huh? 

Authenticity is super important using urgency to increase your funnel conversions. Usually, Deadline Funnel only offers a two-week free trial, but for readers of Moms Make Cents you can get a month free trial when you use this link. 

I personally have noticed a huge increase in conversions since I started using Deadline Funnel. 

Bonus Idea #2

When someone opts into your email course instead of a regular page send them to a tripwire page. If you don’t know what a tripwire is, don’t worry, we’ll be diving into that next week, but here are the basics. 

A tripwire is a limited time offer for a product that is presented immediately after a user subscribes for an opt-in. Now you may be thinking this is counter-intuitive, after all, wasn’t this whole post about using your course as a funnel to warm up your reader? But no, and here’s why. 

Your tripwire will be something very inexpensive, usually between $7-$47 and it needs to be a “no-brainer” choice for your audience to purchase. Generally, this will be because it is at a significant discount for a very limited time, or is an offer that they literally can only access when they are on that page. 

Tripwires are an important part of your funnel because it gets your new subscriber in the habit of buying from you. As they go through your less expensive introductory offer and have a positive experience, when you offer another product to them later they will be more likely to purchase from you, because they know that your paid products are amazing! 

I won’t give too much away, but get started on writing your email course and next week check out the post all about tripwires! 

And if you want to see my email course funnel in action enter your info below and I’ll send you the lessons for my free course, Pinterest Primer.