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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
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?
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
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
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.