List-Building Drives Me Nuts

List-Building Drives Me Nuts

Working Strategically through List-Building

I’ve been really busy the past two days fixing my website. This came after I took a serious look at what I’m doing.

I realized that what I was doing were so-so, and that I’m not acting strategically.

I also learned that if I were to achieve significant results, I have to work on building my list and everything that leads to it. As such, I’m focusing on these things for the rest of the week:

  • opt-in forms
  • emails particularly to welcome and follow up new sign-ups
  • autoresponder 
  • giveaway to entice people to join me.

Somehow, I’ve started some work but barely done.

A Great List-Building Tool Called Freebie!

PenguinI’d like to finish my freebie, which is a set of 30 coloring pages of animals. Subscribers to my blog would get them once they sign in. They include reseller or developer rights, allowing them to do whatever they wish - including publishing them into an adult coloring book.

Got to go!

Keep yourself posted. 🙂

When Blogging and List-Building Meet

When Blogging and List-Building Meet

Blogging Plus Evaluation Equals List-Building

I did an evaluation of my blogging activity recently as part of a 30-day blogging challenge. I didn’t plan anything like it. Just something to satisfy my blogging commitment.

Interestingly, I stumbled upon a business evaluation tool that has given me valuable insights I never would have thought of.

It gave me cues on what important aspects to look at. I used them as my assessment parameters. Have a look at what they are:

  • Website
  • Content
  • Traffic
  • Products and Services
  • Promotions
  • List-building.

It showed me where I am in my business, where I’ve failed, what steps I should be taking, which one I should be prioritizing.

Which one emerged as the winner?

List-Building: First Order of the Day

It’s list-building!

Over the coming days this week, I committed to create the right environment in my blog to build my list. To do that, I’ve laid down these specific activities:

  • set up my opt-in page at my home page and about page
  • develop my thank you page
  • write and schedule a few emails
  • test the functionality of my autoresponder from opt-in to sending emails
  • come up with my free coloring book as an opt-in giveaway.

My List-Building Progress

It’s been a day since I committed to those activities.

Here are the things I’ve done so far:

  • Opt-in page set up at my About Page (only)
  • Thank you and welcome pages written
  • Branded email address (which is not my gmail account) set up, tested and verified with MailChimp (autoresponder)
  • MailChimp tested for functionality after signing up myself as subscriber, receiving a welcome email from me!

Doing those seemingly simple stuff was super challenging. I had to:

  • figure out how to configure MailChimp, digest the meaning of terms; discover how the system goes to create my forms, send autoresponders, communicate with my official email; and make sure that all systems go
  • get my Google Analytics tracking ID
  • locate MailChimp’s API and record it somewhere in my website
  • reword text in my opt-in box
  • test if opt-in works
  • and many more.

I spent so much time finding out how subscribers could get my email.

Unlocking List-Building through Automation

Here’s what I found out. I had to do it manually because automation is not free. I am a free member. That means I had to manually send my emails.

If I have new sign ups, I couldn’t keep sending the same welcome email to each one as he comes, could I? I could but would I?

Automation is the thing to go. I could write my email sequence and have each one sent at scheduled times, even when I’m on a holiday or sleeping.

That would be next on my to-do list plus the other things I have yet to do.

For now, I’m just happy to have ticked some of my important tasks.

Even though I haven’t done much to create my coloring pages, I’m delighted that I have gained more clarity on my business direction.

How about you? Have you done something similar?

Do you have golden nuggets about list-building that you could share with me?

Any experience with MailChimp or other autoresponders?

I would thank you greatly for that. 🙂

If you think that this post would be of value to others who are in a similar plight as me, I would appreciate a tweet, a Facebook share, or email to your family and friends.

 

List-Building: First Order of the Day

List-Building: First Order of the Day

The Beauty of Knowing Where You Are

I did an assessment of my blog two days ago and came up with a report card based on some defined parameters:

  • website - needs improvement (NI)
  • content - work-in-progress (WIP)
  • traffic - FAIL!
  • product or service - WIP
  • promotion – FAIL!
  • list-building – FAIL!

My report card shows that I have failed in three areas: traffic, promotion and list-building.

I initially recorded “near fail” for promotion but after further scrutiny, I think I’ve really failed on this; the reason is that despite getting traffic with blogging, I’m not getting targeted traffic. Targeted traffic is what I need. Not just any sort of traffic. Besides, promotion and traffic are closely intertwined, almost the same thing, with promotion preceding traffic.

However, all of them are important. Also, all of them are related.

Now, as to the question of why it’s important to know where you are in your business? If you know where you are in your map, you’ll know which direction to take to reach your destination.

I Am Sailing: Here’s My Plan

I am sailing quoteAll of them are important and I have a plan for each one:

Website

  • think up of a branding concept for my website
  • create a logo or let someone do it for me
  • pay somebody to improve the looks of my site based on my branding
  • drive traffic.

Content

  • identify blog topics that would appeal to my audience
  • develop an editorial calendar and stick to it
  • create varied types of content including, but not limited to, text, memes, coloring pages, images, and quotes
  • convert content to PDF using Designrr.io and Beacon.by, to which I have subscribed
  • drive traffic.

Traffic

  • actively work on creating content for my Instagram
  • figure out how to generate likes for my Facebook account
  • tweet more targeted content at Twitter
  • create a Pinterest account
  • create giveaway coloring books with my website name for backlinks
  • distribute my written blog content in PDF format to other platforms.

Product or service

  • package one product at a time with a lovely cover in PDF format
  • populate my shop with my coloring products
  • write copy or sales pitch
  • sell packaged products to other online markets (based on a previous post)
  • drive traffic.

Promotion

  • write copy or sales page
  • drive traffic (based on my traffic plan above).

List-Building

  • test my autoresponder to make sure that it works (although I guess it does because I have one subscriber on the list!)
  • set up an opt-in form at my home page and about page
  • come up with a thank you page
  • develop my email sequence
  • package a giveaway product
  • drive traffic.

I notice that in all of the parameters, driving traffic is ever present.

However, even if I actively drive traffic to my website, my efforts end up useless if I’m not able to capture visitors to my subscribers’ list. This is where building my email list comes in.

List-Building: First Things First

If you don't know where you are going quoteList-building would be my top priority from now on.

Why?

Because I want my target visitors to come back - not just once but - again and again to my website. I could only do that if I have their contact information.

Over the coming days this week, I commit to:

  • set up my opt-in page at my home page and about page
  • develop my thank you page
  • write and schedule a few emails
  • test the functionality of my autoresponder from opt-in to sending emails
  • come up with my free coloring book as an opt-in giveaway.

I should be sharing my progress over the coming days.

How about you?

Have you taken a close look at where you are in your blog or business?

Do you know what your status is and where you’re going?

Have you taken the right steps to move forward?

Please share how you did it, what your gains are, and how your blog or business is doing after taking action.

I’d love to learn from your experience.

 

Coloring Away on a Fun Sunday

Coloring Away on a Fun Sunday

Right Tools, Correct Use, Great Results

Today is a Sunday. It’s family day and, supposedly, day of fun and relaxation.

In keeping with that, I took time off coloring a page that I did. I used my coloring pens - Derwent Inktense, Prismacolor and Laurentien. I used a paint brush for the Inktense to spread the color around. Inktense can give you a beautiful watercolor or intense ink effect depending on how you play with it.

I just recently bought the Inktense pens and used them once or twice and very briefly.

Coloring PensI didn’t get the effect that I wanted. I confused Prismacolor for the Inktense pens. When I applied water on the colors, it didn’t spread. I noticed that the printing paper was thinning out. I then realized that I used Prismacolor, which isn’t water soluble.

Great.

Meet Coloring: My Teacher

Nevertheless, the experience was fun. It gave me some quiet time to think about a lot of things. It also taught me (again!) that

  • I can’t be perfect in everything
  • each one has a learning curve
  • I should be gentle with myself when I commit mistakes
  • mistakes happen for a reason
  • next time, I’d be a little wiser and I’ll do things better.

That’s what simple coloring can actually do. It forces you gently to be touch with yourself. It’s a subtle learning and teaching tool. It works on the subconscious and change could happen without you knowing.

If you’ve been coloring or have done it before, did you find it fun and relaxing?

Did you have a similar experience with insights?

How valuable is coloring to you?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment: What It Takes to Run Your Online Business

Assessment: What It Takes to Run Your Online Business

Running an Online Business? It’s Complicated!

Over the short time that I was blogging, it dawned on me how complicated running an online business could be. Even a simple blog demands a lot.

Come to think of it. For you to start, you need these bare minimum:

Website

You need to set up needed infrastructure. Many claim that it’s easy to set up a WordPress site. For someone who’s learning, like me, how come it isn’t? You need to do these tasks:

  • look for a hosting service where you “play” with your cpanel
  • search for a brandable or keyword-rich domain name
  • decide on a content management system or platform to use like WordPress
  • select a theme for your website
  • install needed plugins that you think suit your needs
  • set up an autoresponder including setting it up, creating your squeeze page or opt-in form, writing email sequences.

Content

You need to consistently create content. Content creation means:

  • researching or searching for relevant topics and resources
  • writing your post
  • finding images that don’t infringe on any person’s or business’ copyright
  • searching up quotes
  • composing your graphics
  • recording videos.

Traffic

Driving traffic to your website entails the following activities:

  • use of valuable keywords
  • finding a group to work with
  • engaging in social media, and
  • so much more.

Even with great content, if no one comes to read them, it is useless; unless, of course, you are writing for fun or self-expression or building up content for a book to publish.

Product or Service

You need to create or find a product or service to sell or promote. If you are eyeing to set up a business, you need something to sell. Without that, what you do may end up as a hobby that gives you pleasure, form of distraction to kill time or while away boredom, or venue for self-expression like a journal.

Promotion

You need to constantly promote your products and services. How would people know that you have valuable products and services if you don’t let them know? Ways to promote are:

  • reaching out to people you already know and who know you
  • tapping joint venture partners or broad networks of people and organizations related to your business
  • paying for eyeballs to your content, product, or service through social media advertising, solo ads, among others.

List-Building

Coloring Book WormYou need to consistently build an email list. An email list, as successful marketers would point out, is your ticket to success. You have a captive market for your content as well as products and services. It’s your one-click ticket to the bank. It’s where the money is.

To a beginner, this looks complicated and far from what successful marketers say. You have to set up your:

  • autoresponder
  • opt-in pages
  • thank you page
  • email sequence
  • giveaway as lead magnet
  • driving traffic.

However, when you’re all set, things seem easy.

That’s the bare minimum. Seriously? Bare minimum?

Or am I hallucinating and just imagining things.

I don’t know. This list is what I hear most marketers say needs to be done to keep business rolling. I bet there are more to this list, and more are on the way.

Quick Assessment: How Do You Fare?

How do I fare?

Where am I? What have I accomplished, so far?

A quick assessment tells me that I still have a long way to go. Here’s my report card:

Website (NI)

  • Hosting (check) - I have chosen an excellent hosting service - Momsweb - that provides fast, almost round-the-clock, personalized support.
  • Domain name (check) - I’m satisfied with my name. I know in my mind why I chose it. It has the keywords coloring book and the concept of the bookworm is highly brandable.
  • WordPress (check) - I have chosen this as my content management system. It’s free, easy to use and gets constantly upgraded. Many developers invest time and money to come up with improved themes and plugins.
  • Themes and Plugins (needs improvement) - I have set up the Divi Elegant Theme as well as plugins that I think I need. I still have much to do though with customizing Divi. It’s challenging for me and I don’t have the time, energy and patience, for now, to deal with it. I also don’t have the budget to outsource it plus I don’t know who to trust to do the work.
  • Autoresponder (fail) - I use MailChimp and have set up my opt-in. I need to test it, get the hang of it, and maximize its capabilities. I also need to create my email sequences including my thank you page.

Content (WIP)

  • Content Creation (Work-in-progress) - I am working on this. It’s truly challenging because it distracts me from creating my art.

Traffic (NI)

  • Blogging Challenge (NI) - I have joined a number of groups who do the 30-day blogging challenge. I have written on most days but have to keep going.
  • Social Media (NI) - I have a Facebook Page that needs a lot of work. My Twitter is at the infancy stage. I have no Pinterest account. My Instagram has nothing in it.

Product or Service (WIP)

  • Existing Products (WIP) - I have a number of products in other selling platforms. However, I need to bring them over to this blog to sell.
  • Others (WIP) - I have many on the works and I need to focus on completing them.

Promotion (Fail)

  • Social Media (NI) - I need to actively work on building my social media presence like create a Pinterest account, populate Instagram, promote my Facebook, and send out targeted tweets at Twitter. This is highly challenging for me. It demands a significant amount of time and, thus, distracts me from creating coloring pages.
  • Giveaways (Fail) - I need to create a lead giveaway product to attract my target market. I haven’t done this yet.
  • Document-sharing (Fail) - I already have the apps, specifically Designrr and Beacon - to easily do this. I just need to do it.
  • Blogging (NI) - I need to reach out to my target market. Right now, I don’t think I do.

List-Building (Fail)

  • Autoresponder (NI) - I need to test if MailChimp works.
  • Opt-in (NI) - I have one at the bottom of each post but none at the home page and about page.
  • Thank you (Fail) - I haven’t done this yet.
  • Email Sequences (Fail) - I haven’t started this yet.
  • Giveaway (Fail) This serves as a lead magnet to attract potential subscribers. This is in the form of a free product to give to subscribers.  I haven’t done any of this yet.
  • Traffic (Fail) - I don’t have a product or service set up, no landing page, and no working autoresponder system. As such, I haven’t thought of actively driving targeted traffic to a special page.

What Next?

Path of least resistance quoteWith all these that I need to do for my business, it’s so easy to have ADD. Which one should I prioritize?

For sure, I could hire a staff or outsource work. But with the way things are going, i am not yet at that stage to do that.

This assessment is a great start though. I now know the things that I need to:

  • keep on doing (WIP)
  • improve on (NI)
  • exert more energy and resources on (Fail).

I only have limited time on my hands. Which comes first? Which ones should I work on first?

  • The urgent or important? The important, obviously.
  • The long- and medium-term (strategic) or short-term (tactical)? Short-term where each step is geared towards the strategic.

How do I hurdle all these?

It’s hard but I think if I stop now, I am certain to get nowhere.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

Those who now taste the fruits of success sure had struggled with their learning curve. They may also have gone through a hell of trials and tribulations, and didn’t get to where they through wishful thinking.

What do you think of my list? Did I miss something important?

What should I do, you think?

I would love your thoughts on this post.