How to Start a Blog Business This Weekend

by Aug 15, 2020Business

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Starting a blog as a business is a great way to create some side income that can easily scale into full time income. This is especially attractive during the COVID pandemic when lots of us are stuck at home more than we wanted to be.

This is the perfect time to get started, and I don’t want you to let the tech stuff scare you off.

I’ve been building websites for a loooong time — so long I’m almost embarrassed to say it aloud. And I’ve launched several blogs of my own over the years, making my fair share of mistakes along the way.

I’ve launched sites with a huge investment, and I’ve launched sites with almost no investment whatsoever. I have sites that I couldn’t monetise ever, and I have sites that I monetised after only 2 weeks. The more I do this whole website biz thing, the more I learn about what to do, what not to do, and how to do it all better so I don’t waste money.

Following these simple steps you can launch a new blog, with a lead magnet and a small digital product, this weekend, and do so for about $150.

Woman working on her blog on her laptop.

Act 1: Prelaunch

Phase 1: Come up with an idea.

It’s fine to want to start a business for the sake of having a business. I get it, believe me! The pull of entrepreneurship is strong, but the first step to creating a profitable website is to come up with an idea that actually holds water. Someone once told me, “There’s no such thing as bad ideas.”

He was wrong. There are a ton of bad ideas, and there are a ton of ideas that might be good, but simply aren’t worth doing. Setting up a website on your own is going to take you a lot of time, and it sucks to invest all that time and energy on something that you can’t monetise. (I actually learned this lesson the hard way.)

So before we do anything else, you need to come up with an idea, and you need to find out if it’s worth doing.

When you’re thinking about what your site should be about, start thinking about your passions. What are you good at? What can you talk about for hours on end? What can you talk about over and over again without getting bored out of your skull?

Because the fact of the matter is that you’re going to be talking about the same topic for months — possibly years — to come, and if it’s something that doesn’t hold your interest, you’re just going to stop. Most bloggers don’t make any money, and it’s because they stop blogging. It’s because they get bored and they stop creating content. You must be creating consistent content if you’re going to make this work.

Once you pick a topic that you could write about forever, it’s time to put your unique spin on it. What can you bring to the topic that will make it stand out from all the other blogs writing about the same thing?

When I started my yoga blog, I knew it would be easy to be just another yoga blog, and I would drown in an already saturated market. My unique spin is that yoga has helped me deal with my chronic illness, and I believe yoga can help others who also are struggling with their wellness.

My blog isn’t about getting fit, burning calories, or drinking green smoothies after every yoga class. My yoga blog isn’t about the spirituality side of yoga, meditation, or chanting. My yoga blog is about helping people use yoga as a tool to achieve greater wellness, even if they never lose a pound.

What unique spin can you put on your topic? Get very focused and specific, and then start doing research.

Phase 2: Market Sleuthing

Mariah Coz of Femtrepreneur teaches the concept of “copy stalking” to get clear on what your course idea should be, and what your audience is willing to pay for.

What I do is similar, but it’s more akin to espionage or investigation than stalking. When you move into Phase 2 of Act 1 you’re strategically gathering information to reverse engineer what’s working in a market and what isn’t. We’re gathering very specific information with the intention of using it tactically to create change for ourselves.

I want you to start listening to the conversations people in your target market are having.

  • Hang out on Twitter following hashtags related to your idea.
  • Browse Quora looking for questions related to your topic.
  • Find a related subreddit (I’m sure there is one; there’s a subreddit for everything) on Reddit and read through people’s comments.
  • Join Facebook groups about your topic.
  • Start following blogs who are already talking about something similar.

If nobody is blogging, sharing, or talking about your main topic, something’s wrong. I don’t want to hear you saying, “Someone’s already talking about ______.” Good! I hope there are others! 

Competition means there’s a market.

Instead of just sitting back idly watching here and there, I want you to be proactive, so the first thing you’re going to do is go into IFTTT, and set up some applets:

For Twitter: If NEW TWEET FROM SEARCH (your hashtag) then ADD ROW TO GOOGLE SPREADSHEET.

For Reddit: If ANY NEW POST IN SUBREDDIT (the subreddit you’re watching) then ADD ROW TO GOOGLE SPREADSHEET.

For Blogs: If NEW RSS FEED ITEM (for any blogs you’re watching) then ADD ROW TO GOOGLE SPREADSHEET.

Unfortunately due to application permissions, you’ll have to do the Quora and Facebook groups manually, copying and pasting the related content to a spreadsheet, but these applets will save you a lot of time.

Phase 3: Pick your name.

Now that you have an idea of what you’re going to talk about and what people want to hear about, it’s time to start to come up with a name. The name is often the hardest part. If you’re building out a blog for a personal brand, you can usually just use your own name.

But if you’re building a brand that will extend beyond you — what I call a legacy brand that can continue in your absence — then (unless you have a brand name already) then you need a name that reflects your topic, while also is unique enough to be available on social media (what I call Brandable).

I suggest starting with a keyword related to your topic. If you’re starting a blog about beauty, fashion, cats, DIY, wellness, etc., then try to include that in the title. This will help people have a better idea of what you do right off the bat.

“Yoga” is the topic keyword for my yoga site SuvataYoga.

“Metro” is the keyword for the I used with my old blog MetroSeeker. I wanted people to understand it was about cities.

While you can certainly have a successful site where the name is absolutely not at all related to what you do, it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get traction. You’re going to have to explain what your site does to people, and you’re going to have to work harder at SEO.

Now that’s not to say it’s not doable. SuvataYoga.com is on the cusp, but ultimately I went with this name because it was brandable. More on that in a few minutes. After you pick your topic keyword, it’s time to move onto what feeling you want your blog to evoke. 

Do you want people to feel empowered? Comforted? Supported? Then you may wish to include the term, “Community.”

Do you want people to feel like your blog is on the cusp of industry trends? In this case, you might want to use the word “Daily,” “Report,” or “Post.”

Do you want your blog to attract people who are deeply passionate about your topic? Then maybe the term “Addict,” or “World.”

Do you want to help people learn to cook? Go vegan? Start a business? Organize their clutter?

If you’re getting stuck here, ask yourself what you want people to accomplish as a result of your site. Try to work it into the title of the site.

The name of this blog QuiteLovelyLife.com came to me after about 10 minute of working through this process. I want my readers to be able to look at their life and say, “I am so blessed. I have quite a lovely life.”

Once you come up with a domain idea, check and see if it’s available through DreamHost. (More on that in Act 2.)

Woman in a grey sweatshirt working on her blog on her laptop.

Act 2: Build Out

Phase 1: Buy your domain and hosting.

Once you found a good name, go buy that domain immediately. Don’t wait around. You never know if someone else is going to grab it out from under you. I suggest you buy the domain at the same time you buy the hosting for your website.

When it comes to your website hosting, I recommend DreamHost and DreamHost only*. DreamHost is who I’ve used for going on 10 years now, and they’ve yet to let me down. They stayed with me even when MetroSeeker was hacked in a hack so epic Entrepreneur magazine wrote about it. Not all hosts will stick by you. Some hosts will simply shut down your website and you’ll never get it back. This isn’t the case with DreamHost; they’ll stick by you while you sort it out.

DreamPress is the best WordPress blog hosting on the market.

Other great features of DreamHost:

Their WordPress hosting is the best of the best. DreamPress is dedicated WordPress hosting that is super fast and never crashes. WordPress is a resource intensive platform, and it gets even more intensive as you add plugins, pages, and posts. DreamPress hosting doesn’t disappoint. Since switching from shared hosting to DreamPress, I’ve had no problem whatsoever with my WordPress installations.

Their tech support is off the charts, and their user interface is very easy for non-techy people to use. Both of these features are extremely important as you get your new site up and running. You don’t need to be bogged down with a confusing control panel.

When you sign up for DreamPress, they’re going to install WordPress for you and link it to your domain, so you don’t have to worry about how to do any of that yourself. They do it all for you.

Price: $20 for the first month of DreamPress*. Your domain will vary between $11 and $40 based on what extension you pick.

I only recommend DreamHost, but if you want to geek out on the different types of web hosting, I suggest you check out this blog post by Cloudwards which goes into the differences between data centres, shared hosting, and domain privacy.

Phase 2: Buy an Elegant Themes package.

There’s one theme and one theme only I recommend for DIYing your own website, and that’s Divi by Elegant Themes*.

Divi is a WordPress theme by Elegant Themes. It’s a powerful, versatile drag and drop editor that allows you to build custom designs and page layouts without knowing anything about coding a website.

Divi has a drag and drop editor on the backend, and they recently came out with a visual builder that allows you to build a page as it would look to the user. This can be very powerful for users who have a hard time visualizing what their site will look like with a specific change.

There are a few other drag and drop builders for WordPress, but Divi is the only one I recommend.

Divi is the easiest theme to use to start your blog.

The key features of Divi are:

It’s easily adaptable and extremely versatile. Thanks to the different section types, modules, and customization options, Divi can be used for pretty much anything you need. I have yet to find a use case it doesn’t work for.

It’s secure. Because it’s a premium theme, and used by so many people, Elegant Themes has taken steps to ensure there are no vulnerabilities in the theme. This is not the case for a lot of other themes.  

Split testing capabilities. This is most useful when you’re developing optin pages or sales pages. Divi lets you create different versions of a page so you can see what features increase your conversion rates.

Completely responsive. While it may take some tweaking based on how much customization you’re doing, your site will work on tablet and mobile.

I’ve never met a theme that lets you create completely custom pages for everything your site needs to do, like Divi. Anybody — regardless of your experience with web design — can build a site with Divi. It’ll take some time, but you can do it. If you can write an email, you can build a site with Divi.

Your package from Elegant Themes also comes with the Bloom plugin that we’re going to be using for your email list.

Price: $89 from Elegant Themes*.

Phase 3: Install Divi and set up your pages.

Once you’ve purchased Divi, it’s time to install it and setup your pages. To install Divi, first login to your WordPress admin area, and then navigate to Appearance > Themes, and upload the Divi Zip file you got from Elegant Themes. When it’s installed, I want you to click, “Activate” to send the theme live.

Then I want you to add your pages.

At bare minimum your site needs the following pages:

  • Start Here
  • About
  • Contact
  • Blog

Additional pages you may need:

  • Work With Me
  • Shop
  • Check Out
  • Refund Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • Terms and Conditions
  • FAQs

If you’re a service provider, you should have a Work With Me page.

If you’re selling digital or physical products, you’ll need a Shop page, and a Check Out page (but these can be setup by your WooCommerce plugin, so don’t worry about those right now; WooCommerce is coming up). You’ll also need a refund policy page, and FAQs.

You can always go back and add pages later; your site is dynamic, not static. Don’t want you to feel like the pages you add here are it. You can always add and restructure later. This is just to get you set up.

Go into your WordPress dashboard, and click “Pages” in the navigation pane. Then click, “Add New.”

Here I want you to make one place holder page for each of the pages you identified your site needs. Make “About,” hit save, and then make “Contact,” and continue in this fashion til your placeholder pages are all saved. You don’t need to put anything in the body of the page.

Then navigate to “Appearance” and then “Menus.” Create a new Menu, and add your primary pages to it. Start Here, About, Contact. Blog if you are blogging. Work With Me if you need that page. Save the legalish pages for a separate menu. At the bottom of the menu pane, check “Primary Menu.” And then hit save!

Next, navigate to Divi > Theme Options and in the first box at the top upload your logo.

Divi Theme Options

And then navigate to Divi > Theme Customizer > General Settings > Typography and pick your fonts and font colours.

Divi Theme Customiser

Then scroll down to Header and Navigation and select your header format, and define the fonts and colours for your header. This is why we made pages and added them to the menu. If we hadn’t done that, you would have a hard time seeing what your menu actually will look like.

What you’ve got left to do now is add more content to your pages. The best way to do this is using Divi modules, and the quickest way to learn this is by using the preloaded layouts from Divi.

From within your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages (Dashboard > Pages). Create a new page.

How to start building your blog design with Divi.

You’ll see a page that looks something like this. Enter your title where it says “Add title.”

Then click the big purple button that says USE DIVI BUILDER.

Divi will then open up the visual builder. You can load a page from the designs that are pre-installed with Divi, or create a design from scratch.

Check out the documentation from Divi to learn how to use the theme builder and design your own beautiful blog.

Phase 4: Pick colours.

Pst! Take a shortcut! Click here for free brand board templates for bloggers.

Maybe I’m the only one who totally geeks out about colours for websites, but once you understand what an important role colours play on your site, you’ll be able to pick colours that compel your visitors to take action and help convert visitors into leads.

When you’re picking out the colours for your site you may be tempted to just pick a few that you like and use them, and this can be a great place to start, but you run the risk of ending up with a site that isn’t branded. When you just throw everything you like on your site, it’s hard to create a cohesive brand.

But you do need to pick colours that speak to your brand and to the audience you wish to attract.

If, for example, you’re selling to a primarily female audience — as I am — you may wish to consider using blues and pinks. Women tend to prefer blues, purples, pinks, and greens.

Men prefer blues, greens, and black.

If you have a product that appeals to both men and women — or that you wish to appeal to both men and women — then you’re safe using shades of blues and greens.

And as we’re on the topic of blues, the reason people tend to prefer blue is because it conveys trust. This is why Facebook is blue. This is also why PayPal is blue, and this is why my yoga brand is blue.

But just because you decide to use blues, pinks, whatever, as the main accents on your website, doesn’t mean you should be using those colours as your Call To Action buttons.

Typically Call To Action buttons convert better when they stand out due to the isolation effect. So a big green button when everything else is green doesn’t work so well as it would if the other accents were blue.

If you already have accent colours you’re using, and they work for you, great! If not, spend some time today working on your colours. (You can always change them later.) Pinterest is a good place for inspiration, as pretty much everything for any topic is on Pinterest. If you’re doing a travel blog, you can go to Pinterest and look up “Travel.”

When you find an image that speaks to you, save it to your computer, and then head on over to Adobe Color. Using their Upload an Image tool you can create a colour palatte from the image you’ve selected.

For example, let’s take this pin, and use it as the basis of the palatte.

Colourful image to use as blog colour inspiration.

When you upload it to Adobe Color they automatically grab colour from the image, and generate a palate for you.

How to use Adobe Color CC to pick a colour scheme for your blog.

If I were to make a site using these colours, I would use the first pink and the blue as my main accent colours, the purple as a muted accent colour, and the yellow as my Call To Action colour.

To get the HEX Codes that you’ll need to use the colours, simply click the colour wheel in the upper right corner, and they’ll load a screen with colour codes and a colour wheel. HEX Codes look like this: #02a1db

Take your colour codes and then paste them into your Divi Theme Customiser. Dashboard > Divi > Theme Customiser > Typography. Set your headlines to one accent colour, and your links to another. Save, and then go back and then down to Buttons (still in the theme customiser), and set your buttons to another accent colour.

I find it useful to write down the codes on my desk somewhere so I can reference them later. You’ll need them as you build out pricing tables and other elements as your site evolves.

Phase 5: Install WooCommerce.

Now that you have your WordPress site up, Divi installed, pages mapped out, and colours set up, it’s time to install WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an amazing free plugin that will let you sell digital and physical products right from your WordPress website.

To install WooCommerce, login to your WordPress back end, and navigate to Plugins > Add New and then search for WooCommerce.

Then click Install and once the button is blue, it’ll say “Activate.” Click this to send it live.

After you click, “Activate” you’ll see the WooCommerce Setup Wizard, and it’ll walk you through how to set up your shipping, payment options, billing, and everything you need to run a shop on your WordPress website.

Once you’ve installed and setup WooCommerce, spend some time exploring the dashboard, and get familiar with adding products. It’s just as simple as adding a blog post, but I want you to be open to this so when you add your premium product later, it isn’t totally confusing.

Price: Free.

Phase 6: Install Bloom

This list building plugin is designed to work with Elegant Themes templates, like Divi. Bloom is a fabulous plugin that lets you gain leads for your lead magnet or webinar from your WordPress website by way of opt-in boxes.

You can choose which posts and pages have your opt-in boxes and which ones don’t. You can choose to display opt-in boxes on pages with the most relevant content, so people don’t see something that doesn’t make sense. You can set it so they appear after someone makes a purchase in WooCommerce, after leaving a comment, upon scrolling, when they haven’t done anything for a while, and before they leave.

Bloom doesn’t yet integrate with ConvertKit natively, but you can simply copy and paste your form code from CK into Bloom. (More on ConvertKit in a few minutes.)

You can download Bloom from your Elegant Themes dashboard. To install, login to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins and then Add New. Select the Zip file from Elegant Themes, and click “Upload. Once it’s uploaded, click Activate. Follow the Elegant Themes documentation to set it up.

Price: Free, well, you already paid for it, anyway. 🙂

woman using laptop in bed

Act 3: Content Development

Phase 1: Create your digital product.

There are a ton of different forms of digital products out there that you can use to monetise your new blog. They usually come in the form of:

  • eBooks
  • Printables
  • Videos
  • Audios

The format of your digital product is largely irrelevant. The format is just the delivery vehicle for the information and transformation. People just want the results; they don’t really care how they get it. Your product — no matter what format you’re using — needs to solve a problem.

So, let’s say you’re developing a blog teaching people how to eat Paleo when they’re also vegan. You did your market research earlier, and you learned that people are struggling with:

  • What do I eat?
  • What do I get the family to eat?
  • How do I handle snack time?
  • What about those nights when I’m busy?

All of these problems can be addressed with a digital product for Paleo Vegan Meal Plans. Now, because the information (and resulting transformation) you want to deliver is a meal plan, your format should be an ebook. You want something people can print out, download to their phone, and otherwise make use of it in a tangible way.

If you discover there’s another problem people are having of, “I don’t know how to cook” then your format can be an ebook supplemented with videos showing people how to prepare different recipes.

I want you to get very clear on what problem you’re going to solve with a product, and then I want you to start creating it.

But you might be feeling a little intimidated by the tech stuff, so let me explain a little bit about how you can create your product.

Creating Your Product

eBooks and Printables

For best distribution, your ebooks and printables should be available as a PDF. Thanks to Canva you can create ebooks and printables (that can be downloaded as a PDF) without knowing how to use tools like InDesign. If you know how to use InDesign, awesome. Create your PDFs there, but if not, Canva’s got your back. Whether you’re doing an ebook or a printable, you should be using the US Letter Canva Template. The eBook template is a weird size. Sticking to US Letter will ensure most people can just print it out without it looking all weird.

Audio

If you’re selling an audio course like a meditation series, then I’ve got good news for you. You don’t have to invest in a good microphone or fancy editing software. You can do it all with your smart phone. Seriously. I recorded my first online course entirely with my iPhone and the headset microphone inside a closet. That course has had over 500 students, and not one comment about the audio quality. Is the audio perfect? No, not even close. But it’s good enough that nobody has complained.

You simply open the voice memos on your phone, and record your lesson. Email it to yourself, and then you’ll need to convert it to an editable format. Go to Media.io to convert the file, and then edit it with Audacity, a free audio editor program for Windows and Mac.

Video

Video is a little trickier, but there are a couple ways to do it. If you’re recording your computer screen, then you can do that with SnagIt by TechSmith or with Camtasia, also by TechSmith. Beware of the audio quality though. You probably will need to invest in a good microphone if you’re recording from your computer. I use the Blue Yeti. It’s $130, but worth every penny.

If you’re on a tight budget, then you can record with your iPhone or Android and the Filmic Pro app. This is a premier video recording app that allows you to record professional quality videos straight from your iPhone. You won’t be able to record slides or your computer screen, but you’ll be able to do talking head videos and edit them right on your iPhone before uploading them to your website for sale. You can use your iPhone headset for the microphone.

Pricing Your Product

Pricing products is an art. There are some people who say, price it based on what you deserve to earn, while others say you should price it for the market. I believe in a hybrid. I believe you should price it so you aren’t disappointed when someone buys, while also pricing it to be in line with what the market is willing to pay. What you want to make per product and what your market is willing to pay are not always the same.

But it’s also worth remembering that pricing is branding. Pricing positions you in the market. Pricing tells people exactly where you are in the marketplace. This helps them figure out where you belong. We as humans simply don’t like to wonder what categories someone belongs in. The same is true of your products and business.

It’s always easier to raise your pricing than to lower it.

So if you’re at all unsure what to price your product at, then start lower, and you can raise it up as you go.

For digital products you can play it safe by pricing your product under $20, but I’ve also seen ebooks for sale that are over $97. It’s all about the transformation your product delivers, the problem your product solves, and the time frame in which it solves it. If you are delivering amazing transformation, solving a very painful problem, and doing so in under 24hrs, then you can price that 20 page ebook at $97.

People pay to make pain go away. The greater the pain, the more they pay.

But be warned: If you are offering a high priced digital download, be prepared to back it up. Some people won’t see the value, and they may have resistance to purchasing. Be prepared to stand by your pricing and explain exactly why it’s worth it.

Adding the Product for Sale

Once you’ve created your product, you’re going to go into your WordPress website dashboard, and add the product for sale in WooCommerce. You’re going to check the box for “virtual product” and you’re going to upload the file in the product creator, which will link it to the purchase buttons.

It’s key here to make sure to write an ammaaazing product description, and include some sort of visual of the product. Since you’re selling a digital product, it’s going to be easier for people to feel like it’s a real thing if you have a visual. You can use PlaceIt.net to insert the screenshot of your product into a device. They have multiple categories, so you can find a situation that’s perfect for your product. (Paleo Vegan Meal Plans would look great in this iPad surrounded by produce.)

Phase 2: Write a kickass blog post.

Content is King.

This cliche is a cliche for a reason: it’s true.

Without good content you won’t get very far in your online business in this day and age. But for entrepreneurs who aren’t writers, it can be hard to build momentum, stay on track, and bust out epic content week after week. You may keep it up for a bit, but then you get burned out, you stop producing content, and the content you do produce is of lower quality. If this sounds like you, don’t worry!

You too can have an amazing blog that people want to come back to time and time again. You too can have a blog that grows your business, builds your tribe, and gets you in front of people who want to buy what it is you have to sell.

All you need is a system.

Content is what took my business from completely non-existent (really! It was a new business), to over 14k visitors in one afternoon in just 2 weeks.

It wasn’t an accident. It didn’t happen by mistake. I created a system to produce epic content and I started implementing it the day the doors to 42Yogis opened.

This system continues to propel my business and continues to get me in front of people who want what I have to offer.

On the surface my system doesn’t seem very complicated and can be summed up like this:

  1. Make good content.
  2. Share it.
  3. Repeat.

It is more nuanced, and there is more strategy behind it, but this is the foundation of my system, and it all hinges on creating good content.

The content has to be good enough that when your target audience reads it, they will get value, learn something, and then share it with their audience. Once you’ve created the content, you have to do the initial push to get it out there, but if the content is good enough, your audience will share it as well.

For your first post, I want you to write an amazing blog post, one that will get shared by you and by your audience. One that your audience goes, “wow, I want more.”

Your blog post should be related to your paid product, and talk about the same topic as the paid product. You can talk about the pain people experience, you can share research, you can share your own story and journey.

I’m going to keep on with the example from a few moments ago.

Let’s say your paid product is a set of meal plans for people who are struggling to be both Paleo and Vegan. Your first blog post can be any of these ideas:

  • Vegan + Paleo? Is this even possible?
  • WTF do you eat when you’re both Vegan and Paleo?
  • How do you get your kids excited for Paleo Vegan dishes?
  • How I became a Paleo Vegan
  • 10 Surprising Health Benefits by being Paleo and Vegan
  • The secrets of cooking healthy meals that are both vegan and Paleo

Any of these ideas are related to your paid product of Paleo Vegan Meal Plans, but they’re not giving away everything.

So how do you come up with ideas for your own topic?

Go back to your spreadsheets from your market research. See what people are asking and sharing about and hoping to learn. Uncover their struggles. In your blog posts you can go big picture, 20k foot view, and then drill down in your lead magnet, and then further in your paid product.

Phase 3: Create a lead magnet.

And so about that lead magnet.

Your lead magnet is going to go inside your blog post as a content upgrade. People can get a ton of actionable information from the post, but if they want more, they can sign up for your lead magnet. Your lead magnet should bridge the gap between your blog post and your paid product.

In your blog post you give away a 20k foot view of the problem your product solves. In the lead magnet you give them a small item that will help solve the problem.

So if we stick with the Paleo Vegan meal plan product, your blog post is “WTF do you eat when you’re Paleo and Vegan?” and a good lead magnet would be “Your Paleo Vegan Shopping List.”

This lead magnet will bridge the gap between, “WTF do I eat?” and “Here’s a ton of meal plans for the next month.”

Everything you are doing here in the content development act should be building on the content before. Your goal as a marketer (which is what you are now) is to take your customers on a journey through your business. Each step needs to get them ready for the step to come.

As you are planning your lead magnet, do so with the intention of getting them ready for the next step — your paid product.

In order for someone to be your ideal customer they have to be ready and willing to buy, sure, but they also have to be in the right mental space to find the offer valuable. It’s the job of your lead magnet to get them ready to invest in the paid offer.

So go ahead, create your lead magnet, and download it because next we’re going to upload it to ConvertKit.

You’re probably going to be creating a checklist, whitepaper, or other PDF for your lead magnet. You can do this all in Canva, without knowing how to use InDesign.

Act 4: Lead Generation

Phase 1: Sign up for ConvertKit and set up your account.

When I started email marketing I started out on AWeber. I did what everybody does when they start with AWeber. I made a list, set up an autoresponder sequence, and left it alone. Whenever I wanted to add something, I had to create a list, and a sequence. It was a mess.

By the end of my relationship with AWeber, I had over 50 lists. My super fans were showing up in my subscriber account multiple times. One subscriber was in my account 9 times. 9! When I discovered that I knew something had to change and there had to be a better way to do email marketing.

Enter ConvertKit*.

ConvertKit is email marketing that just makes sense. There are a few things that are hard to find, but they’re obscure things that nobody who isn’t a complete numbers nerd won’t ever need. If you want to get people onto your list, send some emails, and delete some subscribers who unsub, it can’t get any easier than ConvertKit. If you want your email marketing platform to be simple, and logical, and for things to be easy to find, then you want ConvertKit.

Another great thing about ConvertKit* is they don’t let just anybody sign up. They review their accounts. All new accounts are reviewed for possible spam, and accounts are continually reviewed for high spam rates to ensure everybody who uses ConvertKit maintains high deliverability.

To maximise the marketability of your new website, I want you to set up the following in ConvertKit (in this order!):

  1. A sequence for your lead magnet.
  2. A sequence for your webinar.
  3. A sequence for your paid product.
  4. A form for your lead magnet, adding people to the sequence when they sign up.
  5. A form for your webinar, adding people to the sequence when they sign up.

(You may be going, “wait, a webinar?” Yep, you’re going to host a webinar, that’s coming up in just a minute.)

Then I want you to go into your Automation Rules, and set up the following rules:

  1. When someone subscribes to your lead magnet form, add the tags “Lead Magnet” and “Lead.”
  2. When someone subscribes to your webinar form, add the tags “Webinar” and “Lead.”
  3. When someone subscribes to your paid product sequence, add the tag, “customer” and remove the tag, “Lead.”

Then get your ConvertKit API key, go into your WordPress website, and go into WooCommerce. Connect your ConvertKit account to WooCommerce (instructions) so when someone purchases your paid product, they get added to your sequence for the paid product.

Then take your Lead Magnet form code and connect it to an opt-in box for the Bloom Plugin. Make sure to set the opt-in box to show up in your blog post and also as an exit popup. After you save, test the opt-in box from your blog post by entering your name and email. Go back to ConvertKit to make sure your email showed up as a subscriber.

Now, you may be wondering what goes into your sequences.

Lead Magnet Sequence:

Email #1: Here’s your freebie! Download it here. Send this instantly upon sign up. Attach your Lead Magnet to this first email.

Email #2: Hey, did you get that thing I sentcha? Ask people if they got your freebie, and send a link for them to download it again. Send this two days after sign up. (Be careful not to guilt them. If you make people feel embarrassed they forgot or didn’t read it yet, they will associate that feeling with you subconsciously, and they’ll have more resistance to buying).

Email #3: My favourite thing from the lead magnet is… Share your favourite tid bit from the lead magnet and ask them what really struck home with them. Ask them to reply. Send this 2 days after email #2.

Email #4: Start teasing your webinar. Let them know you have a webinar coming up, and link them to the signup page. Send this 2 days after email #3.

Webinar Sequence:

Email #1: Save the date! Link to your webinar login page, remind them about the date and time, and ask them to share with friends. Send this instantly upon signup.

The rest of your emails for the webinar are going to be broadcasts that you send out manually 1 day before the webinar, 12hrs before, 1hr before, and at the time you go live.

Paid Product Sequence:

Email #1: Anything they need about the product. This is your first onboarding email. You’re telling people how to get the most out of the product. Don’t forget to say Thank You! Send this immediately after purchase.

Email #2: Just checking in. Ask how it’s going, see if they have any questions or if there’s anything you can do to help. Send this two days after purchase.

Email #3: Ask for feedback. Find out what they love and what they would like improved about the product. This makes them feel valued, and this also makes your product better. Send this three days after email #2.

Price: $20 at ConvertKit.

Phase 2: Host a webinar.

Webinars are amazing conversion tools. I wish they weren’t because webinars take a lot of time and energy to do like a pro, but you can still do a webinar without all the fancy bells and whistles, without the best slides, and still get good results.

People watch webinars — setting aside a full hour of their life — because they’re in pain, and they think you have the solution. That’s why webinars work.

You’ve already figured out a topic for your blog and a lead magnet, so it’s time to take it one step further by hosting a webinar.

The most in-demand webinar topics come from areas where the ideal attendee is actively looking for help, so I want you to ask yourself this:

Where are your ideal attendees looking for help? How can YOU give them a solution? Can you present on the topic with confidence?

Your webinar must be useful.

Your webinar is at the intersection of where people need help, how you can help them, and what you can speak about with confidence. If your webinar doesn’t satisfy each of these three elements, it’s not going to convert attendees into customers.

Before you start writing your own webinar, ask yourself, “Whose webinars do I never miss? What’s the best webinar I’ve attended lately? Why was it so good? Why did I go out of my way to attend?” Chances are, that type of webinar did two things: Gave you a powerful solution—the one you’d been wanting and missing—and provided value way beyond other webinars out there. It taught you something for free that you would have gladly paid for.

So what can you teach them that will help them? What can you teach that will solve pain?

If you’re getting stuck here, go on over to Google and type in “How to [SOLVE PAIN POINT].” See what’s out there, see what people are searching for.

Head back to your spreadsheets from Act 1 in this training and figure out what is it exactly that people are talking about on social media. What are they asking on Quora, Reddit, and in Facebook Groups?

Once you’ve gotten very clear on the topic and what you’re going to teach, it’s time to plan out your goal. What is your goal for this webinar? Is it to get people to buy your small product? Is it to get people to hire you for a service? Is it just a value webinar to grow your list? Get very clear on what it is you want your end goal to be. Without knowing the goal, you have no way of knowing if the webinar works.

Now it’s time to schedule your webinar. This might seem like a no-brainer. You just pick a date on the calendar, and you’re good, right?

Well, maybe not. There are many things you must consider when scheduling your event, but a general rule of thumb is this: The more people who will be involved, the more lead time you need. If your webinar is just you, it’s easy to decide today you want to host a call tomorrow.

Here’s something else to keep in mind: promotion. You may need to build in time to:

  • Notify your existing list
  • Run Facebook ads
  • Have a fabulous landing page created
  • Create social content
  • Design slides
  • Write the script

For your first webinar, I’m going to recommend you don’t freak out about this. It’s more important you just DO a webinar than you do it perfectly. If you’ve never done one before, you’re going to have to learn how to be comfortable presenting to an audience.

You honestly don’t even really need slides. You can do just a talking head webinar, but this can be intimidating for a lot of people who aren’t used to seeing themselves on camera.

I’m going to recommend you set a date of one week from today to do your webinar to really hold your feet to the fire. This will make you get it done and over with so you can get on with refining it and delivering it like a pro.

A note about the tech:

You don’t need fancy tech to host a webinar. There are platforms out there like WebinarJam, Easy Webinar, Webinar Ninja, but you don’t need any of them. What you do need is to just do it with as little procrastination as possible, so we’re going to keep the tech easy.

Go to your WordPress website and make a new page using the Divi Builder. You need two rows.

  1. In the first row have just one column. Add the Text module, and write something to the effect of, “This webinar starts in…” Under that, add the countdown timer module, and set it to the date of your webinar.
  2. In the second row make two columns. The first column wide and the second column skinny.
  3. In the first column add a code module. In the second module add a code module.
  4. Title the page with your webinar title, and save it.

Then go over to YouTube live (instructions), and schedule your webinar to go live at the date you already picked. If you click here, this is a direct link to scheduling a new event if you’re logged in to YouTube.

Make sure you select, “Quick” so you can use the Google Hangouts on Air option so you’ll get to share your screen and slides with your audience, and even have your face on camera if you wish without using a separate encoder.

After you click, “Create Event” it’ll show up under your events listing. Click the title to go to the direct URL on YouTube. There, click share to get the embed code.

Go back to the webinar page you’ve created on your website, and paste the embed code into the wide code module.

Then go over to Chatango, and create a chat widget. Go back to the webinar page, and insert the Chatango code into the skinny code module. This will allow your attendees to chat while you’re presenting.

Now all you have to do is promote the webinar to your social media channels and deliver the webinar.

I suggest you try to do a webinar on a regular basis, every other week, or at the very least once a month, while you get started so you can get used to being on camera and speaking with confidence about your topic. Update your ConvertKit sequences to reflect the correct date whenever the current webinar has passed.

Phase 3: Livestream

I totally love livestreaming.

Livestreaming has changed everything about my business. I got started on Periscope, but now Facebook Live, and Instagram have entered the market with livestreaming solutions, too. I’m pretty loyal to Periscope. I’m a Periscope beta tester, which means I’m one of the first people to get new features, and I got a lot of clients from Periscope.

Periscope is Twitter’s app-based way to record live streaming video “with a twist”. It was purchased from its developers in March 2015, for one-hundred-million dollars, and was released for Android just two months later. When you go live on Periscope you are going live on your Twitter account, too. Conversely, you can go live from the Twitter app now.

Periscope uses a combination of live streams and recorded live streams. Instantly this raises possibilities to mind. For example, you could use actual live streams of people arriving at a larger physical event you are holding to build excitement and create familiarity and trust. “Look how well organized we are”, is your message, along with “look how happy people arriving seem to be. This is going to be a blast!”

Thanks to the advent of Periscope Producer you can now go live from your computer on Periscope. This takes some setting up, but you can do webinars on Periscope now.

Facebook Live

You’ve probably seen Facebook Lives. Facebook is really pushing live video, and is striving to be a video-driven platform in the next few years. To go live on Facebook all you have to do is open up the Facebook app and go live. You can go live on your profile, on a page, and in groups, but if you’re going to be using your Facebook lives for business — and want to be able to use them for ads — then you need to go live from your Page. Going live from your Facebook Page gives you the most chances for repurposing that content.

Livestreaming will help you create stronger relationship with your followers, boost credibility, and position yourself as an expert. Livestreaming is perfect for building the Know Like and Trust factor among your audience. While on a webinar you can hide behind slides, and rehearse and rehearse before you go live, on livestreaming you’re there unpolished.

People get to see you as if you’re right there in the room with them. If you drop your phone, they see it. If your kids come into the room, they see it. It gives your audience a much more personal look at your life, and this really helps people decide if they want to work with you that much faster.

Facebook Live in particular will help you:

  • Attract organic Facebook Live fans desperate for Live streaming (providing you are using from your public Page, and not within a closed Group)
  • Share insider tips with Facebook Group members
  • Make your Facebook Group members part of your life, so they can see you apply your own coaching principles in your day-to-day living
  • Satisfy Facebook users’ need for interaction, connection and immediate gratification
  • Build powerful links by leading people to your website—and to your landing pages
  • Expand your community faster than you would expand by most traditional methods

Periscope and Facebook Live are both very different platforms, but both have their place, and I suggest you consider implementing them both. Periscope is great for live content, and location based content, while Facebook Live is great for evergreen content and for replays.

You may be wondering: This sounds great, but what do I talk about?

I want you to take one part of your lead magnet, and plan to do a livestream about it every day for 4 days. On Day 5 show up for questions and tease your webinar. I don’t want you to be salesy. I don’t want you to be pushing people to your product. I just want you to be giving value.

Wrapping Up

You can follow these steps and get your blog with a digital product and a lead generation system up and running this week. This is all organic. You’re not using Facebook ads here, but you could be. You could be driving traffic to your blog post and webinar with paid ads, and that will definitely speed up the process.

But I do suggest before you start dumping money into traffic generation, spend time figuring out if people are actually resonating with what you have to offer and what you’re all about. Talk to the people who sign up what resonated with them, and where you can improve. I prefer to get all the kinks worked out of a system before I start to pour money into it. If you have a conversion problem because your lead magnet isn’t in line with your blog post, then driving Facebook ads to it isn’t going to help anybody, and will simply waste your money.

I truly believe you could take this information and run with it, and start a business. And I hope you do! I believe everybody is deserving of freedom and opportunity.

Leave a comment and share your new blog with me!

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About Ysmay

Ysmay is a serial entrepreneur, podcaster, blogger, wearer of hats, and lover of chai. 

Quite Lovely Life is here to help you build a life you love on your terms.