I have seen it over and over again.
From one blogger to the other.
Some of us are so deep into the mess, that we actually do not know how to get ourselves out of it. We contemplate re-branding. But we feel the sense of loss for all the time and money we have spent to cultivate our current audience.
What am I talking about?
How to become financially independent as a blogger. And the number one mistake that prevents us from achieving this goal.
I was speaking to an artsy friend recently and I was asking why is it an accepted norm that to follow art you need to accept being broke. You need to accept dressing like a hobo or hippy, where as you envy the fine meticulous suits and lapels when you go window shopping. You need to accept going hungry at times in the name of pursuing your passion. You need to accept being treated less of a priority from agencies when it comes to receiving your pay.
As we were having that conversation, I realized I was in the same pit as he was. Here I am as a blogger, maintaining a nine to five job just because I wasn’t making enough money from blogging to sustain a decent living.
Do you ever wonder if making money as a blogger is only for the chosen few?
Do you ever observe and study and wonder what did you do wrong?
Do you think of how you are going to get yourself from the mess, and become financially independent?
Well this article is tailored for you.
Right off the bat, I will tell you the biggest mistake you are making as a blogger that is preventing you from achieving financial independence
You have spent more than enough time trying to curate an audience that you have no idea of it’s quality.
That is why, you will have thousands of visitors in a day but only one or two will buy from the sponsored link you have given them.
That is why, you will start a coaching business and not one person will pay you for your services because they expect it for free
That is why, you will create a product and on opening the cart, you are met with the loud noise of crickets
How do I know this?
Because I went through the same pit and got out of it. It took me to re-brand my blog from startupskenya.co.ke to what it is now. And the moment I made the jump, I vowed never to focus on the size of the audience as much as the depth of the audience.
The moment I re-branded and clearly stated the services I offered and my price, I signed two clients within a week. I signed another four clients, for an ongoing three month consultancy by the end of the month. Even if, I had not even created or marketed ongoing consultancy by that time. And how did I do that?
I will let you know of my process of converting my site visitors to buyers
Why you should stop focusing on building an audience and start focusing on building a business
You attract a lot of freebie seekers
There is nothing wrong with having people who seek your content only to access what you offer for free. It becomes a problem, when it is the majority of your audience.
An audience comprised of freebie seekers will hardly ever convert. This is why most bloggers will tell you to expect a 2% conversion rate of your audience. That means if you have an audience of 1000 subscribers, 1000 site visitors a month, I should only expect 40 people at best to convert. How absurd does that sound to you?
It confuses both you and the site visitor
People like shopping.
That is why we have a term such as a “shopaholic”
If you do not have a product or service that you sell, your audience will not know exactly what you can do or what you cannot do. And they will not come to you and ask. They will simply look for someone who actually offers that service or product.
Let’s say you are blogging about how to get rid of acne. This is a pain point to men and women all ages and colors globally. And each person who searches for acne solutions is willing to buy that solution. Yes, you can tell them they can make their own at home. But what about the one’s who are not willing to make that DIY solution everyday but would like that face mask for whenever they get home.
Do you have a solution for that market?
That is what you should be thinking about.
You know exactly the quality and depth of your audience
As bloggers we focus so much on how many site visitors do we get. How many followers do you have on social media? Do you ever focus on what your engagement rate is?
Have you ever looked at Instagram influencers who have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands followers but only garner 2 comments on their posts? Have you ever observed people who have hundreds of comments but only a couple thousand followers?
Who do you think has a more authoritative audience?
Most definitely the one with the higher engagement rate
How to quantify your current audience
Before you jump right in to creating a product for your audience. Start by having more specific and simple call to actions on your blog.
It could be as simple as telling them to comment on your post to adding you on social media.
Just remember for each article you publish, you should only have one call to action. This is to avoid confusing your audience with too many call to actions. And the more options you give them, the highly unlikely they will do one of the actions.
Simple call to actions you should implement starting on every article you publish today
- Add you on messenger – I particularly like messenger because you get to know who exactly you are communicating to and their direct pain points. This will help you to farther know and understand your ideal audience
- Share an article and tweet or send you the screenshot for a chance to receive a freebie not open to the public. Let the freebie be something that is easy to consume and meets and resolves a desired pain point
- If you are on snapchat, tell them to swap up. I am barely on snapchat and I would not even know how many followers I have on their. But this is a new call to action I have seen on Gary Vaynerchuk’s call to actions
Note down every person who follows through and become their biggest fan. Reply in due time. Listen as they tell you about the soft purrs of their kitty. This audience becomes very important when you create your first product. Not only will you create a product that already has demand on it. You will also know the exact words to type in to encourage Lucy to buy.
Not only will she buy, she will shout from the rooftops to her friends on how she has met the solution to all her public speaking shyness and being able to introduce herself as the expert she really is.
And all marketers agree, there is no better marketing tactic to earn the trust of a buyer than that of word of mouth.
Remember when I mentioned how I got out of the funk for not being able to become financially independent as a blogger?
Well, here is the number one method that worked for me.
At the beginning of 2017, I had started a monthly series of webinars. This was to simply get to know my audience better and know what kind of issues they faced. The webinars were based mostly on what my audience requested for.
What I noticed earlier on is that the people who would vote for a certain topic, would hardly ever attend the webinar. And the one’s who attended were probably a cold audience. That didn’t deter me as much as the fact that the same people never watched the replay. Because on two separate occasions they requested for the same topic again.
I believed this was caused by the fact I had offered a 30 day replay period for anyone who registered for the webinar. A strategy I wiped out at the beginning of 2017 quarter two.
Now I offer a 24 hour period and the replay is gone for good. Well, until I change my mind or I am convinced to do so.
What I like about paid masterclasses, I do not have to place in any effort for it if nobody buys. That means, I will probably lose on the ad budget, but I will not lose on time spent creating the masterclass.
Another thing I like about masterclasses, is since someone has invested their money into it, they want the ROI. So likelihood of them attending are much higher
How to structure a masterclass
First off the topic you choose should be
- An industry popular topic. For example if you write about love and relationships, you can have a masterclass on “how to bring back the spark into your relationship and keep it burning
- Poll – what I currently do for my free monthly webinars. I ask my audience what they want to know more of or what solutions do they need on their for their blogs
- Specific and actionable – this is very important. You do not want someone to leave your paid masterclass thinking this was a total waste of money. If they feel like you did not deliver on your promise, then this is going to happen. And to avoid it from happening, you want those 90 minutes to 2 hours to be action packed with result-oriented solutions. So instead of saying “How to master portrait editing in Photoshop” say “how to remove acne and naturally smoothen the skin in Photoshop”
So far, you and I have made a solemn vow never to focus on the size of the audience but the depth of the audience. And how will we do that?
By providing value while still converting your audience to buyers.
Let me know in the comments below how you are going to focus more on the quality of your audience rather than the quantity