**The ConvertKit Link in this post IS an affiliate link…but I only recommend companies I work with and love with all of the chambers of my heart!! If you have any questions about the platform, don’t hesitate to ask me!**

Ok….first, let me just tell you that when I say I have a fear of newsletters…I’m referring to BOTH the onslaught of the emails that consistently bombard my inbox PLUS actually WRITING and publishing my own!  For the last three years, I’ve gone back and forth from ignoring the newsletter altogether to joining every newsletter platform known to man…and not. understanding. any of it.

I made every mistake in the book:

  • Sending my newsletter about once every four months.
  • Just hoping people would sign up via my sidebar image and shear awesomicity.
  • Only sending emails when I was offering a sale.
  • Speaking in a cardboard boring voice.
  • Accidentally sending multiple emails to my customers because I didn’t understand how to organize my lists.
  • Not editing my emails.
  • Hitting “send now” instead of schedule.
  • ALL THE THINGS!!!!

Did I mention that I ONLY started figuring all of this out about 4 months ago??  I kid you not!!!  So what was my biggest problem with the FOUR different email platforms I tried?

I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand the newsletter jargon.  I didn’t understand HOW the platforms worked.  I wanted, desperately, to be able to take readers off of one list after they’d purchased or clicked…but I had no idea how.  This means, after someone bought a product or signed up for something…they got an email the next day asking them “Why haven’t bought ???  Do you not love me??”

Oh, hello embarrassment.  Head/desk.  Then, along came ConvertKit.

Look…I’ll save you some time right now.  If you KNOW what the hell you are doing.  If you LOVE your current email system.  If you know you gots this shit…then read no further.  But, I’m telling you right now, the ConvertKit platform clarified newsletters for me in less than a day.  It ran EXACTLY the way I thought a newsletter platform SHOULD run.  And I give full credit (well…73% credit) to this platform for my insane increase in subscribers.

Why?  Because ConvertKit is Newsletters for bloggers. They’ve taken into account downloads, e-courses, paid products, syndication…ALL of it. So keep reading if your newsletter situation is currently sitting in the corner wearing the dunce cap.  I’m about to tackle:

Overcoming the Detrimental “I Don’t Need a Newsletter” Mentality

Organizing Your Downloads, Products and Lists in ConvertKit

Creating Your Epic Downloads

and Promoting Your Downloads To Increase Sign Ups

So let’s dive in, shall we?

(Oh! Before we get started…you should pin this article!  Trust me, you’ll want to come back to it on occasion, and how sucky would it be if your battery ran out on your laptop and you forgot where the post WAS!!?? So sucky. Click the Pin It button in the pink bar below!)

Overcoming the Detrimental “I Don’t Need a Newsletter” Mentality

I TOLD you that you and I were sympatico, right?  So lemme take a wild shot in the dark.

When I say “newsletter” you say:

“What do I have to say that’s so different from the other, more established bloggers in my inbox?”

When I say “newsletter” you say:

“I’m too new to blogging…I don’t have readers, much less need subscribers. Baby steps!”

When I say “newsletter” you say:

“I don’t sell products…so I don’t need subscribers. Screw subscribers.” 

Huh…you really suck at this. 0_o

No matter!  We are going to break through these mental barriers you’ve created for yourself. I recommend a seat belt, my friend….this is going to hurt.

You do you. First off…human beings are like fingerprints.  Fingerprints WITH fingerprints.  Every one of us is unique!  Every one of us has a unique view on a topic. And every one of us is talented in some way.  (Perhaps you are good a squirrel wrangling!)  Yes…newsletters take practice. And yes…there is a VERY good chance that somewhere in this world, there is a newsletter that already exists on your topic.  BUT, unless they are your blogging doppelganger (HOW COOL IS THAT??!!), you will approach the topic MUCH differently than they will!  Aaaaand…statistically speaking, the way you approach it will appeal to an audience that isn’t attracted by THEIR way of describing it!

You NEED to stop comparing your style of writing or popularity of topic to other bloggers. If I did that, SEOMoz would have put me out of business a LOOOOONG time ago.

Everyone starts at zero. It’s easy to forget, but EVERYONE starts off at zero.  Hell, I JUST finished telling you that MY newsletter was at zero (practically) four months ago!! EVEN if you decide to NOT go with ConvertKit, you have GOT to jump on the newsletter bandwagon. I saved you a seat.  Right here.  Next to me.  I’ll scootch.

If you are JUST getting started with newsletters…it’s better you start now and make your mistakes with a smaller list, than wait until you have a few hundred.  Trust me.  I’m going to show you how to create downloads that your readers will love…that you need to do NO maintenance on…and that increase your sign ups CRAZY amounts. You just have to trust the process and know you’ll make a few mistakes along the way.  Suck it up, chuck.

It’s all about the benjamins. Alright…so you don’t have a product yet.  But you DO have a blog.  And you DO want readers right?  (If you just said “no” you can get the hell off my blog now.  Vamoos!”) Writing a PUBLIC blog is a way to connect with people you’ve never met before.  Although, right now you say you don’t plan on offering a product, there is always a CHANCE that one day you will.  From posts to freebies to products…that’s the way the blogging biscuit crumbles, baby. 

SO, you need to at least prepare your blog and your readers for the opportunity.  Besides, what if you want to get affiliate marketing, ads, or something even crazier.  0_0 Your newsletter subscribers will be the perfect platform to make future decisions with. (Not “buying a house decisions”…but you get what I mean).

Organizing Your Downloads, Products and Lists in ConvertKit

Alright…this section is SUPER big for me.  Why?  Because if I was having this problem, I KNOW a ton of you were too. Organizing in the other platforms was what kept making me play Russian Roulette with credit cards.  I’d go from one platform to another, shooting myself in the foot.  The few followers I had must have been SO confused!  That…or I had already been relegated to the “SPAM” folder

You can’t blame em.

So what makes ConvertKit so amazing?

  1. Statistics – When you FIRST log in to ConvertKit, you land on the Statistics and Forms page.  I’ll get to forms in a minute…but the fact that these are both on the same page are HUGE for the bigger picture. The statistics break down how many people have signed up on any given day, which lists they’ve signed up on (great for seeing if there was a spike for a feature!), as well as how many subscribers you had over the last week and over the last 30 days.  This is GREAT for bloggers, since we are constantly showing our stats to our followers and saying weird things like “See how I got 200 Sign Ups in August…”  (I’ll hit on that one more below when I show you how to create kick bum downloads.) USER ERROR CONFESSION: That “30 Days” stat should read closer to 600…I accidentally deleted the form, which was fine…but all of the stats went with it!  Don’t worry…the subscribers are still there…just not the method they signed up with.  So yeah…don’t do that.)screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-10-33-35-pm
  2. Forms – Right below “Stats” you’ll see your “forms”.  These are the forms you create in order for your readers to sign up for your free downloads! You can create simple embedded forms in your blog posts, forms on a separate URL, and GORGEOUS landing pages that really convert well.  Like this one…for our October 30 Days of Downloads challenge.  Since they are located RIGHT below the stats area, you can see which forms are getting the most action (bow chicka bow wow), what your conversion rate is.  (How many people are visiting and leaving vs. how many people are visiting and opting in). This page provides a pretty good overview of how your campaigns are doing.  Bloggers are busy people! We need snapshots! screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-10-32-33-pm
  3. Sequences vs. Broadcasts – I LOVE THIS!! ConvertKit has (FREAKIN’ FINALLY!!) realized the difference between a newsletter…and an e-course! I tried to doing an e-course in my last email system (GetResponse…whom I DO adore!  They are a pretty great platform as well…I juuuuuust love ConvertKit more) and ended up sending out (at least) 5 emails to my customers everyday for three days straight.  If that didn’t get me spammified…I don’t know what would!! It wasn’t the platforms fault…so much as the fact that the way they had everything set up in their system just…made no sense to my brain. ConvertKit, on the other hand, has simplified this process beyond belief.  In the “Broadcasts” tab, you can send out your syndicated blog posts, your quick FYI’s, and simply your newsletters.  The “Sequences” tab allows you to set up a sequence of emails like courses, challenges, sales funnels or a simple series of related blasts.  You can dictate when the emails go out (immediately, two days after the last email, etc.).  It’s serious awesome-sauce. screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-10-30-55-pm
  4. Automations – Finally…and this is the big one.  The automations tab is like King Kandy’s Candyland Castle.  It’s soooo sweet. Automations allow you to assign an action when another action occurs.  There are a TON of other automation rules, but these are the ones I’ve found the most valuable.
  • Assign a tag to anyone who signs up using a specific form
  • When someone finishes a certain Sequence, they are automatically signed up for a sales funnel sequence.
  • When anyone buys a product from my Gumroad or Teachable accounts, they are automatically unsubscribed from the sales funnel they were in.
  • When someone subscribes to a certain form, they are automatically subscribed to a sequence.
Related Posts:   The 2017 Blogging Planner of Kickassery is Here!

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Creating Your Epic Downloads

So, how do you get these creepers to start following you?  How do you get them allow you into their inner sanctum of trust…also known as their inbox?

  1. Give them your BEST content.  I make it a point to put an invisible price tag on EVERY piece of content I put out.  Whether it’s a blog post, a free download, an online challenge or a full blow course…EVERYTHING I create could be sold if I wanted it to.  Don’t worry about giving away too much!  Think about your mentality when YOU buy something.  Why did you buy that thing? Probably because you read something from that person or company and thought “Holy shitballs!!  That was awesome!”  Then you found a course or an ebook about that topic and said… “If their free stuff is that good…their paid stuff is going to change my liiiiiife.”  *cue ethereal music* Giving your best content away is one of the BEST advertisements for your product EVER.  And trust me…you’ll be able to write even MORE epic content for your paid product….if you’re worried about THAT, you might want to rethink your niche.
  2. Get to know your customer – This one is super important for your overall business in general.  And no…I’m not going to tell you to “create an avatar” and know what your imaginary customer does in their freetime.  You SHOULD have a hold on the answer to these questions, though: 9-things-you-should-know-about-your-avatar
  3. Get to know your customer’s pain points – This is the crux for your entire design process!!  You HAVE to know exactly what your customer is struggling with.  The goal is to be empathetic.  SO, really dive into what your reader is NEEDING.  How do they want to be transformed?  What emotions have they gone through during the search process?  What objections do they have to your solution?  Make sure your download addresses all of these!
  4. Write a blog post –   I’ve included a download SPECIFICALLY to help you figure out your customer’s pain points…so be sure to grab that below! I use this same worksheet before hitting publish on any blog posts or sales pages I create. One you have that kick ass blog posts written, it’s time to create the worksheet.
  5. Create a worksheet/checklist/PDF that your customer can reference over and over again.  DO NOT CREATE CRAPPY CRAP!!!!!  I’m dead serious!!!  Your customers can smell your crap from a mile away.  If you create downloads that help them solve a problem, take action and change their business…you will be basking in the golden glow of their undying love.  (For some reason…I’m picturing Kanye right now.) It ALL goes back to step 3!!  Make sure you KNOW your customer’s pain points and are directly addressing them in both the blog post AND in the download. If you don’t feel like your download is directly helping them solve these problems…scrap the crap and go back to the drawing board.
  6. Create a button in Canva that is instantly recognizable to your readers.  I use the same button across all of my posts…that big banana yellow one below is a great example! Create your form in ConvertKit, create a “sequence” with a welcome email that includes your Free download, create an “automation” that tells Convertkit to send the “sequence” the second someone subscribes to the form…AND VOILA!!  YOU HAVE A NEW SUBSCRIBER, BABY!!

8-day-product-launch-email-course

Promoting Your Downloads To Increase Sign Ups

I figure this is probably the part you’ve been waiting for…I just hope you didn’t scroll past all of that epic content to get to it!! So, how, exactly, did I get 200 new subscribers in one month?

First, I created a SERIOUSLY awesome 30 day challenge all about how to blog and brand with humor.  In fact, those who ACCEPTED my challenge are going through it as we speak!  I netted around 168 new subscribers to the challenge for the two weeks the doors were open last month. The rest of my subscribers came through a bunch of different downloads in blog posts.  I’ve made sure that EVERY blog post on the blog has an actionable download (or some form of sign up) attached to it.

Remember earlier when I said “create free content with a price tag on it”?  This FREE challenge included a private group, 30 days of lessons, prompts and action oriented homework, over 20 downloads, and livestreams.  ALL FREE!  Since the doors are closed, I’ve since turned the challenges into course material and added a FREE branding workbook.

I created an intense Promotion & Editorial calendar which included Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogging and (of course) newsletters).

Then?  I scheduled the next round.  In the month of October, I’ll be closing the doors to the NEW challenge “Digital Days: 31 Days of Digital Downloads”!  I’m going IN DEPTH about creating, promoting, branding and selling all of your downloads.  (See what I did here?  I wrote a seriously awesome post about downloads…then told you ALL about the Challenge you should sign up for…ALL ABOUT DOWNLOADS!!) After the doors close, the challenge will be turned into a course for future readers to buy!  Click the image to get all signed up for free today!

Alright…so before I sign off, I wanted to remind you that, should you have ANY questions about the awesomeness that is ConvertKit, don’t hesitate to post them in the comment area below OR shoot me an email at ohhello@uncorkyourdork.com!