If I were starting over online, on the very first day, I would start with an email list.
If you are starting out online, start building an email list.
Set up a free account with MailChimp, or Aweber, or with one of these guys: https://moosend.com/blog/mailchimp-alternatives/
I use MailChimp. No particular reason. That’s just who I started with.
To build your email list, come up with something you can give away for free. These days, I give away a copy of my ebook, Via.
I used to sell the book for a little less than $5.
These days, I trade the book for an email. You can get the book free by going to my site, and plugging in your name and email.
Years ago when my family and I were struggling financially I wanted a bike.
It was a Montague folding bike. The paratrooper. Since we lived in a small condo, I thought the bike would be easier to store.
But the bike cost around $1200 and I cannot afford that. So I wrote a book.
I would get up an hour or two before my family started waking up and I would work on the book.
At the time we were living in a tiny condo in Laurelwood condominiums in Franklin, Tennessee. This condo, in fact: https://www.zillow.com/homes/601-Boyd-Mill-Ave-.num.K9-Franklin,-TN-37064_rb/81341832_zpid/
The condo has two bedrooms.
My girls slept in one bedroom and my son slept in another room. His room also doubled as an office/classroom during the day.
My wife and I slept in the living room/dining room on the floor. We would pull a mattress out at night.
We did this for seven years while I wrote Visual Latin and while I tried to figure out a way out of the financial strain almost guaranteed by a career in Christian education.
So, I would get up early and write from one room that no one was using at the time, the bathroom.
I spent months writing and editing. Then one day I finished the book, loaded it into my site and began selling it for $4.95.
It was not an instant best seller.
But, someone bought a copy the first day. I felt like I had won the lottery.
Then, someone bought a copy the next day. And then every day after that.
That book sold about 30 copies a month.
If you run the numbers, that’s about $148 a month.
I kept the money in a separate account and nine months later, I bought the bike.
I still ride it nearly every day. I generally take Sundays off. The roads around here are filled with “weekend warriors”.
I tell that story to give you a bit of inspiration. I did not make millions of dollars with that book. I made about $1,200. May not seem like much, but to me, it was significant. It was a win. That’s what I needed.
Back to you.
Come up with something you can sell, or give away, in exchange for an email.
One email at a time, start building your email list.
Then, start sending out consistent emails.
I am not telling you to send out three emails a day.
Develop a consistent stream of emails.
For example, I send an email every Saturday morning. During the week, I find some tip I can share with people and then, I send it to them on Saturday morning.
Some people love it. They email me back telling me how grateful they are.
Some people don’t say anything. Maybe they read it, maybe they don’t. That’s okay. The point is really simple. I want them to remember that I am still alive, and that I still sell Latin. If they ever need Latin, they will remember me.
Some people hate it, and they unsubscribe. That’s okay, too.
Don’t worry about the unsubscribers. People are going to unsubscribe
But, if you learn to write well, and if you send out good tips, or tell good stories, people are going to appreciate your work.
Count on a 3 to 5% open rate. That’s about all you should expect. That seems low. 3 to 5% is actually really good.
If your product is priced well, it doesn’t matter.
Let’s run some more numbers.
Let’s say you have an email list of 5,000 people. (It may take a while to get there, but keep at it. Get better. People will come.)
3% of 5000 is 150 people.
What if you sold 150 books a month at $5 a book.
That’s an extra $750 a month! That’s an extra $9,000 a year. Not bad.
I have read many marketing books. I have tried to figure out social media marketing.
Nothing like works like email. Set up a free email list on mail chimp, or weber and start sending out emails.
What if you don’t know what to write about? What if you are not already an expert?
In that case, come up with a topic you want to master. Start emailing about that.