Hey there, friends! Another month is in the books, and that means it’s income report time again! Income reports might not be the first thing you’d expect to see on a home decor blog, but we started sharing them about 2.5 years ago in hopes that by documenting the strategies that were helping our business grow, we could in turn help and inspire others to grow their blogs and businesses as well.
What we hope we’re not conveying is that blogging is some sort of “get rich quick” scheme or something like that. I put lots of dollars and a ton of time into my blog before I ever made one cent! But we do hope that people realize that with intentional strategies, quality content, and a willingness to work harder than you’ve ever worked at anything before, it is possible to make money blogging in the long term.
Our biggest takeaway from May: Ongoing course sales are difficult! Here’s our plan…
We sold over 400 copies of our course BookBoss: Write + Launch a Profitable eBook in 90 Days or Less during our recent pre-launch and launch periods. Abby and I were thrilled with the results, and it’s been fun watching students go through the course and take action by launching their own eBooks.
Our launch period ended in April and since that time we’ve had much fewer sales. Sometimes we’ll go a day or two without any new students enrolling the course. We’ve experienced this before after the launch of other products, but nothing as dramatic as we’ve seen recently. I think this has happened for two reasons:
- BookBoss is a higher priced course. $197 is certainly not an impulse buy, and it may be out of the price range of some people. A $14 planner, on the other hand, is more of a no-brainer purchase. People drop $14 to go out to lunch.
- BookBoss has a narrow application. The reality is that not everyone is a great fit for BookBoss. We teach something very specific – how to write and launch a profitable eBook. Not everyone is at that point in their business. There are more people who are just starting to blog and build an online business than the number of people who are ready to write and launch an eBook.
Abby and I knew we would have these challenges long before we created the course. We also knew how important it was to teach our exact eBook creation and launch process — after all, it’s what allowed us to do this blogging thing full time. There are other course topics that would’ve been more profitable for us, but there was no course we could’ve created that would have as much impact as BookBoss.
Abby and I have spent some time brainstorming ways to promote BookBoss on an ongoing basis. We’ve implemented some of these ideas but not others. If you have a course or eBook, hopefully this list will help you with your sales long after launch.
- Update primary lead magnet, Build Your Launch List, to include mentions of BookBoss. This free email course was hugely helpful in building buzz and interest leading up the BookBoss launch. This was the primary group we emailed during our launch. Now that BookBoss is available, we’ve updated Build Your Launch List to include links and mentions of the BookBoss course. We also have one final email asking people directly to consider purchasing BookBoss.
- Create and promote Pinterest images for primary lead magnet. We’ve had some success with Pinterest images for landing pages in the past, so we’ve created both short and long Pinterest images for our primary lead magnet. The idea is that people sign up for Build Your Launch List, learn our teaching style and what we offer, and then eventually become BookBoss students. We’ve created both a very tall and normal sized Pinterest image.
- Create and promote Pinterest images for BookBoss. This is the more direct approach — sending traffic directly to the landing page. Our hope is that even if visitors don’t make a purchase the first time they see the course, they may hear about the course somewhere else and be more likely to enroll. Here’s our course Pinterest image.
- Add a BookBoss sidebar image. This is the no-brainer strategy. Very few sales will come directly from people clicking on a sidebar image, but it does help to build awareness so that when people are ready to write an eBook, they’ll know exactly where to come to get the help they need.
- Add a Build Your Launch List image and description to our “Blogging Tips” page. When we have new subscribers in ConvertKit who are brand new to the list, we send an automated email asking them to indicate the type of content they are interested in. If they are interested in blogging and online business, they are re-directed to a mini resource page we’ve created with our best blogging and online business resources. On this page we added a link to Build Your Launch List.
- Implement a Pop-up on eBook related posts. We haven’t done this yet, but we are considering using OptinMonster to target eBook-related posts with an offer for Build Your Launch List. These visitors are already interested in writing an eBook, so it makes sense to offer them a free course on building an eBook launch list.
- Implement Genesis Simple Sidebars. Bjork and Lindsay from Pinch of Yum do a great job with this strategy. They use the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin to create different sidebars for different posts and categories. If we have a blogging-related post, it doesn’t make sense to show offers for an organizing or paperless product.
- Continue to do JV webinars. JV webinars take a lot of work, but they are very effective. The idea is that we partner with another blogger and do a webinar for their audience but for our product and the split the earnings. The JV partner would email their list and advertise the webinar. Once readers sign up for the webinar, we take over with onboarding and follow up emails after the webinar is over. This is a great strategy for getting new people on our list and into our audience. We have several of these planned.
- Continue to do webinars for our existing audience. This is much easier than JV webinars. Abby and sit next to each other and go through a presentation, teaching one specific aspect of writing and launching an eBook. We teach and share our experiences for 45 minutes, spend 15 minutes presenting BookBoss, and then answer audience questions for the remaining 30 minutes. We haven’t done any of these since our launch, but I’d like to start a more consistent webinar schedule for our existing audience.
- Paid advertising. The only paid advertising I have experience with is promoted pins. I’m intrigued by the possibilities, but it certainly isn’t even close to as advanced as the Facebook ad platform. I’ve spent a few hundred dollars here and there with some promoted pins and will continue to experiment with various strategies. I’m currently experimenting with promoted pins that send traffic to Build Your Launch List as well as eBook writing / launching related posts.
Those are our ongoing BookBoss promotion ideas! I know many of you reading this income report are BookBoss students, and I want to say thank you for taking our course. Abby and I seriously get so excited seeing people sign up and work their way through the course, taking action after each lesson and module.
If you have other ongoing course or product promotion ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments. What have you tried that worked? What have you seen other people try that looked intriguing?
May 2016 Blog Income
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
We’ve been publishing monthly income reports since February of 2014. You can click here to see a running tally of past income reports. As you read this report, it’s important to remember that this income didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a long process and a lot of work! Our blog income our first year was very minimal, and we didn’t publish the first income report until we had been blogging for a little over a year. We strive to make these reports as accurate as possible, but our business accounting typically does not match these numbers exactly. These reports count income which was earned during the month, but not necessarily paid out to us within that month. With many affiliate programs there is sometimes a significant delay between earning a commission and actual payment to us. We hope you find the reports helpful!
- Building a Framework eBook and course – $9,685
- BookBoss – $7,978 –> Build your launch list!
- Bluehost – $7,230 –> How to Start a Blog
- Ultimate Bundles – $4,039
- ConvertKit – $2,045
- AdThrive – $1,575
- Simplify eBook – $1,098
- Make Over Your Evenings / Make Over Your Mornings Affiliate: $826
- Paperless Home eBook – $786
- Sponsored Posts – $750
- Amazon Associates – $672
- Genesis Framework – $289
- 2016 Intentional Life Planner – $260
- Media Temple – $250
- Pretty Darn Cute Themes – $154
- Restored 316 – $115
- PicMonkey – $63
- Misc. Affiliate Income – $50
- Fizzle.co – $47
- Flywheel Hosting – $45
- OptinMonster – $10
Total Income: $37,967
- Building a Framework Affiliate Payouts – $2,246
- Assistant – $924
- ConvertKit – $457 –> We We Switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit, The Best Email Marketing Services of 2016
- Stripe Transaction Fees – $421
- PayPal Transaction Fees – $202
- Design Work – $200
- Autopilot – $200
- Teachable – $200
- Promoted Pins – $180
- Gumroad Transaction Fees – $138
- Training – $97
- Instapage – $69
- Synthesis Hosting – $67
- Crowdcast.io – $58
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $53
- Zapier – $49
- Meet Edgar – $49
- Flywheel Hosting – $40
- Wistia – $25
- SendOwl – $24
- Google Apps – $15
- CloudFlare – $20
- Board Booster – $20
- BackBlaze – $10
- Motion Mail Timer – $10
- Backupify – $3
- Fizzle.co – $0 (usually $35)
May 2016 Net Profit: $32,190
RPM is a metric to track revenue per thousand pageviews. This is a measure of the overall effectiveness of a blog and is a handy benchmark for comparing blogs even if they have vastly different traffic numbers.
New Posts from Just a Girl and Her Blog
- Free Printable Recipe Cards
- The Konmari Method: One Year Later
- My Quick and Easy Laundry Process
- Summer Hutch Decor and Styled X3
- How to Organize a Small Refrigerator
- How I’m Making Over My Evenings
- I’ve Held This In So Long That I Feel Like I Might Burst.
- An Easy and Inexpensive Way to Change the Look of Your Living Room (In Minutes!)
- Our New Home: A Preview
New Posts from Building a Framework
- What is Marketing Automation?
- Why Blogging is Best Done in Community
- How to Build Your Audience and Income with Webinars
Action step for the month
Abby and I are always nervous publishing these income reports. It makes us feel vulnerable and “out there” sharing these numbers. But we continue to do it because I think it’s the number one motivator for taking action. I used to read other income reports but then did nothing. Finally, because of Abby’s incredible work ethic and steady growth of her blog, I decided to get involved and see if I could help. I’m so glad I took some action.
If you’re reading this income report and thinking, “Man, it would be nice to earn a little extra each month doing things on my own terms without a boss,” I urge you take action. Nothing major! Just one small step, day after day after day. Sign up to take our Start a Blog Challenge. To be honest, many people who sign up for the challenge never take action, but there are always a handful of people who jump in with both feet and do something amazing. It’s totally possible!
So what will you do to grow your blog and business this month? I know I always used to be guilty of pushing things off to “someday.” It’s easy to come up with a million different reasons why you should put off pursuing your dreams, but the reality is that you will probably never just have this big, open chunk of extra time to chase after all those things you’ve been thinking about. You have to make it happen.
Now I try to think in terms of today. What small steps can I take today and tomorrow and this week to make these dreams of mine a reality? It won’t always be easy. A lot of times it’s scary. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But I’m so thankful that I took those first small steps and continue to take more and more each and every day. Because if you’re consistent, you strive to get better, and you keep showing up… incredible things can happen.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.