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Blog Comments, Subscribers and Opt-In Offers, Oh My! (Project ABC)

Is anyone else having an absolutely crazy fall?

Man alive, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

However, after a longer-than-I’m-proud of honeymoon recovery period I managed to get back in the habit of regular work on Project ABC.

I have a confession to make, because I promised I’d let you all know about the successes and failures of this process.

A week after I got home, Danny asked me how work on Paying for Life was coming and I stammered out a pretty generic “Oh, I’m working on it, I swear!” response.

He called me on slacking off and rightly so. It smarted a little because I’m a grown-up and should be able to devote the time to building my business without being told to. Especially considering how often I encourage our various students to do their own work on time.  But there you go, the shoe is on the other foot, and I accept my rebuke.

It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get me from “I should…” to “I did.”

If you’ve been putting a little less than you ought to be in your own business, I’m telling you:

Quit slacking.

Someone is noticing and raising their eyebrows at you knowingly. Even if you can’t see them or they don’t tell you.

So, what has been done since mid October?

Happily – quite a bit.

My landing page is ready to go with a piece of opt-in bait I’m quite proud of. You can check it out here: www.payingforlife.com, but don’t feel obliged to subscribe! (If you happen to know an 18-24 year old  who’s forever out of pocket though, feel free to send them the link!)

Something that ended up being more of a challenging time-sink than I’d imagined was setting up the result and confirmation pages within AWeber and my site itself.

I’ve built landing pages and the associated confirmation and thank you bits for dozens of our webinars, products and other things, but I’d always been following instructions.

Doing it from scratch was complicated and ate up almost an entire Saturday afternoon.

So I made a little chart that I can follow next time, and of course – I’m sharing it.

This is the path that your subscriber will take through the different steps of the opt-in process.

If I can save even one person the anxiety of changing the links in their auto-responder code for the fourth time I’ll consider it to have been worthwhile. (Thank you, Robyn, for making it pretty.)

Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Create 4 pages on your site. Call them Landing, Confirmation and Thank You and [OPT-IN-BAIT-NAME]. The Opt-In Bait page might just be an uploaded video or PDF.
  2. Create your List in AWeber (or equivalent). Set your “Success” page to your “Thank You” page
  3. Create your form. When it asks you for a Thank You page enter the URL for your “Confirmation” page.
  4. Populate your pages with content and pause to wonder why AWeber has the names backwards. (My theory: They aren’t thinking in the marketing terms we’re used to. When they say “Success Page” they mean: Success! – Someone finished the whole opt-in process. To my way of thinking that’s when you say: Thank You, your cool stuff is on its way. When they say “Thank you,” it’s for someone starting the process – they’ve given the email, but not confirmed through the system – to me that’s a confirmation of intent – but not yet time for thanks or celebration.) Your Landing page will include the opt-in form you create in Aweber.
  5. Write the Reward Follow Up email and include a link to the Opt-In Bait.
  6. Test. Wait a few hours. Test again. Get a friend to test it. Is it working?
  7. Pour yourself a drink.

Copy First, Content Later

If you’ve taken any of our trainings, you know that Danny has a pretty good piece of advice when it comes to landing pages and opt-in bait. “Write the copy first.”

Okay, fair enough – but does it really work?

I wrote “20 No Bullshit Ways to Make $30 Tomorrow” before the landing page copy.

I wrote the landing page copy before I got very far with “How to Re-Think Your Degree and get it Working for You in 30 Days or Less.”

It was totally intentional to try both methods. I didn’t forget that it was recommended to do the copy first at all.

The result? Writing the copy first is about a million times better and easier.

I knew what points were the most important to hit, I didn’t have to wonder “is this right? Is this important?” I just checked my copy and more or less stuck to it.

Call me a believer.

As soon as I realized my mistake I stopped work on my second bait and wrote the copy.

Here’s the landing page text – I’d love your opinion.

Turn Your Unused Degree into an Actual Job

Do you have a degree that hasn’t helped you get a job?

You know what I’m talking about. English? History? Communications? Philosophy? Fine Arts? Anything ending in “Studies?”

It’s nothing to be ashamed of – following your passion is the path to happiness.

It’s just a shame that it’s not also a path to a living wage.

So a few months after graduating when the student loan hounds come barking at your door for repayment, and you’re still slinging lattes at the local Starbucks, you might feel as if you’ve been royally screwed.

Well, you have been.

But you don’t need to take it laying down.

You paid for that diploma with sweat and dollars so come hell or high water it’s going to start earning its keep.

It may not seem like there are a lot of in-demand or lucrative skills in your comparative Russian literature degree, but believe or not – if you managed to get it, you can talk someone into paying you because of it.

It’s all in how you look at it, and how you present it.

In “How to Re-Think Your Degree and Get it Working for you in 30 Days or Less” I’ll show you:

  • The valuable experience you didn’t know you had.
  • How to tell, in advance, if a job will be a good fit for your skills.
  • How to explain the usefulness of your degree to any hiring manager.

Don’t hesitate – there’s a perfect (or at least tolerable) way for you to make money from your education out there waiting for you right now. Get it before someone else does!

Subscriber 1 and Commenting

I had a little happy-dance moment last week after I’d completed my first day of commenting. Within one hour, I’d gotten a subscriber! WooHoo! Oh, Marko, you wonderful creature; you gentleman, you scholar!  You veritable prince of the internet!

I doubt he’ll ever know how happy he made me.

Then sh*t got real.

Holy bananas, it’s happening. All those screen names are real people and I’m making promises to them that I’ll be expected to keep. They’ll reading my work, and judging it because they put their trust in me – at least to the extent of giving me their email address and permission to contact them again.

That means emails need to be prepared and content readied. Website finished and populated, guest posts to pitch, blog comments to write, relationships to build, products to develop and dozens of other things to make look effortless.

It’s pretty exhilarating.

Something I’m noticing about commenting: it actually takes more time than I anticipated. Since I know I have, if not quite an ulterior motive – probably not the motive that the blog owner is most hoping for – I’m putting a lot of effort into making really interesting, useful blog comments.  I wouldn’t call it a moral quandary, but it does give me pause, and make me really sweat over providing value from the get go.

When you go out there and comment on blogs – how do you feel about it? Do you have strategies for making it go quickly?

So, Next Steps?

Split-testing and more commenting. The coming weeks are all about blog commenting and split-testing my landing pages. I’m really curious to find out which opt-in bait converts better. I’ve got a hunch that it will be the Re-think your degree one. What do you think?

I’ve also got a running list of places to pitch guest posts to, and some ideas for each. I’m excited to get started on that process, but I want to have both landing pages fully ready for testing and a little more presence in terms of blog comments first. Expect more news on this front in the December update.

I admit, I’m still a little anxious about split testing – I’ve started experimenting with Visual Website Optimizer, and while I can see it’s doable – it’s a little like learning a new language. Possible, immensely useful, and second nature once you get going, but hard to start.

To all of you who are in a similar start-up phase: how’s it going? What have you accomplished in the last few weeks?

About Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is an alumnus of Mirasee and is passionate about online education, small business and making a difference in the world. You can find out what she's up to and how side-hustles will take over the world at PayingforLife.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

25 thoughts on “Blog Comments, Subscribers and Opt-In Offers, Oh My! (Project ABC)

  1. Megan, thank you for the helpful post. Loved the flochart and the reminder to write copy first. I’m with you on comments, it always feels awkward and definitely consumes time.

  2. Hi Megan,

    Thanks so much for the color-coded chart on setting up an autoresponder in Aweber! I use Aweber too, and though I’ve done this same set-up several times, every.single.time it seems to take, like you say, “the better part of an afternoon.” Your map is a handy little cheatsheet. And I’ve saved the link to this article for when I set up my next autoresponder in Aweber, which happens to be in about a week. : )

    I like your landing page copy, I can tell you’ve worked hard to get it all just right. If I could, and since you requested opionions, I have just a couple of minor suggestions.

    After this copy:
    It may not seem like there are a lot of in-demand or lucrative skills in your comparative Russian literature degree, but believe or not – if you managed to get it, you can talk someone into paying you because of it.

    I would insert something like:

    –>> I’ll show you how.
    Right before the line: It’s all in how you look at it, and how you present it.

    Then, in the bullet-pointed section where you highlight what people will get in
    “How to Re-Think Your Degree and Get it Working for you in 30 Days or Less,”
    I might add another sentence to each bullet point to describe why understanding what each of your bullet points address really matters, and why people who want to put their degree to work for them need to get your opt-in bait, right now. : )

    So, like this:

    In “How to Re-Think Your Degree and Get it Working for you in 30 Days or Less” I’ll show you:

    The valuable experience you didn’t know you had, –>> and how to package it in a way that makes you irresistible to hiring managers . . . (or something like that)

    How to tell, in advance, if a job will be a good fit for your skills. –>> If you don’t nail this, you’ll waste valuable time applying for the wrong jobs while your dream job gets filled by someone else . . . (or something like that)

    How to explain the usefulness of your degree to any hiring manager. –>> Apply this technique and hiring managers will instantly “get” the benefits hiring someone with your degree brings to the table . . . (that one’s kind of weak, but you get the idea. : ) )

    I hope that makes sense. I’m thinking it would make your copy stronger in that section if you had a little something more after each of your bullet points to drive the point home that downloading your opt-in bait is a *very* good idea.

    Good luck with everything!

    • Hi Kimberly – thanks for your awesome feedback! I think I’ll try integrating some of your suggestions as a split test this week – see what kind of a difference it makes. Much obliged!

      • Always glad to be of service! : )

        Hope it goes really well for you. I remember oh-so-well that feeling of first getting my site and my opt-in form live, then kind of holding my breath to see if anyone would subscribe. Oh the feeling of that first subscriber (who’s not someone you know)! That’s probably the most important subscriber we’ll ever have, because it proves someone thought enough of our content and our offer to hand over their email address, which creates this nice forward momentum that makes us want to keep at it — so exhilarating!

    • That’s a very good point, Mary – actually, we do the same thing here. 🙂

      (I think double opt-in is more about email companies protecting themselves from spammers; if you aren’t a spammer, then you don’t really need it.) 😉

    • I have been going back and forth on this for days now trying to decide if I should go from double to single. Wondering if people really do put other people’s emails in or something crazy like that. But if they want the offer putting in a fake email really would not benefit them anyway right?

      I am so glad you helped me decide Mary and Danny. And Mary your case study is going amazingly I know you are speaking from experience.

      =-)

    • I thought about it too, but decided to at least start with double opt-in because:
      1) The aWeber warning is so foreboding 😉
      2) I wanted to learn how to do it.
      3) I wanted to see how many started the sign-up process but didn’t finish.

      It’ll be interesting to see which way it goes.

    • Hi Beatrix. Did you actually sign up and read the book? The potential to make more than “a tankful of gas” is only limited by your imagination. The reason Megan has to label it as make $30 is because if she puts something like “Make $500 by Tomorrow” then it sounds like all the other scams and people wont believe they can do it. Less scrupulous marketers will put higher numbers just to bait people like you in without providing the material to back it up.

      It is common practice for reputable people who genuinely want to provide value and build long-term relationships with their readers to UNDER-SALE their products then OVER-Deliver! Which Megan has accomplished perfectly in the ebook.

      Yes there are 20 methods you could use today and have cash in your hand by nightfall.

      No, all of them may not apply to you. But that is not where I found the value.

      I found the value in the creativity it sparked in me to come up with my own ideas! You see, the methods she mentions in the book are so “out-of-the-box” that I found myself smiling after reading each one! Some even made me literally laugh out loud! But I ended it thinking “wow! I know I could ALWAYS come up with a way to make quick cash if I needed to now”

      Read the book! If you do not see the potential to make quick cash or even start you own side business… then ask for a refund! =-P

  3. Agreed that the header image of the landing page needs some work. I personally use Mailchimp for my mailing but the flow chart is still useful.

    • The header could certainly stand to be in higher res. It’s on the list, but involves other people’s schedules as well. I think Mailchimp works similarly to Aweber – I’m happy you found the chart useful!

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