Since the start of the year, I’ve been sending a weekly email, covering the ten best growth marketing articles I could find.
Whilst this has brought in a small amount of sponsorship income, the hours spent means it isn’t exactly a high profit side project.
The main reason is a small audience. Let me explain.
In the first few months of this year, I had a fast growing subscriber list. This is attributed to a combination of a series of blog posts about my early marketing experiments, and getting listed on Product Hunt.
However, over the last few months, with less promotion and no new marketing experiments, the subscriber count has only been growing by a few new subscribers per day, currently around 1,900 subscribers.
Sponsorship income, generally for email newsletters, is driven by subscriber list size. For example, I charge $25 per thousand subscribers for a sponsorship, which means that a larger list equates to a far greater revenue, for the same editorial effort.
To find and share the best growth marketing articles in a weekly email, takes the same for 100 subscribers as 10,000. The only difference in effort is sourcing new sponsors, which to date, I haven’t really had the need to, since they have all come from inbound enquiries.
Current traffic situation
The traffic shown in Google Analytics to the single page version of the growth.email website painted a ghost town picture (the small traffic peaks coincided with blog posts I wrote, the big spike being when growth.email was hunted on Product Hunt on 3rd February).
Most of the new subscribers have come as a result of referral from existing subscribers, or having found the old website from either the Twitter account, or a handful of referrers, including my personal blog.
As you can see from the Google Analytics chart for the same period (Jan-Sep 2017) above, the lowest channel for acquisition is from organic search, which since the website consisted of a single landing page, is to be expected.
Here’s how this site used to look like.
I am still enjoying sending the weekly emails, and it has helped increase my connections and personal brand, however my life is busy, and I want to see my hours spent wisely. If I can’t continue to grow the subscriber list, and increase the revenue potential, I may as well shut it down and concentrate on other various side projects.
Hence the reason behind the overhaul of this very website.
Website overhaul reasons
My hypothesis is that if I had a multiple page website, showing all previous issues of the newsletter, showing the proof I only share the best growth marketing articles, I would likely rank higher. If I do then receive some love from search engines in the form of organic traffic, I would be able to increase the subscribers list substantially.
Each newsletter is fairly keyword rich, so by turning these into individual blog posts, there’s a far greater chance of getting some inbound traffic, than a single landing page.
So over the last two days, I have replaced that landing page with 40+ pages of content and links to the best growth marketing articles I could find.
Website overhaul pro tip
If you do overhaul your website, or make any large change that may affect traffic at all, it is worth adding an annotation in your Google Analytics. This way, you aren’t trying to remember when you made the change, and can see it easily in reports, like below.
This article explains how to add an annotation better than I could.
How I built a new growth.email website
Here are the tools I used to create this latest iteration of the website;
Wordpress makes creating a website, or setting up a blogging platform super easy. Download, install in a few minutes (requires PHP and MYSQL), choose an appropriate theme and you’re off and running.
I was after a simple one column theme, that focused on the content and site speed, not fancy graphics or complex interface.
WP Rocket (Paid)
We all know how important site speed is nowadays, for SEO and user experience. Using WP Rocket is a great way to fix the most common speed issues. See below for more detail.
There are plenty of SEO helper plugins for WordPress available, however I have found Yoast the best fit for my needs. I tend to run this on all my side projects, if they incorporate WordPress.
This is the plugin I am using to create the pop-up subscriber box, and insert the form at the bottom of every post.
Export All URLs (Free)
This is the plugin I use, to get the titles and full URLs for each post. I explain further down what I use these for.
Display Posts Shortcode (Free)
This is the plugin I use to create the nice list of all previous articles that appear on the Previous Issues page.
Then, I populated the content by copying the data I have in my content spreadsheet, back in as individual posts, using my copies of previous issues to add the intro and outro text as it was sent out.
I made a point of setting the publish date for each article, to the date I sent the original email out.
Extra benefits for sponsors
Since I started to create this new version of the website, I have also realised that I can now include an extra benefit for sponsors – a permanent link to their product page or article, within each edition.
Previously, they were included in the email newsletter that went out, but that was the end of the promotion opportunity. Now all sponsors (including the previous ones) will receive an inbound link in perpetuity, which should help for SEO and some extra traffic.
You can find out how to sponsor an edition of growth.email, by the way (subtle hint!).
Tackling page speed
As mentioned above, page speed is vital for good SEO and user experience. It’s one thing having lots of the best growth marketing articles, yet another to get a good ranking on Google. Page speed is a ranking factor that seems to be increasing in value.
A good yardstick measure of how your website is currently going, is testing it using Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool.
Once you’ve fixed any glaring errors, jump over to Pingdom Website speed test tool for a more detailed report.
This Moz article should help you understand page speed and how it affects rankings.
Short term inbound marketing plan
Since I am time poor, and don’t want to spend a bundle on promoting the new website, here’s my short term, low effort and basic (yet free!) inbound marketing plan.
Announce this article across social media
Using Buffer, I’ll schedule a few posts in the coming weeks to promote this new site across my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Scheduling multiple mentions during different timezones over a few weeks, ensures that more of my social audience will see them. Pacing these out a few days or weeks apart ensures it doesn’t look spammy.
Increase mentions of website on Twitter
I’ve previously written about the process of auto tweeting all your blog articles. Simply export your articles as links using the Export All URLs plugin, drop it into Bulk Buffer and fill your schedule.
Add links in future issues of growth.email
I haven’t really linked the website in previous articles, given it was just a landing page, and I have been just as bad with linking to the sponsorship page. I’ll tweak the template in the next few days, to encourage existing subscribers to visit the site.
Go back and tweak each post using Yoast
The great thing with Yoast, is that it shows you what you need to do, to optimise each blog post. I’ve ignored that in the process of importing the 40 articles I’ve just done (it took enough time as it was!), yet I’ll go back and tweak some of the highlighted areas of improvement soon.
Since I only link to the best growth marketing articles in these articles, I’m assuming they are already very keyword rich.
Look for link building opportunities
There are plenty of ways I can start manually hunting for inbound links. One of the obvious ways is to manually touch base with the writers of the articles I have featured. Another method is to answer some relevant Quora or Reddit questions, with a subtle link back to the website (neither community enjoys spammy comments).
All of the above activities are designed to help increase inbound traffic to this website. I’ll measure the conversion rate from visitors to subscribers (it was previously 31.34% so let’s hope I can increase it).
I’ll write a follow up showing the results, and anything I have found works, in the next month or so.
In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe, using the form below. I’m positive you’ll find my weekly emails packed with the best growth marketing articles useful!