Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Road to 10,000: Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 15

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 15 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog


O.  M.  G.  How am I on week 15 of this series already?  Holy moly!  Sorry for the delay on this post.  You know how life just LOOOVES to get in the way.  I had an out of town wedding this weekend and house guests all week, soooo, here I am...a little late.

Well, let's see how I did!  My hopes aren't high.  I had a blogging malfunction last Thursday and I wasn't able to save the post I wrote (and that just made me say, "Ef, this!  I'll do it next week."), so I only posted two last week.  I did not hit my schedule...another oops.  I'm off to a great start with this update, aren't I?  It's like a blogging confessional up in here.

Goals from Last Week


Here's last week's update for a refresher.

Sessions:  650/week
Status: #themostepicfailever

Now, this is just embarrassing.  My stats were 477 sessions last week.  I know exactly why.  1)  I only posted twice.  2)  My second post did OKAY.  Not stellar.  3)  I barely promoted. 4)  I only did a few link parties.  I've been so busy with work and life, the amount of time needed to continually be promoting has not been possible.

My top acquisitions sources were:  Pinterest, Direct, Google (organic), Facebook, and Twitter.  It's the first time that organic reach was a top source, so that's a little awesome.

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 15 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog

My top pages were:




Instagram E-Course:  3 New Students
Status:  #Fail

I failed to promote my e-course AT ALL.  I was lucky enough to get one new student for my course though :).  I think I will have to wait until I take my holiday break to really work on a campaign to promote it.  I do not have time right now to concentrate on it.

Pinterest:  400 Followers

Status:  #Almostnotafail

I am at 399 followers.  Are you kidding me?  I couldn't have squeaked one more out before this post?

UPDATE:  By the time I went to bed, this was a "Rocked it."  I'm at 403 now :)

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 15 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog


Goals for this Week


This week, I have already started off bad and missed my Monday post, so I'm just going to leave sessions off the docket.

Twitter:  2,900 followers

I'll use Crowdfire to follow my competitor's' followers and continue to keep up on my Twitter schedule.

Newsletter:  Send it out!

I hope to write and send out my newsletter for the month. 

Hootsuite:  Try out the new campaigns feature.

I read the Hootsuite just released a campaigns feature to help users gain subscribers or run giveaways.  I'm hoping to try that out this week :)

What are your goals this week?






Monday, October 26, 2015

Quick Update on the Road to 10k Series This Week

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates


Happy Monday, ya'll!  I just wanted to give you a quick update.  I was out of town this weekend, so the Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates will be scheduled for Wednesday this week.

Thank you for your patience, and I love you all! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Use Mailchimp For Lead Gen Freebies

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


So, you've probably heard about the method of gaining subscribers or leads through freebies - ammiright?  If not, it's a method where you take your most popular blog posts, articles, or any other kind of content on your blog or website and you create a freebie or an upgrade to entice people into subscribing.

Freebies can come in many forms:


  • E-books
  • Email Courses
  • Printables
  • Worksheets
  • E-courses
  • Guides
  • Challenges
  • Facebook Groups

What's the point?


When you have a solid subscription list, you have a solid list of prospects that are interested in your work.  You have direct access to your potential customer.  Whether you use affiliate links and ads to make money off of your blog or you create products, your subscribers are still potential customers and your biggest fans.  They are statistically more likely to share your posts on social media as well.  So, who is ready to start using Mailchimp to gain subscribers and deliver your freebie?

First, you need to create the freebie. 


Use your website analytics to find your most popular posts.  Which ones get visited over and over again and are evergreen?  Begin brainstorming on a freebie for it.  You can choose to create something as simple as an action plan worksheet to go with a blog post or a printable (an easy way people can print/visualize your post - good for a recipe post).  You may also choose to do something more complex, which will take more time, but probably garner more leads.  An e-book, for example, can take a HOT MINUTE to write and design, but, it also can be a lead magnet for years.  Once you've created your freebie (hint:  make it pretty.  I design mine in Canva.), it's time to create a form.

Second, you need to create a form and/or landing page.


If you are creating a simple freebie (worksheet, printable), create a form to capture emails for the freebie.  You can do this in Mailchimp.

1)  Go to Mailchimp.com (nope, not an affiliate link, just a fan).
2)  Click on LISTS and then CREATE LIST.

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

3)  Fill out your preferences for the list and save.
4)  Click on SIGN UP FORMS and then GENERAL FORM.

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

5)  In the drop down menu, you will first want to choose SIGN UP FORM.  Here you can add the form fields you want (the less, the better) in the BUILD IT screen.

6)  To design the form so it matches your brand, click on the DESIGN IT tab.


How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)




7)  You will need to know your color codes for the design section.  If you don't know the codes to the colors on your site, click here for color codes.  You can upload a picture of the color (a screenshot from your site will do) and it will tell you the code of the color in the picture.  You just click your mouse on the color you need the code for.  In the DESIGN IT section, you can also change the font to match your website's font.

8)Next, go back to the BUILD IT tab and go to the drop down menu.  You now want to choose FINAL WELCOME EMAIL.  This is where you will add your freebie link.  When someone fills out your form, they will automatically receive the final welcome email with the link to the freebie.

9)  You will see something like this --> 

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

The part you can edit is the, "Your subscription to our..."  Click there and write a note to your new subscriber.  

Click on the link button.

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

And, choose FILE in the drop down menu.  You'll be directed to a screen like this.

How to Use Mailchimp for Subscriber and Lead Gen Freebies | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


10)  Click UPLOAD and upload your newly created freebie.  Then, select the freebie.  Now, it is added to your email.

BOOM, DONE.  It's that easy.  Now, anyone who signs up for your freebie will automatically get an email with the freebie in it - yay!

If you haven't already, don't forget to add a link or embedded form to your blog post, so people can subscribe to get your freebie.  I like to create buttons that lead to my forms, but you have many options.  You can also create a landing page for your freebie - like this one.  It's your call.

Any questions?




Monday, October 19, 2015

Road to 10,000: Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 14

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 14 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Hello, friends (that's how my 2 year old greets people)!  I hope your weekend was good.  Mine was productive.  Not too fun, but productive.  We worked on some stuff around the house because when you have a 100+ year old house, there's always something fun to work on.  I also said goodbye to my lovely friend, Erin (blogger @ Population E - check her out).  She got an amazing opportunity to move to SanFran, so I had to reluctantly let her take it (haha).  If you're reading this, Erin, I will forever remember our Sex and the City marathons and jumping on the top bunk of our broken bunk beds when I think of you!

Well, stop being so sappy - let's get to the juice, huh?

Goals from Last Week


Sessions:  500/week
Status:  Rocked it.

Well, howdy doo to me.  I actually did it.  After a slump and a half, I'm back, baby.  I made it to 615 sessions this week.  Woo-hoo!  And, I have to say, a lot of that traffic came after I started automating my blog post pinning.  I saw a huge jump in my blog posts being re-pinned.  If you haven't read it yet, check out my blog post on automating pinning your posts to Pinterest because it works!

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 14 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

You can see here that Pinterest once again KILLED IT for me.  Thank you, Pinterest!

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 14 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

My top posts this week were:





Twitter:  2,900 followers
Status:  #Fail

I reached 2,800 followers this week.  I think the issue has been that I haven't been following back as many people as I used to.  Sometimes you get people who only do follow for follow and they unfollow you if you don't follow back.  I know for a fact (thanks to the Crowdfire app) that that is happening.  Oh well.  I'm not losing anyone who genuinely reads or cares about my message, so - whatever.  It is what it is.

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 14 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)




Instagram:  1,600 followers
Status:  Rocked it.

I reached 1,628 followers this week.  I posted consistently and used hashtags that I researched.  BTW - don't forget that you can get into my Instagram Growth Hacking mini e-course right now.  Like, you get immediate access.  I went from 250 to over 1k followers overnight using these methods.

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 14 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

Goals For This Week


Sessions:  650/week

I am planning on writing three blog posts (I only got a chance to write two last week) and promoting out of the wa-zoo through automation.

Instagram Mini E-course:  3 New Students

I am going to promote my IG course more this week.  I will aim to begin a drip campaign and run a FB ad.  Wish me luck!

Pinterest:  400 followers

I am currently at 377 followers, but I am hoping to get to 400.  With my IG mini e-course goals this week, I won't have time to put toward any special work on Pinterest - so I'm just hoping for the best!

How was your week?  Did you make any blogging goals?




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to Automate Promoting Your Blog on Pinterest

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest | Click here to read at Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


As ya'll know, I'm a busy girl - I automate everything I can.  One thing that I have been dying to do is to automate promoting my own blog posts.  Pinterest is my biggest acquisition source, so it makes sense to focus on automating that - my big dawg.  So, here's how I am doing it.

1)  Create a Pinterest board just for your blog posts.

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest | Click here to read at Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


2)  Login to BoardBooster.com and go to Pinning Tools and then Campaign.

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest | Click here to read at Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)

3)  Click either "Create Random Campaign" or "Create Scheduled Campaign."  I chose random, which just posts whenever.


4)  Choose your source board (which is the board that you created with all of your blog posts on it).

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest | Click here to read at Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


5)  Choose the boards you want to repin to.  This is where you would choose all of your relevant group boards and any other boards that make sense for any of your blog posts.


6)  Schedule - now you can choose the days and times you would want to pin and how often.  I choose Monday - Sunday 10am to 10pm (people tend to pin later in the day).  I chose to automatically pin once a day so I don't annoy the group members.

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest | Click here to read at Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


NOW, all you have to do is pin your blog post once to have it pinned to all of the group boards you are a part of.  Woo-hoo!  Mama loves simplifying anything and everything.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Road to 10,000: Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 13

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 13 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Hello, lovelies!  Any of you from Chicago?  The weather this weekend has been PHENOM.  My fam and I went to the pumpkin patch today (I'm writing this on a Sunday) and it was 81 degrees.  Yes, please.  I can take that kind of October.

Anyhoo, on to my Road to 10k.  Those who regularly read this series know that I have some personal things going on right now that are trumping my lovely blog, so progress has been slow.  But, I'm okay with that.  I'll take slow progress over just quitting because I have some things going on that are taking over my life for awhile.  This girl isn't a quitter!

Click here for week 12's Road to 10,000, if you need a little update.

Goals from Last Week


Sessions:  600/week
Status:  #fail

I reached 411 sessions last week.  AND, it's totally my fault.  I got caught up in work and some personal projects and forgot to schedule a lot of my social.  Like, one post I didn't promote AT ALL.  I was a hot mess last week.

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 13 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)

As for acquisition source, once again, after direct, Pinterest is KILLING IT.  By the way, when I say I forgot to promote my posts socially, that includes on Pinterest (WTF is wrong with me?!).

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 13 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Funny enough, my top pages were all old posts this week.




Twitter:  2,900 Followers
Status:  #Fail

I got to 2,770 followers.  Almost every time I miss a goal on Twitter, I reach it on Monday.  Watch that happen.  I wasn't too present on social this week and it showed...  Bumski.

Road to 10,000:  Weekly Blog Goals & Updates, Week 13 | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Pinterest:  350 followers
Status:  Rocked it.

As of Sunday, I reached 354 followers.  I barely squeaked out this win, but I still did!!  The effort certainly shows in my acquisitions.

Blogging Goals for This Week


I'll be conservative this week because, well, you've seen why.

Sessions:  500/week

I am going to aim to hit 500 sessions.  One thing I plan on doing this week is creating campaigns in Boardbooster that will automatically pin my blog posts to group boards on Pinterest.  I will also write three new posts this week and promote the posts I didn't promote last week.

Twitter:  2,900

I came close last week, but didn't quite make it.  If I use Crowdfire, I should be able to get to my goal this week without issue.

Instagram:  1,600

I am going to create some graphics and curate photos for this week with great hashtags that I have researched.  I will also use Crowdfire to find good people to follow.

Until next time!



Friday, October 9, 2015

Working From Home With a Baby (and staying sane!)

Working at Home with a Baby (and staying sane!) - a step by step guide on making a routine to actually get your work done | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


When I was pregnant, I thought, "Man, I'm so lucky!  My company will let me work from home with my baby.  Life will be so easy!"  God, I'm an idiot.  The first part is still true.  I'm so grateful that my company lets me work from home.  In fact, I just finished doing just that.

The first 4 months after Jax was born I worked from home exclusively.  That wasn't so bad.  He slept most of the time then.  However, I was badly in need of socializing.  Jax was born September 4, 2013.  In Chicago, it is still really warm in September.  One day, I left the house after months of working from home, and it was cold.  I was in shock, and I realized that I was living in a cave.  I started to work from home only 3 days a week, and now I am down to two days a week.  I needed to better balance my life.  It was really hard working 100% at home with a baby.  I was going 24/7 at that point.  The two days a week from home is perfect.  I can socialize with GROWN UPS (!!) in the office and spend more time with my son than than a typical 9 to 5er.

I've been doing this juggling act for a year now, so I thought I'd share what works for me.  Below you'll find my tips.

1.  Baby Proof - Jax is one now, and is crawling and stumbling along all over the place.  We've made my office right off of the play/family room that is completely baby proofed.  He doesn't always have to be in my office.  He can run around and make a mess, pull toys out, and eat cheerios while bumpin' to Disney Radio on Pandora.

2.  Give yourself a break - When I was working at home more often, I always went to the gym during my lunch break (free babysitting!  Thank you, YMCA).

3.  Give yourself a break (pt 2) - As in, give yourself a break, don't be hard on yourself.  I constantly feel like I'm only giving part of myself to my career and part of myself to my family - constant guilt on both ends.  This isn't something I have mastered; it is more of a do what I say and not as I do.  I do have guilt.  But, I put all of myself into everything I do.  I know I shouldn't feel guilt, but whatever, I do.

4.  Check-in - When you're working from home, it's important to stay in front of your co-workers and managers.  Check-in with them throughout the day to keep that personal relationship and show your progress for the day.

5.  Plan - I plan out my to-do list in my Outlook calendar the night before and cross out items as I finish.  This helps me track my accomplishments throughout the day and week, but, as an added benefit, I share my calendar with key people in my organization, so they can see what I am doing throughout the day.  If they have any questions about which projects I am working on, they can check my calendar for an update.

I have been chuggin' along at this for two years.  I'd love to hear the advice from other work from home moms!  Reply below.

You might also like:

The Key to Successfully Juggle Work and Motherhood:  Outsourcing

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to Revive Old Blog Posts So They ARE New

How to Revive Old Blog Posts So They're New Again - you can do this without screwing up SEO or losing valuable backlinks | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


I've been thinking recently about how I have a few blog posts from way back in the beginning of my blogging life that I wish I could make new.  Like totally new.  Like pull into Bloglovin, top of my blog, added to my blog subscription emails new.  You can't just copy and paste an old post to a new post without screwing up your SEO.  Google hates duplicate content.  So, what's a blogger girl to do?

1)  What's the point?  Why would you want to revive an old post anyway?  I'll tell you why.  I have quite a few posts from the first few months I was blogging that are killing it in Google and bringing in traffic and have excellent, high quality backlinks.  They're good posts, but at the time no one but my mom (thanks mom!) was reading them.  So, if you have a good post from when you had no audience, but you have an audience now - revive it!

2)  What's the first step?  Copy and paste your old post into a new blog post.  Update the images and add new links to the post.

How to Revive Old Blog Posts So They're New Again - you can do this without screwing up SEO or losing valuable backlinks | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


3)  And, won't copying and pasting mess up my SEO?  Not with the next step.  Next, you'll want to redirect your old URL to your new URL.  In blogger, you go to SETTINGS -> and then SEARCH PREFERENCES -> Next, you'll want to go to CUSTOM REDIRECTS -> NEW REDIRECT.  From there, redirect your old URL to your new one.  Once that's complete, delete your old post.

How to Revive Old Blog Posts So They're New Again - you can do this without screwing up SEO or losing valuable backlinks | Sarah Smirks (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Bingo, Bango, Boomo.  You're done.  Now, your old, not-appreciated-in-its-time posts will be revived like new!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Road to 10,000: Weekly Blogging Goals & Updates, Week 12



Road to 10,000:  Weely Blog Goals & Updates, Week 12 | What happens when you take a hiatus week | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (source:  www.sarahsmirks.com)


Well, my friends, if you want to know what happens when you take a week off to focus on other things, I'll tell you the results.  MAJOR drops in traffic.  So, if you ever wondered if it's really necessary to keep your blogging schedule, continue to update on social media, and participate in Facebook groups.... it is.

Since I knew that this would be the case, I didn't create blogging goals last week, but I will update you on what happened during my hiatus week.

Blogging & Social Media Last Week


Traffic:

During my hiatus week, I had 335 sessions and 594 pageviews.  This is compared to the previous week's 511 sessions and 782 pageviews (Yikes!).
Road to 10,000:  Weely Blog Goals & Updates, Week 12 | What happens when you take a hiatus week | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (source:  www.sarahsmirks.com)

My top traffic acquisition sources were Direct, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.  Pinterest is always a great way to continue to get traffic, even when you don't have fresh content.  That's why I love it!  It keeps those older posts top of mind for readers and followers.  In fact, my Pinterest followers increased during my hiatus.  I got up to 329 followers (and I was at 300 last week!).

Road to 10,000:  Weely Blog Goals & Updates, Week 12 | What happens when you take a hiatus week | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (source:  www.sarahsmirks.com)

My top pages were:

5 Articles That Helped Me Grow My Instagram Followers by 500 in 2 Weeks
How I Doubled My Blog Traffic with Google and Social Analytics
7 Tips to Rock Out Bloglovin:  The Advanced Guide 

Social Media:  

On Twitter, I now have 2,724 followers (as of 12:57pm on Sunday, October 4 :).  I did take a little bit of time to update my bio to include a CTA based on a recommendation from Jamie Delaine's blog post, Does Your Instagram Account Have a CTA?  I'd say it applies to any social media bio.

On Instagram, I am at 1,560 AND, I also added a CTA to that bio.

Blogging Goals for This Week


Okay, so mama's goals for this week are a little different than normal.  I am aiming to change my blogging schedule a bit to accommodate my DIRE need to sleep.  I am still planning on posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I will write on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays instead of waking up early to do it before work.  I will also schedule out my social media for the next few days at that time.  I found that I was losing balance in my life and that is something I make a priority, so my goal this week is to try this new schedule.

Sessions:  600/week

I will be trying my new blogging schedule out and scheduling my social media for 7 days a week to try and meet this goal.  Wish me luck!

Twitter:  2,900 followers

I am going to really push this week, to get to 2,900 followers.  I'll work to meet this goal by following the guidelines that I wrote about in my Twitter e-book (which is FREEEEEEEE).

Pinterest:  350 followers

As I wrote about in my Great Pinterest Experiment post, this week, I will be making boards specifically for my audience.  To go along with this, I'll write keyword rich descriptions and board titles.

What are your goals for the week? 


 





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