When I first started building my email list, I was a quality advisor for a large government department.
In the late nineties I traveled for 3 and a half years and visited 66 countries. At the time the internet wasn’t widely available so being location independent wasn’t an option. My husband Tim and I started making plans for long-term travel and after 10 years in 2010 we were able to make it happen.
I now have a lifestyle where I basically travel for 12 months at a time and then stop in Saigon to teach and do freelance work for twelve months.
I’ve slowly became enlightened to blogging and sharing my journey and that’s when I decided to start building an email list.
Fast-forward 15 months and I’d built a list of 1,003 subscribers.
I’ve now travelled to 130 countries now and have spent 11 of the last 20 years out of Australia.
I also made $2,167.75 in affiliate sales from my blog.
How did you do it?
I got my first 100 subscribers by doing two things. I started sharing my travels on my blog and I installed opt-in forms.
Here’s what my blog looks like as of October 2016.
When you start scrolling down, a pop-up appears that looks like this:
I didn’t do one-by-one outreach like I should have. Instead, I told people to go to my blog when they mentioned they were coming to Ho Chi Minh City to visit.
Despite not updating my blog for a year and not chasing people to join, my list continued to grow.
Currently my list is at 1,003 subscribers.
I went from 100 to 1,003 subscribers by doing 2 things: 1) installing Welcome Mat, and 2) using search engine optimization (SEO).
Installing the Welcome Mat from SumoMe made a huge difference in getting me to the 500-subscribers mark.
This is what my Welcome Mat looks like:
The idea is that instead of intrusive pop-ups being shown, a single full-screen form appears when you first land on my blog as more of a welcome. Once you scroll down, it goes away.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I traveled for a year starting in May 2015 and only posted a few blogs, but my SEO was great and I was increasing traffic.
Here’s a picture showing the results of my SEO so far:
I haven’t sold any products yet but that’s my next goal.
I also launched a book called Get Away Worry Free: Pre-Trip Tips for Long-Term Travel. It’s a compact but comprehensive guide to pre-trip planning for long-term travel.
When I first launched it, my cover was homemade, it was self-edited, and it was basically a mind map of words. This had 725 downloads.
Right now I’m working on a second edition that’s twice as long and applies what I learned from the launching first edition.
What has building an email list changed in your life and allowed you to do?
Having an email list and audience to interact with has provided endless amounts of content ideas to share on my blog. This is an advantage because creating quality content is one of the hardest parts of building a blog and email list.
What’s next for you?
In addition to the Ho Chi Minh City Highlights blog I’m also building a blog for my readers and freelance clients at sharynnilsen.com. I’m excited to be focusing on this site and sharing it with my existing subscribers.
Moving forward means focusing on three things:
Me + Husband
Product Coming Soon!
Videofruit made me realize the importance of building a list. I read a lot of Videofruit posts including the $220k+ launch and tutorial on pre-selling and these two posts really persuaded me to focus 100% on building this project.