Want to make $10K per month from your blog? You could quit your day job with that kind of money. In this case study, we’ll share one mom blogger’s journey to her first $10K month in just 10 months.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Gott, the founder of What Mommy Does: a resource site for stay at home moms.
Lena is a CPA turned entrepreneur, and the mother of three. She loves to help other moms figure out ways to save money and contribute to their household income, while handling the ups and downs of home life.
In just 10 short months, Lena went from making $700/mo to $9,997/mo with her blog.
Here’s a snapshot of her monthly revenue over the last 21 months:
As you can see, she grew her blog and reached her first $10K month in January 2016. After that, her income dipped, but then she adjusted her strategy. By the final quarter of 2016, she was consistently making above $10K per month.
So what happened? What changes and adjustments did Lena make to her blog along the way that allowed her to go from $700 per month to a consistent $10K+ per month?
Let’s dive in to the interview and find out…
Mary: Can you take us back to April 2015? What did you focus on during those 10 months to go from $700/mo to hitting your first $10K month?
Lena: I spent all of 2015 chasing down page views without much thought to anything other than “more page views = better.” At the end of 2015, I even wrote an ebook all about the strategies I used to go from 17K to 350K+ page views in 9 months.
My focus that entire year was page views.
I am glad I did it. I finally understand how to get traffic to my blog when I want it, and how to get visitors to jump around my blog, effectively turning one page view into many.
But by early 2016, I was tired. Chasing page views is exhausting!
The logical step would be to do more of what I was already doing, so by the end of 2016 I would have double the income I did at the end of 2015. But it seemed like I was working awfully hard for every dollar, so I decided to look for another way.
Mary: That’s a bold decision. What did you do next?
Lena: First, I took a step back and re-evaluated my situation. I did an analysis of my top performing (highest traffic) content, directly compared to my revenue streams from the same time period.
What I found was very interesting!
I realized that the content making me the most money wasn’t always my highest traffic content.
While my highest traffic content brought in the bulk of my ad revenue, the highest converting content (which brought in the most sales) were actually low traffic posts.
Mary: Woah– what was going on there?
Lena: Well, I realized pretty quickly that my highest converting content was my most convincing and informative content: the content that helped my audience achieve a goal. These were mostly tutorials and case studies of my own experiences.
Once I realized this, I soon realized something else…
My #1 job–if I wanted to scale my income strategically–was to get more eyeballs on the high converting content. Then, I could see if the conversion rates held true with higher traffic numbers.
I also realized that if my first test came true (if more eyeballs = more conversions), then my #2 job was to create more high converting content.
While I still use almost all of the same blog traffic strategies to this day, I approach it with a different plan:
The old goal was more page views. The new goal is page views that matter.
Mary: Page views that matter. That sounds very smart, and efficient!
Lena: Yes, more page views doesn’t always equal more income.
For example, during the last quarter of 2016, my page views actually decreased while my income continued to increase.
Once I discovered this, I had an epiphany…
Why was I waiting for my customers to come to me? Why wasn’t I specifically targeting them?
Especially because I only work part time (about 20-25 hours per week), I needed to find an easy way to get pre-qualified customers to come my way. But my biggest dilemma at this point was finding a way to get qualified customers to come to me without having to spend money on Facebook ads.
All my blogging friends were getting into Facebook ads. But the CPA in me told me not to do that yet… I needed to validate my ideas before spending money.
It’s much more cost efficient to test your ideas with a small data set first and then ramp up later with paid ads as opposed to spending money without knowing if your offer will convert on a large scale.
Of course, you can afford to do that if you have a large budget. But I’m a mom blogger who would rather use her hard earned money for a nice beach vacation than for testing Facebook ads!
So, on the hunt for a better way to attract my target audience, I started reading as much content marketing and persuasion advice as time allowed. Over time, I formulated one simple question that I could ask myself before writing a single blog post:
“Where were they yesterday?”
Once you answer this question, your content plan will lay itself out for you.
Mary: How did you start to put the “Where were they yesterday” question into practice, and has your income increased since you had this epiphany?
Lena: I started asking myself this question before crafting my blog post titles and content, and the results have been better than I ever could have expected!
As of this month, my affiliate income is double what it was 6 months ago, with half the publishing pace because the content I have written is so targeted.
When I ask myself this question, I’m asking myself more specifically:
- What were they doing yesterday that caused them to look for my blog today?
- What were they doing yesterday that makes them think what I have to offer is a good investment?
- What do they need to accomplish before they will be ready to use my product?
- What were they doing yesterday when they decided not to take action and buy my product?
Where were they yesterday: physically, mentally, emotionally? That’s how you’ll find them.
For example, if you write about budgeting, and want your blog visitor “Susie Q” to sign up for a budgeting app you’re promoting, what was she doing yesterday?
Well, since she is frugal by nature, then she was possibly looking for frugal meal ideas on Pinterest. Or maybe she was worried about making ends meet, so she was typing into Google “how to stretch my budget.” Or, maybe she’s 8 months pregnant and getting worried about having enough money to make it through maternity leave or becoming a stay-at-home-mom.
To help Susie, you could write a blog post titled, “How I Feed My Family on $300 per Month”, or “How to Afford to Be a Stay-at-Home-Mom?”. Then, you can convince her that your budgeting app (or affiliate link) solves one of her pain points.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you want to sell potty training books from Amazon. Where were those visitors yesterday?
Well, they were probably doing things that most people with 2- and 3-year-olds do, such as:
- Looking a training pants
- Looking for coupons on Size 5 diapers
- Taking their 3-year-old to swimming lessons
- Trying to choose a preschool
- Having a 2nd child
- Concerned about discipline, routines, fun toddler games
Each one of these is a blog post idea that fills a specific need.
The best part is, when you do this exercise, you will feel your target customer’s emotions…
You’ll feel the frustration of running late to pick up your child from daycare, only to realize that you forgot to plan for dinner and go grocery shopping.
You’ll feel the impatience of wanting more customers for your gym, but not knowing what copy to use in your marketing material, and thinking you’d much rather be training clients than working on this stupid flyer for one more minute.
You’ll feel the depression from going to a store to try on new clothes for a class reunion, and realizing you are 4 sizes larger than the last time everybody saw you.
You get the idea! The same thought process applies to virtually any niche.
Mary: Once you’ve brainstormed where they were yesterday and what their pain points are, do you have any tips for writing blog posts to solve these frustrations?
Lena: One post, one solution. No topic is too granular.
In fact, the more specific the solution, the greater chance you will have of getting the right readers to come your way.
And don’t forget that you can mix in shorter posts and videos with long form content. Not everything you write has to be a novel!
By the way, I started incorporating these emotional triggers (i.e. I kept it real) into my email conversations, as well as my blog posts, and even my images. And as a result, I started converting more affiliate offers.
Your blog, Mary, is about persuasion. If you layer a customer journey mindset like “Where were they yesterday?” with persuasive sales copy when the time comes, you will have a formula for success. In fact, being truly helpful is persuasive enough on its own… People are more inclined to being persuaded by someone who has previously helped them.
Mary: I agree. Being helpful–or useful–is often the best way to persuade someone.
Lena: Also, asking the “Where were they yesterday?” question helps you to create the right lead magnet. Just like “more traffic = better” is not always true, “more lead magnets = better” is not necessarily true either.
Mary: You mentioned that you now only work part-time, 20-25 hours per week, but prior to 2016 you were working 30-35 hour per week. How have your weekly activities changed?
I moved from an on-site selling model to a follow-up via email model. This allowed me to make more sales on the same number of visitors because I was following up with anyone who was on the fence.
But at the same time, I was writing content that addressed their questions & concerns, so I was also making more sales from visitors who never even joined my mailing list.
Whereas before, I would have written 10 posts in a month and hoped 2 fared well, now I simply write 1 or 2 posts each month (plus emails) that I know will generate sales.
Mary: Where did your sales come from? Were you selling affiliate products, your own products, or both?
Lena: Both affiliate products and my own ebook.
Part of my revenue increase also came from increasing my sponsored post rates. Because I wasn’t as dependent on that income due to my increased conversions, I was able to be pickier and push back a little more when I thought a brand should pay more. It worked out all around!
Recap & Conclusion
To grow her blog from $700 to her first $10K month, Lena focused on solid strategies for driving organic traffic.
However–even though Google and Pinterest are still her primary sources of traffic–she discovered that more traffic does not always equal more revenue. Also, chasing traffic and writing tons of content was proving exhausting, and time consuming.
To keep her income consistently at $10K+ per month (without losing her sanity), Lena now focuses on writing more targeted blog posts to serve her ideal customers by asking herself the question, “Where were they yesterday?”. Because these posts attract the right people, they make more sales, and she doesn’t have to write so many.
She also started following up with visitors via email, rather than waiting for them to purchase directly from her site. This email marketing model allows her to make more sales from her existing readership, and she doesn’t have to constantly find new readers. The result is 10-15 hours less work per week, while making more money from her blog!
To learn more about how Lena drives traffic, check out her ebook: 17 Strategies I Used to Increase My Page Views from 17K to 350K+ Each Month.
If you enjoyed this case study, you may also want to check out How to Get 50+ Quality Backlinks Every Month.