About 2 months ago (not quite, but close enough), I announced that I was going to start a brand new blog from scratch and document what happens with it with occasional reports here at the Academy.
About a month ago, I posted the second RV Blog Report where I talked about some of what I was doing to begin to build some traffic and the email list.
Which brings us to today.
RV Family Travel was started about 7 weeks ago.
As I said at the time, the Blog Marketing Academy is definitely my primary focus. Obviously. 🙂 Which means that RV Family Travel only gets some of my spare time. 3-4 hours per week – maybe.
Before I talk a bit about the things I’ve done, let’s talk numbers since the last update (date range 5/15 – 6/15):
Page Views: 3,697 (up from 1,264).
Unique Users: 1,936 (up from 405).
Email Subscribers: 207 (up from 15).
So, I’m currently averaging about 123 page views per day for the last month. And averaging about 6-7 new email subscribers per day.
The Primary Growth Catalyst Is…
I mentioned in my last report that I was beginning a very basic and low budget Facebook ad strategy to drive people to the blog and put people onto the email list.
Here’s a basic look at that campaign from 5/15-6/15:
So, I’ve spent a total of $157.23 to drive 1,523 clicks to a blog post. That puts my cost per click at about 10 cents. During that time, I’ve put 192 new people onto the email list from that blog post, for a cost of about $1.22 per subscriber. That’s about a 12.6% conversion rate on the opt-in for that blog post.
I’m happy with these numbers. Obviously, spending $1.22 to acquire a general email subscriber seems a little wasteful since I don’t have any kind of sales funnel in place or anything. But, the cost-per-lead is actually pretty respectable. And a 12.6% conversion rate on a blog post isn’t bad at all.
Of course, that means that about 88% of people I’m paying to send to the blog are NOT getting on the list. However, I am pixeling all of them and could reach them again using a retargeting campaign. I have yet to do so.
If you’re wondering where these visitors are going, I’m pointing them directly to Buying An Older Used Motorhome: How To Inspect It Before Purchase (A Checklist). You can see that this was a purposefully created pillar post with a clear call to action. This post was written specifically for the purpose of building the list, and it is working to the tune of a 12.6% conversion rate.
Throwing Money At It?
I’ve had people ask me about my monetization plan for this blog. At the outset, I said that I wasn’t starting this blog with business intentions behind it.
So, if that’s the case, why am I so freely spending money to build the blog’s footprint?
Well, to be clear, I certainly do intend to monetize this site at some point. It simply isn’t my main priority right now. Blog Marketing Academy is. The RV site is mainly a fun site for me at this time. But, as the footprint of the site grows, I will certainly explore monetization options. It could involve a tie-in to the Blog Marketing Academy itself, seeing as many RVers are trying to figure out how to afford it or fund their travels via an online business.
But, there’s another point here…
Paid traffic is, by far, the most effective way to jump start a website.
I mean, an email list of 207 isn’t exactly going to break any records, but I’ve heard from many people via my work here at BMA who have been blogging for a year or more and still don’t have a list that big. I did it in 7 weeks and one blog post.
Paid traffic allows me to predictably put a tailored piece of content directly in front of my target market. Doing that using purely organic traffic would be a highly frustrating and long-winded affair that would very likely result in much lower numbers.
I consider this a startup cost of the blog.
With the internet as it is today, such a startup cost is practically a necessity. In the “real world”, we would never think we could start a new venture without some startup costs and a blog should be no different.
This is an investment in the footprint of this blog. I’m building the email list. As that list grows, the inertia of the blog will grow. I will have more organic traffic pull and be much less dependent on paid ads.
I’m coming at this with a long-term view, not a short-sighted viewpoint of “I’m not going to spend money until I’m making it”. That kind of thought process is traffic suicide these days.
Besides, I don’t see spending $5/day on a campaign of this type to be big spending.
My Content Strategy
My available time to spend on RVFT is limited, as I mentioned. Plus, if you’re going to spend money to drive traffic to a blog post, this can’t be just any run-of-the-mill blog post.
I’ve only published 4 blog posts on RVFT in the last month, averaging one per week.
Two of them were campground reviews. One was a new pillar post. And another just a little minor SEO play.
Campground reviews are done for fun. They’re not the kind of thing which is going to attract a general audience. Usually, these things will pop up only for people evaluating a potential stay at these locations. And I want it to be valuable for them.
For instance, my review of the Sun-n-Fun Resort in Sarasota included a fly-through video of the campground, taken from my bike. Why? Because when I was looking into similar things for this campground, I didn’t see much talk about the campground itself. Just the amenities. So, to be a little different, I concentrated more on the campground so potential campers will get what they’re looking for.
Now, my pillar posts are designed to be big resources. In my last RV Blog Report, I mentioned the ones I had done up to that point:
- I wrote a 5-part series on RV flat-towing. Basically documented my own experience researching and setting up to tow my Honda CR-V on all four’s behind the motorhome. A lot of RVers do this and it can be potentially complicated to figure out the best way forward.
- Buying An Older Used Motorhome: How To Inspect It Before Purchase (A Checklist)
In the last month, I wrote a new one: The Ultimate Guide To Your RV’s Wastewater Tanks: How It All Works, How To Dump Them, How To Clean Them, And More.
In the RV niche, good headlines like this are rare. Most blog post headlines, quite frankly, suck. Plus, I threw quite a bit into this blog post.
It is literally the first time in my 18 years of blogging that I’ve had the word “poop” in a blog post. 😉 First time for everything.
That post was written with the potential of a new Facebook campaign in mind. I would need to put a lead magnet into it before running such a campaign.
One thing is… I think the quality of the content on RVFT stands out in this niche. I’m certainly not the best out there, but a majority of the RV blogging niche is done by people who aren’t the best writers and don’t know how to create compelling content. So, I was proud to get an email from one of my subscribers which said:
We’re really loving your stuff. The used checklist is the best I’ve seen out there, I even linked to it in one of our posts about researching used RVs.
It would be great to see a post of the most useful items your family uses in the RV. I know a lot of people tend to do that, but it is good to get a consensus . . . plus your writing style keeps things enjoyable (can’t stand all the dry “do this, don’t do that”).
I love this. He linked to me, gave me a cool pillar post idea, AND told me he likes my writing style. 🙂
And yes, I got this email because I emailed my RVFT list and asked them to reply to me answering a question. That’s a form of survey. Important to do – plus it makes the communication two-way and not just me talking to them all the time with no acknowledgment.
And, yes, I reply to every email I get from them. Just like I try to do here at BMA (although we have much higher volume here).
One last thing… the podcast interview on The RV Entrepreneur podcast with Heath Padgett was published, and you can give it a listen here. We talked a lot of business on that episode, but also some about RVs.
What’s Coming Next?
My family and I are about to fly to the Virgin Islands for a week. Obviously, no RV there. 🙂 I may write a post on RVFT from there just for kicks, but mainly for the travel journal part of it.
But, after that trip, we’re taking off on a 5-week trip in the RV. Heading up into New England and Canada.
Obviously, this trip is ideal fodder for an RV blog. And I intend to be bloggin’ quite a bit while we’re on that trip.
I’m going to bring the camera (both the DSLR and my iPhone) and make some videos on the road. I’ll be reviewing campgrounds we stay in. Talking about what we do.
I even picked up a StayblCam so that I can take more motion videos with the iPhone and have it be more stable. Really cool little device. Fully mechanical, no batteries, and cheap compared to most camera stabilizers.
Probably won’t be creating any strategic pillar posts while we’re on that trip, but there will be plenty of material otherwise.
I’ll continue to let the $5/day Facebook campaign run on auto-pilot, and I may test out a landing page for my flat-tow guide as a new lead magnet. See what happens there.
So, there you have it. 🙂