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Email Marketing – How to build a list of 50000 subscribers in less than 6 months

I get a lot of great questions from my subscribers. Some of the emails I receive are emails that ask for help… Some emails just have the word “help”… with nothing else in the email body…

Please don't be that person. It's hard to provide guidance if we don't know what problem we are trying to resolve.

So I'm writing this post to explain how I built a massive list of 50,000+ email subscribers, with Aweber. I hope you get to use this post as a blueprint.

Marketing is about using a system effectively. Do not reinvent the wheel unless you're a mad genius. If you are, send me a message I would love to learn what goes on in your head.

So what if I have 50,000 email subscribers what does it mean to you?

If you're new to the online marketing world then I understand why you would ask such a question. Let's use a hypothetical example.

If you have a massive social media following let's say about 50,000, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…

When you post something, your audience pays attention to you. If you're Kim Kardashian and post anything you get lots of views.

Now, what if a company like Netflix sends you an email and announces that they will give you $20 for every new customer you send them?

You send a message to your followers, they join Netflix and you earn passive commissions.

With a list of 50,000 subscribers, all I have to do is send a promotional email and get paid. My subscribers are not paying me. They're following a recommendation and I just get a bonus from it.

I take 15 to 20 minutes a day to write an email and I collect commissions of $7 – $800. Wouldn't you like to get the same kind of commission by spending 20 minutes in front of your computer?  

Now here's another question. What can you do with an additional $800-$2000 a month?

  • Get a new car
  • Pay your bills
  • Finally, take that trip that you've been planning
  • Donate it
  • Invest it

There is a number of things you can do with an additional income. My main focus now is my family. I do what I can to provide for and take care of my family.

So how do you put yourself in a position where you can earn this income in your spare time while still holding your day job(s)?

I know there are some of you that work two jobs or more, I can relate.

Step 1: Promote a Great Offer that has a Good Converting Sales Funnel

I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but in order to have a thriving business, you need to advertise. Advertising can be expensive I'm not going to lie. No one likes to spend money, but in our case, we're spending money to make money.

Let me fill you in on a secret…

I had to spend a little bit out of my own pocket for you to be able to read this blog post. Cool right? The expense made consists of the email service provided by Aweber, the time it took to research before writing this post, and the ads used to drive traffic initially to this post.

My main form of advertising is through list building, via email marketing and this method costs money because I pay for every single visitor that comes to my page.

That's why what you promote is important. If you choose the right product and set your marketing funnel correctly, you will not have to worry about your advertising cost as you will essentially be getting paid to build your list.

That should be your goal!

You want to be able to build a system knowing that when you spend $1 dollar on advertising to get potential customers you make at least $1 back. A strong marketing funnel can earn you from $2 to more than $100.

OK, I might be exaggerating a bit with more than $100 but you get my point right!? Do you have a funnel?

If you have a certain skill that someone will pay your time for, then a funnel marketing system is right for you :-).

So now that I explained the concept of your marketing funnel let me show you how I built mine.

Before I dive into this, please note that not everyone will agree with me, but what I am about to share with you is strictly based on my own results.

I've tried doing this a number of ways and what you are about to read has been the most lucrative method for me so far.

So what's the method?

It's simple.

It starts with collecting emails from targeted potential prospects. These emails have to be collected by a third-party vendor that is Can Spam compliant. For the purpose of this exercise the email service provider used was Aweber.

When a prospect types in their email address, you don't send them a freebie right away. Instead what is recommended to sustain your list-building efforts, is to send the prospect directly to an offer, a sales letter, or a video whatever it is you're promoting.

The reason is that you want to catch the prospect at the moment of interest. I think I learned this from Andy Jenkins but I honestly don't remember, but you want to do exactly just that.  So in my case the product I was promoting sold for $54.

If you look at the industry average now products are sold at a relatively affordable price for the front end of the product. You'll see products that start at a $1 free trial or $7 through $97 for a front end, then at the other end you will see upsells later down the sales funnel.

So for my offer to make sales I had to offer a payment plan and broke it down to two payments of $27.

Now $27 or $54 sales are good but let's take an example where you have a product that converts at 1%.

You spend $50 in advertising to get 100 visitors and make one sale. After the transaction fee, you'll probably break even. A good marketing funnel does not end at the front end, there are additional products stacked on top of the main offer.

My offer has 2 upsells. When I say upsells think about this example: You go to a restaurant only wanting a sandwich, you order the sandwich but then you're tempted by upsells. The person at the register will say something along the lines of…,

“you know your sandwich will taste better if you add bacon”. You add the bacon to the sandwich then you hear this…

“Add some of our homemade fries, they go well with your sandwich”. This was not what you intended but you think hey yeah you're right fries would taste mighty good with this sandwich. Then you're asked to add a drink and etc…

That is a sales funnel. Everyone uses it. You should too as a marketer. Learn more about sales funnels by following the ad below.

Now let's go back to my sales funnel, shall we?

There are two other opportunities for a customer to buy more training to complement the first offer. The price of the first opportunity is $37 and the second one is $197.

If my entire sales funnel converts overall at 1% and one person purchases all the products instead of making a $54 commission, I stand to earn 54 + 37 + 197 making it a total of $288.

Now you see there is a big difference between $54 and $288. This is how you get paid to advertise your offer. You make more money than you invest. I love numbers so let's break things down as an illustration.

You drive 100 prospects to your offer and that costs you approximately $50.

Your squeeze page or opt-in page converts at 40%. Meaning out of 100 prospects 40 of them enter their email address.

Those 40 people are then directed to the sales page, which triggers their impulse to buy clearly because your offer is so cool and it's what they are looking for at that exact moment.

Out of those 40, one person decides to purchase the main offer (value $54 according to my sales funnel broken down into 2 payments). I already make $54 for my $50 investment. If that same person buys all the products in the sales funnel I make $238.

Marketing, in general, is a numbers game so results are not always typical but hypothetically speaking if the sales conversions remain the same I would make $238 for every $50 I invest into advertising.

Now, how cool is that? If you could do this how much would you invest in advertising, knowing you can double or triple your money?

Before you get to that you need to know how your offer converts, or you need to find a sales funnel that would earn you more than you invested in your traffic. Once you have good enough numbers and consistency you can scale your campaign.

Not all funnels have a front-end product that sells at $54 most of them start at around $7. So you need to find a good one and test test test until you build enough data to make a sound decision on how you should treat your campaign.

So let's go over some sales funnel jargon so you know what to look for.

  • Cost per click – also known as CPC is the cost of a single click. When you purchase 100 visitors at $50, your CPC is 50 cents
  • Opt-in Rate: The conversion rate of your squeeze page. If out of 100 visitors 40 people enter their email addresses, your opt-in rate is 40/100 making it 40%.
  • Sales Conversion Rate: If your sales funnel produces 1 sale for every 100 clicks then your sales conversion rate is 1%.  I think on average when advertising with cold traffic the sales conversion rate of the front-end product is roughly between 1 to 3%.
  • Earnings Per Click – also known as EPC – Take your earnings from a marketing campaign and divide it by the number of clicks (visitors) you received in that campaign. So if out of 500 clicks you make $700 your EPC is 1.4. Meaning every visitor coming to your page earned you $1.4.  
  • My recommendation is to spend as much quality traffic as you can on your offers with the highest EPC. This is the best way to maximize your return on your investment and keep as much of the revenue as you can.

Step 2 – Your Most Powerful & Lucrative Sales Machine

Your marketing does not end after you purchase traffic and make sales through your sales funnel.

Every time you drive traffic to your website, you are building an email list. You should segment your list into different levels of action.

I create one main list for the ones who opt-in for free and have an automation rule where I send my paying customers to a new list. This list is my VIP list. Paying customers is worth more to me as a marketer than those that are on the fence.

So the email list is great because it gives you and your prospects a chance to get to know each other. You build trust, you engage with them and if all goes well you make commissions.

Just a couple of weeks ago I released my first-ever product as a test. I decided to send an email to one of my lists and that email has generated close to $300. Isn't that nice? That's the equivalent of having your cell phone bill paid for 3 months ahead of time.

Speaking of cell phone bills, they can get really expensive especially if you hold a family plan. I have switched to Project Fi many years ago. It is owned by Google and the phone plan rates are very economical.

I highly recommend you have a look if you're interested in lowering your Cell phone bills

Switch to Project Fi and save on your next phone bill

You build a relationship with your list and provide value. People will buy from you if they know and trust you. You should not take this for granted.

To build such a list I use Aweber. It's a cost-effective way to store email lists and it comes with plenty of features. What I like the most about Aweber is that you can create an extensive email or newsletter sequence and have them delivered over a period of time.

You just need to create a good balance between providing value and sending promotions. I send my emails every day and there's nothing wrong with that. This is how your life is tailored now. If you're on Facebook, for example, there is one person you always hear from or read about on a daily basis. Once a day is enough or you can even do it every other day.

You should prepare yourself to get loads of emails from raving customers to serial provocateurs. I've shared my success and tips and receive emails from people who are happy about me sharing the information but I also get emails that are not so friendly.

I get insults, threats, and even people asking for a refund even when I'm not selling anything to them. You're just going to have to deal with those “Debbie downers” or hire someone to do so on your behalf.

I even took the time to work with a couple of people who thought I was spamming and making false claims. I built funnels for them and gave them the basics to get started.

The results…

It turned out to be a complete total waste of my time. They make false accusations, I go out of my way to help them and they do nothing with the help. So let this be a warning to you when you go down this path.

There will be people who will really just waste your time, try to avoid them as politely as possible.

Step 3 – Your Webpages

Now if you want to build an email list, you need some form of virtual real estate. I collect my leads with my web pages. My leads come from landing pages, thank you pages, other people's email lists, and even my blog.

There is a science to creating a high-converting landing page. I've butchered my pages on numerous occasions and had conversions as low as 10% and as high as 60%. It all really depends on the traffic you are getting, the design of your landing page, and the content therein. You can see an example of a landing page by clicking this link.

When I started building landing pages I used a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG stands for What You See Is What You Get. My HTML skills are quite poor but I was able to create landing pages with them.

The software I used at the time is NVU and it was free. You can give it a try if you'd like. I've since moved onto another platform called Leadpages. This tool is much easier to use and comes with ready-made templates.

All you have to do is simply change the content and add your autoresponder code. It used to take me up to an hour to create a squeeze page now I can get a professional-looking one in under 10 minutes. I highly recommend LeadPages as a simple-to-use website builder for small business owners.

You need an attention-grabbing headline.

Include the benefits of what it is you're promoting. This is what your prospect wants and you are the person providing what they want whether you own the product or you're an affiliate you have to learn how to sell within a few words but not sound too pushy.  

Then the next thing you want to add are fields for your prospect to enter their email address. Include a call to action. Once the visitor opts in, he or she should land on another page. This page is usually called the thank you page. There are a lot of strategies to use here but in my example, my thank you page is my sales page.

So the first thing the visitor sees after entering their email address is my sales page. I use other strategies as well for other funnels I have built but in this post, I will focus on only this one example.

Step 4 – Track Everything

When I spend money on advertising I want to keep an eye on everything from the beginning of the campaign to the end. Marketing is a science, although not exact you can sort of run experiments and have a good idea of what the outcome is going to be.

When you're in a lab you work in a controlled environment and can eliminate certain unwanted errors. You can do the same thing with your advertising campaign, by keeping an eye on your numbers.

I use clickmagick to track my incoming traffic, my opt-in conversion rates, my exit traffic, and my sales conversions among over things. When I want to I can go to the tool and run reports to see which traffic source is producing the best and which campaigns I have to stop right away.

This tool also helps me with optimizing my opt-in conversions. It's got a split testing feature that I use extensively. I wouldn't have my highest converting squeeze pages now without Clickmagick.


 Step 5 – Getting Traffic

At the time of writing this article, my favorite source of traffic is solo ads. Why? Well because I can get traffic whenever I need it and at a very fast rate.

All I have to do is go to one of my trusted solo ad vendors to purchase traffic and start receiving traffic to my offer page sometimes within minutes. Not all solo ad sources are the same.

There are bad solo providers and this is exactly why a tool like Clickmagick is necessary. If you want to make a profit in your ad campaign you need to do so in a predictable fashion. What better way to do this than by looking at a report from your favorite tracking tool?

Where do I get Solo ads?

Simple, I get them from Facebook groups. There are dedicated groups on Facebook where you will find reputable traffic vendors. You see them in a forum-like setting as they have reviews. Here are some links where you can find solo ad vendors.

  1. I'll start with my own link here (Shameless plug hey… why not 😎 )
  2. Solo Ads Sales Testimonial
  3. Solo Ads Testimonial

You can get started with the links listed above. You'll notice that a good seller receives plenty of testimonials and the best ones are the ones that are consistent in providing sales with their service.

Browse for a few names. Once you select candidates enter their names into the search box to look at even more testimonials. When you're convinced this seller has a good overall performance you can then choose to contact the seller to make a purchase.

I recommend still that you start out small. You want to test out the traffic there with your offer. Try with orders between 100-300 clicks at first and let your tracker tell you if your results are satisfactory. So here is a sound fail-proof strategy for buying solo ads:

  1. Select a vendorSolo Ads Review
  2. Review testimonials
  3. Place a small test buy
  4. Grow email list
  5. Make Commissions
  6. Reinvest Profits – Scale up your campaign

It's all that simple, don't make any emotional decisions. Let your tracker show you your numbers and only invest where it makes sense. Split-test your landing pages to improve results.

This step is also very important. Don't get complacent. This marketing system is all about a numbers game and in order to succeed you really need to know your numbers. I'll dive into why this is important.

Your marketing system is a funnel. Your first page is what all incoming traffic sees before anything else. The first step is that you get highly targeted traffic. You should know your offer and who would be interested in your offer.

There's no point in driving lots of traffic to your website if they are not targeted. Would you send everyone who is a basketball fan to your website that sells knives? No, you would not. Well, at least I sure hope not. So make sure you are targeting the right audience.

The next step is that you want to capture as many of your visitors as possible. Because the more people who opt in, the more people will see your offer.

The more people see your offer the higher the chances are that you make a commission. You want a landing page with a high opt-in rate. If you and I are promoting the same offer, your squeeze page converts at 60% and mine at 25%.

Who do you think will earn more commissions? The page with a 60% option of course! So this step is very important. I could have just brushed through it but this step can help you significantly improve your results.

I use clickmagick to split-test my squeeze pages. I recommend you use the same tool as well because it's super easy to use. Here's a screenshot to show you that I am always split-testing my pages

Split testing With Clickmagick

Step 6 – Leverage Your List For-Profits

Alright, now we're at the point where things are starting to become easy. Hopefully, you've set up your funnel correctly and you are promoting an offer that converts well. Remember your goal is to at least break even with your advertising.

If you break even you are building an email list for free.

Step 6 is the easiest to implement in my honest opinion but it's also a very powerful step. You see this is where you generate action-driven results on demand. Now that you have your email list you can communicate with them.

Share what you're doing online, share your opinion on certain topics, share value share recommendations, and anything else you think your list will respond to.

I use step 6 for three main actions to help my business and my subscribers

  1. Swap traffic: One of the most important things about running a business is that you need to constantly advertise and get new eyes to see the opportunity that you have for them. You can continue purchasing solo ad traffic and look into other ways of acquiring traffic but the cool thing about list building is that there are plenty of other marketers doing the same thing and would love the opportunity to have new visitors come to their sites. Knowing this I contact them and ask them if they would be willing to swap traffic with me. This means that I can send them a predetermined amount of visitors in exchange for them doing the same for me. So I go to marketer Bill and ask him if he would be willing to swap 200 visitors or clicks. When we agree we choose a date to send an email to our subscribers promoting each other's offer. The neat thing about our autoresponder is that we can schedule this ahead of time. If we are to mail out two weeks from now I just reserve the date, write an email explaining why my readers would benefit from checking out Bill's offer, and schedule the email to be sent in two weeks. Bill does the same thing. You must be thinking, how can you possibly make sure that Bill only receives the two hundred visitors and vice versa, how do you verify that Bill does in fact send you those two hundred Visitors? To answer this question I'll have to take you back to step 4, your tracker. I use clickmagick to track this and to control how many visitors my partners get. You can do the same by using this tool. Here's another cool thing about swapping traffic. If someone approaches you and asks you to send a promotion you can also charge them for that promotion. I would charge a minimum of $100 for 200 visitors. You can do what you want with the money you earn. You can keep it or reinvest it into buying more traffic.
  2. Updates and Free content: You can provide case studies and tips that you think your list will benefit from. As you communicate with your list you will receive questions. You can use these questions as content for articles you can write and share with your readers or you can find a useful resource to help them if you want. Take the time to help who you can, by providing them with the help or the tools they need.
  3. Promotions: I love mailing out promotions. It's simple. I mean you work hard to build an email list, you build trust with them and now you can recommend useful resources that pay you a commission. Your subscribers don't pay anything extra. They trust you they know you're recommending a good resource and if it fits their plan, they can then buy it at no extra charge, sometimes even a discounted price and you make a commission at the product owner's expense. This is literally how you print cash on demand. It's like having your own personal ATM powered by other product owners and your list. There are plenty of places you can go to find products to promote. I go to Clickbank, Jvzoo, Warriorplus, Cashnetwork and a few independent product owners as well. So when you're writing an email, I pick a product that I know my list will love, I grab my affiliate link send a recommendation email to my list and make a commission when they buy. You can do this especially when you have bills coming up or you're planning something and need extra cash to cover your expenses. Like I said earlier. It's really that simple.

Use this post as a road map to your success. If you like what you read please share it with someone who will also find it useful. It will be a lot more fun if you find an accountability partner. You can get started together and compete for complete supremacy that is of course if you are competitive. So use your favorite social channel to share this post and bookmark this page. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please share your thoughts below.

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