I slapped my first solo ad buy on my dad’s credit card. It was my first step into the world of email marketing and paid ads. I promised to pay it off with the money I made, but he and I both knew I couldn’t guarantee that. He agreed anyway, because he loves me.
The solo bombed. I didn’t make a sale.
Since now I had skin in the game, I tinkered with my sales copy and convinced my dad to buy another solo for me.
This time, I made some money. I recouped 30% of what I invested.
I had a reason to believe it could work and I had proof of concept.
Next, I kept working on my funnel. I rewrote the copy again and I installed exit pops, order bumps and johnson boxes. In addition, I created a series of downsells, cross sells and upsells.
On the next solo ad, I squeezed 50% of my money back. It was progress, but it wasn’t enough. I was still losing money.
I reviewed my records and discovered that I had a 2% conversion rate. Out of 100 people who visited my sales page only 2 converted into front end customers.
And that’s after 2 months of non-stop tweaking!
Why were most people still refusing to take action?
It wasn’t because they weren’t interested. They were. I knew it. There was another reason they refused to play ball.
Back then I didn’t know. And I’d spend another couple of months figuring it out. But today I know.
The reason is simple.
That’s just how people make buying decisions. They stall. They wait and they procrastinate.
Because we are warned against acting hastily since we’re children. We are told to consider all the pros and cons. To measure seven times before we cut.
Our parents tell us bed time stories that teach us to not trust strangers. Remember little red riding hood? The story has a happy ending, but she got herself in trouble because she trusted a stranger.
For every 2 customers I was generating, I had 98 people on my list who haven’t bought my product. There was nothing I could do to change that. It was no longer a matter of better sales copy. I decided to focus on the 98% of prospect who showed interest in my offer but haven’t committed [yet].
So I wrote emails that aimed to hit the most pressing objections my prospects had. I applied everything I knew about writing sales copy to email marketing, and I even created special offers for people who refused to act after 7, 15 and 30 days.
Did it pay off? You bet!
I went from closing 2 sales in a 100 visitors to 4, 6 and even 10 within the first 30-90 days of running the solo ad.
At first, I made a ton of mistakes, of course. I listened to the so-called gurus who said you shouldn’t email your list more than once or twice a week, give value and make your subscribers double-optin. All false.
Ironically, the internet marketing forums, Facebook groups and blogs are still ridden with same clumsy email marketing advice from so-called email marketing experts who never made a living with email.
This part of my Ultimate Guide To Making Money With Solo Ads is all about how to convert more sales using email marketing.
I spent the last 8 years studying email marketing. It’s a vast topic. Part science. Part art form.
I can’t give you everything I know. But I can give you the essentials. The big picture. I can tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. I can tell you things I wish I was told when I started and I can show you how to make maximum money with email in minimum time.
How Often Should You Email Your List
Lists die not because of bad email hygiene. They die because of low email frequency.
I never made a penny with the first 1,000 subscriber email list I built on GetResponse. It was a high quality list I built primarily through my blog.
My subscribers knew who I was, what I stood for and what I could do for them. But they must have forgotten who I was and why they opted in to get my emails by the time I got around to email them several months later. Because my first broadcast pulled 3 pathetic clicks.
I spent almost 8 months building that list. It died because I didn’t feel I had anything important to say for months.
That was a mistake I’ll never make again.
These days, you get 10 emails within the first 3-4 days on my list.
This sort of frequency may seem outrageous. Spammy. Perhaps even rude.
Most people are afraid to email their list more than once or twice a week. They’re afraid to disturb their subscribers. They’re scared their emails will upset people. They don’t feel what they’ve got to say is important enough to interrupt their readers’ day.
Unless you’ve got a highly-disciplined list of email subscribers, your subscribers check their email several times an hour. It’s a habit rooted so deeply, they wouldn’t be able to break it even if they tried.
They want to hear from you. It’s exciting. Of course, you have to make sure your emails are exciting and relevant. We’ll touch on that in a bit.
To make maximum money from your list, follow this rule:
Email your list every day.
First, because your subscribers opted in to get your emails. At least on some level, they showed interest in what you have to say when they opted in to your squeeze page.
Second, and this is far more important than the first, because otherwise your subscribers will neglect you in favor of those who email daily.
Inbox has become too competitive. You can no longer get by on once a week value email. You better hit them up daily. And you better have something interesting to say.
If you’re not emailing daily, someone else is going to elbow their way in at your expense.
Third, familiarity breeds trust. Passage of time is one of the most-often neglected elements of influence.
It takes a while for your subscribers to learn to trust you.
In spite of what people think, the internet didn’t turn us into impulsive hot-heads that buy with their hearts. It didn’t wipe out skepticism. It didn’t prevent us from wanting to become rational smart consumers who strive to make the best educated decisions about their purchases.
Barry Schwartz in his book Paradox of Choice argues buying decisions are difficult to make because of the ever-growing amount of options we have to choose from.
We’re overwhelmed. We’re constantly questioning ourselves. We now rely on expert opinion and niche authority more than ever.
Sure, we still make emotional decisions. That will never change. But we’re now more anxious, suspicious, untrusting, doubtful, skeptical and prone to feel regretful about our choices.
Email your list daily with the right kind of emails and you’ll quickly make your competitors practically irrelevant. You’ll become the obvious choice.
“But, Igor, what if I lose more subscribers than I generate when I email daily? What if my list hates me for spamming them?”
Marketers seem so preoccupied with email frequency they ignore other reasons people unsubscribe: relevancy, cluttered formatting and boring content. Those are the real problems no one talks about.
Sure, some readers will unsubscribe from your list because of the frequency. Others will think you’re an idiot. Some will even send you angry emails. But most will be happy to have their boring lives interrupted with your exciting emails, as long as you set the expectations from the get go.
What Should You Talk About In Your Emails
This is the part that throws email marketers off the most.
Some marketers write long-winded soap opera sequences full of open loops, stories, conflict and drama.
Others try to disguise selling as valuable content on their blog and use their email list to drive people to it.
While others don’t feel comfortable emailing their list unless they’re giving something away for free.
There’s also email marketers who send out pure hype (in a bad sense of the word) just to get clicks.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the “nice guy marketer” who’s email marketing strategy is to spam his list with personal yet irrelevant information such as what little Timmy ate for breakfast today and what’s the weekend camping trip entails.
Truth is – there’s no right way to email.
Unlike the writing you done in school, where you and I were taught that anything we write has a beginning, middle and end and that we should use lots of adjectives to describe things – email marketing is a complex and elusive art.
Sometimes, a good email is just trying to get the click. Other times it presells the product or overcomes an objection.
The closest thing to a formula I can give you is the one I always fall back on when I’m out of ideas.
I call it the “visition” email. It consists of two parts:
1. Vision – you can’t make anyone buy anything. All you can do is paint a vision for them. It’s up to them to follow through with it. There’s 2 types of vision you can paint: pleasure vision and pain vision. Pleasure vision describes the dream life your customer wants. Pain vision describes the opposite – a nightmare.
2. Solution – after you have painted a rich vision, introduce a solution (your product) as the instrument that helps either erect the dream vision or keep the nightmare from becoming a reality.
How Often Should You Sell In Your Emails?
“Some people unsubscribe because every email they get from you is an advertisement to buy your products or services,” says Gloria Rand, an internet email marketing consultant. “Don’t barrage your subscribers with sales emails all the time.” Instead, “follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your emails should feature helpful tips or strategies related to your industry, [or] free ebooks, templates or registrations for free webinars. The other 20 percent of your emails can be sales-related.”
This is exactly the kind of dense advice that got me spinning my wheels for months when I was a newbie email marketer.
Mrs. Rand’s suggestion is great if you’re trying to rank your website on page #1 of Google. But if you’re trying to pay the bills with a small list, do the exact opposite – sell in every email.
In fact, here’s 4 golden rules of email marketing:
– Don’t hard teach – avoid sending out helpful tips, tutorials and blog posts to your list. If you choose to give advice, make it philosophical, not practical.
– Don’t give value – marketers are taught to earn their list’s trust by giving away lots of value. This is outdated advice. All it does is put you in the same bucket as all the other broke email marketers who busy sucking up to their lists instead of selling.
– Pitch in every email – if you had a list of 1,000 cancer patients and you were marketing a pill that cures cancer – how often would you pitch it? Chances are, you would mention it anytime an opportunity presented itself. Same should be true about your product. If it isn’t – consider selling something else.
– Be infotaining – amateurs use email to give value and get clicks. Professionals infotain. Infotainment is a form of communication that’s designed to inform and entertain. Your subscriber has low tolerance towards straight-up pitches. But she loves to be infotained. That’s how you “get away” with selling in every email, even if you’re emailing twice a day.
How Long Should Your Email Follow Up Be
I was once invited to conduct an email marketing training for a friend with a large customer base.
2 days before the webinar I asked her to collect questions in their Facebook group.
The most common question I got was what should I do after someone’s been on my list for 14 days without buying?
Why 14? Is it some sort of magic number? Email marketers seem to be obsessed with this artificial checkpoint. The common belief (read: myth) says that if the subscriber doesn’t buy in the first 14 days – it’s lost cause to email them because they’re not buying.
My experience taught me to expect people to not buy within the first 14 days.
My best buyers sometimes take years to make a decision to work with me. Several weeks ago from writing this I spoke to a Solo VIP Club member who shared he’s been on my list since 2015. He joined the Solo VIP Club in August 2017. All this time he’s been reading my emails, listening to my podcast, watching my YouTube videos and subscribing to my Facebook updates.
There’s no rule that says your clients have to commit in the first 14, 17 or 28 days of singing up on your email list.
Truth is, it all depends: on your offer, on your niche, on your reputation, on the client’s life situation, awareness, belief system, personal experience, comfort zone.
I once had a lady email me saying she’s been reading my emails for 8 months and she was finally ready to pull the trigger on a solo ad because of one email that “finally got her.”
She believes it’s all about the one email. I don’t. I believe it’s thanks to the fact she’s been reading my emails for months. The final email simply pushed her over the fence. It gave her a reason to act. She made up her mind a long time ago.
Jeff Walker, the author of Launch reports he had a gentleman getting his emails for 4.5 years before he finally bought his Product Launch Formula.
They know who I am, what I can do for them and why they should trust me. Yet, many of them take over a year to commit.
These aren’t exceptions to the rule. It’s the norm.
Expect your subscribers to dilly-dally. Expect indecisiveness and expect procrastination. Patience & persistence are your weapon.
Email daily until they buy or unsubscribe.
How To Deal With Unsubscribes
Unsubscribes are the Boogeyman of email marketing.
They’re the reason marketers refuse to mail their lists hard. They’re afraid to push people off their list, because that’s, of course, is a bad thing, right?
Despite what people think, unsubscribes are a good thing.
You shouldn’t be afraid to upset people.
You should be afraid of indifference.
Your list should either love you or hate you.
They should care one way or another.
Unsubscribes are a good thing, because for every “hater” on your list, there’s a convert. And any time you push a nonbeliever off the wagon, you win over a new customer.
An unsubscribe spike tells me I pushed the right buttons. Some of my most profitable emails are the ones with highest unsubscribe rates.
Does that mean I deliberately try to alienate some people on my list? That I intentionally trying to get them to unsubscribe?
I’m not only fine with unsubscribes, but I’m strategically pushing the people I don’t want off my list.
Why? Because conversion is a religious term, not an email marketing one. To convert a prospect into a believer you must draw a line between who you can and who you can’t help. And then you must make your readers choose a side.
That means, many will choose exile. And that’s okay. Focus on your backers. They’re going to become the backbone of your tribe. They’re going to make you rich.
SPAM complaints can get your autoresponder shut down. They can even get you sued. And you don’t have to be an actual spammer for that to happen. In fact, you could be clean as a whistle and still get in trouble.
SPAM is a canned meat product made mainly from ham.
But sometimes it can also be irrelevant or inappropriate emails sent to large amounts of people without their permission.
SPAM complaint is when your subscriber hits the “report spam” button.
It’s not the same as when your email lands in your reader’s SPAM because the ISP has filtered it on their own.
Why would they do it? After all, you send relevant high-quality content they requested!
According to Aweber, there are 10 reasons people hit the SPAM button.
They vary from poorly set expectations to forgetfulness to subscriber’s stupidity (like when a subscriber can’t find the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email).
Sometimes, they’re just not used to getting emails about new affiliate marketing programs.
This is especially true for social media leads. It’s one of the reasons I am not a fan of social media lead generation. I stick to solo ads. Solo ad leads are used to getting lots of emails.
Ironically, social media leads get angry with you for emailing them more than few times a week, yet their newsfeed is flooded with ads.
There’s nothing you can do to prevent complaints completely. But here’s 7 things you can do to minimize them:
– Make the unsubscribe link easy to find. Add an extra unsubscribe link in your email header.
– Email daily. Readers forget who you are and why you’re emailing them. Maintain high email frequency so they remember.
– Don’t use misleading subject lines. People don’t like being tricked into opening emails. There’s a fine line between aggressive email marketing and outright lies. Don’t cross it. Take it from someone who lost 11 autoresponder accounts in 5 years.
– Drop dead weight. Email addresses aren’t static. Sometimes they die off, get abandoned or get transformed into SPAM traps. Surefire way to lose your autoresponder account is to email a dead list. Remove subscribers who haven’t opened your emails for over 2 weeks. It may seem like flushing money down the drain, but it’s not. It’s good for your list hygiene. It’ll keep your response from flat lining.
– Suppress AOL email addresses. Sorry, AOL, your users are SPAM-happy.
– Verify opt ins. People are sensitive about their privacy. On average 1 in 4 emails on your list is invalid. Use kickbox to verify opt ins in real time.
– Don’t buy lists. Purchased lists are the worst. They generate high SPAM complaints. They’re least profitable as a traffic source. And there’s all sorts of problems (besides ethical ones) they create with ISPs.
Single vs Double Optin
Single opt in is a subscription process where a new email address is added to your mailing without requiring the owner of the email address to definitely confirm they knowingly and deliberately subscribed by clicking a link in a confirmation email that’s sent to them after they opt in.
Double opt in or confirmed opt in is the opposite. It requires the email address owner to jump through hoops to prove they intended to get on your list and that they want you to email them.
There’s no way you’ll get in trouble with ISPs if you’re building a double opt in list. After all, your subscribers are confirming their intent twice. Which makes it seem like a sound choice. Especially for a beginner.
There’s just one problem – it’s not profitable.
Because only about 35%-45% of people who fill out a form on your squeeze page ever bother to confirm their intent. The rest don’t bother.
Out of 1,000 opt ins, only 350-450 end up on your list. The rest? Gone because they’re too lazy, distracted or stupid to click the confirmation link.
Best case scenario, you’ll pay twice as much for your leads. Worst case, you’ll spend a lot of money to generate subscribers you’re not allowed to email.
Double opt in is the preferred choice for beginners who are afraid to upset the email gods. The so-called ‘xpurts advocate double opt in out of fear. Not because it’s better for business.
I, for one, don’t build my list to maintain the status quo. I do it to make money. And so should you.
The sky doesn’t fall if you don’t ask, “You sure you want to subscribe to my list? I’d just like to make sure one more time that you really want to do this, because, you know, you don’t have…”
Plain and simple single opt in is more profitable.
Surely, people have better things to do than to accidentally subscribe to your list.
The only downside to using single opt in is bad email addresses.
Double opt in forces the email address owner to enter a correct email, otherwise they won’t get the confirmation email. But there’s no such incentive with single opt in.
You may will end up with junk emails on your list.
There’s two ways to work around that:
– Regularly remove non-actives. Delete subscribers who haven’t opened your emails for over 2 weeks since they signed up. This will keep your list squeaky clean and delivery rates high.
– Use real-time email verification. This is new technology. Real time email verification is still in its early adopters’ stage. It prevents your subscribers from entering a fake email in to the subscription form.
List segmentation is a huge freaking deal in email marketing.
At the least, it can increase your open rates by about 15%, double your click through rates, lower SPAM complaints and lower your unsubscribe rates. I’m not speculating. The folks over at MailChimp tested this.
At the most, it can make you 20%-40% more money from the same subscriber list.
The purpose of list segmentation is to have the ability to tailor a precise email marketing message (sales page, email, offer, bonus, guarantee, endorsements) for each customer group on your list.
It is, however, an intimidating task, because segmentation offers endless possibilities. You can now segment by age, gender, location, interest and income level. In fact, HubSpot suggests 30 ways to segment your list for higher engagement.
Ryan Levesque, the author of Ask insists we should bucket our customers using surveys. Then we should take what we learn and tweak our offer, emails, VSLs and bonuses to give people exactly what they want.
Yes, it sounds like a great idea. Yes, it can even boost my sales by 12%. But I’m not going to go through all the trouble of setting up 27 surveys and 129 customer paths for a $47 product.
James Wedmore reports he doubled his sales using the Ask Method. I salute him. But look at all the trouble he went through. As if building an entire funnel isn’t hard enough.
I like to keep things simple when it comes to email marketing.
I class subscribers in 2 buckets: buyers and non-buyers.
In the words of Metallica – nothing else matters.
If they haven’t bought from me yet, I’ll keep emailing them until they do. I’ll come up with new angles for the same offers. I’ll create custom bonuses if I have to and I’ll be relentless. But I’ll keep it simple. No exquisite decision-based buying paths.
If they bought – great. I’ll put them on my buyer list and email them another offer, whether my own or someone else’s, that complements their purchase.
That’s as far as my segmentation strategy for email marketing goes. I hope you’re impressed.