No less than a few times per week, I get emails in my inbox from new affiliate marketers asking me the same question.
“Jeff, What would YOU do if you had to start over from scratch, using the knowledge you have today?”
My answer is always the same.
I would build an email list. That’s my answer, it will probably never change.
Now – I DO have many other aspects to my online business; SEO, Facebook marketing, blogging, paid advertising, (and I’m learning ecommerce) – BUT – my email list is the MOST important part of my business as it allows me to build an email list of like minded people that WANT to know what I’m thinking and want to buy what I’m promoting.
When I first got started with Internet Marketing, I tried just about EVERYTHING I could think of:
- Google PPC
- Foot fetish sites (just kidding, or am I…?)
- YouTube marketing
- Selling Stuff on eBay (worked well, but very time consuming)
- I even tried buying concert tickets and selling them at a slightly higher price once or twice
- Buying and Flipping Websites (This one makes me laugh, I was excited about possibly making $100 or so in an hour LOL)
Granted, my knowledge was very limited at the time – but that’s about the extent of everything I knew about.
Anyways – I got into YouTube Next, sorta by accident (you may remember my old YouTube channel, SuperHomeBrewer).
Back in 2011 or so I came across a product being sold on ClickBank that flat out claimed if you bought the product, you’re going to make thousands of dollars overnight – and possibly even MILLIONS that very month!
I was new, but not naive.
I knew this was too good to be true, so I purchased the product – and confirmed my suspicions of it being utter crap. I did the only logical thing a guy in my situation would do and threw up a quick rant on YouTube telling people what the product was about and why it would not work.
Basically, the ‘products’ were USUALLY 3 or 4 click “Instant Website” builders (or something equally stupid that isn’t worth a damn, dammit!)
As an UP-SELL (for $250 or so, if not more) they would give you a super duper amazing backlink builder than would build 10,000 backlinks per minute for you and triple your income overnight! (BullShit!)
People liked my Videos, so I started making more.
Eventually I started recommending GOOD products people could buy and put to use instead of the crap products they were searching for reviews for.
Basically, my “review” process boiled down to this.
- Step 1: This product sucks, here’s what it looks like, here’s what it “does” and here’s why it WON’T make you richer than the President of Planet Earth (Doctor Who in extreme situations) in 35 seconds or less.
- Step 2: On the OTHER hand – THIS OTHER product is awesome, and here’s why!
- Step 3: Save people a ton of money on the crap product, they LOVE me for saving them money – AND quite a few of them buy what I’m recommending instead!
- Step 4: Profit!
Fast forward a few months and I was earning about $5k – $7k a MONTH from doing reviews of Internet Marketing Products on YouTube, and I’m told my reviews were some of the best out there at the time.
Honestly, I felt like I was on top of the world! I was able to put extra money into savings, I was able to buy my fiance (now wife) a $6,000 Engagement ring with cash, pay for our Anniversary Trip to Seattle & Victoria Canada (where I proposed to her).
I felt FANTASTIC, I FINALLY made it in IM – and things were just going to get better!
Anyways – one day the unthinkable happened, my YouTube account was banned with no warning.
Apparently, some of my competition flagged multiple videos I did as scams (they weren’t) and 1, 2, 3 videos later (that’s how many reported & deleted videos it takes to get your channel banned) – my entire acct was shut down from YouTube with no way to turn it back on or even recover the videos I made (well over 100, many of them just pure value and teaching).
Needless to say, I was devastated.
I literally went from $5-$7k a month to nothing overnight.
So what did I do?
Well, I freaked out for a good week or two – I got really depressed and had NO idea what I was going to do. I was making good money (so I thought) and it really was helping me to live a much better lifestyle. I was able to use my extra income to do so many neat things – and then it was gone.
So – I did the most obvious thing you could think of – I created ANOTHER YouTube channel and re-uploaded the few videos I had saved on my hard-drive. Within 3 DAYS it was banned again, as my videos were quickly flagged as ‘scams’ by my competitors.
I made a 3RD account & the same thing happened yet again.
I was beat, and I was crushed – I really had NO idea what to do.
For an IT guy making $45,000 a year, the extra $5-$7k a MONTH from YouTube had taken me from barely getting by to actually living a halfway decent life. I woke up depressed in the morning, it was hard for me to sleep. I tried 3 times and each time my acct was flagged & banned by competitors who were determined to keep me off of YouTube and offline.
How was I supposed to take care of my (soon to be) wife with only $45k per year (That’s NOT alot in Orange County California).
I wanted her to be able to quit her job and go to school full time if that’s what she wanted.
I wanted to be her provider – I wanted to buy nice things for her & take her on fancy vacations and Caribbean Cruises.
I wanted to (and still do) give her the world.
It sucked, to be honest with you – my income was literally cut in HALF (more, actually) overnight.
So what did I do next?
Well, my brain kicked into overdrive and I remembered I actually DID start to build an email list a month or two prior before my YouTube channel got axed. I didn’t DO much with it as I really didn’t know WHAT to do with it – but it turns out I had build a list of just under 2,000 people from my YouTube channel.
I learned how to set up a simple squeeze page from an earlier product I reviewed that I drove traffic to from my channel, but my follow up series was ‘meh’ at best, with about 10 days worth of emails – each and every single one being a promotion for a product.
I made some sales from it, but that’s only because the people on the list knew and trusted me from my YouTube channel. My income at that time was 90% YouTube & about 10% my email list.
My squeeze page was NOT that impressive, but my signup rates were good due to the trust I had built with my Youtube followers.
In other words – I had a list of people that loved me, but I really had no idea how to do anything with them other than promote product after product…after product.
Anyways – I’m going to skip a bunch of the boring stuff..trial and error, doing things wrong, making mistakes, learning from them and cut straight to the chase:
Here’s what I do now because I’ve tested it and IT WORKS :
People throw around the phrase “the money is in the list”, in fact if you do a GOOGLE SEARCH for this phrase – you’ll find 1,6000,000,000 results. I hate to go against popular Google results, LOL, but I’m going to have to say “bullshit” on this.
The money is NOT in the list. But rather, are you ready for something profound? The money is in the RELATIONSHIP you build with your list!
What a concept right?
Before you try to flat out sell something to your list, you need to:
- Earn their trust.
- Understand what they want, what they struggle with.
- LISTEN to them when they email you – and *gasp* RESPOND to their emails, even if it takes you a few days to get back to them.
- Offer them valuable information (like this bad ass blog post) and don’t just promote to them every single day over and over and over and over again.
- I’ll probably have people sign up for my list just BECAUSE they read this blog post, and saw that I have a lot more to offer than just a handsome face and an affiliate link. 😉
Yes, you’ll be sending out promotional emails too – but keep in mind they signed up for your free report and super duper high quality content – not to buy a bunch of products from you. 🙂
Think of it this way – if YOU wanted to lose weight, for example, and opted-in to somebody’s email list because they promised you some amazing weight loss tips, that’s probably what you’d be hoping for after you signed up, right?
It’s ALSO a safe bet, that if that person behind the newsletter CONTINUED to send out amazing content, that if they sent out the occasional promotion you probably would not mind and possibly might even buy something they’re promoting?
Damn Straight it is – THIS is the foundation for building a solid relationship with your list. Simple – send quality content and the occasional promotion, they’ll love you – and you’ll make more sales. 🙂
Generally speaking, I send out 3 or 4 SPECIFIC types of emails to my list, and this goes for any niche.
- Content Emails – these consist of short, informative emails that offer a few tips, or advice they can use. You can also share OTHER people’s content that you find helpful (blog posts, videos, etc)
- Relationship Building Emails – Videos of yourself or that you filmed. Social Media is great too, invite your list to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus!
- Sales & Promotional Emails – self-explanatory 🙂
- Emails (Broadcasts) to promote product launches – again, self-explanatory – these are emails you’ll send to your entire list at ONCE when promoting a product launch.
If you just send a promotional email every 2 or 3 emails – you’re going to make A-LOT more money and your list will LOVE you because of the cool quality content you’re sending them!
Here’s how MOST (not all) of my auto responder sequences are set up:
- Email 1 – link to my download/thank you page so they can download the free item they signed up for
- Email 2 – a reminder to download their free product, AND an offer to help if they should need any assistance or have any questions
- Email 3 – My First Promotion – I promote Product A to my list, using one of their pre-written swipe emails from their JV Page. (Sales & Promotional Email)
- Email 4 – a Motivational Video related to the niche that I found on youtube (Content Email)
- Email 5 – Promotion again, Product A 2nd email (Sales & Promotional email)
- Email 6 – another motivational Video related to the niche that I found on youtube (Content Email)
- Email 7 – Promotion, 3rd email promoting Product A to my list (Sales & Promotion Email)
- Email 8 – Helpful content, linking to valuable/helpful content on a 3rd party blog (content email)
- Email 9 – Promotion, Product B
- Email 10 – Sharing helpful information on how they can accomplish *niche relevant item* (content email)
- Email 11 – Motivational Video…
As you can see – I do NOT simply send promotion after promotion, I don’t even PROMOTE a product to my list until the third 3mail – so the 1st AND 2nd impression they get of me is that I’m HELPFUL and NOT just spamming! 🙂
I usually set up a series like this about 15 emails long or so – then try to send out broadcasts to my list a few times a week so they don’t forget about me.
Anyways – I hope this helps – please let me know if you have any questions! 🙂