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Why Am I Doing This?
So, I’ve decided on a new experiment – how to build a list from scratch.
And to do this with as little cost as possible.
It’s a long time since I started building my first email lists and the marketing landscape has changed a lot since then.
Some tools and services have gone and new ones have appeared.
While some marketing strategies have stayed the same, some no longer work and new ones have arrived on the scene.
Sales funnels have been around for as long as people have been selling stuff, but in the last 3-5 years have now become almost the standard way of converting list subscribers into paying customers.
And I want to see if it’s easier or harder today to build a list from scratch using low-cost and free tools.
So, for this, I’ll be using the tools I picked up in the recent FREEDOM SALE.
If you missed the sale, while the price of the tools has doubled to $97, they’re still on offer at an 86% discount (normally, they’d cost $691).
I’ve no idea how long the $97 offer will remain online.
The sale had been advertised as closing at 11:59PM on July 5th.
My guess is the $97 offer will run for a couple of days before it too is pulled.
The idea is to build a completely fresh email list using some basic tools, but not to use the more advanced (and expensive) tools I have in my arsenal.
The goal is to start small and ramp up.
I’ve talked a lot about selling high-ticket products in the past and how doing that takes as much or as little effort (depending on how you look at it) as selling low-ticket products.
But the fact is that unless you specifically target the right kind of audience, it is harder to sell high-ticket items when cold-selling to people who don’t know you and don’t trust you as a result.
As new subscribers come in, I aim to make some low-ticket sales and build up a reservoir of money for paid advertising.
Aside from having to pay for necessary tools, I want the rest of this experiment to be self-funding so I’m not any more out of pocket.
I’ll be documenting everything, from the number of subscribers I get and lose (people unsubscribing is part of the business), to the costs of tools used, to the money made (if any).
Overall, I’ll show whether this experiment results in a profit or a loss.
Now, I’m not a newbie at marketing, and I can’t just dump what I’ve learned over the years out the window.
So I will be using that knowledge to circumvent common mistakes and pitfalls that complete newbies could fall into.
I’ve also learned about some good tools that I’ve come to trust over the years, which I’ll also be using and I’ll explain why when the time comes.
The Sales Funnel Framework
What I intend to do is create a number of optin (squeeze) pages that offer a free gift in exchange for a visitor’s email address.
Whichever page they sign up on, the subscriber will be tagged so they’ll receive some free training related to the free gift and how to use it.
Each subscriber will be added to the same list but will receive a different follow-up email sequence, based on the tag applied to them (I’ll explain this more later when I show how to use them).
As part of the email sequence, subscribers will be offered some mid-range priced products, in the $97 to $697 range.
Once a subscriber has finished their follow-up email sequence, they’ll be tagged again, this time so that they’ll receive my broadcast emails.
These broadcast emails will only go out to the people on this specific list and not to people on any of my other lists.
And I’ll be pushing and recommending a mixture of low- and high-ticket products in these broadcast emails, along with a mix of news and training so that not every email is just another pitch for a sale.
Some of these promotions will direct subscribers to some of my existing optin pages.
If you want to know more about this business model, check out my The Fastest Way To Start Making $ 10K A Month post.
The Autoresponder Used To Build a List
The first thing you need for managing an email list is an autoresponder service, also known as an email service provider.
There are dozens of such services available, not all of which are friendly to affiliate marketers.
For this experiment, I’m going to be using Aweber.
I’ve been with them for over a decade and am paying a lower monthly fee than is currently available.
That’s what often happens when you subscribe to a service early, before the price goes up.
I pay Aweber $19.95 per month, so that’s an ongoing business cost.
I also chose Aweber because I’m so familiar with it.
And I didn’t want to spend time learning how to use a different service.
Picking the right autoresponder is very important.
You have to keep an eye on the future and the number of subscribers you intend to collect.
Most autoresponder services charge by the number of subscribers you have – the more of them, the higher the fee you pay.
Some services may charge additional fees if you want to send out more than a certain number of emails per month.
So, when you’re looking at choosing a service, check out the prices they charge for 3,000, 5,000 and above subscribers.
If your subscribers are not buying from you, you’re still spending your monthly autoresponder fee to have them in your list!
If you’re brand new to list building, some services do offer free accounts where you can collect up to 1,000 subscribers before you have to start paying.
But ALWAYS check their prices for 1,000+ subscribers before you sign up with them.
They may turn out to be more expensive at that stage than a service that doesn’t offer a free account.
Moving subscribers from one autoresponder service to another is not always easy, especially where automation rules are involved (these are rules that govern what happens when your subscribers do or don’t do certain actions that you specify).
So, the best way to pick an autoresponder service is to look at their pricing structure first, and then check if they have a free account option.
If you’re starting out, here are my autoresponder service recommendations:
- Aweber – you can get started with a free account which allows you to build 1 list, collect up to 500 subscribers and send out up to 3,000 emails per month. Pricing starts at $29.95 per month for 501+ subscribers.
- GetResponse – no free account option but pricing starts at $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers. Their Basic plans are slightly less expensive than Aweber but their Plus plans are more expensive.
- ConvertKit – free account allows you to collect up to 1,000 subscribers. The pricing structure is very similar to GetResponse’s after that.
- MailerLite – free account allows you to collect up to 1,000 subscribers. Slightly less expensive than the other services as you collect more subscribers.
- Sendlane – no free account option. Starts at $99 per month as the minimum number of subscribers set for your account is 5,000. There are no plans for smaller subscriber numbers available. If you pay annually, then you pay the equivalent of $79 per month.
You can get a better idea of what’s provided by each email service provider in these posts:
- How To Create A Squeeze Page The Stupidly Simple Way
- What Is ConvertKit? Get Started In List Building And Email Marketing With A ConvertKit Free Account
As I mentioned above, there are a lot of these email service providers out there and many do offer free trial periods.
Use those trial periods to see if you like that service and how it works before you start paying for it.
The Optin/Squeeze Page Builder
The tool normally costs a one-time $197 but with the sale discount, ConverToolz costs about $28.
Well, because of its low price – it shows that you can get a good-quality page builder for a low fee and not have to worry about paying a monthly subscription fee.
The other reasons are these:
✓ The landing page and download page builder software come with built-in tracking and statistics.
✓ The pages are for free so there’s no monthly fee for up to 100 websites.
✓ Over 200 Done-For-You Internet Marketing Products are included, each with videos & eBooks in the massive library, so I don’t have to hunt down PLR products or spend time creating my own.
✓ New products are added to the library every single month at no additional charge.
✓ 250 top-quality background images are provided for websites.
✓ Traffic Training video tutorials are provides to help me get the most out of CONVERToolz.
✓ An Email Vault with over 2,000 professionally written emails is also included, so I don’t have to spend time writing my own emails.
Initially, I’ll be building my optin pages and funnels on the domains provided by ConvertToolz.
I’ll probably move the best performing funnels onto their own domains when the time comes.
Creating Bonus Pages
You should provide a quality and, if possible, an exclusive bonus package to anyone who buys through your affiliate links.
Some marketers just throw 10s or even over 100 low-quality junk products into their bonus package in the false belief that “the more, the better”.
Your bonuses should relate to the product the customer ordered and provide real value to be worth anything.
Training of some kind is always a good bet, as are bonus products that provide additional information or information that may be missing (from a course, for example).
Bonus values are often over-inflated to make the potential customer think they’re getting more than they actually are.
Try to be realistic when saying what your bonuses are worth.
If you’ve looked at any of my own bonus pages, you may have seen that they were created by a service called Commission Gorilla.
It’s another Software as a Service (SaaS) tool and costs about $50 per year.
With it I can create the bonus front page itself as well as the bonus delivery page.
I won’t be using Commission Gorilla in this experiment, at least not initially (though I might further down the line).
Instead, I’ll be using another of the products in the FREEDOM SALE bundle – Commission Magnets – software that creates bonus pages which can be customized.
This product normally sells for $297 (one-time) – which you can see at the above link – but costs only $42 as part of the FREEDOM SALE bundle.
It also includes bonus products I can use.
This product provides:
✓ 7 Done-For-You Commission Magnets
✓ 7 Bonus Pages (hosted for me & with a downloadable OptimizePress 2 Template)
✓ 7 Download Pages (hosted for me & downloadable OptimizePress 2 Template)
✓ 7 Marketing Material Zip files (42 emails & 42 posts)
✓ 7 PDF Delivery Docs
✓ 40 Original Bonus Products (To use in any/all of my campaigns)
✓ The Commission Magnets Video Course (Over 6 hours of training)
✓ Downloadable Reference Materials & Resources
✓ The Generic Bonus Kit (this is used to promote any product of your choice)
✓ A BONUS GPC Doc filled with guaranteed approval codes for other merchants’ JVZoo affiliate offers
I’ll also be dipping into the I.M. Clinic, the third product in the FREEDOM SALE bundle.
This also regularly costs $197 but is available for $28 as part of the FREEDOM SALE bundle.
This is a training package that takes a deep dive into the 4 most important parts of online business: Traffic, List Building, Conversion & Scaling.
So let’s look at the costings of this experimental venture so far (July 7th):
- The FREEDOM SALE bundle of tools: $35.25 (I got it on launch day when an additional 25% voucher was available and before the price doubled to $97)
- Aweber monthly fee: $19.95
- Hosting: $0 as this is included in the FREEDOM SALE bundle.
Total outlay to date: $55.20
Funnels built: 0
Subscribers: 0 (nothing built yet)
So that’s my starting position.
I’ll post the next update in early August.
All the best,
P.S.: Don't forget, if you want to create an internet income of your own, here's one of my recommended ways to do that:
And you can get some free training here on how to build an online business and start list building here: