Many bloggers and online business owners dream of growing a profitable email list.
It’s been said that you only need 1,000 real fans on your list to make a living online. While this is probably true if you know how to market to your list the right way, it’s also possible to make money as you build your list up to that figure of 1,000 true fans.
In this article, we are going to discuss how you can actually make (real) money while building your list.
We’ll focus on the very start: Your blog profit funnel and how to set it up so that you’re more likely to turn each new subscriber you get into a customer.
We’ll also discuss some basic metrics that allow you to pay to get people on to your email list and still earn good money while doing it. Yes, you read that right. You’re going to learn how to make money while building your list and you’re going to do it in a dependable way.
Most bloggers try to build their lists by using the opt-in sidebar and other stuff like that. Those traditional methods of collecting emails don’t really work effectively, and trying to build your email list that way is just a huge waste of your time.
If you want to see some real results, you’re going to have to do things that most other bloggers either don’t know how to do or they just can’t be bothered because it seems like too much work.
But luckily for you, there’s a way to start seeing results much faster than you’d imagine.
The Shortcut to Making Money While Building Your List
This entire process of making money while you build your list depends on the amount of traffic that you can get, and the quickest, most reliable way of doing so is by using paid traffic.
One of the most affordable and dependable traffic sources that come to mind is Facebook.
Now, before you start to think that you can’t afford it, let me stop you right there!
Read through this entire post and you will be pleasantly surprised to learn just how affordable Facebook traffic is.
Of course, there are a lot of other traffic sources that you could use, but I’ve found from experience that Facebook is one of the best traffic sources for beginners on a low budget.
You can get started for just $5!
So if your immediate reaction to the mention of paid traffic was ‘I can’t afford that!’ I want you to read on to get an idea of how the numbers work out here.
To start with, I stand by that statement I made at the beginning about how you only need a thousand true fans to make a living. If you’re trying to build an email list, your goal is to have true fans on it, right?
But the truth is, not everyone who gets on your email list is going to be a real fan.
Some people on your list just want to keep a casual eye on whatever you’re doing. This is alright because as long as you’re building your list the right way, you will be collecting those true fans naturally.
And it’s those true fans who are going to pay all your bills eventually, but even better, you can start making money off of that list instantly.
While this may not be enough to make a living off of at first, you’re still building a valuable asset that will pay you great dividends in the future.
Now, On to the Part That Most Marketers Dread: Sales
In order to make any money from your list, you have to have something to offer the people. This shouldn’t be just any old product that you think of, but it should be something that is full of value.
There are really only two steps to making money: First you must have something of value that can actually help people. Secondly, you must be able to offer this product or service to them.
You have to sell it to them.
Sales is definitely a part of this equation, but don’t worry, there are ways and means of selling to your audience without looking like a schmuck.
We’ll get into that a little later, but for now, you have to understand that your audience trusts you and they trust your recommendations for products that can help them solve their problems.
In fact, you’re doing them a really big favor by showing them which products to buy. You’re saving them from having to do tons of research online, and also potentially saving them from falling prey to scams.
Also, if you build relationships with the people on your email list, they will come to appreciate you (especially all the free value that you’ve been providing them) and many will be happy to buy stuff from you as a way of saying thank you.
As long as you provide only valuable products, then you have nothing to worry about in this regard, and your customers will keep coming back for more.
But at this point, you’re dealing with visitors who are new and they don’t have a relationship with you yet, so you have to ensure that the free lead magnet that you offer them is extremely valuable and that your paid offer is closely related to the lead magnet and also provides immense value as well.
Creating an Effective Sales Funnel for Your Blog
This is not a new concept, and most of you are already familiar with it.
But the funnel we’re going to discuss here is one that has a graduated series of products that your customers can buy.
It’s generally going to be moving from something that is at the low end of the price point, up to the things that are at the high end of the price point.
The First Step in Your Sales Funnel: Getting Them Into Your List
This is the first thing that has to happen at the beginning of the process.
Of course, the idea is to get people to join your list and then eventually buy something, right?
But it doesn’t always work out in that nice linear fashion in real life. Sometimes you’ll get people joining your list and becoming customers instantly, and other times you’ll get people on your list who don’t buy anything for years.
Either way, the first thing is to get them onto your list via a squeeze page.
A squeeze page is a page with a single purpose of getting your visitors onto your list. As a general rule, you offer something of value on this page, and as long as it’s something that they want, they will be willing to trade you their email address to get it.
The Second Step is to Put An Offer Behind the Opt-In
This is where you actually start to make money while building your list.
Most bloggers just send people to a confirmation page or a thank you page after they sign up. If you’re just saying something like ‘Thank you for signing up’ or ‘Please click on this link to verify your email’ or some uninspired ‘Welcome’ message, then you’re wasting extremely valuable real estate.
You already have your audience’s attention, so why not make the most of it?
Immediately after they opt-into your list, that is the perfect time for you to offer them something. This initial offer must be of extreme value and targeted to that particular audience if it’s going to be effective.
Also, price it in a way that makes it a no-brainer for your audience to get it.
It makes sense that the lower the price, the more people are going to buy it, right?
So far the sequence of events is:
- Visitors go to the squeeze page
- They opt-in to your email list
- After they subscribe, they immediately see your offer (instead of the usual thank you page)
- Some of them buy and you immediately start to make money while growing your list
The Follow-up Sequence
The next thing you have to do is create a follow-up sequence for your subscribers.
After someone signs up for your list, you should follow up with a series of emails using your autoresponder service. This series should focus on that same offer that you gave to them right after they signed up (this is only for those who didn’t make the purchase).
For those who did buy the offer, you will have a separate email series focusing on the second (pricier) product in your funnel. This means you have a lot of opportunities to get your subscribers to buy the same product.
Of course, you don’t want to be spammy, so make sure that the offer you’re giving your subscribers is of extreme value and will help to solve a particular problem that they have.
Not only that, the offer also has to be very relevant to the thing that they opted in for originally. All of this needs to flow and it has to make sense if you don’t want to come off as ‘salesy’ or spammy.
Using Facebook Ads to Accelerate the Process
Now that you got your funnel all set up to make you money while you grow your email list, it’s time to get traffic to your squeeze page.
Let’s take a look at how all this would work if you were to run paid traffic from Facebook or any other traffic source:
Say you put an ad on Facebook that costs you $0.50 per click to get subscribers to your squeeze page, and your squeeze page is converting at about 50% (hypothetically).
This means that one out of every two people that end up at your squeeze page opts-in, so basically, if you send 100 people from Facebook to your squeeze page, it’s going to cost you $50.
But since you only have a 50% opt-in rate, it means that only 50 of those people are going to sign up for your email list. So 50 bucks got you 50 subscribers.
All you have to do now is to figure out a way to make $50 from these 50 people and that traffic is basically paying for itself.
If you can make more than that, even better. It means that you won’t just be breaking even, you’ll actually be making a profit!
This is the goal if you want to make money while building your list. It’s all one big numbers game, and if done right, you won’t just be funding the growth of your list, but you’ll also be making money while doing it.
So how do you make money from these 50 people?
Just present them with an offer as previously discussed, and track the conversion rates of that offer. If, say, you have a product that costs ten dollars, you only need 5 people to buy that product and you’ll have made your money back.
Only five people out of fifty. It’s doable, right?
If you can manage that then you will break even (and you’ll have put 50 people on your list for free). Now, if only one more person buys, then you have made a profit of $10.
You’re officially making money!
There are a few things that you can do to increase the money that you make at this point. First of all, you could offer a product that is priced a little higher. If those same five people are now paying $15 instead of $10, then immediately you’re making more money.
Instead of $10 profit at this point, you now have $40 instead. Even if just the initial five people buy, you still have a profit of 25 bucks. And of course, whatever they buy after that is just pure profit.
It’s really all about playing around with the numbers.
Another way to start making more money is to increase your email opt-in conversion rates. We have a lot of other articles on our blog that go into this in detail.
By getting more of the people from your paid traffic source to sign up for your email list, you’re essentially bringing down the cost of acquiring them, which means that your profit margins will be even higher.
It’s easy to get conversion rates that can make this possible. In our previous example, we used conversion rates of 50%.
While most squeeze pages convert at about 30% or so, 50% isn’t that hard to achieve if you have a well-designed squeeze page, a great lead magnet, and the right kind of targeted traffic coming to your page.
You can see how just by creating the right kind of sales funnel you can essentially build your email list for free.
In fact, it’s actually more like you’re getting paid to build a list which will make you even more money in the long run. Try this out for yourself and find out just how simple it is to make money while building your list.
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Updated: Originally published June 18th 2018