These days, you can have things like Twitter and LinkedIn, etc. But for now, I’m just going to purely organic. I don’t even have an affiliate program and it’s fine. So it’s a lot to do with choices around the kind of business you want to build. But I can see in your business, for your model, it makes a lot of sense.
How many visits do you get to the site for you to be able to generate 60,000 organic leads in the last 90 days?
Matthew: Yeah. It’s between 2 million and 3 million page views a month. So it’s quite a bit. Our opt-in rates aren’t great. It’s only about 1%, but that’s just because the industry we’re in, the finance industry, people just read a ton of different content. They sign up for a ton of different lists. That’s just the nature of the industry we’re in.
James: That’s quite a general, like it’s a broad market you’re in and it makes sense that it’s high volume. A lot of people listening to this would have substantially less traffic, even in my case. I’m sure we probably get 100,000 visits a month. So it would take us 10 times longer, literally, to build at least 10 times bigger, unless we change something else or force feed it with some paid traffic.
So let’s talk about the next phase. You’ve got the email address and you’re sending out newsletters, and you mentioned you have a freemium model and we’ll explain what that means. Basically, people can get something for free but the “mium” part is the premium part, which they’re going to pay for something. How does this part work?
The Freemium model
Matthew: Yup. So with our free newsletter, you can follow two stocks. You’ll get news and updates about them in your daily newsletter, and then with the premium one, it’s 15 bucks a month. You can follow as many as you want. You’ll get the newsletter earlier in the day, you’ll get some more customizability about your newsletter. You can get email and SMS about your stocks. So it’s just a lot more usable than a free newsletter is.
About 3% of our free subscribers will convert to paid eventually, ends up bringing some pretty good revenue. I think we have about half a million dollars a year in just subscription revenue from people that buy that product. So it’s a nice little business. I have found there is a lot more customer support than expected. I had to hire somebody to kind of manage that for me. But it’s definitely good business because nobody can really take that away from you. So it’s going to be there as long as you keep delivering your great product to that customer base.
James: So let’s talk about the flow. Someone opts into your email, whether it’s for a co-registration or somewhere on your website, when do you start making these offers?
When to make offers
Matthew: Like probably the next day after they sign up.
James: So it’s not even on the opt-in form.
Matthew: It used to be. So we found that co-register is just the best monetization opportunity for a thank you page. We can make 80 cents or 90 cents for every new email sign up just from the co-reg we run in our thank you page. So we don’t promote our product on our thank you page anymore. But the next day after they sign up for our newsletter, they will get an email introducing our paid product.
And over the course of the next 60 days, there’s an autoresponder series that does all visual stuff, testimonials, FAQ email, endorsements, products and features, and all the usual product launch formula-type emails are in there. By the end of the autoresponder series about half of the people that will ever convert convert in that first 60 days.
James: Nice. So again, it’s autoresponder series at the same time as their news.
Matthew: Yes. Sometimes they might get 2 emails a day.
James: And does every single news broadcast have the offer?
Matthew: Yeah. It’s in the header and then the footer. It switches up so each day of the week, it’s something different. But it talks about the features and benefits and how it’s linked to a free trial to sign up.
James: Right. One of the best example of that, I’ve seen is Sovereign Man. They do a really good job of offering every single email and very frequent emails. In my case, we have news, blog posts and updates and content. Every time we let people know there’s new content, they’re sent to the content. Every single piece of content has a call to action. It’s part of our standard operating procedures. It’d be hard pressed to find a blog post on my site that doesn’t let people know how they can get more value or take the next step. So it’s kind of a long line fishing technique.
And over time, and it really can take time. In some cases, it will take years for people to get that dripping tap. Eventually, they’ll take the next step. Something will just dislodge or they’ll resonate with the post and by also doing a weekly digest, we’ve found that we bunch up the week’s worth of post. We put a week’s worth together in one summary post and we’ve given people a choice to opt in to weekly email instead of the daily one so that they can get the frequency that they want without having to leave my email list. It’s kind of like the parachute or the safety net.
If they can’t handle the daily stuff, they can opt in for the weekly. And the weekly digest is a nice little gathering of the top tips and we can literally send an email out that has six different topics, and one of those might be of interest. Do you have multiple calls to action in any of your emails?
Multiple calls to action
Matthew: Yeah. So in our newsletter, there’s usually two to three spaced out between, and then in our dedicated sensor, email blaster, audience, there’s typically, in the first paragraph, we try to have a link and then right above the signature line, we have a link and then below the signature, there’s another link. I found that maximizes the click-through rates to whatever content we want to promote.
I try not to promote more than one thing in any given email. That might work for a newsletter with promoting different by posts but if I want them to buy something or if I want them to go to a piece of content, like a single piece of content, I try not to confuse the topic of the email. I just try to focus on the one thing. And if I need to promote something else, I’ll just a different email with the next thing.
James: Gotcha. Yeah, what I found again, different experience is, I’ve used the P.S. signature almost exclusively to sell my live event, and we sell 200 tickets at around $1,000 each from the P.S. file of our regular blog posts, it’s just like a by the way, “Hey, P.S. There’s an event happening in March.” So it can be quite different to the blog post topic but that’s a prominent piece of real estate that I think everyone should utilize.
So, what do you do in terms of the email list where you have little black holes like people stopped opening emails because they’ve got so many emails coming into their inbox or they change email addresses. What sort of list hygiene do you do?
Little black holes
Matthew: Yeah, we do a lot. If somebody bounces their email address it goes bad or if they do a spam report, we’ll just take them out of the list, right away automatically. I think a lot of ESPs would do that for you but we do that. If anybody’s going to spam report my emails, if their email just isn’t valid, I don’t want them in my list.
And then I also check for signs of life. So if people are opening my emails, that’s great. I’ll send them stuff forever. But if nobody opens something in 6 months, they’ll get a couple of emails saying, “Hey, we noticed you haven’t opened our emails in a while. Click this link to keep your account active. Otherwise, we’re going to remove you from the list.”
James: Do you get much email churn?
Matthew: Yeah. It’s probably, our list’s churn is by 3% or 4% a month just because we do send a lot of email and it’s not for everybody and people kind of get on to different financial lists and get off of them, get back on them. So it’s just part of the industry we’re in.
James: Yeah, I think it’s anyone with the email list is going to experience people leaving. What would you say to someone who’s reluctant to hit send on their email because they’re worried that people unsubscribe?
Matthew: Yeah. You know, when I first started doing the paid product, I took every cancellation personally. I thought, I must have done something wrong, I must have pissed them off. You just can’t let yourself get hung up on stuff like that. You’ve got to think of an unsubscribe as somebody that is just going to your website and then they leave. That happens all the time. Don’t think about it. It’s kind of the same thing with an email list. It doesn’t mean they hate you. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. It just means, they don’t want to get that email right now. That’s OK if somebody unsubscribes.
James: Yeah, I used to take it personally, too. And I would send an email like once every 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Very infrequently. People will actually chase me down and say, “Hey, everything OK? I haven’t heard from you for a while.” In the end, I just realized that if I don’t send emails, I can’t help people properly because they’re not going to find out about solutions that will get them to a better place. So I should send them an email to let them know.
It’s kind of like when I’m a rabid consumer of something, I want them to send me emails. I’m very interested in surfing, and I really want to get my daily surf report. I don’t mind if they’d let me know about a new wetsuit or a surfboard because I’m interested in that stuff and I’m not going to, “Oh, da** it, they’re trying to sell me surf equipment.” I’m a surfer. I do buy this stuff anyway. It seems ridiculous when you think of it from the point of view of a customer.
Matthew: Yeah. And it’s a mistake if you email your audience once every 6 weeks, I think that’s a mistake. People are going to forget that they opted in to your list and then they see the email from you out of nowhere and they kind of forgot who you are, they’re going to think that you’re just a spammer trying to sell them crap, that you have no relationship with them.
I think that if you have a list that’s of any size, you have to email them at least once a week.
James: I agree with you.
Matthew: Keep them active, really.
James: And you mustn’t ever email people who didn’t ask to be emailed. I still everyday, receive emails from people who’ve got nothing to do with anything that I’ve ever expressed an interest in. It seems to be some kind of a racket where people just gather email addresses and start sending out sort of viral invitation-type things.
James: So, monetization tips. Let’s round this episode out. Just a quick recap, we’ve talked about the fact that you’ve built a large email list. We’ve given some specifics on sizes, yields, volume of emails, systems being used, what sort of promises are being made, where you put the opt-in, what you send them, when you offer them, whether you segment them, partition them. We’ve talked about the percentage of people who might take an offer, how much they’re paying, etc. We’ve given some specific numbers. I think we’ve delivered some real value in the terms of the fact here.
In part six of this series, we’ll be going deeper into website monetization tips. So Matthew, if you’ve got any final comments on this episode before we go into the action steps from this episode.
Matthew: Yeah, I’d say monetization is there’s a lot more ways to make money from an email list than selling your products or being an affiliate. Your thank you page is probably one of the most valuable advertising assets your company has.
So after somebody signs up for your mailing list they land on your thank you page. Anybody that lands on that page is already showing they’re willing to take action, because they gave you their email address. So anybody that’s on that page is very likely to take another action, so if you can put an ad on your thank you page, you can put an upsell to one of your products on your thank you page, you can put a co-registration advertising unit on your thank you page.
I might make as much as a dollar for every person that lands on my thank you page, just from the ad units. You know, that’s a thousand dollar CPM, which is just unheard of in Internet advertising.
So if you’re not using your thank you page, use that. Think about email ads and sell or rent my list, and there’s just a lot of other ways that people are making money through email that somebody who just sells products and promotes other people’s products might not be aware of. So do some digging and find out those opportunities and take advantage of them.
James: Yeah. And you can even do list guarantees by having people subscribe to another thing of yours like a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or a Twitter. So that if they do happen to unsubscribe, they’re still within reach or they can be exposed to a different remarketing cookie for example. We haven’t even talked about that but I imagine you’re dropping a remarketing cookie on your site?
Matthew: We don’t do that. Perfect Audience and some of those are a little bit skittish about working with financial advertisers.
James: Ah. So there may be some constraints around who can use that.
Matthew: Yeah. I’ve tried it before, I haven’t gotten great results from it so we just haven’t really messed with it too much.
James: Oh, I’ve got amazing results from following up people who visit a checkout page but don’t buy. You can run really tight campaigns. I think I spent just over a thousand dollars on Facebook and sold 25 tickets at a thousand dollars each for my event just from people who were on Facebook, who’d been to my checkout page but hadn’t bought a ticket. So very small audience, very tight targeting and a really specific message. So if your website is the type that you’re allowed to do that, it’s certainly worth looking into. We’ll probably revisit that in website monetization tips in part six.
So Matthew, our next podcast episode is going to be side projects and why you shouldn’t do them. We’re going to look at a specific case study that you had, that taught you a valuable lesson. I’m looking forward to that one.
Matthew: Yeah. And I do have a book coming out about email marketing, so everything we talked about today I’ll go over in great detail in that book. It’s going to be called Email Marketing Demystified, and if you want to get a free copy when it comes out, just go to the domain MyEmailMarketingBook.com.
James: Look at you, always gathering that email list.
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