From 0 to 1000 Subscribers

52 replies
It's been a very long time since I posted here. I was once very active here and then lurked for years. It was when I saw this section, I thought it was time to post here again.

I want to build a new email list in a brand new niche, using a traffic source I have no experience with. Given how much of this project is new to me I wanted to create a follow-along/Warrior Path for the following reasons:
  1. Posting publicly will help hold me to account to the goal I am setting myself.
  2. I am keen to get the input of Warriors with experience in one or more of the areas I am exploring with this project.
  3. I am hope it serves as a helpful/useful learning experience for other Warriors (and not just me).
  4. I hope it helps build some new (and reignite some old) relationships on the forum.


My Goal

0 to 1000 subscribers in a brand new niche.

Revenue: $3,000 a month.

Profit: $1,000 a month.

Time Frame

By 1st July 2018.


The Path

The focus here is Solo Ads. While I have experience with paid traffic, SEO and affiliates, I have never generated traffic using Solo Ads. I know it's not necessarily as fashionable as it used to be, but if I find the right list providers, and if I have a good message to market match, I figure I can test and scale at speed.

In addition, I am going to look to incorporate and test FB Ads as part of my strategy here. If I have to, I will consider other traffic sources as well. The focus is on building an email list, not the traffic source.

To generate revenue, I am going to focus on selling my own info products and selling some higher-end coaching packages. I may branch out into a little Affiliate marketing, but that won't be the initial focus.


The Niche(s)

I have two niches in mind, and I am going to focus on one initially. I will only move to the second niche if I really can't make the first work.

I debated sharing the niches in this thread, but given this forum is a public one, I am going to hold-off on giving that detail just for now. We'll see how thing progress, and I may change my position on that.

Niche 1 - A subject I have the most experience and credibility in. It is also the niche that I am not 100% sure if it will convert successfully or not. On that logic, I should start with Niche 2, but given most of my expertise is in this area, I want to see if there is a big enough market out there for it first.

Niche 2 - My back-up. I have experience and expertise here, but not as much as niche 1. In contrast with niche 2, I know there is a good market here, with a lot of demand. However, creating a product will take me more time, be more involved, and could mean hiring freelancers (something I want to avoid initially).



The Budget/Costs

I am going to try and be as transparent as possible about how much I spend on this project (I am hoping that does not violate any of the rules around these parts). I think it will be helpful for some of the new Warriors to get a sense of the financial commitment some of these projects take.

I am going to divide the Budget into two parts:-

Operational Costs - The budget I have for the day-to-day running of my site(s) over the course of a month.
  • Operational Cost - $200 limit
  • Clickfunnels - $97 a month
  • Hosting - $15 a month
  • Aweber - $19 a month
  • Actual - $131 a month

Advertising Budget - The money I use to cover Solo Ad costs and any other paid traffic costs. I haven't got a fixed limit in mind for this yet. My intention is to test small, and then scale when I see results. Once I get started, I will get a sense of what will be needed and what I am prepared to invest.


The Product Funnel

In my mind, in the info product space, you need a solid product funnel/back-end to make it work/profitable. Here's my intended product funnel (no matter which niche I choose):

Front-End Product (Ebook) - $17 to $37.

Membership site (Private Facebook group, updated content) - $37 a month.

One-time Coaching Call (1 hour) - $197.

Coaching Package (6 sessions and email support over 3 months) - $997.


Next Actions
  • Research and validate Niche 1.
  • Create minimum viable product (ebook) for opt-in page giveaway.
  • Setup landing pages, Autoresponder and website.
  • Run test campaign (if successful, build out campaign).


That's a bit of a brain dump. Hope someone out there finds it semi-interesting, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. Equally, if you have some recommendations/advice, please do share!
#email marketing #information products #list building #subscribers
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Now there is a name I have not seen for over 3 yrs Welcome back EG thought you were doing SEO services or something? US prices so you moved from the UK? I will look at this thread with interest as the journey progresses

    Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author EndGame
      Originally Posted by Regional Warrior View Post

      Now there is a name I have not seen for over 3 yrs Welcome back EG thought you were doing SEO services or something? US prices so you moved from the UK? I will look at this thread with interest as the journey progresses

      Jason
      Thanks for the warm welcome back Jason.

      I had been, you are right. Initially I had been working with a business partner offering SEO services. Eventually we went our separate ways, and I continued solo. I ended up taking a job abroad and haven't looked at SEO for a number of years now. So while I have moved away from the UK, I haven't moved to the US.

      Good spot on the pricing model being in USD though. The thinking behind that was that I think my target audience will be predominantly from the US, and a lot of International audiences feel comfortable spending in USD (and I hope my initial tests prove that to be true).
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    So I understand the idea is that I update this thread at least twice a week...

    So here goes my first "update".

    Since starting this project at the weekend:-

    - I have written a 1900 word giveaway product.
    - I have come up with a brand name/product name.
    - I have done some admin around setting up traffic accounts etc.
    - I have emailed 17 Solo Ads sellers, sharing two offer topics with them, asking if it would be a fit for their list.


    Reflections

    I messaged quite a few solo ad providers with two potential topics for a giveaway. One of those offers I have actually written a free ebook for. The other, I am still developing.

    I messaged these solo ads providers before being fully ready for two reasons:

    1. It would help me gauge whether my product ideas would be a match for their audiences and help me give me a view of the market for my products.

    2. Their response will inevitably ask for a landing page. This will apply some external time pressure on me to get my act together and setup the landing pages.

    As I predicted, a few people got in touch within minutes with feedback and the question:

    "Please send me a link to your landing page".

    Be careful what you wish for...

    So now I am under some time pressure to turn a couple of decent landing pages around, so I guess mission accomplished. On the bright side, this should help speed up the process to the point where I am able to invest some money in driving traffic soon.
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    • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
      Originally Posted by EndGame View Post

      So I understand the idea is that I update this thread at least twice a week...

      So here goes my first "update".

      Since starting this project at the weekend:-

      - I have written a 1900 word giveaway product.
      - I have come up with a brand name/product name.
      - I have done some admin around setting up traffic accounts etc.
      - I have emailed 17 Solo Ads sellers, sharing two offer topics with them, asking if it would be a fit for their list.


      Reflections

      I messaged quite a few solo ad providers with two potential topics for a giveaway. One of those offers I have actually written a free ebook for. The other, I am still developing.

      I messaged these solo ads providers before being fully ready for two reasons:

      1. It would help me gauge whether my product ideas would be a match for their audiences and help me give me a view of the market for my products.

      2. Their response will inevitably ask for a landing page. This will apply some external time pressure on me to get my act together and setup the landing pages.

      As I predicted, a few people got in touch within minutes with feedback and the question:

      "Please send me a link to your landing page".

      Be careful what you wish for...

      So now I am under some time pressure to turn a couple of decent landing pages around, so I guess mission accomplished. On the bright side, this should help speed up the process to the point where I am able to invest some money in driving traffic soon.

      One is dragging ones feet (j/k) nice one keep it up

      Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
    Looking forward to seeing your progress! Will be following this closely.
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  • Profile picture of the author alaicarich
    This type of post is very motivational and useful. Looking forward to seeing your progress! best of luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Thanks for the messages and support guys. The fact that I know some people are taking an interest in the progress helps create a feeling of accountability for me. That is also why I contacted a few Solo Ad sellers as well before I was fully ready. Their responses forced me into action.

    Here's today's update:

    - Signed up to ClickFunnels
    - Built my first Funnel
    - Signed up to Aweber
    - Setup my first List and Opt-in form
    - Wrote one welcome email
    - Tweaked my giveaway report
    - Setup giveaway download link
    - Responded to all Solo Ad sellers who replied to me with a link to my newly created funnel (11 in total)

    The funnel and landing page is far from my best work. Speed and action was my focus. Additionally, I also gave myself a crash course in Click Funnels and Aweber.

    I have actually already had one response from one seller (literally moments before writing this post), and he gave me some excellent feedback on the landing page.

    My next move will be to select some solo ad sellers to run a test campaign with. I'll spruce up my landing page based on feedback. Before I do launch a campaign, I am also tempted to add a custom domain to Clickfunnels, or host the funnel on a Wordpress site (setting up hosting etc as well). Luckily I own a domain already that I think would be a fit for the niche, so that cuts my overheads and reduces my to-do list ever so slightly!

    Well, that's enough from me for today. Hope you're all having an excellent day and week so far.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eden A
    First thing welcome back EG!

    And I like what you doing here.
    That definitely give inspiration!
    and Something to learn from.
    I like that you update and make a commitment to yourself and to the warriors here!

    If I may suggest something,
    One thing that helps me achieve my goals and get things
    faster is,
    to take one task(the one that will be worth a week of job
    by just doing that specific one and from there I'm going to
    the other tasks)

    By the way, Amazing job and I hope and wish for you
    that you get your goals if you keep going that way I'm
    sure you will get there!
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  • Profile picture of the author JeffDC89
    Yep I'm following as well. Working on building my list also and was kind of curious about solo ads, first heard about them and bought ebooks around 2014, thought it faded away.

    Just was my focus changed i guess lol law of attraction
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Thanks all for the words of encouragement. Let me know if there is anything you would like to know or would like me to cover as I go through this process.

    @Eden A, completely agree. Get the big-ticket items/tasks done and it helps with the rest of the project. Thank you for the insight.

    I was going to post after I made my first solo buy, but I have ran into some temporary roadblocks. I felt I would be doing people a disservice if I didn't comment on some of the challenges I am having throughout this process.

    A summary of the mini-battles I a fighting today:

    - HTTPs. I want to set this up on my site with clickfunnels. I suspect I have to buy an SSL certificate.
    - My site is not showing on mobiles/cells unless the "www" is included. I am trying to work this out.
    - I need to setup an email server aligned to the domain I am using. I can't do that on Clickfunnels and will need to do that separately.

    Solutions

    Support articles and talking on Live chat with the domain register and clickfunnels. I am confident I can resolve all of the above in a couple of hours work in the next 24 hours.

    Next Actions

    - Buy 1st Solo Ad
    - If seeing conversions (30% being my initial threshold), work on improving landing page
    - Work on monetization strategy (paid product of my own or affiliate promotion)
    - Build out 1 week's worth of autoresponder messages
    - Run 2nd solo ad and begin further testing
    - Monitor response, conversions and any sales

    Hope everyone is winning today. Will be back with an update again soon once things move forward a little bit more.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi EG,

    Thanks for sharing your progress.

    Happy to RT this one for you.

    Ryan
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    Ryan Biddulph, Blogger, Author, World Traveling Digital Nomad
    Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging at Blogging From Paradise
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    So, the results are in...

    The First Campaign

    $75 spent for 100 clicks.

    113 clicks delivered.

    25 opt-ins.

    At this rate, I am paying about $3 per subscriber.

    Those stats don't sound great, but I threw my landing page together so quickly, I am confident I can improve those metrics and start getting closer to the $1 per subscriber number. Again, this has little test has focused my attention on my next actions:

    Next Actions

    - The email address I am using for Aweber has a connection problem. Need to fix it.
    - Going to promote an affiliate offer in short-term to monetize the funnel.
    - Going to write 1 week's worth of autoresponders for when new subscribers join the list.
    - Going to tweak my landing page by including an image or two (my current page is very plain).
    - Run 2nd campaign.
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    • Profile picture of the author kendido
      Originally Posted by EndGame View Post

      So, the results are in...

      The First Campaign

      $75 spent for 100 clicks.

      113 clicks delivered.

      25 opt-ins.

      At this rate, I am paying about $3 per subscriber.

      Those stats don't sound great, but I threw my landing page together so quickly, I am confident I can improve those metrics and start getting closer to the $1 per subscriber number. Again, this has little test has focused my attention on my next actions:

      Next Actions

      - The email address I am using for Aweber has a connection problem. Need to fix it.
      - Going to promote an affiliate offer in short-term to monetize the funnel.
      - Going to write 1 week's worth of autoresponders for when new subscribers join the list.
      - Going to tweak my landing page by including an image or two (my current page is very plain).
      - Run 2nd campaign.
      Hi EG,
      (1.) I think you did not search well enough to choose the best of the solo ad vendors. $3 per click is way too expensive at this stage of your testing. I have lists of vendors who deliver good results for $0.4 per click and their opt-in rate is 80-95%. They even allow you to test with 200 clicks. Just PM me and I will send you the list.
      (2.) OR: Could it be that you targeted the wrong category; might it be that that particular solo ad vendor doesn't have enough subscribers in the niche you are promoting?
      (3.) Another concern of mine is your membership site's pricing. I think many people will not be enthusiastic in giving such amount unless you deliver high-end products and training on the site.
      (4) Then coaching- One-hour coaching for $97! Well, I cannot judge as some 10 minutes coaching can be better than 6 months, so I withdraw my comment. When you contact the solo ad vendors, be lynx-eyed focus on your target audience.

      Thanks for the updates and looking forward to reading and learning more from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author niftystats
    $3 per subscriber is too much but nice share, keep a good work
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  • Profile picture of the author Victor Lee
    Thanks for the post. I'll be following your updates...
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    Over 1.2 Million Members Have Joined!!! Don't Get Left Behind!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author etoga
    Great project. Keep us updated.
    I will try this myself. I will also uild me a list from 0 - 1000 before july.
    So i will follow your strategies and see how it works out.
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    Hi, Erlend Solvberg here. I am the owner of xpbet and several other weblogs. Join me in this exciting world.

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  • Profile picture of the author viper2000
    Ill be watching this one, fantastic experiment
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  • Profile picture of the author ElysafromAWeber
    Hey there! I work for AWeber & I'd love to partner with you directly through this process. Feel free to get in touch with me - I am happy to help however I can. Email:*Elysaz@aweber.com
    Mobile: 267-429-6704
    Skype: AWeber.Elysa *
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  • Profile picture of the author Sasquatch10
    Really excited to see your results, im much less experienced but currently trying out the same formula. I'll certainly be following along, best of luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author EricW
    Endgame, checkout cloud flare. They offer free SSL.
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    • Profile picture of the author Les Blythe
      Originally Posted by EricW View Post

      Endgame, checkout cloud flare. They offer free SSL.
      You might also look at Siteground for cheap hosting and free SSL.

      I paid for a year upfront and saved a small fortune over my previous supplier.

      Cheers.
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      “I asked Les for a compelling sales letter - it was so compelling I got him to create a website for me!"
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    So, as niftystats wrote, $3 per subscriber is too expensive, so I am going to start testing some variables to see if I can improve the conversion rate and force that cost per subscriber down.

    I have tweaked my landing page's copy and have added an image to the background. I have also setup another page with a different image for a split test. Luckily, Clickfunnels makes this really easy, and their customer support is great.

    I have just requested another 100 clicks (cost of 75$) from the same solo ad seller. My thinking here is that I want to be consistent with the traffic source so I can test variations on my page and see if that makes any difference to conversion rate at all.

    The Niche I am Testing

    I mentioned in the original post there are two niches I was considering testing.

    I have actually started by testing the 2nd of the two niches I was considering...

    That seems backwards, but I realized getting the 1st niche setup was going to take a while longer, and I want to progress this project as quickly possible. I am still working on the 1st niche website as well, but I may focus all of my efforts into niche 2 if I can improve my results there.

    When I have a bit more time towards this weekend, I will focus much more on monetization and building out a full follow-up sequence on my autoresponder.

    Thanks for all your comments, insights and input. It is much appreciated. I welcome any advice or insights. If anyone has any questions at all, very happy to answer them as best as I can.
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    2nd campaign complete. 45 new opt-ins out of just over 100 clicks.

    I have approximately 14 weeks left to hit my goal. On that basis, I need to be hitting around 75 subs a week to hit my target of 1000 subscribers by July.

    I did a quick analysis on my 2 campaigns...

    Campaign 1

    Cost: $75

    Clicks: 113

    Conversion Rate: 22%

    Subscribers: 25

    Cost per Subscriber: $3


    I went on to make some changes to my landing page. I then bought the same click package from the same vendor two days later (today).

    Campaign 2

    Cost: $75

    Clicks: 113

    Conversion Rate: 39.82%

    Subscribers: 45

    Cost per Subscriber: $1.6


    Total Subscribers: 70

    Average Cost of Subscriber: $2.14


    The cost of the subscriber is going down as I improve the landing page's conversion rate. What annoys me is that if I had put in a little more effort to the landing page on the 1st campaign, I could have had another 20 subscribers or so, and that cost per subscriber could be $1.6. Still, things seem to be moving in the right direction and that's the main thing for me right now.

    So I am driving traffic + getting conversions = Subscribers.

    However, I don't have a bottomless pit of money to run "tests". If I am to continue, I need this to be self-sustaining. In other words, I need to generate revenue from the subscribers that join the email list. Something for me to think about.

    Anyway, I am at around 7% of my target subscriber amount after just over a week of setting myself this challenge. It could be better, but it's not a bad start.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sasquatch10
      One you get a lead are redirecting them straight to the free gift or are you promoting a one time offer?
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      • Profile picture of the author EndGame
        Originally Posted by Sasquatch10 View Post

        One you get a lead are redirecting them straight to the free gift or are you promoting a one time offer?
        I am sending them straight to the free gift. They get sent to a page with nothing but a big headline and a massive button where they can download the PDF.

        Open rates are decent enough on my welcome email to the subscribers, but I currently don't have any monetization or follow-up in place.

        Believe me, I know how crazy that sounds, but for me, getting started and executing quickly was more of a priority. I feel like I had to prove to myself that people would be interested in my front-end offer before investing the time in the back-end. Now, I won't promote or run a campaign again until I have some monetization in place and a week's worth of follow-up emails.

        The longer-term ambition is to promote my own products, but for now, I am going to start by promoting products as an affiliate. I have some products in mind, but have no idea how best to drive clicks and sales (after they have opted-in). I'll test a couple of approaches, chuck some traffic at it and see if anything sticks!

        ...I am open to suggestions though from anyone who feels comfortable sharing them.
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        • Profile picture of the author Eden A
          Originally Posted by EndGame View Post



          Believe me, I know how crazy that sounds, but for me, getting started and executing quickly was more of a priority. I feel like I had to prove to myself that people would be interested in my front-end offer before investing the time in the back-end. Now, I won't promote or run a campaign again until I have some monetization in place and a week's worth of follow-up emails.

          The longer-term ambition is to promote my own products, but for now, I am going to start by promoting products as an affiliate. I have some products in mind but have no idea how best to drive clicks and sales (after they have opted-in). I'll test a couple of approaches, chuck some traffic at it and see if anything sticks!

          ...I am open to suggestions though from anyone who feels comfortable sharing them.
          Okay, so the first thing I like your approach.
          I have a sentence that guides me and helps in my business as an internet marketer.
          "Done is better than perfect"
          So that's great that you start putting things out there even though you didn't have a
          follow-up. as I see in the next therd is that you finish 6 follow so that's great!

          Keep on going and I'm sure you will get far!

          About the part that you talk after they opt-in.
          I don't know what is your product, but to make them purchase you need
          to talk to them rationally and emotionally.

          What I mean is you need to know there
          why, needs, what objections they will come up with and you need to
          put those objections beforehand and reframe them into a positive way for example:
          if it's weight loss product that takes longer then others.

          but will last longer, you can take this benefit and emphasize it more.

          You sit with your client and say I know this product takes more time that's true.

          but do you know the feeling how is it to gain weight, loss a bit and gain it all back I know I have struggled with that for many years.

          Well in this program I'm here with you taking you step by step yes it will take more time,
          but it will be easier because I'm here with you as one that had the same issue, plus this technique we developed will help
          you maintain it for years to come and you, at last, achieve your goal and if your not satisfied after... weeks you get your money back (or other guarantees)

          What you do is you reframe what's "wrong" with this product and make it good make it better and overcome that obstacle.

          Hope that helps.

          You are welcome to reach out if you have more questions in that field.


          Hope that helps.

          You are welcome to reach out if you have more questions in that field.
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    • Profile picture of the author Aaron Nelson
      Hi Endgame, am really appreciating your posts - like many on this thread, I'm working to build my own list from zero. I'm curious: why did you decide to work with solo ads vs say something like Facebook ads ? is there an advantage with what you are doing? (Curious about that...I've only been using FB and have built my list up to 68 so far - just about 2 months in, and have spent about 60 bucks.) I've found something odd though...I've been scraping off inactive subscribers as I go along - if I hadn't, my list would have been over 100. I use a 5 week inactivity filter to clean my list. I mention this because a few weeks ago I heard an interview about how Twitter ads often deliver bots to those who pay for ads - was wondering if I've been somehow getting bots on my list. (Yes..have double optin....) Thanks for posting about your journey! I appreciate your transparency.
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  • Profile picture of the author consult taget
    woo, love your plan and would like to see results! I am a newbie in this and I wanna get my first 1000 subs asap too..
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    How many emails do you have lined up in your autoresponder for when someone subscribes. It is not enough to to get the subscribers but you want to keep them as well

    al
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    “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”
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    • Profile picture of the author EndGame
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      How many emails do you have lined up in your autoresponder for when someone subscribes. It is not enough to to get the subscribers but you want to keep them as well

      al
      Hello,

      As I mentioned in my previous update, no follow-up in place. And you're absolutely right, that is something I need to remedy, and that's exactly what my day has been focused on.

      Today's activity
      • Some back-and-forth with the affiliate management team of a product I want to promote.
      • Created a high-level content plan for approximately 15 emails.
      • Written 5 emails and loaded them into autoresponder (total of 6 emails in follow-up).
      • Edited a couple of pages on site (including setting up a survey).
      • Monetized all emails with affiliate links.

      Next Steps
      • Continue writing emails until 14 emails are in follow-up sequence.
      • Improve monetization of thank-you page.
      • Create a front-end product to sell early in my funnel.

      My funnel is currently monetized and promoting quite an expensive product. This is less than ideal and is probably only going to increase the amount of time it takes for me to recoup my advertising investment.

      So I need to create a lower-priced front-end offer. The problem here is the investment of time/money that might take. I am considering buying some PLR and editing (just for the sake of speed and momentum). I will then need to setup payment processors and delivery etc.

      I don't have a bottomless put of money, so monetization needs to be at the forefront of my mind now. I am probably going to hold off from purchasing more clicks until that aspect of the funnel is significantly improved. I'll compensate for this delay by buying higher volumes of clicks in my next solo ad campaign.

      On a personal note, this project/path has been one of ups and downs. I am really conscious there may be a couple of people following this who are a little newer to online marketing, and might be considering doing this challenge. I want to be upfront and say this is tough, and I had perhaps underestimated the time commitment and all of the different things I would have to deal with. I had hoped to convey all the challenges accurately in this thread, but I am finding it tough to put into words how draining it as at times.

      Although the model is quite simple, if you don't outsource any tasks, you end up wearing quite a few hats:
      • Content creator (for lead magnets and products)
      • Copywriter
      • Technical support (setting up website)
      • Web designer (tweaking for conversions)
      • Traffic expert (driving traffic)
      • Analyst (tracking clicks, open rates, subscriptions)
      • Book keeper (watch the money being spent)
      • Negotiator (I have felt like this when dealing with a particular vendor I want to promote for)

      Speaking of book keeping, my spend so far has been okay, but I have been on a two week free trial for Clickfunnels and Aweber. They come to an end soon, so my spend will almost double in the space of a day (with no return as of yet).


      On the upside, when you are sat having lunch and you see almost 50 new subscriber notifications come in from Aweber because a solo ad is live, it's a great buzz.

      It's that first sale. That's what I am hunting down now.
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  • Profile picture of the author crixti2002
    Are you sure those subscribers are real people interested to your niche? Did you have any sales?
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  • Profile picture of the author rozzski999
    Great post! I have been in your shoes! This is great for newbies well done!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Montgomery
    Awesome Post I Will Keep Following To Learn, THX !
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  • Profile picture of the author leighleslie
    Hi I just saw this,

    Great idea of yours and very generous. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    One small point. You had the honesty to list some of the roadblocks you came across (such as the www issue with mobiles). Now while you gave us time frame in which you would solve the problems you did not tell us how you solved them.

    As a help to non techies, like me and others, would it be possible for you to do that as you go along?

    Technical issues, whether large or small, account for the failures of so many newbies and non techies alike.

    Your approach to technical roadblock and, briefly, how you overcame them would be great bolster to a lot of us and also act as a signpost for us to follow should we encounter similar problems.

    Thanks again this is wonderful

    Les L
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  • Profile picture of the author jhldsc
    Thanks for these posts. Very interesting!

    Jay Scanlan
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  • Hello Endgame, thanks so much for sharing this journey with all of us. I know how exciting but at the same time frustrating it could be to grow an online business, especially when your budget isn't bottomless (and this is the problem the majority of entrepreneurs have).

    That said, I guess this topic has been created to get advice on the choices to make during the process, so I hope you don't take my criticism negatively!

    I think you're making one of the most common mistakes in building your list, and it's about investing too much money from the get-go and focusing on too many things.

    As you said, you'll need to pay for Clickfunnels, Aweber, solo ads etc
    It's a lot of monthly investment when you still don't have a plan to monetise your list (and trust me, your list will evaporate pretty quickly if you don't keep it engaged).

    I'd suggest you to start using free tools, and there are many you can use to grow an audience without spending a single cent. You can start a blog, a facebook group, a youtube channel, a podcast, a slack group... I mean something where you start to establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

    Is it going be quick and easy? Of course not, it needs daily work and a weekly routine to follow religiously, but it damn gives results.

    Unfortunately, entrepreneurs follow what gurus do in the present moment, forgetting that gurus already have followers, revenue and collaborators helping them. I can tell you for sure that those gurus did different things to reach success.

    I'd suggest you get rid of some expensive stuff (like click funnels), build a simple website (using, for example, a free theme in WordPress) and find one or more channels where you can get trust from people.

    That said, thanks again for sharing and keep up the good work!
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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    #1 Cost per subscriber is meaningless unless you know what they are worth over the long run. I can build lists off some sources for $0.20 per. They are real people who want what I'm offering.

    #2 While you need a good incentive to get subscribers you should be more concerned with the backend.

    #3 Running solos without a killer OTO is foolish. The goal is a self-liquidating list. A good OTO can go a long way towards making that reality.

    #4 A large list means nothing if a certain percentage don't convert to buyers.

    #5 When you surpass 500 subs. your Aweber costs go to $29. After 10,000 it's $149 per month.

    I would rather have a small list of engaged subscribers than a massive list of freebie seekers.
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  • Profile picture of the author M Thompson
    Ay Caramba where to start!

    Firstly well done for doing this, I've not been back here for several years but saw this thread mentioned in a WF email and had to dive back in.

    Hopefully you don't mind me giving some advice ( I've been a fulltime online marketer for over 13 years and have made hundreds of mistakes and hopefully learned for them, also been a member here since 2006)

    1. You MUST start every project with your offer in place it's the most important thing. Your offer will lead you to your audience and to the message you want to put in front of them.

    Get your offer ready then everything else will fall into place

    2. You don't need clickfunnels or any other funnel building software if you are just starting out. 5 years ago no one built funnels and we all did just fine "Funnels" were invented by people wanting to sell expensive funnel building software.

    The average lifetime value of a subscriber for me is over $500 the $97 I would spend on CF is the equivalent of about 30-40 subscribers a month that I would lose out on.. do the math!

    Create a landing page in wordpress, add an optin form use another page as your thank you page.. JOB done.

    Now focus on engaging and segmenting your subscribers until you have isolated the buyers and then focus on them.

    For Example someone who reads 2 or 3 pieces of content on listbuilding is someone who is interested in listbuilding present them with your list building offer.

    3. Solo ad buyers are generally very poor prospects for becoming buyers. They get flooded with offers on a daily basis.

    Have you ever joined a solo ad list? I would suggest joining one and then any offers you see that you like over the next 7 days join those... you'll be getting hundreds of emails a day before long.


    Ok that's enough negatives now some positive advice...

    Building a list is the right thing to do, it's an asset you'll have for years to come. You can make a full time income with a very small list if you treat that list correctly.

    Engage with them, entertain them and educate them.. I don't think in all the time I've been marketing I've ever had more than about 2200 subscribers. About 500 of those have been with me for 6 years or more.

    Instead of building out a free list followed by a low cost "tripwire" test a "pay what you want" offer at the start, you'll get fewer subscribers but the ones you get will be buyers and your ad costs should be self liquidating (the last one I ran averaged about $8 and the acquisition cost was around $3 .. hmmmm not sure why i stopped that!)


    Finally know your numbers !

    Ohhh and stick with it
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    • Profile picture of the author EndGame
      Good grief. Great to see this thread generate so much discussion. Sincere apologies in advance if I miss anyone/don't reply to you all...I'll do my best.

      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      How many emails do you have lined up in your autoresponder for when someone subscribes. It is not enough to to get the subscribers but you want to keep them as well

      al
      Hi agmccall, I have about 6 emails in the follow-up sequence at the time of writing. I intend to add more by this weekend.

      Originally Posted by leighleslie View Post

      Hi I just saw this,

      Great idea of yours and very generous. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

      One small point. You had the honesty to list some of the roadblocks you came across (such as the www issue with mobiles). Now while you gave us time frame in which you would solve the problems you did not tell us how you solved them.

      Les L
      Hello leighleslie,

      Thanks for your kind words, and great question. I had a couple of technical issues, that mostly stemmed from me not setting up an email account properly, or not properly setting up the Cname records for my domain.

      I won't go into specifics about how I fixed these issues, but I can summarize the approach I use to fix any issue I run into:
      • I Google the issue.
      • If it calls for it, I will do a search on Youtube.
      • I refer to the knowledgebase/FAQs or tutorials on the sites I am using.
      • I contact live chat support, tell them the issue, ask them to walk me through the fix (if I can't work it out myself).

      In the case of the SSL certificate, Clickfunnels support walked me through the fix and were very supportive.

      Broadly speaking, I search for a solution, and if I really hit a roadblock where I can't fix it myself, I then contact support.


      Originally Posted by Alessandro Di Ruscio View Post

      Hello Endgame, thanks so much for sharing this journey with all of us. I know how exciting but at the same time frustrating it could be to grow an online business, especially when your budget isn't bottomless (and this is the problem the majority of entrepreneurs have).

      That said, I guess this topic has been created to get advice on the choices to make during the process, so I hope you don't take my criticism negatively!
      Hi Alessandro Di Ruscio,

      Thanks very much for adding to the discussion and I don't take the criticism negatively at all. I really appreciate your input, but respectfully, I have to completely disagree with you on this (and likewise, I hope you don't take this the wrong way).

      In terms of the free methods you recommend, I have used most of those platforms before. In this project, I want to prioritize speed of results over free methods. What I like about paid traffic is that it gives me data and insights faster than waiting for free methods to succeed.

      Having used some of the strategies you recommend, my feeling is you have to be pretty skilled at using those various platforms to extract any meaningful benefit from them. It works for a lot of people, but it doesn't for me.

      I don't want to go too far into my personal situation, but I realize to properly explain why I am taking this approach, I should probably cover it briefly...

      Financially, the money I have is limited. However, I have enough monthly income to sustain the costs of this (Clickfunnels and Aweber etc) indefinitely. I also have savings, and I have put a percentage of those savings aside to invest in an online business. I took this decision very carefully.

      This means when I figure out the metrics, and the funnel that gets me the best response, I will be able to scale quite fast.

      Finally, in terms of focusing on too many things, I feel a little differently. I am sticking to one site, one offer, one funnel, one business model and one traffic source. With that said, there is a lot to learn, and I am enjoying the process.

      So while I appreciate the input and advice, I think different things work for different people. Unfortunately, the suggestions you make don't work for me, and I undertook this challenge after giving it a lot of thought and proper planning.


      Originally Posted by Aaron Nelson View Post

      Hi Endgame, am really appreciating your posts - like many on this thread, I'm working to build my own list from zero. I'm curious: why did you decide to work with solo ads vs say something like Facebook ads ?
      Hi Aaron Nelson, thanks for your kind words and your question.

      I have used Facebook ads before. The process was too involved for me. What I want to do is to perfect a solo/offer using Solo Ads, with the longer term goal of moving that to Facebook ads.

      Another factor in my thinking is that the cost per subscriber on FB ads was a lot higher than what I can get using Solo Ads.

      So while I am not using FB Ads before, once I hit this milestone using Solo Ads, my intention is very much to use that platform again (as well as one or two new ones).

      Originally Posted by kendido View Post

      Hi EG,
      (1.) I think you did not search well enough to choose the best of the solo ad vendors. $3 per click is way too expensive at this stage of your testing. I have lists of vendors who deliver good results for $0.4 per click and their opt-in rate is 80-95%. They even allow you to test with 200 clicks. Just PM me and I will send you the list.
      Hi Kendido, thanks very much for your advice and also the offer to send the list.
      Just to be clear, I am not being charged 3 USD per subscriber by the Solo Ad vendor. The cost per click varies from 0.30 up to 0.75. However, because my conversion was initially so low on the first campaign, when I calculated how much it cost to acquire a new subscriber, it was coming out at 3 USD.

      I calculated that cost by dividing the cost of the campaign by the amount of subscribers that campaign generated.

      On the 2nd campaign, my numbers improved significantly. It was my terrible copy and landing page that was causing the problems.

      You are absolutely right, focused targeting will be the key to success here.

      Originally Posted by IGotMine View Post

      #1 Cost per subscriber is meaningless unless you know what they are worth over the long run. I can build lists off some sources for $0.20 per. They are real people who want what I'm offering.
      Hi IGotMine, I completely agree, and I recognize running 2 campaigns without a proper offer or back-end setup is madness. However, there was some method to my madness.

      I had no experience promoting in this particular niche.
      I had no idea if the front-end offer would even entice people to subscribe.
      So I took the hit and sent the traffic knowing I wouldn't make money, but to gauge the interest of the audience in the topic.

      Gary Halbert once said, "most people try selling what they can't even give away".

      I was giving away my content to establish market demand. Now I am going to build a proper funnel, complete with an offer before I spend a penny more on any more advertising or campaigns.

      Thank you again for the inputs.

      Originally Posted by M Thompson View Post

      Ay Caramba where to start!

      Firstly well done for doing this, I've not been back here for several years but saw this thread mentioned in a WF email and had to dive back in.

      Hopefully you don't mind me giving some advice ( I've been a fulltime online marketer for over 13 years and have made hundreds of mistakes and hopefully learned for them, also been a member here since 2006)
      Hi M Thompson, great use of "Ay Caramba". I would thank you twice if I could based on that alone!

      I am really pleased the post prompted you to make a return here, and thank you very much indeed for your input. I have read your post back about 5 or 6 times now. I really appreciate the constructive advice.

      On ClickFunnels (my use of it seems to be more controversial than I expected), all I would say is that it's fast, easy and I love the interface. The customer support has been great, and I prefer it far more than Thrive Themes (which I am also a customer of).

      I found Thrive Themes difficult to use by comparison, especially when I had certain plugins loaded on my Wordpress site. Trying to trouble-shoot which plugin was causing the glitches was always a nightmare for me.

      Once I perfect the funnel, and don't have to run so many split-tests and try so many different angles, I will likely transfer all hosting to my Wordpress site as you suggest.

      A couple of questions for you (if you don't mind me asking).

      1) For building a list, outside of Solo ads, are there any traffic sources you recommend?

      2) When you say test a "pay what you want" offer on the front-end, I assume that means sending traffic to a sales page? I am wondering if I will struggle with this, because from what I have read, quite a few solo ads vendors are very reluctant to send traffic to anything other than a squeeze page (hence my question in point 1).

      Warm welcome back to the forum, and thanks very much again for your guidance.




      Thanks all for the questions, advice and suggestions. I read it all and take it all in. It's the exact reason I started the thread, to gain some advice from more experienced members, and hopefully the advice will help others undertaking a similar project as well.
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      • Profile picture of the author M Thompson
        Originally Posted by EndGame View Post

        1) For building a list, outside of Solo ads, are there any traffic sources you recommend?

        2) When you say test a "pay what you want" offer on the front-end, I assume that means sending traffic to a sales page? I am wondering if I will struggle with this, because from what I have read, quite a few solo ads vendors are very reluctant to send traffic to anything other than a squeeze page (hence my question in point 1).
        My favourite way and usually cheapest is to retarget to an optin based on action. So in your case i would create a blog with 2 or 3 posts.

        Take your niche and find 3 key "messages" that you want to get across. Then create a post about each one and promote it.

        Create a different lead magnet for each page that is tightly connected to the content, doesn't need to be too long a checklist or something similar works great.

        Set up a custom audience based around anyone who lands on that page.

        Set up a custom audience based on your thank you page.

        Now run ads for the content upgrade to everyone who lands on that page and doesn't land on the thank you page.

        It takes time to set up , most people won't do it but it works.

        (I use this method for sales and last weekend $26 of ads generated $991)

        2) . You could do this on the thank you page instead of the usual tripwire offer.
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  • Good luck, onto execution!
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  • Profile picture of the author tacoverhoef
    Following, because of the insight it will give.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Million
    Following with interest. I know you're budget concious, but something that helped me a lot with conversion rate optimization on my squeeze pages was heatmap tracking. I use http://www.crazyegg.com.
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  • Profile picture of the author cscamgrl99
    Following and sharing. Keep it up!
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  • Profile picture of the author wwallace1
    Hi EndGame, great thread. Was wondering if you considered running FB ads to your lead magnet. It'll probably be cheaper than $3 a lead and it will be with fresh minds..
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Originally Posted by M Thompson View Post

    My favourite way and usually cheapest is to retarget to an optin based on action. So in your case i would create a blog with 2 or 3 posts.

    Take your niche and find 3 key "messages" that you want to get across. Then create a post about each one and promote it.
    Thank you very much for the detailed breakdown.

    I had used this approach for a previous project, but the cost per subscriber was too high. In fairness, it was in a different niche, and I lost faith in my ability to create engagement/conversions with my content in that niche.

    I abandoned the approach at the time, but I do think in this niche, with more focused effort it would work for me.

    I am tempted to see if I can generate some sales/conversions initially with solo ads and then move the model to FB Ads exactly as you describe.

    Originally Posted by Nick Million View Post

    Following with interest. I know you're budget concious, but something that helped me a lot with conversion rate optimization on my squeeze pages was heatmap tracking. I use http://www.crazyegg.com.
    Thanks very much. I do know and love this product. Haven't used it yet, but in time (and once cash flow becomes more positive) this is definitely on the shopping list. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Originally Posted by Eden A View Post

    Okay, so the first thing I like your approach.
    I have a sentence that guides me and helps in my business as an internet marketer.
    "Done is better than perfect"
    So that's great that you start putting things out there even though you didn't have a
    follow-up. as I see in the next therd is that you finish 6 follow so that's great!

    Keep on going and I'm sure you will get far!

    About the part that you talk after they opt-in.
    I don't know what is your product, but to make them purchase you need
    to talk to them rationally and emotionally.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement and the guidance on copy/engaging with my audience. I am a relative novice in this area, so your suggestions and advice are well noted.

    My progress has been slow this week. A trip home (holiday) for a wedding has significantly interfered with my schedule.

    Here's the update on current status and next actions:
    • I have written a sales page.
    • I have created a product (for sale).
    • I will setup a OTO sales page on the thank you page immediately after opt-in.
    • I need to setup payment processor. It's between Gumroad and Clickbank, with Gumroad being preferred.
    • After all is set, it's time to send some traffic and track any conversions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Roy Tay
    Originally Posted by EndGame View Post

    It's been a very long time since I posted here. I was once very active here and then lurked for years. It was when I saw this section, I thought it was time to post here again.

    I want to build a new email list in a brand new niche, using a traffic source I have no experience with. Given how much of this project is new to me I wanted to create a follow-along/Warrior Path for the following reasons:
    1. Posting publicly will help hold me to account to the goal I am setting myself.
    2. I am keen to get the input of Warriors with experience in one or more of the areas I am exploring with this project.
    3. I am hope it serves as a helpful/useful learning experience for other Warriors (and not just me).
    4. I hope it helps build some new (and reignite some old) relationships on the forum.


    My Goal

    0 to 1000 subscribers in a brand new niche.

    Revenue: $3,000 a month.

    Profit: $1,000 a month.

    Time Frame

    By 1st July 2018.


    The Path

    The focus here is Solo Ads. While I have experience with paid traffic, SEO and affiliates, I have never generated traffic using Solo Ads. I know it's not necessarily as fashionable as it used to be, but if I find the right list providers, and if I have a good message to market match, I figure I can test and scale at speed.

    In addition, I am going to look to incorporate and test FB Ads as part of my strategy here. If I have to, I will consider other traffic sources as well. The focus is on building an email list, not the traffic source.

    To generate revenue, I am going to focus on selling my own info products and selling some higher-end coaching packages. I may branch out into a little Affiliate marketing, but that won't be the initial focus.


    The Niche(s)

    I have two niches in mind, and I am going to focus on one initially. I will only move to the second niche if I really can't make the first work.

    I debated sharing the niches in this thread, but given this forum is a public one, I am going to hold-off on giving that detail just for now. We'll see how thing progress, and I may change my position on that.

    Niche 1 - A subject I have the most experience and credibility in. It is also the niche that I am not 100% sure if it will convert successfully or not. On that logic, I should start with Niche 2, but given most of my expertise is in this area, I want to see if there is a big enough market out there for it first.

    Niche 2 - My back-up. I have experience and expertise here, but not as much as niche 1. In contrast with niche 2, I know there is a good market here, with a lot of demand. However, creating a product will take me more time, be more involved, and could mean hiring freelancers (something I want to avoid initially).



    The Budget/Costs

    I am going to try and be as transparent as possible about how much I spend on this project (I am hoping that does not violate any of the rules around these parts). I think it will be helpful for some of the new Warriors to get a sense of the financial commitment some of these projects take.

    I am going to divide the Budget into two parts:-

    Operational Costs - The budget I have for the day-to-day running of my site(s) over the course of a month.
    • Operational Cost - $200 limit
    • Clickfunnels - $97 a month
    • Hosting - $15 a month
    • Aweber - $19 a month
    • Actual - $131 a month

    Advertising Budget - The money I use to cover Solo Ad costs and any other paid traffic costs. I haven't got a fixed limit in mind for this yet. My intention is to test small, and then scale when I see results. Once I get started, I will get a sense of what will be needed and what I am prepared to invest.


    The Product Funnel

    In my mind, in the info product space, you need a solid product funnel/back-end to make it work/profitable. Here's my intended product funnel (no matter which niche I choose):

    Front-End Product (Ebook) - $17 to $37.

    Membership site (Private Facebook group, updated content) - $37 a month.

    One-time Coaching Call (1 hour) - $197.

    Coaching Package (6 sessions and email support over 3 months) - $997.


    Next Actions
    • Research and validate Niche 1.
    • Create minimum viable product (ebook) for opt-in page giveaway.
    • Setup landing pages, Autoresponder and website.
    • Run test campaign (if successful, build out campaign).


    That's a bit of a brain dump. Hope someone out there finds it semi-interesting, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. Equally, if you have some recommendations/advice, please do share!
    I would purchase solo ads, but bear in mind 1000 subscribers would'nt generate you a 3k revenue. 3k revenue would be about 5k list size depending on what you do with that list.
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