List Building & Email Marketing Case Study Part 1

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Case Studies | Posted on 09-04-2009

In the last post you heard the plan:  Pick a Niche, Setup Some PPC, Build a List of 100 Double Opt Ins.

The first step I tool was to pick a niche.  I had been experimenting in a particular niche a few weeks ago.  I saw some potential but the offer I was pushing wasn’t converting well enough to turn a positive ROI.  The traffic was pretty cheap so I decided to use that niche for the List Building & Email Marketing Case Study.  An important thing that I took into consideration was if there were enough offers to support the niche I was targeting.  It’s all well and good to build a subscriber list, but if I have nothing to sell to these people once they subscribe then it’s all going to be a waste of time.  I did some research and there are at LEAST 5 different offers that I can push to these subscribers ranging from $1.30-$31 commission.

The second step I took was to get a targeted domain name and build a landing page.  Completed.

The third step was to setup PPC.  Done.

Now let’s go into a little detail about the whole process.  The double opt in process work’s like this:

  1. User gets to a landing page which has a sign up form.  They fill out the form.
  2. User Is Taken To A Thank You Page
  3. User receives an email that requires them to click a link to confirm
  4. User Is Taken to Confirmation Page

It’s a pretty simple process but without understanding all of the steps, you are going to fail.  I broke down all the steps and made some notes.  Here are some thoughts that were going through my head when I set this up:

  • I’m paying for traffic so I need to make sure that my landing page converts the traffic I’m buying into subscribers.
  • I’m paying for traffic so how can I make back some of the money right away?
  • How can I make sure that the people double opt in after the users enter their information into the form?
  • How much is a new subscriber worth to me?

LANDING PAGE

I kept these thoughts or questions in mind throughout the building process of my campaign.  Here is how I approached the landing page:

  • Page 1 – This is the page housing my subscribe form.  I created a very attractive page very much geared towards the niche.  Everything I put on the page graphically, was designed to drive the users eyes towards the subscribe form.  The landing page revolved around the idea that the email list would be providing tips related to this particular niche.
  • Page 2 – This is a simple thank you page.  The idea of this page in my mind was to MAKE SURE that the user immediately checked their email and double opted into the list.  This is obviously crucial to the success of the campaign.  Here is the text I used on this page word for word:
    >You are almost finished….
    >We need to confirm your email address.
    >To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.
    >BONUS: After opting in, you will receive an exclusive offer.
    My thinking behind mentioning that there would be a bonus after opting in was that it might peak some curiosity into what that offer is and make them want to immediately check their email and click the link.
  • Page 3 – This page is the one the user lands on after they click the link in their email.  My goal was to use this page as a first step towards monetization of the campaign through use of the aforementioned bonus offer.  The text basically says that the users subscription is now confirmed.  Below that I present the user with a bonus offer which is an EMAIL SUBMIT that pays $1.30.

TRAFFIC

This case study is really not about the traffic being used to drive users into the landing page.  Any traffic source that you can find people related to a niche will be a good one.  My average cost per click for this case study was 28 cents.

INITIAL RESULTS

Let’s take a look at how the traffic converted, how long it took and what it cost me.

The goal here was to build 100 subscribers.  I was able to do that in under 24 hours on a pretty low volume niche.  The idea here is to see if this can be monetized.  If it can be we can scale the campaign.  At the rate of 100 subscribers per day, 3,000 subscribers per month can be accumulated.  Over the course of 1 year the potential to subscribe 36,000 is there; so If this campaign works, there is definitely the potential for scaling.

Number Of PPC Clicks: 436
Number Of Double Opt In Subscribers: 100
Click To Subscriber Conversion Rate: 22.93%
Average CPC: 28 Cents
Raw Cost For Clicks: $123.55

Clicks To Email Submit On Page 3:  71
Conversions: 37
Offer Payout: $1.30
Total Revenue: $48.10

NET PROFIT/LOSS: -$75.45

Actual Cost Per Subscriber Before The First Email Is Deployed: 75 cents

Summary Of Initial Results: I am very happy with the initial results of this test.  I spent $123.55 and made back $48.10 before even the first email was sent to the list.  I am not thinking about this in the standard way a PPC marketer does.  Usually we want a positive ROI immediately.  I am making an assumption here that each of these subscribers will have some sort of lifetime value.  I have no idea what that value is yet as it will take some time to figure that out.

To break even on this campaign I need to make back $75.45 off of 100 subscribers to my list.  There are numerous ways to do this.  As of now I am planning on doing 4 emails in 4 days.  After that I am going to back off and not mail nearly as much.  Here is the plan for the first 4 emails in the series:

Day 1 – Introduce myself under a fake persona as an expert in this niche
Day 2 – Tip #1
Day 3 – Tip #2
Day 4 – Make a special offer, try to make back the $75.45

I have yet to set up any of these emails so I am going to get on that now.

One question that’s bound to come up is which email marketing provider I am using.  The answer is MailChimp.  I use their service pretty hardcore for some other projects and think they are really a great company.  In a future post I will do a comprehensive review.  If you sign up through AdHustler.com, they are offering a $30 credit to your account.

Look forward to Part 2 of the List Building & Email Marketing Case Study when I get some more data to share.

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Comments

  1. List building + email marketing are hands down, 2 of the best ways to sell online.

    We suggest some form of list building/autoresponders to almost all of our local small biz clients, but the technique is looked over far too often by affiliates.

    I’ve been meaning to try an alternative to aweber, and mailchimp is looking pretty pimp, thanks for the coupon.

  2. Great case study. That’s a nice conversion rate for double opt in. Congrats.

  3. @Right Size – Mailchimp is off the hook.

  4. I suggest you write a short report to sell them at $9.99 only 8 conversions needed to get in the black

  5. @Cash – Not a bad idea but that’s not the road I want to go down just yet. I am looking to monetize this with straight affiliate offers :)

  6. Yes, and in that report, please provide the a samples LP.

    LP is the missing key to really see why people will would optin to something to placed on the road to hell by being spammed from email submits.

    enlighten us please with your LP format in part 2.

    thank!

  7. Report: I don’t think he is going to show you the landing page. Take what you got out of this to apply it to your niche you working.

    This email squeeze page will help some affiliates. As the search engines are getting hard to build a page thats just a redirect to the merchant.

    look forward to part 3

  8. A couple questions

    1) Have you tried GetResponse or AWeber? Looks like others here like MailChip more than AWeber.

    2) Your lander is driving people to the email list, is there much to the site beyond the list signup? Is there other content on the site? Is there a site? I’m wondering about how to set up the lander to have enough credibility that would get people to signup. I’d assume you’d want a site with plenty of content to estabilish authority, but maybe that’s not the effective way. thoughts?

    thanks for this btw, I have a few email lists that I’m really not monetizing very well. this helps get my focus back on it

  9. @Shawns:

    1) I have not used GetResponse. I have used Aweber and did not like it at all. I use Mailchimp for a lot of projects and have many many thousands of emails deployed their monthly and it’s just a great service. Very web 2.0.

    2) The site is ALL ABOUT signing up to the email list. There is no content beyond that. It’s 1 page with no option or anywhere to click other then signing up. The sell is that to get the content you need to sign up and have it delivered by email. My conversion rate to subscribers was super high so people must trust it to some degree. The page is setup very similar to your everyday email submit. Nice call to actions, arrows, selling points etc. I didn’t copy the page from anything I had seen before since this niche is not really on standard CPA networks. I just designed what I thought would work and it did.

    Hope that helps.

  10. Good looking out on the MailChimp referral. I’ll give the free trial a test and if I like it you should see some referral bucks.

  11. Awesome post AdHustler.

    You are one of the few affiliate blogs I check that are still posting relevant and helpful tips and tactics. Instead of just showing us their new car. Or how much cash they pulled last month.

  12. Before a newb jumps into email marketing is there any compliance/can spam issues we need to worry about. Or as long as we use mail chimp and user double optin we are good to go?

    Does mail chimp explain how to filter out the suppression lists and any other compliance issues from the networks?

    Keep the posts coming. Your case studies are solid gold!

  13. Good shit, you got me thinking of some interesting stuff to work on.

    I wonder if the initial e-mail submit “bonus offer” will have a negative impact on your future e-mails. Since those who converted here will be getting a lot of junk e-mail from the e-mail submit, they may see your future e-mails as less credible. Not sure, really… just a thought.

    Looking forward to updates on this! Keep it up!

  14. @Kev – Any ESP (email service provider) will help with most of the Can Spam issues. For instance, you are required to have an unsubscribe link, physical address and relationship with the people being emailed. If you are using double opt in with an ESP all of this will be covered. I honestly forgot about the suppression lists from the networks, I’m actually not sure what those pertain to since these people double opted into this particular list. Either way, you can filter out any email addresses you want very easily by copy–>pasting a bulk of them into an unsubscribe form.

    @Jimmy – I thought this question would come up sooner then it did. Good thinking my boy. I did think about this. However I did not come up with an answer. Yes, they may be getting emails from the email submit advertiser. It was the only way I could think of to sell the users on something right away so that’s what I did. If this turns a positive ROI and I scale it, i could always break out 2 lists and build a list of people that are offered the initial email submit vs those who aren’t and test the lifetime response rate. One thing I thought might happen is that since people may feel tricked by the email submit they may unsubscribe right away. 2 out of 100 did but that’s not a huge percentage. I will probably talk more about this in part 2 or 3 of this case study.

  15. @Ad Hustler – 2% immediate unsubscribe rate isn’t too bad. Only time and thorough testing will tell.

    I’m going to take a crack at this myself when time permits.

  16. I feel the same way Jimmy. I definitely want to hop in the game but don’t know where ti start and have a super full plate.

    One of these days I will though

  17. Yup, that def helps. This is a really interesting idea I hadn’t thought of before. Just posted on WF about a recent google survey saying about 50 percent of people are looking for discounts/deals on the web nowadays. Positioning the email signup like that, with the special offer coming at the confirmation like you explained, sounds like gold to me

    survey notes here: http://groups.google.com/group/adwords-agency-blog-forum/browse_thread/thread/1f9203ecded99f2c?hl=en

  18. […] List Building & Email Marketing Case Study Part 1 was about setting up the double opt in, getting subscribers and trying to monetize the list immediately.  Overall it was a success.  Part 2 of this case study revolves around the first series of emails sent to the list. […]

  19. Usually i cant be bothered to post comments cause im freakin lazy but i have to say this is some solid free stuff.

  20. […] List Building & Email Marketing Case Study – Ad Hustler […]

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