How to Make Money Online with an Email List Fast

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How I made 200 in less than 6 hours: A Case Study

My favorite blogger Jon Morrow knows how to make money online. My own prowesses are nowhere close to his by any means, but this Sunday, I tried to take a page out of his book and here’s what happened:

I made a little over $200 in 6 hours, with a product I already had (i.e. passive income + I didn’t create anything from scratch), to a demographic who, until now, didn’t show a whole lot of interest in this product, i.e. my email list subscribers. I did this by creating a sense of urgency in my target customers, and by giving enormous value for only $7.

In the rest of this post, I will walk you through the exact steps I took, things I learned, mistakes I made, and what I’d do differently if I were to do it all over again.

Let’s get started!

Let’s be honest first, to a whole lot of people, $200 in 6 hours means nothing. Some people make ten times that in less than an hour. Just the other day I made twice that amount in just under 30 minutes by fixing a few things on someone’s WordPress blog.

But the opposite is true also. I know because I’ve been there myself. Days when you don’t even know where the next meal will come from. I have had days when I didn’t have a job, no money, no prospect, only this huge burden of guilt on my shoulders. I thought I was letting my parents down. After all, they paid for my college NOT to see me as a jobless bum, but because they believed I could do something… be someone!

And there I was… no job, no money, scared shitless that I would get evicted if I didn’t come up with rent money soon enough. To the me back then, making $200 in just 6 hours would have been huge. Heck, if I could make 200 in a whole damn week I would have slept a little easier back then.

Yeah, that’s how bad those times were.

And yet here I am, thinking to myself almost with a hint of disappointment that I should have made more.

But well, everything depends on the context, yeah?

So, let’s look at the context first, and then I’ll dissect what I did, how I did it, and why I did it so you can, hopefully, learn something from my experience, and this experiment.

The Inception of the $7-Deal Idea

A while ago I came across Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course. It was well before I started The Side Blogger. I was still unsure what kind of blogger I wanted to be, just that I wanted to be one. So I was looking for useful resources from those who have made it as a blogger.

Jon is one of my all-time heroes of a sort. He is the ultimate blogger. If someone knows anything about content and digital marketing, it’s Jon.

So, when I came across Jon’s guest blogging course, something happened. You know how courses usually have a sales funnel? First, you sign up for something free, then slowly the marketer takes you on a journey to ultimately buy the premium product. It was the same, but Jon had a little something in-between the freebie, and his ultimate course on guest blogging.

It is a minimum viable product of a sort, but the worth to cost ratio was super high.

Let me explain.

Jon had compiled a list of online publications and their editors’ contact information. Basically, with this document, you not only had a list of hundreds of editors who are out there looking for paid writers as we speak, but also a way to get in touch with them.

Just imagine the kind of work Jon and his team put forth into creating that list. They have had to scour the internet, and possibly even reach out to some of the editors in person to get that information. There’s no way a fledgling writer could make a list like that in anything short of a few weeks, if not months.

In short, the document with this gigantic list of publications that are seeking paid writers is worth at least a few hundred bucks to the right people, if not more.

And Jon was offering this document for a measly 7 bucks.

Now, as far as the fledgling writers are concerned who are looking to get their first big break into the online content creators’ world, passing up this list for only $7 would be insane!

The best part is that Jon made it so affordable, that even a homeless person will likely have 7 bucks to them at any given time. Making it almost impossible for anyone to pass up this opportunity.

And the other thing Jon did was that he created an urgency. I don’t remember the details, but I believe Jon was only offering the document for that cheap for a period of 24 hours or so.

So, just by creating urgency, and by creating something affordable for almost anyone, Jon was able to sell, I’m assuming, a bunch of this $7 product and make a shit ton of money.

For one, this is an ongoing (read evergreen) sales funnel that Jon has set up, and it’s been around for some time now (a few years at least, and he keeps that list current). And given Jon’s reputation, and his blog’s reach, I’m assuming Jon likely gets hundreds of subscribers every day. Now, not all subscribers sign up for this guest blogging funnel, but let’s assume if even 20 people do so every day, and if 50% of them buy into the $7 product, that’s $70 a day, approximately $2,100 bucks a month, and that’s over 25K a year!

That’s full-time income for some people in this country! From a $7 product!

And remember, he has been selling this product for a few years now. So… you do the math.

And that’s how the idea of offering a $7 product, that’s worth at least twenty times more than that, was born.

My Unique $7 Product

Even though I’ve known about Jon’s system for a long time, I never thought to do it myself. Until recently.

First of all, being a newbie blogger and all, I didn’t think the same strategy would work with me. I needed to build up a little momentum with my blog and build some authority in the field before I thought about actively selling stuff. That’s why I had decided early on that I wouldn’t build any course or product (except the Canva templates I make and sell on the blog shop, because I just have so much fun designing templates!) until I have had my blog for at least a year AND I had at least 1000 email list subscribers.

This past June, TSB celebrated its first anniversary, AND, lo and behold, I surpassed my own expectation as far as email list subscribers go, and ended up with well above 1K subscribers. In fact, right now, at 14 months, TSB has about 1.8K subscribers. With that said, I geared up to make some premium courses.

However, I still hadn’t really thought about the $7 product until about a couple of weeks ago.

And while I was brainstorming about what to create as my $7 minimum viable product, a thought suddenly came to me.

You see, I already have a bunch of products on my blog shop–approximately 12 products. Products geared towards bloggers. These are Canva templates for media kits, opt-in freebies, workbooks and worksheets, planners, social media graphics, etc.

And so I thought, what would happen if I tried to sell the entire shop as a bundle, and offered it for only $7, while the combined value of these 12 products comes close to almost three hundred bucks?

And so, on Sunday, I decided to try out my idea.

The Justification Behind The Product and The Discounted Pricetag

Now, I hate undervaluing myself or the things I create. Sometimes I see people selling templates for peanuts, but that makes no sense to me. It takes time and effort and skill to design and create a product — a quality template that is functional, well designed and pretty. I believe my products are worth every cent that I charge.

And yet, I was ready to sell my entire shop, products worth almost $300 combined, for only $7.

Why is that?

Well, here’s how I thought this through.

You see, the shop isn’t exactly a big money-maker for me. I do not market it as vigorously as I do my blog posts, for example. I create a Pin graphic for a random product every once in a while and then publish it on Pinterest. Every now and then I post something on Facebook, and that’s about it.

Over the last few months, it has somehow gained a little traction, and for the past 4/5 months or so, I have been making a consistent $200+ from the blog shop, every month.

However, the people who buy these Canva templates from me are almost always those who find them on Pinterest. It’s embarrassing, but my email list of subscribers do not seem to have a whole lot of interest in buying the templates that I make.

In short, I haven’t really thought about my subscribers as my target audience as far as the shop is concerned.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried it. I have created offers (just not as dramatic as $7 for the entire shop), discounts and sales and whatnot in the past, have promoted them inside my newsletters, but I still wasn’t able to sell that many templates.

So, I had this idea… What if I tried to sell my entire shop for only $7 to my newsletter subscribers ONLY? To an audience that is not usually all too keen to buy these templates that I make?

And so, on Saturday night, I rolled up my sleeves, fired up my laptop, and worked late into the night creating a bundle with all the templates I have on sale in the blog shop.

My reasoning was that since my subscribers are not my ideal customers (as far as the shop is concerned), whatever money I make from promoting the entire shop as a $7 bundle would be an extra for me. Because if it weren’t for this $7 promotion, I doubt any of my subscribers would even think about getting these templates.

With that in mind, I created the bundle and decided to send a newsletter with the link to purchase the bundle to my subscribers.

Creating a Sense of Urgency

Right before I was about to shut down my laptop and go to bed, I thought about something else. I remembered how Jon sold his $7 product for a limited time only to create urgency. I also remembered all the things I have read about this being a legit sales tactics.

The idea is that when you give people time, they take that time. So, if you want a fast result, do not give people a lot of time because they’ll take that time!

So, the only way to make money fast with my $7 product was to not give people a whole lot of time to mull things over in their heads. The goal is to force them to take swift action and hope that because it’s such a cheap deal, people would be OK with just spending it without giving it much thought.

But I didn’t want my subscribers to hate me either. They are my beloved audience after all. The blog is alive and well because of them. So I wanted to give them something super valuable. So that at the end of the day, my conscience would be clear after almost forcing them to give me $7. Because in return, I’d be giving them something that is way more valuable and much more than thirty times worth the money.

So, I got to working and created a system that would give my subscribers only 20 minutes from the time they first click on the link to the bundle.

Using Deadline Funnel to Create a 20-Minute Shopping Window

I have only ever seen this in action, but never used it myself–a countdown for timed sales where if the buyer doesn’t purchase something within the allotted time, the discount expires and the product automatically goes back to its original price.

After a little digging around, I found the perfect solution to achieve this functionality. I needed a software that would work with ConvertKit [affiliate]–my email newsletter platform, and also with WooCommerce–the plugin I use to sell my Canva templates.

Turned out, a software called Deadline Funnel [affiliate] was made to achieve what I was trying to do.

After digging around a little more, I was super pleased to find that setting up Deadline Funnel was easier than boiling an egg (speaking of, anyone else as exasperated by the science of boiled eggs as I am? No matter what I do, its never just the right amount of hardness of the whites with a slightly less hard yolk inside…)

Like, seriously, it’s one of easiest software I have had to set up for my blog in all this time.

And it only took a few minutes, from signing up for the platform, to getting the whole system up and running.

How the System Worked

The system I created worked like this:

  1. I created a new broadcast within ConvertKit [affiliate].
  2. I wrote a nice message to my subscribers, letting them know that I was offering my entire blog shop for only $7. The catch was that they will have only 20 minutes to buy the bundle and the time would start as soon as they clicked on the bundle link. After 20 minutes, if they still haven’t purchased the bundle, the discount will expire. I achieved this functionality with Deadline Funnel [affiliate].
  3. Then I sent out the newsletter.

On my subscribers’ end, this is the system they saw:

  1. They received an email (newsletter) from me.
  2. They saw that I was offering something exciting, so they opened the email and clicked on the bundle link.
  3. After clicking on the bundle link, they were redirected to my blog shop; to a specific product to be sure, which I had set up the night before to sell my entire shop as a bundle.
  4. They also saw a counter, counting down from 20 minutes to the end of the $7 discount window.
  5. Now they had to make a choice. Buy the bundle right away for $7, or let the bundle expire in 20 minutes and go back to being $300-ish.
  6. Make a choice. Buy or not buy.

And, the end [of the system].

The Outcome of the $7 Limited-Time Deal

Considering I have close to 1.8K subscribers to date, and the bundle was so damn valuable yet cheap, I was hoping to sell to at least a hundred people (that’s more than 5% of my subscribers) within the first couple of hours.

But I made some serious mistakes in my calculations (more on that shortly).

So, instead of selling to 5%, I sold it to 31 subscribers, making $217 within the first 6 hours. (Sales continued after the first 6 hours, but they were more sparse.)

And no, it didn’t live up to my expectation, but still, I consider it a success because, without the deal, I wouldn’t have sold these products to my subscribers and made $200+. As far as I am concerned, this $200 is an extra.

My Mistakes And What I’d Do Differently

I made a ton of mistakes with this deal. Primarily due to my own impatience.

As soon as I get an idea, I have to implement it, or I lose interest. It’s a personality flaw, can’t do anything about it…

That said, let’s look at what I did and how things could have been better.

Mistake 1: The Whole Thing Came out of The Blue

Nobody had any idea that this was coming, myself included. I had only decided to offer this $7 bundle deal the night before I sent out the newsletter. I didn’t create a funnel, I didn’t create anticipation, I didn’t even explain properly what I was selling! I didn’t give them any heads up, and without a proper sales funnel, I’m sure I ended up confusing a bunch of people.

I just told everyone that the entire shop was being sold for $7, and as soon as the curious party clicked the link, the countdown timer had started already. Some of these guys didn’t even have a chance to figure out what they were looking at.

Which brings me to mistake # 2.

Mistake 2: Lack of Information and Visuals

I worked fast on setting up this bundle the night before.

Which means that I did a botchy job.

I created a product page, and just listed all the items that I was selling; unless someone was already well familiar with what products I had on my shop, no way they had time to figure out whether their $7 was being spent on a great deal or if they were just throwing their money into a ditch. A 20-minute window was nowhere near sufficient for them to figure out what the deal was all about.

Thinking back now, I feel that I’m lucky to have sold as many bundles as I did, given the poor job that I did.

The graphics I created were not exactly self-explanatory either. I simply added [some] the product images from the other products and didn’t explain what they were looking at. In conclusion, I told them they were getting a deal, but I did nothing to explain what the deal was.

Here’s what the bundle landing page looked like:

Pretty darn blah and boring, right?

Mistake 3: I Sent the Deal on a Sunday

Even a noob marketer knows that Sunday is the worst possible day of the week to send a newsletter, let alone one with a promotional product/deal of any kind.

Sundays usually have the absolute lowest email open rates.

I knew that all too well, but because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen, I completely disregarded data, and sent that newsletter.

I had less than 18% open rate in the first 12 hours or so (usually it’s close to 30% or more). I’m sure things would have been at least a little better if I had sent it on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday (best days to send a newsletter per statistics).

What I’d Do Differently Next Time

Next time I’d be more patient. I’d take my time contemplating each step of the process.

To start off, I should’ve given my subscribers a heads up. I should have sent a newsletter a week before the deal, to kind of familiarize them with what the Blog Shop is and what they can find in that shop. And then I should have teased them with the idea of a deal coming their way soon, and that they should look out for it the following week. That way, it wouldn’t hit them with a surprise attack, and they would be well prepared to take some kind of action.

Second, I would create better landing pages. Visuals are important when you’re selling designs/templates. Details are important too. A better landing page with a bit more details would have helped my subscribers make a decision better.

Third, I would send the email on a day when I know I’d get more traction.

Fourth, I would spend more time on the email copy and the subject line. When emails do not get opened, it’s almost always because the subject line wasn’t good enough. Also, the copy can make or break a deal. The right kind of copy can increase sales by at least a few times.

In fact, I am thinking about taking a copywriting course. I have been eyeing Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Kourse for a while now but wasn’t ready to take the leap quite yet. Now I’m seriously thinking about making the investment. I love Neville’s writing (sign up for this dude’s email list pronto, it’s one newsletter you’d love to open every single time!)

Finally, next time I would create an evergreen sales funnel.

You see, I have all the intention to do this again, but instead of a one-time offer, I want to create an evergreen funnel with my next $7 minimum viable product, just like Jon Morrow did with his. I want this to be something that will continue on, and as my traffic and email list grow, I will continue to make money off of this $7 product. That’s the goal at least.

Takeaways

While I made some mistakes, here’s something I want you to take away from my experience.

  1. You need to build an email list. Trust me and the gazillion other bloggers who are giving you the same advice. You need to build and grow an email list because you will need your army of subscribers if your goal is to make money blogging. I couldn’t have made the $200+ I did, in such a short time, by any other method. No ad, nor any social media promotion would have worked as well as and as fast as it did with my subscribers. (I have a free list-building course where I teach the steps I took to grow my list by 1,000 subscribers in just 4 months; you can sign up for it below.)
  2. Creating urgency makes sales. I believe that I sold as many of the bundle as I did because I created a sense of urgency and scarcity with the 20-minute window. If you’re not utilizing this technique, you’re leaving money on the table. Check out Deadline Funnel [affiliate]; it’s really simple to set up and the software integrates seamlessly with practically all marketing platforms, website platforms, and email marketing platforms out there.
  3. Use a sales funnel whenever possible. I believe I could have sold more of the bundle if I used a funnel instead of just throwing the $7-deal to my subscribers out of the blue.
  4. I don’t want you to undervalue yourself, but regardless, always provide more than what you promised. Aim to over-deliver, and you’ll have an army of happy customers who will buy from you again and again.

So, tell me if you want to use this tactic to create your very own $7 deal, and how you’d do it, in the comments below!

How I made 200 in less than 6 hours, with my email list.

How I made 200 in less than 6 hours, with my email list.

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