Making Money with Email Marketing and an Autoresponder Series

Michael Dunlop
    Topics: Email Marketing     More posts about: Monetizing Your Email List, Website Monetization

Email Marketing is the art of making money online using an email list.

When you have a good email list, a good offer, and a top-class email copywriter, it is almost like printing money!

Today I want to share with you how you can create your own email list and teach you how to earn money from it.

The great thing about having a list is you can always be making money, all you need is an offer that you can sell to your mailing list and then send it to them.

Recently when I was in Cyprus I emailed my list promotion and was able to pay for my entire two-week trip, and all it took me was 5 minutes.

The thing with blogging is that your traffic can drop and advertisers come and go; but if you look after your ‘list’ it’s yours forever.

If you were to lose your blog today you’d have nothing to show for it, your advertisers won’t continue paying and readers will quickly realize you no longer exist. However, if you had an email list you would carry on making money. Personally, 80% of my income comes from sales generated from email marketing and my eCourse. This is by far the best approach to making money blogging I have come across.

Right now I am using pretty much any means possible to grow my list because I understand how important it is.

The main ways I grow my list are through my popup opt-in box and also my squeeze page.

Email Marketing Tips - Perfecting Your Email Marketing Strategy
Below is my step by step guide to email marketing:

The only decision you need to make is how much money you really want!

Related Article:

12 Powerful Tips to Dramatically Increase Email Open Rate

Step 1) Create a “hook” so people sign up for your list

When I created my WebDesignDev website back in 2006, I had my programmer create a custom newsletter tool that worked to the extent I thought that newsletter software should work (send emails and that’s it).

There were many issues with this, but to keep a long story short, when it comes to email marketing, there is a lot more to it than sending an email.

When I started my next site ( in late 2006, I made sure to get this right and paid for a well-known email marketing tool called Aweber. All the biggest Internet marketers were using it, so I decided to invest $19 to get started.

Frankly working with Aweber is probably one of my best business investments I have ever made.

When I first started I simply said, “Sign up For Retireat21’s Newsletter”.

I think I got around 4 or 5 weekly sign-ups doing this, it wasn’t very good.

A couple of months later I decided to offer a FREE eBook about making money online and opt-ins went up straight away to around 4 or 5 per day and it grew from there.

I realized that to get more people on my list I had to almost “bribe” them to sign up.

A few examples of good incentives would be, FREE reports, eBooks, eCourses, tools, tips, etc.

A lot of people aren’t keen to give away something too good, but remember, the better it is, the more sign-ups you will get and the more money you will make.

A few things to remember when creating a hook:

  • Make it stand out with a good title – copy is incredibly important because if people can’t see the benefits of signing up, they simply won’t!
  • Add an eBook design – this helped a lot to make it stand out and make it look like there was real value to the FREE eBook.
  • Social Proof – if you have thousands of subscribers or more, include it in your copy. If your readers see you have a lot of sign-ups, they will think they should too because everyone else has.

An inexpensive product that makes eBook production easy is SQRIBBLE

  • Choose from 50 eye—grabbing designs across 15 profitable niche categories!
  • Each template comes with a table of contents and professional page layouts that convert readers into buyers!
  • Sqribble claims to be the only eBook creator you will ever need. [I am inclined to agree]

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Step 2) How To Set Up Your Email List

Once you have decided what you will offer people to signup for your email list, you have to go and set it up.

Like I mentioned above, we use and recommend Aweber. It’s by far the best and has some great features for you to work with. Once you have ordered Aweber, login and we can start.

If you have done that, here’s what to do next:

At the top of the page, you should see a link called Manage Lists, click this, and then in the top right corner, click Create A-List. Fill out the form and click Save List Settings.

Next, we need to create an opt-in form so people can sign up for your mailing list on your website, in the header, click WebForms followed by Create Web Form. Fill out the form and click Next, an example of one of my forms is below:


You will notice that I have added a custom thank you page URL, I recommend you all do this.

An easy way to set one up is to go into your WordPress Admin and click Pages, followed by Add New, now add a page to thank your new subscribers.

Now you will see a preview of what your opt-in box will look like. This section isn’t very important as the best tools for growing your list just need you to connect your Aweber account with their software. More about this further down.

Step 3) Setting Up Your Autoresponder Series

The next thing you want to do and straight away is set up your first autoresponder email for when people sign up.

To set up your first autoresponder, go back to Aweber and put your cursor over messages and a drop-down box will appear, click Legacy Follow Up Series. Now click Create a Message – you will now be able to set up your first autoresponder email.

It’s all quite self-explanatory, you can choose to customize it in a few ways such as use code like {!name_fix} to input the name of the person on your list who will be receiving it.

A good thing to do on your first email if it’s not an eCourse is to just simply introduce yourself and mention all your important pages on your website.

The most profitable follow-up series I ever wrote was a guide about how to start making money blogging. It was a 7-day eCourse, where the subscriber would receive a new email every day automatically for a week.

Why do I think it was so successful? Three reasons:

  1. It was good enough to sell
  2. They had time in-between each day to implement the advice
  3. To implement, they had to buy products through my affiliate link


There is a big difference between offering a FREE report or eBook and giving away an eCourse.

You see with an eCourse, the reader knows that you will email them regularly and so they won’t get annoyed when you email them daily. So often once someone signs up for your mailing list they will unsubscribe because they have got what they want and don’t want to be spammed.

Even if you don’t intend to create an autoresponder series, you MUST set up at least one autoresponder email to welcome them when people first sign up. This is the time when they are most interested and have showed that they want something from you.

Autoresponders can be used in lots of different ways, I use them to provide my FREE eCourse to teach everyone how to create a blog. Some people set up a year’s worth of emails to be sent out, some daily, some weekly but each time it refers them back to their website to have another chance at making them money.

I have one friend who uses his list to promote affiliate offers, and every time he gets a good response from an email, he will add it to his autoresponder as he knows it performs and will likely make more sales when new people sign up for his email list.

Step 4) How To Get People To Subscribe To Your Email List

How To Make Money with Email MarketingHow To Make Money with Email Marketing

Like I mentioned at the beginner of this article, I started by getting 4 or 5 subscribers a week. Then I offered a free eBook and started getting 4 or 5 subscribers a day.

After this, I started offering a great free eCourse and because I was getting more traffic, I was able to get around 25 new subscribers daily.

One day, while talking to a guy who was getting millions of website visitors a month to his site, he mentioned that he gets the most email subscribers from a popup.

The following week, I looked around for some software to do this and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. So my designer created a custom popup.

The first day we had it on IncomeDiary, we got around 125 new subscribers. It increased our opt-in rate by over 500%!

Today, it’s a lot easier to create a great-looking, high-converting popup. Simply use OptiMonk!

Step 5) Email Marketing Is About Making Money From Your Email List

With my eCourse, before I even get them to sign up, I make them know they need to spend money on Domains, Hosting, and Blog Design. Some people even buy before they sign up because I make it feel like the course is conditional on them buying the products.

Once they buy and they sign up, they will then be taken to a thank you page. This is where a lot of people go wrong, your thank you page is probably the most important page because they have already taken action and are interested right now!

This is where I make sure they know to confirm their email address but also I let them know again to buy a domain and hosting. On this page, I always cut out the navigation which is on the main site so they have to scroll through the page first to see what I have to say before there is a link to go back to the main site.

Sending Out Affiliate Promotions

Here is where you can make more money in a single day than your blog makes in a month (actually 2 minutes is all it takes to send).

I recently sent out a couple of promotions for product launches related to my site. Both had upsells and both had recurring revenue built-in. Two things I recommend you look for when choosing something to promote as that can bump up your earnings a lot.

I made around $2000 from the two emails and both had recurring payments so since then I have earned several thousand dollars.

It’s super easy and your list doesn’t have to be big, mine was a 4-month-old list I built from a new blog.

Another great thing about participating in product launches is the affiliate contests where you can win prizes if you perform well as an affiliate.


Rules to Follow When Finding and Sending Out Affiliate Promotions

  • Always look for the best offer, for example, you can sell an eBook where you will get a commission, but it would be best to find an offer that has a recurring revenue program built in so you don’t just earn today, you earn for months and years to come. For example, the promotion I talked about that I did in Cyprus just over a month ago, I have since earned around $1000 in follow-up payments from the recurring revenue program. Another great thing to look out for is up sells, on some promotions I make more money from just the up sells than the course itself.
  • Don’t send too many promotions out, typically you can get away with around 3 a week and no one gets to cross but I try to limit to once if it’s a direct promotion but most of the time I don’t send out ones at all because I know my eCourse performs well.
  • Make sure you send promotions for target products, if you can’t send many emails because you are worried people will drop out then you want to get the best results possible. Wait for a promotion that fits 100% with your business.
  • Send out emails before the launching offering the affiliates FREE reports, this is huge! Basically, they give you an affiliate link which you can promote to your list and when they sign up for it and get a FREE report or eBook they are now signed up through your affiliate link so when they email the there list about the launch of the product and anyone you send for the FREE eBook buys, then you make a commission, this way you don’t look like your pushing the sale yourself.
  • Be the first to promote, so often dozens of affiliates will email a new promotion on the same day, the first person is more likely to get the most sales. This is because a lot of lists have the same people on them so you want to be the first one to let your mailing list know.

No Leakage Means More Money

This is something I picked up from James Schramko who was one of our first interviewees on this blog.

We sat down on the last day at Yanik Silvers underground seminar and we compared blogs. I had double the amount of traffic as him so naturally, he thought I would be making more money than him, surprisingly he told me he made around 20x more than me!

After I went through his website I didn’t quite understand how, he had no text links, no paid reviews, and no advertisers. He later shared with me that it’s all in the list. He explained if your list is so much more profitable than selling adverts on your blog, then why bother selling adverts?

You see he worked out that instead of sending people to other people’s websites through adverts and reviews and instead of getting people on his list, he would make more money. This is where “No Leakage” comes in, if there is a way for your reader to leave your website, then there is less chance they will sign up for your mailing list.

A great example of this is IncomeDiary, the only way you will leave is if you go through an affiliate link or if you get bored and press the X in the top corner.

Another great benefit of using the no leakage rule is, you don’t devalue your content. Readers typically don’t like adverts, do you?

Best Practices For Email Marketing

You now have all the information you need to set up and start earning money from your mailing list. I thought I would finish by offering a few rules I run my list by, to make sure I make the most out of my list and get the best results.

Rule 1: DON’T SPAM!

Rule 2: Try not to share your list, often for new product launches they will get you to send pre launch emails to get them to opt-in for a FREE report, this is a bad idea because then they basically get a copy of your list although it’s a great way to convert more sales.

OK, not everyone will agree with that one and there are times when I will share the list, but the above point is well worth remembering — at least some of the time 😉

Rule 3: Be personal, your a human being (I hope) so come across like one and not a spam bot.

Rule 4: Be consistent in what you offer your readers, if you are offering great blogging tips then don’t just “wack” up a post about blogging just because you have to, make sure everything to provide has true value.

Rule 5: Be consistent in how often you email your readers – I get some readers who actually email me asking me why they haven’t got an email today. I try to update them Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Rule 6: It’s not all about the money, don’t promote something just because you want to make money but because your readers actually need it – and because you would personally buy it!

I hope today’s post has helped!

Read more: ‘How to Monetize a Blog: The Two Main Ways We Make Money Online’