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Affiliate Marketing

How I Got on Ryan Deiss’ Leaderboard AND Won an IPad with a Tiny Email List

Affiliate marketing sounds easy. After all, how else can you start making money online without a product, a store, a website, right?

Plus, there are so many folks out there who are making it HUGE with affiliate marketing. They are at the top of their game. They make $150K+ per month just by sending out a few emails to their massive lists.

And they can teach us how to do it.

However, let me put some brakes on this runaway train of thought.

You CAN’T and you SHOULDN’T learn affiliate marketing from Super Affiliates.

You know why?

Because you are not them, so you can’t sell like they do.

When an email subscriber gets a promotional email for any given product from you AND a super affiliate, who do you think they are more likely to buy from?

The odds are stacked against you because a super affiliate:

  • Has a reputation they can take to the bank;
  • Has more money to offer way better bonuses than you ever could;
  • Can afford to hire a great copywriter to come up with a convincing email copy;
  • Has a massive number of followers and huge lists.

Still think you can compete with that?

Not a chance.

Super affiliates know that when it comes down to promoting the next hot launch of the month, the odds are definitely in their favor.

Also, consider this: those top dawgs have huge lists, so they can afford low conversions.

After all, if they have a list of only (he-he) 1ooK subscribers and a miserly 1% of them will buy a $50 product with 50% commission, that’s $25,ooo in their pocket with just one email.

And what’s your take for the same promotion if your list is MUCH smaller than that?

With 500 subscribers on your list and the same conversion rate, you’ll make a whooping $125.

And if your list is 200, then your take is $50.

Doesn’t come anywhere close to their $25K, right?

It’s commonly said that you should work towards earning $1 per subscriber per month from your list.

A super affiliate with 100K subscriber base will, no doubt, be very happy to earn that – all with a minimal effort on their part.

Do you make anywhere close to that with your list?

Still think affiliate marketing is something you want to go for? LOL

I hope I didn’t scare you straight because believe me, there’s some hope for the rest of us (i.e. not super affiliates) in this post.

The trick is that we have to work a lot smarter than they do.

My Recent “Competition” with Super Affiliates

Despite everything my common sense told me, I recently chose to promote one of Ryan Deiss‘ affiliate offers.

Just in case you don’t know who Ryan Deiss is, he’s “up there”.

He’s the guru. He’s the top dawg. He’s the guy that makes enough money to afford to maintain a staff of experts that cost him about $200K PER MONTH.

For most of us in online marketing, it’d take years to make that much money with all our online efforts combined.

With a reputation like that, Ryan Deiss’ affiliates are the cream of the crop as well – the super affiliates that we can’t touch.

And yet…

Take a look at this screenshot of an email Ryan sent out announcing the leaderboard of his recent launch of Digital Marketer Lab:

ryan deiss digital marketer lab

Dan Kennedy? Eben Pagan? And… Ana Hoffman?

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this.

And I was absolutely speechless when, some time after the launch, I received a package containing my brand new IPad! I actually won an IPad… competing with all those super affiliates… all with about 1,400 subscribers

No, I am not saying all this to blow my own trumpet. Well, maybe just a little bit.

My not-so-secret secret lies in the fact that my email list, although small (it’s just about 2,500 subscribers right now), is very TARGETED and RESPONSIVE.

digital marketing lab promo emails

In the screenshot above you can see the four pre-launch emails I sent out to my list. You see the total number of recipients in the first red box. The second red box shows the open rate (about 60%, which is exceptionally good) and the click-through rate (about 18% on average).

All in all, my email marketing efforts yielded 335 opt-ins, a nice paycheck, an IPad, and bragging rights, which I am very happily bragging about right now.

How Did I Do It?

The good news is I am no super affiliate – far from it, so all the tips I am about to share with you are actionable and can be applied to ANY blog and list size.

Some of them are very common-sense and you already know about them (BUT do you apply them?) and some of them might be completely new to you.

Either way, here’s how you can dominate affiliate marketing with very little resources:

#1. TRUST

This is one of those obvious points, but the one that is the foundation of successful affiliate marketing.

A lot of newbies ask me why they aren’t making much money with affiliate products.

My common response to them is to ask these questions in return “Have you built relationships with your readers? Do they trust you? Do they even know who you are?”

It goes without saying that if their answer is no, then they know exactly why they are not making much money.

I work very hard to build relationships with my readers and my list. I know many of them by name. I know what they do for a living. I know how many kids they have. I know what their struggles are.

In turn, THEY know they can come to me with any questions and I will ALWAYS respond to them.

That’s why they trust me.

#2. AUTHORITY

It does help to be an authority of sorts in the blogosphere, I won’t lie.

Many people know who I am before they ever come to my blog for the first time: they see my guest posts, comments on other blogs, they read posts mentioning me on other blogs. They are already familiar with me before they ever “set foot” on my blog.

But before you throw your hands in the air and say “I can’t compete with that; no one knows me!”, let me tell you this:

Traffic Generation Cafe was started in July of 2010 – it’s barely a year old. NO ONE ever heard of me before then.

FamousBloggers.net isn’t even 2 years old.

And I can go on and on with the list of blogs that we would consider to be an authority in their niches, yet they are baby-blogs of the blogosphere.

Building a popular blog doesn’t involve magic. Just plain old-fashioned hard work and a little outside-the-box thinking will do.

So don’t go crying that no one knows you; do something about it and, who knows, maybe in a year or two you’ll have a FamousBloggers.net in your hands.

#3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROGRAMS TO PROMOTE

There are two sides of the coin for this one.

Sure it makes sense to pick affiliate programs that are relevant to your niche, that you’ve used before yourself and know for a fact that these programs are the real deal and will definitely benefit your subscribers.

The most sure way to lose their trust is to do otherwise.

However, there’s a different side to this equation: YOU.

After all, you are in it to make money, right? So you need to learn how to find the best affiliate marketing programs that pay and make sure you promote only the ones that benefit BOTH you and your readers.

#4. BUILD A LIST

There’s a lot of talks in the blogosphere about not needing to build a list any longer.

It’s an “old-fashioned way of doing things”.

I say that it’s the people who don’t know how to build a list, never built a list, and never experienced the power of having one that say that.

The proof? Just see the screenshots above.

I would have never been able to achieve these conversion rates if it hadn’t been for my list. As a matter of fact, that was the primary way I generated all those leads and sales, period.

BUT not just any list will do.

I know of plenty of bloggers who are obsessed with list building and have 10K subscribers. However, they’ll never achieve the same open and click-through rates as I do with my miniscule, compared to theirs, list.

If you wonder where on your blog you should add optin forms to maximize your list building efforts, take a look at which pages bring me the most subscribers.

#5. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIST

This is truly one of my secrets that allowed me to effectively communicate with a targeted number of subscribers who trust me.

Here are some of the ingredients of maintaining a healthy email list:

  1. Don’t sell – much. Obviously, you have to be cautious about sending out too many promos and not enough value. Too much selling is the easiest way to lose trust and subscribers.
  2. Do sell – some. But don’t be afraid of occasionally sending promo emails either. If some people end up unsubscribing because of it, good riddance I say. After all, you are in business to make money and your list needs to know that.
  3. Don’t do “canned”. There’s nothing worse than getting automated emails in our inboxes, wouldn’t you agree? Forget canned. Talk to your readers. For instance, I send only one canned email to my subscribers – my very first one, in which I tell them that this will be the only auto email I send, what to expect from being on my list, and a fair warning that I might occasionally send out promo emails (getting them used to the fact that I am in it to make money AS WELL AS provide pure value.)
  4. Stay in touch at least once a week. Twice is even better. Anything more than that and it’ll get overwhelming. Anything less than that and they’ll forget who you are – really.
  5. Be to the point. No one wants to read mile-long emails; who has the time or the energy, right? Be precise and to the point. Make sure you have one call to action per email (although, to be honest, I break this rule all the time).
  6. Deliverability. Your email autoresponder is in charge of getting your emails out to your subscribers, and you’d better make sure yours does a good job at it. Both Hesham and I highly recommend Aweber as our choice of autoresponder service. Feel free to see why I chose it in my full Aweber review.
  7. Clean your list. This is the reason my list is so small, but so responsive. Every once in a while, I do some “spring cleaning” of my list: get rid of unsubscribes, undeliverables, and those who haven’t opened your emails for a while. Plus, keeping your email list lean saves you money since most autoresponders charge you by the number of subscribers you have, including those who unsubscribed, etc.

For step by step instructions on how to do list cleaning, DEFINITELY read this post:

Bottom Line

Affiliate marketing is never out of reach, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned blogger.

You just need to find ways to promote yourself better that the other guy or gal that works for YOU and YOUR niche.

Don’t be a copycat. Make others want to copy you.

[box type="note"]This post is part of our Blog Contest! If you like it, support the author by sharing it and adding comments. Also make sure to check other entries by visiting the blog contest page.[/box]

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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{ 275 comments… add one }

  • Andy bailey
    Twitter:
    December 13, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Great advice Ana, I know first hand how well you do email marketing from your 1st place result in the commentluv premium launch! Just what will you do with all those iPads? Haha
    Andy bailey recently posted..CommentLuv PremiumMy Profile

    • Ana December 13, 2011, 4:19 pm

      LOL, Andy – I must say your promo was quite a boost to my ego!
      Ana recently posted..Aweber ReviewMy Profile

  • Gumbumper December 13, 2011, 10:31 am

    Congratulations, Ana! You ROCK!!
    Gumbumper recently posted..SWV Unveils Artwork For ‘Co-Sign’ SingleMy Profile

  • Erika December 13, 2011, 7:55 am

    Congratulations, Ana! That is fantastic. And I really liked your points. I am by no means an expert, but I too have found that being “real” and honest with people is the best way to get regular readers. Great article!

  • Tram Tran December 13, 2011, 7:13 am

    I think I trust you already;)

  • Bryan Aucremanne December 13, 2011, 1:08 am

    Congratulations and many more…

  • VeehCirra December 13, 2011, 12:53 am

    Hi Ana,
    Wow, congratulations. I just have to say you have enough influence to lead a small country :) This is the best example to show that if you genuinely listen to people they will always listen to you.
    I am on your list too, am I just love that you don’t send canned emails…
    Can’t wait to see to wait you have in store next!
    VeehCirra recently posted..The 30 Day Short Story Writing ChallengeMy Profile

  • Faissal Alhaithami
    Twitter:
    December 11, 2011, 3:59 pm

    Great win Ana, Congratulation! and Thanks a lot for the points you mentioned and I guess TRUST is the most important factor of any email list.
    Faissal Alhaithami recently posted..Tutorial: How to import youtube channel videos to facebook fan pageMy Profile

  • Mitchell Allen December 11, 2011, 9:58 am

    Ana, I can see you really know your stuff. When I visited on the 1st of the month, you were in 7th place, now, as I write this, you’re a chessboard’s worth of spaces from 2nd place!

    On top of that, you also won Andy Bailey’s CommentLuv Premium launch contest.
    Good luck as this winds down! I’m definitely taking notes.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted..Community Network Meme 2011My Profile

  • Brad December 11, 2011, 3:28 am

    Great example of how maintaining a quality list can deliver great results!
    Brad recently posted..Yelp Australia: You Can Use It To Boost Your Local SEO ResultsMy Profile

  • Roger Abramson December 11, 2011, 12:23 am

    Ana, I think you’ve developed an effective method others can use to grow a loyal and responsive blog following. I think you’re right about anything being possible. It’s easier than it’s ever been to choose to do what it takes to become famous, rich, or happy, if you’re willing to learn, work, and try. I’m starting to see my little seeds sprouting. Others who frequent your blog seem to have developing gardens of their own. I think you’re doing great things for people. I saw small but immediate results by using just a few of your tips. It’s very encouraging.
    Roger Abramson recently posted..FREE Business Optimization Course Video Series Day 1My Profile

  • Jamie Hudson December 10, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Excellent post from Ana…

    That’s actually quite shocking how Ana competed with super affiliates and came in the top 10. Her post says it all, with Ana quality comes first. Her blog is an amazing resource full of amazing content – people get overwhelmed by her content, join her list, get overwhelmed by more content and her authoritativeness and obviously buy what she recommends.
    Jamie Hudson recently posted..The Micro Niche Site Business Model ExplainedMy Profile

  • Catherine Daar December 10, 2011, 1:18 pm

    Thanks again and again Ana for all your great content and articles.
    I have been following you from the beginning of your blog and your teachings have helped me grow my business.
    I will always vote for you.
    Your true fan from Switzerland.
    Cat

  • Justin Germino
    Twitter:
    December 9, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Exceptional article and you also make such great points, often the giants will get the product and already market it before the smaller affiliate even gets access to it further hurting their chances. To be a successful affiliate you also need to really have a niche and stick to products in the target niche of your mailing list or you will get bounce rates and losses.

    This is one reason why I don’t have a great mailing list for affiliate marketing and really can’t with my site, I am too unfocused too much variation and it isn’t ideal for affiliate marketing. I only run it for newsletters and contests.
    Justin Germino recently posted..Amazon Android App of the DayMy Profile

    • Ana December 9, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Much appreciated, Justin.

      That’s precisely why we can’t and shouldn’t follow their footsteps; rather figure out what works for OUR marketing and OUR audience.
      Ana recently posted..5 Ways to Make Money with Email MarketingMy Profile

  • Steve
    Twitter:
    December 9, 2011, 10:09 am

    Ana,

    Some great results here from something important…..doing affiliate marketing the RIGHT way. Building a list is important, and the only way to do it the right way is to earn that t rust and respect and keep it by only promoting products and services that are worth while.

    With this simple example you have shown just some of that power that can be garnered, even against the ‘big boys’ when you list build in the right way.
    Steve recently posted..4 Christmas *Goodies* for ANY Internet MarketerMy Profile

  • Harleena Singh
    Twitter:
    December 9, 2011, 6:43 am

    Great bit of information Ana!

    You sure are a role model for most bloggers and congrats for your acheievemnets as well. :)

    It truly is amazing to see the conversion rates and I think the way you connect and interact with people, must be one of the reasons, besides the awesome information shared with all of us.

    Wishing you more success in all your endeavors :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Mesmerizing Sunshine Award!My Profile

    • Ana December 9, 2011, 9:39 am

      Thanks so much, Harleena, and thanks for taking your time to stop by!
      Ana recently posted..Aweber ReviewMy Profile

  • Donna
    Twitter:
    December 9, 2011, 4:13 am

    Great info as always from you, Ana. After watching your recent videos, I’d like to see you put together a video course that you sell (I’ll be happy to sign up as an affiliate of yours, hehe) that puts together all the various aspects that you discuss on your blog. Consider it, ok?
    Donna recently posted..Paid Email Newsletters – Ever Tried It?My Profile

  • Kent Cohen December 9, 2011, 2:58 am

    Ana, of all the top guru/internet marketers you are one of three i subscribe to. BTW, very impressive Alexa ranking.

  • Renee December 9, 2011, 1:13 am

    I’m on the brand side who relies on affiliates to promote my products and I find that the most successful earners I pay out to are warm and engaging with a large list built by being “real” without all the hoopla involved in enticing readers to subscribe to their blogs.

    I love your stuff, Anna – thanks for all you write!

  • Elisabeth Christian December 9, 2011, 12:20 am

    Congratulations, Ana! Can’t wait to see where this takes you!

  • Carlos
    Twitter:
    December 8, 2011, 11:57 pm

    First of all, I would like to congratulate you for winning an IPad. I am very confident that you will be the next SUPER AFFILIATE because you have all the qualities of becoming so and more! I believe in you!

  • Mitz Pantic
    Twitter:
    December 8, 2011, 11:26 pm

    Hey Ana
    Congrats on this huge achievement!! The first thing I am going to do is signup for your list and see what you do…:)
    Mitz Pantic recently posted..4 Reasons You Are Not Getting Targeted Google Adsense AdsMy Profile

    • Ana December 8, 2011, 11:43 pm

      Much appreciated, Mitz!

  • Viktoria December 8, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Thank you for the tips, Ana! I love your blog!

  • Danielle Parsons
    Twitter:
    December 8, 2011, 11:20 pm

    I am voting for Ana! She has worked hard to develop her niche in traffic generation. Ana offers great value and follows the suggestions she gives to other bloggers.

    I have the powerful Thesis themes on all my sites now and Comment Luv Premium. It is great to work with powerful tools in my fitness and wellness niche.
    Danielle Parsons recently posted..Did You Achieve Your Goals This Year?My Profile

  • Dan December 8, 2011, 11:19 pm

    Hi Ana, well done and great advice!

    I have about 1000 people on my list but none of them would ever buy anything. There are all sorts of people on there and my open rates are around 25%. It goes to show you how important having a targeted list and as you say managing that list well and choosing the right products to promote.

    Enjoy the iPad!
    Dan recently posted..Forget focusMy Profile

  • Dneprolab December 8, 2011, 3:53 pm

    My vote is for Ana. Thanks for great tips in list building and other cool things.
    Ana is definitely not a copycat, so keep pushing.
    Looking forward to hearing new cool advices.

  • Sanjeev
    Twitter:
    December 6, 2011, 11:34 am

    Ana, Like the way you said it. If the list is not a responsive one than there is no meaning of having it and when most people does not have that big lists, it becomes more important.

    If its for affiliate marketing I have seen many sites which does not worry about list, readers….they concentrate only on SEO and rankings, I would assume they would be earning enough money (it may not be as much as Super affiliates but it would be more than the small list members). If its only for money that can be a way….

    • Ana December 6, 2011, 11:16 pm

      I certainly agree, Sanjeev – many sites do just that: get ranked highly for competitive product names and quietly enjoy nice paycheck.

      I think I need to look into that! LOL
      Ana recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile

  • Jane
    Twitter:
    December 5, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Ana, I am not at all surprised to know what you have achieved. I’m on your list and I just cannot leave your email unopened, no matter at what time of the day it arrives.

    I can feel the closeness you’re building with your subscribers; you deliver a lot of value. So its easy to get sold :)

  • Caleb
    Twitter:
    December 4, 2011, 7:57 pm

    One thing that stood out was that you don’t use “canned” messages and I am supposing you mean preset messages. That would mean that subscribers today will never see the CAFE bombs you dropped yesterday!

    For example today I got an email from you about the Aweber plugin option to add subscribers via your blog comment form and although I already knew about that, I wonder if your subscribers tomorrow will know which they would’ve had it been part of series?

    Now of course there are those spur of the moment messages you just got to broadcast to your list and although I am still mastering the fine art of email marketing, I have found that certain list campaigns greatly benefit from preset messages. But then again your freestyle approach does intrigue me so…

    …how about you test out presets on certain segments of your lists while I try your freestyle method on certain segments of mines :idea:
    Caleb recently posted..Follow Up Email Sequences To Send To Your ListMy Profile

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:30 pm

      On the other hand, if I find a far better choice than that Aweber plugin tomorrow, Caleb, that means that I’d have to remember to change my message, and keep doing it on a regular basis.

      I’ve been on so many lists that send out outdated preset messages!

      Also, I think you mentioned one very important aspect.

      What I do is different. Different is good. That is maybe what makes my list so responsive to begin with.

      I did try canned in the beginning of my blog. Didn’t like it. Don’t like getting those kinds of email myself.

      Also, I have another email list, where all I do is canned emails. It’s still my style and all, but the engagement rate with that email list is almost non-existent, whereas with my Traffic Generation Cafe list, I consistently get several responses from my subscribers after each time I email – and no one is cursing me yet. LOL

  • James Hussey December 3, 2011, 8:45 pm

    NICE. I would say, “impressive,” but actually it’s just you being you (you’re a marketer, networker, social maven).

    The difference between you and someone who just builds links (trying not to raise my hand) is that you build relationships, which have more equity than mere links – so I’m “not impressed.”

    We expect that from you, Ana. :P

    But congrats! And since you already have an iPad 2 (my guess) – I could use an extra. :)

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:23 pm

      LOL, James – I think the only way I can get that IPad away from my husband is… wait, can’t think of any!

      No, this was my first… Who wants to spend $500+ on it, when you can have a real Macbook warming your lap on the cold winter nights, huh? Now I feel like a cup of hot chocolate.

      Links? I only wish I had more time for them! I am an introvert and this whole socializing thing doesn’t come naturally, so I’d rather build links, quite honestly.

      Thanks for stopping by! (and don’t forget to give this post another shout in the social media when you have a second; might as well milk the most out of our friendship, right? LOL)

  • Sean December 3, 2011, 8:37 pm

    Great entry Ana! You’re right – it always seems daunting to compete with people who are ‘up top’ and kickin’ ass. But your authority and authenticity in your emails have greatly increased your conversion rates – your subscribers love you! (Obviously, I’m one of ‘em) What you’re doing is really hard. I, for one, only have a measly 15% conversion and my list is even smaller than yours. Building a list is difficult – building a really good one is even harder.

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:17 pm

      I do agree, Sean – building a list is not easy.

      I was about to give it up many times in the beginning, to tell you the truth.

      There were plenty of days I didn’t see a single sign-up and wanted to dance for joy when I saw one. LOL

      But now that I am over the hump and see the true benefits of building a list, I am so thankful I stuck with it.

      I think I just had an idea for a post…

      • James Hussey December 4, 2011, 11:29 pm

        Social media shout? Already did, sis: Chris Brogan commented on it at G+ with a thank you. :)

        • Ana December 5, 2011, 12:44 am

          Saw it – why would he comment on your profile and not mine? I am much cuter…

  • Azhar December 3, 2011, 11:56 am

    Well done Ana you have created a chain of relation among your readers by personality knowing them. It is the back bone of any business either it is online or offline.

  • Paul December 3, 2011, 9:09 am

    Spot on again Anna. You have a wonderful easy to read writing style because you are you. You give inspiration to those of us just starting out that we can be real instead of copywriters. I open everyone of your emails because of the fact that you always share good info and you are real. Purchased comment luv from your link because you represented the product well. Thanks for always being you and keep up the awesome job of telling it like it is.
    Paul recently posted..Photo Secrets|Depth of Field TechniquesMy Profile

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:13 pm

      I really truly appreciate it, Paul – your comment, your support, everything. I only got where I am at now because you are willing to read my blog!

      It took me a while to find my “voice”. Once I started writing the way I talk, things started clicking. After some practice, I can write blog posts in my dreams. LOL Not too sure if it’s a good thing…
      Ana recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      December 15, 2011, 5:24 am

      Paul,

      I have to agree with you..Ana’s emails just have to be opened and I also purchased CommenyLuv Premium via her link.

      Andrew
      Andrew recently posted..On The Second Day Of Christmas…My Profile

  • Brian D. Hawkins
    Twitter:
    December 3, 2011, 1:09 am

    Great job Ana and I appreciate you sharing the “how” part of it. I tried to hang in there with you in Andy’s contest, even stayed in the top 10 for a while, but I just couldn’t keep the momentum going. It was fun though.

    I’ve had several lists in the past but my newsletter is a different kind of list than I’m used to. I was struggling with how to introduce offers to those signing up for a weekly newsletter. It sounds like I need to be a little more clear on our newsletter page. Building the trust has always been important to me, even with IM lists. If I haven’t used and believed in it, I haven’t promoted it. Thanks and Congratulations, you deserved your winnings.
    Brian D. Hawkins recently posted..Linking Out To Other Blogs And Getting Noticed For ItMy Profile

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:09 pm

      Thanks so much, Brian.

      Yes, I saw you in the top ten for a while – nothing to sneeze at!

      I think when you do affiliate marketing to your list, it’s important to send emails a bit more often. That way you provide value most of the times and offers only every once in a while.

      If you email your list once a week and once of those 4 times per month you do an affiliate mailing of sorts, then you promote 25% of the times. You see what I mean?

      I’d tried twice per week.

  • Brankica
    Twitter:
    December 2, 2011, 8:26 pm

    I would take a 1.500 members responsive list instead of 30.000 untargeted one any time :) Awesome post, Ana.

    I know you will give me a good answer to this one so here it goes :) You’ve probably seen the newsletter “strategy” over at Problogger and how he does it with his photography blog. He will send out I think one or two emails a week, which are not canned, but then you will have some canned ones spread out, for example after 30 days you will get a canned email that is basically an affiliate product pitch and then sometimes you will get a canned email with a list of bets posts on a topic. Something like that, I am sure you will know what I am talking about.

    So what do you think about that strategy? I like your approach, but how bad (or is it) what they are recommending. I guess I can’t make up my mind for the future strategy of my own list, lol
    Brankica recently posted..How To Get Others To Build Your Links And Protect Your Sites With TyntMy Profile

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 11:05 pm

      I’ve tried it both ways in the past, Brankica – or should I say, all three ways: canned only, uncanned only, and the mixture.

      Because the canned emails are space out according to how many days someone is signed up to your post, it means that the chances are great that at least a portion of your list will get their queued email, plus your live email on the same day or very close together. You know what I mean?

      Anyway, for now, sending out live emails works best for both me and I dare to say for my readers.
      Ana recently posted..From 25 Million to 140,000 – Decreasing Alexa Traffic Rank in 6 WeeksMy Profile

      • Jym
        Twitter:
        December 11, 2011, 6:28 am

        I still think that the ‘too many emails’ doesn’t have to be a problem…

        Having some canned stuff (a ‘course’ or whatever) is obviously a good way to guide new list members through the basics of what you’re sharing.

        Real time newsletters are naturally more about building relationships and sharing what’s current.

        As long as people on your list know what to expect (because you’ve told them) then it shouldn’t be a problem.

        As far as I’m concerned, if someone is offended by receiving two emails on the same day occasionally – then I’m happy to have them unsubscribe!
        Jym recently posted..Writing Effective SEO Headlines – How to Rank and Get ReadersMy Profile

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      December 15, 2011, 5:27 am

      Brankica

      It’s all about testing. There is no right / wrong way for YOUR list.

      I would test all 3 ways and see what works best.

      I personally used the mixture of canned and uncanned.

      Andrew
      Andrew recently posted..On The Second Day Of Christmas…My Profile

  • Srinivas Reddy December 2, 2011, 6:05 pm

    It all comes down building relationships, doesn’t it? Easy concept, but hard to practice. And you do an excellent job of this, Ana. In addition to being super-likeable, I love the way you communicate hard-tro-grasp concepts. I’m not an affiliate marketer, but I still enjoy reading your posts. I see a book with your name on it, Ana (assuming you haven’t already started one). :)

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 10:58 pm

      Completely under our control, and yet so often overlooked, isn’t it, Srinivas?

      For now, I can only dream about writing a book… however, nothing that I can’t handle with a few sleepless nights. LOL

  • Lindsey Rainwater December 2, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Great post Ana! I’ve been falling behind on keeping in touch with the small list I have, which is bad considering they are all targeted and proven buyers. This article gave me a little kick in the butt to go do something about that. : )

    And on a topic in an earlier comment, the “gurus” who lie and pull shenanigans not only irritate people who are trying to learn, but also those who are trying to sell. I have good products, and I sell PLR (which is a dirty word in the minds of many because of the poor output of others.)

    I always tell the truth about how long something will be on special, or how many copies there are. When trying to build urgency, (which let’s face it, you have to have a little to sell to “the masses”) I’ll sometimes say “I don’t know how long this will be available.” or “It won’t be here forever.” Because it won’t – I probably won’t want that product in a year or two, I’ll want to sell something new and never seen before.

    So when I tell people I’m in internet marketing, and they give me the narrow-eyed look and ask if I’m one of “those” marketers, it makes me want to go strangle a “guru” or two. : )

    There is a line between using tactics that work, and lying outright, and it IS NOT a thin line from what I’ve seen. The more of us who are 100% honest with our visitors and buyers, the better this industry will be. Not to mention the good marketers (like you, Ana) are the ones that end up on top in the long haul.

    Thanks again for your insight! : )
    Lindsey Rainwater recently posted..Online Business FAQs #2My Profile

    • Ana December 4, 2011, 10:55 pm

      Ahh, a list of BUYERS, Lindsey – do I need to give you a kick in the rear or what?

      You are so right; internet marketing products are getting bad rep because of some bad apples. However, there are still many great and honest products out there like yours that are truly designed to help.

  • Sanam December 2, 2011, 6:18 am

    I came across to your blog through a comment you left on someone else blog (authority blog). The content really hooked me up and i can’t resist myself to come to your blog often.

    YES you’re right we can’t compete with super affiliates as they have established systems but people like you’re great examples who are appearing as rising stars (congratulations) in the MOST SATURATED NICHES.

    As far as affiliate marketing is concern, the tips you shared here are really very effective. The way you reach your target audience and how you present your offer plays an important role in getting successful with affiliate marketing. Another thing that I learn from you is how much passionate you’re about your offer and how well you know about it. As a buyer, the thing attract me to buy (for example “commentluv”) or any product on your recommendation is they way you speak about your offer… Genuine, Friendly and With an Authority. For me the more genuine the recommendation is the greater will be the CR.

  • Joshua December 1, 2011, 11:02 pm

    Wow Ana! This is truly a BADASS post! I am a huge fan of affiliate marketing and list building and it’s also one of my main income sources aside from my niche blogs.

    But there is nothing like being able to make money on demand by sending out an email. Not only that but being able to provide vallue and continue to serve your subscribers with value.

    Way to stick it to the “Big Guys” and represent for us with a list of under 2k! but definitely growing lol
    Joshua recently posted..3 Cool Must Have WordPress Plugins I Can’t Live WithoutMy Profile

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:36 pm

      After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that affiliate marketing is right up my alley over any other money-making method out there, Joshua.

      And now turns out I am actually getting somewhere with it! LOL

      I had a hard time seeing value in building a list until I truly learned how to communicate with my list, which for me meant to stop sending out automated emails and just talk to people.
      Ana recently posted..Baa Baa, Black Sheep…My Profile

  • Elisabeth December 1, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Anna, You are amazing in how you can write so honestly and be personable and motivational, too. You are really good about breaking things down to their simplest level.

  • Noah December 1, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Hello Ana, you are a very rare example for a honest ‘teacher’ nowadays – as I have lost my job 2 years ago and in the age of 52 in Germany have little chance to get another. Because of this I decided to learn Online Business – only knowing how to start my Browser at that time and studying the web 24/7 – until 3 months ago I started my first Blog and are still filling it with Content for newbees like I was – and doing this in german and english to have more audience. On this long way I met a lot of so called ‘GURUS’ trying to sell me their crappy Stuff with loud advertising and daily ‘urgent’ mails – yes I was on more than 30 lists and have sorted out all except five – and one of the five is you.
    So in my opinion, and for me you are one of the last honest ‘real professionals’ that are to find in that business – and there is adding one more for the Future – ME, to make this wold a little better for some people out there.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and Ideas – Noah

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:32 pm

      Learning from experience is the best way to go, Noah.

      Now you and I know how NOT to market after watching all the gurus… Whenever I see their offers, my question is always “Who would ever buy this stuff???” Unfortunately, people who don’t know any better is the answer.

      I really appreciate your support and encouragement. It truly inspires me to be more and to do more!
      Ana recently posted..Baa Baa, Black Sheep…My Profile

  • Sye Rodriguez December 1, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Hi Ana. You have definitely inspired me on many occassions in the short time I’ve been following you. I am determined to make it in affiliate marketing and seeing others have success is a big help. I put a lot of time into doing it and I still have other jobs I need to do for now.
    Letting people know it takes work is honest and the truth is beautiful. There are so many people out there that lie to get you to buy something, that waste’s your time instead of helping.
    People like you give help to people and that’s why we want to buy something through you when we see it’s useful for us.
    I just want to share something real quick. I was on a live webinar last night that wasn’t live. The people who advertised the webinar were selling $2,000 software that’s supposed to help you buy the right facebook ads.
    They claimed it was life, but I knew better. They said it was full and don’t get off the call or you won’t be able to get back on. I was able to log back into their phony webinar 4 times.
    Then they pulled the ole “Theirs only 8 copies of this software left;” and “This webinar won’t be seen again.”
    I’ve already got an email today saying there’s some copies left, even though they sold out, and the webinar is available for replay, but hurry because it won’t be up for long.
    Thanks Ana for being a real person people can believe in.

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:28 pm

      Don’t you hate that, Sye?

      No wonder so many honest entrepreneurs end up quitting the business because of shenanigans like these.

      Whoever buys into “buy it now or it’ll be gone forever” motto any longer?

      Sorry, I am getting heated up over this.

      On another note, thanks so much for making your way here and taking your time to leave a comment, Sye – much appreciated!
      Ana recently posted..How to Get Your Website Found in Country Specific Search ResultsMy Profile

  • Kiesha
    Twitter:
    December 1, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Congratulations, Ana!

    You are a serious go-getter!! It’s obvious you are blessed with some supernatural powers that just aren’t available to everyone :) Add all of that to #1-5 and you’ve got an explosive mix of success. I’m so happy for you. You are one to be emulated!
    Kiesha recently posted..The Curious Case of Blogging PassionMy Profile

  • Allie
    Twitter:
    December 1, 2011, 11:40 am

    Ana,

    You are always an inspiration to me. Honestly. And to see you winning against the Big Dogs makes me want to work even harder to achieve what I want online.

    My list is way smaller than yours but it grows and right now that is all I can ask for. But I am on yours and I can say I open all the ones I notice. That sounds funny, but sometimes I get so many emails from commenting that I miss yours. You always give quality, concise information. I know when I open your emails they won’t be about sales but how you can help me.

    Thanks Ana!

    ~Allie

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Allie.

      I remember how excited I was to get even a couple of subscribers per day. I get more than that these days, but every single one of them matters just the same.

      YOU are the reason I do so well, Allie, and I wanted you to know that I truly appreciate all your support.
      Ana recently posted..Tumblr: How to Get Free PR7 Links Within MinutesMy Profile

  • Josh
    Twitter:
    December 1, 2011, 11:12 am

    That’s amazing! Congrats on winning the iPad.
    Getting emails opened is an art form and one of the hardest things to do. A 60% open rate is insane! congrats. ;-)
    Josh recently posted..The Definitive Guide to Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy – Part 7: Measure the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Marketing StrategyMy Profile

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:18 pm

      Indeed, Josh – I truly believe that my opening rates have a lot to do with the trust my readers have for me.

      PS Wow, that’s a long post title in your CL link! LOL
      Ana recently posted..Free SEO ReportMy Profile

      • Josh
        Twitter:
        December 2, 2011, 9:32 am

        Haha, yeah I don’t know what she was thinking with that title. Its a great series though, Sorilbran really knows her stuff. :)

        Hey, I’ve got another question about aweber open rates I wanted to run by you. I’ve heard a few different opinions on it and done some experimenting myself as well but am still in the dark a bit.

        Doesn’t aweber track opens by using a small 1px image? If so how are they able to track opens from people that haven’t checked “display images from this sender”. Do they have a different way or whats up with that? Thanks.

        -josh

  • Kathy December 1, 2011, 10:30 am

    You’re awesome Ana! (“Awesome Ana!” eh! :-) ) I’m in awe of what you’ve achieved in your relatively short 1 year timeframe. You are testament to what can be achieved. We have so much to learn from you.

    As fellow Black Sheep ~ala~ Truth, Freedom and Do Your Own Thing Seekers, you give us great hope and show us the way as a leading light…

    You have what it takes, and we can all learn heaps from your example you show us. Tenacity, persistence, savvy, smarts, integrity, authenticity, connection, engagement…

    What struck me the first time I landed on TrafficGenerationCafe was the personal approach and connection, and your care in replying to everyone’s comments. You are a wonderful example to follow in connecting, humanizing and relationship building…

    I love your approach to spring cleaning your list – that is a very important lesson to learn from – rather than hanging on, create a vibrant space for new wonderful people to come into.

    I wish you much continuing Success Ana!…

    Cheers
    Kathy :-)
    Kathy recently posted..Do You Have What it Takes to Be Successful?My Profile

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:55 pm

      It’s absolutely wonderful for me to hear that kind of feedback, Kathy.

      When I started a year ago with Traffic Generation Cafe, I had no idea what was possible.

      But now I do.

      Anything.

      And yes, it’s should be an encouragement to all of us.

      Thanks for such a warm comment…
      Ana recently posted..Thesis ThemeMy Profile

  • Mavis Nong
    Twitter:
    December 1, 2011, 8:44 am

    Hey Ana!

    Wow! What a fantastic post as always! Congratulations on competing with the big guns. Your story just goes to show that you don’t need thousands of subscribers on your list to succeed. It’s all about having a targeted and responsive list and building relationships and trust.

    I’m so proud of you, Ana. Much continued success to you :)

    Mavis
    Mavis Nong recently posted..Got Blogging Questions? We’ve Got the Answers!My Profile

    • Kiesha
      Twitter:
      December 1, 2011, 1:20 pm

      Hi Mavis!
      This is encouraging indeed! Ana always has the catchiest headlines for her emails – I can never resist opening them, even when I’m in a hurry. She gives it that special touch that makes them irresistible.
      Kiesha recently posted..The Curious Case of Blogging PassionMy Profile

      • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:50 pm

        Ahh, thanks so much, Mavis and Kiesha – I am definitely blessed to have your support and encouragement!
        Ana recently posted..Aweber ReviewMy Profile

  • Neeraj Sachdeva
    Twitter:
    December 1, 2011, 8:14 am

    Ana, I have been meaning to thank you for this post. I will be moving into affiliate marketing early next year and this has certainly given me food for thought. My opinion (perhaps wrongly, like many others) was to focus on number of subscribers rather than quality of them. Also, I was inclined to learn from the best. But those affiliates that don’t admit of how much time and effort they put into their venture are essentially misleading people into believing that its all quick money! Persistence pays off, and good luck with this venture. and again, I appreciate the pointers.

    • Kiesha
      Twitter:
      December 1, 2011, 1:18 pm

      Hi Neeraj,
      I think what sets Ana apart is that she allows her genuinely kind guide how much she helps her subscribers. The next thing that makes all the difference is that Ana actually takes action – most people spend most of their time training and learning and then when it’s time to act, they allow things to get in their way. Not Ana, she puts her words into action and fast! If anyone has “Limitless” powers – it’s her! :)
      Kiesha recently posted..The Curious Case of Blogging PassionMy Profile

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:28 pm

      I think we are too quick to ignore the fact that most successful online marketers have gone through their share of trial and error, Neeraj, before they got to where they are at now.

      I believe it’s much more beneficial to us to learn from their journey vs how they conduct their business now that they are successful.
      Ana recently posted..Aweber ReviewMy Profile

      • Neeraj Sachdeva
        Twitter:
        December 1, 2011, 10:34 pm

        But that’s my point Ana – hardly any online marketeers want to talk about the hardships they have gone through (which will drive away customers). The first thing they talk about is how they earned 6 figures in a month. Sorry if I am sounding cynical – I do think there are some excellent and honest marketeers around (present company included), but not all are completely open and honest.

        But then again, people too are gullible. If anyone has tried maintaining a list of followers, they would know that its no easy task. But it certainly pays off. Completely agree with your point regarding journey vs the business itself. :)
        Neeraj Sachdeva recently posted..What Do Rafael Nadal, Kimi Raikkonen, and LA Lakers Have In Common?My Profile

        • Ana December 1, 2011, 11:54 pm

          I definitely see your point and agree with you, Neeraj.

          Seeing the “end result” is deceiving and discouraging in many ways.

          I think it’s because many “gurus” have completely removed themselves from their followers/readers/customers.

          “Buy from me and you’ll become like me”. Doesn’t work that way.

          I think I should write my blog story; I think many bloggers might find it helpful…

          There’s an idea, right – tell the truth! LOL
          Ana recently posted..Baa Baa, Black Sheep…My Profile

  • Venkatesh Iyer December 1, 2011, 6:55 am

    Thanks, Ana.

    I have been losing heart over list building, and had stopped bothering, but you have given me a new perspective. I will get back to it.

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:24 pm

      I REALLY think it’s a worthy endeavor, although I do understand how it might seem to be futile and discouraging sometimes.
      Ana recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile

  • James December 1, 2011, 4:52 am

    I would say that your are nothing less than sheer genius .!

    • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:17 pm

      I am flattered, James, but I think I have quite a bit of work to do still… LOL
      Ana recently posted..CommentLuv PremiumMy Profile

  • Beat Schindler December 1, 2011, 3:48 am

    Ana, your recommendation to not be a copy cat, but to be the one being copied – is a two step process that doesn’t work without taking the first step first: copy other people. Whether it’s in painting, dance or music, or online, there’s no faster way to learn and develop mastery, than to copy from who does successfully whatever it is you’re attempting to do. Even from cats we can learn: http://www.beatschindler.com/personal-growth-learn-cats/ So lots of people, such as I, follow you example, before striking out on their own. Thanks for being an example to us all.
    - Beat
    Beat Schindler recently posted..Moving From Study City To DoingvilleMy Profile

    • Kiesha
      Twitter:
      December 1, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Hi Beat!
      You’re so right – Ana is the one to be copied! But I think that rather than blindly copying, one should always add his or her own twist – that is the key to taking things to the next level.
      Kiesha recently posted..The Curious Case of Blogging PassionMy Profile

      • Beat Schindler December 1, 2011, 1:59 pm

        Keisha, of course you’re right. I spoke of copying (successful people) as the “the fastest way to learn and develop mastery.” What you do once you’re learned is an altogether different thing. That said, doing things blindly – whether copying or anything else – is hardly ever a good strategy, you’re absolutely right.
        Beat Schindler recently posted..The Best Way To Predict Your FutureMy Profile

        • Ana December 1, 2011, 10:16 pm

          I thinking successful copying lies in simply taking apart any given technique, looking into what’s working and what doesn’t, and, as Kiesha said, applying your own twist to it, Beat.

          The things that I did for my list weren’t something I learned from anyone; just tried them and they happened to work.

          You are so right though: after learning comes “doing” and that’s where most marketers fail.

    • Kristi Hines
      Twitter:
      December 13, 2011, 12:26 pm

      I think that maybe you shouldn’t focus on copying one person, but instead look at a lot of successful people, write down what they all do well, then take those things and put your own personal modifications and touches on them so you are doing your own thing. It’s not copying others, but more like being inspired by them. :)

      Love the cats post too!
      Kristi Hines recently posted..Tips for Starting a New Facebook Fan PageMy Profile

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