Dec
30

Increase Your ROI With Auto-Responders and List Building

Increased Conversions and Sales

In this post, I’m going to show how I used an email capture form to take a negative ROI campaign and turn it into a winning campaign that still brings in revenue to this day.

In the middle of 2010 I had a campaign set up to drive traffic to an affiliate website I built around a certain niche. This niche has many offers, most of which are low paying, but not terribly hard to convert. However, at the time, there was one pretty good offer that had a good conversion rate and a decent payout.

I knew that since the payout was low on this offer (it was like $3.00 or so), I would need to somehow get this traffic to convert on more than one offer. I would need to somehow retain this traffic if I was to be profitable. I was also itching to try out an auto-responder campaign, and this was the perfect time. I would be able to use an auto-responder to email my visitors with more offers, hoping to convert them multiple times. If it worked, my value per visitor would increase and hopefully keep the campaign in the black.

The setup was pretty simple. First, I built out an affiliate website around the niche with all the usual components to make Google’s Quality Score happy: unique content on the landing page, links to more relevant unique content, privacy policy, terms and conditions, contact us, sitemap, meta-tags, etc. I would buy traffic and send the visitors to my affiliate site. When the visitors got to the landing page, they would be confronted with an email opt-in form that asked for their name and email, before sending them to a page with affiliate CPA offers.

I signed up with Aweber and used their $1 trial to get started. You can’t beat this deal for trying out this service, especially since it is only $19 per month regular price, and only increases as you get more emails. You get to send unlimited emails and you can have up to 500 subscribers with this plan. So if your campaign is a flop and you don’t go over 500 subscribers, you probably won’t have any extra expenses with Aweber.

Now you can’t just throw up an opt-in form and expect people to fill it out. You have to give the visitors a reason to put in their information. So let’s say that I was bidding on the keyword “free widgets” and the user clicks and hits my site with the opt-in form. I need to explain to the user that they will get information, access to, or actually get the “free widgets” they were looking for, or else they will just leave.

You may have to be creative here. Maybe there is some type of ebook available on your topic, or some inexpensive PLR products you can give to your visitors. If there is no perceived value or reward for the visitor, they will probably just leave your page.

In my case, the offer I had was a CPA offer where a user had to complete an action, then they would get access to a selection of “free widgets”. So once they entered their name and email on my form, they would then land on a second landing page that had a link to my main CPA offer, and links to two supplementary offers that paid much less.

Also, the auto responder would fire off an email right away, thanking them for signing up, and asking them if they got the link to my CPA offer. The auto-responder would send another email after 24 hours that was similar to the first, asking if they had received the offer and giving them the link to it again, along with the links to the supplementary offers.

After this was another series of 3-4 emails that would be sent over the next few days. Each email would send them similar offers, each selected because of their close relationship to the niche.

Note – Now when it comes to these emails, since my traffic was more general and the niche was easy to convert, it was not that big of a deal for me to send all of these offers to my list right away. Typically, when building a list, you would want to avoid hammering your list with offers and pitches. It is better to send them useful information more often than you send them an offer or pitch. Here is a good article on applying the 80/20 rule to your list building.

Over the course of 2 months, I ran a fair amount of traffic to this website from various PPC (pay-per-click) sources such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft Adcenter as well as a couple of PPV (pay-per-view) sources. 99% of the traffic came from Google Adwords. Here is a screenshot of the campaign’s spend and the campaign’s initial revenue:

Google Adwords spend from March 18, 2010 – May 12, 2010 – $46,115.29

Revenue from March 18, 2010 – May 31, 2010 – $53,818.00

It took only a few days to become profitable (after the auto responders finished running their course), however the ROI was very low. I began tweaking everything through intense split testing. I tested/split-tested all of the following constantly during this campaign: keywords/adgroups, ad headlines, ad texts, display urls, landing pages (headlines, images, colors, calls-to-action, etc), offers on the landing page, offers in the auto responder emails, direct linking to offers from email links vs. linking to custom landing pages for offers from email links, and more. I will eventually write a whole series of posts on split testing so that I can go more in depth on this subject.

After doing all of this testing and re-testing, I was able to increase the campaigns’ ROI, although it still remained low.

Over the course of the two months, I spent $46,115.29 on pay per click costs with a revenue of only $53,818.00 for a net profit of  $7,702.71. The main offer offer that I promoted generated $43,822.75 of that income. If I would not have run the auto responder and instead sent traffic to a landing page with just the my main offer, I would have had a loss of -$2,292.54.

I would have continued running this campaign, but the main offer was discontinued and shortly after, my main domain was slapped by Google (which wouldn’t necessarily signal the end of the campaign, but no other offers came out that were comparable to the original offer). I shut down the spending on the campaign after this.

But it doesn’t end there.

Not only had I run this campaign at a profitable level, but I now had a list of subscribers that I could continue marketing to. If you know anything about list building, you know how important it is to have a good email list. This is most important when it comes to niches where you can build a real following, but the idea of having a list to retain customers is important in every niche (in my opinion).

Here is a screenshot of my subscriber growth for this list. Remember, I only paid for traffic for March, April and first half of May:

Note – Some of the numbers on the Aweber screenshot are slightly off, because Aweber charges you for unsubscribers in your lists unless you delete them, and if you delete them, you lose their stats. This means the numbers were actually higher, but since I have cleaned up unsubscribers, this is what’s left.

So even though I was able to make a profit off of the campaign initially, I was also able to build a list of over 31,000 emails. With this list, I have been able to continually make money, month after month.

First, I did a few things to my website, including adding content and some things the users would like to see/read about. I then completely monetized the site with cpa offers and Adsense. After the site makeover was complete, I began sending email broadcasts to my list, and the users started coming back in droves. Ka-Ching!

All I was doing was reminding the users of my website’s existance and getting them to come back and look at the offers. I had Adsense plastered all over the place as well as a few other ads for different CPA offers that were related. My goal was basically to just get the visitors to convert into clicks on my ads. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this approach for all niches, but since my niche is very general and non specific, I just converted them into Adsense clicks. If I were doing a more specific niche, such as weight loss or make money online, I would definitely engage the users more and try and give them valuable content, while slow-pitching them higher payout offers.

So let’s cut to the chase and see the results:

Here are the income stats since June 2010:

Google Adsense June 2010 – December 29, 2010 – $11,026.03

Affiliate Revenue from June 2010 – November 2010 – $4,867.80

Affiliate Revenue from December 2010 – $185.20

Income from affiliate networks that are not shown here: $5,104.09

Campaign Totals:

Adwords Spend: $46,115.29
Aweber Spend: $2,518.00
Total Spend: $48,633.29

Affiliate Income During Campaign: $53,818.00
Affiliate Income After Campaign: $5,053.00
Adsense Income: $11,026.03
Other Affiliate Income: $5,104.09
Total Income: $75,001.12

Total Profit/Loss: $26,367.83

So as you can see, this campaign avoided what would have been a loss of almost $2,300 initially (if using no auto responder and just one offer) and instead had a profit of over $7,700, while building a list at the same time. Then using an ongoing auto responder, I have been able to add an extra $18,600 in profit onto the $7,700 for over $26,000 in profit from this old campaign. So what was a dud campaign before, turned into a high ROI campaign that still brings in good revenue to this day.

If you have any questions about this case study, leave a comment below!

About the Author: Chris Alexander

Chris Alexander is the owner of Alexander Online Media, Inc. Chris has been involved with internet marketing for many years. In 2006, he went full-time and hasn't looked back.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Very good contribution, is essential to implement an autoresponder service, as this helps to keep in touch with your customers 24 hours, so you save the tiresome task of doing it yourself, time is money, automation is vanguard.

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