Email Marketing 101

The hardest thing about emailing is getting started.  Some of you have “lists”, but you fall into at least one of the following categories:

  1. You haven’t mailed the list in over 3 months.
  2. You purchased a list.
  3. You have a third-party list.
  4. You are mailing co-registration email lists.
  5. You actually built your own contacts, but you are still struggling.

You are probably reading this post because you keep saying “Everything I send goes to SPAM” or ”I’m not even getting to spam”.  I’m writing this email marketing tutorial for a reason, I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I’m literally writing the book on it.

Buying Email Lists

To get started, the list you bought on Fiverr, SEOClerks, some random forum, you get the idea.  It’s completely worthless.  Throw it out, don’t even bother.  Here’s why.  As soon as you hit a spam-trap, game = over.  Most ESPs will ditch you instantly or even before you get started.  They have stuff to identify the presence of spam-traps in uploaded lists.  So, they know what you’re trying to do before you even do it.  BEST case scenario is that you paid $x for the list and another $150+ to the ESP to let you mail and you get to mail it 1 time.  If you are super lucky, you might get one single conversion on your list.  So, you got that $1.75 opt-in from the network that now wants to throw you out for mailing a garbage list.  2001 is gone, this used to be a way to make a LOT of money and people like Bill Waggoner and Scott Richter have made millions.  But they’ll tell you as quickly as I’m telling you, the game has changed!  Spamhaus, SpamCop and the other 50+ blacklists out there have put an end to those days.  So, I urge you to NOT go the bought list route.  Everybody swears that they have fantastic data.  If it’s so great, why aren’t they mailing it themselves?

Third Party Lists

I make a lot of money off of third party lists.  But it all boils down to WHERE the list is coming from.  There are companies that will give you real-time data from “shell sites”.  A shell site is a website that has one single page.  Nobody ever goes to the page.  It’s nowhere to be found in Google.  It has NO Alexa score.  It’s just a website that a seedy vender puts up with a domain name that somewhat matches your niche.  Trust me, those leads are NOT coming from that website, that website is just there to fool you.  Bad vendors give you their feeds for one simple reason; To see how you are mailing so they can copy what you are doing and make money.  It’s just a bunch of their seeds that they monitor so that they can go to the same ESP that you are using and run the same campaigns.  Nice guys huh?  Almost as nice as the guys selling you the best email lists ever!

However!!!!  I DID say that I make a lot of money mailing third party lists.  It takes some time and work to find real people with real website.  However, if you have NO experience mailing, they aren’t going to give you their good data or even want to work with you.  But you have to start somewhere…

Facebook Funnels

Don’t waste your time/money on Facebook “Funnels”.  They used to work, everybody ran them, now their ONLY value is selling the “secret” of Facebook Funnels.  If you still think there’s magic in Facebook Funnels, there’s only ONE way that they “can” work.  Self Liquidating Offer (SLO).  Your SLO has to convert enough so that you are close to breaking even.  The bid on Facebook is so high that a lead might cost you a few dollars.  It’s not even slightly feasible unless you are selling VERY high ticket items/services.  If you go the Facebook route with affiliate marketing, you’ll quickly learn that the competition is SOOO fierce that there’s no possible way to come ahead.  At the end of the day, washing dishes part-time is a MILLION times more profitable than those stupid Facebook Funnels.

Co-Registration Leads (coreg)

This service is really cool and you WILL get good engagement.  Basically, you make an ad with a subject and a quick blurb about what you offer.  Giving something away that’s related to your niche is the best way to go.  As people are signing up on different websites, they will be given an option to click “Yes I’m interested” on your offer.  Instantly, that lead is fed into your Auto-Responder.  I typically see open rates are high as 40% on the first email.  It’s amazing how well it works.  You can apply the SLO logic to this process so that people are signing up to your list AND you are making some money on the offer.  Obviously, you DON’T EVER want to have double opt-in configured on your auto-responder when you go this route.  Plan to spend between $0.25-$1.00 per lead.  I usually set a daily budget of $10 when I’m testing it out.  It’s a fantastic product.  The BEST company for coreg leads is:

Email Service Providers

When you get started mailing, use a reputable Email Service Provider.  When you create an account, make sure you get a free account first.  It’s VITAL that you do this, because you are going to test it out.  You should be able to write literally ANY type of creative and it should go directly to your inbox.  If it doesn’t, stop using the ESP instantly!  You’ll be surprised how many BIG-NAME ESPs hit the spam folder.  Here’s how I test:

  1. Make a Gmail email account
  2. Make a Yahoo email account
  3. Make a Hotmail email account
  4. Make an AOL email account

I create a new list and manually add those 4 emails that I created in.  I create the same campaign that I would send to my subscribers, but I send it to this “seed” list.  If it goes to SPAM, the ESP is garbage.  An ESP’s role is to hit the inbox.  It’s not about opt-in forms, nice reporting, a cool UI, great graphics or really even good customer support….it’s about hitting the inbox.  If the ESP is unable to do this one task, you don’t want them.

Quick note:  Each time you test an ESP, use a brand new domain, so that your test is pure.  .com, .net, .org, .co are all GREAT abbreviations.

Mailing From Your Own Servers

I do this.  I make money doing this.  But I go at it with low expectations.  If I can hit the spam folder 90-100% of the time, I’m super happy.  Guess why?  People open their spam, clicks the links and buy things!  You don’t have to hit the inbox to make money.  ESPs are where you want to send your GOOD data.  You want to make your money with the inbox.  But as time goes on, I like to take my clickers/openers and keep mailing them.  Why not?  They make money!  Hitting the spam folder isn’t as easy as you’d think.  When you hit the inbox, you are at the mercy of the individual hitting the spam button.  When you first start mailing on a new domain/new IP, one single spam complaint pretty much ends your inbox experience.  The problem is, as time goes on, the TLDs (Gmail/Hotmail/AOL/yahoo/cables) give you another chance at the inbox.  With that new chance, you go to the inbox roughly 1-5% of the time.  If a subscriber hits spam again, you are going to get grey-listed/wait-listed for a period of time.  In technical terms, you are going to see 4xx and possibly 5xx errors in your log files on your server.

There are probably 15-20 different IP warmup guides out there.  Don’t read them, don’t follow them.  They don’t work.  Unless you physically know every contact in your list and if you are still reading this…I’m guessing that’s a NO, people will click spam.  So, here’s what I do.  If I think my list is really good, I buy a server with 32 IPs.  I configure one domain.  There are specific tweaks that you can do for each TLD, but a basic installation is probably fine (you’re just going to want some form of back-off rules).  Anyways, I send 25 emails per IP per hour on a GOOD list.  If you think your list is pure garbage, send 5 emails/hour per IP.  It’s ok if you think your list is pure garbage, I’d rather mail slowly and make money than mail quickly and make NO money.

32 IPs is a /27

  • Safest Start – 5 Emails Per Hour Per IP = 160 emails/hour = 3,840 emails/day
  • Safe Start – 10 Email Per Hour Per IP = 320 emails/hour = 7,680 emails/day
  • Neutral Start – 15 Emails Per Hour Per IP = 480 emails/hour = 11,520 emails/day
  • Risky Start – 20 Emails Per Hour Per IP = 640 emails/hour = 15,360 emails/day
  • Riskiest Start – 25 Emails Per Hour Per IP = 800 emails/hour = 19,200 emails/day

If you are thinking of adding more IPs, don’t.  Make a brand-new setup.  Let me re-remind you, you are reading this because you are hitting the spam folder.  You want diversity.

Best Email Marketing Platform

MailWizz.  Buy it.  It’s super easy to use and you can easily configure it so that it’s sending super slow (just like you want).

It’s one of the easiest products to install.  It has a great forum.  The devs are SUPER helpful.  You get the idea.  I wish I owned it!


Can you make $50,000+/month emailing?  Yes!  Will you make that much?  It depends on your list, your drive, how you deal with setbacks, how quickly you can change and ultimately how much money you have to put into learning.  If you are planning on putting up one /27 self-hosted server and expect to make big bucks on a third-party list, I have sad news for you!  However, if you are willing to scale your operation and look at “alternative” methods of emailing, you will get far.  I’m not going to lie, a LOT of people that were HUGE in email marketing just a few years ago are 100% out of it now.  It’s hard work.  It’s a LOT of work.  Even finding the right niche is tricky.  But once you figure it out, you are set.

1 thought on “Email Marketing 101

  1. Great article! When you say “alternative” methods of emailing, what exactly were you referring to in the article? The /27 server config, slow sending, or something else? Thanks and keep these coming, they are gold.

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