Travis Petelle is an email marketer who has made a lot of money from marketing informational products to subscribers. A few weeks ago I did a small review of his latest product List Building Maniacs Cheat Sheets.
I caught up with Travis again this week and he answered some questions about his business and about email marketing in general. I hope you enjoy the interview :)
For the benefit of readers who don't know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do on the web?
I got started with Internet Marketing about 7 years ago when I was a personal trainer looking to add more clients to my freelance business. In the beginning, I was in a very rough financial situation. So, my choices on IM methods and tactics were very limited to only the free options as most newcomers to the business are.
This was a blessing in disguise really. It made me focus on learning the right system and getting the most from every method I used. After about 2.5 years of struggling and trying to figure out at least one method to work, I finally started to get things rolling.
What started out as an incredibly ugly fitness blog became a powerhouse autopilot income stream for me all because of the niche marketing system I had created. This same niche system is what has driven and fueled my business since that very first autopilot sale.
Since then, I have been able to master this system and tweak it so it fits any niche out there. I've used it hundreds of times in any lucrative market I could find… and it paid off big time. 9 months after my first sale with this new system, I was raking in over six figures and I didn't even sell anything of my own.
A few years past and I started to teach friends and close ones how to use this system themselves. It didn't take long for this to be a very popular demand. I was getting asked about coaching from readers before I had even set up a program. This is when I decided to jump into the IM teaching field.
For 3 years now, I have offered digital products, workshops, and even 1 on 1 consulting packages for those looking to take their internet business to the next level. In these offers, I literally teach the system I've used over and over again to see huge paydays and the success I have now.
How did you get started in email marketing?
Email marketing and list building really showed it's worth early on in my IM career. When I started my first blog, I would simply have ads on the sidebar of my site or use CPA offers to grab a few bucks. I spent hours driving traffic to this blog by writing articles, doing videos, or any of the other free traffic methods.
I quickly realized that I wasn't exactly building a business or a following… just pulling in viewers for a one hit wonder than never see them again. When I finally got my list in place, there were people who came to my posts over and over again… a standard group of people always commented and interacted with my messages… and best of all, I had repeat buyers for every offer I put out there.
From that day forward, list building and email marketing has been my obsession.
Can you tell us a little about your new website List Building Maniacs?
List Building Maniacs is a new brand I've created to help all those businesses and entrepreneurs struggling to make email marketing work for them. We provide a huge range of training materials along with live events to get the right system in place for all our readers. There are lots of free and open communities anyone interested in list building can join as well.
Over the next 6 months, List Building Maniacs will be delivering lots of great products and group workshops to improve every piece of your list building system.
What is your favourite email marketing service and why?
I use both Aweber and GetResponse. Each has it's advantages depending on the situation you are in. For product launches, GetResponse has an amazing setup through the JZVoo product delivery system that allows you to collect a lot more buyer leads than any other service. Aweber on the other hand, is great for my corporate and offline clients. The functionality and the design features allow easy plug and play newsletter to be installed.
All of the major providers will give you a great service… it's finding the providers who look out for internet marketers to be the hard part. Aweber and GetResponse are two that do well with the business.
How important do you think blogs are for being successful in email marketing?
Blogs are a great tool for branding, building a following, and driving traffic to your list funnels. Is it necessary to be successful? No way! There are tons of ways to drive traffic and connect with readers outside of a blog.
I think blogging is definitely one of the easiest ways to get your business going if you have no investment funds and are just starting. Everything that comes with a blog is free. Just start creating the great content and get your message out there. Interested people will flock. As long as you have a good list building funnel in place, you will consistently grow your list with a blog for sure.
Like I said above, it's still not necessary though. You can do nearly everything on a fan page that you could on a blog. As long as you have the three essential pieces to a business (traffic, sales funnel, and an offer), you will see success.
What are the most important elements of a good email marketing campaign?
Targeting, customer experience and progression.
You absolutely need to target your ideal buyer from step 1. Know your product and know exactly who would need that product. Start driving traffic from the places they would often hangout and you have an interested crowd from the beginning. Offer these viewers a gift that can help them get closer to their goal… do the same through emails and when they get to your offer, they will already be waiting to purchase.
The better the experience each reader goes through on your list, the more likely they are to interact with you and want to receive what you have. Make your business fun for the customer and have each page they come to be a quality experience… no broken links, unfinished pages, or crap that you just threw up in seconds. Give the customer a great experience from day 1 and they will have no problem spending big bucks because they know you will only do better when they purchase.
To make the big bucks, you need to think about where your email campaign is going to be in 3, 6, and even 12 months away. Keep your promotions and email topics in a pre-organized succession and you'll be building rabid fans quickly who buy each product you put out. For example, if you're selling a guide on how to stay healthy during pregnancy… these women will also need a guide on losing weight after pregnancy, how to keep a healthy baby, and other fitness/pregnancy related issues.
Is there an optimum frequency for emailing subscribers?
You can train your list anyway you want. I've often asked readers how often they like to be emailed and most readers say 4-5 times per week is great. The important thing is how often you're delivering great content. Even when you promote, add some great tips and helpful advice into your email… or add an awesome bonus. Do this and readers will look forward to hearing from you… even if it's multiple times per day.
Make your list about helping your readers instead of making more money and you will kill it.
What role does email play in driving sales to new products?
For my business, this is a huge part of the initial buzz for any products. As an avid product launcher, it's important to have high conversions when you release a product. These conversions provide more sales and attract good affiliates who drive more sales your way.
One of the absolute best ways to get high conversions is by sending the offer to your list first. They know who you are and what you can do…so they are most likely to buy. Do it right and they won't even read the sales copy.
95% of my sales through the month come through an email promotion.
What mistakes do email marketers frequently make?
There are a few big mistakes you see so often from list builders. The big one is that you don't promote enough. A lot of people are scared to offend or push away their readers with a promotion. This just isn't the case. The real list you want to build is a buyers list, so the entire point of your freebie lists are to make sales. This can only happen with promotions.
Next, people don't give their readers what the want. From day 1, you create a plan and you know it's awesome. But once readers actually start going through the funnel, they may want different content or are looking for something a little different. Most list builders don't even consider to change or ask their readers about what they are providing. A simple question can turn your email success upside down.
I actually have a live webinar on this topic very soon over at List Building Maniacs. There are 5 major list mistakes I see that I will go over there. I don't want to turn this into a 30 page interview :-)
What's the most effective way of growing an email list?
It's hard to say the BEST… all the traffic strategies out there work well. There are some methods that allow you to build a list faster than others, but that doesn't necessarily always mean you'll make more money from that list. Sometimes a free article you post will drive that big ticket client.
Email marketing does open up a bunch of traffic strategies that aren't available without a list. I always advise getting these strategies up in place as soon as possible and get them turned to autopilot. A consistent stream of traffic is so helpful with improving your list funnel. These strategies include things like ad swaps, solo ads, giveaway events, banner page swaps, and banking clicks.
If you had to start all over, what would you do differently?
I would of built a list from day 1 instead of months into it. The sooner you get a few followers the better everything else becomes.
What are your plans for 2013?
2013 is a crazy year for me. I have my new List Building Maniacs brand which will be releasing products and workshops very month until the mid-end of the year. That will be a big project and a lot of fun. So far people are loving it and we are having a great time.
Next, I am stepping up my game for the consulting business big time this year. My $100k goal by June for these packages was already shattered about 30 days into January when I locked down a giant contract simply using my list.
Lots more great things coming, but they are on the hush for now :-)
Many thanks to Travis for taking part in this interview. You can find out more about Travis through his blog List Building Maniacs and through Twitter. I recommend checking out his latest product List Building Maniacs Cheat Sheets (click here for a full review).