A small email list (or a non-existent one) can make money with affiliate marketing. I conducted an experiment and started a brand new email list solely to prove to you that you can earn affiliate income with a tiny list and free resources. Get the strategies and start earning.
My Motivation for This Experiment
As you can probably guess, I work a lot with bloggers on growing their income. From the right partners to testing techniques, affiliate marketing is at least 20% of my day, every day.
So I know your objections and you are exactly who I did this for… I ran this experiment for those who say:
- “I have no list,” “My list isn’t growing,” or “My list is just too small to earn with.”
- “I have no time! I have kids, a marriage, friends, the gym, work, dinner, self-care, after-school activities…”
- “I have no money for advertising. I don’t have the funds to invest in ConvertKit.” Spoiler alert: you don’t have to.
If you read through this and want to know what the emails look like and to get a feel for the affiliate strategy to focus on the free, you can sign up for the experiment’s Freebie Fri-Yay’s email list (it’s full of design resources for bloggers and entrepreneurs).
Sign up for income-earning blog tips in your email every week here.
Affiliate Strategy: How to Earn with a Small Email List
Below, I outline the parameters for my experiment. The results prove that even though we have so many demands on our time, a small list CAN earn you money.
If you want the exact articles and strategies I used, pick up the “Focus on the Free” Affiliate Strategy Guide (get it here). I hold nothing back.
And here’s the thing – when you buy it, we will hop on a call and chat about YOUR idea for 30-minutes. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk about a proven strategy and how exactly you could implement it to earn your own $1,000 in 90 days?
Yes, it would be nice. Get it (on sale for only $7 right now!) and let’s work on your earnings.
- small business owners
- crafters (general digital crafters), and
- amateur designers.
Goals for the Experiment
- Grow an email newsletter list from 0 to 300 subscribers in 3 months.
- Maintain an open rate minimum of 30% and a click-through rate of 25%.
- Earn at least $100 each month from a list fewer than 300 (this is lower than my usual goal).
- Spend NO money.
- Dedicate no more than 30-minutes to the creation of the email and management of it each week.
Initial Set Up: 90-Minutes
Before I entered in everything, I took 15-minutes to sketch out the funnel and the email content in it. Then, I took action:
- 20-minutes to set up the list, signup forms, and landing pages
- 25-minutes to set up the funnel and “Ways to Make Money with Your Font Addiction” email
- 30-minutes to create the three guides and their images
Weekly: 30- to 35-Minutes
Each week, I spend 30-minutes or less compiling finds and writing the email. I spend less than 5-minutes each week responding to newsletter replies.
Results of the Tiny Email List Experiment
Because I HATE to be kept waiting for the findings of an experiment, here are the results of my small email list affiliate marketing experiment.
- The small email list was just shy of 600 when I ended the experiment (1 week shy of 3 months because I was leaving the country on vacation).
- The performance and income of each article can be found in the detailed “Focus on the Free” Affiliate Strategy Guide (get it here).
- The email list overall has a significant open rate of 79% and a higher-than-expected click-through rate of 50%.
- I exceeded the goal of $100 the first month. I then doubled and tripled earnings in the 2nd and 3rd months.
- I spent no money on advertising and only used free resources (MailerLite) for emails, signup forms, and landing pages.
- There were a couple of weeks in which I worked 45-minutes to an hour because I got distracted and brainstormed ideas. #squirrelsyndrome #alltheprettythings
Why the Small Email List Worked and How I Targeted
Free resources are a big draw and it’s an affiliate marketing strategy which works for ALL bloggers and influencers. Additionally, the offering was something which would appeal to my target audience, even as broad as it was.
The site type or niches I used couldn’t be more different and the results were the same. In fact, two of the three articles had the same amount of social shares. Spooky.
Lessons Learned and Actions
The funnel was too long.
I waited 2 days between each of the emails but found that more people were interested in the weekly email. They loved the first guide and the “Ways to Make Money with Your Font Addiction” email.
Conversion improvement (signup forms).
The conversions are low on the signup forms (between 2 and 3%), so I might set up exit-intent popups on those articles. This is still a small email list, however, so I’m uncertain what they’ll do as it grows.
Hone it down and multi-use.
It’s a very engaged list and I am thinking of a survey and questions upon signup to hone down on what they’re after. Additionally, knowing their favorite editing and creation programs would have helped.
Once the experiment ended, I began using the work I did in other ways. I’m finding additional outlets to further earn from my time spent gathering resources.
Delivery of opt-ins.
Instead of the guides in the email delivery, I should have put them on password-protected pages on the sites I used. Duh, right? But hey, that’s what you get when you’re rushing.
Send more traffic to the landing pages.
I have a fairly decent conversion for the landing pages, however, the sample size is so small it needs to be tested on a larger scale. I don’t even think I pinned those pages…
Summary and Action for You
Are you excited? Have you started brainstorming ways to immediately add to your income?
You most certainly CAN earn with a small email list. The focus on the free strategy is just one way to earn with affiliate marketing. Get the Focus on the Free Affiliate Strategy Guide (on sale for only $7 right now) and let’s figure out what will work best to earn you income from your blog and newsletter.
Please pin this to share with your fellow bloggers and online marketers. Everyone can earn with affiliate marketing.
This is such a great experiment!!!! Thank you for sharing your results. This is fascinating. Also–i’m a big fan of your Freebie Fridays email. 🙂