January 31, 2012, 5:00 am

The $463 Email Revealed

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: newsletter

Yesterday, I teased a few of you by claiming that I made $463 in 15 minutes from my newsletter.

 

If you are patient enough and read through this post (and follow me through my newsletter), you will learn how I did it.

 

Most people agree that we all as bloggers, need a newsletter. I wasn’t part of the majority at first, but now I am a believer). However, most of you keep asking:

 

How the hell are you making money with your mailing list?

 

The answer will come, just bear with me for a few more minutes. But just to make sure you are with me, here’s proof of what I’m saying:

INO commission

 

You can see that my affiliate sales show $471 for “Today’s 50 Top Trending Stocks for the period of Jan 1st to Jan 24th. So I already lied to you with the title of my email, it’s not $463, I made $471! The best part is that I will keep making money throughout the year with the same affiliate program. This is obviously the very definition of passive income!

 

But once again, how the hell can you make money with your mailing list????

 

I told you to be patient because I know this post is long. Because the truth is that you can’t just start running around like a chicken with his head cut off and make money with your mailing list. To be honest, this was my first attempt to monetize the DGB newsletter with an affiliate link in one of my mailings. I wasn’t too sure how to set it up and didn’t want to burn my audience. My Aweber dashboard is showing me an opening rate of 74.21%, a click through rate of 62.08% and a 0.465% unsubscribe rate (10 out of 2152) and 0% complaint rate (because Aweber doesn’t allow you to use their software for spammy reasons). So I guess that I did my job right and made money in a good way.

 

But before you can do that… there are a lot of things to accomplish first!

 

#1 Build Your Newsletter

 

The first step has nothing to do with your readers but everything to do with yourself. Personally, this was the hardest step of them all. I’ve been wondering a lot about what kind of content I should include in my newsletter that would not be redundant for RSS & Blog readers. I also wanted to find a way to provide exclusive content that would be complimentary to my blog.

 

In fact, the newsletter is like a second blog within your blog! So you need to clearly establish what you want to write in your newsletter and what you want to write on your blog. Make sure to create an incentive for people to a) read your blog and b) subscribe to your newsletter. This is why I haven’t change my way of writing or choice of topics on The Dividend Guy Blog and decided to provide more technical stuff and stock lists in my newsletter. This is how I was able to successfully separate my blog from my newsletter.

 

I use my newsletter for the following purposes:

–          Give eBooks to my readers

–          Offer stock lists and website resources (free)

–          Announce new projects (such as What is Dividend or Canadian Dividend Stock)

–          Ask my readers for feedback (through surveys or quick questions)

–          Provide more technical concepts (such as the different ways of calculating Payout Ratio)

On my blog, I write about the following topics:

–          Dividend stock analysis

–          Sector analysis

–          Stock market commentary

–          Investing strategy (leveraging, moving average, etc)

 

As you can see, I’m able to make a clear distinction between my blog and newsletter. It makes it easier for my readers too!

 

#2 Build Your Readership

 

Once you know where you are going with your blog and newsletter (this is also called having a direction), you can start building your readership. You can attack 2 sides of the same problem:

a)      Growing your Blog readership and then sending them to your newsletter

b)      Growing your mailing list directly through incentive posts on your blog (such as my Best 2012 Dividend Stocks article)

I guess you already know the basics of growing your blog readership (playing the SEO game, doing guest posts, commenting on other blogs, being active on social media, connecting with other bloggers, submitting your stuff to carnivals, etc.). But I guess that it’s a bit tougher if you want to grow your newsletter readership (it has been for me anyway!).

 

I’ve used several techniques to grow my mailing list but the most successful was to offer a free eBook to get it (read the full post about it here). Here are other great techniques you can use:

–          Host a contest (you get tons of new subscribers but they might very well cancel after 2 emails!)

–          Make your mailing list box visible (just look at the DGB printscreen):

the dividend guy blog

 

–          Plug your newsletter whenever you have a chance (mention it at the end of each article, and link to it whenever you have something relevant such as “this question came from George, a newsletter subscriber).

–          Write about what is coming up on your newsletter (I’ve used this to tease my audience, especially for TFB, and it works pretty well too!).

 

What can you expect from these techniques? How many subscribers is a good number? Here’s what I have experienced so far with the DGB newsletter. This is another screen you can get from Aweber that help you see the progression of your newsletter:

 

DIVIDEND GUY BLOG NEWSLETTER SUBS

 

As of January 2011, I had only 203 subscribers. As of January 25th,  2012, I have 2,456 subscribers. The major change was definitely due to the fact that I now require people  sign-up before downloading my eBook (October 2011 and January 2012). Since then, I’m getting an average of 20 new subscribers per day. Can you imagine how fast this will grow in 2012?

#3 Build Trust

 

Yeah… okay… I didn’t invent this one, I know! It is obvious that if you want to do business with someone, you first have to earn his trust. This is true for any kind of business. But how can you gain trust from someone who you are not directly talking to? Unless you have a few email conversations with your reader, you don’t really know who he is and if he really trusts you to any extent. Since you can’t discuss with everybody by email, engaging the conversation via this media is not the best way to earn the trust of 2000+ individuals!

 

Some people use their newsletter to plug in roundups or previous articles they have written. I don’t think it’s a bad idea per se, but this is not how to build trust with your audience!

 

The way I’ve built trust with mine was by sending a series of great articles including great content and absolutely no promotions. I actually do the same thing with my newsletter that I send to clients at my day job. I never mention any of my products or services. I just write good articles with a lot of “what’s in it for me” points for the readers. The point here is to add value each time someone opens your newsletter. You want to create that hype from your readers where they will be looking forward to receive your new stuff.

 

I also put my subscribers at the top of my list when I want to offer something. For example, when I produced my 2012 Best dividend stocks eBook, I sent them the download link before I even mentioned that the book is available on my site.

 

#4 Find a Real Good Offer That YOU USE

 

All right, press fast forward on your time machine and teleport yourself 6 months later (or simply bookmark this artcle 😉 ). You have a solid mailing list of 500 subscribers (at least!) that follow you and are eager to read your newest articles. We are still down to the very same question:

How the hell are you making money with your mailing list?

 

The answer is quite simple. By using affiliate links ;-). However, it’s useless to simply “plug and play” any product in your newsletter. Believe it or not, your readers are far from being stupid and they became BS detector pros after being bombarded by advertisements every single day of their life.

 

This is why you need to talk about products that YOU use and YOU like. If you don’t do that, forget about this whole strategy; you will end-up hitting to the brick wall. I personally like INO products as they help me make technical analysis before I buy a stock. Therefore, it’s not a problem for me to offer for free, a list of 50 top trending stocks. So INO pays me for each lead and my readers have the opportunity to take a look at the best trending stocks on the market. WIN-WIN situation and everybody is happy ;-).

 

#5 Make Money Forever With This Single Email

 

The most interesting part of this strategy is that you can make money forever with the very same email. Say what? While the bulk of my income has been done when I first sent this email, I will continue to make money out of it because… the very same email will be sent to all my new subscribers in the future.

 

How crazy is that? That’s another AWESOME option offered with Aweber! You can either send a “broadcast” (which is a one time email sent to your current subscribers) or send a “follow-up” message (which will be sent to all your subscribers that will eventually join your newsletter).

 

The “broadcast” mode is perfect when you want to write a timely email such as announcing a contest or forwarding important news. But if your article is timeless, you can use the “follow-up” mode. The follow-up mode will automatically send your article to subscribers after a specific time determined by you. Therefore, you can create your series of articles and send them to your subscribers every 15 days. Take a look at what I have as “follow-up” with The Financial Blogger at the moment:

 

AWEBER FOLLOW-UP EMAILS

 

So if you subscribe today, in 2 days, you will get my “Do You Know How Dividend Investing Works?” email. 7 days later, you will receive the “No BS” email, and so on.

 

This technique allows you to:

#1 create a funnel of trust

#2 make sure everybody gets your previous exclusive content

#3 make sure that you have a shot at making money with everybody (KATCHING!)

 

All right! That’s enough for today!

 

All right, if your eyes are not burning yet, it’s because you are not human ;-). I’m leaving you with enough work to book your entire month, lol!

 

However, I’m not done on the topic just yet. I’ll actually continue this series in my newsletter in the upcoming week (don’t forget to subscribe 😉 ). I want to create a “step by step” series on building your newsletter and how to do it. And of course, I’ll add this series to my “follow-up” messages ;-D

 

 

Send me your questions if there is anything that’s not clear so far!

 

Cheers,

 

Mike

 

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January 30, 2012, 5:00 am

I Don’t Care What You Do, You Need a Newsletter

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: newsletter

Do you want to know how to close a $1,9M deal at work?

 

Do you want to know how to make $463 with 15 minutes of work?

 

Do you want to know how to connect with more than 6,000 individuals in a single minute?

 

This is all possible if you have a newsletter!

 

Only 7 months ago, I couldn’t see this as a really good idea… all right: I’ll be truly honest; I thought it was just more work added to my routine. And I also thought that it was on the edge of being a stupid idea. Yup, I’m talking about my partner’s idea to have a mailing list.

 

Why in the hell would you want to run mailing list when you are already posting on a daily basis and offer RRS feeds?

 

Why would you write more content that you can’t put on your blog if you put it out via the mailing list? Why don’t you just post it on your blog if you are willing to hustle more?

 

Why would you PAY a monthly fee to have a professional email marketing service to manage your mailing list on top of that? Why pay for service marketing at all? (I use Aweber by the waywink wink wink 😉

 

Seriously, is it just me or is this just not making any sense?

 

Well, believe it or not, it does because having a newsletter attached to our blog completely changed our way of doing business.

 

I realized it for the first time when I was at work. Since I can’t send clients to my blogs (this is obviously unethical!), I decided to start a newsletter. For about a year and a half, I sent a newsletter about the stock market, interest rates and other financial news to my clients every 6 months or so. I provided them with great content as I don’t advertise any products but instead I give them useful info to manage their finances. After a while, I noticed that every time I sent my newsletter, it generated meetings with my clients. The newsletter was actually their trigger to take action and schedule to meet with me regarding their finances. This was going well until the day that I landed a $1.9M meeting generated from my newsletter. On that day, I understood something about having a newsletter: this is a direct and privileged contact with someone who gives you full trust. You don’t give out your email to someone you don’t want to hear from. You give it to someone from whom you expect to get insightful information.

 

Since my partner was pushing me to take care of my newsletter seriously for a whole year, I started to invest more time in it. Those who are subscribed to my TFB newsletter (the big box on the right column on the top of the site 😉 ) already know that I provide awesome and exclusive content on it. It’s not just a lame excuse to do a round-up and self-promote my other sites. I brought this to a whole new level with The Dividend Guy Blog Newsletter. I guess I have more ease in making it interesting as I’m used to writing financial and investment related newsletters.

 

This mailing list alone has over 2,413 subscribers (and we started from almost 0 back in June 2011). The opening rate is over 63% and the click through rate (when I include a link inside my article) is over 42%. These rates go through the roof (near 100% for both opening and click through rate) when I look at my free eBook offers (Dividend Investing and Best 2012 Dividend Stocks).

 

The funniest part is that I only have 753 RSS readers on this blog. So I have 3 times more readers for my newsletter than on my blog (I might stop blogging right away then… lol!). I hooked them up with some freebies (read how I did it here) and they stay connected (I only have 271 unsubscribes so far) since I provide them with great stuff. I’m now able to connect directly with them, ask them questions and send them to my new sites such as What is Dividend and Canadian Dividend Stock.

 

But it’s not only for bloggers, you just need a newsletter regardless what you do!

 

The following posts (and next newsletter article!) will be about how I manage (and make money!) my mailing lists. But you can do the same in just about any field. I just gave you my example where I have a mailing list for my clients. In fact, if you are in sales, regardless of which kind of product or service, you need a mailing list! This will enable you to get direct feedback from your clients, connect with them, be the top name in your field when they think of it and ultimately generate more sales!

 

But if you want to be able to do that, you’ll have to follow the upcoming series carefully. A mailing list can be the most awesome tool for growth in your business but it can also have the effect of a weapon of mass destruction on your clientele if you bully your clients with a bunch of ads and promotions. This is exactly what the big brands haven’t realized yet. But what do you want? Their marketing departments hire kids who only think about pushing sales (I was once like that so I know what I’m talking about 😉 ).

 

So are you in? what are you waiting for? Subscribe to my newsletter 😉

 

If you liked this articles, you might want to sign for my FULL RSS FEEDS. Then, you will get my daily post to your email and can read it at any time. To subscribe CLICK HERE

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January 27, 2012, 6:00 am

Epic Shiz of the Week

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

Time to see what’s really worth checking out from the past week. I must admit that I was impressed with the personal finance eBook library. This is a collection of free and premium eBooks from the top personal finance bloggers. Not only is it a really neat layout, but it gives you instant access to the best eBooks around.

I also wanted to give out two additional mentions. First I want to think Matt About Money for this weeks Carnival of Personal Finance: Words of Wisdom Edition. This carnival has been a staple for finding new blog readers in the personal finance field ever since I’ve been around. I feel that it’s important that we all continue to link back to this carnival that has helped us out over the years.

Next I wanted to mention Canadian Finance Carnival #72 and Personal Finance Basics: Spend Less Than You Make from The Canadian Finance Blog. Tom has been doing this weekly roundup for a while now and I hope that we all take the time to show appreciation and link back to Tom’s site. I also had the privilege of meeting Tom last year and we ended up chatting for hours as he turned out to be a very cool dude.

 

If you liked this articles, you might want to sign for my FULL RSS FEEDS. Then, you will get my daily post to your email and can read it at any time. To subscribe CLICK HERE

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January 26, 2012, 6:00 am

Where Are You Really?

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income

Do you know where you are? No not your physical location. Where are you really? Do you know where you stand when it comes to your position in your field or your industry?

I’ve often heard that there’s a big difference between where you are and where you want to be in life and in business. You may think and want to be successful in your field, but are you really? You could be on the other end of the spectrum. The challenge comes in being realistic about where you are and then moving towards where you want to be.

A few months back I saw a brief news story about Snooki (the short drunk girl) from the Jersey Shore. She was wearing Coach purses in public events likely because she could afford them and wanted the status. What happened was that Coach found out about this and decided to send her a a purse from a competitor. The company didn’t want her to represent the brand in the public. She though that she was classy. Coach thought otherwise.

Where am I going with this? I just wanted to touch upon some basic marketing that I learned in college and just through following successful people online.

How can you get to where you want to be with with your business?

Get rid of those that you don’t want.

One friend was planning on coming to my birthday party but he realized that he couldn’t make it because he was wearing some old pair of running shoes. The venue that we were attending had a strict dress code policy on dress shoes. The policy is simple, no dress shoes, no entry. You can complain all that you want, but it’s their property and their rules.

I also believe in being over-dressed instead of under-dressed. My friend was surprised he couldn’t get in with the running shoes. He just didn’t understand the policy.

The venue’s stance on the  policy is actually real simple: get rid of those that you don’t want. The venue clearly didn’t want its patrons to be walking around in old running shoes. You complain all you want. That’s just the way it is. The venue is getting rid of those that they don’t want.

You should try the same with your business. Get rid of those that you don’t see eye-to-eye with. Get rid of those that don’t share your views. Get rid of anyone that will only bring you down.

How can you get rid of those that you don’t want?

  • Bash ideas that they believe in.
  • Don’t give them any reactions.
  • Ask them to leave.

Once you lose those that are bringing you down, you can move on and help those that you want apart of your cause.

Focus on helping those you want apart of your cause.

Who do you want apart of your cause? Once you figure this out you can focus on helping these people and having them help you. Chris  Guillebeau refers to this group of people as your small army. You will help your small army and in turn your small army will want to help you. I summarized his theory on building your small army with this quick image below:

When you work on helping those that you want to be with you and of your cause you’ll build yourself up towards being much closer to where you want to be. This is a simple formula that I’ve been doing my best to apply ever since I heard of it.

Fake it until you make it.

This is a classic quote and I believe in it totally. You’re not going to make it to where you want to be if you keep on feeling sorry for yourself and simply wishing you were there. You need to pretend that you are there. You don’t need permission from anyone to position yourself the way that you would like to. You just need to be willing to do the work and act as if you already are there.

I hope that you take this article seriously and begin working towards being where you really want to be. There’s usually a huge difference between where you are and where you want to be.

Where do you stand? Where do you want to be in the next few months?

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January 25, 2012, 5:00 am

5 Years To Become Millionaire

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Assets and Net Worth


 

When we first started our company back in 2008, we decided to name it M-35. To be honest, my friend wanted to name it M-30 at first…. But the  “M” stands for “millionaire” and the number stands for the age when we arrive. I thought that 3 years was a little too short ;-). So this is why we decided to use M-35 as our official name: because we think we can reach $1M in net worth by the age of 35.

 

As of my last net worth statement, I’m standing at $203,500 and for the record, I’m 30. Therefore, I have to multiply my net worth by 5 in order to achieve my objective. Out of all my personal and blogging goals, this is by far the most aggressive! But hey! Sometimes, you have to set the bar very high if you want to accomplish awesome things, right?

 

But setting high goals doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a strong plan. On the other hand, growing your net worth by 800K in 5 years is a bit too much to swallow in one piece. So let’s take this elephant steak one bite at a time:

 

Employer stocks: + $43,000

I used to cash my employer’s stock once a year to pay off for different expenses. Starting this year, I’ll be keep them and hope to grow this part of my portfolio. Since I got a new job, I should be able to restrict my expenses. I invest $7,800 per year through my pay check in this stock and I only calculate a growth of 4% for the next 5 years. The growth is related to the DRIP plan where the dividend is around 4% at the moment.

 

RRSP: + $60,000

I intend to invest $10,000 in my RRSP every year for the next 5 years. Here again, my goal was to be conservative so I used a 4% investment return on my money. This should create another 60K. I will use my bonus to make my contributions.

 

Pension Plan: +37,000

This one is pretty hard to determine as I have no control over its value. I assume that the pension plan will grow by $6,000 per year with an investment return of 4%. This is how I got the + $37,000 number.

 

House: +75,000

I’m not counting on my house value to burst, but at 4% over the next 5 years, I would gain $75,000 on the value of my home. Since it is a fully equipped property in a nice area, I guess I should be able to expect to see it grow at this pace.

 

Debts: -$150,000

 

Here again, this is a fairly aggressive goal considering that I wasn’t able to pay down my debts efficiently over the past 3-4 years. On the other hand , controlling my finances is my goal for 2012. So if I want to make sense… I need to set my debt repayment plan in line with my goals. While my income will decrease in 2012 due to my job switch, this should only be temporary and I head back to 150K-175K starting in 2013. This is why I think I’ll be able to pay back about 30K per year in debts. It’s easier said than done, so we’ll see how it goes after a year ;-).

 

And… this makes only $365,000 to add to my net worth

 

Can you see how difficult it is to create a net worth of 1M$ in 5 years when you start from 203K??? Ouch! According to this plan, my net worth would be 568K at the age of 35. I can say that if I reach this level, I’ll be happy but I won’t be “proud”. However, I have one last Ace in my pocket: my online company! Still… I need the valuation of my shares to rise from $98,000 (as of today) to $432,000. Since I have a partner, I need to be able to claim that my company is worth 864K…. hmm.. is this possible?

 

Let’s take a closer look and we will see!

 

Our valuation model is quite simple for the moment: 3 times our annual income minus existing debts + cash. So if I need a value of $864K, I need annual income of $288,000 per year with no debts and no cash. If you divide this number by 12 to reach a monthly income target, we get the round number of… $24,000 per month! In 2011, we made a total of $114,158 or $9,513/month. So this represents a 152% increase over 5 years or an annualized growth of 20% over the same period.

 

I don’t know if it’s just me but if I break down the number as previously mentioned, it doesn’t seem that difficult. If I consider that my plan this year is to go from 9,5K/month to 15K, I’m already aiming at a 57% increase this year! The worst part is that I think it is quite feasible (not to make 180K this year but to get to 3 months in a row of 15K in 2012).

 

You can argue that my plan to become a millionaire by 35 is directly related to the valuation I give my online company. And I couldn’t argue with you. However, I will only smile thinking that while I have my day job paying me over 100K per year, I’m doubling my pay check through my online company.

 

So the race is now on… let’s see if I can make it!!

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