The Email Lifeline: How to Start An Online Business Using Nothing but Email

I believe email is the best way for someone to start a business online.

I have personally built a business that generates $500,000 to $1 Million per month using only email as a marketing tool.

Until recently, I did this WITHOUT a major website or paid advertising.

In this article, I’ll show you how I recommend starting and growing an email marketing business like mine.

The key to your business is your email list.

Your email list consists of people who have given you permission to send them emails.

You get those emails after someone joins your list on an opt-in page.

On this page, they choose to give you their email address in exchange for a free gift.

This process is called an opt-in because the visitor is literally choosing the option of joining your email list. They are “opting in” to your email list so they can get that free gift.

Once you have a visitor’s email address, you will always have it. You will NEVER have to pay for their clicks again when driving traffic. You will be able to market to that visitor for the rest of their life without EVER having to pay a penny more.

You will also make more sales over time.

What most marketers do is send traffic directly to a sales page. This is a HUGE mistake.

If you rely on visitors clicking straight through to the sales page for every offer:

  • You risk losing most of that traffic.
  • You have to pay for every click, even if it is someone who has visited your page before.
  • Your sales page on its own might convert at 4% if it’s really good, but you are losing 96% of your traffic from people who don’t buy.

However, if you drive your traffic to a page (called an opt-in page) where they can give you their email address, you can get conversions as high as 70%. Now, instead of losing 96% of your visitors, you’re capturing 70% of them and get to send emails to them again and again!

Getting someone to opt-in to your email list is simple. Take a look at the diagram below.

This, in a nutshell, is how you build an email marketing business.

Traffic is getting people onto your one page website.

You can generate traffic through affiliate marketing, advertising or any other method you wish. When a visitor clicks on your link, they will be taken to your one-page website. This is where they will have the option to opt-in.

Once the visitor provides their email address, they will be redirected to a Thank You Page. This is where you express your gratitude to them for choosing to get your free gift, and it’s an opportunity to promote something to them to offset your traffic costs.

Meanwhile, the email address the visitor entered will be added to your email database. You will have it forever. From now on, at no extra cost, you will be able to send that visitor automated emails and manual messages.

These emails will deliver valuable content and promote products and services your subscribers are interested in.

And this is just the beginning…

5 Reasons Why Email is King

Many online marketers believe that Email Marketing is dead. However, even with the growth of Google and social media, email is still the most powerful method of marketing.

Here’s why email is still thriving…

1. Undeniable Statistics

Even with the advent of social media, more people than ever before are using email on a daily basis. This is good news for you! You have direct access to consumers worldwide at virtually no cost to you.

Just think about the power you now have. You can be located in New York and you can contact consumers in California, Alberta, Scotland or anywhere else and build a strong personal relationship with them. And you can do this with no more effort than connecting with a consumer located in Manhattan.

2. Relationships Drive Decisions

And relationships are critical in marketing. Relationships drive decisions. Really, it’s all about trust. Think about who you trust more, a friend or some stranger you just met.

When someone clicks on a Google or Facebook ad, there is no relationship there. They are cold-clicking and you are like the stranger they just met on the street. They know nothing about you.

Email is different. When you connect via Email, you have the time to develop a relationship. The consumer gets to know you and sees you as a real person, rather than a faceless business. You can build a rapport with them and they begin to trust you.

When you email people, you are communicating with them directly through their inbox. This allows people to warm up to you and this makes them more likely to take action and buy. They become warm traffic, rather than a cold click.

3. Control Leads to Marketing Power

Whether that is an affiliate product or your own product. You can drive traffic to anything you choose.

This is particularly powerful when you are launching your own product. You can literally launch the product, send out a promotional email, and make money on the very first day. All you need is a solid email list.

4. An Asset with True Value

You can do this by promoting your own offers, or by promoting other people’s offers as an affiliate. That’s right – you don’t even need your own product!

This allows you to control your access to your customers. Plus, if you decide to sell your online business, the list is a business asset that is worth a lot of money. You are giving the new owner immediate access to a pool of warm customers.

5. Safety, Reliability, and True Ownership

The kind that lets you sleep at night—because no one can take this email list away from you.

You are not subject to the whim of a platform like Google, Facebook, or Twitter. They could change their policies tomorrow and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. But when you generate your own email list full of subscribers who opted in, no one can take that away from you.

Now that you know how amazing email is as a marketing tool, let’s dive into how to create your own email list!

How to Build an Email List

The first step to building an online business with email is to actually build an email list. That means sending traffic to your opt-in page.

You will be better off if you have both of these, although you can make one of them work for you. If you have neither, then the hard truth is you won’t be able to generate traffic or build an email list.

Option 1 will work over time, provided you have the time and energy to invest. Option 2 will work quickly, if you have the money to invest.

Let’s take a look at each option…

Free Traffic

Yes, you CAN generate free traffic. But to do this, you have to put in time (1-2 hours per day) and energy.

You really have to have a lot of perseverance to build a list through free traffic. But it can be done! Here are some ways you can accomplish this…

SEO Optimization

Search engines are constantly searching for new content to give to their users. If you can get your content to appear on the first page of a Google or Bing/Yahoo search result, you can get a lot of FREE traffic.

You’ll need a blog for this. Blogs are easy, and in a lot of cases free to set up. Post content daily, using keywords and relevant information to make your blog appear high in search results.

Include an opt-in box on the right-hand side of your blog. The more traffic your blog gets, the more people will opt-in for your free gift. It’s that simple.

Participate in Communities

There are so many communities out there. There are communities for every niche. These include forums and social media groups.

The key is to join these communities and participate. You can post meaningful questions and comments and you can answer people’s questions. The more engaged you are, the better your reputation in these communities will become.

Build a good reputation by providing legitimate content, advice, and information. Establish yourself as an expert and direct people to your landing page by using the signature promotion at the bottom of your posts.

Blog Comments

Blogs are a great way to get your name out there. Use Google to find prominent blogs and keep a close eye on the blogs that interest you. You can join their Email newsletter and RSS feed so you know when a new blog post is made.

Leave legitimate, non-spammy, well-thought out comments on blog posts of interest and try to be one of the first people to do so. You are generally allowed to include a URL so use this to send people to your opt-in page.

If you are genuine, people will click on your link. Just remember that to be successful with this you need to be active on the blogs so choose only two or three of the best.

Article Syndication

This is about content. There are plenty of article directories that will spread your articles far and wide. Write engaging articles that are at least 500 words in length and post them to the top three to five directories.

Your articles will have a signature file at the bottom and anyone who posts your article must do so with the signature file intact. That way, you get credit for the article and your website link is available for anyone who wants to click on it.

Investment Traffic

This is the golden goose of Email Marketing. I use the term investment traffic instead of paid traffic, because it really is an investment. And like any investment you can make a great return on the money you invest.

I love investment traffic because it can give you targeted traffic and instant results.

Yes, you do need to make a financial investment up front, but it doesn’t have to be a lot (as low as $100) and you can recover it quickly.

Here are some ways to generate investment traffic:

Email Media

Email Media is a fast, easy way to get your opt-in page out to a targeted audience.

Simply put, there are other email marketers who will advertise your opt-in page to their lists – for a price, of course.

Email media is effective because you are marketing to people who are already on other people’s email lists (and are clearly responsive enough to click on links).

The best kind of email media is a solo ad, which is a dedicated email message promoting your page. Many of my students have used these to quickly build their email lists from zero to thousands in a matter of weeks.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a tried and true method for generating  traffic. Google is the largest search engine in the world, and its ads appear on millions on websites. That is a huge network to tap into.

You just have to be sure you learn Google’s rules and follow them. You also need to learn your way around the Google network.

This takes some time, and you need the right system. If you crack this nut though, you can dramatically grow your list.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is a titan when it comes to online business. I love Facebook. Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook every day and Facebook allows incredible targeting options.

Facebook is less complicated than Google, less expensive than purchasing solo ads, and is highly effective. Facebook also has ridiculous targeting potential because of how much information they have about there 1 billion-plus users.

However, like Google Adwords, it’s important to first learn the ins and outs of Facebook advertising before spending significant amounts of money.

By tapping into these different sources of traffic, you will be able to build your email list.

Now let’s talk about the next piece of the puzzle: promoting offers so you can generate revenue.

3 Email Marketer “Job” Functions

As I mentioned earlier, the value of your email list comes from the ability to promote offers to your subscribers. These can be your own offers, or other people’s offers.

How do you go about promoting these offers?

First and foremost, NEVER use the generic emails the seller provides. You know your Email list better than anyone and you know how to write to them.

You also have to decide why you are writing emails. Is it to generate traffic, pre-sell to them, or simply provide content? You need to keep it simple. To avoid going astray, remember this—Email Marketers have just three jobs. Stick with these three jobs, you will get impressive results.

1. Create Excitement

You need to get people excited! They need to feel the emotion and excitement in your email. You need to entice them with your words. This starts with the subject line and you don’t want to waste this precious space. For example:


Essentially, you need to amplify the benefit of what you are promoting. You want people to be interested in your email right from the start. They already gave you permission to send them emails to help them with life’s problems. Now you have to avoid disappointing them.

And make sure you inject your personality into every word you write in your Email. No one wants to read a boring, lifeless, clichéd Email. The more excitement you generate, the more clicks you’ll get.

2. Edify and Create Expectation

This means that you need to make the reader curious enough that they will click the link you provide in the Email.

The best way to accomplish this is by telling the audience a story. This is a story about what happened when you did what you are asking them to do—that is click.

Remember, they trust you. So, you need to show them that you believe in what you are saying enough that you actually did it.

This way, you can tell them what’s in it for them. You can tell them your experience and how you felt after you clicked. You can genuinely relate to them by showing them how it benefitted you.

There is no better recommendation that a personal recommendation.

3. Generate Clicks

If you do your first two jobs right, then this one should fall right into place. Remember, your job in an Email isn’t to sell a product. That’s what the sales page is for. All you are trying to do is get people to click on the link. To do this keep it simple and make the link easily visible.

Check out this example of an Email from my book Email Lifeline that shows all three jobs functions in action:



I feel I’ve been lied to for at least 10 years.

About a week ago, I was introduced to a new friend, Dr. Kelsten. A very trusted friend of mine sent me a link to a shocking video. This video clearly shows 7 foods that can help you instantly drop 10 pounds in 10 days.

But, here’s the catch.

These same foods are currently thought to actually have you gain weight. This is the big lie. I’ve been avoiding these foods for the last 10 years. Not anymore!

I really recommend you watch the entire video. Take action. Clear up the lies!

=> Free Video: The Controversial 7 Foods That Help You Lose 10 Pounds

Don’t miss out. Who knows when Dr. Kelsten will take it down? Apparently, he’s become quite the star lately – traveling the World doing TV shows!

Anik Singal

This was an email I made up to provide an example of an email that creates excitement, edifies and creates great expectation. The person clicking the link is not only excited, they are curious and they are committed.

2 Main Parts of Your Email

Let’s take a close look at each of these…

Subject Line

An incredible 70% of your results are based on the subject line!

The goal of your subject line is to get the reader to open the email. If they don’t open the Email, then it doesn’t matter if you are literally giving away money—they will never know.

You need to work harder on the subject line that on the actual Email. You have to get the attention of a person who is distracted by work, family, other marketing efforts, and social media updates and make them want to open your Email.

You do this in one of two ways. You either deliver a superb benefit or create mysterious intrigue—and you do it all in your subject line. Here are the keys to a good subject line:

  • No more than three punctuation marks in your subject line.
  • Never start the subject line with a number or a punctuation mark.
  • Avoid the word “Guaranteed” at all costs.
  • Limit capitalizing all the letters of any word.
  • Completely avoid using the “$” symbol in your subject line.
  • Never combine the words “make” and “money” together.

Email Content

Congratulations! The reader has opened the Email. Now you need to get them to CLICK the link. First, start with a short sentence. This makes it easier to engage the reader. You should also keep the entire Email short and to the point.

You also want to be sure you don’t end up in the spam folder. Here are some tips to avoid this fate:

  • Always send an HTML email (not only plain text).
  • Pay attention to the way an email LOOKS. Use your bold, italics, and other visual break-ups.
  • Place the link a minimum of twice in the email.
  • Never write big paragraphs that are hard on the eyes.
  • Stick to basic templates, fancy designs lead to a drop in results!
  • Avoid the word “Guaranteed” at all costs.
  • Don’t over use crazy characters such as ** or ===.
  • Never combine the two words “make” and “money” together.

Now you know how to write an email. But why are you writing it? You need to decide what products to promote. Fortunately, this is easier than you might think…

What Products Should You Promote?

Obviously, you could and should promote your own offers whenever possible, but these will not fill all of your promotional opportunities. You need to fill in the gaps with affiliate offers.

When it comes to affiliate offers, how do you choose what you will promote? There are hundreds of thousands of products in dozens of niches. You need to select the ones that will sell well. Making this selection is based on the following two factors:

1. Is it a good product?

You absolutely MUST believe in the product. Ideally you have used it yourself. You have to be fully confident that the product is a Level 10 quality. If it is any less and you endorse it, you will lose trust with your email subscribers.

Please remember that when you promote a product, YOU will be held accountable for the results. Even if it is someone else’s product, if it ends up being a waste of money and time, you are the one your subscribers will blame. You will lose your relationship with them.

2. Does the product convert well?

You might believe in the product, but you also want to make money by promoting it. This requires you to make sure the product converts well. You need to know that the person selling the product has a history of good product conversions.

To find out if the product converts well, you can do the following:

  • Ask a friend or colleague who has promoted the product.
  • Ask the seller to provide you with the conversion data.
  • Run a test campaign to a small segment of your list.
  • Check the seller’s history with previous products.

And remember…

The #1 Way to promote products is during launches.

Yes, you can certainly promote other products, ones that were launched previously, but are great sellers on a day-to-day basis. However, product launches create an initial buzz about a product throughout the industry before the product even becomes available.

Just think about how much you see prior to the release of a movie. You see a trailer a few months before the release. Then you see interviews and appearances by the stars of the movie. Then in the weeks before the release you see advertisements everywhere. There is so much hype that you end up being there on opening night, popcorn in-hand.

Don’t underestimate the power of a product launch.

At this point you might be wondering where these great products are. Ideally you want to promote more than one product a month to take full advantage of your email list. The very best place to find these products is via affiliate networks. Some affiliate networks include:


These networks have thousands of products that are being promoted in virtually any niche you can think of. Plus, you can see how these products rank and you can see their current conversions.

This is a great way to find products to endorse when you start out. Once you have established your email list and your credibility in the industry, you can contact the sellers directly to ask them what they recommend you promote.

The Email Lifeline

When I started email marketing over a decade ago, it was a commonly held belief that email lists dried up after a few months. The key was to promote as many products as possible to a list before it died. There were some months in which I promoted as many as 10 products.

But about a year ago, I spoke with a good friend who is also a brilliant marketer. His advice to me didn’t fit with the accepted norm. He told me that I needed to stop promoting that many products. I argued with him. I challenged him.

And all he said was, “I don’t promote more than two, maximum three products a month and my income from my email list has tripled.”

Now, I had been friends with him for more than 10 years and this was the first time I had ever doubted what he said.

I remember replying, “That just sounds crazy. The numbers don’t even make sense. There is no way you’re making 3 times what I make! You must be making half of what I earn…”

Then he shared his numbers with me. Let me tell you that shut me up. I took him at his word and tested his theory. But my friend also gave me a second piece of advice, which explained why his numbers were so high.

“I focus on higher ticket products so my commissions are much bigger. Secondly, I really get in deep with the program. If I promote it, I really promote it. I don’t just send one or two lazy Emails. I get in there. I really qualify my leads and push the program hard—I even throw in my bonuses. I hold nothing back.”

It turned out he was right. His approach worked, but I made an adjustment…

3 Types of Offers


I tested this new way of approaching Email Marketing. At first I only promoted high-ticket products. But I found my email list lost interest and I knew there was a reason for this. This is when I stumbled upon the model I now call the Email Lifeline.

The high-ticket items alienated a large percentage of my subscribers who couldn’t afford what I was promoting. That’s why my email list was not responding. They were simply leaving. This new model was a way to ensure that every one of my subscribers had the opportunity to take advantage of what I had to offer.

My rule was to promote no more than three products per month, but I mixed things up. I promoted three types of offers:

  • Low-Ticket
  • Mid-Ticket
  • High-Ticket


Promoting one of each of these every month was the key! And I approached each one differently…

Promoting Low-Ticket Offers

Low-ticket offers are generally offers that cost between $1 and $97. In some niches this range might vary, but most consumers consider this range to be a low-ticket purchase. The method of promotion will most likely be a written sales page. Your Email will prepare your subscribers to read that sales page!

This is what you need to do, even for a low-ticket product. Here is an example.

Let’s assume the headline of the sales page you’re promoting is:

“Scientific Breakthrough Creates Controversy By Releasing the 7 Diet Tricks That Can Help You Shed 10 Pounds in 10 Days…”

If you are promoting that to your list, here is an example of what your subject line could say:

“REVEALED: Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days.”

You will then follow this headline with an Email that will tell your subscribers something enticing. Perhaps you will tell them about a recent scientific study. Or you can tell them the following:

“These same 7 tricks that were initially thought to lead to weight gain have now been found to be catalysts in losing weight!”

This email intrigues and captivates your subscribers. This intrigue and captivation will hold when they click through and read the headline of the sales letter.

You can even indirectly or directly mention in your email that the link you are sending them to has a letter. You can tell them something like this:

“In the following letter, you will receive 7 tips that will help you lose 10 pounds in 10 days.”

This is so simple, yet so powerful. You will create a level of expectation that will cause a huge increase in conversions. When your subscribers click through, they will already be in the right frame of mind. They will be ready to read your sales letter!

Promoting Mid-Ticket Offers

Mid-ticket offers are any offers that range between $97 and $700. These products are generally similar to either a low-ticket item or a high-ticket item. The price is simply based on the value given to the item by the seller.

With mid-ticket items, the written sales letter is not an adequate method of promotion. Here you will be using a video sales letter or a webinar. You will use your email to prepare your subscribers to watch a video or sign up for a webinar. And really, this isn’t all that different from preparing them to read a written sales letter.

When writing your email for a mid-ticket item, you can leave it open-ended and indirect. Even a simple sentence like this one can prepare your subscriber for what they will see when they click:

“This video is very important. If you’re serious about losing weight then you need to take time to finish it. Be prepared to take notes and make sure you take action at the end of the video!”

That’s really all there is to it!

Notice, you didn’t mention the product. You NEVER try to sell during the email. What you did do was prepare them to watch the entire video.

Promoting High-Ticket Offers

Finally, you have your high-ticket items. These are items that cost between $700 and $5,000. The #1 rule here is that you never EVER promote a high-ticket item via a written sales letter or a video sales letter.

With a high-ticket item, you are asking your subscribers to part with a lot of money. You need the personal connection of a webinar. It is the webinar that you will promote in your Email and this explanation applies even if you use the webinar to promote a mid-ticket item.

As you can see in the above diagram, you should begin promoting a webinar three days before it is scheduled to broadcast. After the broadcast, you can then promote a replay of it, which is more like a video sales letter. The promotion schedule is as follows:

Sunday to Tuesday: Promote the Registration Page of the Webinar. Keep these emails short and build excitement. You want subscribers to click through to the registration page.

Wednesday: Send this email out early the morning of the webinar. 7:00 AM EST is an ideal time. This email can be longer and more edifying. Here you want to encourage anyone who hasn’t already registered to do so. You also want to make people feel accountable to attend the entire webinar.

Thursday to Friday: Now that the webinar has run, you will act like you are promoting a video sales letter. You will have the replay and sales page ready and the Email will get the subscriber excited enough to commit to watching the entire webinar replay. You must send this out the day after the webinar airs, while it is still fresh in the minds of the people who missed it. Then send it out the following day.

Saturday: Send nothing out so you can give your list a break.

Sunday: You can send out two emails on Sunday to promote bonuses and scarcity in your offer. But only do this is the promotion is going well. If the promotion has not been going well, then end your campaign on Thursday and send out content on Sunday. This will help nurture the health of your list.

These types of emails offer you the opportunity to get creative a build a relationship with your subscribers. You are giving them a chance to be present with you during a LIVE presentation and you are giving them great content. Plus, these promotions are incredibly easy.

Email truly is the #1 way to market online. All you need to do is…

As long as you can invest the time and/or money into generating your Email list, you will have unlimited options when it comes to promoting your own products or affiliate products. With a captivating subject line and an enticing Email, you will be able to successfully promote low, mid, and high-ticket items.

Just remember that you are NEVER selling a product in your Email. All you want to do is generate enough excitement to make them click on the link.

Creating emails requires an intricate mix of science and art.

I’ve given you the science. Now you add the art by creating your own unique style using the tips I’ve given you.

Good Luck!

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