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


I believe email is the best way 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. Granted, these types of results may not be typical nor expected for everyone. It all depends how much effort, time and money one invests.

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

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

The key to an email marketing business is having an email list.

An email list consists of people who have given their permission (typically by opting in for a free gift or an offer) to receive emails.

On this page, they choose to give 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 the email list. They are “opting in” to the email list so they can get that free gift.


Once we have a visitor’s email address, we will always have it. This means NEVER having to pay for their clicks again when driving traffic. It also provides the opportunity to market to that visitor for the rest of their life without EVER having to pay a penny more.

This also results in more sales over time.

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

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

  • There is a risk of losing most of that traffic.
  • Every click costs money, even if it is someone who has visited the page before.
  • The sales page on its own might convert at 4% if it’s really good, but 96% of traffic is lost from people who don’t buy.

However, when driving traffic to a page (called an opt-in page) where they can give their email address, conversions can be as high as 70%. Now, instead of losing 96% of visitors, 70% of them convert and are willing to receive emails again and again!

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

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

Traffic is getting people onto the one page website.

Traffic can be generated through affiliate marketing, advertising or any other desired method. When a visitor clicks on the link, they will be taken to the 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 a page that can be a simple expression of gratitude and a brand introduction. It’s also an opportunity to promote something to them to offset traffic costs.

Meanwhile, the email address the visitor entered will be added to the email database. We will have it forever. From now on, at no extra cost, automated and manual emails can be sent to that visitor.

These emails will deliver valuable content and promote products and services that 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


email marketing

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

Just think about the power here. Someone can be located in New York and can contact consumers in California, Alberta, Scotland or anywhere else and build a strong personal relationship with them. And this can be done 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. I think we would all trust a friend more than someone we just met.

When someone clicks on a Google or Facebook ad, there is no relationship there. They are cold-clicking and we are like the stranger they just met on the street.

Email is different. When connecting via Email, there is time to develop a relationship. The consumer gets to know the person behind the emails, rather than it seeming like a faceless business. Rapport and trust is built this way.

When emailing people, it is direct communication through their inbox. This allows people to warm up and 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 an original product, traffic can be driven anywhere.

This is particularly powerful when launching a product. Someone can literally launch the product, send out a promotional email, and make money on the very first day. All that’s needed is a solid email list.

4. An Asset with True Value

The marketing power is harnessed by promoting original offers, or by promoting other people’s offers as an affiliate. That’s right – an original product isn’t even needed!

This allows for control of how to access customers. Plus, if the online business is ever sold in the future, the list is a business asset that is worth a lot of money. The new owner gets immediate access to a pool of warm customers.

5. Safety, Reliability, and True Ownership

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

Email is not subject to the whim of a platform like Google, Facebook, or Twitter. They could change their policies tomorrow and no one would be able to do anything about it. But when owning an email list full of subscribers who opted in, it can’t be taken away.

Now that we’ve discussed how amazing email is as a marketing tool, let’s dive into how to create our 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 an opt-in page.

Obviously having both time and money is optimal, but most people can only focus on one. If we have neither, then the hard truth is that there is almost no chance of generating traffic or building an email list.

Option 1 will work over time, though only with sufficient time and energy invested. Option 2 will work quickly though.

Let’s take a look at each option…

Option #1: Free Traffic

Yes, free traffic CAN be generated. But to do this, it requires time (1-2 hours per day) and energy.

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

SEO Optimization

Search engines are constantly searching for new content to give to their users. If content appears on the first page of a Google or Bing/Yahoo search result, this means a lot of FREE traffic.

This is where having a blog comes in handy. Blogs are easy, and in a lot of cases free to set up. Post content daily, using keywords and relevant information to make the blog appear high in search results.

Include an opt-in box on the right-hand side of the blog. The more traffic the blog gets, the more people will opt-in for the 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. Post meaningful questions and comments and answer people’s questions. More engagement leads to a better reputation in these communities.

Build a good reputation by providing legitimate content, advice, and information. Using a signature promotion at the bottom of posts helps direct people to our landing page.

Blog Comments

Blogs are a great way to reach a lot of people. We can use Google to find prominent blogs and keep a close eye on the blogs in our niche. We can join their Email newsletter and RSS feed so we 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. We are generally allowed to include a URL so use this to send people to our opt-in page.

If the comment is genuine, people will click on the link. Just remember being successful with this requires being active on the blogs so choose only 2 or 3 of the best.

Article Syndication

This is about content.

There are plenty of article directories that will spread articles far and wide. Write engaging articles that are at least 500 words in length and post them to the top 3 - 5 directories.

Make sure articles have your signature file at the bottom. Anyone who posts your article must do so with the signature file intact. That way, we get credit for the article and our website link is available for anyone who wants to click on it.

Option 2: 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, a great return can be made.

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

Yes, it’s necessary to make a financial investment up front, but it doesn’t have to be a lot ($100 or less to get started) and it can be recovered quickly.

Here are some ways to generate investment traffic:

Email Media

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

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

Email media is effective because we 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 our 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.

It’s important to learn Google’s rules and follow them. It’s also important to learn to navigate Google’s network.

This takes some time, as well as having the right system. If Google is done right, it can be a tremendous list grower.

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 their 1 billion+ 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, building an email list from zero to thousands can become a pretty quick reality.

Now let’s talk about the next piece of the puzzle: promoting offers and generating revenue.

3 Email Marketer “Job” Functions

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

What’s the strategy for promoting these offers?

First and foremost, NEVER use the generic emails the seller provides. We know our Email list better than anyone, as well as how to write to them.

There’s also the purpose behind writing emails. Is it to generate traffic, pre-sell to them, or simply provide content? Keep it simple. To avoid going astray, remember this — Email Marketers have just 3 jobs. Stick with these 3 jobs, and enjoy some impressive results.

1. Create Excitement

Get people excited! They need to feel the emotion and excitement in the email. Entice them. This starts with the subject line. It’s crucial to maximize this precious space.

For example:

Essentially, it’s about amplifying the benefit of the offer being promoted. This is how to get people interested in the email right from the start. They already gave permission to receive emails to help them with life’s problems.

And make sure to inject personality into every word of the Email. No one wants to read a boring, lifeless, clichéd Email. The more excitement generated, the more clicks.

2. Edify & Create Expectation

This means making the reader curious enough that they will click the link provided in the Email.

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

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

This way, we can tell them what’s in it for them. We can tell them our experience and how we felt after we clicked. We can genuinely relate to them by showing them how it benefitted us.

There is no better recommendation that a personal recommendation.

3. Generate Clicks

If the first 2 jobs are done right, then this one should fall right into place. Remember, the job of the Email isn’t to sell a product. That’s what the sales page is for. The goal is simply getting 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 3 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 someone instantly drop 10 pounds in 10 days.

But, here’s the catch.

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

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

=> Free Video: The Controversial 7 Foods That Help People 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 The Email


email marketing

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

Subject Line

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

The goal of the subject line is to get the reader to open the email.

If they don’t open the Email, then it doesn’t matter if we are literally giving away money — they will never know.

Focus more on the subject line that on the actual Email. 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 the Email.

Do this in 1 of 2 ways. Either deliver a superb benefit or create mysterious intrigue — and it’s all done in our subject line.

Here are the keys to a good subject line:

  • No more than 3 punctuation marks in the 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 the subject line
  • Never combine the words “make” and “money” together.

Email Content

Congratulations! The reader has opened the Email. Now the goal is to get them to CLICK the link. First, start with a short sentence. This makes it easier to engage the reader. To do this effectively, keep the entire Email short and to the point.

Also, be sure to not 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 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 2 words “make” and “money” together.

That was all on how to write an email. But why is it being written? The next step is deciding what products to promote. Fortunately, this is easier than most people think…

What Products Should We Promote?

Obviously, it would be great to promote original offers whenever possible, but these will not fill all promotional opportunities. Fill in the gaps with affiliate offers.

When it comes to affiliate offers, how do we choose what we will promote? There are hundreds of thousands of products in dozens of niches. Select the ones that will sell well. Making this selection is based on the following 2 factors:

1. Is it a good product?

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

Please remember that when we promote a product, WE 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, we are the ones our subscribers will blame. This will ruin the subscriber relationship.

2. Does the product convert well?

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

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

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

And remember…

The #1 Way to promote products is during launches.

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

Don’t underestimate the power of a product launch.

At this point we might be wondering where these great products are. Ideally we want to promote more than one product a month to take full advantage of our 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 imaginable. Plus, we can see how these products rank as well as their current conversions.

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

The Email Lifeline


email marketing

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 few years 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 2, maximum 3 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. 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 1 or 2 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


email marketing

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 3 products per month, but I mixed things up. I promoted 3 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. The Email will prepare our subscribers to read that sales page!

This is what needs to be done, even for a low-ticket product. Here is an example.

Let’s assume the headline of the sales page being promoted is:

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

If promoting that, here is an example of what the subject line could say:

“REVEALED: Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days.”

Then follow this headline with an Email that will tell the subscribers something enticing. Maybe tell them about a recent scientific study, or something like 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 our subscribers. This intrigue and captivation will hold when they click through and read the headline of the sales letter.

It also works to indirectly or directly mention in the email that the link they’re clicking has a letter. That would look 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.

This creates a level of expectation that will cause a huge increase in conversions. When subscribers click through, they will already be in the right frame of mind. They will be ready to read the 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.

A video sales letter or a webinar can be used here. Craft the email to prepare the 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 an email for a mid-ticket item, leave it open-ended and indirect. Even a simple sentence like this one can prepare the 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, there was no mention of the product. NEVER try to sell during the email. Just prepare them to watch the entire video.

Promoting High-Ticket Offers

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

With a high-ticket item, people are being asked to spend a lot of money. This is why it’s necessary to have the personal connection of a webinar. It is the webinar that will be promoted in the Email and this explanation even applies to using a webinar to promote a mid-ticket item.


email marketing

As seen in the above diagram, begin promoting a webinar 3 days before it is scheduled to broadcast. After the broadcast, promote a replay of it, which is more like a video sales letter.

We want subscribers to click through to the registration page.

The promotion schedule is as follows:

Sunday to Tuesday: Promote the Registration Page of the Webinar. Keep these emails short and build excitement. We 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 is where to encourage anyone who hasn’t already registered to do so. It also makes people feel accountable to attend the entire webinar.

Thursday to Friday:

Now that the webinar has run, we act like we are promoting a video sales letter.  Have the replay and sales page ready and the Email will get the subscriber excited enough to commit to watching the entire webinar replay. 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 to give the list a break.

Sunday: Send out 2 emails to promote bonuses and scarcity in the offer. But only do this if the promotion is going well. If the promotion has not been going well, then end the campaign on Thursday and send out content on Sunday. This will help nurture the health of the list.

These types of emails offer the opportunity to get creative a build a relationship with subscribers. This gives them a chance to be present during a LIVE presentation with great content.

Plus, these promotions are incredibly easy.

Email truly is the #1 way to market online. All it takes is…

As long as the time and/or money is invested into generating an Email list, there are unlimited options when it comes to promoting original products or affiliate products. With a captivating subject line and an enticing Email, anyone will be able to successfully promote low, mid, and high-ticket items.

Just remember that a product is never sold in the Email. It’s just about generating enough excitement to make them click on the link.

Creating emails requires an intricate mix of science and art.

I’ve provided the science. Now add the art by creating a unique style using the tips I’ve given.

Good Luck!