If there’s one thing I have learned over the past 20 years, it’s that almost every small business is open to getting help with their email marketing. And for good reason, their focus is almost entirely based on the core products and the moving parts of their business. That might mean websites, marketing funnels, re-marketing, content & search, products, new products, fulfillment, distribution and the list goes on. Rarely do I meet small businesses with dedicated employees assigned to just manage their email marketing. (And it’s a huge mistake)
Email marketers are all aware of the lifestyle and freedom that comes along with being able to responsibly hit the “send” button. So in this post I am going to lay out a very simple option for you to set up and run a business that focuses exclusively on email marketing for other people. You can do it without hiring any new employees or needing a bunch of money and resources. You can probably have all of this set up and running for a couple hundred bucks – max. I will also share exactly how you can have 100% of your costs factored into these future deals so that there’s very little out of pocket in the future.
If email marketing has been a core component of your life for at least the past year or two, this business model could be a major win for you. Below is a simple breakdown of things you will want to consider setting up so that you can have this running in about a week or so.
Step 1 – Get Email Marketing Clients
I’ve never been a fan of the gurus out there that say “go get some clients”. They tell you to go to your local dentist, doctor, chiropractor etc. It’s really unrealistic for the masses to do a lot of cold contact in industries that are foreign to them. And because it’s unrealistic, most people just never get around to doing it, and the money spent on the course is for nothing.
We’re going to take the route of working in the ecosystems that we live, eat and breathe everyday. The network of people, groups, boards & relationships that are all within arms reach and that aren’t scary to talk to. Most of us aren’t sales people, so if we can take the “selling” out of the equation, it’s a lot more realistic to scale this system up and not be uncomfortable all the time.
So, the first thing we need to do is define what a client is. A good client definition might be something like this: Any person or business that has the ability to generate, capture or acquire new leads on an ongoing basis, preferably daily. Whatever ecosystem you live in, start thinking about the different people you talk to on a regular basis and could help. If you’re in the real estate world, think about the local network of realtors that likely don’t do enough list building and email marketing. But the industry or niche doesn’t really matter, it can work for anything and there’s likely a pile of businesses and people close to you that aren’t going to object to you offering help.
So where are the easiest places to get clients?
1 – (Easiest) Immediate Industry Contacts, Friends, Relationships & Businesses
2 – (Easy) Industry Specific Pages, Forums & Facebook Groups
3 – (Tougher) Prospecting Professional sites like LinkedIn
4 – (Hard) Cold contacting via phone, online or in person
Here’s the perspective I will encourage you to consider. Even if someone you talk to is already doing email marketing, if presented properly, they won’t mind another person like you taking a crack at helping them. And of course some people will straight up say “no” or whatever. No problem, move on. But the reality is you really only need a handful of people to say “Yes” and your business will multiply. It’s that simple.
The best way to approach someone is to be prepared. Have your game plan mapped out on a one page document that clearly outlines everything they need to understand. Create an example of what you can do for them and what you offer. Having an organized approach takes the vast majority of the guesswork out of the process for new potential partners.
So to start, make a list of 20 people you work with or speak to regularly, and we’re going to set a goal of getting 1 new client on board. That’s it. You will have time to set everything up for yourself in the meantime, fine tune things, and then bring on your first client.
Step 2 – Get A Listflex Account
Every email agency has a technology engine that manages everything internally for them, and that’s what Listflex will do for you in your email marketing business. Listflex is the result of 10 years of feedback from advertisers, affiliates, media buyers, call centers, affiliate networks and data brokers. Everyone in that list has one thing in common, they all love and rely on email marketing as a cornerstone of revenue in their businesses. Listflex helps a wide range of businesses, but the heart of the technology caters to people who want to manage a lot of consumer data and be successful in email marketing.
If you haven’t done so already, set up a Listflex account. There are no long term contracts, set up fees or any surprises. http://www.listflex.com. Click on the Sign Up button.
After you create your Listflex account, you will instantly get a couple emails that will guide you to log in and get things underway. It’s important to note that there will be something sent to you called the “New User Checklist”. That checklist is a really quick and easy way to navigate all of the moving parts of Listflex from importing leads to sending them out. There’s a variety of other training, videos and tutorials that I will link to this article as well so that you can get creative as you learn to use it.
But the basic strategy here is simply leveraging Listflex to handle all of the critical list management pieces before leads can get mailed. Organization and storage, validation, filters and suppression, along with exporting the leads to Mailiwizz in a very strategic way. Most marketers just smash a bunch of leads from their forms or files into Mailwizz or email systems, and it’s a horrible idea. Listflex will help you remove the poison and problems from all of your lead sources. From there you can slowly and carefully manage leads being sent to your Mailwizz system or any Email Service Provider.
“Vendors” in Listflex are the companies or people you work with that are supplying you their leads or contacts to send emails to. So each time you decide to work with a new company or person, you would set them up as their own “Vendor”. This gives you the ability to create and manage new lists inside of their vendor account, and gives you the luxury of only creating rules and filters that only apply to them or their lists specifically. Every industry has it’s own quirks, so being able to create unique rules for each list (if there are multiple – and there usually are) is critical. This also gives you the opportunity to provide a “back office” to your Vendor so that there’s transparency with them on only the lists they are sending. The back office is a default free bonus from the Listflex software and completely up to you if you decide to provide it to partners. But it’s very helpful in building trust and transparency with partners.
“Clients” in Listflex are who you’re setting up to send leads to. For this specific business plan, and how to set this up as an email marketing business, we’re going to be getting leads from a source and sending them to an assigned Mailwizz account for that source. “Sally Jones” is the vendor providing the leads, and in this case, she will also be the client receiving the leads to a designated Mailwizz account. Listflex will be the proxy for list management, validation, filters and manipulating the flow of leads out to Sally’s client account and lists in Mailwizz. This process makes it easy to scale up multiple people or businesses because each will have their own separate accounts in Listflex & Mailwizz for transparency if you ever need it.
After you set up Sally as a client, you now have the ability to set up API’s inside of her client account (see new user checklist). When you set up an API, this gives you the ability to automate leads into a designated list in the Mailwizz system. I will do a deep dive into the Mailwizz setup in Step 3, but just note that each API you create inside of a client account will be assigned to one specific list in Mailwizz. If Sally is sending you leads into two completely different lists in Listflex, you will set up two separate Listflex client (Sally is the client) orders to pipe the leads to Mailwizz and each will have their own API.
Here’s how it looks.
1 [ Import Leads into Listflex – (clean, filter, dedupe, and run your validations etc upon import)]
2 [ Create Client Orders To Export Leads To Mailwizz – (one API per Mailwizz list inside of client account)]
3 [ Mailwizz Autoresponders Kick In ]
Step 3 – Manage Email Campaigns Using Mailwizz
Before I go too deep into the Mailwizz set up, I want to just remind you that this philosophy is just one specific set up or option for you to run an email business. Collect leads from your relationships or clients, have Listflex do all of the automation and heavy lifting, and send them into Mailwizz. Mailwizz is just one example of an email system that makes this entire process easy. There are hundreds of other ESP’s or “front end” options that you can change to set up to run a business, i’m just sharing this one. As an example, you might have a client with a Getresponse account that wants you to manage their deployments from there. No problem, The entire model is the same, you just send their leads to Getresponse API’s from Listflex instead of Mailwizz.
If you aren’t already familiar with Mailwizz, the reason I selected it is because it has a few very critical things that you need. First, it has an administrative area where you can personally control all of the settings and what you allow for each “client” or customer account. Second, it has individual client accounts, which makes it easy for you to create and organize mailings per client and not have everything and everyone cluttered together. Third, it uses SMTP’s. SMTP’s are something anyone can create or set up with no experience. So when you have your first client, you would instruct them to simply create an SMTP account with any of the many choices and give you the SMTP connection credentials. Your clients create their own SMTP accounts, not you, this is very important.
Setting up Mailwizz does require someone with technical experience. The best place to get Mailwizz from is Codecanyon.net – https://codecanyon.net/item/mailwizz-email-marketing-application/6122150 . It’s a one time fee (not recurring like most tech) and offers the perfect set up for this business model. If you’re not a technical person, you will need to have someone on your team do it, or you can use third party tech people through websites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Here’s a separate blog post on setting up Mailwizz: How To Set Up Mailwizz
Pro Tip: The one important note here is that “cheaper” is not always better when it comes to VPS’s or whatever hosting server or service you use. If you intend to scale this to millions of emails, you will need a strong server.
Once you have Mailwizz set up and running, you can start finalizing the plan. The best way to start is for you to set the entire process up for yourself with leads you have, and then create the moving pieces for your first client. The initial set up the first time will take the most time, piecing it all together. But after you have yourself fully automated beginning to end, you just plug and play new email marketing clients from there.
Lets do a quick recap before we discuss strategy. You will need to make sure that you have all of these boxes checked and leads will flow in and out seamlessly.
⃞ “Listflex In-house” Vendor created in Listflex
⃞ “Listflex In-house” Vendor list created in Listflex to accept leads
⃞ “Listflex In-house” Client created in Listflex to create orders
⃞ “Listflex In-house” Client API to Mailwizz created
⃞ “Listflex In-house” Client order created to send leads to Mailwizz list
⃞ “Mailwizz” Client created
⃞ “Mailwizz” Client list created to accept leads
⃞ “Mailwizz” Client SMTP Server added to client account
⃞ “Mailwizz” Client Autoresponder with 1 email set up for testing
This is the core list of things. You will have other little things that will be required along the way as well, but these are the main moving parts.
Now that you have all of the moving pieces in place and ready, let’s discuss how you want to start sending leads over to Mailwizz. There’s really only 2 scenario’s that we see for this set up, vintage leads or real time leads. Obviously with real time it’s pretty straightforward, but we still want to be very strategic. Vintage leads might need a little more care to ensure you’re not hurting your SMTP relationships. So let’s discuss the details of both.
If you want to breathe life back into files of leads that you have, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Most mailers know that you can’t just “upload” thousands of leads and start mailing them. Why? Well, it sets off a variety of flags to the service deploying the emails. It’s a major concern when a new account, or a new list etc. all of the sudden starts scaling to the moon. It’s not realistic and you’ll get banned.
But we can agree that there’s still a lot of life ($$) left in files you’ve accumulated, especially if they are openers and clickers. This is where Listflex comes in. You can load up any/all of your .csv files into neatly silo’d lists inside of your “Internal” Listflex Vendor account. From there, you can create a new order under your “Internal Client” account. To do this, click on the “Internal Client” name, then top right choose “More Options”, then “Send Leads”.
Next, watch this video to help guide you in creating an order for leads you uploaded:
Real Time Leads:
Real time leads are the way to go and are almost always worth their weight in gold. When your clients (or you) have a nice flow of real time leads coming in everyday, you have a lot more options and flexibility. Real time feeds make it easy to get creative with client side orders and testing leads into Mailwizz and different autoresponders or SMTP’s.
The best way to squeeze a lot of juice from real time leads is to have solid autoresponders in place that will let you see and track activity. There’s an entire philosophy and separate post dedicated to strategy with autoresponders, but depending on your clients needs, it’s going to be worth creating a solid follow up series instead of trying to log in and send campaigns everyday. I don’t recommend ever sending more than 1-2 campaigns a week. Autoresponders are the best way if possible.
Vintage leads or real time, you have to have 90% of this process automated. Automate leads into Listflex. Automate leads from Listflex into Mailwizz. Automated emails to leads using autoresponders. The only manual work you will want to do is the occasional solo campaign and any normal administrative work and sanity checking. Scaling an email business isn’t possible if you’re trying to customize emails everyday for every client and whatever is hot or happening. It won’t work financially and you’ll burn out.
With Vintage Leads or Real time, the one nice thing about Listflex is that it allows you to easily implement a list of rules like “client level” de-duping. This rule lets you essentially decide if any lead is ever allowed to go to more than one order for a client. This is optional, but sometimes marketers will send the same lead to two different autoresponders at the same time to see which is better. There’s a million ways to tweak the leads and volume going into Mailwizz because of how easy it is to create rules from the Listflex client order interface. These things become extremely valuable when you realize how simple it is to block ISP’s or only send certain ISP’s if conditions require it. Few marketers understand that these luxuries even exist under one roof, and thus, get frustrated and don’t focus on email.
In the end, to scale, automation is key. Pairing up Listflex to park in front of Mailwizz or any service or ESP gives you the ability to automate everything with your email marketing business. You can offer an experience that provides transparency and trust not only from the Listflex side, but from their personal client account inside of Mailwizz if you choose. The combination when all cylinders are firing is pretty hard to beat, especially for the price. If your client agreements are revshare or performance based, it’s simple to deduct any hard costs from the overall money you generate from email so that you have no significant out of pocket cost..
And this entire process can be created and run by one person. There’s nothing to stop you, I only recommended a year or two of personal success and learning everything you can with email marketing through experience first. Tech guys, sales people, admin people etc. add huge costs to your bottom line. This process can easily be run by just by you, and scaled, if the above automation recommendations are followed. The savings of not being forced to constantly need to hire techs and wizards is easily six figures a year, all revenue you can put back into the business, yourself and offering a great service.
Take the above and get started. It might take a few days to get things set up, and a week or two of figuring everything out, but there’s a tremendous amount of free resources at your disposal if you want to do this. Email isn’t going away, it’s getting bigger and better every year. If you want email to be a major part of your future, you need the new innovative tools that can make it happen.
Email me if you have any questions or would want to talk. (questions from readers will be posted below)
All the best,
Everything on the planet needs disclaimers now, so here’s my earnings one. Please understand that there are no financial (or otherwise) guarantees with any information you find on our blog or with the Listflex software. We simply offer the information and you can use it or not at your own discretion. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t want to imply or for you to think this will make you money, I have no idea about your personal situation and don’t want you to take any risks you’re not comfortable with. Please use any information at your own risk.
Resources, Training & Other Materials:
Mailwizz – https://codecanyon.net/item/mailwizz-email-marketing-application/6122150
Listflex Help – https://listflex.com/help/
Listflex Blog – http://listflex.com/blog/
Listflex Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8wO5OQRDGU_GmA0_SNlzjA
Top 10 SMTP List:
Sendinblue – https://www.sendinblue.com/
Mailgun – https://www.mailgun.com/
Sendgrid – https://sendgrid.com/
ElasticEmail – https://elasticemail.com/
Mailjet – https://www.mailjet.com/
Socketlabs – https://www.socketlabs.com/
JangoSMTP – https://jangosmtp.com/
TurboSMTP – https://serversmtp.com/
AuthSMTP – https://www.authsmtp.com/
SMTP – http://www.smtp.com
Amazon – https://aws.amazon.com/ses/
Questions After The Post:
How do I charge new email marketing clients?
There are a couple ways to charge your clients. These are the easiest. (Don’t complicate this)
1 – Revshare – They provide leads, you do the email marketing for a % of the net profits. “Net” is usually defined as the revenue left from your email efforts after you deduct hard costs (Listflex, Servers or any other required things)
2 – Flat Monthly Rate – Charge your client a flat monthly fee for an agreed upon structure of services from you. You simply outline what you will do for that monthly fee.
Decide which model you want to go with so that when you present your 1 page doc (discussed above) it’s clear to the client how they are compensating you.
I am newer to email marketing, can I do this?
The more experience you have, the better. The most important thing is that you have the process above in place, up and running prior to selling clients on it. Make sure you can give a good experience and help them quickly. But personal experience is very important.
What SMTP’s do you recommend?
We don’t specifically recommend any SMTP service, most of them are good. Above are 10 that we feel are easy places to start. Amazon is one of the best, but is also one of the more complicated ones to set up. The rest anyone can create accounts with and implement with no tech help.