By Yaro Starak
Back in 2007 I met Andre Chaperon in Florida at one of the very first Rich Schefren Strategic Profits seminars. Before that Andre was a familiar name to me because I had seen him listed near the top of affiliate leaderboards for some of the product launches I promoted around then.
What you wouldn’t have known looking at those leaderboards was that Andre was making a lot of sales using a much smaller email list than the other people on the leaderboard.
He might appear in the top 10 but mail only to his list of 1,000 people, where others where mailing to email newsletters that were anywhere from 10,000 to 250,000 subscribers in size.
Andre’s strength is his ability to establish strong relationships and keep attention using email marketing. Just like the writers of TV show LOST, Andre uses story telling and consistently opens loops so his subscribers are eager to get the next newsletter so they can find out what happens.
In this interview you will hear how Andre got his start in online marketing, how he left his job and life in South Africa and moved to the UK. You will hear how he started online as so many people did, with eBay, which then lead to creating his first information product.
Along the way he became exceptionally good at using email marketing, combining story telling and specific segmentation techniques to earn way above average results with much smaller lists.
Towards the latter half of the interview I asked Andre to teach us some of the techniques he uses, so if you currently have an email list, make sure you listen to what he has to say in that part of the interview.
Andre is a bit of an internet marketing pioneer having made a living online since 2003. He has done so consistently year after year without needing to constantly do launches or release lots of new content. He focused on creating evergreen email marketing funnels, which have continued to deliver results year after year, and allowed him to make the move to Spain for warmer weather.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
YARO: We’re doing a Skype to phone call for this interview. We had a bit of a problem with Skype to Skype so, I’m hoping the quality would be better now because I’m really looking forward to this because Andre has got a huge career. Well, at least I hope it’s a huge career because you’ve been online for so long so, you certainly have a story to tell. As I just found out, Andre’s been online since the year 2003 in terms of making a living from his business.
So, this is your tenth year anniversary as we record this. You’ve been actually not needing a job and living off your own business, right?
ANDRE: Yes, it was nine years in October so, I think ten years would be in 2013.
YARO: 2013, October.
ANDRE: October this year will be ten years.
YARO: Nice. That’s consistent. I know how hard that is. I’ve been online for that long and I probably made my full-time living for about that long, too. It’s changed over the years. I’m excited to learn about how you’ve done, Andre.
For people who don’t know Andre, he’s actually really well known for email marketing. He has a course called Autoresponder Madness. One thing he’s great at doing is getting a really strong result with a small email list.
Now, I actually first heard of Andre through leaderboards on affiliate promotions or product launches. His name was always on the top of leaderboards, and he was beating out some big names using much smaller lists.
To do that, you obviously need to be very good at building relationships and just writing good emails. I’m really looking forward to diving into some of the techniques you use Andre but also, with these ten years of experience to call upon, and you live in Spain… You’re doing that move to the sunny weather. There’s a lot of things that a lot of people listening to this would like to replicate.
So, thank you for taking the time to do this call with me.
ANDRE: You’re welcome.
YARO: Let’s go back in time. Tell me, were you an entrepreneur as a kid?
ANDRE: Well, I guess, yes and no. Shortly after I left school, I decided I didn’t want to get a job. I was just buying computer parts and assembling them as whole PCs and then, I was selling them through the newspapers and whatnot and word of mouth.
YARO: When was this? What year was this?
ANDRE: I finished high school in class ’91. Before that, when I was still at school, I used to be, myself and my friends used to be famous for buying all those opportunities in the test products and then, going through them and trying to figure out how we can do some of things and then, we used to write a few ads and just draw a few things. I never used to know what I was doing. I don’t know if it was entrepreneurial at all but, I guess that’s where it all started.
Somehow, along the way, I just knew that I would never work for a boss at some point in my life. I just had that feeling or that belief. And, that happened later on.
YARO: Okay, so you went to school in the UK?
ANDRE: No, I’m South African which is why I sound a bit strange. I was born in Durban, in South Africa. I had all my schooling over there and I worked over there. Then, in 1999, the year I got married, we – myself and my wife – decided to leave South Africa and move to the UK.
South Africa was a dangerous place. We were young and wanted to start a family and it’s just, we had decided that staying in South Africa just wasn’t the thing to do. So, we packed our bags, sold everything we had. We each had two suitcases and 3,800 pounds in money and that was it. We jumped on the plane and went to the UK. I guess that’s how our whole journey started. That was in 1999.
YARO: Okay so, there wasn’t an Internet business really yet for you then?
ANDRE: No, no, I was working computer stuff. I had done my Microsoft Certified Engineering, things I used to do just were computer based and do support and computer stuff. That’s what I’ve been doing since I left school. That was ’91 to ’99, so for a few years.
YARO: Wow. And then, you managed to save 3,800 pounds from those eight or nine years, huh?
ANDRE: Yes, I mean the exchange rate from South African Rands to Pounds then wasn’t that great. When you’re a student and you spend all your money so yes, I actually didn’t have much of that…had the opportunity to leave and we did so, that’s what we did.
ANDRE: And, when was it? It was August of ’99, we landed in the UK and then, just had to get job since and start again.
YARO: Okay, wow. So, I’m assuming you got more work in the computer area with the hardware and stuff. But, the .COM boom must have been kicking in around ’99 as well all around you.
ANDRE: Yes, it was and I had a few decent jobs I suppose and then, in 2003, in the beginning of 2003, I was waiting for this company where they did stuff for traders and I was just doing [unclear] of it and the whole IT department and we had gotten news down from the department that the company was going to re-trench the whole department sometime near the end of the year.
I knew that this thing was going to happen. The jobs were being at that time in 2003, computer jobs were being outsourced to India in places like them. The .COM boom was coming to the end [laughs].
Yes, I just made a quite decision right then and there that I needed to do something else. Whatever it was, I’d never heard of making money on the Internet at that point. I just knew that I had to find something else to do and I didn’t want to do this computer stuff anymore. We had to constantly learn and stay up to speed just to earn a living. I went searching at that point. That was the beginning.
YARO: Right, as in Google searching or …?
ANDRE: Yes, I was just searching. I still can’t remember how I ended up online. I think my first stop was eBay because it seemed like the logical thing to do.
YARO: Doing for what though?
ANDRE: Well, because you could sell stuff using eBay using their platform. So, I went into eBay communities and found out the people were selling information products using eBay and that’s how the whole thing started. My other colleagues were looking for jobs, when the chop was going to happen and I was just online trying to figure this out.
I think, at some point during 2003, I was exposed to Frank Kern’s InfoMillionaire product. I bought that. I was just like, wow, I didn’t realize people could actually, make a living online and sell information and I guess that’s how it was started.
Then, on October 22, 2003, that’s when the chop (?) happened. We all lost our jobs and that was the last time I ever worked for a boss again.
YARO: That had to be scary though because you lost your job. I’m assuming you’re hoping your wife’s going to be a bread winner or are you feeling the pressure here to make a living from something else within a certain time frame?
ANDRE: Well, she was working at that time which was great. And, I had got a small bit of redundancy money for when I got fired. But, it wasn’t much of a [unclear]. I think I got two half months’ of salary upfront. It wasn’t much but, anyway…
It was strange because up on that date when we all got our marching orders and I felt this huge relief, this weight to be lifted up my shoulders and when I was on the train back home, it was just the strangest feeling. It was as strange as it’s like.
YARO: I guess it’s a sign…
ANDRE: Somehow, I knew that this was a massive turning point, more so than when I just left South Africa and gone to a strange foreign country. But, that didn’t feel the same way as what had just happened then. But yes, that was a massive struggle because obviously I was brand new to the stuff. It’s not like I was earning a full-time living online and then, decide like hey, I’m going to stop working now because I’m earning as much as I’m… with my full-time job. I was pushed into the deep end, I guess.
YARO: Hmm so, you have two months’ worth of salary. Was that what you were looking like, “Okay, I have to make something online within two months or I’ll start looking for a job?” How did you even talk about this with your wife because that’s a big thing for most people sort of going, “Okay, there’s a deadline here. If I don’t do something that makes money from the Internet then, at some point, I will need to start looking for work again, which no doubt was a horrible thought.”
ANDRE: Yes, but I had told myself that there was no plan B. There was no going back. This was an amazing opportunity. I had no job and yes, I had to make this thing work.
YARO: Okay, so what did you do?
ANDRE: So, the first thing I did actually is, because eBay was the first thing that I was exposed to and I started selling, some of the details are a bit sketchy but, I started selling information products using eBay as a way to get exposure and to sell the stuff.
I wasn’t creating my own products. There were like where you get to buy resell rights so you have the ability to sell this thing. At that time, I found that eBay hadn’t bought Paypal. They were two separate companies at that time. So, the integration was very sketchy. I found that it was very time-consuming.
So, if you made a sale, you would have to check your email and then, you would see that the sale is there and then, you have to go and verify that the money was in your Paypal account and then, you go and send the person those links so, they can download the products.
It just seemed like they had to be easy while doing it and other than that, I just didn’t want to be sitting in front of the email all day long waiting for sales to come in and then, I had to send the stuff out. So, I figured out this automated way to automate the whole process using autoresponder programs at the time. Nothing like Aweber but auto-responders that you get with your hosting account. If somebody sends an email to it, to a certain email address, it will bounce back this message.
So, simple things like that. I actually created this little system that allowed me to sell my products and as soon as the money went into my Paypal account, it would trigger this email that sent out to the customer with the download link and it worked really well.
Then, people were asking me because I was in a forum, I’m telling people about what I was doing and they were interested so, I told them and then, I told more people and then, I thought, “Okay, well, let me just write out what I do in this document.”
I did that and then, it just became a natural thing. Why don’t you just sell this process? That was my very first product that I actually created. It was called, (what was it called?) You can find it on the wayback machine. It looks ugly as hell.
YARO: eBay Email Marketing Exposed, or something.
ANDRE: I couldn’t find it somewhere but, that was my very first information product that I created and then, people were buying it and then, as part of the process to increase the perceived value of what I was selling because people were selling things for almost no money on eBay and I thought, “I can’t sell my thing for $50 because no one’s going to buy it.”
So, I bought this little website and the only reason why I bought a website is so then, on my eBay ads, I’m going to say, listen, I’m selling this on my website for $50 therefore this is the deal on eBay for half the price, for example. That was my mentality. It worked. Then, I started to get sales directly from the website. I thought, “Wow, this was amazing.”
YARO: So, wait a second. I got to clarify some things here. So, first of all, you’re a one-man band, right? So, when you say, you’re creating information products, and selling out websites and using eBay, and all that stuff, you’re doing them yourself at home, right?
ANDRE: Yes. I don’t have money to outsource anything. Yes, I’ll do it all myself. At times, I felt like I was getting brain damage because you’re just doing everything yourself. Yes, that was what I had to do, I guess.
ANDRE: You know, it was what just the process.
YARO: And, how were people finding even the auction listing and your website to buy the product because that’s usually the hardest part getting traffic even back in that day.
ANDRE: Yes, on eBay, you would buy ads on the eBay system and you could pay for different types of, if it’s bold or highlighted or in the top page and it gives it more exposure but, it costs more money.
That’s how I was driving traffic to my eBay page, to my eBay listing. And then, I had this About Page and then, from the About Page, I could link out to everything and how people started finding the actual websites, I don’t quite know. They just did, I guess and I’d been hanging out in forums for a long time by then.
One summer, that website was starting to make sales and way more sales than on the eBay listing. I just stopped doing eBay completely and then, I just focused on the website and finding JV partners [unclear] for a bit.
YARO: Okay, so just to clarify, that first product you sold was to help people automate the collection and delivery of a product after buying on eBay?
ANDRE: Yes. It was basically just sold to people that were selling stuff on eBay and to show them how to automate the whole process that they didn’t have to sit in front of the computers and manually do everything themselves.
YARO: Okay, and by this stage, were you making enough money to replace your job income that you’d lost?
ANDRE: Probably, not at that point but, I was making a few hundred a month and a few thousand on some months but, it was progressing up. Things were looking good and along the way, at that point, I started building an email list. That’s when things got more and more interesting for me and more and more stable.
In between all of the stuff, I was doing a whole bunch of things. I was doing SEO and I was doing stuff… I was just consuming how-to products and then, implementing them to find out things that would work and then, the things that didn’t work, I stopped doing and the things that did work, I decided if I want to do more of it or if I didn’t like doing it, [unclear] stuff and… So, there’s a whole of bunch of stuff going on all at once, I guess.
In the beginning, there was lots of chaos and things started to get less chaotic as I’ve been doing it for a little while.
YARO: Hmm, so when you say you were building an email list, and doing SEO, was this all just to drive traffic back to this one eBay product?
ANDRE: The eBay product kind of existed by itself and once I started to get momentum and figure out how everything was working, I actually sold that little eBay product that had its own website and I ended up selling it to somebody that was an actual customer. I emailed my small email list and said that I’m thinking about selling this thing and if anybody is interested, they must contact me.
Somebody was interested and they contacted me so, I sold it. And then, that allowed me to focus my time and energy on doing the other stuff.
YARO: Okay, so what’s the other stuff? I don’t exactly understand what that was. Did you start to position yourself as a trainer in some area or create more product? What were you doing?
ANDRE: No. I was doing really well with affiliate marketing. That seemed like an instant thing because you don’t have to necessarily have your own products. I was building email lists and writing presell pages like you’ve seen a few of my presell pages.
Very early on, I decided to write story-based stuff and for me, it wasn’t super difficult to write a presell for a product that wasn’t mine.
YARO: But, you didn’t even explain like how did you find the product you want to sell and how did you decide what to sell?
ANDRE: I was becoming friendly with certain marketers so then, for example one of the first big successes I had was Chris McNeeney’s, what was it called? Adwords Miracle, I think it was. I don’t know if you remember that product. But, it just taught people how to use affiliate marketing to do stuff right and he sent me this copy of the product before he actually went live and he said, take a look at it and tell me what you think.
I went through it and it was really cool. Some of the stuff I was doing already, some I wasn’t. So, as part of the process to promote that, at the time I had a little email list and I actually implemented some of the things he did.
As part of my promotional thing to promote his product, I had gone through the product. So, first of all, I read it all. I know not everybody does that and then, I took one of the techniques and actually implemented it myself and then, I got [unclear] back.
So, my actual presell when it did go live and when I exposed of it to my list, the presell [unclear] because basically I said, this product is really cool and Chris sent it to me a few weeks ago and I took one of the techniques that I liked and I actually did it and then, I had screenshot of my results of that. Yes, this is one of the best products I’ve even seen online. And then, I had a little bonus for it and everything.
I spent a lot of time and energy around that promotion. It wasn’t just, okay I want to promote the last product and then, write three emails saying that you could go buy it and that’s what other people were doing.
YARO: Okay, to clarify, and just to get this straight in my head, and I’m sure will help everyone listening, too. While you were running your eBay product, you’re obviously getting immersed in the world of Internet Marketing so, you’re spending a lot of time in forums. Was it like the Warrior Forum perhaps or similar sites like that?
ANDRE: There were other forums and mainly eBay ones. And then, there was a marketing one that I started to find a lot of the marketers, I couldn’t remember what it’s called.
YARO: So, it wasn’t Warrior.
ANDRE: No, it wasn’t Warrior one. It was like one of the big places [unclear].
YARO: Okay, so something like the Warrior Forum. So then, you’re starting to learn. It sounds like you’re learning everything from affiliate marketing to adwords marketing to building landing pages to collecting lists, to doing search engine optimization to get traffic to these landing pages. It sounds like lists in different areas but, also an Internet marketing list. So, people were interested in learning from you to improve their own Internet marketing and joining your list from that.
And then, when your connections were coming to you with products that you might want to try, and potentially promote, you also had your own list to promote them too.
It’s almost like you’re becoming a pure affiliate marketer.
ANDRE: Yes. It was a time when that’s what it… For me, it was truly lightweight. I mean, I don’t have to drive myself crazy with doing everything myself and I still had a whole bunch of SEO things that I’ve built that were still working.
So, it’s not like everything just came to grinding holes and then, I decided to focus on the one thing and I just stopped doing the other stuff. I focused more on doing the video marketing stuff because for me, it just was a perfect fit. It allowed me to create marketing that I was comfortable with and also doing it in a way that was very different to what everybody else was also doing or writing about.
I guess, at some point you find your own identity and you just do things in your own way.
YARO: Okay, so tell me more about these presell pages because it sounds like they were important. What do you mean by a pre-sell page?
ANDRE: Well, it’s normally a story-based thing where you would tell a story about essentially preselling a product. So, as part of the process and because it’s time consuming, these things are built in in a way that were evergreen. So, I would only promote products for example that I knew I could keep the promotion going for a while. It wasn’t one of these partner launches where it’s open, the next minute it closes and then… that sort of explanation. Because I had a small list and I needed to maximize it as much as possible, so when I built this presell pages, I actually built a website around it. They weren’t big and sometimes, it was just one page. Sometimes, there were two pages and so, their whole little website was about their product and essentially preselling it and then, later on, I started to create my own bonuses.
As part of that whole presell sites, the bonus offer was on there and the whole thing was on there and typically, I used to do what they didn’t get some sort of results or I’ll do something unique that added a whole bunch [unclear] to the actual offer.
I guess, that’s how I approached it all and the more I wrote all these things, the more creative and the better I got at writing them and they got it off on their own I guess, because through them, I was building a list of followers and I was [unclear] this list and I knew what people were interested in on my list.
So, then I just thought of alternating elements of this and that’s how my whole process evolved from that which is what’s in the Autoresponder Madness thing. That actually came about not because I just started out selling an email marketing product. It was because I was doing this stuff for a few years and I got to a point when I automated all the different elements of it because I like automation.
If you can automate something then, it’s good to do that. So, yes. Just creating all these little entry points of the Internet that all funneled into different email lists and did it in a way that was very different and stood out from what everybody else was doing so, yes.
YARO: Were these only in the Internet marketing industry or did you have them in different niches?
ANDRE: Because I was in the Internet marketing space, I suppose the large majority of them were in the Internet marketing but, I was also building in other markets — weight loss and dog training, and the baby space and yes, I was everywhere. Over time, I was focusing more and more on what I was good at. I couldn’t be an expert in everything, right? So, I just focused on the Internet marketing stuff all throughout.
YARO: So, to complete the picture here, I think everyone listening hopefully is getting an understanding of what you did but, it’s still a little bit fuzzy because it just sounds like you put this page on the Internet that talks about a product using a story like, hey, I’m Andre and I’m an email marketer. I came across this guy’s product on “How to Double the Amount of Subscribers You Get in 24 Hours,” went through his product and here is the one technique from the product. Here I was before, and here I was after using the technique. This is why it’s great. If you want to grab my bonus or something about it, please join my newsletter. And then, you provide some email content afterwards and then, also promote the product with your affiliate link. Is that in summary kind of how it worked?
Or, can you maybe or could you even tell us like pick a product or one that worked really well for you even if it’s not in the make money online space and just tell us so… Like, I’m really curious about the components of this. It sounds like it’s just a couple of pages on the Internet and then, a listener following up and then, a promotion with an affiliate link and some bonuses. But, there’s got to be more to it than that because that’s easy to do.
What is the secret sauce in all these?
ANDRE: Well, I guess, the secret sauce is just caring and giving them because when I was building these things, I wasn’t approaching them. I understood that there was a human being on the other end and they were in a situation that I was in a few years earlier, and when I started [unclear] everything, I didn’t have any mentors and anything back then. I just had to try and figure this out myself. I understood that they were going through this pain and they were looking for the solution.
One other thing that I forgot to mention is I used to have a blog on AndreChaperon.com. I used to run a blog and I was blogging like you guys do. I was just journaling what I was doing online. I wasn’t teaching per se. Although I said, I was doing this and this is the results I’d recommend as I was learning different things. I would then just blog them and I started building up this audience and on the blog, was a way to join my newsletter and through that newsletter, I had the ability to obviously promote affiliate products and whatever. I promoted an affiliate product. I both had these elaborate presell sites that could take two weeks to build the site and write the copy and do the bonuses and spend a lot of my energy on doing it and making that so, it’s really valuable for people.
Then, I would tell my little growing list about the product and yes, I guess, that’s how the whole thing started and the traffic initially, because I wasn’t buying traffic at that time to do marketing stuff, that is. I mean, for the presell little sites that I used to build and the market thing, yes, I was using adwords to drive traffic to them.
YARO: So, these are like microsites really in a lot of ways like some niche marketers do that, don’t they? They have…
ANDRE: Yes, I guess in a way they are. If you go to AffiliateBully.com you can see what one of them looks like. But, when I built them, I wasn’t building them for SEO purposes. So, the pages weren’t built around keywords and stuff like that. I was just building it around problems and solutions at that time.
If there was a product and I wanted to promote it and it was really, really good, so I didn’t do many of these promotions because they were doing many great products. It just takes time to build the pages and then, send people there.
YARO: Yes, definitely, I remembering seeing Affiliate Bully. I’ve come to that site several times because I really enjoy… It’s like a sales page but, it’s broken down into multiple pages. So, you sort of get to the end and you click here to continue and it really is very story-telling based.
So, if you’re watching this while we’re talking here listening to it, go to AffiliateBully.com and just see what Andre has got in there as an example. I guess that is what you’re saying like a presell page, or is it a bit more than your usual presell pages?
ANDRE: Sometimes it’s just one page. If you go to Zero to Hero Story, it’s just one page and there’s an opt in box at the bottom and so, it starts telling a story and then, to get to the end of the story, you need to opt in and then, the story continues using email and what’s in the context of that, you can provide stuff.
YARO: Okay, so how do you get traffic to the Zero to Hero page because it looks like a sales page or maybe a long squeeze page to get an email?
ANDRE: Yes, I guess it is. But, it’s not like a sales page. It can look similar to a sales page but, when you read it, it’s really just a story. And, those pages, they just go borrowed. If you write really good content and I guess, this is my experience, is that people would just link to these sites and they would link back to my blog and they’ll look at these presell sites because they don’t like a sell-y thing. They just look like you’re dispensing great information so, people used to link, or they still do at the Affiliate Bully site. The site ends up getting thousands of visitors per month that just comes from wherever they come from.
YARO: Right, evergreen really is evergreen.
ANDRE: Right. I was leveraging that.
YARO: Okay, let’s go back into your story here, Andre because we sort of lost track a little bit. I’m assuming these presell pages, these microsites at some point became a stable income source for you well and truly. So, can you pick us up from when that happened?
ANDRE: Yes. I just found that my original digital product, I just pinged it on the window, if you want to share it…
YARO: Yes, sure. Okay, you can say it if you like.
ANDRE: The Wayback Machine link is complicated but, people [unclear] through delivery.com but you can see what it looks like.
YARO: Yes, that’s a sales page.
ANDRE: Yes, and not good at running sales pages. I stopped building sales pages very, very early on and I just went the whole presell. For me, it just works so much better and it’s strange because years and years later now, people tell me that, I joined your list back when you did that thing in 2006 or whenever it was… (and it was a while, I didn’t know that). But, anyway, I used to do… sorry, what was the question?
YARO: [Laughs] I was asking, at some point this became a stable income source and you also moved away from England so, can we catch up the story a bit. Where are we at? It’s 2003, you start; 2004 and 2005 eBay, I’m assuming and then, you becoming an affiliate marketer after that. So, at what point were you saying, “Okay, this is now what I do. I’ve made more than my salary.” Take us up from that point.
ANDRE: Okay, well eBay was just a very fleeting thing. That all started and ended within a year and we’ve gone from that. In 2002, I was still working my day job and we came down to Marbella on a holiday. My wife’s mother at the time had a little place in Marbella with her husband. We came to visit in this place and we thought, and we just fell in love with it. We went here for a week’s vacation and we just fell in love with this place, Marbella.
YARO: So, it’s Marbella, Spain.
ANDRE: Yes, Marbella (with Spanish accent).
YARO: Marbella (with Spanish accent)! Okay.
ANDRE: Yes, it was strange because we went there and we decided this is what we want to come to and we’re going to do whatever we’re going to take to get here. That was the plan and we gave ourselves this ten-year plan so, that was 2002.
So, 2012 was when we were going to leave England and come live in Spain and because I had no more job and she had no more job, the only way we could get there, and we can’t speak Spanish was we were going to buy this coffee shop. In our minds, we needed 100,000 euros to buy this coffee shop. We had just pulled these numbers [unclear] out of…
That was it. We went back to the UK and we had this ten-year plan and we just knew that we were going to somehow, it was going to work out and we were going to end up in Spain ten years later.
So, I guess that’s part of the context and then, a year later, I’ll lose my job and then, the whole Internet thing starts. But, in 2007, everything had changed by 2007 and we moved out here. So, it took us five years instead of ten years. Thanks to the Internet.
YARO: By 2007, have you been making 100 grand a year for the last few years or how did you just feel like that now, you’re secure enough to make this move?
ANDRE: I think as far as making six figures a year by 2005, if I remember correctly… Yes, 2005 and mainly, all that income was being generated from me building at this little sites and me building up my email list and just sending traffic around to the different offers and then, [unclear].
YARO: How many did you have to get to six figures? That’s within two years really since quitting your job. So, that’s impressive.
ANDRE: Yes, in 2006, this thing happened. I committed to this marketer that I met in the UK that I would promote his product when he releases it. So, in my mind I was going to do one of these things again. And, the penny hadn’t dropped at that time. The product was 1000 worth of products and I haven’t been even promoting things that were $97 or $77 and so, I went off to Las Vegas on a trip. My wife was still was working for Party Gaming at that time so, I ended up going to Vegas. I was sitting in the hotel room thinking to myself, “What have you gotten yourself into?” You’ve committed to promote this product that cost $1000, ten times more than you’ve ever promoted before and I had a small list. I just used all my…
YARO: How small is small, Andre before you keep going?
ANDRE: It was less than a 1000 people on my marketing list.
YARO: Okay, that’s pretty small.
ANDRE: Yes, very small.
YARO: For an Internet marketing list, in particular.
ANDRE: Yes, but that was the actual customer list and the prospects as well.
YARO: Okay, all right. It’s different. So, were you selling to your prospect list or your customers or both?
ANDRE: Well, this promotion went out to my customer list and I just thought to myself that because this thing costs so much many, I’m going to have to really pull out the all the [stops?] and just do way more what anybody else is doing and yes, I just wrote tons of email. I did it in a story version and I gave more information and then, I had this open feedback thing, where people would respond. I encouraged them to respond any questions and say what’s [unclear] in the story. There was this dialogue happening between them and myself.
And then, the day of the launch, we went downstairs to a breakfast, my wife and I and when I came up, I think there was something like twenty or $30,000 worth of sales and it happened in the last hour. I couldn’t believe it because I only had a smaller list and this didn’t make any sense to me.
So, that was my first big month and I think I did about $70,000 that month. The last chunk of it was just from this crazy promotion thing and that’s when my Autoresponder Madness system started to take shape in my head and I started to document what I was doing because clearly, what I was doing was working quite well and it worked well for products that cost $77, it went well for products that cost $1000.
I ended up being the number one affiliate for that launch even though Rich Schefren and a whole bunch of other guys were promoting at the time, that same product. I ended up beating it. So, yes. The penny dropped a little clear for me then and I started documenting my process and those other people once that had happened were asking me, “What the hell did you do?”
YARO: This is a good time to dive into that process if you don’t mind maybe giving us a summary because it’s something that can work for anyone that who sells product through email whether it’s affiliate product or your own product. It’s a system you got for communicating and building relationships and selling with email. Can you give us the summary?
ANDRE: Sure, the [unclear] part of it is essentially telling stories and through the whole story turning process, you get to connect and influence this way to people.
One of my biggest things was understanding the pain points and the real emotional issues that people were having and somehow knowing that I actually had a good idea of what they’re going through and what they needed to hear and because I been through that process, I was really close to where they were.
Everything I did was really about caring and nurturing about them more so than making the money; that the money was just the result of doing this stuff. It wasn’t doing the stuff to make the money and hopefully, they’ll like me along the way.
And, it’s just about creating these funnels, like what we have spoken about, these little presell funnels which was the way that I used to get people unto my list. And then, the process starts and the stories, all these email sequence is pulled out and the way I write them is kind of the way Hollywood writes soap operas or TV series like Lost and 24 and these [unclear] where each, for me, each email was an episode. At the end of each episode, there’s always this cliffhanger.
So, I would do some of the things I would write an email and there’ll be this open loop or cliffhanger at the end of the email that then pulled up attention every time. Over time, I would earn that trust and attention of my audience because of the way that I was writing. I just learned more along the way about writing persuasively and then, using little techniques along the way that Hollywood were using – open loops and…
YARO: How long were these emails, Andre?
ANDRE: Well, the sequence just really never ends. So, the main sequence which I called my “soap opera” sequence is just something that I’ll create an internal system where once a day or once a week, I’ll write either one email or a batch of emails and I’ll just add them to the end of the autoresponder sequence because again, these all goes back to automation again.
I want to automate the whole thing. I don’t want to be doing sitting broadcast all day long and building a list and then, you’re wasting your time. I want to make money. I’ve got to write something and then broadcast this promotion and when the promotion is finished, then my broadcast stops and the money stops. So, I wanted to create this whole evergreen thing that was completely automated.
So, the front end is automated as we have spoken about [unclear] presell pages and presell sites and they all looked similar but, they’re always different. I’m always trying different things.
So, essentially, that’s where the story starts and then, you get them on the list and then, just over time, I just keep adding to that one list so, somebody adds themselves to the list and then, the actual story would start. So, it’s a brand new story and it starts just for then, as you know, and then, as people add themselves to it, they get into the sequence and the whole thing plays out for them.
Then, what I do do is connect all the emails together. I think this is probably one of the biggest tips as the emails aren’t just isolated emails. They aren’t just here’s an email about this tip and then, the next email that comes out is about something completely different.
I always credit context and then, I would connect things together like a story. So, although one story don’t have the last month, the way that the emails get connected, as long as there’s some sort of context and you’re connecting the next email to the previous email, that just works amazingly well. Obviously, it’s been working for Hollywood forever so, why not be able to take from there and use it to do what you do.
YARO: So, zerotoherostory.com is an example of this. A listener goes to this page and then, opt in to your email list there. They’ll start getting this story ongoing through email, right? Is the first email a thousand words in the email or do you just send them to another site that continues the story?
ANDRE: The emails can be quite long. They need to be long as they need to be, I guess. But, that Zero to Hero Story, obviously, that presell page sets the context and expectations for what’s about to happen next. And so, that particular one, I think it’s about, it last about a week so that one is six emails or seven emails long that then teaches them a certain thing that I had taught my friend who had done a similar thing to what I’d done and he got the summation of what I was teaching him. So, essentially, that little funnel there is just his story that I had written out on the page.
Once they’re on the list, it’s what I taught him but, just a better version of it. That builds up trust with some people that added themselves to the list and they are really grateful for me for sharing this stuff. That one is probably a how-to stuff, how to go and do this thing and get a certain resrult out of it in the end.
ANDRE: That one just ends in the presell’s tale businesses.
YARO: That one ends, right. But, most of them, you might have a hundred emails, two hundred emails, you just keep adding to the sequence in the follow up process and someone could be there two or three years getting these emails from you which just keeps telling the stories. It’s like seven series of Lost.
I’m assuming throughout this story-telling you are actually asking like you can buy this so, you can buy this as well at some point, right?
ANDRE: Yes, I mean obviously, each level funnel has available purpose and that Zero to Hero story was written just to at the end presell of one of my local products.
And so, inside of Aweber, for example, I know that somebody on that Zero to Hero story left, came in and they were exposed to a certain thing and they were obviously interested in a certain thing. If I do need to send out a broadcast promotion, I’ll only invite targets just those listed on there would probably be interested in that offer and I’ll always clear the ones that I either don’t know if they’re interested or I know that they’re not interested and they’d be excluded.
Very rarely, if any, kind of the last time I did it where I would send out a broadcast and target all my list just to get as much people on it as possible because it’s actually counterintuitive but you end up doing more damage by doing that because people that aren’t interested in the offer get exposed to the offer and you end losing the trust and attention at the time.
So, you got to be careful of how you do this and as long as you’re mindful of the fact that people are there for a reason and you need to give them what they want and lead them down the journey that’s exciting for them and is obviously valuable for them.
So, we look into the context of these emails and I have different sub for a sequence for example. So, if somebody clicked on a link for a certain thing that I was talking about. I would tell a story without promoting anything, there would be context or link actually to a YouTube video that just tells me that that person is interested in copy writing for example.
So, I’m just dispensing goodwill and core stuff in this thing but, I know that people buy them clicking on some links, they are raising their hand and telling me that they are interested in certain things so then, I can create other automated system that then say, “Okay, if that person clicked on that link, they are probably interested in copywriting,” for example.
And then, the actual system itself will automatically put them to the copy writing set of the sequence list and it will start playing out this new series. I mean, they will still get the other series that they’re on already.
Over time, certain people, they click a lot of links that are engaged and they want more from me. They end up getting multiple emails whereas the ones that just went to the one sequence and they don’t click anything or there is nothing to click on, they only get the one email from me a day or a week or whatever. But, some people get a lot of emails from me.
YARO: Got you.
ANDRE: It depends on… I know it may sound complicated or not, I don’t know.
YARO: It’s interesting to look inside your email or responder system and see how many little, as you call them, soap opera sequences are in there, and on that topic, are you an Aweber user because it sounds like you’re doing quite heavy segmentation there so, how do you do that?
ANDRE: It’s been a pain for that, yes. I’m on Aweber and then, it might have been a year and a bit ago, I moved to Infusionsoft and I was with them for six months. As much as I loved the ability to segment really nicely with the system, there were just parts of it that were unusable in my mind. So, after six months, I ended up going back to Aweber.
So, yes, then you wait to get people onto a new list with Aweber was to create an extra opt in form so, that’s the way that I had done that. It wasn’t too much of a barrier because in my mind, sometimes it’s actually better to have barriers so then, you’re kind of pre-qualifying people. If somebody can’t be bothered to add the email address on a form about something else then, they’re probably not into it.
YARO: They’re not serious.
ANDRE: Right. I used to frame the actual offers rarely lastly I guess in a way that when people get to the page, they knew exactly why they were there and they knew that when they essentially they opted in, they were just raising their hands that they were interested in those other things. That’s the way I used to frame it. But, I’m probably going to be moving to sort of like what you’re doing at some point. So then, I can make these things far more easy, I guess, [unclear].
YARO: Okay, Andre so… sorry, I’m not interrupting there but, it sounds like you’re obviously one of the more careful marketers when it comes to which emails go to which people. And, email is definitely what you do because you don’t really have at least, from what I can see, it’s hard to find a lot of pages from you. I’m sure you’ve got a bunch lying around but, it’s difficult to find without doing certain keyword searches.
If you type in your name, there really only is Auto-responder Madness, Affiliate Bully, Zero to Hero, and your new one, Tiny Little Business, as well, right?
ANDRE: Yes, I used to have lots of them. I have less of them now because my actual business model and my focus has now changed over the years. I used to have lots of them.
YARO: How do you make a living now before I ask my last question?
ANDRE: Well, now I have my own products now and the one that we’re busy building up now, we’ve been building it for a year and a half. And, last year was the full, business thing called Tiny Little Businesses which is, it is a different approach to affiliate marketing and it’s the approach that I used to use and still do use but, it’s been heavily influenced using the lean methodologies or the Lean Start Up Methodologies. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that.
ANDRE: So, we’ve heavily influenced our training around that and that’s the business we’re busy building aggressively now and we’ve got multiple partners and we’re going to be building some test software so, we can have our own tracking tools and allow them to track all their campaigns and create all the different elevation, experiment a few things so, they can run experiments to do the stuff.
So, we heavily focused on just getting that thing as big as possible because we want to help as many people as we can and help them through what we do because we have been trained all day long doing this stuff and my partner [unclear] myself and my partner, I didn’t mean to off on attention now, [laughs] we have complementary skills. It’s good to put us all and [unclear] all up and help people out. Our focus is on that and that’s coming out quite nicely.
YARO: Okay, great. We’re almost at the hour mark, Andre so, I would like to start wrapping it up. I haven’t really stuck to your timeline too well but, I think it’s pretty clear what happened. You just got really good at this whole process of preselling pages and soap opera stories and emails and segmenting the emails so that, you’re getting the right offers to the right people and not annoying people with the wrong emails to the wrong people.
That’s the obvious question I want to ask you now, for a person listening to this who, they’re building an email list but, they’ll probably just do one thing. They got one follow up sequence and like me, every once a week, I send out a broadcast as well. It might be sending out their latest blog post or their latest podcast interview or the latest video or whatever it is they do. It’s a little bit all over the place. It’s just like here are some great content. Here are some more great content. Here is a product you can buy.
What advice from what you have learned, specifically in email marketing, is the quickest, biggest impact, highest leverage thing that you can do to change your email list to improve it? Is there one or two things you can talk from your own experiences?
ANDRE: Yes. It’s just making, well, this is a few things but, try to tell more stories because people are automatically engaged. They love listening to stories and if you start an email, “once upon a time,” or “this thing happened to me last week.” People aren’t going to want to listen to that. They just want to know what the hell happened to this person last week.
If you frame it right, and it’s really not that of a difficulty. You don’t have to have interesting, this amazing interesting life where there’s so many stories of the things that happened. It’s not quite like that. You can take elements of different things and fold out the story from that. As long as you’re creating context for people to connect to and it also helps you empathize with people and they empathize with you and the whole connection is made.
The other next big thing I think is make anything interesting and creating tension and anticipation in the emails because I don’t think people would be watching these series, HBO series whenever each one ended. There wasn’t any anticipation for what’s about to come next. It’s just human nature. That’s the way it is.
So, I think by just adding those elements into emails without even changing anything else really, just by creating those little bits into emails, it just changes everything. I know because people that go towards one of them for the first time, that the first little changes they make. They find it easier than learning how to write a story. They will just add these little elements. They’ll create this unresolved tension in each email by just creating these whole open loops and then, they get people emailing them, their customers and their prospects’ emails. They say, “Hey, I want to know what’s happening next. Let me know. Tell me.” All of a sudden, instead of just emailing this audience [unclear], there’s this feedback happening and people are emailing back.
YARO: Can you give like a sentence of how you do it? I’m assuming it’s like an open loop like a cliff hanger at the end of an episode of Lost. How do you do that in an email? Is it just the sentence or is it really more than that?
ANDRE: It can be just a sentence. But, typically, the ones that work the best is when you frame the open loop using a little bit of story. So, you would tell a story about this thing that you’re working on and you get this amazing results but, you can’t share with them the results, just yet because it’s too early or something like that, right?
So now, you create this open loop that then, doesn’t get resolved. So, over time, you condition people to pay attention to your stuff now because when the next email goes that, they’re thinking, oh my God! Is he going to tell me that thing yet? I really want to know about it. And, perhaps in the next email, you don’t even talk about this other thing and you’ll open up another open loop using the same sort of thing.
Then, maybe in the third email, you wouldn’t close the first one. Anybody can opt in to any amount of list that they find and they can see them playing out in real-time.
YARO: Right, so we might end this interview you by saying, Andre’s wife is pregnant and in the next interview, you’ll find out what sex of the baby is.
ANDRE: Right. But, ideally, you want to connect it to a need or want that’s connected to the audience. Obviously, they’re less concerned about the sex of a kid. But, yes. That’s essentially the idea there.
YARO: Okay, so the next interview I’ll do with Andre, we’ll tell you exactly how he double the amount of subscribers just by changing one word in his opt-in form or something like that and that would be more relevant.
ANDRE: Right, something like that. And then, in the P.S. section, I like to tell completely different things. Different stories have been in the PS of the email.
So, there’s the main part in the top body of the email and then, in the post script area, there’s this other thing that happens and then, I play out these stories that just only happen in the post script area, and then, typically, not even connected to the other stuff and it just draws people on. They love it.
YARO: [Laughs] You’re entertaining with the evil man, Andre.
Let’s wrap up this interview. I do want to thank you. We’ve covered a lot of different content there and breaking down some of the techniques you used in your email marketing. That’s really helpful from a practical standpoint. I appreciate that.
And, I think that it’s fantastic that demonstrated you came from a normal working background, gave yourself this task of making a living online and you found a way to do that and then, became good at something and then, had this dream of moving to Spain and accomplished that as well. So, congratulations for living the dream in a lot of ways, Andre. We need as many examples of that as we can get.
So, just to wrap up, is there a place people can go? You’ve mentioned heaps of your websites but, is there a site that you want to specifically send people to now?
ANDRE: Well, if they want the email stuff, it’s AutoresponderMadness.com. It doesn’t sell anything but it just exposes him to the whole process. If they want to go to Affiliate Bully that’s a multi-page presell site and they can see how I [unclear] and people really, really love that site because of what’s on it and what it’s exposing people to and it just reframes things for them.
YARO: Yes It’s my favorite one, too just for the way you designed it. It’s got a nice touch of graphics and handwritten drawings. It’s like a sales page but, not a sales page because you keep clicking through. It’s sort of it’s own, I don’t know how to describe it, it’s a mini-site without… And, it’s so on purpose too, like it’s very clear what it does and you just take them through the story and lots of pictures and videos. And, you do, you want to keep clicking the next plan.
You could have put this all on one long page I guess if you wanted to but, by having the “click to read the next page,” you’re sort of sure making the person go, “I am really interested. I’m interested enough to keep clicking.”
ANDRE: Yes, and that’s consistency thing that McNeeney talks about and that’s why automation clicked because every time they click, they subconsciously more and more invested in what they’re going through in this process.
ANDRE: So, at the end of Affiliate Bully site, I think it just ends now with a link to one of my sites. Back in the day, that used to end on an opt in form because obviously, I wanted to get people onto a list and then, the whole thing would play out by email but, they will not have just link to one of the other sites.
YARO: Yes, Tiny Little Businesses. That’s great. You can go from AffiliateBully.com and just go through the process so you can see exactly what Andre was talking about throughout this whole interview because I suspect, there are a lot of people who still don’t understand what you mean by a presell page and storytelling and so on. That’s where they see how you do it.
YARO: Okay, thanks Andre for taking the time. Good luck with what you’re doing this year with your partners. It sounds like you’re heading in a bigger direction. I hope that goes well for you.
ANDRE: Thanks a lot man. It’s been really great talking to you. I hope I didn’t pull you off your part too many times.
YARO: No,no. You’re in charge. You’re the one telling the story. I just helped you.
For everyone listening in, you guys know where to go if you want to download more stories from more entrepreneurs like Andre, you can head to my blog, entrepreneur-journey.com, or you can Google my name YARO and you’ll find all the episodes there.
I feel like adding a cliff hanger to this, too. And depending when you go to my site, you may find a different design this year. I don’t know when you download and listen to this. It’s probably a good time to definitely head and check out entrepreneurs-journey.com and you’ll never know what to get when you get there. So, that’s my cliffhanger.
ANDRE: Good one.
YARO: Thanks Andre. We’ll talk to you soon.
ANDRE: Awesome, take care.
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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