Convert Your Website Visitors Into Paying Customers: How One Couple Did It With Email Marketing
By Kristen Dunleavy March 12, 2015
In July of 2014 alone, Shane and Jocelyn Sams made over $140,000. Let that sink in for a minute.
The couple isn’t printing money or selling baby unicorns. They’re simply online marketers who know a thing or two about connecting with an audience, something they teach on their website Flipped Lifestyle.
But they weren’t always experts.
Once upon a time, the Sams were two entrepreneurs with a common problem: folks loved Shane’s network for football coaches and Jocelyn’s resources for school librarians, but people weren’t sticking around on either website long enough to become paying customers. The Sams needed a way to convert those website visitors into loyal followers.
Enter email marketing.
Kristen Dunleavy (KD): What were your biggest hurdles when you first launched your own websites?
Shane Sams (SS): People always worry about traffic. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how many people come to your site randomly from Google. What matters is how many of those people you keep and convert to a member of your audience! We had 30 thousand people visit our site in a month, but we didn’t know anything about them. We were missing the boat because we didn’t have a way to contact them.
KD: What happened after you decided to try email marketing?
SS: We never could’ve been prepared for what happened. We went from making a few cents a day to thousands of dollars almost overnight. The first month we used email marketing, we earned $2,700 direct from our list. About a year later, we made $36,000 in a single month and quit our jobs!
KD: What happened in that year that you were able to make that jump?
SS: Most of our growth is organic – mostly through email marketing and good content and stuff that people want to buy. We take care of our email lists. They’ve grown, and we don’t have a lot of unsubscribes. We always provide high quality content like good blog posts, that’s what we share.
KD: A sign up form can make a huge impact when it comes to subscriber list growth. How soon after you added a sign up form to your website did you notice an influx of subscribers to your list?
SS: The first day. It was amazing seeing how many of those people wanted more stuff from us.
KD: Why do you think your sign up forms have been so successful?
SS: Incentives. We knew from day one you couldn’t just expect people to sign up. We started giving away high-quality, premium products. Most people sell their football playbooks. I wrote one and gave it away for free. Jocelyn gave away a month of lesson plans for librarians.
KD: What other types of content do you each create?
Jocelyn Sams (JS): On my site, it’s lesson plans and activities for librarians. For instance, we had several free activities for Black History Month. Seasonal content they can use right away is always good. I gave away an end- of- year survival kit, no strings attached. They can buy the other stuff on the site if they want.
SS: Each month I create a football coach’s checklist. Timely stuff they can use right now. On Flipped Lifestyle, we answer common questions, like how to use webinars. We also give things away for free.
KD: How has your email marketing evolved over time?
JS: We used to send a longer newsletter each month with links and multiple calls to action. Now we send newsletters with a little bit of text and one CTA to make it obvious what we want them to do. Before, they had too many options.
SS: We email more frequently now. During football season, I can email three times a week and they don’t care. With Flipped Lifestyle, as long as we treat them well and they like what we’re doing, we can email them more frequently.
KD: Any important lessons you’ve learned?
SS: Experiment with your own audience to come up with what works for you.
KD: Do you have any advice for business owners just starting out with email marketing?
SS: Put a sign up form on your website. I look back on how many email addresses we missed in those first months of business and it makes me want to throw up. Collect those leads on day one. Focus on a product to give them. Get that done before anything.
You won’t make money unless you get started. Take it one step at a time. It doesn’t have to be perfect.