Have you incorporated affiliate marketing into your business yet? Today’s guest is Igor Kheifets, the author of List Building Lifestyle and a podcast of the same name. His expertise in email strategy and affiliate marketing fueled his achievement as the number one Leadpages affiliate for 2022.
In today’s episode, we dig into the impact online marketing has had on his family (including a delightful comic book project for his daughter). We also discuss how to leverage email in your business and how to use email solo ads to take control of the growth of your income.
- Affiliate marketing is like owning a retail store, but without the overhead. You recommend products for sale and share in the revenue with the producers of that product, all while not carrying inventory.
- Aim for more leverage in what you sell. Find products that will pay recurring commissions instead of one-time bounties.
- Reward yourself as you become more successful. Use systems to reduce the time you actually spend working so you can enjoy more time with your family or doing hobbies you enjoy.
- Amplify your reach with an email list. Writing an email to a list of 5,000 takes as much time as it does to write an email to a single person, but has a dramatically wider impact.
- Email solo ads are paid endorsements from established list owners. Instead of relying on cold traffic or buying an email list, solo ads leverage the existing relationship of a list owner who recommends your offer to their subscribers.
- Solo ads can be more profitable than paid ads with Facebook, Instagram, etc. Because you purchase a base level of clicks to your landing page, and visitors are already biased towards receiving value via email, your conversion rates will be higher while your costs are lower.
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Who is Igor Kheifets?
Bob Sparkins: Igor, thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Lead Generation.
Igor Kheifets: My pleasure. It’s great to be here and I’m really, really excited about this.
Bob: Excellent. So we have a lot of really fun, engaging conversation. I’m sure that we’ll be having around email list building, around different techniques of affiliate marketing and such because you’re a master at that. Before we get into that, though, I’d love to get a high-level answer to one of my favorite questions, which is, what’s one way that you transform the lives of your clients?
Igor: Oh, this one’s real simple. You see, I’m a big believer in the idea that your income should not be tied to your time, should not be tied to how many hours you work. Because when we get into high school, get out of high school and step into the path to adulthood, we’re already buying into the idea that our time is worth X. If we’re a low-level person, then it’s a low number, and if we are a high-level person, it’s a high number. But I’m a believer in the idea that this is not a great way to measure your worth, and this is not a great way to define your income because there’s always going to be a limit to how many hours there’s going to be in a day and how many days in a week or a month or a year you’re actually going to be able to work.
Whether it is because you don’t like what you do or whether it is because you got sick or whatever, I believe that your income should not be tied to the amount of hours you work. So that’s why I’ve devoted my life to mastering the concept of building money-making systems, and that’s what I help people do. I help them transition from a job income to a leveraged online income or if you will, a lifestyle income where you can structure your income around your lifestyle and not vice-versa.
Bob: You’re very good at that. I know that a lot of people listening are going to enjoy some of the tips you’re going to share in just a moment.
I’d like to go back a few years though, pre-2010, maybe even earlier, you have a very interesting life story in your book, List Building Lifestyle. You talk all about it, but just a short version. I know that you were born in Ukraine, you went to other countries. What are some of the lessons you learned as you moved from a couple of different places where things were not as rosy as they are for you today in Canada?
Igor: Yeah. I really, truly did not appreciate just how bad things were until I moved to Canada where the first thing I noticed when I moved to Canada is that there’s no tension here.
One thing you notice if you live in Ukraine or another country I lived in for a very long time is Israel, I was basically born and raised in Ukraine until I was 12, and from about 12 till about 20, I want to say 28, 29, I lived in Israel. In both countries that’s pretty similar where the tension, it’s in the air. You can really cut the air with a knife. Even when I used to go to a shopping mall and I would go into the bathroom and I was standing in front of the urinal, I would always be looking over my shoulder like that because I always wanted to be ready in case something’s going to go off because it was very, I want to say, not unusual for people to get shot in public places, for a suicide bomber to go off in a public place for all kinds of stuff to happen.
In fact, I was involved in a terrorist attack one time when I was going into the bus station, it was a big bus station and about maybe 200 meters, maybe 300 meters away, on the other side of the bus station, there was a suicide bomber that went off and killed a couple of people with the explosion, and we felt it as we entered the bus station. So it was very, very common.
So when I moved to Canada, I realized just how calm and peaceful the life over here is and just how I spent pretty much most of my life living in a stressful day-to-day existence, which actually ended up transferring over to everything that I’ve done. Whether it was income related or not, that stress follows you everywhere. You really don’t relax.
Like if you’re at home, so I’m at home with my wife and my kid, and then there’s a siren going off alerting that there’s a rocket heading somewhere in the area, somewhere within a 100-kilometer radius. You’re like, going back to sleep is going to be very, very difficult. So it’s just a normal day-to-day life for me at the time, and I’m really happy to have eliminated that issue from my life by moving myself and my family to Canada.
Bob: Yeah, and obviously the world is still in a bit of a precarious spot. So hopefully we can get some of those things resolved here in the new year.
Why Affiliate Marketing is So Appealing
Let’s talk to our main topic today, which is around business growth. Obviously there is a particular style that you love to lead with, which is both creating a course, but mostly affiliate marketing. Talk to people who are in the lead generation about affiliate marketing, just to make sure people understand what it is. I think a lot of people do have a pretty foundational understanding, but from your perspective, why is affiliate marketing such a really key area of the revenue streams that you like to build up?
Igor: Well, the reason I love affiliate marketing is because I can make half the money off of a sale of product and I don’t have to deliver on any of the headaches for that product.
For example, let’s take Leadpages. It’s a great example. Leadpages pays out really sweet commission and also a recurring commission to that debt. So not only I make a commission when I refer someone to to Leadpages, but I’m also getting paid over and over again for as long as they stay a member.
Now, that allows me to build passive income, but in addition, it allows me to profit from promoting a product that I essentially can’t build myself. The amount of money and effort that goes into building something like Leadpages is probably way beyond anything that I’m willing to endure, as well as the knowledge, of course, and the architecture, like there’s no way I’m building something like that.
But it still allows me to profit from that product existing in the marketplace while adding value to the people to whom I promote this product. So affiliate marketing, the beauty of affiliate marketing is you can build incredible income, and I’m talking a large income. I know some affiliates making over $100,000 per month, not a year, per month, without owning any of your own products, which is not very different from, say, if you owned a shop and let’s say you owned a computer store or a smartphone store.
You don’t have to produce or manufacture phones or computer hardware to actually make money. You can sell other people’s products, it’s a lot more difficult to set up. When it comes to setting up a shop. You need licenses, you need to rent a space, and there’s a whole bunch of headaches.
But with affiliate marketing, you can start with nothing from your laptop and be making more than the shop owner within the span of weeks, maybe months, without having to take any of the risks and you can do it from anywhere in the world. In fact, if you wanted to just be a nomad and move around the world, or maybe if you wanted to live in a warm place out of a cold place, you could literally pack your bag, move and your income wouldn’t get hurt. So for example, when I immigrated from Israel to Canada five years ago, it was December 2017 that I immigrated, what ended up happening is in the first two months, I barely got any work done. It was just all about setting my life from scratch. It was getting the driver’s license, the insurance, getting a place to live, et cetera, and I barely worked in that time.
What’s interesting is that my income didn’t drop. It didn’t grow, but it didn’t drop either because of all the different income streams that I set up thanks to affiliate marketing, including passive income streams that continued to pay me commissions month after month even if I wasn’t working at the time. That’s really, in my opinion, the big advantage of building systems versus trying to build an hourly income or trying to improve your skillset and become a higher paid skilled worker.
The beauty of it is at some point, the skilled worker is going to want to take a break, or they will need more money, but they will not be able to invest more time. While for someone like myself who builds systems, I can continuously scale what I’m doing if I want to make more money, but not work more hours. So that is why also I’m a great believer in having an email list.
When to Add Team Members
Bob: I want to dig into that in just a moment, but I hear something about what you’re saying here that I’d love to clarify, and that is, how much of this are you doing absolutely on your own versus having a team? I think it’d be helpful if we went back to when you immigrated to Canada, did you have any team at all? Then to this day, what does your team look like?
Igor: Yes. So when I started this and all the way until I was making $10,000 a month, I didn’t have a team. It was just a one-man show, one-man operation, and I was working around the clock, I’ll be honest with you. I was very ambitious, very aggressive, and the moment I figured out that I could make money in a certain way, I just put all my attention into it.
Now, I wasn’t as smart back then as I am today in terms of automation, in terms of setting up systems. A lot of it was still manual labor. It was just me doing a lot of repetitive stuff. But as soon as I got educated a little bit about getting rid of the repetitiveness in my life and either using software or using cheap labor to outsource it, that’s when my business really took off. I was able to not only claim a much higher income and scale from 10K per month to 40K per month, the day my daughter was born in November 2012, I scaled to 80K per month, and I just continued to scale since then. That’s when I was also able to regain my time.
What I’ve discovered along my journey is that you can only make so much if you apply the concept of hard work. You know how they say, “You should work really hard. You should wake up every day, you should work really hard?” I used to believe that, and I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t working very hard. I would intentionally take on massive amounts of work thinking that’s going to lead me to a much greater income, to a much greater prosperity, if you will. But what I found is, I was working and I was working really hard, and I was working even harder some days. Then I would go on vacation with my wife and I would keep working very hard on vacation, and we would get into fights. “Why do you keep working so hard?” It was like, “Well, because I got to keep this business running,” and I was very righteous about it too. But then I realized it became a bottleneck.
At some point, after crossing about 100 to 150,000 a month, I realized that working hard is a disadvantage and that the only way to scale beyond that would be to figure out ways to work smart, where one action you take can have a tremendous impact on your day-to-day existence.
So for example, shifting from promoting an affiliate offer that is designed to pay you one time to promoting an affiliate offer that is designed to pay you every month. Or shifting from an affiliate offer that is built to pay you $50 a sale or $30 a sale to an offer that has multiple price points and allows people to buy in at say, a $1,000 level. So you get paid a $500 commission for the same effort, because it takes just as much effort to make a $100 sale as it does to make a $1,000 sale, literally just as much.
You still need to put together a landing page. You still need to take people to that website so they can see the offer. You still need to make a compelling sales argument and the presentation, it’s all still the same, but you could be getting paid a much larger commission.
So this could be the difference between, say, promoting a piece of software that pays out, say, $15 a month versus promoting the exact same software, but pushing people to get the annual package that pays you a lot more money upfront.
In fact, a funny story, back in December 2018, I launched a product that continues to make me money to this day, but I launched it on December 31st. Okay, I’m not even making this up. This is for real. December 31st at noon Eastern, I launched this product. So this is New Year’s, right? People are supposedly not paying attention to offers. Supposedly, everyone’s out there partying, et cetera. So I launched this offer and in the next 72 hours, within 72 hours, so it’s like December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd, we closed the offer, I make $100,000.
Now, here’s an interesting part about that. The offer was $97 a month, but there was an upsell for $697 a year and one more upsell for $997 one time. So what I’ve done there by having multiple offers in my funnel is I was able to increase the average customer lifetime value or the average transaction size from just $97 to a multiple of that.
As a result, even though I only referred so many customers to that offer, I ended up making over a $100,000. So again, this is leverage. This is how we work smarter versus working really, really hard and trying to get 1,000 sales at $97 in order to make $100 grand and instead getting, say, a couple 100 sales or 100 sales, but having those upsells in place and therefore making 100 grand with much less effort.
Enjoying the Fruits of Affiliate Marketing
Bob: I love that you’re speaking too, around coming to the awareness of this lifestyle that you can have instead of just working hard. You mentioned a little bit about family. I know you and I both have a couple of kids and great family life. Give us an example of something that you’ve done in the last few months that your present-day Igor, you know now that with the rewards that you’ve built for yourself, you’re able to take some time and spend it with your crew.
Igor: Well, first off, so we’re recording in the beginning of 2023. On New Year’s Day this year, well, now this last year, on December 31, 2022, I pretty much stayed home. We watched some Home Alone with the kids. We had a nice dinner. Then of, course, obviously we unpacked some presents later, but I probably spent a good five or six hours playing Call of Duty right here at my desk where I got the gaming station as well so all while I made $20,000 in gross revenue in my business in that day without touching it.
So seeing something like that is really tremendous for me because it takes a few years for the brain to catch up with the reality. Now, I used to not believe, I used to preach passive income, but not really truly take it on and truly believe it because I was still stuck in the mind of having to work, work, work to sustain the success that I’ve built.
But these days, it’s becoming a lot more evident that the more leverage points I create in my business, the more I can enjoy this time for myself regardless of what I choose to do it, whether it’s playing video games or doing something like this.
So this is a comic book that’s called Erica and The Missing Birds. This is Erica, and this is my daughter, Erica. So I ended up basically taking the time to make a comic book where my daughter saves the day and saves all the birds in town that were stolen by three guys who wanted to be nasty and evil and wanted to get back at the mayor. So I had to write the script, I had to plan it out. I had to get the artist, obviously pay the artist because this whole thing cost me about $1,600.
But the fact that I have the mental bandwidth, the time and the money to do stuff like that for my daughter to help and build her self-image and self-esteem, I take extreme pride in that.
I’m not proud or I don’t brag to people that I drive a Porsche, for example. I drive a Porsche Panamera GTS. It’s not the world’s most expensive Porsche. It’s decent, but I drive a 2013 anyway. So right now it’s value is about, I don’t know, maybe $50,000 Canadian. It’s not an extremely expensive car. Anyone who really wants it can afford it, but when I bought it, it was nice. It’s like, “Oh, nice. I can drive a Porsche. That’s great.”
But I take extreme, extreme pride in doing something like that. In fact, I liked the process so much that I ended up creating three of them. The one I love the most was the third one where my daughter fights this guy. His name is Zorg. He’s an Oreo cookie monster who comes to zombify people by having them eat Oreo cookies and turn them into zombies because of all the sugar.
So this one comes with an educational message of, “Don’t eat sugar because you’ll turn into a zombie and have diabetes and stuff. So what’s really interesting, it didn’t put her off from eating Oreo cookies. Now it’s just fun for her. Now, every time she eats Oreos, she’s like, “Oh, I’m a monster. I’m zombie.” It’s like, “Dammit, you missed the point, girl.” But now I’m working on the fourth one.
The fourth one is going to be coming out soon. On that one now I’m incorporating my son who’s four, and it’s more of a down-to-earth story. My daughter and my son fight for the right to play the iPad. My daughter wrestles him out of it, but then he frames her by cutting mom’s brand new blue jeans, and then she has to go and investigate to redeem herself in the eyes of the mom. Then she also protects her brother from being punished, and the family love wins in this case.
So having the ability to do stuff like that, I’m so, so proud of, because when I was growing up, I have only one memory of playing football with my dad, just one, just one, in all the years of growing up. Now, this isn’t to say that he couldn’t, he could. There were times when he could have easily played more with me, but I get it now. Every time he would not work, he would just want to be left alone. He would probably just be vegging out in front of the TV, just trying to mellow out and trying to rest. He didn’t have energy left to deal with the kids. So I really never wanted to be that kind of dad. I wanted to be a present dad, a dad that’s involved, a dad that when his daughter comes to him and talks to him about the video game she’s playing, to actually be paying attention.
I’m not perfect, I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes I go into these weird modes when I’m a bit depressed. I’ve had that since I was a kid. I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of a condition on the spectrum, but I’m not going to go and get diagnosed to prove it. I don’t think that would be good for me. But I do my absolute best to be present in their lives and to not only provide them with the opportunities, but also to make them realize that, “Yeah, dad is working. Dad is capable of putting in the hard work, he’s capable of putting in the effort,” and they see me work.
Sometimes my son will come downstairs and they’re like, “Hey, dad, let’s play BeamNG.” That’s his favorite game right now. I was like, “Daddy’s working, in a few hours.” So I do draw the line when I need to, but I want them to know that dad’s available, he’s around, and I think that’s a big deal when it comes to raising a healthy child.
Bob: Yeah, I think that’s really wonderful. For those who aren’t able to see the video, you also have quite a collection of Manchester United Gear. Can you share what’s the appeal for you of Man U? I’m not going to critique it, I just am curious, how did you become a Man U super fan?
Igor: Yeah. Well, it’s not rational, naturally like any sports affection, I guess. I really fell in love with them when I was watching Champions League reruns when I was a kid. I remember the ’99 final, that’s the most famous game that they’ve ever had, where they scored two goals in the last couple of minutes. They won 2-1, even though they were down and out the whole game, they really didn’t play well that game, but they won and I think that day, that’s the day they became the biggest club in the world.
I actually have this jersey right here that I’m pointing to right now, that’s a jersey from that game signed by the 12 players that participated in that game, which is something I’m really proud of. This one right here is a Wayne Rooney signed Jersey. So he’s my all-time favorite United player. It’s just the passion for Man United is, I think, one of the few things that is still keeping my dad going as well.
He lives is back in Israel, so we actually FaceTime, every time they play. We watch it together. So he’s watching and FaceTiming, and I’m watching and FaceTiming. It’s really difficult to sync in the clock exactly. Sometimes he sees the goal first, and then he’s like, “Yay!” I was like, “What?” He’s like, “Yeah, they scored.” Sometimes he sees the other team scoring first and he’s upset. It’s like, “Don’t tell me. No, I don’t want you to show it.” But yeah, it’s a passion that I have. It’s one of the few passions that I do have, and I indulge in it.
Now that I’m finally getting my Canadian passport, I’m finally going to see a game this year because Man U is going to be playing Barcelona. So I’m thinking of maybe going to Europe and seeing both Barcelona in Barcelona play Man U and then go to Manchester and see them play Barcelona the next week, or vice-versa, whichever’s going to happen first, but definitely a big, big fan.
Bob: What a blast.
The Importance of List Building as an Affiliate
Bob: All right. Let’s dive in now to how you are able to be so successful, and that is through the use of list building as a primary mode of growth.
First of all, a lot of people are doing list building, they’re having conversations about it. We have, of course, plenty of podcast episodes around this. What’s your take on list building? Why is it so important? Then we’ll get into some of the mechanics of how you build your list so quickly.
Igor: So a couple of things about list building that I think make it one of the most important things you can do and one of the most effective things you can do to tremendously grow your income and your freedom. First things first, you control it, you control your list. When somebody opts into your email list, you have their permission to email them. So regardless of the platform that you’re using, you control the audience. You have the rights to use that audience to communicate with that audience; not something you can say about, say, Facebook or YouTube. How many stories have you heard of people losing their YouTube accounts, people getting shut down on TikTok, people getting censored on Facebook?
If the President of the United States could’ve lost his Twitter account and Facebook account, then you and me, come on, it’s so easy. But with an email list, no one can take it away from you. So once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
The other thing that is also extremely important about list building is that it gives you leverage. So think about it this way. Let’s say I’m sitting down to write an email suggesting a product that you should buy, and I write it to you personally. It’s going to take me about 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes to coherently structure an email, unless I use advanced tools like ChatGPT, that can structure the email much faster.
But let’s assume we’re still back in 2012 and we’re still writing your own emails. So let’s say it’s going to take me 20 minutes. I wrote it, I used Grammarly, I fixed all the typos, et cetera. I put the link to get the product and I send you the email, done.
Now, imagine list building as doing the exact same thing. Only when you hit the send button, the email that you send doesn’t go out to one person. It can go out to pretty much everyone on your list. So whether you’ve got 1,000 people, 5,000 people, 10,000 people, 100,000 people, 300,000 people, you invested the exact same amount of time and brain power to write the email and suggest a product. But the impact you’re having is going to be multiples of that in the same way that if you are, say, speaking or performing.
Let’s say you’re an artist, okay? Let’s say you are a musician of some kind, a guitar player, and let’s say you got a gig in a bar and there were five people in that bar that night. So you put in a one-hour performance in front of five people, that’s your impact that night, five people.
But let’s say you put the exact same one-hour performance in Madison Square Garden in front of say, 40,000 people, or I don’t know how many people it fits, 20,000 people, whatever. Do you think you’ll have a much bigger impact? Most likely. You’ll make more money even though you invested the same amount of time and energy into putting together the one-hour performance that you’ve had.
So in the same way as a content creator, as a content producer, as a product producer, as an affiliate marketer, as a service provider, if you can put out a piece of content and get it in front of say, 5,000 people just like that without investing more effort, do you think your income will grow without you having to work harder? Yes, absolutely it will.
Bob: Yeah. Then by extension, talk to me about the recorded version of that. So what you’re speaking to is another area I wanted to dig into, which is sending out email blasts or broadcast messages, different platforms, call it different things. But basically, today is Wednesday, January 3rd, and I’m sending out an email and it goes to the people on my list today, and somebody joins my list in five minutes, they don’t see that email; versus the recorded version in your example, instead of a Madison Square Garden, they’re now a Netflix special. It’s recorded. Every time somebody goes through, you now have an autoresponder message that can come in. Where do you balance your content writing for emails that are going out to people right now versus adding to what I imagine is a pretty extensive autoresponder list at this point.
Igor: Yes. Yeah, that’s a great question. So my autoresponder sequence right now is well over 100 days, and that means that anyone who gets into my email list, depending on which page they come through, they now have a whole pre-scheduled series of emails and different campaigns that go out. These campaigns are pretty sophisticated too. There’s a seven-day special with discounts and bonuses. There could be a 48-hour, a dime sale, whatever. It’s a lot that went into planning that over many, many years, of course. But you’re right, having full automation with your email means that somebody gets on to your website or capture page, they give you their email address, and now they go into a fully automated series of emails that you’ve written once you loaded into the software once, and they are now going to be triggered based on a condition such as how much time did they spend on your list?
So they got on your list immediately, send them this email. Day one, after 24 hours passed, send them this email. In 72 hours after they joined my list, send this email. In 96 hours, send this email, send this email. So you can have an unlimited number of emails be sent to anyone who joins your list. If you ever got anyone else’s list and you started getting emails from them every day, I assure you they didn’t just sit down and write them a minute before they sent them. Most of these emails were probably written many, many, many moons ago. What’s really cool is that you could have written an email five years ago, and it will continue to make you money for as long as it keeps going out, because by reading an email, you won’t be able to tell when was it written unless it talks about an event that is irrelevant at this point.
You know what I mean? If, let’s say at the end of the last year we had the whole FTX thing and then crypto where an exchange went bankrupt. So naturally, if you write an email talking about, “Hey, did you hear last night the FTX exchange went bankrupt and yada, yada, yada,” you can’t really use that in your sequence because it will become obvious that this email was written a long, long time ago. Instead, you need to redefine or rewrite the introduction a little bit and say something like, “On such-and-such date, there was an event that shocked the crypto world, one of the largest exchanges in the world, FTX went bankrupt overnight.”
So again, you’re not revealing that it happened last night, last month, whatever. You’re not mentioning any particular giveaways as to how long ago did that happen for the moment you’re sending that email. So this way, again, you wrote it years ago and it still makes you money. There’s some sequences that I’ve literally created that maybe in six months after coming to Canada, there’s still going out automatically to make me money. That offer that I told you that I launched on December 31, 2018, that offer and the emails I wrote for that offer are still in my autoresponder sequence making me sales $97 at a time, so it’s tremendous. It’s the leverage and the automation will have a significant impact on your income.
Which is Better: New Broadcasts or Autoresponder Messages?
Bob: Really cool. When you think about the time you spend today writing emails, what counterbalance do you do present-day broadcast versus tweaking your autoresponders?
Igor: So I’m actually constantly looking for and checking out different things to mail to my list because I noticed that my audience loves a new thing. They’re really aggressive and they love checking out what’s working right now. I operate in a space where something that was working a month ago and it’s no longer relevant today, some techniques that used to work last year can’t work today, especially when it comes to social media, by the way, that thing changes so fast.
So that’s why I do create campaigns or broadcast campaigns or blasts, if you will, often.
Any campaign that I see that works really, really well that what I do is I take it, I tweak it a little bit so we remove anything that’s a timestamp or otherwise would give away that we just created it. I load it into the sequence and I add it and I stack it into my sequence. So what I do, I basically treat my sequence as a way to continue to profit from campaigns that worked well that I created recently. So what ends up happening is anyone who joined my list ends up going through these campaigns and the winners continue to bring in the money. The ones who didn’t work that well, I brush it off, “It’s a test, didn’t work? Okay, next.”
Building Your Email List Profitably
Bob: Yeah, and that obviously pays off well. Now let’s talk a little bit about how do you get them on your list in the first place. So I want to talk about traffic in a moment, but assuming somebody gets to your page in some fashion, you’re giving away something in exchange for their email address. What are you finding working really well for you right now as your lead magnet, as a type of lead magnet that you’re doing?
Igor: So there’s two things that I’ll say about that. First off, the idea that you have to give away something for free in exchange for an opt-in is not as black and white as it might first seem, because I see a lot of people try to put together these giant, sexy opt-in bribes, but they end up building a list of freebie seekers. They end up building a list that’s basically full of people who got on their email list just to get the free thing. They either used a fake email or maybe used an email they don’t check that they specifically have for the purposes of collecting free stuff. So not every lead magnet is worth using. Not every opt-in bribe is worth creating.
So the other thing I love to do is I actually love to attract people based on a big idea. I love to attract people based on a new discovery rather than an actual giveaway.
But if I have to give something away, it will be the what to do or description of what, but not how. I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say I’m a realtor and let’s say I want to attract people who have properties to sell. So on my website, I will have a lead magnet that is a five-step checklist or a five-point checklist of the five mistakes that homeowners make that drive the price of their house down when they’re trying to sell it.
Now, let’s unpack this. So I’m basically describing the five mistakes people make, but I’m not going to say how to fix them, meaning I will tell them what they’re doing wrong, but I’m not going to tell them how to fix what they’re doing. Now if they’re smart enough to figure out how to fix that, and they want to do it themselves, awesome.
I still provided value by making them aware of the mistakes, but this way I’m educating. I’m giving value, but at the same time, by them going through the checklist, I am also positioning myself as an authority and as the source of, “Okay, how do I fix it?” Because if I told you that you’re making a mistake, you’re going to ask me, “How do I fix this mistake?”
Now, if you don’t like the negative spin on it, you can actually do something like the five things you need to do in order to get above-market value for your home when you sell it. Again, you can conceptually explain it, you don’t have to give the actual solution. You don’t have to give the how to walk through because the how to walk through, you can do it with them or for them as a service provider.
So these would be the lead magnets or these bribes that I like to create, because what they do is not only they get me the person’s email address, but they also move them towards me, towards hiring me on this timeline.
If you imagine there’s a timeline between when somebody discovers that they have a problem to the moment they hire you to fix it, I want to keep them moving on this timeline rather than collect some freebie and disappear. So this is the balance that you want to maintain.
Now, the other thing I want to share is that one thing that I don’t see list builders make is that I don’t see them actually generate buyer leads. I think that’s a big mistake. I think a buyer lead or a buyer email subscriber is 10 times, at least 10 times more valuable than a non-buyer lead. I think that’s been one of the reasons why I’ve been a top affiliate for all these years.
Bob: Right. Can you unpack that a little bit? Again, we’re talking about the traffic sources at just a moment, but they come to your page and instead of something for free, you’re asking them to purchase something. Is there a price point that you find as a sweet spot that leads into the best qualified folks for the rest of what you do?
Igor: Well, to be honest with you, the higher the price they pay, the more expensive the product, the better. It means that they are that much more committed to you, into the relationship with you; however, let’s say you’ve got something that you’re selling that’s say $500 or 1,000 bucks, and that’s the purpose of building a list. You can actually create a super light or stripped version of that offer and sell it for 50 bucks, 10 bucks, 20 bucks, 97 bucks, $197. You can really play with the price points, but you could sell this cheap item in order to get people started with you, to get them to put their foot in the door, because that item will allow them to check you out and be like, “Okay, let’s see what this person’s all about.” If they like what they purchase, then they can escalate with you further.
So for example, I got a body of mine who used to have a big YouTube channel. Now he ain’t got a big YouTube channel because it got shut down and he’s got a big list.
It’s a list of guys, males that are trying to be better at sex, at having sex too. So he’s teaching how to please a woman, how to be more effective in that. So this guy, what I like about him is that he’s got a product range pretty much from the lowest prices all the way to the highest. He’s got something as little as 17 bucks all the way to 1500 or 2,500.
What’s really interesting is that he will actually push people to get started with his cheap products. Even if somebody comes in and they’re like, “Hey, I’ve been following you for a couple of years. I really like your stuff and I really want to get into this coaching program you’ve got.” He’s going to say, “Okay, do you have my eBook?” You’ll be like, “No.” Say, “Okay, well the best place to start is there.” So he’s thinking in terms of, “What kind of structure or curriculum can I take people through to escalate them from a low price point to a high price point?” I really like that approach.
Why Solo Ads are a Great Way to Build Your Own Email List
Bob: All right. Now the big question. How do we get people to see our offers in the first place, whether they’re going to sign up for free or they’re going to pay us for it? I know that I know the answer to this, of course, ’cause you and I go way back, but a lot of people are talking about Facebook ads and TikTok ads and Instagram and all this other stuff, and you have a different approach towards putting some money in and getting a lot in return. Talk to us a little bit about your favorite way of driving traffic.
Igor: Yes. My favorite way of driving traffic is based in one simple concept. Everything I do is focused on building a list. My number one priority is to build a list, not even to make a sale. So as far as I’m concerned, I’m asking myself, “What is the best type of person to put on my email list? What’s the kind of person that will buy? What’s the kind of person that will open my emails, click on my emails, receive my emails, read my emails, even if I sent two a day?” The answer is, it goes back to a concept I learned from Gary Halbert by reading his letter, the Gary Halbert letter, which I highly recommend every business owner to read. Gary spoke about the way he selected lists for direct mail based on recency of purchase and frequency of purchase.
He’s got this issue of his newsletter where he poses a question. He’s like, “If I needed to sell a Cadillac and I could only have one shot at selling this Cadillac, and I could pick any list or group of people to sell this Cadillac to, who’s my best bet? What group of people or what persona is my best bet at selling this Cadillac?”
The answer really surprised me at the time. He said, “The best person to buy a Cadillac is somebody who owns four Cadillacs.” Now if you really think about it, it’s so true because if somebody has a passion for buying Cadillacs, they’re much more likely to buy a Cadillac than if someone who doesn’t own a car or owns a car, but it’s not expensive, or maybe owns an expensive car, but it’s a Bentley; therefore, he likes European cars and not American cars and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So basically, if you want to sell something, get in front of people who are already buying what you’re selling, even if they’re buying a lot of it.
I’ll give you an example with my wife. My wife, she’ll buy pretty much any face-related cream or glop or mask or magic thing that you will put in front of her. Even though she’s got a ton of them already, she’ll continue buying them, right? Is it rational? No. But will she buy the next one when she sees one? She absolutely will, I assure you.
So I’m the same way. I’ve got an iPhone, a MacBook, an iPhone, an iPad, another MacBook. I got Mac stuff. Who’s the best prospect to buy MacBooks and iPhones and iPads? It’s people who already own the previous generation. That’s why Apple figured it out to a point where they now no longer put chargers and headphones into the boxes because they know that almost anyone who’s buying their stuff already has a charger and already has some headphones from the previous iPhone that they’ve had or the previous MacBook that they’ve had.
For that reason, if I wanted to get someone on my list in that particular nature or topic where I’m operating, I’m actually going to go and hunt for lists of people in that niche and try to get an email out to those lists, inviting those people to get into my list.
This is called email drops or solo ads. It’s when you find somebody who owns a big list that fits your demographic and profile and say, “Hey, I want to rent your list for one-time mailing, and you will mail your list as yourself endorsing me and telling people to go check me out by sending them to my capture page where they can get on my list.”
That’s what solo ads are, and that’s a strategy that really put me on the map. It’s the one with which I’ve experienced my first big success, and I’ve been really just dialing that in since.
Bob: To be clear, you’re not buying a list from somebody, you are renting that list, right? So-
Bob: Can you clarify that difference real quick? Because I want to make sure people don’t go down a different pathway thinking that they heard incorrectly from this podcast.
Igor: No, no, you’re absolutely right. That’s a great distinction.
You’re not buying that list, and I don’t think it’s right to say that you’re renting that list. It’s more about negotiating with the list owner who’s already mailing that list on a daily or weekly basis to endorse you to the list, one time. To send out an email to their list one time and say, “Hey, I just came across this resource by my friend, Igor. You should go and check it out over here. It’s for you if you want to X, Y, and Z. If you’re tired of X, Y, and Z problem, link.”
He sends or she sends people to your capture page so people can then opt in to your email list so you can mail them. So yeah, it’s not really buying a list as much as it is in the same way, I guess if you were to get an ad on the radio. So if you ever listen to the radio and there’s an ad that comes up for a jewelry shop or some hardware store, it’s basically an endorsement. But instead of like it being on a radio or on TV, it’s in an email. The whole email is the endorsement.
Bob: Yeah. I think to clarify that, what I think of is in our local Minnesota, Minneapolis area, we have a radio station called KDWB. It’s not just that there’s an ad on the radio, it’s the talent in the morning show. So Falen is one of the local DJs. She reads a spot and says, “Hey, I’ve been using this product for such and such a long time,” or, “I want you to go check this out,” so it’s a trusted person sending that endorsement. It’s not just them playing your ad to them. I think that’s a big distinction because it has credibility boosting that you’re leveraging, which I think is really important.
Allocating Your Budget for Solo Ads
A question that people probably have right now, which is, if maybe they’re allocating budget for the next year on advertising and they want to steer some of that budget towards solo ads, give us an idea of a general cost-per-click or cost-per-lead that you love to shoot for when it comes to getting a good list to work with.
Igor: The thing about solo ads, they can be a bit of a wild, wild west. They can vary and it’ll vary based on a few factors: the size and reputation of the list, the quality of the list, or how much that quality is perceived by the person who owns that list. So this is to say that it’s on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes you will find traffic that’s really, really cheap compared to the value you’re getting. You can be getting them at 30 cents per click and it’ll be super legit traffic, the same quality or higher quality than you would have gotten from other advertising sources, and they’re already primed to opt-in to a list.
Another thing you’ll notice by the way, that an opt-in rate or the rate with which people will get on the list when it’s a solo ad traffic will be much higher compared to say, Facebook ads or YouTube or Google Ads or whatever else, because these people have already been primed for the medium.
A radio listener will continue listening to the radio, and if you tell them, “Go check out this other radio station, they’ll go and check it out.” But if somebody doesn’t listen to the radio suggesting to them a radio station isn’t as effective because they don’t have a habit of listening to the radio. So in the same way that if someone has a habit of checking email and wanting to receive offers in email, they’ll be much more likely to give you their email.
On the lower end, you can find them as little as 30 cents per click, and therefore your cost-per-lead can be as little as 60 cents, 70 cents, 80 cents per actual email address, which is again, nothing. It’s really, really cheap. While say, on Google in the same niche, you’ll be paying five or seven or $10 per click and getting an optin for every five clicks, that’s like an actual average if you can go and look it up before if you ever ran ads on Google you know. As far as on the higher end-
Bob: That’s if you’re good.
Igor: Yeah. Yeah, that is if you’re good. On the higher end, it can be more expensive. Just recently last month, I inquired with a real estate info marketing list that can produce 5,000 clicks from a single email or 3,000 clicks from a single email, and they wanted something like $8,000.
So while the cost-per-click is relatively low compared to other sources, they want you to buy it in bulk because their list is so big. I wasn’t able to negotiate a smaller batch or a smaller portion, unfortunately. So it varies, right? You shop around and you find what’s working for your budget, but what’s really good about this is that you still almost always end up paying way less than you would with cold media.
Final Thoughts for Continued Learning
Bob: Yeah, that’s great to know. Well, we’re running out of time, so I think people who would love to learn more about going forward with solo ads would learn a lot from you, Igor, obviously people who listen to this podcast will enjoy your podcast, but I imagine you also have, besides your podcast, another access point for them to learn some more. Can you share that with us?
Igor: Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to share my book and I want to invite you to go and get this book at IgorsBook.com. The book’s called List Building Lifestyle: Confessions of an Email Millionaire. It’s a tiny one. It’s 100 and something pages, so you can read it in a really long trip to the bathroom or just in a lazy afternoon or maybe just over a cup of coffee if you’re a fast reader.
If you go to IgorsBook.com, what I will do is if you chip in on shipping and handling with me, I will send you the physical version. I’ll print it at my cost and I’ll send it to you. I’ll give you the audible, professionally-narrated version of the book for free. I’ll give you the digital version you can read on your computer or mobile device for free.
I will also throw in over $3,200 in bonuses that include templates for capture pages that include, by the way, four Leadpages too; not just any templates, but for actual Leadpages templates, some email templates. I’ll include traffic training on how to generate traffic and just give you a lot of stuff that you can start using right away to build your list.
Now the reason I’m doing that is very simple, by the way. The reason I’m not telling you to go buy this book on Amazon where you can buy it if you wanted to, if you’re like a big Amazon fan, is because if you buy on Amazon, I will not be able to get you on my email list.
I really, really want to get you on my email list. So I’m just ethically bribing you with over $3,000 worth of stuff for you to go and get it on my side at IgorsBook.com for that very reason. This is also going to be a great way for you and me to get a relationship going with just $10 investment, which is what you chip in on shipping and handling if you’re in the U.S. or slightly more than that if you are in Canada or Europe or Australia, unfortunately, nothing I can do about that.
But I assure you, this is well worth your investment and this is going to give you a very clear and simple understanding of the whole world of list building and of the solo ad strategy.
Bob: Awesome. Thank you for that, Igor. As we wrap up, do you have a mantra or quote or something that you turn to when you run into roadblocks as any entrepreneur does that helps you get to the other side?
Igor: Yeah, “This too shall pass.” So it’s a story that I got told when I was a kid about King Solomon, I’m Jewish, so about King Solomon who went on and he asked somebody to do something for him that would make him feel happy when he’s sad and when, and make him feel sad when he’s happy. So this one guy came in and he was a jeweler, a jeweler? I don’t know, I’m bad at pronouncing this, but he basically brings him this ring, okay? On the inside of this ring, in tiny little print, it says, “This shall pass.” So the king loved it. Many years go by and anytime the king is happy, he looks at the ring.
He’s like, “This shall pass. He is like, “Okay.” Anytime he’s sad, he looks at it, he’s like, “This shall pass.” He’s getting a little bit happier, and it worked for a long, long time. But then a great war started, and his son went to war and died, and the king was very sad, very sad for a long time. He looked at this ring and it said, “This will pass,” and he got so angry, he just threw it out. He just took it off and he just threw it away. But then after a few moments, he went up to the ring and he looked more closely on the other side of it somewhere, and it said, “This too shall pass,” which made the king feel a little bit better, and he put it back on.
Bob: Very cool. Very cool. Well, Igor, congratulations again for being our number-one affiliate at Leadpages for 2022. Really excited that we are able to have this conversation together for kicking off the new year. Good luck to you in the coming months, and thanks so much for being here today.
Igor: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to be here, and I can’t wait for 2023.
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