I recently helped a brand make $148,354 from 3,080 new email subscribers...
...with no extra ad spend.
$48 per subscriber, $0 CPL, as it was existing website traffic.
And today, I wanna walk you through how I did it in this case study.
Let's get started:
Customer acquisition funnel for an online education business.
1,117 new customers acquired in 110 days.
$148,354 in added ARR.
Achieved $48 per email subscriber at a $0 Cost-Per-Lead, capitalizing on existing traffic to the company website’s home page.
All new customers averaged a $145.33, 30-day LTV.
Meaning, each 30-day "cohort" (new customers acquired between Feb 28 to March 28; March 29 to April 29, and so on), had an average customer value of $145.33 within that 30-day window.
These metrics remained consistent for 110 days, as of the time this was posted.
2. The Challenge & Opportunity
We did not have good tracking for customer lifetime value (C-LTV)—not at a granular level.
When scaling our customer acquisition efforts, one of the most crucial things we want to know is what our payback windows are. As this helps us manage cash flow, and understand what we can spend each day/week/month to acquire customers.
Some helpful data points are 7-day Lead Value (avg. lead value, not customer lifetime value), 30-day C-LTV, etc.
We did not have this granular of data, such as 30-day C-LTV metrics, across all channels.
Additionally, our most effective sales channel was our email list.
I knew if we could profitably acquire more customers via email, it would help the economics of our business tremendously.
I knew that if the business could acquire leads through a specific source, we could get the reporting we needed.
Plus, it would allow us to profitably acquire new customers at a rapid rate.
As such; the goal was two-fold:
- Establish an effective customer acquisition channel that would allow us to rapidly & profitably acquire customers
- Get the data & reporting that we previously didn’t have access to
4. What I did
To rapidly acquire customers we needed either excessive volume or extremely high conversions.
We weren’t increasing traffic volume, so I went with the conversion route.
4a. Create various ‘easy yes’ offers (to achieve high-conversion rates)
I realized the way to have rapid conversion rates was to have hyper-targetted offers & messaging. If the offer was a perfect match (something the customer will take 10/10 times), and the messaging was clear, we could achieve this.
To decide the offer, I had to think, “What do I wanna sell?”
To make this decision, I dug deep into sales reports, customer data, and product sales reports to see what were our best-selling products.
Were there products with a HIGH take rate, but sales were low because they were not promoted often?
Were there products with high sales volume, but the sales volume was ONLY due to frequent promotion, and because those offers were being placed in front of more people.
Factoring in these variables I made a list of top selling products & courses.
Simultaneously, I knew I wanted to use email segmentation, so I could deliver “targetted” offers to email segments based on their interest.
So while making this list, I was also building out email segments based on interests.
The interests were simply popular selling topics.
Initially, I had around 12 interest categories. I then narrowed to 8.
The reason I narrowed down to 8 from 12, was because those other 4 of 12 interest groups simply were not that popular.
(While this may seem too wordy, that's a key data point I just mentioned. Reason being, if we used the less popular topics, our conversion rates would decrease across the board. Those 4 unpopular categories could easily pull down the average of the other 8 categories.)
That said, even if the messaging & offer was hyper-targetted, the take rates would be low, since the market itself didn’t have much demand for those categories.
It was a true data-driven approach to organize the offers.
Now that we had our offers created. The next leg was distribution.
So, I took the 8 categories, and built those into segments in our CRM.
Now, we had to figure out how to get people into the CRM to deliver those offers via email.
4b. Building a lead magnet
We needed a “lead magnet” that would convert extremely high, allowing for rapid subscriber acquisition.
This was actually decided first. The idea was to use a quiz.
Quizzes are highly engaging, and are a a rapidly effective tool to acquire leads.
In fact, one very successful brand was running dozens of ads to their quiz funnel for months.
And obviously, they wouldn't be using dozens of ad creatives, month of month, if it was just bleeding money.
The market was spending a lot of money on this “lead magnet” tool. So, there was plenty of data to validate it.
However, I needed to decide on the offers on the backend…FIRST, as that’s what was needed to validate the potential profitability of this idea—for our exact business.
See, while the quiz “sounds cool” there had to be an economic business case to build & launch it, before doing the execution.
We had the offers, and we knew we’d use a quiz to acquire subscribers and then give them those offers.
So, I structured the quiz to be an easy yes for website visitors.
We weren’t looking for consumer data, we just wanted their email address so we could pound them with no brainer offers right out of the box.
The first part was getting buy-in to take the quiz.
So we “offered” them a FREE education plan.
What I mean by that, is I framed the quiz as a "FREE Education Plan"
Instead of testing their knowledge, like a usual 'quiz'
...I actually combined the fun, interactive nature of a quiz, as a way to give a completely customized FREE gift.
Completely genius I know.
Plus, 80% of people were coming to our site to buy training.
So the offer couldn't be more of a no-brainer.
The positioning was basically,
“Get a FREE Training Plan in 2 minutes or less, just answer a few quick questions.”
Now that I had the “bait” figured out. The next part was to decide:
"What is the minimum viable amount of questions to ask in the quiz to accomplish our goal?" And, "How could we make these questions as non-threatening, and frictionless as possible?"
The questions were simple.
Essentially, they were along the lines of:
"How many hours of training are you looking for?"
(this question was relevant for the offers, as some offers include more training hours, and are more expensive, but it’s also a low friction offer)
The next was if they wanted a certification. Which was also pre-framed,
“Would a credible certification interest you?”
As the word, "credible" pre-frames them to likely say yes, instead of thinking yes or no and bouncing. AND, the certification offers were more expensive.
So a little psychology here: commitment & consistency bias... If they say they're interested in a certification, and then were offer them a certification immediately after they say they're interested in one, it's kinda like them to buy it.
I also used the word interest instead of want too, because some people could be interested, but not ready to buy today.
So I decided on the psychology of awareness level too with these questions.
This may same extremely visceral, but I want you to know the little psychology strategies used in the right spots give a big lift in your conversion rates. As you'll discover in the next few minutes.
The last question asked in the quiz was,
“Which topic would you like to explore further?”
Again, psychology here.
Learn about is specific.
Explore is more interest-based, and was used given where the viewer of the quiz was in the funnel/stage of their buyer journey.
We really only needed the last question, but that would have been too short of a “quiz”.
And would have been weird, so the challenge on our part, actually, was to come up with a creative way to put in low-friction questions to still get a high throughput of the quiz.
Lastly, now that we had a way of getting emails from people, we needed emails to send them.
4c. Writing Emails & Building Email Workflow, End to End
To start, I built out a segmented workflow.
The subscriber would be subscribed to the list, and then based on their interest, they would be segmented and enter down one path of the workflow.
There were 8 total paths, built by interest.
When it came to the actual email content itself & the promotion strategy; even though we had no brainer offers, we still needed good direct response copy, and urgency to drive conversions.
So, I decided the offer, which was a limited time discount on our premium training programs.
The email was quite simple, basically like:
Congratulations, you've just taken the first step towards
[Desire] by requesting your personalized training plan!
Based on your answers the best plan for you is to start with
one of our most popular [topic] training programs below.
The best part is, we've opened a massive discount
on all programs, exclusively for you. For the next 72 hours,
you can save up to 70% on your training plan!
After we send that email, we send another one 2 days later.
The 2nd email is just a last chance reminder the discount expires at midnight, with some testimonials and other language, just to overcome that last objection, and then an emphasis on guarantee.
So the last email includes, social proof, credibility/authority (if we had that element available), a risk-reversal, and urgency.
My part was I wrote all 16 emails for each offer.
I came up with all the products that would be featured in the email, and on the sales page.
I built and designed all the emails.
And I had UTMs provided by the tech team.
We also created a shopping page too, so when the subscriber clicked to the pages, they’d go directly to the sales page for each product they clicked, or they could click “View all options” and would be taken to a special page, dedicated to the subscriber.
Which was thoughtful and unique for them.
THERE'S ONE LAST PIECE:
4d. Generate Traffic to The Quiz Funnel
Now that we had the quiz built, and the emails built.
We just needed to get MORE people to take the quiz.
So, I designed some language for an OptinMonster ad.
The OptinMonster ad slid in from the side of the home page.
Eg. “Get a Personalized Training Plan—FREE”
Button-Click here to take the quiz
Viewers would click this. And go take the quiz.
We hid the ad from those who took the quiz already.
The ad was to get traffic to the quiz.
Again though, no increase in ad spend.
This was all traffic coming to the main website that we were capitalizing on.
6. Results and Impact
Generated $148,354 from 3,080 new email subscribers—no extra ad spend.
$48 per subscriber, $0 CPL, as it was existing website traffic.
If you want more specifics, or to see what the economics of the funnel looked like, end to end...
This strategy resulted in 1,117 new customers with a $145.33, 30-day LTV.
The emails converted at a 38.7% subscriber-to-new customer rate
And... In the first 30 days of launching:
909 new subscribers worth $0 on day 1, were worth $42,435.19 on day 30.
And, of those 909 email subscribers, 352 of them converted into customers.
Those 352 new customers purchased 2.6 times on average, and had a 30-day LTV of $145.33.
That’s virtually a $145.33 LTV, with a $0.00 CAC—pure profit.
But if you want the shortest answer possible:
$148,354 was collected completely on autopilot in 110 days, with no increase in ad spend.
This thing is still running, is automated, and has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, while scooping up customers off the brand's home page like gangbusters.