The Smart Passive Income Blog started in October 2008 simply as a place for me to report and talk about everything that was happening with my business at GreenExamAcademy.com. Starting an online business changed my life and saved my butt after getting laid off, and it was the least I could do to pay it forward and hopefully help others that had met struggles during the recession, too.

First of all you need to sign up for a free account at MailChimp. Here is the signup link (Aff. link). Once you have signed up, and logged into MailChimp dashboard, you will be seeing a screen similar to this, and click on create a list. The good thing about MailChimp dashboard is, it’s interactive, so you will not find any issues with getting started with it.


Just so you know, I am quite a newbie to this brave new world of autoresponders.  Before I started this site (rather, I migrated from a previous platform to this self-hosted WordPress platform), I had not even heard of autoresponders.  But since the beginning of this site, I have adopted a new attitude: from a lackadaisical blogger to one more focussed on the possibility of building a long-term business.

ConvertKit has been very forthcoming with their business development, and they even publish monthly income and stats. You can see the latest here and their real-time numbers here. Nathan took the company from a struggling side hustle, to an ever-growing successful company in about nine months once he dedicated his attention to it and made it his focus (yes, this is why I always talk about the importance of focus!!).

Back to my using AWeber to build a loyal following…in December I was asked by the New York Times to contribute a mini op-ed. I think I almost doubled my subscribers because I already had the system in place to capture those subscribers when they visited my website from the NYT page. Not that I have a huge number of subscribers yet, but I am getting there in part because of using a professional system.
Wow, Gill! That’s a fantastic idea. No wonder you got such great engagement. At AWeber, we’ve found that specificity does lead to higher open rates. It shows you know your audience, and you’re sending them value. You’re talking to the individual — not the crowd. Highly relevant subject lines paired with segmentation is a winning duo. Keep up the awesome work.
I suppose the secondary reason I haven’t made the switch is because I run multiple blogs and don’t want to get stuck paying multiple fees at this point. (I’m under the impression I’d have to pay separately for each email list, but please correct me if that’s not the case. That would change things.) I love the functionality and features of Aweber, but I can’t see paying 4-5 monthly services fees while so many of the blogs are in a start-up phase.
Earlier this year, I made a big decision to move my email list of more than 135,000 subscribers to Infusionsoft from AWeber, which I’ve used for the past five-plus years. Three months later, my email list now lives on a relatively new and rapidly growing platform called ConvertKit. [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
But the truth is more complicated. You only have one social media account, Facebook — because “everybody is on it”. And you don’t understand why anyone needs a whole YouTube channel. You’ve never uploaded a video to YouTube. And starting your “own blog” is crazy talk. Your read blogs — like this one, but why start your OWN blog? Sounds scary. Hell, you’re still on the bubble about whether you need a website.
Click through rates. Once your subscribers have opened your email, are they actually taking the action you need them to take? If you think that you have a low click-through rate, perhaps your body copy is not as effective as it needs to be. Consider the following: Is the copy of your email relevant to the subject line? Did you offer real value to your subscribers in the email? Is your call-to-action clear enough? Is the link easy to find?

After paying a professional $1000 to split test our first product launch, we knew the practice was a solid investment as our sales increased dramatically. But for our recent Keyword Supremacy launch, we decided to test out Split Test monkey to see if we could somehow pull off split testing our live traffic ourselves and… “All We Have to Say Now is WOW!”

What I was trying to get across (and perhaps I didn’t make myself clear here, my fault), is that there are also other equally excellent services. I mentioned MailChimp as someone mentioned they’d like a mail list manager but couldn’t afford AW. MC is free for the first 1000 subscribers, and I think for a large proportion of entrepreneurs, that is enough to get started (more than enough, probably).


One of the challenges I’ve had with email marketing is figuring out exactly what to offer and when. I’ve tried the pretty HTML newsletter, but it felt like overkill at times and a little dated (there are of course a few awesome ones out there, but it just never felt like me). I tried taking an ‘e-letter’ approach but felt overwhelmed with creating original content for the newsletter on top of the blog. And more recently, I’ve simply been sending out broadcasts when a new blog or podcast is published. And this is all fine.

We’ve changed email marketing from iContact to MailChimp and, just now, Aweber. We changed from iContact to MailChimp to cut costs. We then switched to Aweber because Mailchimp will not allow you to start an Autoresponder series on an imported list PLUS, as you mentioned, Aweber has much more robust measuring/management tools. However, people should be aware that Aweber requires imported subscribers to opt-in all over again.


Each module reveals the most common and costly mistakes in 12 areas of business. This top secret archive will shave months, if not years off your learning curve and force you to think and become an expert. As a member of Newbie Lessons you'll get instant access to this 12 week course for free. This is a goldmine for those serious about building an online business. Learn from our mistakes so you save time, money and frustration.
Click through rates. Once your subscribers have opened your email, are they actually taking the action you need them to take? If you think that you have a low click-through rate, perhaps your body copy is not as effective as it needs to be. Consider the following: Is the copy of your email relevant to the subject line? Did you offer real value to your subscribers in the email? Is your call-to-action clear enough? Is the link easy to find?
This is not the first time - nor will it be the last time that they have amazed us with the quality and content of product. Not only are their products detailed and easy to follow, but they go over the top in delivering how-to guides with step-by-step instructions that make my products stand out from the crowd. This will help solve your problem and improve yourself as a marketer. - Adam Davies
Got to Aweber.com and sign in using your newly created ID. First thing which you need to do is to create an eMail list. You can create unlimited eMail list and let me quickly brief you about eMail list. You can create different Email list for different purposes. For example if you have 3 different blogs, you can create 3 different list for them. Or If you have one blog you can create one eMail list now, and in future if you host a giveaway, you can create a new list and let users subscribe to that list. This way you can target your future giveaways to highly targeted email list. Anyway, let’s keep it simple for now, as I will share various tricks in future post.
Pricing for InfusionSoft is also fairly different than AWeber. The interesting thing I discovered is that a lot of people—at least people who I spoke with—are hesitant to share how much they are billed. No one would tell me upfront, which led me to believe that Infusionsoft pricing depends on who you spoke with and what kind of deal you could get, and I was right.
Advanced: When people subscribe to my list, I can create a main course and then invite people to self-select into the various interest areas that are relevant to them. For example, if you are tired of spinning your wheels and don’t know what to do next in your business, and you click a link related to that, you’d then get tagged as “Nurture: focus and planning” and that would then automatically unsubscribe you from the main course, and put you into a new course designed to provide you with value that could help you figure out your next steps and get focused.

Advanced: When people subscribe to my list, I can create a main course and then invite people to self-select into the various interest areas that are relevant to them. For example, if you are tired of spinning your wheels and don’t know what to do next in your business, and you click a link related to that, you’d then get tagged as “Nurture: focus and planning” and that would then automatically unsubscribe you from the main course, and put you into a new course designed to provide you with value that could help you figure out your next steps and get focused.


Since finding your great IM teachings and fantastic products I can honestly say my business has been taken to the next level. My lists are growing faster than I ever imagined possible! I now feel - no - I now know - I have a real online business – thanks to you I have access to fantastic products. Every week you seem to release a new product – which is great for me I will never be short of products to promote. I would like to thank you for this Golden opportunity - I totally believe if I can’t make money online now there is something seriously wrong with me! - David Knight
One time, a long time ago, I was having trouble trying to create a customized email Opt-In box for a client. He wanted some crazy thing created by someone on Fiverr to be in the box. The customer support when over and above what could possibly be expected of them to make it work. The guy I was talking to had to give the project over to one of their tech / coding experts to fix the problem and he did. I was truly impressed.
And I was sold. I couldn’t have people not receiving their intended emails. And I thought, if the features and reliability were good enough for big bloggers, I’ll probably find everything I need there as well. Now I have over 1200 subscribers and everything was done reliably in 2 years, so I’m staying (except I find strong reasons to change services).
I have worked with several other product protection and delivery systems, and have had to code my own fixes time and time again, or worse yet have my valuable assets exposed! ProductDyno comes out of the box ready to secure and support your products and customers, wither it be an information product, a SaaS product,… “Product Protection is ProductDyno”

We hope that you’ve found this email marketing guide useful. As you can see, with a couple of smart moves, you can create a cycle in which your mailing list is continuously going to grow. As the market is constantly changing, remember to use one of the abovementioned tools, as they will make it much easier for you to test, experiment with and optimize your email strategy for the best performance.
In ConvertKit, this is much easier. Unlike Aweber where you set up separate lists (I had 63 lists when I shut my account down), in ConvertKit, you don’t have lists at all. Instead, you use tags and automation rules to segment your audience. So I can have someone go through a nurture sequence (when they first join my list) while still sending my blog/podcast broadcasts to my main list. I simply create a rule:
When it comes to online marketing and selling, I believe you have found the right mentor in me. Most people like the lively and encouraging teaching style that I convey as well as how I get right to the point and walk you, step-by-step through proven, real-world, proven strategies. Here's a little background on my experiences, so you can get a sense of who will be teaching & mentoring you: A lifelong entrepreneur, I've been marketing online since 1999, and have owned over 30 websites, marketing across most platforms, including online, offline, TV, podcasts, webinars, webcasts, social media and radio. (You name it, I've done it!) I've been teaching business strategies via live seminars/webinars since 2000, and then through video training courses since 2001. For 11 years, I hosted my own TV show where I introduced millions across America to the benefits of selling online. My show was seen on CNBC, Fox Business, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Travel Channel and most other major cable networks. With over $140 million of my video training products sold via TV and Online, I am honored to be your mentor and guide and I'm looking forward to helping YOU reach your goals through the wonderful business of online marketing!
Instead of simply sending out a broadcast sporadically, why not choose to create a newsletter.  That way, you can send one out each week/month that includes said promotions, offers, site updates, etc. in one place.  That way, subscribers won’t get annoyed of you sending out too much content to them, as they can expect to get everything in your regular newsletter.
×