When Liz Wilcox discovered email marketing, she was blown away by how powerful of a tool it was. She got to work experimenting, growing her list, and creating products. And it paid off.
Today she is one of the gurus you should have on your radar if you want to take your email marketing to the next level. She has had a lot of success personally, and she will show you her ways.
In this insightful interview, Liz tells us:
- How she built and sold her first website for $25k
- When she discovered email marketing
- What she did to achieve a 100% conversion rate on her digital course sale
- Her unique strategy, the Email Staircase
- How she grows her personal brand
- Her income diversification strategies
- A few of her best email marketing tips
- How she stays motivated
- Her advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Liz Wilcox
I currently run a website, Liz Wilcox, all about how digital products, e-commerce, and service-based businesses can use email marketing to increase their revenue. I’ve been working in the online space since 2016.
I grew up pretty poor, and I worked two jobs in my senior year of high school. This kind of hustle continued well into my 20s until I just knew I was meant for more, and I finally went to college. I got a master’s degree in leadership and worked gig jobs to support myself along the way.
When I graduated, I still wasn’t ready for a “real job,” so I took some time off and stumbled upon blogging.
It seemed perfect! I could work from home, it had limitless earning potential, and I could be my own boss, something I had been doing for years anyway.
I started an RV travel blog and, within 3 years, had created over a dozen digital products and a steady enough income to actually sell the whole site to some of my early subscribers.
The site was The Virtual Campground, and I sold it for $15k plus half of the sales made through the end of the year. I made about $25k on the sale in total. I was traveling and blogging about how to RV, but not my travels so much.
Why Liz Wilcox Started Her Business
I actually started it because I couldn’t believe how many of my blogging buddies weren’t seeing success like me.
I mentioned that I grew up pretty poor. So, I discovered I could make money online by creating content and sending emails? It felt like this hidden world had been opened to me!
My whole life, I believed I had to work two jobs or get a doctorate or something to make enough money to get my family out of poverty.
I could just be myself online, share my ideas and info, and get real cash into my bank account!
It was the wildest feeling.
So, of course, I built up my traffic. I grew my email list. And I sold, sold, sold.
And then, one day, I had the idea of all ideas for my travel site. I had finally figured out what digital course to create. I asked my audience if they were interested, and I had 141 people indicate they were.
So I got to work. I created the course. Did all the pre-launch stuff they tell you to do.
I had a typical Monday thru Friday open/close cart launch. And by the end of it?
I made 141 sales!
Once word got around about it, people were asking me how I did it. I told them: email marketing!
“Yeah, but you shouldn’t expect results like that.”
When I realized people were getting 1-3% conversion rates compared to my 100%, I knew I had something special.
I sold the blog and went all in to teach people my Email Staircase method.
LIZ’s Special Email Strategy
I created the Email Staircase when someone asked me, “How do you do it?”
I replied, “Well, I just look at email addresses as real people I want to become friends with.
First, you have a new lead/follower. Then if you can turn them into friends, you will have a customer because they will just tell you what they want from you. Then you can go out and make that.
Liz Wilcox’s Monthly Earnings
When I first started my website, I had two sides to the business. The first was copywriting services, where you could hire me to write your emails and sales copy. The second was digital products.
I retired my services in December of 2021 to go all in on selling my own digital products. So most of my income comes from digital products, with a small percentage coming in from speaking engagements, although I’m currently working to make that side of the “house” grow.
At the moment, I’m bringing in around $20k per month.
Email Marketing Membership
This is my main offer and the main driver of revenue.
It’s a $9/month (yes 9!) template membership where I send out a weekly newsletter template for people to take and make their own inside their business. It helps people follow my framework, The Email Staircase, so they can finally build an email list that clicks, replies, and buys.
I currently have over 1500 members, with about half on the yearly plan.
So that brings in about $7200 in recurring revenue, and in the last 3 “flash sales” of the Yearly option, I’ve managed to bring $82,188. This money is saved and spread out throughout the year.
The screenshot below also shows the upsell to a 1:1 call when you purchase the Yearly option and adds $6,375 to that “flash sale” revenue.
I do live training every other month and then put them on my site for evergreen sales. These are low-cost (one of my core values is affordability) and bring in a small monthly revenue.
In the last 30 days, the screenshots above total an additional $609 in revenue for the month. It’s not much, but this was a month when I didn’t have a live training or actively promote any. So 44 sales from random people off my website feel pretty good–and help cover membership fees from the membership, right?
I have a variety of products that mostly live inside Google Drive that people can buy from my website or are offered via a tripwire.
Again, I have not promoted these, and sales are coming directly from the site, with the exception of the “just presell it upsell bump.”
In total, that’s an additional $1539 in revenue for the month. Which, if you ask me, is nothing to sneeze at.
I offer a 60-minute 1:1 session for anyone interested in getting my eyeballs on their emails and/or any sales copy.
In the last 30 days, I’ve sold two at my membership rate for an additional $300 in revenue. However, in months when I actively share this offer, I can expect to make an additional $2k-5k.
Overall, my average monthly revenue is around $12,000, with a few spikes per year when I launch my Annual membership offer.
Liz Wilcox’s Strategies for Business Growth
My biggest marketing strategy is using other people’s platforms.
Guesting on podcasts, doing personal trainings for private groups, and even features like this one…they all help my business grow.
No matter the channel, my priority is always to lead people to my email list. And when I am featured on other brand’s platforms, I can show my expertise to a group of already engaged and qualified leads. Plus, I get the added bonus of shared trust with the host.
In 2021, I was featured on over 50 podcasts, ran my signature workshop for almost 20 private groups, and spoke at 3 in-person events.
When speaking, I had a crafted message that led people to take action… with the help of my opt-in. So every time my interview or presentation ended, I pointed people to the “hot pink button” on my website to get people on my email list.
This resulted in over 2,000 new, very warm leads over the course of a year. These leads were also quick to buy; currently, my list is almost 40% customers.
The best part of all this is that most of my speaking and training in 2021 is evergreen. New people see it all the time, and lead collection is ongoing.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
This is my 3rd online business, so I want to preface by saying that I’ve had a few years of experience before starting this business. Previously I had my RV site and created Fulltime Freedom Week, a digital summit event for RVers.
In all, it’s taken two years to reach this current revenue level.
Traffic and Subscriptions
Across the board, I’m averaging about 300 orders a month for various products.
And for my Email Marketing Membership, I see about 110 new members join monthly.
Liz Wilcox’s Top 3 Email Marketing Tips
I’d love to share some tips. Email marketing is my life!
#1 – Write a solid welcome sequence
It sounds harder than it is, I promise! Let’s walk you through it.
Lead with a bit of personality, vision, and values. Because in order to stand out in the inbox, subscribers need to know what you’re like, where they are going with you by their side, and what you stand for.
Here’s an example of me showing off a bit of personality and vision in the same sentence.
Here are the 4 welcome emails you can write:
- Freebie + quick intro of yourself
- Your best content
- Set expectations (this is the most important!!)
- Your big why
To see how this looks and to grab a copy to take and make your own, grab the entire sequence here.
#2 – Give personal updates instead of trying to write stories
A lot of marketers out there will tell you to tell stories. And they’re right. Stories connect and move people.
But at the end of the day, you probably did not get into business to be a storyteller. And so let me relieve you of that stress and remind you:
It’s a newsletter, not a novel. If you don’t have time to write it, chances are your people don’t have time to read it.
Here’s what to do instead of telling stories:
At the beginning of your email newsletter, share a 2-3 sentence personal update. The update is just something simple (and relatable) that has happened to you since the last time you emailed.
Here’s an example of one of mine:
#3 – Be Familiar but not predictable
The inbox is a lot like the mailbox. We get excited about letters from people we like!
But if you repeatedly sent me the same letter, I’d probably slowly stop opening all of them.
Vary your newsletter content in a way that makes people think, “Ooo, I know Liz! But I don’t know what’s inside. Let me open that up.”
For example, one week you can keep things short and sweet – point people to some outbound content.
The next week? Give them a few tips on how to get better at XYZ.
A week after that? Invite them to your social media and share a picture.
The point is to always be on brand but to keep them excited about what the brand is doing.
To see this in action, grab 3 examples of the different types of newsletters here.
I have a few tools I use all the time. My favorites are:
1. Ecamm Live – This is live streaming software that I use to make every training I conduct look amazing. I can add sound effects, have a branded frame, add + remove slides without screen sharing, and other things to wow the audience and keep them engaged.
It’s my secret weapon, and I know it contributes to my high conversion rates.
2. GIPHY – Yep, the website where you go to find GIFs. Did you know you can make your own? With giphy, I can easily make branded GIFs. I use these for brand recognition in all my marketing. You can even search on Instagram for “Liz Wilcox,” and my face and products will pop up!
Another secret weapon to building trust quickly and easily (no copywriting involved!)
3. Notion – This is a project management tool that I love. I have tried several in the past, but this one just works for me.
Her Biggest Challenge
My main challenge has been building systems and a team, hands down. I’m a visionary with a lot of ideas. It’s hard for me to slow down and solidify a process, document it, and hire people to pick up these processes so I can focus on other things.
But it’s my main focus now that revenue is mostly predictable and steady.
Her Greatest Accomplishment
My greatest accomplishment is definitely not giving up. I wake up every single day knowing that I’m building a business.
Knowing that it isn’t about just making money, but about building something that is going to break my family out of the poverty cycle. And slowly, day by day, laying the bricks needed to build a wall of success.
I’ve been at this for 6 years now, and while there have been ups and downs, I never once seriously considered getting off the roller coaster.
And after 6 years, I know that’s not a lot of time spent when it comes to entrepreneurship. But I also know that in those 6 years, a lot more people have come into the game than have stayed.
I plan on staying.
And for me, that’s the biggest win of them all.
What She Wishes She Knew Before
You have more resources than you think!
When it feels like everyone has more…
Maybe they do.
But I wish I would have realized that my well was deeper than I was seeing. That when I felt like I didn’t have enough
…money, that I could use my skills to find some.
…time, that I could find smaller, easier projects.
…connections, that I could go out and make them.
…support, that I could look within and draw from my bigger vision of life.
That would have saved me a lot of frustration in the beginning, for sure.
Liz’s Main Mistake
I’d say my main mistake was giving people equal ownership of my ideas.
It took me until my 3rd business to realize and decide that I didn’t need to give away leadership of my ideas for them to come to life. I was capable and competent enough to run with my idea and make things happen on my own.
Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Spend less of your time consuming content and learning strategies and more time taking action. It’s like a baby learning to walk. They just go for it!
Think of yourself like a horse with blinders on.
Seriously. Pick one podcast. One publication (may I suggest this one?). One email newsletter.
Listen to that one thing. And implement what you learn.
It might sound funny, but ignorance is bliss. And as long as you can see a bigger picture, you don’t need all the details. Just start moving. The details will fill themselves in.
When I first launched my first digital course, I had no idea about the “usual statistics”…
That waitlists normally don’t convert well.
And that average conversion rates were 1-3%.
And because I didn’t know that, I worked hard to get people on my waitlist to buy.
141 on the waitlist.
No ads. There’s no social media. And there’s no strategy I learned from a $5k mastermind or group coaching.
It just took 3 years of taking action and really getting to know my potential customers.