Why Your List Building Strategy Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

This is a summary of Jason K Williamson’s recent webinar. To watch his full talk, click here. 🚀

Although email marketing is alive and well, (and although it will always be an essential part of your marketing efforts) you may have noticed the industry-wide trend of declining open rates and click-through rates. 

In 2022, just about every ecommerce store has an email newsletter that they’re sending out at least weekly. That makes it harder for your email to stand out from the crowd, especially since all those emails are often buried in your customers’ “Promotional” and “Spam” folders. 

You might also have seen some of the astounding numbers coming from SMS marketing (98% open rate, 19% click-through rate) and thought to yourself, “I should really start building an SMS list.”

But maybe you’re a little wary of stepping away from the familiar world of email marketing. Or maybe you’re ready to go, but you’ve discovered that your customers aren’t as willing to provide their digits as their email addresses.

Whatever your case, this article will help you get started with SMS marketing so you can achieve those amazing results you know are out there. We’ll share:

  • How to collect SMS subscribers without spending a dime on ads
  • How to generate $20-$60 per subscriber even if you’ve never employed SMS marketing before
  • How to scale the Trojan Horse Method across your entire store, adding 10-20% in extra sales every single month

It might sound difficult at first, but after reading this article, your path forward will become clear. And if you apply what you learn here, you should see results almost overnight.

Let’s get right into it!

Email marketing vs. SMS marketing

As we just mentioned, SMS marketing has excellent open rates and click-through rates in comparison to email marketing. 

Plus, those click-throughs lead to sales: 50% of US consumers make direct purchases after being sent a branded text message. 

But that doesn’t mean you should abandon email marketing. 

The truth is, email and SMS are both effective ways of communicating with your subscribers

But they’re best suited to different types of messages. Email is a great channel for sending longer, richer messages that include images and attachments. SMS, on the other hand, is great for concise, timely information and discounts.

The question becomes not which channel is better (email marketing vs. SMS marketing), but rather how can you use them as complementary channels for a seamless customer communication experience?

There is one problem, though. It comes up when you’re looking to gather email addresses and phone numbers. Simply put, people don’t like to fill out forms with a lot of fields… even for a discount. That means that if you ask for a web visitor’s email address and phone number, you’ll probably get neither.

So how do we solve this problem and collect both email addresses and phone numbers simultaneously without hurting our conversion rates? 

Well, that’s what the Trojan Horse Method is all about. 

Introducing the Trojan Horse Method

The Trojan Horse Method is a new list-building strategy that helps you to collect email addresses and phone numbers at the same time, granting you access to both of these lucrative marketing channels.

Before explaining how it works, let’s see the type of results you can achieve using the method. 

Jason K Williamson, founder of E2 Agency and email/SMS marketing expert, is the mastermind behind the Trojan Horse Method. 

He’s been experimenting with it for a while now, and he’s achieved the following results:

For The Oodie, he was able to collect 44,683 SMS subscribers and generate over $1,700,000 in extra revenue from SMS subscribers. That equates to $39.47 of spending from each new SMS lead. 

list building strategy 01 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

For Lions Not Sheep, he collected 6,674 new SMS subscribers and generated almost $100,000 in extra revenue:

list building strategy 02 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

For Calming Blankets, he collected 1,146 SMS subscribers and generated $45,443 in extra revenue using the exact same method:

list building strategy 03 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

Want to achieve similar results and grow your business? Keep reading, because we’re about to share the three key steps to implementing Jason’s method. 

The three keys of the Trojan Horse Method

To pull off the Trojan Horse Method and achieve amazing results, you’ll have to follow these three key steps:

  1. Craft a “mafia offer” (an offer your customers can’t refuse)
  2. Get people onto your list (get actual conversions on your offer)
  3. Get people to buy (motivate each lead to spend $20-$60)

Let’s talk about each of these keys to success in more detail. 

Step 1: Craft a mafia offer

First, let’s take a look at the kinds of offers that work best for collecting email addresses. 

Here, you should be thinking about “direct intent,” which is when someone signs up to gain access to a discount, coupon, or even a sale. This shows they have a “direct intent” to make a purchase. 

Here are some examples of irresistible offers that create direct intent:

list building strategy 04 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

Nothing groundbreaking here, right? You’re probably already using these types of offers to grow your email list. 

But what happens when you ask for both an email address and a phone number to gain access to your deal? Conversion rates plummet, that’s what.

So, what can you do? 

The key to creating an offer that will get both pieces of contact information you’re looking for is offering an extra incentive for signing up to your SMS list

The best way to do this is by doubling your offer when users subscribe to both lists.

For example, you can offer an initial 10% discount in exchange for visitors’ email addresses, but then offer an extra 10% off for subscribing to the SMS list too. When visitors subscribe to both lists, they’ll get 20% off in total.

This same approach works for smaller discounts as well (e.g. 5% for email, 10% for email + SMS). Or you could use the same type of combo offer with $ values. Just make sure to upgrade your discount when you ask for a phone number.

Jason calls these offers “mafia offers,” because they’re almost impossible to refuse. 

Think about it from a visitor’s perspective: you’re willing to hand over your email for a 10% discount. Naturally you’ll want to take that next step for an additional 10% discount! You might also notice this offer’s similarity to McDonald’s old “Supersize that?” offer.

Step 2: Get people on your list

Ok, so now you have the structure of your mafia offer. But what’s the best way to deliver it to your potential customers? The answer is beautiful, on-brand popups.

“This is where I personally use OptiMonk and have done for years. They have helped me generate north of $50 Million in sales for my clients and they are the best out there,” says Jason.

Let’s look at the best way to create the popup campaigns you need to put the Trojan Horse Method into action. But first, let’s cover a couple of approaches that don’t work. 

list building strategy 05 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

The old method of gathering leads by asking for only an email address doesn’t work anymore (for all the reasons we’ve already gone over).

Jason’s first version of the strategy used a multi-step popup asking for an email address and a phone number one after the other: 

list building strategy 06 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

But users didn’t like feeling forced to enter both pieces of information, especially since it wasn’t clear from the start that they’d have to. That’s why it felt like a scam. 

Then, he found the right popup formula for the Trojan Horse Method:

list building strategy 07 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

What’s the difference?

Well, with the Trojan Horse Method, you give your customers the power of choice. They can either “double their discount” or choose to subscribe with email only. 

The great thing is that whichever choice they make on that second screen is good for you: either they become email subscribers, or they become both email and SMS subscribers. Win-win.

Usually, they’ll enter both pieces of information because they’ve already committed once they’ve entered their email. Again, this is a version of the “fast food” method of asking “do you want to upgrade for just a dollar?” 

Email acts as a low friction entry point (people are very accustomed to signing up for email lists). Once they’ve taken that first step, signing up for a second list to get an upgraded offer doesn’t seem like a big deal. 

And—as McDonald’s would tell you—people love to upgrade.

Here you can find some ready-to-use Trojan Horse templates that will help you to get started:

Step 3: Turn those subscribers into $30+

Finally, how do we turn these new subscribers into new customers?

Well, you need to craft an instant reply. Their phone should vibrate with the details of how to get their discount immediately after they sign up for the list. 

This is the exact message Jason uses for one of his clients: 

list building strategy 08 - Why Your List Building Strategy Isn't Working (And How to Fix It ASAP)

How to get started with the Trojan Horse Method?

Now you know the basics of this simple strategy that will start getting you SMS leads that generate $30+ each.

We don’t doubt that you’ll be able to set up your campaigns based on the information in this article and Jason’s webinar. But it’ll take you some time to create, design, implement, and then A/B test your campaigns. That’s weeks of hard work in the best-case scenario (assuming you don’t make any costly mistakes).

Or you can get it right in under 24 hours, benefiting from the coaching of someone who has done it successfully over and over with 8-figure results. 

Learn how to turn this strategy into an ecommerce empire from Jason K Williamson, one of the masters of the Shopify world.

Interested? Click here for more information. 

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