My “Evil” Experiment

It was 2007.

To build an email list, the hot new craze was to create a $7 front-end loss leader report as a barrier-to-entry.

It was an attempt to weed out the freebie seekers. And to a degree it worked quite well. Meaning, lead quality went up some.

Job done. List owners were happy.

Problem was—in my opinion anyway—$7 isn't really much of a “barrier” per se, even for someone on a small budget.

Sure, the complete waste of time tire-kickers thought twice. So from that perspective, it was a result.

Not me though…

I wanted to create a scenario where I would get leads that were worth $97 a pop, not 7 bucks.

But putting up a $97 report on the frontend was a sure-fire way to kill list building efforts stone dead. It just wouldn't work well. Too expensive.

The brief of my “evil experiment” was simple:

  1. Create a barrier-to-entry scenario that would act like a $97 report, but,
  2. also build a list almost as fast as a free offer.

I wanted to achieve the best of both worlds.


There were a few interesting “side effects” to this evil experiment.

My opt-in rate was running at around 20%.

Nothing fantastic.

Average at best.

I was happy to sacrifice my opt-in rate some if I could bump my lead quality up.

That would have been a good tradeoff.

But what ended up happening… well, kinda shocked even me. Instead of going down… my opt-in rate more than DOUBLED, from 20% to 50% and some change.

In hindsight is made perfect sense. But at the time it was a pleasant surprise.

Here's what I did…

I retooled my opt-in offer to look like this (sorry about the non-styling but I couldn't find the stylesheet I used, so this screenshot is kinda ugly looking):

Notice the reframe.

Option 1 — $97 in cash. Option 2 was to buy one of my products (which wasn't ready at the time) … and Option 3, if I remember correctly, was $77 a pop (meaning the affiliate products cost that much).

Which ever way they looked at it — the “entrance free” wasn't cheap.


… then where was the little “loophole”. And although it was free, it didn't FEEL that way (from their perspective).

Because there was no guarantee of getting in. It was a total crapshoot.

Free, but NOT free. This set the frame for what was about to follow.


There's the first email the autoresponder sent them:

SUBJECT: {!firstname_fix}, give me 3 days…

Hi {!firstname_fix},

This is just a quick automated response to let you know that I have received your request to be added to my ‘Super Affiliate Newsletter'.

You don't have to do anything. No further action is required by you.

Just give me a few days (as I get a *lot* of these requests).

I may even email you personally to ask you a few questions – just to make sure that you are serious about making money online.

If you do end up getting a personal invite from me, I'll send you special instructions on what to do next.

If you don't hear back from me within 3 days, then I'm sorry. Your request has been declined – for now.

Thanks again for your interest in my private “closed door” newsletter.

I wish you all the best!

Until later…

Take care,

Did you notice what I said? …

If you don't hear back from me within 3 days, then I'm sorry. Your request has been declined…”

It was in the subject line too.

I wanted the 3 DAY part to be crystal clear. Because I WANTED them to feel as if they had missed out if the next email didn't arrive in 3 days.

Two reasons:

  1. People want what they can't have (or what's HARD to get) and,
  2. the fear of loss is the massively powerful persuasion technique.

… and guess what? I didn't email them for a full WEEK (think about that for a second … as in what THEY may have been feeling).

Here's the autoresponder email that went out ONE WEEK later:

SUBJECT: {!firstname_fix}, you're in!

Hi {!firstname_fix},

This is an automated response to let you know that you've made it in.

… almost.

Here is what you need to do to add yourself to my “closed door” super affiliate newsletter…

1. Send a blank email to:

2. Click the confirmation link within the email that is sent back to you.

That's it.

You're done!

To Your Success…

Take care,

Look at all the hoops I made people jump through.

Yet, when that email hit their inbox 4 days LATE, it was like a lifeline—a second chance was given to them. They JUMPED through that final hoop with enthusiasm and gusto.

Opt-in rate went up by 30%.

… and lead quality went through the freakin' roof!

Go figure 🙂

No reason at all why you can't create your own version, so long as you understand the principles I discussed in this post, and the strategic methodologies I teach in AutoResponder Madness.

Now go make a ruckus!

— Andre “shenanigans” Chaperon
Andre Chaperon