Some people think that email marketing for affiliate marketers consists of blasting your list with offers hoping that they will buy something… but they couldn’t be further from the truth. When used correctly, email marketing can be a powerful strategy for affiliate marketers.
In this article, I’m going to explain a few best practices for using email marketing in your affiliate marketing business, but first I’m going to discuss a few things that you shouldn’t do.
Email Marketing: What Not To Do…
A few weeks ago, I was reading questions in a digital marketing Facebook group that I’m a member of when I came across this question:
“I have just purchased a list. I’ve emailed them, but my open-rate is very low. What am I doing wrong?”
I’ve changed the wording of the question to protect the identity of the person asking, however, the sentiment is the same. They had purchased an email list and had sent a promotional email and received very little engagement… and probably no results.
This is a prime example of what you should not do.
In fact, I would go as far to say that this would be classified as “spam”… and nobody likes spam (I know I sure don’t). So before I go any further, let me make it clear that “spam” and email marketing are two very different things. If you “spam” your list, you’re going to face these consequences:
- Low/no results
- Your emails will be marked as spam and may not even make it into your prospect’s inbox… they’ll likely find the “Junk” folder more often than not…
- Low/no engagement
- A lot of wasted time
- Your email marketing software provider may shut down your account (if you’re like me and your automation platform basically drives your business, this is a massive problem)
We will not be talking any more about spam in this article so let’s move on to the main event.
What Is Email Marketing?
So now that we know what email marketing isn’t, let’s take a look at what it is. My definition of email marketing is:
Building a relationship with a list of prospects and/or clients via email.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you think about normal human relationships, there is a natural progression to a relationship. For example, when you first meet someone, you don’t ask them to marry you. There is usually a courting period where certain behaviours are accepted and others aren’t (asking for marriage is typically not accepted in the courting stage ????).
In email marketing, asking someone to click on a link in an email and buy some stuff is the equivalent of asking someone to marry you after just meeting. They don’t know you… they don’t trust you… and they don’t know whether you’re a secret crazy person sending malicious links… so it’s very unlikely that they’re going to perform the action that you want them to.
As we progress through this article and explore best practices for email marketing further, keep in mind the fundamentals of human relationships. If in doubt, a good thought to keep in your head is… don’t do anything creepy.
7 Strategies For Effective Email Marketing
We’ve taken a look at what email marketing is not and, more importantly, what it actually is. So, the next logical step is to lay out some strategies for effective email marketing for affiliate marketers. I ended up arriving at seven strategies for this foundation list. I had a few more but I wanted to keep this list “tight”… I’ll explore the others in a later article.
1. Focus On The Relationship
I mentioned this before so I won’t spend too much time explaining why you should focus on the relationship, but I will give you a few examples of how to implement this strategy.
I want you to think back to the last time you met someone that you have never met before… what did you do?
Chances are, you probably introduced yourself. If that is what we do in “real life”, then we probably should do this in our email marketing. One way you can do this in your email marketing strategy is to set up a “Welcome Sequence”. This is usually a series of emails that aims to do a few things:
- Fulfil any promises that led them to sign up to your list (e.g. you may need to deliver a report or other lead magnet)
- Introduce you and your business (i.e. what you do, what you believe in, who you work with, your values etc)
- Invite them to connect (i.e. like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, subscribe on YouTube etc)
- Share some of your relevant related content (i.e. if they signed up for something relating to fat loss, you may send want to send them your best content around fat-loss to strengthen the relationship and build your authority)
- Learn a bit more about them (i.e. this can be done by offering a few articles in an email covering different areas and seeing where they click)
Some people I speak to want to be a faceless business… they don’t want to put a face to the brand. I think this is a big mistake. Humans build relationships with other humans so I think that it is crucial that there is a person on the end of every email.
A few strategies that you can use in your email marketing is:
- Have every email come from a person (potentially you). This means that if your name is John Smith and you work at ABC Corporation, then your marketing emails will come from John Smith… not from ABC Corporation. In my case, my emails come from Shane ????
- Share personal stories. There are a few reasons for this. Storytelling has been an effective means of communication for thousands of years and that really hasn’t changed over time. We all find a compelling story interesting and this will hold our attention for longer. Secondly, sharing personal information and/or stories is a way to build a relationship with your audience. For example, I always tell new subscribers to my list that I have a wife, a son, and two dogs. I share some other personal information because it is highly likely that the prospect will have at least one thing in common with me.
3. Establish An Email Cadence
The age-old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” also holds true for email marketing. You’re not going to send one email and suddenly be flooded with new affiliate commissions. You’re going to need to send numerous emails over time and, because of this, you’ll need to establish an email cadence. Cadence simply means how often you send an email to your list.
I know some super-successful guys and gals that send emails daily, however, my personal cadence tends to be twice a week. Sometimes I will do extra emails if something is going on, however, I will send at least two emails every week.
Now, if that sounds like a bit too much for you then I encourage you to start at a minimum of one email per week. You need to get into the habit of building the relationship, adding value, creating great content, and getting your offer in front of your audience.
4. Value In Advance
To get someone to even subscribe to your email list, you’re going to need to be able to show immense value upfront. This can be done by offering a lead magnet… which is simply a valuable resource that someone is happy to exchange an email address for.
Some people forget about the value in advance principle once they have someone on their list. Please don’t do this. Always add value through great relevant content, useful resources, or anything else that is going to add value to your subscriber. You should be “adding value” 75% of the time and promoting the other 25%.
5. Make It Easy….
When it comes to writing your email marketing material, you need to keep in mind the ‘3 easys‘:
- Easy to read
- Easy to understand
- Easy to take action
To make your emails easy to read, you should keep them relatively short. Aiming for around 300 words for each email is a good starting point. You will also want to space out your email copy. This means having a few more paragraphs in your emails then you may have in other writing formats. This makes it easy to skim read and consume for your audience.
Before setting up your email campaigns, you will want to make sure that your email is easy to understand. Ask yourself, what is the objective of this email? Does the way it’s written make it easy to understand? Email marketing is not where you want to be cryptic… there are probably hundreds of other emails in your prospect’s inbox vying for their attention, so you want to make sure that you are getting your message across clearly.
Finally, you want to make it easy to take action. Assume that your audience needs to be told what the next action that they need to take is… don’t assume that they know what you want them to do. For example, writing “click here to learn more about (insert topic here)” is a pretty clear way of telling your audience that you want them to click a link if they’re interested in learning more about your topic.
6. Stay Relevant
I was walking through Hollywood in Los Angeles once when I was approached by a random guy on the street. He said that he was a rapper and that he wanted to give me a signed CD of his work. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to tell him that I wasn’t interested so I politely accepted the CD. As soon as I took hold of the CD, he said “that’ll be $10 thanks”… is there anything worse than thinking you’re getting one thing, only to be surprised by the exact opposite? I thought I was being nice by accepting a free CD from a stranger, supposedly to support him, however, I ended up getting grifted!
Don’t do this to your list.
If you promised them that you would talk to them about fat-loss products, then talk about fat-loss products…
If you promised your list that you would talk about golf products, then talk about golf products…
If you’re like me and you share information about marketing and business automation, then talk about marketing and business automation…
It would be really strange if in one email I’m talking about email marketing automation and in the next, I start talking about dog food. Chances are a large percentage of my list will hit the unsubscribe button. Stay relevant with your content and you will keep the attention of your list a lot longer.
7. Test & Measure
“I don’t think my list would like it if I emailed them…”
A business associate whispered these words to me a few years ago. My response?
“If you meet someone that is so interesting that you give your contact details, wouldn’t you be disappointed if you never heard from them again?
This is what too many affiliate marketers do. They get a “hunch” that their audience won’t react positively to something that they are considering doing. This is a big mistake. In business, you need to test & measure everything. You almost need to approach business like a mad-scientist… if you’re wondering if something will work, implement it, measure the results and decide whether you need to make any changes before testing again.
With your email marketing, you should be testing & measuring different subject lines, different email copy, different sending cadence etc.
Now You Know What To Do… How Exactly Do You Bring It To Life?
Email marketing is made simple when you use a marketing automation system. Most modern marketing automation solutions will have a robust email marketing function built in. When it comes to affiliate marketing, I recommend Get Response. They have everything you’ll need to set up and measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. As an added bonus, if you sign up to their Pro or Max accounts you will get complimentary access to their Email Marketing Certification Course (value $199).
If you’ve never used email marketing before, I’d encourage you to at least sign up for a complimentary 30-day trial to get a feel for how to you could use email marketing to grow your affiliate marketing business.