Hello there my fellow sea changers, I hope you are all well. Today we are going to discuss emails… or more importantly, 5 reasons why YOU need an affiliate marketing email list. You know emails… those annoying electronic letters that clog up your inbox at an alarming rate and cause you grief simply trying to get to them all. Well, you know what? As of 2018 (where the latest data ends), email is still the most effective digital marketing channel there is – outperforming social media, SEO and any form of advertising.
So there you have it, I could effectively just stop the post here so you can get on with it… but you may not be convinced so let’s have a look at why it is critical to the success of your affiliate marketing business – actually, any online business – that you grow and nurture an email list…
1 Personal connection
I know this probably sounds funny considering we are talking about sending a raft of emails to a stranger’s inbox however it is one of the more personal marketing methods that you can do. Furthermore, as more and more businesses get involved in this email marketing caper, many of us are becoming more and more hesitant to give out our email addresses willy-nilly for fear of exactly what we have been talking about – a full inbox of rubbish we will never read. So if you are able to convince someone to give you their email address and some other personal details then you have already established some sort of personal connection.
So once you have this connection, you are able to personalize their future contact with you and send them information based on:
- Previous purchase history
- Call to action used
- Demographics – Age, gender, location, occupation etc.
The theory here now is that as the information is personalised, recipients are more likely to open the message hence more likely to purchase.
2 Targeted connections and marketing
As we touched on in the previous section, by opening up an avenue for readers of your site to optin to your email list, you are immediately given information on them and their interests. This allows you to send them targeted information in a number of ways including:
- Further problem solving value – We all know that affiliate marketing is all about solving problems and providing value. Having an email list of people who have enjoyed your site and chosen to connect further with you allows you the opportunity to provide extra value and problem solving goodness. In fact, in my opinion, the same rules apply to emails as to blog posts, you should be providing solutions to problems without the reader having to purchase from you at all.
- Upsells and Cross sells – Providing value aside, the real advantages of targeted emails are that you can send targeted sales messages to your list to offer further purchase opportunities based on their previous purchases. This could be in the form of extra components, complimentary products, high ticket items or refills etc.
- Specials and bonus offers – This is another area where the real power of an email list comes in. By offering specials and bonus offers to your list they are more likely to respond favourably as they know that they are getting something that others are not. If you are in a hobby type niche, you can also take the opportunity to offer discounted products/services to your list without them having to go hunting for them.
- Specific targeting – One of the main problems with social media promotions is that you will often waste time or money targeting those that you were not intending to. Most autoresponders these days allow you to segment your lists so that you can send information, sales pitches or basically anything else to a specific category of readers based on the demographics outlined within the first section.
- Warm lists – Many marketers will tell you that as soon as someone has opted in to your email list that they should be considered a ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ lead. This is because if they have taken the time to join your list then they are more than likely interested in what it is that you have to offer. Many marketers will set up their email campaigns to offer new entrants’ bonus discounts or offers as soon as they join whilst their interest is still high.
3 You have control
This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages that email marketing has over social media in that you can control exactly what is sent, when it is sent and whom it is sent to. There are no algorithms, rankings or paid competition to deal with as you are personally sending information that you have created directly to their inbox. The recipient can then open it and read it when it suits them and they will not miss it if they don’t happen to be online at that particular point in time.
This control also gives you another advantage over social media in that you can test what is working based on your content alone. If someone doesn’t see your social media posts it can be for so many reasons outside of your control however if they are not opening your email messages then you know that you need to tweak things from your end. It could be that the title is not catchy enough or that you are sending too many over a short period of time – at least with this method you can play and refine without influences that you have no control over.
4 You can generate interaction
At the end of the day, an email list is used to provide two outcomes:
- Drive people to your website
- Increase sales
Driving people to your website is always a key requirement as, with more traffic, you can see the following advantages:
- Increased sales
- Higher rankings on search engines – which in turn attracts more traffic
- Greater monetization opportunities via other avenues – ad banners etc.
The advantage you have with email, is that you can place links or calls to action within them that send the reader back to your site to read new articles, access bonus materials or make purchases without the need to go back to their search engines to find you.
The second advantage with interaction is that it gives your readers the opportunity to contact you directly if they have questions, concerns, feedback or just want to ‘talk shop’. This can lead to greater sales as they may not have purchased in the first place if they were not given the opportunity to ask questions.
Tip: Do you know the best way to get your readers to interact? Ask them to! Ask if there are any questions, or issues or if there is anything they would like to hear from you about? Ask for feedback… likes… dislikes… any ideas… anything really. This will again make their interactions more personal and give you a whole new range of content ideas that you may not have thought about.
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5 It is cheap
FaceBook advertising is expensive, as is advertising on most other mediums and platforms. With email, all you need is an email responder (see below) and an internet connection. Some more established marketers will outsource to experienced email content creators but if you are doing it yourself, you could actually do it all for free (provided you are willing to send your emails using the free WIFI at MacDonalds haha). And what’s more…sending an email is almost instantaneous and costs the same regardless of distance and the number of people you send it to.
Yes, as with most other online endeavours, building a solid email list will take time, but if your affiliate marketing website is new and not making any money as yet, it is good to know that you can potentially access one of the most effective internet marketing strategies there is totally free!
Disadvantages and things to avoid
As with anything online, there are some disadvantages and things to avoid. They are not really things to dwell on but you do need to be aware of them so let’s check them out here and then move on:
- Emails are a good distributor for viruses so many servers will block auto-generated emails (which is what autoresponders send).
- People get overloaded with emails so mass cull often.
- Spammers use email so it is easy to get tarred with the same brush.
- Even if they have a personal connection, campaign emails are usually the first deleted if someone is busy.
- Purchasing email lists – they are hardly ever decent quality and not worth the money – usually for the reasons we discussed above around personalisation and being interested enough to opt in.
- Sending large attachments with your emails – many servers severely restrict the size of emails they accept.
- Send unsolicited email – this is known as spam and will get you, and your site blacklisted by most server administrators – many auto responders will close your account of they identify email lists that are not obtained via an opt in process.
What do you need?
Ok, this is a whole new kettle of fish and one that really is a whole new post on its own. But in general terms, you will need the following:
In short, an autoresponder is a fancy name for an email management or marketing program that allows you to:
- Create and grow email lists.
- Setup automated email campaigns to your email list.
- Customise email traffic to different customer segments based on their behaviours, interests and interactions with you.
There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of email autoresponders available out there that may be useful to you. Some are free, some require a once off purchase, others a monthly subscription and some a mixture of both. Some of the more common – and stable ones include:
- Get Response
- Constant Contact
For more information on each of these autoresponders – click here.
Note: Some autoresponders do not allow affiliate marketers to use their products whilst other allow it as long as you refer your readers to your website rather than directly to the affiliate links. Always check the account terms and conditions before you hand over any payment details.
A call to action
As we discussed earlier, in spite of its effectiveness many of us are a bit jaded when it comes to email opt ins these days so you will need to some sort of enticement to grow your list. This may include the offer of:
- A newsletter – ongoing access to promotions, special information and other ‘secret’ stuff – this will need to be good however or your unsubscribe numbers will be skyrocket.
- Something free – such as an e-book, book, trinket or merchandise etc.
- Something helpful – instructional ‘how to’ guide or checklist etc.
- Personal assistance – special assistance from yourself that general readers to your site do not receive.
In most cases this is handled by the auto responder but you must set up a process where readers can enter their information to give you permission to send them emails. Many list managers will also implement double opt in whereas the person entering their information will need to confirm via email that they have done so. This is a prerequisite for some autoresponders and is a good way of ensuring that you are growing your list with those who are really interested in what you have to say and offer.
Note: There is a massive grey area within the online affiliate industry that can be hurdle for you as well. I am constantly looking at new online products as part of my research which often leads me to entering an email address so as to get onto a sales page so that I can see pricing information. Many of these sites take this as an opt in and I am now inundated with sales emails for other products. This process is not considered spam as I did enter my email address however there was no double opt in so it can be considered a little unethical by some. I highly recommend implementing double opt in if you can.
If you are an affiliate marketer, then the chances are high that you have this covered. However, if not then you will need somewhere for people to find and access your call to action and opt in.
Ok, so there you have my 5 reasons that you need an affiliate marketing email list. I would love to hear about your experiences with email lists – what has worked? What hasn’t? Have I missed anything or is there anything you feel I should highlight? If so, again, please comment below.
Do you need help with your own website or building your list?
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Until next time
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