Below, I’m going to give you a list of MY personal Top 10 Email Marketing Best Practices for affiliate marketers.
A little Background on me, first.
As most of you know, I’ve been working with Internet Marketing Superstar, Anik Singal, for a few years now as his head coach.
(2018 Update: I was Anik’s Head Coach from 2011 – 2015, and have an open invite to work with him whenever I like at his high ticket events in Washington DC)
Doing so has allowed me to work with THOUSANDS of students over the years via live webinars, in person events in Las Vegas, Washington DC, the Caribbean etc., and get a REAL nice understanding of what they’re succeeding with and what they’re struggling with.
Anyways, my point is – I know what I’m talking about – so while this post is a bit on the long side, I truly hope you read through it and apply what you learn today. Now, let’s get started…
What Email Marketing is NOT
Believe it or not, email marketing is NOT just buying a list of 100,000 random emails and spamming them day after day with affiliate offers! (It’s about building a relationship with your list, but we’ll get to that below).
You’d be surprised how many people (usually new or inexperienced email marketers) ask me how to spam, or assume that’s the ONLY way to build up a “qualified” list of prospects.
Of course – these are the people looking for the EASY way to do things with no work required, and are generally a few clowns short of a circus if you know what I mean!
- They tend to be a few fries short of a happy meal.
- They’re a few feathers short of a duck.
- They’re all foam, and no beer.
- They’re….okay sorry, I’ll stop!
Anyways, when I was in Washington DC in November, 2014 for a high ticket coaching event I met one student that did just that – he was bragging that his “email list” was over 100,000 and he got it for only $200!
In fact, he wasn’t just bragging – he was really freaking proud of that fact and was GLOATING like he had the biggest advantage over ANYBODY there. He was swearing up and down that he was going to make thousands with this “list”…
Why is this a bad Idea you may ask?
Simply put, you have NO idea who these people are, you don’t know where they live, you don’t know their interests or buying habbits – they’re just random people who are NOT expecting an email from you.
They did NOT subscribe to your news letter, they most likely HATE spam (don’t you?), and they did NOT give you consent to email them.
A few things can happen as a result of using a purchased list to
- Your emails will get marked as spam – because they really have NO idea who you are, or why you’re emailing them.
- Your auto responder account can be banned if you get too many complaints.
- You’re NOT marketing to your target audience – they have ABSOLUTELY no idea who you are, or why you’re emailing them – so if by some miraculous event your emails DO make it past their spam filter and into their main inbox – you’re going to find that your open rates AND sales are still quite….low.
Anyways, back on topic – after 3 of us spent 30 minutes explaining to him in DETAIL why that was a BAD idea – his only words were a smug “we’ll see“.
He was still DETERMINED to make it work and insisted that he was going to be successful with that ‘method’.
(Super nice guy, don’t get me wrong, just would not listen to the voices of reason)
Sorry folks, it does NOT work that way – and if you’re a student or frequent reader of my blog – I sincerely hope you know and understand this!
Anyways, enough qualifying myself for you, lol, let’s cut to the chase!
Email marketing is about a few things, and spamming people is NOT one of them – so what IS it about?
Below are my TOP 10 Email Marketing Best Practices for Affiliate & Internet Marketers.
1. Build a Relationship with your list
People will throw around the phrase “the money is in the list”, in fact if you do a GOOGLE SEARCH for this phrase – you’ll find 1,6000,000,000 results. I hate to go against popular Google results, LOL, but I’m going to have to say “bullshit” on this.
The money is NOT in the list. But rather, are you ready for something profound? The money is in the RELATIONSHIP you build with your list!
What a concept right?
Before you try to flat out sell something to your list, you need to:
- Earn their trust.
- Understand what they want, what they struggle with.
- LISTEN to them when they email you – and *gasp* RESPOND to their emails, even if it takes you a fwe days to get back to them.
- Offer them valuable information (like this bad ass blog post) and don’t just promote to them every single day over and over and over and over again. I’ll probably have people sign up for my list just BECAUSE they read this blog post, and saw that I had a lot more to offer than just an affiliate link. 😉
Yes, you’ll be sending out promotional emails too – but keep in mind they signed up for your free report and super duper high quality content – not to buy a bunch of products from you. 🙂
Think of it this way – if YOU wanted to lose weight, for example, and opted-in to somebody’s email list because they promised you some amazing weight loss tips, that’s probably what you’d be hoping for after you signed up, right?
It’s ALSO a safe bet, that if that person behind the newsletter CONTINUED to send out amazing content, that if they sent out the occasional promotion you probably would not mind and possibly might even buy something they’re promoting?
Damn Straight it is – THIS is the foundation for building a solid relationship with your list. Simple – send quality content and the occasional promotion, they’ll love you – and you’ll make more sales. 🙂
Generally speaking, I send out 3 or 4 SPECIFIC types of emails to my list, and this goes for any niche.
I learned this particular method from Anik, so gotta give props where props are due!
- Content Emails – these consist of short, informative emails that offer a few tips, or advice they can use. You can also share OTHER people’s content that you find helpful (blog posts, videos, etc)
- Relationship Building Emails – Videos of yourself or that you filmed. Social Media is great too, invite your list to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus!
- Sales & Promotional Emails – self explanatory 🙂
- Emails (Broadcasts) to promote product launches – again, self explanatory – these are emails you’ll send to your entire list at ONCE when promoting a product launch.
I’m SUPER Serious you guys, if you just send a promotional email every 2 or 3 emails – you’re going to make A-LOT more money and your list will LOVE you because of the cool quality content you’re sending them!
Here’s how MOST (not all) of my auto responder sequences are set up:
- Email 1 – link to my download/thank you page so they can download the free item they signed up for
- Email 2 – a reminder to download their free product, AND an offer to help if they should need any assistance or have any questions
- Email 3 – My First Promotion – I promote Product A to my list, using one of their pre-written swipe emails from their JV Page. (Sales & Promotional Email)
- Email 4 – a Motivational Video related to the niche that I found on youtube (Content Email)
- Email 5 – Promotion again, Product A 2nd email (Sales & Promotional email)
- Email 6 – another motivational Video related to the niche that I found on youtube (Content Email)
- Email 7 – Promotion, 3rd email promoting Product A to my list (Sales & Promotion Email)
- Email 8 – Helpful content, linking to valuable/helpful content on a 3rd party blog (content email)
- Email 9 – Promotion, Product B
- Email 10 – Sharing helpful information on how they can accomplish *niche relevant item* (content email)
- Email 11 – Motivational Video…
As you can see – I do NOT simply send promotion after promotion, I don’t even PROMOTE a product to my list until the third 3mail – so the 1st AND 2nd impression they get of me is that I’m HELPFUL and NOT spamming! 🙂
I usually set up a series like this about 15 emails long or so – then try to send out broadcasts to my list a few times a week so they don’t forget about me.
2. Invite Readers to contact you with questions!
As simple as it sounds, simply adding my email address or contact information to the end of emails lets people know that I’m real, and they can reach out to me at any time they like.
They’re so used to NOT getting responses from big gurus, that my responses are refreshing – and usually met with “wow, I didn’t think you’d email me back!” type of responses
I USUALLY close my emails like this:
Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions!
It’s simple right? But the impressive thing about this is – I’m OPENING myself up to be contacted, not only saying “reply to this email” but flat out listing my personal email address for them to use any time they like.
I seriously get a few responses a DAY from people so happy to get a response from me – AND know what else? I take the time to give a GOOD response, and not just a canned cookie-cutter one.
Here’s an example of a response I got from a member of my list in 2014:
As you can see, people on my list LOVE ME – because I take the time to care, and I get to know many of them. Invite your list to reach out to you – you’ll be surprised how they react!
3. Be Real
Honestly, when I say “be real” – I mean it. Don’t be afraid to talk about your failures with people (on your list). They want to know that you weren’t BORN rich, or one of those naturally fit people that was just made to be a fitness model. They want to hear your story, they want to hear your struggles, they went to know that you were in the SAME PLACE AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT!
Connect with them on an emotional level, reassure them that you KNOW what it’s like to be in their shoes.
Let me put it this way, coming from a customers perspective:
Nobody wants to hear a from guy who was born into a trust fund tell you how to make money online – they want to hear about the former drunk homeless pizza delivery guy who was down on his luck but discovered these 3 secret tricks…
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – but I REALLY hope you get the point. Be REAL, and don’t be afraid to tell people about your past failures that helped you get to where you are today.
If you used to be so fat that you once sat on an iPhone and turned it into an iPad , if you used to be SO fat that you went to KFC to get a bucket of chicken and asked for the one on the ROOF – then guess what – you’ve got a story and you’re able to connect with your readers!
Would you rather buy a fitness/weight loss product from:
- A former fat guy (or girl) that was able to lose weight and get in AMAZING physical shape after struggling with being fat their entire life & overcoming it?
- A high school/college athlete that’s been fit their entire childhood and adult life and NEVER had to worry about it, or struggle with it, or care about how they looked…
‘Nuff Said – tell your story, CONNECT with your readers on a PERSONAL level – and you’re gonna make some moolah!
4. Email Every Day
When I first started learning more about email marketing, I used to send emails to my lists just a few times a week. I didn’t want to annoy my subscribers, so I would take the time to truly make my emails PHENOMENAL and not bother them with daily emails.
I figured it was a win win, I get higher open rates, they love my content AND they don’t get annoyed by seeing my name in their inbox every day.
Anyways, a few years back – Anik Singal told me “Email your list every day”
“You want me to WHAT?!” I said
“I was making a point of NOT doing this -how could this possibly be BETTER?!” I asked him.
He again restated his comment, and challenged me to do it. I was just challenged by a SUPER affiliate to email my list every day for just 10 days. Chances are, there was a reason for it so I agreed.
Well you know what happened?
After a few days of doing this, I noticed that my open rate actually went UP, my unsubscribe rate went DOWN – and I was actually making MORE sales from the products I was promoting.
What happened was this: After a few days of daily emails, my subscribers got USED to seeing emails from me every day.
They got USED to me sharing awesome content every day, as I had been doing before – but on a weekly basis.
Yes, It took me a little more time to get my emails set up to go out daily (and write a few more), but it was worth the small amount of time that it took.
The Key is this: you want to get your readers into the HABIT of opening your emails daily, and as long as you’re sharing quality content like I spoke up above – you’ll find you get BETTER results than if you just email 2 or 3 times a week.
Oh, and before you get scared remember, you’re going to be sending different types of emails as I explained in Step #1 (remember, the 4 types of emails I listed?)
5. Don’t Promote EVERY SINGLE DAY
Honestly, this goes along with Steps #1 and #4 – but I want to remind you the IMPORTANCE of not emailing promotions every single day, and never providing any real value to your list.
If you want a reminder of the types of emails you SHOULD be sending, please re-read step #1 (or read it now, if you’re just skimming down this list).
6. Share Cool Stuff!
Yeah, that’s my fancy headline for step 6 – “Share Cool Stuff” – but you know what, deal with it! LOL
Let’s say you’re in the Personal Development niche, and you come across an AMAZING Motivational Video by, I dunno – Bob Proctor on youtube that just moved and motivated you like nothing else.
As I already explained in step #1, a VIDEO could be a great example of something you could send as part of a “Content Email”.
You don’t have to take any time to create it, edit it, modify or optimize it. You simply put a link in your email, write a quick paragraph about it and hit “send”.
It’s pretty damn easy to do the same thing with a great article you want to share as well. I do this all the time and send traffic to people like Neil Patel because they post good content – and I want my own list to see it!
And you know what?
People LOVE me for sharing OTHER people’s content, AND it shows them that I actually care about sharing QUALITY content with them – even if it’s not my own!
7. A/B Test Different Subject Lines
It’s ALWAYS important to see what your lists responds to, or doesn’t…
It’s pretty easy to do, you can choose to have your email sent randomly to 50% (or 33%, etc) of your list – each with a different subject line.
This is HELPFUL because it shows you which subject lines are getting the most opens – which is FFD – Fucking Fantastic Data! LOL (I just made that up, feel free to use it….or not)
Anyways, the idea here is simple: you get to see which subject lines your list responds to better. Silly ones, funny ones, serious ones, long ones, short ones etc. You get the drift – but as SIMPLE as this sounds it’s well worth doing.
Let’s say I use the two following subject lines in a test:
- Hey! 🙂
- Did you get your free download yet?
Both are good honestly, both will get the attention of readers, but which will get the better open rates? Does my list go more for the personal and open “hey!” or do they respond better to a more informative subject line?
Sometimes it’s good to use a mix of the two, but try this for yourself – you’ll see how powerful it is.
8. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
Let’s be honest here, THIS blog post is quite long – bordering on 3,000 words now and I’m not even done. While this is informative and (i like to think) DAMNED good content, it’s NOT a great example of an email.
Try to keep your emails UNDER 200-300 words – keep them short, and to the point.
Here’s an example of an email I might send out to promote Anik’s Free Book, The Circle of Profit:
Subject: Step By Step Book – How To Generate 1 Million
Just wanted to make sure you got my email yesterday
about the FREE book by Anik Singal, The Circle of Profit
In the book, Anik shows you step by step models that will shock you:
- Find a profitable passion
- Convert passion into a BUSINESS
- Hit your first 1 Million using copy and paste steps!
No matter what you do, go here and claim your copy immediately.
I’m going to go back and keep reading!
Jeff(at)JeffLenney.com <— I’m real, email me!
Short, Sweet and to the point!
Did the subject line grab your attention? Did it make you want to click? Well It did for about 25% of my list! 🙂
Which goes into my next point…
9. What the click?
This one’s easy – make your email links MATCH your subject line content.
Using the above email as an example, notice that my clickable link (anchor text)MATCHES my subject line?
Subject: Step By Step Book – How To Generate 1 Million
Link: >>> Step By Step Book – How To Generate 1 Million
I actually learned this trick just last year (in 2014) by Mark Ling, of Affilorama. He was speaking at Anik’s Inbox Blueprint Live event in Las Vegas and gave some LIVE stats on different emails he’s tested.
Not surprisingly, links that MATCHED the subject lines were getting a higher CTR in his tests.
I’ve been doing this myself now since Vegas, and have noticed an improvement as well.
People OPENED your email because of that subject line, and that’s generally what they’ll click on.
Nothing more needed here, this is easy – make sure your anchor text (clickable link) matches your subject line – I GUARANTEE you’ll get a higher CTR if you test this.
(Note: because I KNOW this is going to get brought up, ONLY do this when it’s applicable to what you’re offering. If you’re using “Hey!” as your subject line (Like Frank Kern often does), you want to make sure your link is about what you’re offering, not simply “Hey”, as I’ve seen some people do before!)
Bonus Tip: Use Hunter.io to track who opens your emails on Gmail!
10. Space things out – please! LOL
Simply put, don’t cram everything into one long paragraph. That makes it REALLY hard to read, and not so easy on the eyes.
Try to space things out like this:
How are things?
I wanted to talk about something super
duper neato cool that I came across the other day.
It’s a FREE book, given away by my super duper fantastic friend Jeff Lenney
In it, you’ll learn:
- Cool Benefit
- Cool Benefit
- Cool Benefit
Make sure you download it NOW,
before the evil space goblins take it down forever!
Notice how I spaced things out and made it easy to read?
Feel free to use this format, it works wonders and keeps people engaged, and clicking on your links.
So I guess that’s about it…
Anyways, I spent about a week on this post – it’s actually my longest post to date so PLEASE take the time to read it, study it and put into action what you learn!
I promise you’ll be a better email marketer if you do!
One last thing – If you found it useful, like it and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter – I’d REALLY appreciate that.
If you have ANY questions, let me know via the comments below. I DO read and respond to each comment! 🙂
P.S. If you REALLY want to take your List Building to the next level, there are a few things you can do:
- Check out Inbox Blueprint, by Anik Singal
- See Step #1 🙂