How many email lists are you subscribed to?
I personally couldn’t tell you how many my name is on.
I’ve subscribed to so many things over the years that I’ve given up keeping track of them all. I’m sure you’re in a similar position.
And we all know where most of those emails end up—spam, junk or lingering in the inbox, tragically unclicked.
So, why does the internet keep telling affiliate marketers that sending emails is a good idea?
Back in 2009, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger decided to sell an e-book.
He gathered a group of affiliates to market this e-book. They all used differing methods, including social media, blog posts and email.
So, which method worked best?
While all three methods had success, the clear winner was email marketing. Yup, it even saw better results for affiliate marketers than blogging!
Darren said, “Email won the day for this product.”
Nearly three-quarters of the companies asked responded that they saw good or excellent ROI from email marketing, putting it at the top of the list just above SEO.
These are just two of hundreds of examples we could quote. The answer to the previously posed question is clear: People keep telling us to use email marketing because it actually works.
More than that: It’s one of the most effective methods that we affiliate marketers can use to optimize our earnings.
So, that’s why we’re going to discuss five advanced ways that affiliates can use email marketing to bring in better revenue. You’ll learn how to manage your email list efficiently, and keep the most valuable subscribers close to you. You’ll also get a glimpse of some of our favorite tools for email marketing along the way.
So, let’s get started!
Advanced Affiliate Marketing: 6 Elite Email Strategies That Pay Off Big Time
1. Connect with Content and Consider SEO
Most affiliate marketers these days maintain some type of online publication: typically a blog or review site. I’m going to go ahead and guess that you have one of your own.
When you’re publishing content online, the best way to make sales is to rock SEO (search engine optimization) and ensure that your affiliate content appears in the top slots of the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) for relevant, high-volume keywords.
If this is what you’ve already got going, start by integrating your content marketing strategy with your email marketing strategy—send emails to your newsletter audience that direct them to your most powerful, high-converting content and take advantage of the newsletter text to get them warmed up for a good read and a purchase.
A few other points to consider, related to this:
- Directing email traffic to a newly-published or recently-updated blog post can give it a great SEO boost. When your newsletter audience follows links from emails to your published content, search engines can pick up on that activity. The sudden burst of pageviews and engagement tell search engines that you’re giving readers something of value.
- The best content to link to in your emails is content that’s already proven itself. Do you have some powerhouse content that is already ranking highly in Google, earning you lots of commissions and garnering strong backlinks from related sites? This content stands a great chance of earning you even more commissions when promoted to your email list.
- You’ll need to record and analyze what is and isn’t working for your site. What content is ranking for your chosen keywords? What isn’t ranking? What’s earning tons of precious backlinks for your website? Where are readers being converted into paying customers?
To keep track of SEO performance, our recommendation is to get yourself an SEO monitoring tool like Monitor Backlinks. There are plenty of good tools out there, but this is our go-to for beginning affiliates and SEO newbs. It’s designed to be super easy to use and it’s got a free 30-day trial you can take advantage of.
Monitor Backlinks also has the right combo of tools for most affiliates, namely: keyword rank tracking, organic traffic reporting, competitor SEO analysis and backlink monitoring.
And you’ll always know what’s going on with your keywords, which is a big deal for affiliate marketers:
That’s how you know which posts are visible and bringing in your organic traffic.
Feeling extra competitive? That Monitor Backlinks tool above will get you head and shoulders above your toughest competitors. You’ll discover brand new ways to outrank, outpace and outsell competitors thanks to Monitor Backlinks competitor research features.
Which of your chosen keywords are your competitors already ranking for? Where are they scoring backlinks? Which of their articles are being shared thousands of times across the internet? You can find out with a tool like this—then make their strategies your own.
2. Maintain Multiple Email Lists for Niches
Hopefully, you’re already using email in your affiliate marketing strategy.
However, we want to optimize your email list, advancing the effectiveness of your email campaigns and ultimately driving more sales.
The key? Find out what people are interested in, and use that information to adjust your email marketing campaigns. But how can you find out what your subscribers are interested in?
Right from the start, when people are opting into your email list, that’s the perfect time to find out what they’re interested in.
Thrive Leads is a fantastic tool used by many, many marketers for opt-ins within webpages. They have some really diverse options for opt-in forms, including an extremely effective multiple-choice form.
Let’s say you run an affiliate site about outdoors activities. That’s your niche. You’ll want to take things a step farther on your form and inquire about sub-niches within that. In this case, you’d be looking at sub-niches like camping, fishing, hunting and so on.
Including a multiple-choice opt-in form gives your subscribers a chance to tell you what specific aspect of your website they’re most interested in. Do they prefer spending a day by the lake, or do they like to head up to the mountains for a few nights?
Have them answer a quick multiple-choice question, then present a relevant opt-in offer that’s tailored to their interests.
Another way to find out people’s interest is to ask them specifically in your emails to them. Invite them to reply to your emails and tell you what interests them, concerns them or what made them decide to opt into your list.
Once you know what your subscribers are interested in, separate them into different email lists. This way, you’re already primed to promote the right products to the specific people who will find them most interesting.
By using this advanced affiliate marketing technique, you’ll be able to tailor your affiliate promotions to each different group within your niche. As a result, you’ll see more referred sales and higher revenue!
3. Chat with Your Subscribers
Building trust with your subscribers is ultimately the way to success for affiliate marketers. After all, people need to be able to trust your recommendations before they’ll make a purchase.
One way to build trust in emails is by letting your subscribers know that your website is run by real people. Make them feel special and appreciated.
Encouraging conversation is one of the best ways to do this.
For example, in the method above, we asked people to reply openly and honestly to your emails, and we invited your subscribers to tell you their stories, their worries, their lives.
And when they reply to you, reply back to them!
Starting the conversation here lets you learn more about your individual subscribers while letting them learn a bit about you in turn.
There’s also a bonus advantage to this method. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, Google may move your emails from the dreaded spam folder when they see that people reply to (and thus care about) your emails!
When creating elegant and eye-catching emails that spark conversation, MailChimp is the go-to tool for beginning and advanced affiliate marketers alike. This tool gives you the ability to open conversations with subscribers, design catchy emails and so much more.
Best of all, MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers!
4. Promote Cornerstone Products with Autoresponders
First, what are cornerstone products? These are tried and tested products that you recommend repeatedly to your subscribers. They apply to almost all of your segmented email groups, no matter their sub-niche.
Using this advanced affiliate marketing technique, marketers rely mainly on these base products to refer sales.
How can you use cornerstone products to your advantage in your emails?
Using a variety of bonuses and incentives makes these products more appealing to your subscribers. For example, if you’re recommending a product such as a hosting service, you could create an e-book that helps purchasers learn and use the service. People love to feel like they’re getting something for free. So, dress up your affiliate products with irresistible offers that make people jump!
The more tempting your bonus offers are, the more likely people will be to make a purchase.
Another benefit of reusing cornerstone products is the relationship that you build with the seller. If you consistently recommend their product, they may be willing to cut your subscribers a deal. This is another type of exclusive bonus that could attract your subscribers to the product.
Looking for a fast and easy way to spread the word about your cornerstone products? Use autoresponders. This effective form of email marketing can be done with MailChimp, the service we mentioned above.
Another great tool for autoresponders is arpReach, which offers you one set price for an unlimited amount of emails. Finally, we can escape the dreaded monthly fees!
So, how exactly does this work? Here’s an example: You’re an affiliate marketer in the niche of natural health products. The product you want to promote is a set of 12 essential oils. To promote this product, you need to start by providing value. That’s where the autoresponder series comes in.
For this example, you could write a series of emails detailing different health benefits or unexpected ways to use essential oils. Each email could include a subtle link to the product you want to promote. Ultimately, though, the big push will come in the last email, where you directly market your affiliate product.
With this method, each email in the autoresponder series provides value to the reader and builds up expectation for the product you want to promote.
By the time your subscribers get to the last email, they’ll be much closer to the end of the marketing funnel—and that’s the perfect time to bring in that affiliate product!
5. Take Advantage of Curiosity to Get a Higher Email Open Rate
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s an extremely effective tool for marketers.
In general, we hate to leave anything without an ending. That’s why TV shows and book series will often end with an action just about to be taken, or with important information just on the tip of someone’s tongue.
They do this to keep us watching, reading and, ultimately, buying.
This advanced affiliate marketing strategy can be very easily applied to your email campaigns.
For example, try writing your emails in a series. Leave your subscribers with a question that you’ll answer in the next email. Or, better yet, end your email with a cliffhanger. Don’t let them hear the end of the story. As long as you leave them with something to think about, curiosity will all but force them to open your next email.
That being said, don’t make them wait too long. Otherwise, they might not even remember the cliffhanger from your last email. It’s best to send the next email in this kind of series within one or two days. That way, you hold on to your subscribers’ interest.
Using curiosity as a motivator can also work in your subject lines. For example, how do these two subject lines compare?
5 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing Strategy
5 Things Whales Can Teach Us About Email Marketing
They might be talking about the same points, but that second title captures the attention. What on earth can whales teach us about email marketing? I suppose I’ll have to open the email to find out.
See how powerful curiosity can be?
Testing the effectiveness of your campaigns is key to making sure you’re using the right dose of curiosity. I love the GetResponse analytics dashboard, bringing all of the important information right to one place.
This truly intuitive dashboard doesn’t just tell you about open rates, click rates and other basics. GetResponse has created a customizable experience where you decide what you need to see. You can compare the effectiveness of one email against another, watch a map that shows your subscribers receiving and opening your emails in real-time or check for weak points in your autoresponders.
6. Focus On Your Email List’s Value, Not Its Size
Having a huge email list is a fantastic tribute to the effectiveness of your marketing. Or is it?
While these large numbers look great on paper, they might not necessarily be converting in the way you want them to. You need your subscribers to add value to your company, not just to exist.
So, it might be time to break up with some of them.
Drip has some great features that can help you in this process.
Firstly, they help you to identify your best leads. They’ll automatically check which people are engaging with your content more, thus being more valuable to you. Next, Drip offers a service that they call “subscriber pruning.”
Basically, when it’s time to break up, they do the hard work for you. They’ll show you exactly who isn’t opening or engaging with your content, and how long they’ve been inactive.
Once you know who isn’t adding value to your company, it’s time to let them know you’re thinking of ending the relationship. You can send out a friendly email which invites them to confirm their subscription again, thus staying on board with your emails.
This gives subscribers the option to stay with you. On the other hand, it gives you the opportunity to rid yourself of inactive subscribers. This cleans out your email list, lowering your costs and ensuring the quality of your list.
Final Thoughts on Getting Advanced with Emails
Email is absolutely one of the most effective tools for affiliate marketers today. Despite popular belief, email marketing is still alive and kicking!
If you personalize your emails to different groups and create conversations, you’ll be building trust and adding value. Plus, by taking advantage of your cornerstone products and your audience’s curiosity, you’ll be able to drive your sales up.
Finally, keeping your email list healthy ensures that each of your campaigns is as effective as it could possibly be.
Using these strategies, you’ll see higher ROI and better results for your efforts.
So, get out there and start emailing!