Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to make sales online.
It provides a unique opportunity to create sequential communications with your audience and guide it through obstacles and towards the decision to make a purchase.
That’s why, it works incredibly well for promoting affiliate offers – if you can build a list of targeted prospects, you can then nurture them to build trust and recommend multiple products over multiple email sequences.
But with the competition becoming steeper than ever, you need to make sure that you follow the best practices of setting up your email marketing campaign if you want to stand out in your niche and attract your audience.
So, to get you started, here are five of the most important email marketing tips that you should consider.
Figure Out if Your Niche is Viable
The first step that is crucial in running successful email marketing campaigns for affiliate products is figuring out if the niche has enough potential to pursue in the first place.
After all, just because you find an affiliate program for a specific product, that isn’t enough to determine if you can build a profitable and scalable business in that field.
That’s why you need to look at a few key factors to see if it’s a niche that’s worth entering and meets your goals and expectations for what you want to achieve.
The first step of the process is figuring out if there is sufficient demand for the product – you need to identify the audience that would be interested and then try to estimate its size because if it’s not big enough, there just won’t be enough potential for growth and all that effort may not be worth it.
You can determine the size of an audience by looking at the number of searches per month for relevant keywords, the number of members of social media pages and groups in the niche, and by seeing if there are other sites that are promoting products in the niche.
Another aspect you need to look at is the number of similar or related products that you could offer to your list down the line.
The hardest part of email marketing is attracting subscribers to join your list, so once you have them, you need to be able to maximize their lifetime customer value and be able to offer them multiple products instead of just hoping to make the initial sale.
Luckily this step is relatively simple – just go through various affiliate sites and try to come up with ideas of what else the audience might be interested in.
Sometimes, even though there aren’t many affiliate marketing options for that specific type of product, you may find that the same audience could be interested in a range of products, giving you a lot of options to segment your audience and maximize the value of your list.
If you choose a niche that is profitable, it will be much easier to grow your website and your list of subscribers, which would make it much more valuable in case you ever wanted to sell your website.
Create an Enticing Lead Magnet
Once you know that there’s an audience for the products that you want to sell, you need to come up with a way to entice that audience to join your list.
And that comes down to two things: having a reliable lead generation strategy to get traffic to your offer, and having a lead magnet that gets people to trust you with their email address.
There are many ways to generate leads for your landing page – you can use SEO, paid ads, guest post on relevant blogs, or create a social media following.
But once you get the targeted prospects to your site, you need an effective method to entice them to give you their email address, because otherwise you’ll likely lose the prospect forever and will have wasted money or time that you spent attracting him.
But how to maximize the effectiveness of your lead magnet?
Well, the first step of the process requires a deep understanding of your audience – you need to be able to identify the most pressing issues and challenges that they are facing and be able to formulate that into a lead magnet that can solve them.
What’s more, your lead magnet must be positioned in a way that gets them on a path to wanting or even needing the product that you are trying to promote.
It should serve as a roadmap that outlines the steps that the prospect will need to take to solve his problems, while simultaneously positioning the product as the final step or the shortcut that will help him achieve what he wants.
Since you want people to subscribe to your email list, you need to make the subscription a part of the appeal as well – many successful affiliate marketers make the email newsletter the lead magnet itself, for instance by promising an email series that provides answers or helps to solve a problem, which can greatly increase open rates in the future.
To maximize your conversion rate, you should consider offering different lead magnets to segments of your audience, as the most pressing problems may be different for groups of prospects who would eventually be interested in the same product as the solution.
Build a Relationship with Your Readers
You can’t expect to achieve success with email marketing if all you’re doing is bombarding them with an endless barrage of offers. But that’s exactly what a lot of affiliate marketers are doing, and so it’s not surprising when their open rates go down quickly.
Today’s internet users are much more sophisticated than five or ten years ago, and they need to trust you before they’ll even consider buying anything that you may recommend.
So instead of sending out sales offers at the first chance you get, you should consider that behind each email address is a real person who you need to develop a relationship with. This person has entrusted you with their email address, so you should make sure that he doesn’t regret that decision and instead eagerly awaits your next email.
But how can you build a trust-based relationship with your audience?
Well, in the end, it all comes down to the quality of the information that you share. The readers come to you to get answers and solutions to their problems, so even though the products that you’ll suggest are what they’ll ultimately want, you will need to provide a lot of value beforehand if you want them to trust your recommendations when the time comes.
You should map out a customer journey where you write down the stages that your prospect must go through to become a customer, from the moment that he first realizes that he has a problem that he needs to solve, to the point where he is convinced that he wants to buy the product that you recommend.
By helping to overcome problems and offering helpful advice, you are not only helping your customers move forward in their journey, but are also positioning yourself as an authority in the field, which will give your product recommendations much more weight and help to increase sales.
You could even create FAQ’s and an extensive library of useful information with the help of knowledge base software, which could become the go-to resource in your niche and start bringing you fresh leads simply because of the value that your information provides.
Finally, it’s important to not make your email series a one-way communication – people will be much more likely to be engaged with what you say if you offer opportunities for them to respond and share their own perspective.
Even if you respond to just a few questions or comments every once in a while, that’ll show that you don’t only care about making sales but that your email subscribers are a community that has a voice.
People today have more options for getting informed and entertained than ever before – they are constantly consuming content on social media, email, websites, and anywhere else online that they might go.
That’s why, if you want your messages to not be drowned out by the constant flood of information, you need to take the effort to excel and deliver on your promises.
And the first step of the process is pretty straightforward: you need to be consistent in all of your email communications.
It’s essential to clearly establish what your subscribers should expect when they opt into your newsletter and make sure that you deliver on those expectations week after week.
That means that if you say that you’ll be emailing them every three days, you should stick to that schedule and not have gaps of weeks between your emails. At the same time, if you’re promising a weekly newsletter, don’t suddenly start bombarding their inbox with daily emails because otherwise, people will get annoyed and unsubscribe.
You should also try to be consistent in the content that you deliver – it’s essential to develop your own voice and to showcase your unique personality in your emails because people don’t want to read dry emails that read like a textbook.
When you have an entertaining voice that your readers like, even your promotional emails will seem more natural and won’t seem like an interruption, but instead serve as the natural next step towards helping your readers reach their goals.
Always Keep Optimizing
81% of brands now use affiliate marketing to drive sales, and that number is increasing every year.
That’s great news because it shows how effective affiliate marketing can be, but it also means that in order to break into your market as an affiliate today, you will likely face steep competition that you’ll need to find a way to overcome.
You can’t just put together a lead-gen funnel and write some emails and expect results to start pouring in from day one. Instead, it’s likely that you’ll have a hard time gaining subscribers and making sales, at least in the initial stages.
However, just because it may be tough in the beginning, doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed.
In fact, success often comes down to how much work are you willing to put in – usually, the most successful affiliate marketers are those who have the patience to tweak their campaigns until they start delivering results.
That’s why, if there’s one thing that you take away from this article, it’s this: always optimize and adjust your campaigns to maximize performance.
Take the time to split test every important decision and don’t make assumptions – you’ll often be surprised that your audience behaves completely differently than you expect, and even a minor change in your subject lines or content can make a huge difference.
Over time, you should be able to get a much better feel for what your target prospects respond to best, but your biggest asset and advantage over your competitors will be the fact-based knowledge that you gain about your audience’s habits and behaviors. Having the right affiliate marketing training will help you in the long run.