Ever feel overwhelmed by all of the information out there? Want to boost your affiliate marketing with email, but don’t know where to begin?
Fortunately for you, we just released this super simple step-by-step implementation guide where we show you how to start off with small baby steps, and how to proceed, one small step at a time.
It’s all sorted in terms of helping you achieve maximum bang for your buck, with the least complexity. With that said, let’s look at the 10 steps you need to make email work for you, starting today.
1) Get a provider that works with affiliate marketers
Notice I didn’t say “allows affiliate marketers”. It’s funny how some affiliate marketers are ok with this as a criterion. In my personal opinion you should want a platform that absolutely loves and cherishes affiliate marketers as equal business partners.
I don’t think merely being tolerated by your provider is a good way to a healthy business relationship. At the very least, you want a provider that at least works with affiliate marketers. That means that they proactively help you put in place your affiliate campaigns in a way that works.
It is of course an amazing bonus if they are like Emercury where we go out of our way to make sure you make an absolute mountain of profit as an affiliate marketer, and we treat your success as our own success story.
2) Utilize some basic personalization
These days we have some super-advanced ways of personalizing email, and you will get to those in a bit. However, remember that even basic personalization is better than no personalization. In fact, a lot better.
My advice is to at least utilize merge tags as a starting point. You can find these in the email editor under the “Recipient Details” dropdown. Simply select the data-point you want us to dynamically insert into the email.
For example, if you want to insert the person’s first name, you will use the “Recipient First Name” option. Now, in the email editor it will say “Recipient First Name” wherever you dropped the merge tag. But the actual subscriber receiving the email will see their own name on there. Pretty cool right?
Gradually you will want to get into more personalization utilizing segments, gathering lots of custom data, and then utilizing advanced segments and complex automations with lots of fine conditions that treat people very differently based on the gathered data.
However, in this article I want to show you the step-by-step process you want to use and start with the easy things that give you the most bang for your buck. We’ll get to the fancier tricks in a second.
3) Understand the power of synergy
A lot of marketers today are placing themselves into one of two unbalanced camps. Either they rely almost exclusively on broadcasts, or they are hyper-obsessive over automated email.
The truth is that all the most profitable marketers utilize both, and do so in a highly synergistic way. This means that they create broadcasts that make their automations better. But they also create automations that contribute to better broadcasts. How? That’s simple, it is all about the data.
Broadcasts are better at casting a “wide net”, so if you want to quickly gather some data about your subscribers, you can do this in one day. Just send a broadcast with an offer, and you can see (and tag) which subscribers are interested in one thing or another. You can then utilize this data to create better automations that treat subscribers differently based on whether they have shown a certain interest (have a certain tag).
Automations are better at gathering information over time in a more granular and gradual manner. That is, you can set your automations to tag people differently based on how they interacted with your email, your website or any other custom events you come up with. For example if someone visits your pricing page more than 3 times, give them a specific tag.
You can then utilize this added data to create advanced segments where you send a different broadcast to people who have this tag.
With that said, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. You actually want to start off quite simple, and I’m only mentioning advanced broadcasts and automations to give you a sense of what’s possible when you use both. To start off, you will actually want to create quite simple automations and broadcasts. But you do want to be using both from day one.
4) Decide on your first campaigns
Just like with everything else in this guide, I am going to suggest that you start off slow. Your natural inclination will be to try and plan a gazillion campaigns about a bunch of different products.
To start, I would suggest that you focus on just 1 or 2 affiliate products. If you are already an established affiliate marketer and only new to email, you probably already have some products that you promote on other channels. Pick 1 or 2 of the ones that you have the most experience promoting.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing however, you will want to do some research on affiliate marketing niches and products to go with. But I would caution you against spending too much time on this. There are no perfect products or niches to begin with. Just getting started and getting experience is the most important part.
To summarize, you want to decide on what you will promote, and have some general idea on how you will promote it. That is, you need to decide what is the offer and what is your angle in promoting it to the subscriber. This is what it means to do a campaign in marketing.
5) Create a simple automated sequence
When you are just starting off it is easy to be led astray by all the super cool advanced features we have in email marketing today. At the higher levels it can get really fancy and cool. You can use all sorts of fun conditionals based on all sorts of different things.
For example, if a customer has visited page X, then check if they have also shown interest in subject Y in the past, and if not, then send this specific email, but if they have not previously shown interest in Y, then send this other email.
When you’re starting off you want to keep it really simple. This is because you want to get how automations work, refine them, and add complexity over time. It is especially important to note that most of the added complexity will require additional custom data which you just don’t have when you’re just starting out.
But what does it mean to build a “simple automation”?
Well, what you want to do is take the automation builder and use it to create a “drip sequence”. This is where a person gets one email on day 1, then after a couple of days, they get another email on day 4, and so on. And you might do this to create a sequence which is for example 30 days long.
Please note that there are affiliates making millions using nothing more than “drip sequences” and regular broadcasts. So there is nothing wrong with starting off simple.
Once you get this working, you can get more complex later on, but more on that later on For now, you want to keep it simple and just get started.
What kind of emails should you send though?
The main reason to create a drip sequence is to create engagement in your list and have them receive emails from you on a regular basis. However, you cannot send a sequence of all-promotional emails. That is a recipe for piling up a bunch of unsubscribes and destroying your list reputation.
Your sequence should be primarily value-driven. The emails in the sequence should ideally contain little or no promotional content. And even when you do promote something, you want it to be a subtle link at the end of a highly value-driven email that’s chock-full of useful information and content.
If anything, the one purely promotional email should be a sort of a culmination to a sequence of value-driven emails that logically lead up to that one promotional email. If you think this is too much time to wait, don’t forget that the value driven-emails can also link to promotional things. It’s just not the main point of the email, but an aside. And also remember that you will combine this with broadcasts where you can do more of a “pure promotion”.
6) Create a couple of “learning” broadcasts
In addition to your main drip-sequence that goes for a longer period of time and creates good will, you do also want to do a bit of selling. This is where your first broadcasts come in.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to get the idea that broadcasts are only for selling things, and sequences are only for giving value. You can and should use both to achieve both goals. It is just that as a learning strategy it is a lot easier to get started in this way.
Remember that when you broadcast, you send an email to a large number of people at the same time, so you get immediate feedback about what is or isn’t working. You get to see if an offer is attractive or not. And you also get to ascertain what your subscribers are interested in.
If you send a broadcast that promotes something useful to people with interest X, you can find out who the “interested in x” people on your list are, and tag them straight away.
With automation this takes a bit longer as everyone gets an email at their own time depending on when and how they signed up. That’s fine when you’re more experienced and have a huge list. With a big-enough list even automations will get you feedback on things quite quickly.
To start off though, keep it simple. Allow yourself to see your broadcasts as being primarily a learning experience where you learn more about your list. The sales are just a bonus at this stage of your evolution as an email marketer.
7) Track your results (the key to higher profits)
If there is one thing that you can do to ensure increasing your profits, it is this: keep a close eye on your metrics. When it comes to email marketing the most important metrics you will want to look at are the open rates, close rates, unsubscribe rates and forward rates. This tells you at a glance how good you are at engaging your subscribers.
It is a good idea to build this habit early on. Even at this stage where you just have simple drip sequences and simpler broadcasts. In fact, this is how you know if implementing the more advanced and complex tactics is worth it.
Get a grasp on the results that you get from implementing the basics, and then as you move onto the next steps, compare the results that you are getting and if there is an improvement. Just because a marketing tactic is advanced and cool doesn’t necessarily mean that it will produce a bunch of additional benefits for you.
8) Build some simple segments from the gathered data
When it comes to “high-return” activities, building out your segments is right up there, and it’s probably the first thing you should do to go beyond the absolute basics. Once you segment out your audience and send different broadcasts to different segments, you should see an immediate boost to your engagement.
So what is a segment? How do you build one? Well, a segment is just a subset of your overall list that has certain traits. For example it might be all the people on your list who signed up 4 months ago and have been opening your emails in the past month.
Fortunately, at Emercury we make building segments super simple
In fact, we gather a bunch of data automatically so you can start off building segments right away from all the automatically gathered data in just a few clicks.
All you have to do is go into the segment builder and select the traits that you want to build a segment off of. For example, it might be based on the people who clicked on the affiliate link in your last broadcast promoting a certain product.
You know that these people are more likely to be interested in such products, so you can send slightly different broadcasts to this segment. This is in essence the easiest way to become more targeted in your emails.
Later on you will be able to build very complex segments that are based on all sorts of custom data as well. For example, you can have advanced segments based on any sort of complex combination of things.
They might be based on which tags the subscribers have or do not have, what values they have in certain custom fields, and whether they’ve performed certain things on your website or even other events somewhere else in your marketing stack.
For now though, start off with those simple segments. Just build one that goes off of the core automatically-gathered information. You will see a great return on those couple of minutes of work, straight away.
9) Start gathering more custom data
This is where we get into the advanced part of email marketing. Or rather, this is the prerequisite to getting into more advanced email marketing techniques and features. Almost all of it relies on or works best with custom data that you gather about your subscribers.
What is custom data though? Well, it is everything outside the universal pieces of subscriber data such as email address, name, as well as the data that we gather for you automatically.
The fact is that the most powerful type of data is the kind that’s unique to your list, niche, and strategy. So we cannot gather it for you automatically, as it is different for everyone.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you run a general “fitness” list. If you want to treat people differently, you might want to keep track which subscribers are interested in “weight-loss” products, which ones are interested in “physical fitness”, and which of them are interested in “gaining muscle”.
You could have a custom field where you store that information for each subscriber. Or you might have a tag for each sub-interest. Either way works fine.
Another example would be having a tag that you assign to people who visit a certain page on your website. Let’s say that this is a crucial page which leads people to click through a super-high-commission product. You might want to tag the people who visited that page.
How do you actually gather this data?
Well, this is the really fun part to all of this. With Emercury you have a whole bunch of ways to automatically gather this data, and describing all of it would take a little mini-ebook. But let me give you some taste with just a few examples.
Let’s start off with what you should already have well set up at this point, and this is those basic automated sequences and broadcasts.
You will want to go into your simple sequence, and add data-collection blocks. Sounds fancy, but it really isn’t.
For example in your simple sequence you already have a situation where someone is sent an email on day 3. You would then add the condition block which checks if they opened the email, and an “apply tags” block that tags them if they did open the email.
And yes, you can even use segmenting functions to gather data
It’s kind of funny, but one of the main benefits of the segment builder isn’t that it just helps you build segments. You can also utilize it to gather data.
For example, you can build a segment of all people who meet certain criteria, and then simply tag everyone on that segment with a given tag.
When you realize this, you will be more mindful of your broadcasts and how your broadcast doubles as a “data gathering” exercise. That is, you will craft the broadcast in such a way that you can confidently assert things about people based on whether they opened the email, clicked on those links, and so on.
But also consider that other segment-typical information is also data. If you create a segment off of everyone that’s failed to open an email in 3 months, you can give them an “inactive subscribers” tag.
However, I’m just barely scratching the surface in terms of what’s possible with segmentation as an information gathering tool. I do hope it’s giving you a good idea to get you rolling.
Additionally, there are even more advanced ways to gather data, but I’ll save those for the next step, “advanced features”.
10) Utilize more advanced features
I am assuming you are only reading about this step so that you know what the advanced level looks like, and you’re not planning on rushing through the previous steps.
With that said, let us assume you have set up some data-gathering in your until-then super-simple automations and sequences. You’ve also learned to create broadcasts which let you gather more data.
At this point, you will be ready to start making your automations more complex
When it comes to automations, you might decide to build complex automations where you have multiple conditions and sub-conditions.
If a person opens this email here, but has tag x and doesn’t have tag y, then send them this email, if they however do open the email, have tag x and tag y, send them this other email. Whew, that sentence did sound complicated, and it is probably why you want to put off this level of complexity until you have the basics down.
Note that as your automations become more complex you might have to break them down into sub-automations. For example, while you’re still at the simple drip-sequence level, you can have everything in one automation that covers 60 days of dripped emails.
However, once you get more complex, you might have to break things down into smaller automations that deal with just one possible branch in the customer journey.
But wait, it gets even fancier, you can utilize advanced ways to gather data
You can go ahead and set up some custom events that trigger a “data-gathering automation”. For example, if a subscriber clicks a button on one of your web pages, this is an event which tells your automation to tag this person a certain way.
Or you might utilize an incoming webhook which sends data to Emercury whenever the state of your subscriber changes in another app or part of your stack.
Make life easier by getting a partner on your side
I wrote this article to help you cut down on overwhelm as much as possible. This is based on over a decade of helping affiliates super-charge their earnings with email marketing. So you might say I’ve seen it all, and know exactly the journey that most affiliate marketers take.
These steps are designed to give you the most bang for your buck and give you the smoothest possible journey from beginner to pro. However, this is only a fraction of what we can do for you if we could talk to you one-on-one.
Emercury is loved and beloved by affiliates everywhere for a very simple reason. When you get an Emercury plan you get more than just access to a software platform. You get access to a team of experts who live and breathe affiliate marketing and are there to help you to make the most out of email marketing.
If you want to get a sense for this experience, please book a free demo while we still have spots left. In addition, it’s a good idea to grab a forever-free account while we still have those. It’s currently one of the most generous free plans out there. Grab one and you get to keep it, forever.