Let me ask you something. Do you even know if your email list is good enough to promote your affiliate offers? Can you tell?
In this step-by-step guide I am going to reveal some of my best secrets. You will learn exactly how to create a powerful affiliate marketing email list. Yes, that is a list which is essentially primed and ready to turn your affiliate offers into cold hard cash.
Some of these steps are going to be familiar to you, others will surprise you. But I bet that unless you’re a hyper successful top email marketer, you still haven’t figured out how to build a powerful affiliate marketing list. Let me show you this, right now, and let’s take it step by step.
1) Identify the data that gives you power
Let me ask you a quiz question. Would you say that a list with a million addresses is a “powerful list”?
Well, the number of emails actually says nothing about how powerful a list is. So I would say the correct answer to that question is actually “maybe, it depends”.
What if I clarified to you that this huge list only contains the first name for the person behind the email address, but nothing else? Is this a powerful list?
Personally I would answer “no, not at all, this is a weak list” and it is definitely not impressive. And in fact using that list comes very close to doing spam marketing, even if all of these people explicitly signed up for that list by themselves.
Sending offers to this list would be a nightmare for several reasons
First of all, with such a lack of finer differentiation, your deliverability is almost guaranteed to be quite low. This is even if you are an expert at writing good emails. And then, your conversions are bound to be atrociously low.
Both of these things are going to happen for the same reason – lack of finer data. In fact, that’s the basic definition of “sending bulk mail”. It’s where you send the same emails to lots of different emails, without taking into account the differences between the people who own those inboxes.
Here is how to do it right
You want to go ahead and define the differentiation factors that make your subscribers different from one another. And while that sentence sounds all kinds of fancy, it doesn’t have to be. At least not when you’re starting out.
To start off, it is enough to define the sub-topics that are important in your niche, and then differentiate your subscribers further based on just that one factor.
You can do this by tracking this data inside of custom fields or using tags. For example you might create tags for each sub-topic. Any better email marketing platform (such as Emercury) should have a robust contact center to allow you to store lots of additional custom data about each subscriber.
2) Let automations help you keep track of things
If there is one thing that I see most affiliates under-utilize, it has to be automation. And I can’t blame them. Automation is primarily associated with email rookies who are impressed by shiny toys. You rarely see hardcore email marketing veterans obsessing about automation and making tons of content about fancy clever automations.
But this is not because they’re not using automation! In fact, all the most successful affiliate marketing veterans utilize automation to help make their lists stronger and more powerful. And you do this by letting automations gather and keep track of differentiation data.
While this can become quite sophisticated and advanced, let me give you a simple example just to get you started. Let’s say that you’ve identified sub-topic x as one of your main differentiating data points for your niche.
Your automated sequence can tag people as “interested in x” when they open an email about this subject. Alternatively you might want to give them this tag when they click on the link in this email.
But if you want to get really fancy, you can even use custom events and tracking. So that you can have an automation that tags people based on what they do on your blog for example. But more on that later in this text.
3) Become a master of segmentation
All of the most profitable affiliate marketers I know are also masters of segmented broadcasting. But this isn’t just because well-segmented broadcasting converts better and has better delivery.
It is also because you can use advanced segmentation as a way to make your list more refined and more powerful. What do I mean by that? Well, get ready to be blown away by learning one of my best secrets. This is something I share in private consultations with email marketers.
Most people either don’t bother with gathering differentiation data, or they only do it through automations. However, what a lot of people don’t get is that you can use broadcasts to quickly and easily gather differentiation data in a very efficient way. I call it “casting a wide net”.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you run a list about fitness. You would love to find out how many of your subscribers are actually really primarily interested in weight-loss. Well, any time that you send a broadcast about weight-loss, you can use it as an opportunity to find out which of your subscribers have that interest.
With Emercury you can simply click to view the report for that given broadcast. And there you can filter people by whether they opened the email, or clicked on the links inside.
Let’s say that I think people who clicked on the link are definitely interested in weight-loss. I can go ahead and give all of these people a tag that signifies that they have an interest in weight-loss.
Now adding these kinds of data points is what makes your list more valuable and more powerful. And by using this trick you can quickly populate this kind of data for your entire list.
But please, don’t stop there, this is a powerful technique
The above example is just one random example that I find most people have never thought about. For some reason people associate gathering interest & topic related data with automations. They are surprised when they find out that they can (and should) also gather data points through broadcast results.
But interests and topics are not the only type of data that you care about. Another type of data that will make your list a lot more powerful is general behavioral data. By this I mean whether people open up your emails and click your links in general, not just whether they open emails about specific topics.
You will want to create an advanced segment which identifies all the people who have opened an email in the past week, then give them a certain tag. Then you might filter for all the people who have opened an email in the past month, but not in the past week. And then give those people a different tag.
And then you would filter for the people who haven’t opened your emails in months, and then give those people another tag. And by the way, you can run a winback campaign to re-engage those people as well.
In any case, I hope you can see how powerful having this data attached to the different subscribers can be. With this, your list becomes a whole lot more powerful and valuable.
4) Mix broadcasts and automations correctly
Most email marketers go to extremes. They either put all of their effort in mastering broadcasts and bulk email, or they go all in with hyper-complicated and over-convoluted automations.
You might intuit where I am going with this and say “so the solution is to strike that balanced middle ground?”. Well, yeah, that’s a great starting point as something to strive for.
However, it’s more than just splitting your attention and effort between the two. It’s also about knowing how to mix the two and how they can complement each other.
The first thing you have to know is when to use each. For that, you can just read our super-popular article on automations vs broadcasts.
Next, you will want to consider how they complement each other
And that’s actually quite simple. Anytime that you use a broadcast, you can utilize the reports feature in Emercury to tag people based on whether they opened the broadcast, clicked on it, and so much more.
Alternatively, as you’re building out your automation sequences, you have to consider how they are contributing to making the list better for broadcasts. And by this, I mean two things.
The first is “priming the list for broadcasts”, and that just means engaging the subscriber to the point where they will be hungry for and opening up your emails on autopilot. And that means guaranteed high open rates when you do broadcast a time-sensitive offer or promotion.
And secondly, you want to think about your automations gathering data points that are useful to creating better broadcasts. A lot of the time these will be the same data points that are useful to better personalize your automated emails, but not always.
Let me give you an example
Let’s say that your automations assign an “interested in x” tag. And let’s assume that this tag will be useful to better personalization, but also help with better-targeted broadcasts.
However, there might be some data-points that are only useful to broadcasts, and it’s easy to forget about those whilst building your automations. That is, it is easy to get stuck in the automation mindset and only gather data that makes automations better.
But in order to have a truly powerful list, it needs to be great for both automations and broadcasts.
So any time you build out a broadcast, consider “how can this make my automations stronger?” And when you’re building an automation, think “how can this make my broadcasts better?”
I realize this is a bit vague, but I can’t give you any more specific examples without looking at your specific list, niche and goals. Consider that we help out Emercury users with this kind of stuff all the time. So if you want to get a bit of a sense for that experience, consider booking a demo with our team so we can give you an opinion based on your specific needs.
5) Share the right content, with the right people
In order to cultivate a strong, responsive and powerful list, you have to know how to treat your subscribers well. And yes that goes for affiliate marketing as well. In fact, all the best affiliate marketers that I know essentially do “the mentor who cares” approach.
This is where the reader sees you as a knowledgeable and caring guide. Almost like a big brother that wants you to succeed. A mentor figure that helps you solve issues and challenges more easily.
In that context, clicking on your affiliate links and buying the products that you recommend is almost a no-brainer. Especially if you suggest just the right product, at just the right time. Same as you provide them with just the right advice at the right time.
But how do you do all of this? Provide the right thing at the right time? Well, that’s actually simple. It’s why we invented personalization in email marketing. It’s where you can create a tailor-made experience for each subscriber.
How do you do that? Well, that’s what all the previous points were leading up to. When you have the right differentiation data, you can send different things to different people, and have it all done intelligently and automatically.
But here’s the kicker. Doing this doesn’t just result in a ton of conversions (i.e. profits). It also makes your list stronger and more engaged. And that my friend is how you create a strong and powerful list full of hungry buyers. An engaged email list is a powerful list. It is that simple.
6) Factor in related verticals and cross-selling
A lot of the profit in email marketing lies in being able to cross-sell and cross-promote. And the more you prime your list for such cross-selling and cross-promotional marketing, the more powerful your list will become.
This is for two reasons. The first is that if there is enough interest in your current list, you can eventually start a dedicated list about this related vertical or niche. The second reason is that you can send such offers to your list, as-is, but limit it to the people who are interested in these related topics.
The tough work is in sitting down and identifying all the possible verticals and related offers to experiment with. Actually implementing it inside of Emercury is easy. In fact you can probably already guess how to do it from the above examples.
You can do broadcasts that test for an interest in a related niche, and then tag these people. And then from then on, based on the numbers, you might choose to copy them to a dedicated list, or occasionally send offers about this subject.
And, as with the previous examples, you might even make it a part of your regular automations. You might have an email in your sequences that tests for this interest and tags people accordingly.
However, I would only add such a part in your sequences once you know there is a reasonable chance the subscriber might be interested in said topic. You wouldn’t want to put completely experimental ideas in your automation sequences. You use your broadcasts for this.
7) Try the cutting edge
Now here comes the fun part. Everything I told you about can become even more fun and more advanced if you adopt some of the more cutting-edge features. For example things like advanced-conditions in segmentation, incoming hooks, outgoing hooks, custom events and tracking.
Let me give you just a few fun examples of what’s possible when you start using some of these features. Let’s take our previous scenario where we automatically tag people based on what they’re interested in, and we do it based on what emails they open and which links they click. But what if you could do this in response to the things they did on your blog?
Well, with Emercury you can. For example, you might define a goal that a person needs to perform event X a certain amount of times on your website. And if they do, the goal is reached. You can then trigger automations once this goal is reached.
It can be anything from tagging the person a certain way, trigger and upsell email sequence or even adding them to a Google sheet that your assistant uses to do some task.
Wait, did I say Google Sheets?
Well yes, or anything really. You can use outgoing webhooks to trigger actions in any of your other software, and the possibilities are actually endless. Though I do recommend checking out the basic example about using webhooks to send sales leads to a Google Sheet, just so you get an idea of what’s possible. From there on, you are only limited by your imagination.
At this point you might be saying “Ok, I get what outcoming hooks do, but what about those incoming ones?” Well, they do the reverse. With incoming hooks you can “listen” for changes in other systems. So, for example, when you, or a subscriber does something in another app, you can have that trigger an action or change inside of Emercury.
For example, you might have a course website where your subscribers can buy and purchase your courses. You can have it so that when a subscriber performs an action, for example finishing a given lesson, that then triggers a change for that subscriber’s profile inside of Emercury.
A Partner on your side
As an affiliate you have a unique challenge when it comes to email marketing. Most platforms out there do not cater to your needs, or they cater to a very simplified caricature of an affiliate marketer.
Let me explain what I mean. The vast majority of email marketing platforms are created for, and put most of their effort in small business users that aren’t too savvy about sending email.
They put most of their focus on fancy-sounding features and flashy interfaces (toys basically) that wow the inexperienced marketer. And in general their broadcasting or bulk mail features are pretty bad. Deliverability-related features are usually non-existent.
This is a dead-giveaway as to whom they are targeting. Experienced email veterans place a premium priority on how the email is actually sent and delivered. This is because they know that most profit relies on deliverability. And it’s also why you won’t find any experienced veterans on any of the fancy platforms.
On the other hand, you have “hardcore email sending services.” These are platforms where all of the focus is on just helping you send bulk email effectively. Automation features are either minimal or entirely non-existent.
What if there was a platform that does the best of both worlds?
Well, there actually is, and it’s called Emercury.
While we initially became famous among affiliates primarily due to our obsession with delivering email and having the best broadcasting features, we didn’t stop innovating there. We have worked very hard on implementing cutting-edge automation and 360 marketing features.
We believe you don’t have to choose between the two extremes. And in fact, in this guide I showed you exactly how an affiliate marketer can move past raw bulk email and create a truly powerful list. But I can only share so much in an article without it becoming too large. If you want so more specifics about how to make these things work, consider booking a free demo here.