Building Affiliate Email Sequences that convert
You’ve created your lead magnet using the methods suggested in my previous article. Now you need to engage your new audience with an email sequence that stand out against the backdrop of everybody else’s affiliate marketing email autoresponses. The secret? Good subject headers. Good content. And a wicked autoresponse sequence tailored to your market. You’ll need this and more to be successful with Affiliate Email Sequences, and Affiliate Email Marketing using an Autoresponder. Here’s how.
Subject Headlines matter.
What is the first thing that stands out about an email when it arrives in an inbox? The subject heading (and the first sentence in the email). This is where you need to make your mark. It’s crucial that you put as much thought as possible into your email subject, as it is this that your audience will make the all-important to open / not to open decision. It could be said that a great email heading is worth more than the content of the email – because of the open/not open decision, and the effort you put into it should reflect this.
There is both art and science to a good subject headline. The subject should not be longer than 50 characters to make sure it Is visible in the majority of email inboxes. Your subject should be based on an emotion rather than a logical argument. Remember nearly everyone makes a decision based on emotion whether they like it or not, and logic only comes into place later in the buyer’s journey. There are some great emotions to play on here – one of the best for emails is the fear of missing out (FOMO). You could also use others such as greed, comparison with others and so on. Your email subject must have an emotional pull to be opened in great numbers by your readers. You have something worth sharing (assuming you have great content) so don’t fall for the false modesty of underselling your heading.
So what is a great heading? To tackle this, we can break subject lines down into some simple categories.
Humour – If you fancy yourself as a bit of a prankster or you know that your audience loves a good gag, try humour as an influence on your subject.
Controversy – My personal favourite and a real click earner – say something controversial yet tasteful to hook your audience
One-word – If well chosen, a one-word subject can really stand out in the ‘less is more’ way – think how much it’s obvious in you crowded inbox.
Listicles – You know these ones – ‘9 ways to reduce your weight that will make your jaw drop’
Personalised – if you’ve collected a first name, remember, there’s no word that sounds as sweet to a reader as the sound of their own name
Questions – pose a question in your subject
Time and Scarcity – another big click earner – think – ’48 hours to go on this special offer!’
Hope you’ve learnt something about a great subject header from this. But here’s the secret sauce – you can get SCIENTIFIC about this. Have you heard of EMV (Emotional Marketing Value)? It’s basically a carefully calculated value for your subject. It’s not an absolute precision game but gives you a solid and unbiased opinion on your headline and how it may appeal to most readers. What’s more, it’s readily available as a calculation on the internet. Just search ‘Emotional Marketing Value Calculator’ and you’ll find some sites that offer a free method to enter your headline and calculate its emotiveness (and hence its likely click-through successfulness).
Typically anything from 40% – 75% indicates that your headline will be successful in grabbing your audiences’ attention.
There are many, many books written on writing effective email content and it’s a subject worth its own article at least – but here’s some tips to get you started.
- Write a powerful opening line
- Include useful body copy
- Have a strong call to action in the closing copy
- Have a reputable signature
- Opening Line – don’t be wishy-washy here. You need to engage your audience by speaking directly to them. If you have their first name, great, use it. If not, make sure they know you are referring to them. Think something like: “I noticed that you subscribed to my … ‘
- Useful Body Copy – You want to be giving your customers genuine VALUE that makes them want to read further. Easier said than done, and make sure it is congruent with your subject line. You want all your message to be in some sort of alignment.
- Have a strong CTA in the closing copy – You need to draw your customers into an offer or action by having a strong call to action. It needs to be a genuine action- ‘click here’ or ‘buy this’ are unlikely to convert for you.
- Have a reputable signature – Nothing says scam like a bodgy signoff – have something that identifies your business and has some verifiable material, be it a PO Box, phone number, email or web address.
Your Autoresponse Sequence
You need to have some strategy when it comes to the sequence you send out emails in. It’s often said and to some extent statistically proven that most customers require 5- 8 ‘touchpoints’ at a minimum to know, like and trust you enough to buy from you. How do you generate these touchpoints? Well this is where email comes in. Using an autoresponder such as GetResponse, you can easily set up response emails to go out at a predetermined time after the customer initially subscribed to your list. Using advanced features such as marketing automation (again available through GetResponse, my personal favourite) you can set up optimal marketing sequences that trigger say if a customer has opened email x, clicked on link y and so on.
I’m sure this really opens up your mind to the possibilities that email affiliate marketing and to the power of collecting emails as part of your affiliate strategy.
Now to some nuts and bolts – how should you structure your email sequence so that it maximizes your conversions, and hence your affiliate commissions? The first thing to guard against is the dreaded ‘unsubscribe’. Obviously I don’t mean that you should remove the link, because of course it is legally, and morally necessary. It makes no good business sense to force people onto your content. What I mean is that you need to be adding value, so that people are not feeling like you are just emailing then to shove some unwanted product down their throat. In fact, it’s generally accepted that you should be adding value in your sequence at a rate of at least 2 ‘value’ emails to 1 ‘selling’ email.
By ‘value’ emails, I mean, for example in the health sector you may give a customer a link to a BMI calculator, a guide for healthy eating, a link to an article on the best fat burning exercises for people in their fifties. It’s worth being really specific to your customer and niche; if you are marketing to new parents, no point sending them something about long exercise routines they will probably not have time to be doing.
A ‘selling’ email needs to have an irresistible offer that is almost too good to refuse. It may be a free thirty day trial to a software program that would be highly useful to your customer (think an example like JungleScout for Amazon FBA builders) or a reduction on a product you are affiliating. To make your offer stand out you could offer to send something to the customer in conjunction with takeup of the affiliate offer you are championing. There’s endless literature available on crafting really successful sales copy, I won’t touch on it in this article.
Level Up: Using email in conjunction with other means of communication
So you have one of your customer’s ears now that they’re subscribed to your all-important email list. What could be better? Having their other ear through another means! We are constantly bombarded with content from multiple independent channels through the internet, wouldn’t it be great to get some of the really directed stuff to your customer through another channel. Well, it’s possible!
Facebook Messenger, when used well, has significant advantages for you in contacting your customers. If you can effectively gain subscription through this method, it has astronomically higher read and clickthrough rates. What works best of all is when both are used in unison – complementing each other to create the message you want.
Think of it this way – through one medium make an offer that is available to your customer audience, but only if they subscribe to you through another method, such as facebook messenger, using a platform such as Manychat. When you have a potential customer on both platforms, all of a sudden you become a much more powerful influence in their lives.
Manychat (see my article about chatbots here) is a fantastic platform I recommend to integrate with any facebook presence you have, or even any web presence you have. You can even successfully collect emails via Manychat using facebook messenger directly into your autoresponder (again I recommend Getresponse for example.)
In terms of sequencing and logic of emails, your only limit now is your imagination. Having said that make sure you check out Facebook’s rules on messenger marketing which are a bit tricky but well worth mastering.
How much is too much, and how long should my sequence be?
On the first of these: it’s my belief that you should not email more than daily to your audience, and not less than weekly. Having said that one of my favourite subscriber emails arrives in my inbox monthly, but to be honest that’s a real outlier. Anything more often than daily ends up looking like spam to your user, and it will bump your unsubscribe rate and end up costing you more business than it gains. Less often than weekly and you risk your audience forgetting why they subscribed to you in the first place.
As for how long your sequence should be, well, that’s a bit easier – as long as possible – you never know when a potential customer is on the fence with one of your offers and if just that one more email will see them through to becoming a conversion and a commission. Ultimately you’d have a marketing team behind you writing every day… but I know that’s not possible for most affiliate marketers. As an absolute minimum don’t make it any less than 10 emails, with the majority of them adding value to the audience.
Some successful affiliate marketers preach pruning of your email list to remove those that are never likely to buy products from you or engage with your content. Dare I say it – I am on the fence with this; there’s the positive that you are keeping your email list costs down, as most platforms charge per subscriber, and that if you cut someone off your list you are removing people that are just tyre-kicking, weighed up against the possibility that the customer is just waiting for that right opportunity from you. You can get a good indication to an email subscriber’s level of engagement by their open rate and if they have clicked on any links, which any good autoresponder’s analysis stats should tell you in a jiffy.
In conclusion, there’s a helluvalot that matters when it comes to doing email sequences that convert for email affiliate marketing. The most important thing that I think you should master is your subject headline – it’s so important to get those initial opens and email reads. The rest ends up being for nothing unless you get that, so if you take nothing else away from this article, please take this: spend as much time thinking about your email subject header as you do writing the rest of your email body!
Affiliate Disclaimer: In case you were in any sort of doubt, yes, I’m an Affiliate in some manner for some of these programs and products. I like to practice what I preach. If you are intending to utilise any of these offers I’d love if you went through one of these links to support my site.