One of the foundations of making money through affiliate marketing has to do with building a buyer’s list. But there’s a specific set of steps you have to follow in order to build a list of potential buyers. You can’t just ask strangers for their email address out of the blue. First, you must offer them something they can’t resist, like a freebie. That will be the first step in them getting to know you and, more importantly, to trust you. If they like the free information/product you gave them, the next time you email them an offer that costs money, they’ll be more likely to buy it.
Creating an Opt-in Email List
Email lists are operated by services called autoresponders. There are many autoresponder services on the web. Most of them charge you by the number of subscribers on your list and the number of emails that you send each month. The price is reasonable, as long as your list is small. When your list reaches 2500 or more, the monthly prices get costly.
That’s why Sendy has become my favorite autoresponder. Not only is this autoresponder software available for a one-time fee, but it uses Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) to send out emails, which gets around one of the major problems in email list building – the problem of reaching the email inboxes of your subscribers instead of ending up in their spam box. Amazon SES makes this easy because you are piggybacking on Amazon’s email reputation and, as a bonus, Amazon charges a flat fee of just 10 cents per thousand emails you send.
Once you get an autoresponder and set it up, you need to create an opt-in form to capture the emails of your subscribers, this is the way you’ll build your email list and your email list equals money!
All super affiliates use more than one type of opt-in form as they try to gather the most subscribers they possible can. Here’s an example of a simple form that appears above the fold on every page of a website, like this:
Here’s an example of a form that’s a bit more complex but has shown to improve conversion rates. It’s called a 2-step opt-in and the reason it converts higher than a single step opt-in form shown above, is because it asks people a question first and if they say yes, they have made a minor commitment to you already, which means when they get to step 2 where you ask for their email, they are more likely to give it to you. Here’s an example of the first step in a 2-step opt-in form:
And an example of the second step of a 2-step opt-in form:
Once you’ve got your autoresponder set up and connected to your opt-in forms so you can start to collect your email leads, you’re not done until you set up an autoresponder drip campaign. A drip campaign is an email you set up in your autoresponder that gets sent automatically when a new prospect signs up for your email list. It can be something as simple as a “welcome to our newsletter/website” thing or it can even be a series of emails, all “dripped” out over a set number of days. For example, your first welcome email goes out immediately upon sign up, followed by another email maybe 2 days later. Followed by another email 3 days later, etc. These emails should provide a combination of more free content similar to the freebie they initially signed up to get and your affiliate offers. If part of your marketing plan has to do with reviewing affiliate products and posting the reviews on your website (highly recommended), you can also include a link to your latest affiliate product reviews in the emails you send out to your list.
Generating leads for people who have a problem they want to solve and are ready to buy a solution is what will make you money. You simply offer them a solution and then follow up on it. There are many ways to do this but the most often used are brief single-page free reports/resource guides.
Over years of split testing, many marketers have found that that an offer of a free report/resource guide converts even higher a more extensive, valuable freebie, like a free coaching session! So don’t over build when something simple will do the job just as well and often better! As long as the information is something that your reader finds of value, they will trade their email address to get a free copy.
Opt-in Boxes for Better Conversions
The quality of your opt-in box is directly related to your conversion rate. For best results, make sure your opt-in boxes include the following:
- Use Graphics: Use a graphic for your free report to give it an impression of higher value and include a detailed description so they know exactly what they will get.
- Bullet Point Benefits: Use a max of up to 5 bullet points to describe the specific benefits they will gain from signing up for your free course. Don’t give away any information—just tell them what they’ll get and make it as enticing as possible.
- Gain Their Trust – If people get the feeling that they might get spammed, they won’t sign up to your list. It doesn’t matter how good your freebie seems. To gain their trust, always place a disclaimer with the opt-in box that says something like “We never share your personal information with anyone” or “We hate spam. Your email is safe with us.”
- Free Product Access – If you’re giving away something more substantial, like software, rather simply giving them access to a download, send them to a membership site. This way you can have them register for access to your freebie and whenever they access your membership site, you have the chance to promote other offers to them.
To capture as many leads as possible, your opt-in box needs to be more than just a “name here, email here” type of thing. Take some time creating it so it draws your prospects in visually and contains enough interesting info to make them want to read about your offer.
Monetizing Your Email List
Once you have a list of emails of people who trusted you enough to register in return for a freebie, you need to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Again, here’s where marketers vary as to how often one should send email to their list. The best advice I can give you is to test it out for yourself. You might want to start out emailing your list every week.
As for content, sometimes you may just want to send them a link to your latest product review and other times you might want to promote an offer. Try to maintain a balance between emailing freebies and paid promotional items to your list.
Our goal is to build a buyer’s list, not just a freebie seekers list. The good news is that once a subscriber buys from you, the second sale to that subscriber will be much easier. And if you have any bad feelings or hesitations about selling something to people, get over it! If you sell good products that help your people, then will appreciate you and continue to remain on your email list.
Good Vs. Bad Leads
When it comes to generating leads and converting sales, your focus should always be on people who are ready to buy. That’s why we focus our keyword research on product and author names and buying keywords – because people looking to purchase often use those keywords during their research. It’s a lot easier to make a profit by sending your emails to people who are ready to buy.
Finding “Buying” Leads
There are lots of places to look for people who are ready to buy. First are those who already made purchases. A good technique you can use is to buy hot products in a niche you’re marketing in and then posting on the forums for that product. You can then link back to a squeeze page to collect email addresses or to a free product giveaway. Don’t try to sell directly from the forums , it won’t be very effective. On the other hand, gathering leads will be extremely effective because you will be dealing with people you know for a fact spend money and are already in the niche.
Another way to get hot leads is to go to live events like seminars, meetings, and group outings around the country. You’ll find lots of people who’d like to learn more about the products you’re selling. While this is more effective in some niches than others, the Internet Marketing niche is ideal for lead gathering at events. By creating something of value and handing out business cards with links to your squeeze page, you’ll be surprised how many people will give you their contact info.