The money is in the list. Though the saying is old and tired it still stands the test of time because once you have people following you through direct channels (email) you no longer have to bend to the will of social networks, search engines, and risk it with advertising.
A list, even with just a few passionate followers, can bring in hundreds (or thousands) of revenue to your affiliate marketing business each year. Once you build trust with those on your list, through delivering great content, insights, and recommendations, you will most likely turn your email marketing into the forerunner of the revenue generating activities.
There is a problem with email marketing though.
Building the list can take time if you sit by idly waiting for people to opt-in. You may gain a trickle of subscribers here and there as they find your blog but it really is a numbers game. Plus, you need to keep their attention once they’re on that list.
The following are some of the various, proven strategies that will increase opt-ins so that your email marketing becomes a major traffic & money generating machine:
A. Limiters – You don’t want everyone to join your list – just those that are likely to take action – so one way to improve the quality of your list (and incidentally do the same for opt-ins) is by setting limiters and deterrents which drive the low quality types away from signing up. These limiters could mention what you plan to share, what not to expect from the list, and creating copy that speaks to only a segmented part of the community you’re trying to capture.
B. Popups – You see these everywhere because they work. I wouldn’t recommend throwing a popup right at someone when they hit your page because it doesn’t give them the chance to dig into the content they intended to view. Try having a delay on the popup until after they’ve settled in on the page or when they’re done scrolling to the end of the content. In this popup you should use incentives such as downloadables, ebooks, video courses, and more. Which brings us to …
C. Incentives – People are already receiving a ton of great information through your blog (and the rest of the site) so if your email pitch is that they’ll receive that same information to the inbox there really isn’t an incentive. Your email list should be treated like a separate business entity. Treat the list as if it’s an exclusive club where you share unique content that isn’t found on the blog. Also create lead generating items that will get people to sign up (as mentioned) but also pepper the list, now and again, with other freebies they weren’t expecting for a great surprise.
D. Shareable – Place call to actions throughout the email to get people to share snippets of information with others on social channels (which will point them back to a landing page or to a very valuable piece of content).
E. Contests – Make use of contests which require people to sign up to your list as part of the entry. Be gentle with messaging this segment of new subscribers since they may just be freebie hunters. If you aren’t receiving a response from them then remove them from the list. Break down that segment and slowly integrate them into your normal email broadcasts.
F. Triumph – People love when they gain recognition especially if it’s from someone they trust and follow. From time to time get in touch with one of your most passionate followers and let them take the reins to the email marketing via interviews or letting them share their knowledge. When you put them on the pedestal you will have others itching to be part of that inclusion, too, which can work toward increasing sign ups.
G. Segment – Segment the email lists so it’s not just one giant catch-all for opt-ins. Allow people to select what type of content they would like to be delivered so you’re always hitting the mark with them rather than the usual hit or miss.
H. Simplicity – Don’t go too fancy with the sign-up form or get too elaborate with the emails. People are already receiving hundreds each day so the faster you can get them signed up and digging through the email content the better. Sometimes a plain-text email will do better than one you made with a template and vice versa; it comes down to testing. Overall, though, do what you need to do to remove any barriers from users signing up.
I. Personalize – Video a great way to personalize your email list because it allows people to see who is delivering the message. When they see your face, hear your voice, and read your body language they will make a decision about who you are; if it’s positive they will want to sign up and pay attention for when your emails come in.
J. Direction – Place the opt-in forms in areas that are going to be frequently seen such as at the top of the sidebar, on the about me page, at the bottom of posts, across a site stripe, or via popups. Use visual cues like people pointing or looking the opt-in form. You could also use arrows or simple CSS effects to stimulate the visuals so they take notice.
K. Funnel – Use your social accounts, guest blogging, and advertising as a way to funnel people to a landing page optimized for email opt-ins rather than driving them to a generic page.
This touches just the tip of all the various strategies out there but they are certainly the proven ones that will get you there faster than trying to learn them all.
Try not to do them all at once to be honest. Pick one and put it into action and then test the elements around that particular area of improvement. Try to max out one strategy at a time, find a good middle ground, and then move to the next. Once you have them all in effect go back and test the little things because a simple 0.01% increase in opt-ins throughout the year could actually be a significant boost in your affiliate income (just do it).