What’s the secret to earning a full-time affiliate income with email marketing?
It starts with the perfect email autoresponder sequence.
With an autoresponder, you get to contact subscribers multiple times about an affiliate offer. The best part is it’s a “set it and forget it” solution. All you have to is to create a sequence one time and it’ll make money for years to come.
Now, an autoresponder sequence shouldn’t be used to bombard a list with offer after offer. Instead it’s important to strike that healthy balance between providing value and promoting a product.
What’s funny is many affiliate marketers understand the importance of email but they struggle with how to create an autoresponder sequence. They have questions like:
- How to balance multiple affiliate offers
- What type of emails to send
- How many messages should be included in a sequence
- When to send a sales email and when to deliver content
This post is going answer all these questions!
By the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll know how to build a successful affiliate autoresponder sequence.
Apply this NOW and you’ll be making a steady affiliate income by the weekend.
So let’s get to it!
The Quickest Path to Email Autoresponder FAILURE
I’d like to start with a story:
Imagine this. You’ve gained 20 pounds in the last few months. Summer is approaching and you desperately want to shed these winter pounds. This is especially true because you’re going on a cruise in May and want to look your best.
What do you do?
If you’re like most people you hop online and look for tips to lose weight fast. Fortunately you find a report titled: 15 Steps to the Perfect Beach Body in 4 Weeks
You feel like you’ve hit the jackpot. This report promises the exact result you want. So you dive in and finish this eBook in an hour. The information is okay. It has a few useful tips, but doesn’t really provide an actual solution.
Your inbox is suddenly flooded with email from the creator of this free report. You get messages that sound like this:
- Buy this product about getting six-pack abs…
- Want to gain muscle mass? Check this out…
- Getting Older? Try this solution for looking 20 years younger…
- Grab this proven system for working out at home and losing weight…
We’ve all had this happen to us. You join a list hoping it’ll help solve a specific problem. But you end up on a list where you get bombarded with one sales pitch after the other.
What usually happens is you get sick of this marketer within a week and hit the unsubscribe button.
Ultimately nobody wins. You still have those 20 pounds to lose. And the list owner didn’t make an affiliate commission.
This story illustrates what happens when you burn out a list. This is the end result of aggressive marketing tactics that don’t provide value to the reader. It might make quick money but it’s a horrible long-term strategy.
What’s the solution?
Build an autoresponder sequence that blends aggressiveness with a whole lot of quality content!
You’re still marketing to a list. But you’re doing it in a way that’s focused on helping subscribers. In fact, 80% of your emails will provide valuable content – With the remainder recommending affiliate products.
So let’s learn how to do this…
The Foundations of an Autoresponder Campaign
A responsive autoresponder campaign is built on a solid foundation. This means you need to do three things before sending a single email:
#1- Select the Right Affiliate Products
This post isn’t about affiliate product selection. So I’ll keep this brief.
To start, I recommend finding 5 to 7 affiliate products to promote. Each should solve a specific problem in your market. Just take a look at the biggest obstacles people have and find products that overcome them.
To illustrate let’s use the fitness example from before. If you were marketing in this niche you’d want to find products that help people learn:
- How to get six pack abs
- What equipment to use in your home
- Specific exercises that help build muscle
- What types of foods are best to eat
- How to drop 10 pounds for the summer
- How to develop a lifelong fitness regimen
These are just a few examples of the fitness niche. If you spent a day doing research you’d probably find dozens of problems that people have in your niche. Simply find a product that solves each problem and you’ll have the first building block of your autoresponder sequence.
#2- Track Each Email
I can’t over emphasize the importance of tracking every single email.
First off you need to track the open and click-thru rates of your emails. This is something that’s handled with an email marketing program like Aweber. This program gives a nice statistical breakdown of how each message performs.
Next you’ll want to insert a tracking ID for the affiliate links in your email. Again this information helps you measure the performance of each message.
Creating a tracking ID can be easily done through most affiliate programs. As an example, in Clickbank you can insert a tracking ID in every link. This is identifier will be automatically included in the analytics section of your affiliate account.
Here’s how to set it up in Clickbank:
And here’s what your raw affiliate link will look like:
Tracking each affiliate link is super important. It’s the only way to know what’s actually working with your marketing.
#3- Create an Autoresponder Publishing Schedule
Developing a publishing schedule is the final building block of a solid autoresponder sequence. This tool is the ultimate way to manage the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
A publishing schedule doesn’t have to be complex. Simply open up a spreadsheet and include a column for each of the following:
- The title of the autoresponder
- The interval number (days since the last message)
- What product is promoted
- The type of email
- The affiliate tracking ID
- Any notes you have about this email
Don’t worry if you’re confused by some of this information. All will be revealed by the end of this post!
To illustrate what a publishing schedule looks like, here’s a mock-up using the fitness example from before:
This is a very low-tech approach to an autoresponder sequence. But it’s still extremely effective. It allows you to manage email without having to open multiple files and/or websites.
Autoresponder vs. Broadcast Messages
With email marketing you’re given two basic choices:
1) Set up an autoresponder sequence
2) Send broadcast messages
Let’s go over each:
What’s an Autoresponder?
An autoresponder is simply email that’s sent to a subscriber in a timed sequence.
Think of those automatic messages you get when a person is “out of the office” or on vacation. The moment you send an email to this person you get back a pre-written response.
An autoresponder is a more elaborate version of this email.
The moment a person subscribes he/she receives a series of pre-written messages based on a sequence that you’ve already set up.
As an example, this is what happens when someone subscribes:
- On day 1 email #1 is sent
- On day 4 email #2 is sent
- On day 7 email #3 is sent
The beauty of an autoresponder sequence is you only have to set it up ONE time. Then these emails work on autopilot as you get to enjoy the rest of your life.
The moment a prospect joins your email list, he or she will automatically receives this sequence – WITHOUT you doing a thing.
What’s a Broadcast Message?
A broadcast message is an email that’s sent to prospects – Regardless of when they joined. In theory, a person who just subscribed receives the same message as someone who’s been on your list for years.
Sending a broadcast message is useful for those times when you deliver date specific information. Like a link to new blog post or a promotion for a new product that’s just hit the market.
Another great thing about a broadcast message is you can target a certain group of people on your list.
Instead of sending an email to everyone, you can target people based on a set criteria:
- Date joined
- Traffic source
Ultimately broadcast messages are the best way to stay current with your list and make sure you’re sending up to date information to each subscriber.
Should I Use Autoresponders OR Broadcast Messages?
Now that you understand the difference between the two, let’s answer a simple question:
“What should I use with my email list?”
Put subscribers through an autoresponder sequence. And then add them to the list of people you contact via broadcast messages.
How to Set Up an Autoresponder Sequence
Now let’s talk about how to set up an autoresponder sequence.
My advice is to pick 5 (or more) products to promote. Each will tightly focus on a different problem/topic in your niche.
Also, make sure each product doesn’t directly compete with one another. So if one product talks about “how to develop six-pack abs” then you shouldn’t include another six-pack abs product. This will only piss off people because you’re giving conflicting information.
Finally there should be 2 to 4 days between each message. Test this on your own and see what works best with your market. Some will respond to a high volume of email, while others won’t like getting a lot of email.
Use an Autoresponder Mini-Launch Sequence
Product launches are now common practice. We’ve all been on a list where there’s a huge build-up to a new course that’s about to hit the market.
There’s a science to a product launch sequence.
By stringing together a series of emails, focusing on a single product, you build excitement and anticipation. Done correctly, this sequence will make want to buy before you’ve even seen the sales page.
The reason marketers use product launches is because they WORK! With a blend of content and salesmanship, this technique eliminates all objections that people have about a particular course.
The good news?
You can take the fundamentals of a product launch and apply to your autoresponder sequence.
What you do here is string together email messages that talk about Product A. This repeated exposure will show the value of this course and give a subtle push to make subscribers buy it. Then once a sequence is completed for Product A, you’ll move on to a sequence for Product B.
This is what I call an Autoresponder Mini-Launch Sequence.
To start I recommend using 3 to 5 emails for each product. This is that sweet spot between aggressive promotion and giving quality information to a list.
5 Types of Autoresponder Messages
My autoresponder sequence has five types of email. These will follow a set pattern that builds on the content of the previous messages:
1) Personality Email: With this email you relate a topic to an event/experience in your life. It doesn’t require a lot of content. The important thing is you tell a story about a problem and casually point out that the reader might have a similar experience.
At the end (or the P.S.) briefly mention a product that’s related to this message. Don’t be pushy. Just introduce it and provide a simple link. That’s it.
2) Value Email: This is the workhorse of your autoresponder sequence. With this message you give away a great piece of content that partially helps subscribers with a problem. This could be a lengthy email, a PDF, audio, webinar or video.
As an example, I could easily take this blog post and turn it into a value email.
With the value email you want to talk about the same product you mentioned in the last message. The only difference is you’re now providing a few examples of how it helped you solve a problem.
Again…don’t be pushy. Talk about how it’s helped you. But make sure that the reader is primarily getting GREAT content.
3) Product Email: With this email you’ll change tempo. You’ve already introduced this product. Now you’ll allow the product creator to demonstrate his/her knowledge.
Most affiliate programs have articles/videos/free reports which give additional value while “preselling” the product. Simply include a link to this content. Many subscribers will make an affiliate purchase simply because they get a demonstration of what’s being offered.
4) Sales Email: Here’s where you seal the deal. The last three messages introduced the product while also picking up a few affiliate commissions. With this email you’ll make an aggressive push to buy the product.
The style of this email really depends on your preference. You can be super aggressive. Or you can send a laid-back message that simply describes how the product has helped you. The key here is to only include links to the page where subscribers can make a purchasing decision. Think MWR.
5) Follow-Up Email: This message is completely optional. If you’re getting a lot of sales from a particular product, then you might want to send a “last-chance” reminder.
To be honest, some folks need an extra step to take action. Sending a follow-up email is a great way to get people buy a product before they miss out.
The Importance of a “Bridge Email”
At this point you have a series of 3-5 emails that promote a product.
At the end of each sequence you should add what I call a bridge email. This is a content-filled email that adds value without pushing an affiliate product. It’s a way to demonstrate value to subscribers and showing that your email list is about helping people – Not just making money.
So at the end of every sequence, send an email that subscribers will find useful.
Finally after the bridge email you’ll start back up with another autoresponder sequence (3 to 5 emails) that promotes a second product.
Rinse and repeat till you’ve covered at least five different products.
A Diagram of the Autoresponder Sequence
I kinda flew through describing the autoresponder sequence. So here’s a diagram that illustrates this concept:
As you can see, this sequence seamlessly flows into one another.
Product A: Personality –> Value –> Product –> Sales –> Follow-Up –> Bridge
Product B: Personality –> Value –> Product –> Sales –> Follow-Up –> Bridge
Product C: Personality –> Value –> Product –> Sales –> Follow-Up –> Bridge
Repeat till you’ve covered every product in your affiliate catalog.
The great thing about this sequence is it provides a lot of value while also promoting a product. You’ll make money but it won’t burn out your list. You could do this a bunch of times and still help subscribers – Even if they don’t buy anything.
How to Create Content for an Autoresponder Sequence
Okay…You might be wondering how to come up with so much content for your autoresponder sequence.
Fortunately it’s not that hard! Probably you already have a bunch of content that can be reused as an autoresponder.
To start I recommend reading my post about 10 ways to recycle your web content.
In addition you can get content (and ideas) from the following:
- Blog posts and articles you’ve previously created
- Audio/Video versions of your written content
- Questions readers have asked
- Questions you wish readers would ask
- PDF collections of articles around one theme
- How a recent trend/event relates to your niche
- An interview with an expert
- A personal story and how it relates to a topic
- An elaboration of something you mentioned in your lead magnet.
- How a popular idea/concept is completely wrong
- A technique that’s personally helped your success
This list could go on and on.
The important thing is to blend content with great marketing. Basically you’re giving away top-level content while earning a sizeable affiliate income.
Tracking and Tweaking Your Autoresponder Sequence
This is the final but most important step in this process.
Remember how every email has its own tracking code? Well, periodically track the results and measure the performance of each email.
Once every month (or two) record the following:
- The open rates
- The click thru rates
- How much each email earned.
You can put this information on a new spreadsheet or simply add a few columns to your autoresponder publishing schedule.
The POINT of this task is to measure the performance of a certain message or product. Obviously a sales email will do better than a personality email. But you want to monitor the overall success of a particular mini-launch sequence.
Ultimately your goal is to tweak each sequence and put the best performers at the beginning of your autoresponder series. That way the winners are getting the maximum amount of exposure from your list subscribers. This is a great way to dramatically increase your affiliate earnings.
Did you LIKE this Post?
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a massive value post like this.
And I have a reason for it…
This article is a sneak-preview of what’s included in my forthcoming course: Affiliate Marketing without the Bulls**t
I figure the best way to demonstrate the value of my course is to give you a small excerpt.
So hopefully you learned a little bit about affiliate email marketing from this article. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Anything that YOU add will help me improve the product I’m about to release.
Please comment below and let me know what you think…Take Action. Get Results.