Where we left it off in Episode 148 was we wanted to talk about what kind of strategies could be used, so I want to pick up the conversation there and we’ll talk about that. Again, if you want the slides that go with this discussion you can download them from the show notes.
Continued Fundamentals of Business & Email Marketing…
One month in the first half of the year, Pat Flynn’s affiliate earnings were $71,000 in affiliate earnings. Affiliate marketing works. The basic strategy is that you mention a product, you share the link – and usually you want to share a nice link, like LateNightIM.com/convertkit, and not a nasty long link – and people take some action and you get an affiliate sale.
You can do that. People do that in blog posts, they do that on podcasts, and so forth. I would call that the simplest affiliate strategy that you can take, you mention a product.
Maybe you’re standing in line at the grocery store and someone taps you on the shoulder and says, “I’m thinking about starting a podcast. What do you recommend?” I say, “I recommend that you go to LateNightIM.com/podcastingatoz and learn how to podcast.” That sort of thing.
That’s what I call basic affiliate marketing strategy. A better strategy would be what I mentioned earlier in this podcast, which is an affiliate strategy that relied on email marketing.
Why? One of the challenges of affiliate marketing is that you’re finding a customer and then you’re sending that customer to someone else. Maybe that customer comes back to you some day and maybe they don’t. That’s a weakness of affiliate marketing and it’s something you need to manage, but it’s something that is easily managed.
A basic affiliate marketing strategy that involves email marketing – and one of the reasons that I think email marketing is so important, no matter whether you’re using affiliate marketing or you’re trying to sell your own products – is that you can get someone on your email list by mentioning a content upgrade, like I’ve done in this episode purposely to demonstrate it, by asking you to go and download the slides.
You can link to that content upgrade from the show notes of your podcast, from your blog posts, from your ad, wherever it is that you’re creating that link. Then you can deliver that amazing content to someone. That’s value and they’re going to get that immediately.
Then subsequently in emails you can give them call to actions. For example, you’re going to find that when you opt-in to get this content upgrade one of the things that’s going to happen is that I’m going to remind you that ConvertKit is having a promotion.
Now, understand that one of the main reasons that I’m doing all of this in this way is to be transparent with you about how this can work for you in your business. Don’t pay too much attention to the ConvertKit piece. The piece that I want you to pay attention to is the way this is done so that you can do this in your business. That’s a key idea. That’s why I keep mentioning ConvertKit is because I want to be fully transparent with you by example to show you exactly what is possible and have you translate that into what might be possible in your business.
If you take that action to take that ConvertKit trial, that will result in an affiliate sale for me in some cases and could result in a commission. But, I still have you on my email list, so I can repeat the cycle. I can deliver you more amazing content and then I can give you later, after I’ve delivered even more value, another call to action. Maybe that call to action is for a hosting provider or whatever it might be.
I can deliver more content and keep you engaged and we can have an ongoing relationship where I’m exchanging the value that I deliver to you for value that you give back to me in the form of affiliate commissions or whatever it is.
Maybe when my affiliate marketing book comes out later this year I send you an email and say, “I’ve got this book on Amazon, go check it out.” Maybe when the affiliate marketing course comes out I send that to you and say, “The course is ready, go check it out.” Whatever it is, we can have an ongoing relationship.
That’s sort of the basic affiliate strategy. That tends to be one dimensional. That’s a much better thing. That’s the kind of thing that people have traditionally done with AWeber. They have one email opt-in, it puts them on a single list, and that’s a really good way to do that. People have been doing that with AWeber for more than a decade, maybe approaching now two decades, and it works really well.
The advanced tactic – and I illustrate this in a super complicated chart that I presented at Podcast Dallas and that I want to explain to you now – is what I think is the best fundamental way to create an email marketing funnel system. I want to try to describe that to you in some detail here. This is what I call an advanced email marketing tactic. If you want to follow along, you can see this slide in the show notes.
Generally speaking, we don’t have just one way to opt-in to our email marketing when we’re doing email marketing. This is true for ecommerce, it’s true for blogs, it’s true for people who do podcasts.
What I find is that usually you have some kind of sidebar opt-in, we’ll call that a generic opt-in. Usually it says something like, “If you want to know more about us,” or, “If you want our free checklist,” or want whatever it is, we have this thing plastered on every page of the site, “you can join us and we’ll give you this.”
Then after that, if we’re doing a good job of email marketing, after we send you the thing we’re going to send you more amazing content on a periodic basis, usually once a week. This is how most email marketing is set up and, in my opinion, should be set up. You have what we call a lead magnet, they opt-in to get the lead magnet, and you send them stuff. Periodically what you’ll find is people will do promotions to those lists and try to sell other things.
The truth of the matter is, though, that’s pretty generic and not really very effective. Usually what you find is people are coming to you and are interested in specific topics at any given time and it’s possible for you to generate lead magnets that are very specific.
For example, we’ve created a lead magnet for this very episode, which are the slides that support this conversation about email marketing.
You need a way to handle that. One of the cool things that you can do with ConvertKit that makes this possible is it supports this idea of tags. Without getting into a tremendous amount of detail about how to implement this in ConvertKit, once I have this fundamental email marketing funnel set up where “here’s a generic opt-in, if you want to learn more about internet marketing come join my list,” and I set up content, I can start to set up branches off of that, other entry points that I can use. For example, a specific content upgrade for this show. I can give you a little mini sequence that is specific to what you download.
Here’s the example. Normally, if you go to LateNightIM.com and opt in, you would get some generic email sequence that says who I am, what I’m about, and gives you information that is fundamental to internet marketing. At that point I don’t know very much about you, because you’ve just opted in, who knows why and who knows where you came from.
But, if you opt in with this particular opt-in for this episode, then I know that you’re a podcast listener, I know that you are interested in email marketing and potentially interested in ConvertKit. I can ‘tag’ you with that and I can give you specific content related to that topic. Maybe it’s just four or five emails.
If you opt-in through this episode’s show notes, you’ll see that that’s exactly what you’re going to get. You’ll get three or four emails that are specifically about email marketing. One of them will pitch ConvertKit to you again, call you to action to go register for ConvertKit.
Subsequent to that, you’ll be transitioned into my generic internet marketing sequence about how to grow your business online, the sequence that everybody gets. You won’t realize that, it will smoothly transition you through, but that’s a different way for you to get in to my email list and it is very specific to what your interests are at the time.
I can do this over and over again. I have another opt-in on how to create a domain name from a previous episode. I can do one for every podcast episode.
I can create specific landing pages on particular topics. Let’s say I write a simple ebook on how to build a drop-shipping operation with Oberlo and Shopify, we talked about that a few weeks ago. I can create a landing page for that and I can drive Facebook ads to that landing page and give an email sequence that is specific to that before I transition you into the generic sequence.
This is sort of the advanced email tactic that I really like. This is possible in ConvertKit because ConvertKit treats people as subscribers and it understands information about the subscriber. In AWeber they treat people as belonging to lists and it has subscribers in a list. Once they get in a list they’re sort of trapped in there and it’s relatively difficult to implement this sort of thing.
I’ve even looked at this again recently, because AWeber has implemented some tagging. Most of your advanced email marketing tools, like ConvertKit, are going to be able to do this sort of tactic where you tag subscribers and you give them information based on what their tag is.
For example, when you first come in to that email list and you’re tagged as having just arrived and getting email marketing content, I’m not going to be sending you the other content that you’re going to get later. That content is on hold.
In fact, this is how my email list works. I might transition you from the ConvertKit opt-in for the show notes download set of emails to a transition set of emails that gives you some additional generic information that I give everyone, but I’ll only give it once, and then into an evergreen newsletter sequence that you get for the rest of year once a week. I can control the flow of what information you get and when you get it.
A little bit hard to articulate on a podcast, it’s a little bit of a tricky thing to explain, but the idea is that if you have an email provider that supports something like this idea of tagging and sequences that are based on how the subscriber is tagged and identified, you can start to segment your list and deliver specific content that is laser targeted at exactly what the person is interested in at the time that they visit your site.
I think this is the fundamental idea that you need to implement in your business, whatever it is. You have a person that comes in, you deliver them information that is specific to the way that they came in, and then you transition them into a useful sequence of evergreen information that is relevant to them. If you choose, periodically in that evergreen sequence you can call them to action for particular offers.
Let me give you an example of how this might apply to ecommerce. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, “Fine, this works for a podcast, but I don’t understand how it works for ecommerce.”
In my ecommerce site, I have a site in a niche and in that niche there are sort of two kinds of people. There are people that are fans of the niche that buy fan gear and there are people that are actually in the niche that buy accessories. My niche is not golf, but let me give you an example of golf.
I have people that are golf players that are buying golf gadgets, that’s one kind of thing that I have for sale on my store. Then I have people that are buying golf fan stuff, like golf bracelets, golf t-shirts, and golf coffee mugs. Those people are necessarily actual golf players, they may be buying that stuff for another golfer. Someone who is buying particular golf gear, they’re probably actually golfers, or at least we’re going to make that assumption for the purpose of this illustration.
When I do my email marketing to someone who bought a golf bracelet, they’re buying golf accessories, that can look a lot different than the email marketing that I do to people who are buying golf clubs.
For example, maybe someone buys a golf club and the very next thing that I offer them is a particular golf driver that I think people who buy these golf clubs might also like this driver. Or, if I’m trying to add a bunch of value, maybe I offer them my five best golf swing tips. That’s an even better example. If someone buys a golf club, you offer them golf swing tips.
Someone who buys a golf bracelet, they may not want golf swing tips because they may not be a golf player, they may just be interested in golf fashion items. Maybe we offer them some other kind of product, like a golf necklace to go with their golf bracelet.
You can see how segmenting can apply in almost any business that you’re in. I think this applies very well to bloggers, because oftentimes what you’ll find on blogs is that they’re blogging on multiple topics.
Take my blog, for example. Maybe I am blogging on affiliate marketing and on ecommerce. Depending on what you opted in for, I can tell what you’re interested in and give you some specific information that is specific to the topic that you are interested in.
Maybe what I want to do is find out where you are in your journey. This is something that Cliff Ravenscraft does over at Podcast Answer Man. If you opt in to his email list over at Podcast Answer Man, one of the very first things that he asks you is, “Where are you on your podcasting journey? Do you want a podcast, do you have a new podcast, or are you a seasoned podcaster?” There’s actually a fourth category of listeners that Cliff has that are people that just like the show and don’t ever intend to create a podcast. He customizes the content that he delivers, identifies those people, and gives them content that is specific.
Those are all examples of the reason that a tool like ConvertKit can help you take people in from various places and tag them, bring them in, and give them the content that they really can use.
Why take them in from separate places? Why not just have one generic opt-in? The fact of the matter is, and I’m sure this is obvious to most of you, the conversion rate for somebody who you’re offering a specific thing that is directly relevant to what they’re thinking about or doing at the time is going to be much higher than the conversion rate for whatever generic lead magnet you have.
For example, in this episode if I tell you I’ve got this amazing thing, these slides that go with this podcast that are going to directly help you with what we we’re talking about, that’s a very targeted opt-in. As opposed to, “Thanks for listening to this episode on email marketing. If you want this opt-in that tells you how to change the color on your homepage, you can get that too.” That’s not what we’re talking about, so the conversion rate on that is not going to be great.
That’s why you want to have multiple sources of entry in your website, to make use of this fantastic content that you’re creating and this advanced email tactic of tagging so that you can get people the content that is exactly relevant to the thing that they just talked about before you put them into this lifetime long evergreen newsletter sequence that continues to deliver them value for years.
The other cool thing about this sort of sequence where you have multiple points of entry into a long evergreen content funnel is that there’s no reason you can’t call someone to action to loop back into another funnel.
Let’s say that you come in through the email funnel and you get an email marketing short course in addition to this download and then you’re in my evergreen email sequence. There’s no reason I can’t say, “By the way, if you’re also interested in affiliate marketing, let me know and I’ll send you some great affiliate marketing content.” Then when you click that it tags you as also being interested in affiliate marketing and gives you the opportunity to get that content as well.
I can loop you through all of these different chunks of content that you are particularly interested in. Now suddenly instead of this crappy generic email sequence where one out of every four or five emails actually matters to you, I’m delivering you laser targeted content that you love and now you’re to the point where you can’t wait until an email comes from me and lands in your inbox and you open it. That should be your goal for email marketing, is to create emails that do that.
Some pro tips regarding email marketing…
Now that you understand multiple points of entry into a generic funnel, let me say a couple of things.
One is that this takes time. Rome is not built in a day. Even my own email sequence is not perfect yet. I’m still working on it. If you test out my stuff, what you’re going to find is that it still has warts.
In fact, yesterday someone emailed me at the support desk and said, “Thank you so much for your emails. Love the show. By the way, here’s a typo.” The guy was very specific, he said, “I’m just sending you this information as a way to give back.” Sure enough, right there in my email there was a typo in one of my newsletter sequences, it’s been there for months or years. That was great and I really appreciated that.
I think it’s important to have realistic goals about implementing high end email sequences. Make sure that you don’t over-commit and then get distraught. I think it also helps if you draw this stuff out on paper and make kind of a blueprint for what your email sequence needs to look like.
Be persistent. Do something every day.
I think in general your emails should be relatively short. In the next episode we’re going to talk about best practices for email, email marketing tips, and I’m going to give you a long list of tips for your email marketing. Whether you’re using ConvertKit or whatever, I want you to have some great email marketing tips.
I think one great strategy that you can use if you’re starting from nowhere is to just make a commitment to write email for 10 or 15 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. These emails usually should be conversational, just like you’re writing an email to your brother, or your mom, or your friend down the street. That’s what people really seem to respond to, that’s what converts the best.
I think if you’re writing emails and telling stories, and you can get in the habit of writing email for 10 or 15 minutes every day, into a tool like ConvertKit, then I think you will be amazed at how fast you will amass fantastic content for your audience. Be persistent.
Bottom line; just the content itself is not a business. You need to have a strategy for matching offers with buyers. I think a really good way to do this is with email marketing, but not just the simple old school email marketing of capturing the email and then spamming people with offers or giving them a bunch of generic content. I think you can use a tool like ConvertKit and you can segment your email list and deliver them laser targeted content that will really help them, that will really create value, and will make loyal subscribers that cannot wait to get your email.
I think you need to be patient and persistent, and not quit on this journey. Make sure that this is a key part of your online marketing journey.
I’ll tell you a story. I’ve told this story before. It was told to me by Jeremy Frandsen over at Internet Business Mastery. He tells this story of a guy that he and Jason knew, the guy had created an online business and the business was going so well that he got two partners. The business grew and grew. Then there was a falling out between the partners. We’re talking about a six or seven figure business.
The other two guys squeezed the original guy out. One of these typical kind of stories where they just didn’t get along anymore, they weren’t seeing eye to eye about where to take the business, so the two guys ganged up on the original guy and they got control of the business and decided to go their own way.
In most situations, this original guy would have lost everything, but he was the guy who had control of the email list. He was able to take his subscribers with him. That meant that he could go start his own business the next day, by himself, and email everyone on that list and say, “Hey, here’s the deal. New business. Come on over here with me.” He did that and was very successful doing that.
Email lists are one of the few true assets that you can have in an online business that you truly own.
You can have a Facebook page, you don’t really own that. You can have search traffic from Google, that’s awesome but Google can shut you off tomorrow, you don’t really own that. You can have YouTube videos, but YouTube could cancel your account tomorrow or turn down your rankings in YouTube search tomorrow, you don’t really own that.
If you have a website that you really own and you’ve got an email list that you can mail to drive traffic to that website and to offers, you have a real asset that you actually own, that actually belongs to you, that you can take with you and use however you want. No one can take it away from you. That is a true value in business and that’s why people say that the money is in the list, because you own that asset and you can call people to action using it.
Wrapping Things Up…
I hope this has been helpful to you. I would love to hear from you. This is Episode 148 and Episode 149, and in Episode 150 we’ll be talking about email marketing tips and that will be coming to you soon. Hope you enjoyed this very much. I’ll talk to you soon.