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Charles Ngo is a well-known and respected internet marketer and a good guy. Here he discusses affiliate marketers and list building.

What do you think is the biggest downside of being an affiliate marketer?

Common answers I’ve heard:

  1. The competition ripping your campaigns
  2. The up and down of the industry
  3. Working alone all day in your basement

They’re all valid.

My #1 downside would be that most of us aren’t building any long-term assets. Some Americans are living paycheck to paycheck…some affiliates are living campaign to campaign!

We’re kinda running half a business. The positive of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need much capital to start off with. And we don’t have to deal with customers, inventory, merchant processing, or any other headaches that “normal” companies do.

But the biggest downside is that we’ll make money from a customer once, and the advertiser makes money from them for life (in theory).

A great bridge is to build an email list. It’s where you run a campaign and you’re also collecting someone’s email.

Here are some positives.

1. You Own the Email List

I follow some people who are making a full-time living off of YouTube, Facebook Pages, and other social media. I’m scared for them because it feels like their businesses are built on a house of cards.

They don’t realize this but the platform owns their audience. They can shut them down for any reason and there’s nothing they can do about it. Not only that but they’re constantly nerfing the delivery algorithms…(FB organic reach keeps decreasing)

With an email list, you own it. Don’t like the server provider you’re using? Download the data and move it elsewhere.

2. You Have a Huge Audience on Demand at Any Time!

Imagine if you had a list of 30,000 people.
You blast out an email and 20% of people open it.

You have the attention of 6,000 people!

Think what it would be like to be on stage in front of 6,000 people who want to hear what you have to say.

3. A Way to Ride the Ups and Downs

Affiliate marketing can be up and down. Maybe your top offers went down or your “accounts got banned.” Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just blast an email to a list and make thousands of dollarsrs?

4. You Can Monetize the Same Person Multiple Times.

Now that you have a way of contacting someone, you don’t have to settle for making money from them once.

As long as they open the emails, you can sell to them multiple times.

Instead of thinking about the $20 payout…think about the LIFETIME CUSTOMER VALUE.

$20 here
$5 there
$30 there

$55 payout compared to $20 payout.

Wouldn’t that give you a huge advantage over other affiliates?

5. You Can Run More Aggressive Offers

Some traffic sources are strict and don’t allow certain offers. You can run more aggressive offers if they’re buried deep in your funnels.

An email is just the beginning. You can collect as much data as you want such as the name, addresses, phone numbers, and more. The more data you have on the clients, the more valuable the leads become.

I’ve shown some benefits of building a list. The big question is…why aren’t many affiliates doing it? The truth is some affiliates are doing it and doing well…but they don’t talk about it.

I’m going to talk about why affiliates aren’t really into list building, and give you some tips if you’re interested in doing this.

Why Aren’t Affiliate Marketers into Building Lists?

1. Not All Verticals Can Build Lists

If your primary vertical is anti-virus, not many people are interested in getting emails about removing a virus. It should’ve worked the first time ;-).

The two biggest ones are anything to do with making money or beauty.

I’ve never tested this before but I’m sure vouchers / giveaways can be a winner.

2. It Can Be a Lot of Work

You have to write emails that are interesting, and can convert.

Affiliates have a hard enough time as it is writing headlines and ads. Writing 20+ emails? Damnnnnn….

If you’re interested in pursuing this but you suck at writing, then consider hiring acopywriter. A decent copywriter can range $50 – $125 an email, so prepare to invest.

3. You Can Operate at a Loss Initially

Affiliates like to see immediate results.

I can spend $500 today on a campaign, and see if it’s a winner within a few hours.

An email funnel? Not so much. Some funnels make their money back several weeks or months in. Most people are not patient enough, and it’s a little risky.

4. It’s Way Out of Our Comfort Zones

Affiliate marketing is hard enough as it is.

Building a list adds in variables such as open rates, deliverability, email compliance, funnel building, lead magnets, squeeze pages, and more much.

Ok, ok…deep down I’m saying affiliates are lazy.

Two Different Ways to Setup an Email Campaign

There are two ways affiliates approach an email campaign.

1. Emails as the Goal.

This means you’re running a campaign and your sole goal is to collect an email. Your landing page is a squeeze page designed to collect their email.

The downside is you’re operating at a loss initially. You have to invest money and not know how well the funnel will perform.

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Start slow and see how your funnel performs.

2. Emails as a Bonus

This is where you’re running an affiliate campaign as normal, and consider the emails as a “bonus.” You’re trying to profit or break even on the front end, and see the email list as the icing on the cake.

Some ways to collect emails:

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Additional Email Tips

1. Create an Avatar

People don’t just buy the product…they’re buying you.

I understand that not everyone wants to put their face on the product, so you can make up a pseudonym (What’s up Rich Jerk).

Sit down and create the persona you’re writing. Write down EVERYTHING.

How old are they?
What’s their life story?
What do they stand for?
What do they HATE?

A lot of emails is based on relationships, and people want to buy from someone they trust and like.

2. Deliver Value.

You can’t sell, sell, and sell or else people are going to unsubscribe.

You want the audience to look forward to your emails.

Help solve their problems. Tell them stories to keep them entertained.

I like 2 – 3 high-value emails, and then a pitch. And when you do pitch, it should be natural.

It should come from a position of, “Hey I had the same problem too, here’s my experience with this and how it helped me. You should check it out”

3. Consider a Joint Venture

You’ve built an email list, but you don’t want to deal with the monetizing. You can do a joint venture with someone who specializes in emails. Give him access to your list and split the profits 50 / 50. This lets you focus on your strengths.

Where do you find these guys? At most conferences there’s usually a mailer meet up.

Hint: The olders guys with ponytails are where it’s at. They may wear free conference t-shirts from 10 years ago, but they probably are rich as fuck, and seen everything there is in the industry.

4. Cross-sell Other Products They Might be Interested In

What else is your audience interested in? Don’t limit to only traditional affiliate marketing offers.

Is your vertical teaching people how to be a better Golfer? You might run out of Golfing courses and ebooks to promote.

They’re probably interested in supplements and gold clubs as well. Throw in an Amazon link.

5. Create a Compelling Lead Magnet

You have to give people an incentive for them to give you their email.

Think of a Lead Magnet as a bribe. Give me your email and I’ll give you x.

My biggest tip for lead magnets is they don’t have to be epic. You don’t have to spend months creating an epic mini book or guide to give away.

Offer a way to solve their biggest pain point in less than 5 minute.

6. Optimization Elements

Here’s what you have to optimize in a funnel

a. Squeeze Page
b. Lead Magnet
c. Emails / Funnels
d. Offers
e. Email Subject Lines aka Open Rate

7. Learn About Email Deliverability

If a segment of your email list is not opening emails, you’ll want to kick them off. This is counter-intuitive. Why would you delete someone if there’s a chance they’ll open one day and buy from you?

Not everyone you send an email to will receive it. The providers have algorithms that detect if your email is legit or spam.

If a large portion of your audience rarely opens your emails then the provider might think, “Hey this guy sends low-quality emails. It could be spam”

The people who never open your emails or take actions…it means the potential customers might not get the emails.

Remember in any business you want to find your ideal clients.

8. You Need a Physical Address

Email service providers will require a physical address. It’s going to appear at the bottom of each email.

I know what you’re thinking…”I don’t want thousands of people to know where I live or where my business is.”

Here are two solutions

a. Try a service like VirtualPostMail
b. Go to the UPS store and get a postal box

Conclusion

Campaigns don’t have to be hit it and quit it. There are options out there to build an “asset” in affiliate marketing, and I wanted to introduce you to email list building.

I know everyone’s obsessed with big numbers. What’s your record day? How much do you make in a month?

What really matters is what you walk away with in a few years. Think about the long term.

Additional Resources

Emailing is not my specialty so here are some other people who have good material.

Ryan Deiss
Russell Brunson
Stephen Esketzis
John Alanis (spoke at STM London)

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