Do You Need an Email List to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing?

One of the things that I LOVE about affiliate marketing is that you can be successful at it in many different ways. Some people are amazing at converting podcast listeners into buyers. Others rely on product reviews. Others are outstanding copywriters. The best, however, combine different methods to be massively successful.

do you need an email list for affiliate marketing?

I’ll cut right the heart of this message:

You do not need an email list to be successful with affiliate marketing. There I said it, flat out.

In fact, I made more than $100,000 in 18 months…with less than 300 people on my list.

Most of that income came from product reviews and paid advertising on Facebook and Google.

Since then, I’ve more than 50X’d my email list…and my income has grown dramatically as a result!

You don’t NEED an email list to be successful with affiliate marketing, but it sure does help you to grow your business.

Simply put, the bigger your email list the more money you will make, from affiliate marketing and from your own products and services.

affiliate marketing with an email list

When to Start Your Email List

Let me be crystal clear on this:

The best time to start your email list is the day you start your website. The second best time is RIGHT NOW!

Don’t wait to start growing your list.

One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see new platform-builders make is that they start their website and focus solely on content.

Content, content, content.

They forget that the point of creating that content is (or should be) to get those people onto your email list so you can talk to them any time you want through email.

That’s why you need to offer an incentive (also called a “lead magnet,” an “ethical bribe,” or an “optin”) the moment you launch your site.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, or complex or perfect.

(Seriously, a good lead magnet should take less than 4 hours from start to finish to complete. Over time, you can improve it and test it, but your number one priority is to get something up to start.)

It just has to capture the attention of your ideal client.

For example, here’s a lead magnet I did on a post about using swipe copy as an affiliate:

lead magnet examples swipe copy

If you were reading this post, you would probably be interested in a detailed video of me showing you how I use swipe copy wouldn’t you?

So that lead magnet is going to attract the type of people that I want on my list – people who are promoting affiliate offers already and want to know how to use swipe copy better!

And the best part is that the video and the page took me less than 45 minutes to record, edit, upload and set up. Easy peasy!

You’ll also notice I have ANOTHER lead magnet in the sidebar next to this post.

This one is for a free report called Your First 100 Affiliates.

More than 2,000 people have subscribed to my list through that report. That’s great because business owners who either have an affiliate program or are about to start one are ideal prospects for me.

Don’t worry about getting your lead magnet perfect. Just ask yourself what your ideal prospect wants to know and create a simple video or PDF report solving their problem or question!

If you are interested in either of the lead magnets I mentioned above, you can get them here:

Free Video: How I Use Swipe Copy as an Affiliate

Free Report: Your First 100 Affiliates

(See – I’m doing it right now on this post!)

BOTTOM LINE: Not beginning to build your list is like walking past money lying on the sidewalk…and I’m not talking about pennies. These people are worth hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars in revenue to your business!

Make a commitment RIGHT NOW to starting your email list (and keep reading as I’ve got something that will help you do this!).

But What if I Don’t Have an Email List…Yet?

How to succeed at affiliate marketing with no email listIf you don’t currently have an email list, you can still get started with affiliate marketing. Just know that your success will be limited.

I am ALWAYS an advocate of starting to grow your email list when you first start.

But when you’re just starting out, there are two strategies you can use to begin earning money as an affiliate…even if you don’t have a list.

I take a deep dive into both of those strategies in my free report, How To Win At Affiliate Marketing With Little Or No Following.

And, yes, I will ask you to enter your email to get access to the guide…after all, I need to practice what I preach, right?

PRO TIP: if you’re unsure how to create and deliver a lead magnet to your audience, click on the link and go through the process of getting mine – you’ll see first hand the process your audience will go through when they get YOUR lead magnet! As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” So steal away!

RELATED RESOURCES: If you’re looking for a great email provider to start your email list, I recommend both MailChimp and ConvertKit. You can see all of my recommended online businesses resources here.

Why You Need an Email List to be GREAT at Affiliate Marketing

To be truly great at affiliate marketing you NEED an email list – I hope I’ve made that abundantly clear.

Here are 5 reasons why you need an email list:

1. Deeper Connection With Your Audience

There’s no more intimate connection than the one you have with those people on your email list.

You literally have one of their most coveted possessions.

Think about this. More than 70% of Facebook users have 200+ “friends.” Very few people subscribe to that many email lists. In fact, most people subscribe to less than 20. That’s 1/10th the amount of “friends” whose posts they have to sort through every day.

In other words, people add “friends” pretty much at will, without much thought, whereas they protect their email address. So, the connection is much more intimate.

This develops a relationship that can (and should) go much deeper than just transactional.

So when you try to sell an affiliate offer (or anything) to them, they already know, like and trust you…which makes the selling process is much smoother.

As Zig Ziglar says, “Selling is essentially a transference of feeling.”

When you have a relationship with someone, it’s much easier to transfer feelings than to try to do so with a stranger!

As that trust grows and develops, and people buy affiliate offers through your links, you will begin to have more and more buyers on your list. And as Dan Kennedy says, “A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.”

That means that once they have bought something from or through you, they are infinitely more likely to buy something else…and something else after that.

I have people on my list who buy nearly everything I offer to them – both my own products and affiliate products.

Is it because they’re gullible or “pushovers?”

No!

It’s because I have developed and cultivated a relationship with them so that they are confident that anything I recommend to them will be valuable and benefit them in their business.

And each of those relationships started with them first joining my email list.

2. You Are Guaranteed To Be Seen

Gmail Inbox Tabs

The average email open rate is 10-20% in most industries.

That might seem low, but it’s still considerably higher than the percentage of people who are going to see (or engage with) your Facebook post or your tweets.

It’s rare to see week-old Facebook posts, but I read and respond to week-old emails all the time.

Believe it or not, Facebook doesn’t show you every post from every friend. They have complex algorithms that determine what you see and when you see it.

And studies have shown if someone doesn’t look at Twitter within 10-15 minutes of you tweeting something, they likely will never see it!

But when you send an email to your email list, it stays in their inbox until they choose to read it or to delete it.

They may not open every email, but they will SEE them…which gives you a much better chance of interacting with them than on social media where they may or may not see your posts!

3.  You Can Segment Your List and Your Messaging

When you have an email list, you can segment the list based on subscribers’ interests or any other factor that you choose.

This allows you to hypertarget your content and affiliate offers for greater success.

It also allows you to SERVE your audience better by giving them the exact content and products that they need and want.

Much of your content and some of your promotions might be great for your entire audience. But there are times when content or an offer is only right for a segment of your audience.

For example, if you are in the health and fitness industry and your audience is fairly homogenous (say, women aged 60+), you don’t have to worry too much about segmenting. But if you have both men and women, you’ll need to segment. Or if you have a wide age range, you will want to segment based on their age.

This is an obvious example as you wouldn’t want to make the same offers to a 32-year old male as you would a 74-year old female. But almost every list can benefit from segmenting.

Think of just a few demographic profiles that you can base your segmenting on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Children or No Children
  • Job Title
  • Income
  • Experience Level
  • Location

And these psychographic factors:

  • Fitness: Wants to lose weight vs. wants to gain weight
  • Relationships: Wants to find a marriage partner vs. wants to network for business
  • Price: Values “deals” over quality
  • Finances: Wants to build long-term wealth through investing vs. wants to save $50,000 for a down payment
  • Marketing: Wants more leads vs. wants to increase AOS (Average Order Size)
  • Parenting: Wants kids to “be more creative and independent” vs. wants kids to “be successful and get into the right college”

Or these behavorial factors:

  • Clicked a on previous link about a certain topic
  • Does not open emails with a question in the subject line
  • Engages more with videos than blog posts
  • Open rate on Sundays is 3X higher than any other day of the week

And so on…

Just consider the possibilities in how you engage with your audience when you segment them. And you can only do this with an email list!

4. You Can Opt-out of Campaigns

When you have an email list you can give your audience the ability to opt-out of specific campaigns.

For example, recently I promoted Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever launch.

I sent a LOT of emails to my audience for that promotion, but at the bottom of every single email, I included a link they could click on which allowed them to opt-out of emails related to that specific promotion…but still get all of my other content.

email campaign opt out language

When they clicked the link, we tagged them in our email system as “out” for that promotion and didn’t email anyone that had that tag.

This allows people to self-select whether they want to know about a specific promotion, without having to unsubscribe from your entire email list!

5. You Own The Connection

It’s great to have a lot of Facebook friends, Instagram and Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections, but you don’t own those connections.

Those platforms own those connections. And as much as we might like to think that Facebook is going to be around forever, the likelihood is that it probably won’t be (MySpace anyone?).

If it goes away, so do all those connections!

The reality is that you are RENTING those connections from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other similar sites.

You don’t want to rent your connections, you want to OWN them…and when they’re on your email list, you own them.

Like I said above, if you want to REALLY succeed at affiliate marketing, you need to have an email list…and you need to start building it now!

That’s why I’m hosting a 5-Day List Launch Challenge this month to help you start or grow your email list!

I’m going to teach you exactly how to begin building your email list, broken down into 5 easy to accomplish steps!

You can get all the details and join the challenge here.

Grow my email list building challenge

Free Affiliate Training from Matt McWilliams