These are the most common mistakes I see affiliate marketers make while trying to build an email list with paid traffic.
#1: Not Understanding Your Prospect’s Level of Awareness
Even though you’re only an affiliate, you still have to think like a product owner when you’re buying traffic.
You’re deciding which level of awareness to use in your ads when you’re driving them to your website.
Based on your prospect’s level of awareness, you may need to “connect the dots” for them before you ever send them to an offer page (or even hint that there will be something for sale).
If you haven’t read this blog post I wrote about this, I would highly suggest doing so. Which brings me to my next point, the length of your emails.
The length of the email is really irrelevant.
The question you need to ask first, which will determine the length your email needs to be, is how much will you need to educate and persuade someone before they buy what you’re selling?
This is where some hardcore copywriting chops will come into play.
A perfect example to use here is our gardening business (my dad and I are partners in this business):
We attract people to our websites with gardening information but we put people onto our email list for something totally different, How to Make Money Growing Plants at Home.
It’s (usually) something most people have never heard of before so it takes us an average of 27 days to convert a free subscriber into a $57 buyer.
And we still only convert around 1.5% of them into buyers. Those buyers have an average lifetime value of $105.
But if I just tried to send them straight to the sales page over and over again inside every follow-up email, they’d never convert.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating high-converting affiliate autoresponder sequences, I highly recommend Andre Chaperone’s Autoresponder Madness course.
That’s where I first learned how to write what he calls, Soap Opera Sequences, where your autoresponder series is one long story broken up into separate emails.
Each email includes open loops (cliffhangers) to build suspense and desire leading up to the next email.
It’s also where I learned how to write emails the way I do… short, punchy sentences, and easy-to-read copy.
He’s actually opened up ARM2 for free here, which is the one I went through. That’s my affiliate link but ARM2 is currently free. There’s a link at the top of that page. I highly recommend going through it.
Side note: there’s a video on that page of Perry Belcher and Ryan Deiss at one of the early Traffic and Conversion Summits telling the audience how good ARM is. I was in that audience and bought it that night in my hotel room.
#2: Creating Tons of Autoresponder Emails In Advance
Let me just first say, this is the part of building email lists that I LOVE the most.
That being said, if you overthink this, it will drive you freaking crazy.
Also, if you try to build out an entire email funnel with multiple autoresponder sequences, automations, and click rules, all upfront before you start running any traffic to it, you WILL fail.
You’ll either never finish building it out because you’ll start second-guessing everything you’re doing… OR… you’ll get the whole thing built, run traffic through it, and make no sales.
The best way to do this is to start with ONE autoresponder sequence of 5 emails that focuses on ONE problem, goal, or desire.
Notice I didn’t say to pick one PRODUCT. Products come and go all the time. Problems, goals, and desires never change.
People will always want to make more money, lose more weight, reverse their diabetes, grow bigger tomatoes, etc.
If you have to rely on a product to write the majority of your email copy, there’s a problem.
Here’s an email sequence I wrote a number of years ago for men who want to lose weight and build muscle. Pay attention to how I work the pitches into the copy.
I could literally slide ANY product in there without changing hardly any of my email copy because I focused on the problems, goals, and desires of the niche instead of the product.
Back to your autoresponder sequence… start with 5 emails, with email #1 being sent immediately upon opt-in and one email per day after that, all of which promote the same product.
If someone buys, remove them from the autoresponder sequence. Tag them, move them to a new list, whatever you need to do so you can separate the buyers from the prospects.
For those that don’t buy during those first 5 emails, ask them why they haven’t bought.
Add a 6th email to the sequence, send it 2 days after email #5, and straight-up ask them why they haven’t bought.
Give them a list of a few common objections and tell them to reply directly to the email with their reason.
Andre calls this a Feedback Loop. This is why you don’t build out a massive spider web of autoresponders and automation FIRST.
You take it one step at a time, get REAL feedback from your subscribers, tweak your sequence based on what they say, and continually improve your conversion rate until your satisfied with it. THEN, you can move on to the next sequence.
Another thing you can do in email #6 is, create mini-autoresponder sequences for each of the common objections that you include.
Have them click the one they’re struggling with the most and when they click they get added to a new mini-sequence that addresses only that objection. Here’s an example of one I wrote for marketers.
Depending on the niche, you’ll discover that you don’t have to send as many broadcast emails as you think.
Broadcasts should also never be automated. If they’re automated then they’re autoresponders. Broadcasts are for sending timely information (launches, news, etc.).
#3: Writing the Content of the Email Yourself
This one is easy and can be solved with one word… FORUMS.
People will literally give you copy-and-paste material in their forum posts.
It’s where they go when they’re desperate for help.
It’s an anonymous place where they can be vulnerable and honest.
Each of your autoresponder emails should cover one specific roadblock or challenge that people in your niche struggle with.
#4: Using Actual Lead Magnets
This is another easy one… your lead magnet is your autoresponder sequence. That’s it. Done.
Whatever it is you’re promising them on the squeeze page they can only get by being on your email list.
On your squeeze page, instead of giving away a “thing”, frame it as a “solution” to their problem, or a “shortcut” to their goal, or “the only way to achieve” their desire.
Here’s an example of one I created for our gardening business where I used a multi-page presell site (3 pages total) to “sell” the opt-in:
Here’s another example of how I did it for that men’s fitness email sequence I shared above:
Notice how I didn’t promise anything for free. I’m basically making them opt-in to hear my sales pitch (which takes place over a series of 5 emails).
But they’re happy to do it because I’ve touched on all their pain points.
They want to burn fat and build muscle, they don’t want to spend hours a day at the gym, and they want fast results.
#5: Messing Up the “After Opt-In” Flow
Never give your new subscriber what they opted in for on the thank you page.
You want to condition them to open your emails and click the links inside of them.
Also, there’s no need to distract them (and possibly even confuse them) with an offer on the thank you page.
You want them to read your emails so you can control the pre-framing of the offer.
It’s your recommendation that’s going to double, triple, or even quadruple the conversion rate.
But first, you have to get them to trust you, which is very easily done… just show them you understand their challenges, make them feel like you know them better than they know themselves, and they’ll trust your recommendation for ANY product you promote.