Blog // Affiliate Tips

7 Steps to a Killer Newsletter Strategy

Written by: Simon Slade, Guest Blogger

If you read my earlier post on acquiring visitors’ email addresses, you understand how important it is to build an email list, and how a newsletter can be a great way to get value from those subscribers. But how can you promote products in your newsletter series without sending your subscribers running for the “unsubscribe” button? How do you promote newsletter loyalty and, at the same time, monetize it to the max?

Let me share with you my 7 steps to a killer newsletter: How to grab readers’ attention, hook them, and sell to them. We at Affilorama employ this strategy quite regularly with our newsletter lists, and with subscribers topping 100,000… we must be doing something right!

Step 1 – Refer to it as a ’6-day mini course’ instead of a newsletter

  • Firstly: It’s more exciting than a newsletter – Essentially it’s the same thing but it sounds a lot more interesting. And, because you usually pay for a course, subscribers will feel like they’re getting something of value for free!
  • Secondly: It lowers the commitment barrier – By signing up for a 6-day course, subscribers will not feel like they’re being added to a list they’ll never get away from.
  • Thirdly: It builds trust – By creating a 6-part series of high quality emails, you build a good reputation with your subscribers and get them used to opening your emails.

Step 2 – Build an inviting sign-up box

You need to make it really obvious how to subscribe. A good idea is to have your sign-up box display “above the fold” and appear on every page of your site.

Your sign up box really has to pack a punch. Don’t just shove a little form in your sidebar and hope for the best. You need to sell your newsletter – almost as if it was a paid product.

We’re not saying that you have to create a huge sales letter for it; a few bulletpoints covering what people will learn in each lesson is sufficient. But don’t give too much away. Create a bit of mystery, and make it enticing!

Step 3 – Make sure your content is the very best you can offer

It’s an old saying that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and it’s true for your newsletter. If you don’t capture the attention of your readers from the start, there’s every chance they will unsubscribe and you will have lost them forever!

Conversely, if they haven’t unsubscribed within the first 10 to 15 emails, then they will probably stay on your list for good. Fantastic! Another reason to make sure that your first 10 emails are first class.

The quality of your content also sets the tone for how much readers will respect you as a source of trusted advice. If the content has obviously been copied, scraped, or lacks substance, it’s likely your readers won’t view you as an authority and your product recommendations will be far less successful.

Step 4 – Include affiliate promotions, but leave the hard sell at home

While there’s nothing wrong with including relevant affiliate links to ClickBank products in the body or signature of your emails, the focus really needs to be on valuable content. So avoid the hard-sell in your mini-course.

One technique is to just say “if you’re looking for the best guide to XYZ, I really recommend ABC. It gets right to the heart of 123 and will teach you XYZ in no time” and then return to your main content. You need to remind yourself that you are trying to build trust. A constant sales pitch will undermine that.

Step 5 – Day 7 promotional email

After the 6-day course has ended, your subscribers are ready to get a hard-sell promotional email. This could be a product review or talk of a recent product launch. Pull out all the stops and sell, sell, sell. Include limited, time-sensitive offers or create truly unique deals by adding your own bonuses that you’ve put together for this promotion.

Step 6 – Keep emailing them every 3 days

At this point you need to decide which direction your newsletter will take:

Option 1 – If you want to build loyalty and have long-term subscribers, then offer a mix of informative and promotional emails, emailing every 3 days, with every 3rd email being something promotional like a product review.

Option 2 – If you’re not interested in building up your email list as a long-term asset, you can take the option of ongoing, rapid-fire promotion. Product reviews, launch offers, YouTube reviews and affiliate links should feature heavily in all your emails. True, your subscribers will probably end up growing tired of it but hopefully by then they’ve bought from you at least once!

So, is emailing every 3 days too much? Surprisingly, our tests proved that emailing two or 3 times a week was optimal. There are reasons for this and why email frequency is a vital part of your newsletter strategy but the key is: don’t be afraid to email people frequently. Chances are they won’t be opening all your emails so in reality they aren’t actually getting 3 emails a week after all!

Step 7 – Track your newsletter performance like a bloodhound

Don’t fire and forget. Know which newsletters are helping and which are hurting.

  • Check your autoresponder statistics to see which emails are generating the most unsubscribes. Look at what might be offending your subscribers in these emails. Can you fix it and keep them hanging on?
  • Use ClickBank’s tracking IDs (TIDs) to see which promotional links are getting the most clicks. Create a new tracking ID for each newsletter. If nobody is clicking the links in a particular email, can you see why that is?
  • Don’t forget to use redirects or other link-rewriting services to make those nasty affiliate links look pretty and inoffensive to click on!

Hold up just one minute – Is your niche newsletter-worthy?

Before you even start down the road of building a newsletter and getting sign-ups, you need to determine if a newsletter would be helpful or appropriate for your niche. Not every niche works well with a newsletter series. Dog training, World of Warcraft, and dating niches are good because people have a passion for these topics. On the contrary, I am yet to meet anyone who has an ongoing interest in yeast infections or hemorrhoids. Nobody wants to be reminded of these problems every three days!

Don’t underestimate the value of a good newsletter

Many affiliates find that a large portion of their earnings comes from their newsletter series. Sometimes they earn more from their newsletter than their actual website! Rolling out a killer newsletter strategy is one of the most profitable exercises you can undertake – you just need to make sure you do it right!

Have you used this newsletter strategy? Did you modify it to boost its converting power or did it not work for you?

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you review the Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing before kicking off your next campaign!

About the author

Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and affiliate tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers. You can follow them on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  2. Great timing! I’m working on a Niche Keywords Finder product page, and this advice will be very useful. Thank you!

  3. WC says:

    Thanks for these great tips on developing a great newsletter strategy.

    Tony V

  4. a good way and worth trying. I am very grateful that you have share to the people.

  5. I have always found Newsletter as an effective advertising tool. A good newsletter design can create wonders.

  6. Bronson says:

    Excellent advice and superb timing. I just started mapping out my first “7 day mini course” so this process makes it a lot easier for me to get cracking. Thanks.

  7. Dave says:

    Great post. This is very timely as I am in the process of working on my video (e course) now.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Dave

  8. Jon says:

    Good stuff! appreciate the tips…

  9. Having an email list and newsletter is very important for affiliate marketing. I personally like it because it gives you multiple chances to make a sale.

    The most common mistake that most affiliate marketers make is “hard selling.” Ideally you should be a matchmaker between a targeted prospect and a targeted product. You simply are the middleman that brings the product to them, and gets the commission.

    If you think about affiliate marketing in this respect, I guarantee you will get more sales, and better responses to your newsletter.

  10. Hi,
    I have read your Newsletter Strategy and I am impressed, but I have to say, I am a newbie
    and not yet familier with the diference between one or the other although a six day course sounds more exciting and would definitly grab my attention.

  11. Brie says:

    You explained these 7 steps so nicely, thank you for these tips. THe Email list and newsletter increase your chances so much of getting a sale.

  12. Caroline says:

    After being on line for three years now, I have much to teach. But mostly on what not to do. Although I agree hard selling is not the way to go. I must say, most people are aware of many game plans. And many 6 or ten day courses I have signed up for really did not have the information I was hoping for. So I myself am leary of them. The thing that attracts me the most is the promise of one on one mentoring. Although this may be difficult for some to do. I find that if one takes the time to show the way and not just tell the way, it more benefitial. If one does deside on a Killer Newsletter strategy, they should be sure the lingo is understandable for every marketer. I am still a bobe. And I love to learn how to apply everything I read, but often times that comes with a super High Price tag.

  13. Several Turnkey Tips here. I practice, teach and implement the majority of theses strategies. The others will be added!

  14. Dawn says:

    I’ve been training small business owners in marketing for fifteen years, but am relatively new to online marketing. I love the idea of offering an online course instead of a newsletter. You could also add that offering a low priced product which converts your prospects into purchasers will make it 6-10 times more likely that they will also purchase your higher priced products. Well done!

  15. Tim says:

    Thanks Simon. . . I’m actually a subscriber to the Affilorama newsletter/email and they’re worth reading.
    Tim

  16. Great article Simon. I will be implementing some of your strategies on my newsletter. I especially agree with your view on tracking.

    Tim

  17. David says:

    Thank you for this killer strategy. I will apply.

  18. Tim says:

    A year old, but this perfect timing for me. I think the “6-day mini-course” title will work wonders for me. Time to revamp my followup series!

  19. Hello Simon,

    What is the unsubscribe rate after the 6 day mini-course ends? What about the open rate?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  20. michael says:

    I love all the advice Simon has laid on for us here…..and what a great overall strategy as well! There are many ‘newsletters’ (and I do mean many) I have dumped simply because they became just a ‘promote-the-next-thing-whatever-it-is’ fest and I got sick of them.

    I know it’s a tough gig doing the whole balancing act – between killer content and making money – but it’s imperative if you’re to be in this difficult business for the long haul.

    I use myself as a typical example as there are a few marketers (very few in fact – maybe 6 or so) that I follow religiously (and would never unsubscribe from) because they do the balancing act so well. Their content is 1st class and they sprinkle the odd promo in from time to time – perfect. One day, when I grow up, I will be just like all of them.

  21. Puntadelfaro says:

    The major drawback with this plan is that if you get someone to join a mailing list for one purpose, such as getting a newsletter related to whatever your site is about, and then send them sales messages for third party products as described above, you are in fact spamming your list and are going to get into trouble…

    • bbb
      Beau Blackwell, ClickBank says:

      Puntadelfaro,

      What you’re talking about isn’t spamming, since the person agreed to receive messages from you. Spam is, by definition, “unsolicited [i.e., unrequested] email.” As long as you give the person the opportunity to opt out of communications from you, and honor their request, it’s not spamming and therefore extremely unlikely you’d get in trouble.

  22. Boris C. says:

    As regarding health problems, you can offer your subscriber healthy tips or news in general that might interest them.

  23. Hi Simon, your article is truly inspiring… I will apply!

  24. Thanks simon…..excellent course.

  25. Andrew says:

    I appreciate your strategy and insight about making a good responsive newsletter.

    Thanks

  26. There is no doubt about it whatsoever. This is a great post. I agree entirely with all 7 points. The options too…

  27. Timothy says:

    Thank you Simon for this 7 Steps to a Killer Newsletter Strategy. I also totally agree with you that it is not all niches that is newsletter worthy. Thanks a lot. I appreciate this.

  28. Feka says:

    “6-day mini course”? I think it is a great idea! I hope to start implementing the idea immediately. Thank you!

  29. Simon says:

    I agree with Caroline, i thing we should be able to read a newsletter understand it and implement it. This is te the reason why many people quit to soon because they do not understand what they are doing.

  30. Tega says:

    Great article. Great info. Great strategies. Certainly, killer strategies – but no one gets killed! He! He!! He!!!

    Thanks Simon. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this post!

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