A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with two friends of mine who build affiliate sites together.
They’re an impressive duo. They only started a little over two years ago, and they worked on their sites on the side while working full-time day jobs. I hadn’t talked to them in a while, but they are now on track to grow to 6-figures by the end of this year.
They’re doing everything right. They’re strong at SEO and have built up a ton of solid backlinks to their sites. They’ve hired talented writers, and have some of the highest quality content in their niche.
However, they’re struggling with growing faster. They were looking for things that could double their revenue quickly and take them to the next level.
Seeing how they weren’t building an email list, I suggested to them that they start looking into email marketing.
And surprisingly, they instantly objected. They told me how it didn’t make sense for the kind of business they’re running (which was mainly Amazon affiliate sites). They described how it didn’t fit with their business model and they were more interested in testing out new traffic sources.
They had an incorrect understanding of what an email list does and how it can work for affiliate sites. I went on to explain that more traffic is not always the best answer. Doubling your traffic is more difficult and time-consuming than doubling conversion rates or RPM. They both double revenue.
It took me a while to explain, but by the end of it, they regretted not having started sooner. If you run an affiliate site, and are looking for ways to take your site to the next level, pay close attention. I’m going to share everything I told them here with you.
Here are all the different ways an email list can increase your affiliate site’s traffic, revenue, engagement, and valuation.
Direct traffic to your most profitable pages
Let’s start off with the one that directly affects your affiliate sales.
If you’re collecting emails, you have the ability to create autoresponders. That means that whenever someone subscribes, they receive a series of pre-written emails. I do this on RankXL using ConvertKit.
Why is that good? Because within these emails, you’re able to direct more people to the pages you want them to see, maximizing traffic to your highest converting affiliate pages. You’re essentially adding on another traffic source for your more profitable pages, instead of just relying on Google.
But wait. Wouldn’t trying to collect email addresses distract users from clicking on affiliate links?
No. You can optimize your opt-in forms according to your site’s primary objectives. So if your goal is to get the maximum amount of people to click on your affiliate links, simply don’t show any forms during this stage.
You can use Sumo to build exit intent popups to only show an opt-in form when the reader is about to hit the back button. Exit intent popups convert extremely well.
Here’s an example scenario of how to use an autoresponder to increase affiliate sales
Reader lands on your site. They’re reading, reading, reading, and then decides to hit the back button. Popup form shows, and they subscribe.
For the next few 10 weeks (or however long you’ve created your autoresponder) they receive 10 emails from you (once per week) that send them to your top 10 most profitable, highest converting affiliate content.
You don’t even have to make any kind of aggressive sales pitch in your emails.
An example would be if you ran an affiliate site about running shoes. In your autoresponder, one of your emails might look like this:
Subject line: 50 slickest running shoes that sell out the fastest
Don’t you hate it when the newest shoe you’ve been waiting months to get sell out before you can order them?
It sucks, but it’s part of the reason we love these shoes in the first place.
Well, I’ve compiled a list of the 50 hottest, slickest shoes that are usually sold out.
Click here to check it out and see if the one you want is available.
And that’s it!
That’s not a sales pitch at all, but the traffic you send to your page will convert like hotcakes. You’re sending extremely targeted traffic to it – only the shoe fanatics who signed up to your shoes blog in the first place.
Now imagine every subscriber gets sent a series of 50 emails like this after they subscribe. What would that do for your affiliate sales?
Promote new or newly updated content
With an email list, you’re able to drive a flood of traffic to new (or freshly updated) pieces of affiliate content.
Let’s continue with our previous example and pretend that you have an affiliate site about the best running shoes.
You just published a shiny new guide reviewing a brand new item from Nike.
Without an email list, that page just sits there until you start ranking for your targeted keywords on Google. You might get some traffic to the page from visitors who click links from your other pages, but it’ll take a while before you start driving enough traffic to make any real revenue from it.
With an email list, every new article you write, you can drive hundreds to thousands of visitors to the page as soon as you publish it. That makes producing new affiliate content massively more profitable since you’re able to see immediate profits from the product you’re promoting.
Not only that, but it’s like having your dedicated outreach database. Instead of cold emailing a bunch of people to check it out and hope they share it, you can send it to thousands of people who already asked to receive it with a single broadcast email. That results in an immediate boost of traffic to the page, feedback, social shares, and possibly links and mentions.
The same goes for your old pieces of content. For example, let’s say you wrote an article last year about the 50 best running shoes of 2017.
In 2018, you can re-update that article, add a bunch of new shoes to it (with brand new affiliate links), and blast it out to your email list. Again, immediate profits that you can realize much faster than if you were to just publish and wait for it to rank.
Point is, you have the control to send a lot of traffic to the pages you want. And that’s a very powerful thing to have for an online business.
Run special affiliate product launches
If a company you’re promoting runs any kind of special promotion, an email list gives you the opportunity to take advantage of that and use it for a launch.
For example, if Nike decides to runs a huge sale one week for their Fall collection, you can treat that as a chance to do a big launch to your email list.
You can use their sales deadline as your scarcity factor, and run a full-blown launch campaign.
Partner with companies to run exclusive promotions
If your email list becomes large enough, you can even get companies to partner with you and run launches for their new products or any deals that they’re offering. This is a little more work, and a lot of affiliate sites never get large enough to make this work, but it can be done if you build up a sizeable audience.
You can run your own product launches
Want to add another income stream to your affiliate site? Creating your own product can be a very profitable option. I’ve seen this first hand for my own content sites.
Revenue earned per product sale is usually going to be multiple times higher than something like a 5% affiliate commission, so it can quickly outgrow your affiliate revenue, especially if you’re using evergreen sales funnels.
And lastly, an email list increases your site’s valuation
Apart from the fact that it gets valued higher due to higher monthly revenue, an email list is an added bonus when it comes to selling your site.
An email list is an asset on its own, and as you learned, there are a lot of options that become available to you when you have grown a large subscriber base.
Including an email list of thousands of people can make it more attractive to buyers, as well as increase your site’s valuation since you’re adding on another asset to it.
One of my recent sites was listed with a list of nearly 10,000 people, and it received a valuation of over 30x monthly revenue.
So now does building an email list make more sense for your affiliate site?
Have I convinced you that it might be worth getting into?
Let’s break it down…
The typical affiliate site runs on this kind of model:
Readers land on your site.
Readers who do convert… click the affiliate link, make a purchase, and you make a commission. However, unless they see you in Google again, they’ll never return to your site again. They’re lost forever.
Readers who don’t convert… don’t click on any affiliate links, hit the back button, and never return again. They’re also lost forever.
With an email list, that model turns into this:
Readers land on your site.
Readers who do convert… click the affiliate link, make a purchase, and you make a commission. Unless they see you in Google, they’ll never return to your site again. They’re lost forever.
Readers who don’t convert… don’t click on any affiliate links. However, you’re able to capture a percentage of them into your email list. They’re taken through your autoresponder, which takes them through your highest converting affiliate content. Your monthly conversions go up.
Over time, you build up a list of thousands people.
When you create new content, update old content, or have a product you want to promote, then all you need to do is send out a blast to everyone on your list. Immediately, you get a flood of traffic to whatever page you’re promoting.
Your commission sales increase drastically, and when it comes time to selling your site, the higher revenue numbers, and the included asset of an email list of thousands of targeted people, greatly increase the valuation of your site.
I don’t know about you, but option #2 is much more attractive to me.
Do you run an affiliate site?
Are you building an email list?
What are you using it for?
How has it worked out for you?
Share your experiences in the comments.