In any business, not just Affiliate Marketing, your email list is the lifeblood of your business. It’s your direct line of communication with your customers and really the business’ most valuable asset. This article will explain why having an email list is so important and how a big one can bring your business to the next level. This will answer the question of why build an email list to begin with?
What Is Your “Email List?”
This question is pretty straight forward but I want to clarify what I’m talking about for the rest of the article. When I’m referring to your email list, I’m referring to the list of emails you’ve collected over the course of doing business with your customers.
These can be collected either by giving away a free checklist online or when your customers are creating online accounts with your business. When a customer enters their email address on your website or funnel they are giving you permission to contact them unless they specifically request otherwise.
For this article, I will be talking about emails collected in a lead generation campaign. This is usually achieved by giving away something of value in exchange for an email address.
Why Is The List So Important?
If you’re into online business, your email list is the most valuable asset. If you were to sell your company, the valuation would be heavily influenced by its size. Your email list is important for a couple of reasons:
It’s A Real Asset
Online, the email list is the only real tangible asset a business owns. In the offline world, businesses have assets that can be sold and liquidated in the event they need money in a pinch. A construction company can sell a bulldozer for cash. A supplement company can sell its packaging equipment. A car rental business can sell a few cars.
Online, things are a bit different. The nature of being virtual means that nothing has any real book value and everything is easily replicated by the competition. . . except for the email list. Look at it this way. If you have an affiliate marketing business, you don’t have any inventory, you have no storefront, no machinery (except maybe a computer and a video camera), and really no tangible assets.
An affiliate business consists of software accounts, a website, and an email list. That’s it. Really any software business consists of that. In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 Billion! Microsoft could have easily built a Skype competitor in a weekend and launched it themselves for way less money. Why did they spend so much? They wanted Skype’s user base a.k.a. its email list. Skype had already amassed hundreds of thousands of users (Many of who were Apple customers) and Microsoft got access to them instantly in the deal. Now Microsoft had a direct line to them and could market to them.
The email list is your business’s most valuable asset. Don’t forget it.
It Creates The Right Type Of Traffic
Having a targeted email list (one where everyone has multiple things in common) ensures that when you create a new offer or are creating new content, the right people will be looking at it. In the beginning, you’re just writing or vlogging to the world and hoping the right people will come and see it. You optimize for SEO, but you still have to hope someone clicks your article or video. This is like shouting to the crowd at the mall (back when there were crowds at malls).
By offering something of value to that same crowd in exchange for an email address, you’re plucking people out of it and adding them to your Rolodex. If you do this right, the thing you’re offering will only resonate with the type of people you want to sell to and they will be the only ones who join your list. You want your “bait” to attract the right people, but that’s a whole other article.
After you’ve plucked enough people from the crowd at the mall, you now have a list of contacts that you know like your stuff. The next time you have something to offer, you don’t have to go to the mall and shout at the crowd, you simply have to send your list an email and they will come knocking.
A big, targeted email list creates a ton of instant, targeted traffic to a brand new website or offer that otherwise would be a ghost town. This is what the gurus mean when they say “run organic traffic to your offer.” If you don’t have a list, you have to run ads or hope and wait for SEO to kick in. The first can be expensive, and the second can take forever.
It Protects You From “Slaps”
At the beginning of your business, you rely on other people’s traffic. You try to interact on Facebook, you get found on Google, you post on Instagram, YouTube, etc. This is great to get results and traffic fast, but you’re not in control of anything even though you may feel like you do. Platforms can change their algorithms drastically to punish your content without notice and it’s referred to as a “slap.”
The Facebook Slap is a good, recent example. In the past, if you had a business on Facebook you created a Facebook Business page. From that page, you posted content and offers and people would see your stuff if they “liked” it. The more people that liked your page, the more people saw your stuff.
In 2019, Facebook decided without notice that it wanted people to interact in groups more because it felt more personal. Business pages with hundreds of thousands of likes were all of a sudden only able to reach maybe a thousand people because of the algorithm change. They all got “slapped” in the face by Facebook.
This same thing happens with Google all the time. Google changes its algorithm and “shuffles” the search rankings periodically. Businesses that were once ranking in the #1 spot may fall to 13 without notice. Guess what happens to their traffic? It plummets and so does their income.
By having an email list, if a platform slaps you, you can simply keep emailing your list and bringing the right eyes onto your website with little to no disturbance in your business. Another answer to “why build an email list?”
Email Traffic Is The Only Traffic You Own
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, email traffic is the only traffic you can own. Traffic on someone elses’ platform is only rented at best. No one can kick you out of a house that you own, but they can evict you from a house that you rent.
This sort of ties into the previous point. In addition to getting slapped, you could get banned altogether for seemingly no reason at all. If you had your social accounts banned, would you survive? If you had built an email list you could. You simply email the list, explain that you got banned, and let your followers know where to find you. Business should continue as usual because no one can ban you from your own email list.
Your Income Is Determined By Your List Size
A good metric to keep in mind with online business is that you should make at least $1 per email address on your list per month. Have a list of 500 names? You should be doing at least $500/month in business. In a lot of businesses though, that number is higher. The top internet marketing businesses are getting around $5 or so per name a month. This happens because they are offering higher ticket items and are selling more things to the same people. Again, through the email list.
Using this metric and assuming you’re new (we’ll use the $1 per month figure) how big of a list do you need to make $100,000 per year? 100k divided by 12 is roughly 8,333. You would need a list of approximately 8300 people to be making 100,000 a year at internet marketing. If you want to hit the 7 figure mark, you’ll need a list of at least 25,000. ($1M / 12 months = 83,333. 83,333 / 3 = 27,777. I’m using $3 per name now because I’m assuming you got good at marketing)
This is reason enough to choose an email provider with a large capacity. No one wants to be going gangbusters and growing their list only to hit the limit of their email software. You don’t need to have a ton of capacity to start, you just need to have the ability to scale up later because it’s a pain switching email providers.
Over Time, Your Email Becomes An ATM
When your list grows to a certain point, all you have to do is write a single email to the list directing people to a product and if it’s the right product, you’ll make thousands in commissions for only a few minutes’ worth of work. Pretty cool right? However, this doesn’t happen automatically. Only a nurtured, well-cared-for list can be an ATM. Here’s how you nurture your email list:
Don’t Sell Them All The Time
Every email you send your list should not be a sales email promoting something. You should be emailing your list often, but most of the time it should be helpful information, also known as value. By sending your list this information regularly for free, you become someone they can trust and like.
When the time comes that you do make a recommendation or sell them a product directly, they gobble it up because everything that you sent them for free was amazing. They figure if the free stuff was amazing, the paid stuff should be just as good so they buy.
Only Offer Quality Products
This ties into the first point. If you offer your people crap stuff, they’ll get frustrated and leave your list. If enough people leave your list, you won’t make any money. Always make sure you take a close look at anything you promote and don’t just grab a link off of Clickbank and start selling.
The weight your word carries with your audience is directly tied to the quality of the products you offer. If you offer crap products, they will think what you have to say is crap. Make sure your word means something and offer your people quality items.
Be Real With Them
Be a real human when talking to your list. People like someone they can relate to and bond with people who are like them. If you are goofy, be goofy in your emails. I used to work with someone in the car business who sent customers birthday cards on HIS birthday! He’d send them a card that said “just letting you know it’s my birthday today! I’m having a great day!” His customers loved it and he instantly made a connection with them because he was being himself.
Don’t think you have to become someone else to be a marketer. Be the best version of yourself and your list will see your authenticity.
Contact Them Regularly
Email your list at least once a week. You want to remain top of mind so when people get your emails, they know your name and open them. If you’re regularly making their life better by telling a story or offering a tip, they are almost guaranteed to open and read your emails.
If they are opening your emails with regularity, when you send them an email selling them something, there is a good chance they’ll see it and probably buy it.
I hope this has given you a reason to want to build your email list and explained to you why having a list is so important. It doesn’t matter which email provider you go with as long as they have good capacity and have the ability to automate email sequences.
Remember, your email list is the most valuable asset your business has. Treat it like such.