Recently I’ve immersed myself in getting better at writing emails as I believe this is the cornerstone of an affiliate business from where 90% + of the income is generated.  In this post I want to share a summary of what I’ve learned so far from a number of diverse sources and trainings.

Mastering email communication is not just a skill, it’s an art. As someone deeply involved in this field, I’ve come to realise that the most crucial element to any successful email marketing campaign is knowing your customer. This understanding not only shapes the content of your emails but fundamentally shapes how you engage with your list.

Know your Audience

Delve into and define your ideal customer.  Consider their demographics such as age, occupation and gender. Understanding their fears, goals, and daily challenges allows you to craft emails that speak directly to their needs and interests.  Creating an avatar of your ideal customer can be a helpful exercise, even give the avatar a name.   Imagine writing each email to this one person, rather than a faceless crowd, to enhance the personal touch

Email marketing is more than just sending out promotions and newsletters; it’s about building a relationship. Your email list is your most valuable asset. You can reach people directly and see tangible results from your efforts. This direct line to your audience is powerful, provided you understand the person on the other side of the email.

Speak Their Language

Content is king, but context is queen. Regularly engaging your list with content that is not only relevant but also timely, ensures that your audience stays interested. This can be as simple as sharing stories from your daily life or insights from your professional experiences. Using a story-based model, can significantly increase engagement. Stories allow for a more personal connection, making your emails not just informative but also enjoyable to read.

Deliverability and Open Rates

None of your efforts matter if your emails don’t reach the inbox. Understanding factors that affect email deliverability, like avoiding “spammy” words and phrases, can help ensure your messages are received. Furthermore, crafting compelling subject lines is an art that can drastically improve your open rates. These should provoke curiosity or offer immediate value, prompting the recipient to read more.

Consistency and Frequency

The frequency of your emails also plays a crucial role in building a rapport with your audience.  Most experts suggests aiming for daily emails however when starting out and especially if you have a 9-5 job, 3 a week could be a good target to start.  Starting with two to three per week may be more feasible while maintaining quality and relevance, but I would suggest that you need to send 1 email every week as the very minimum.   This consistent contact helps build a routine and expectation, keeping your audience engaged over time.

Ethics and Transparency

Transparency is vital in affiliate marketing. Always be clear about your affiliations and the benefits you might receive from the products or services you recommend. This honesty fosters trust and respect, ensuring that your audience feels valued and not just seen as potential sales.

List Hygeine

Regular list cleaning is crucial to remove inactive subscribers and maintain a high engagement rate. This not only helps in better targeting but also improves the overall health of your marketing efforts. As painful as it may be to see your list shrink, remember that a smaller, more engaged audience is more valuable than a large, disinterested one.

Some people suggest that you delete people who have not engaged with your emails for the past 30 days,  Personally I would suggest at least 60 days,  I’ve actually been transferring subscribers from my ConvertKit account for over 30 days.  These are people who open the daily emails that I’m now sending so that I can close my ConvertKit account and save a few dollars.  There are still 700 out of a total of 1700 who were on the list when I started cleaning it.  People who open the email and don’t unsubscribe will get transferred and deleted from ConvertKit.  I’m currently still getting a 10% open rate and remember these people have not opened my emails in the previous 30 days. The plan is to continue that process till I get no opens for a couple of days and that’ll be the signal to stop emailing that list.

The Role of Testing and Adaptation

The best way to get good at email marketing is to keep doing it. Like everything in marketing, it’s all about testing. What works for one segment of your audience might not work for another. Regularly testing different email formats, subject lines, and content types provides insights into what resonates best with your audience, allowing you to refine your approach continually.

Final Thoughts. It’s a Continuous Learning Curve

As I continue to delve deeper into various trainings and books, and seek guidance from mentors and also specialists in email copywriting, the learning never stops. Being on the mailing lists of top figures in your niche, for example in the the making money online niche, mailings from people like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuck, provide constant inspiration.  As I get over 100 emails a day already (mostly junk), I’ve set up a separate Gmail account that I use to join lists of the people whose emails I want to check out,  not for the content but the style.

In conclusion, effective email marketing doesn’t just happen,  it’s a meticulous blend of art and science. By understanding your audience, engaging them with high quality, valuable and  personalized content, and maintaining ethical practices, you can transform your email list into a powerful asset. Remember, in the end, the goal is to build relationships, not just lists. This approach not only enhances your marketing efforts but also builds a foundation of trust and loyalty that can lead to long-term success in the competitive world of affiliate marketing.

26 thoughts on “Understanding Your Customer.  The Keystone of Effective Email Marketing”
  1. Well done. I am a bit behind so this was great information. This whole process is a continuous learning curve, with some subjects harder to learn than others. You break this down very well and I like what you said about List Hygiene. I will definitely use this post in the future because it is easy for me to understand. Thanks.

  2. Wow! I’m saving this post as my go-to guide for email do’s and don’ts. Many thanks for the thoroughness. Also, loved your thoughts on creating a story based email flow. Thanks again, Michael

  3. Hi Steve,
    I appreciate this post because it is crucial for our business to understand how to write and communicate with our audience. Our audience consists of potential customers who are individuals with diverse situations, emotions, levels of understanding, and other factors. This understanding is essential for the success of our business. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information, and I wish you all the best in your journey.

  4. I’m pretty sure I know my avatar, but I’m sure I could know her better as I delve into the boomer mindset and experience. I know that I can communicate with them because they are after all me.

  5. Thanks for this super helpful post, Steve! Your advice on really getting to know your audience is spot on. I think it is critical to know your audience and personalize your emails to help them solve their pain points and achieve their desires.

    I admire your continuous learning approach. Setting up a separate email account to study email styles is a clever idea I’ll be trying out.

    Your post is packed with awesome tips and insights. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Steve,
    This is a very helpful post. I’m in the process of writing my emails for a sequence, and one of my main goals is to build a relationship with my subscribers through written text. I agree that the minimum should be 1x a week, but ideally more.
    I know I can write emails, but doing it consistently is something that can intimidate me because I feel like I might run out of things to say. I won’t let that intimidation stop me. I’m sure I can somehow come out with something valuable constantly. Thank you for sharing the information.

  7. THIS IS A PHENOMENAL POST! I received so much insight by reading this, I feel it only appropriate to share this with others myself. With your permission I want to share this with my audience. Not only was the message very beneficial, it was delivered in a helpful fashion. Well done, Steve! 👏👏👏

  8. Hi Steve,

    I found your post incredibly valuable. Currently, I’m crafting an email sequence, aiming to foster strong relationships with my subscribers through written communication. I completely agree with your suggestion of sending emails at least once a week, although ideally, more frequent communication might be better. I’m still working on it. I will keep this post for future reference. Thank you for sharing your insights.


  9. Hi Steve,
    I am feeling good, knowing you are a few steps ahead of me, so I am enjoying the info. I’ve recently been researching the topic, so I am looking forward to putting it all together and then reviewing this post again.

    What I liked most.

    I like when you said that email marketing is a ‘meticulous blend of art and science.’ and the most important key, is to understand your audience and build relationships.

    Good lesson on how you can transform your email list into a powerful asset. And remember, in the end, the goal is to build relationships, not just lists.

  10. Hi, Steve!
    Steve, your post was a great read. I found your insights very useful.
    Your explanation of using context in your emails to make you more relatable is especially helpful. It helps me to think of putting an offer into context. Making offers more personal would certainly help.
    Thank you for this post!

  11. Steve, Your tips on mastering email communication are excellent. Understanding your audience is crucial for creating personalised and engaging emails. I appreciate the practical advice on keeping your email list clean and trying out different strategies. Your focus on ethics and transparency is important for building trust. Thanks for the great advice! Thanks Atif

  12. This was an incredibly useful post. I have seen similar advice elsewhere but not as eloquently put as yours. II particularly love the concept of imagining that you are writing to one person to give that personal touch. Brilliant!.

  13. Your dedication to mastering email marketing truly shines through in your post. It’s clear you understand the importance of connecting with your audience on a personal level—I can feel your passion for building genuine relationships. This is something I still need to master! Building trust with your audience is paramount, and your approach reflects integrity and respect- which in my view is vital. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey

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