Are affiliate swipes killing your business?

Nov 21, 2021

Issue #143
A lot of you enjoyed the “non-testosterone” email I sent the other day about all the war-like shenanigans related to the Black Friday Mega-Bundle campaign I’m participating in.

ANY support you can throw my way to help me climb to the top of the affiliate heap and beat “he-who-won’t-be-named” (who’s currently in the #1 spot, while I’m hanging in at #3) would be appreciated.

In the meantime, I promise NOT to ridiculously over-email you (meaning 4 or 5 times a day like some folks are doing) with this current affiliate campaign, or bombard you with declarations of WAR or REVENGE or other negativity. (More on this topic in just a moment…)

However, as part of this special deal, I’ve got an incredible opportunity for you to join me on not one, but two live coaching and mentoring calls next month. It’s a rare chance to get my eyes on YOUR copy…and guarantee anyone from total newbie to advanced copywriter will walk away with game-changing insights.

(You can get all the details on my EXCLUSIVE Black Friday Bundle bonus details and my private affiliate link here…and feel free to share with others!)

Speaking of mentoring, I’ve now had at least a few dozen guys and gals graduate from my Fast Track to A-List mentoring program that I’ve offered the past few years.

And it’s been quite amazing to see how much progress these copywriters and business owners have made since (and during) the time I’ve worked with them.

You’re going to hear from one of my recent mentoring graduates in just a moment. He’s written about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the importance of building relationships with your email list (versus constantly selling to them).

This is something Tyler McCune has tons of experience in. Not only has he built and nurtured his own email list, he now runs other businesses’ email strategy and marketing implementation.

So he’s got the goods on what’s working now and how to grow this marketing channel while building profitable (and mutually-beneficial) customer relationships.

Take it away, Tyler!

Not too long ago I went to a popular and well-known copywriting event.

And while I was there, I happened to overhear a rant from a copy chief at a very famous 8-figure company.

This is a company that you’d likely know as many of the copywriters I met were practically whizzing themselves just to work for them…

And the rant I overheard was about a topic very close to my heart:


(A note for legal purposes: I was simply in the same room when the conversation happened. And just like our pal, Samwise Gamgee, I wasn’t “droppin’ no eaves sir, honest.”)

The rant went something like this:

“We send multiple affiliate-style emails a day. And it just burns out our list and people push spam and unsubscribe.”

Hmmm… what a surprise.

Sending blatant sales pitches multiple times a day gets people heading for the spam button faster than hoarders stocking up on toilet paper in March of 2020?

Anyway, the “affiliate-style emails” are ones you’ve likely read before.

You know, the ones that promise: “Do this 1 weird trick to pee out stubborn belly fat”

Or: “Avoid lemons”

And basically make you think you can lose weight without changing any lifestyle habits… or if you’re eating some food that is commonly on 99% of people’s plates that you’ll die of AIDS.

Sure this style of email can make sales in the short term…

But it does nothing to garner trust.

And trust is, in many ways, the #1 asset a business has. Especially in today’s market.

For example:

When I mentioned this idea as an email to Kim, she responded with this gem (and getting gems like this are common when you join Kim’s mentorship program):

“I’m so reminded of some reading I did on Maxwell Sackheim the other night. Basically you need to “sell” people on wanting to read your ad, promise them some sort of value or promise of being better off having done so (the late Bob King who headed up Phillips Publishing’s consumer division used to talk about this all the time)… even if they don’t buy right then, they’ll be more likely to read your other ads that they get later, and ultimately be more likely to buy from you.

We did this in the direct mail world, but it absolutely applies even more so to email and email lists… It’s all about building relationships with your prospects and customers.”

So yes, this is nothing new.

It’s the same thing that’s worked for the past 100 years.

And will work for 100 years yonder.

I know for a fact this works because I see it every day with the clients whose lists I manage.

And every day they get responses saying how the reader enjoyed the email, needed that dose of inspiration, and how it resonated with them on a deep level.

I’ve even had people post in my client’s Facebook groups about how “you just have to read today’s email…”

Which is free advertisement for your advertisement.

How bout that?

Now I know what you might be thinking:

BuT thE oNlY tHiNg thAt MaTTerS iZ SaLes!


But who do you think will become a better customer and give you more sales overall? The person who buys based on some insane promise (that is impossible to actually deliver on)?

Or the person who buys because they like your personality?

Because they have similar values as you?

Because you’ve added more depth and perspective to a problem that plagues their day to day?

Who do you think will give you referrals and free traffic?

And who will ask for a refund… be a total pain… spread rumors about how bad you treated them… and file complaints with the Better Business Bureau?

I trust the answer is obvious.

But if it ain’t, try finding Dan Kennedy’s teaching on CTI (customer-time-invested) as a metric.

It’s a good one.

Ok, so by now you might be wondering…

How do I write emails that make sales but don’t burn out my list???

I am going to give you a few practical tips below.

But first, I need to screw that ugly mug of yours on straight.

So before we get into the meat of the matter, your first commandment is to…

Stop thinking of yourself as a copywriter and start thinking of yourself as a propagandist

Yes, indeed.

A propagandist.

An ethical one, of course.

But a propagandist nonetheless.

Because the truth is, if you do email the right way, and you contact your list every day with an interesting story… a useful tip… or a better way to understand and solve the problems that plague them…

You will quite literally seep into their psychology.

The example for this is the Joe Rogan fanboi.

He is so embedded into their smooth, little brains that they will do or buy anything he so much as recommends.

That’s why so many Joe Rogan fanbois are bow hunters and jiu jitsu artists.

Even the ones who don’t do those things pretend to be into it.

And every time he has a new guest on or gets into a new hobby, his fanbois buy into it with an alarming fervor.

Such is the power of “selling” less and building the relationship more.

And on that note, here are a few of the best ways I’ve learned to do it…

4 rules to turn your email marketing strategy into a full-fledged propaganda wing lobbying for more sales and influence starting today!

  1. Think long-term, not short-term. This is a problem that plagues copywriters the world over. And who can blame them. Your client wants sales and they want them NOW. But in my business, I was very careful to choose clients who had a long-term vision. Not someone who slaps up a “blockbuster” front end offer. But as soon as it starts fatiguing, barely has a pot to piss in (you’d be surprised how many 7 and 8-figure companies would be screwed overnight if their front-end offer went down). If you’re a copywriter, this will depend on what you write and who you write for. But if you’re a client, begin hiring copywriters who understand building a brand (yes, I know to some “brand” is a dirty word), life-time value, referral marketing strategies, and more…
  2. Talk less about the product. Talk more about the ideas backing it. If you’ve read The Robert Collier Letterbook, this is simply direct-response 101. It’s not the “thing” that matters. It’s the idea that backs it. This is even more important today. Again, because you can use email to hone in on these ideas over and over again. That’s why for every client I work with I create a detailed list of their values, philosophies, and the things that make them different. Then, every email I write ties into those things. And over time, you create an overarching narrative that is fully unique to your niche. When that happens, people begin buying into YOU and your ideas. Not just your products. (Again, Joe Rogan fanbois are an example of this. As are Apple fanbois. And even crypto fanbois to an extent.)
  3. Turn your brand into a story. This should come naturally to copywriters. But sadly, it’s hugely missing in so many people’s email game. For example, if I read a dozen of your emails and have little clue to who you are… why you do what you do… what makes you different… the discovery story that led you here… and on and on… you’re doing something wrong! It doesn’t mean that every email has to be a fully-flushed out story. It just means that each email should contain a “clue”. Sort of like Harry Potter. Each book by itself is a stand alone tale. But when you have all 7 together, it creates a much larger “world” with more depth, curiosity, and intrigue. Your long-term email marketing strategy should do the same.
  4. Don’t rely on benefits. I know, I know. I’m committing marketing blasphemy with this one. But again, someone who buys based purely on benefits alone will not be as good of a customer as someone who buys based off of your philosophy. Think of it like this: People may join a cult based on the perceived benefits (such as a sense of community, having their bills taken care of, getting some order in a chaotic life, etc). But they certainly don’t kill themselves and their children based off of benefits. They do that because they’ve bought into a charismatic leader and his (yes, it always seems to be a male) philosophy. Benefits are good. And especially towards the end of the email where you’ve laid the groundwork, they can boost response. But really, they are the icing on the cake… and not the cake itself.

Ok, I’ve already revealed enough already.

And if you think everything I said is bunkum baloney, that’s ok.

The world needs small thinkers too.

But if you’re a big thinker who can look beyond merely A miLliOn DoLLaR fuNneLl LoL! and see into the marketing machinery of having customers for a lifetime…

Where you get more back from each ad dollar you spend…

Where people spread the gospel of you far and wide so you get free advertisements for your advertisements…

Where people buy every offer you sell not because it’s better or cheaper than the guy down the street… but because they simply crave more and more of you…

Then I trust this will help you grow your business far beyond your competitors who rely purely on affiliate swipes.

Because your email list is by far the most valuable asset you own.

And to paraphrase one of my favorite fictional characters:

“Trust is the thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the list King.”
–Tyler McCune


Tyler, thanks so much for this. This is “gold” for anyone who works in email marketing or contributes to their clients’ email strategy.

Which, by the way, is a great route for copywriters to take in terms of increasing their value to clients as well as their earnings

The more you can provide strategy as well as copy, the more likely clients are to hire you again, put you on retainer, and even bring you in on revenue share deals…a great way to stop “trading hours for dollars” and build additional income streams.

Tyler and some of my other Fast Track to A-List graduates have done just that. If you’d like to reach out to Tyler directly, feel free to email him at

That’s all I’ve got today! Oh wait…almost forgot…

When you visit my private link for the Black Friday Bundle, you’ll get the call details for the Livestream call that’s happening today at 5pm Eastern time. It’s your chance to chat with myself, Ian Stanley, John McIntyre, Roy Furr, Lorrie Morgan, Chanti Zak, and possibly “he-who-won’t-be-named”, about pretty much whatever’s on your mind.

Hope to see you there…and on one of my exclusive bonus live calls in December!

P.S. Here’s what Tyler has to say about his experience with my Fast Track to A-List program…

“Can’t believe how much I learned during your mentoring program. I thought I
had read all the books and taken all the courses. But every time you
reviewed my copy, I had at least two or three ‘a-ha’ moments that I now use
every day when I write. Plus, just a few projects from the leads you gave me
paid for a big chunk of my ‘tuition’. I wouldn’t yet consider myself part of
the ‘A-List’, but I can say your mentoring program fast-tracked my career.
Plus, the copy skills, leads, and connections I gained will continue to pay
off for years to come! Many thanks!”
–Tyler McCune, Daily Email Specialist

If you’re interested in finding out more about my 2022 Fast Track to A-List mentoring program–the only mentoring program I’m planning for next year–you’ll want to act while there are still spots available. Click here for all the details and be sure to act soon if you want “in”…the “early bird” savings expire November 30th.