If you’re looking to grow your email lists and grow your affiliate sales, then you’ve probably considered trying an affiliate marketing strategy – growing your email lists through email marketing, building a blog around a specific product or service, and then engaging with your audience through digital marketing.

While there are many tools available to you as a marketer to grow your email lists and engage with your audience, not all of them are created equal. You can choose from trusted tools specifically built for digital marketers like MailChimp, or you can choose from the plethora of poorly performing tools available to do-it-yourself marketers (DIYM) like HubSpot, or Ahlio, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that’s been around for more than a decade and is still growing rapidly – if you’re looking to learn more, you can check out this in-depth guide to the field from the Email Marketing Association.

Often, people mess up sales funnels by adding extra steps to them that aren’t necessary. This results in confusing audiences and cluttered messaging. For instance, if you’re setting up an autoresponder series with multiple email steps, you might encounter an unsubscribe rate of up to 20% due to overly complex messaging.

What if there was a simpler way to add a funnel step to your email marketing strategy?

ClickFunnels, the #1 website builder for marketers, introduced us to a new way of thinking about building a funnel.

In 2014, Funnel HQ rounded up the top 25 tools for marketers, analyzing each tool’s functionality, user interface, and marketing buzz to determine which tools were worthy of a spot on our list. Since then, ClickFunnels has continued to grow, launching new products and features, and taking the cake as the simplest to use and most innovative tool for marketers. (You can check out our detailed review of the tool here.)

Now, let’s discuss how to add a funnel step to your ClickFunnels account so you can start using the platform to build your own funnels.

Set Up Your Funnel Step

To add a funnel step to your ClickFunnels account, navigate to Settings > Integrations > Add Integrations. (If you’re using the free version of the tool, you’ll need to wait a few minutes until the app loads before you can continue.)

You’ll first need to make sure that you’ve enabled the add-on for Integrations, which you can do by selecting the Enable button. (If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve enabled an integration, navigate to Settings > Tracking > Customize Tracking Link. You’ll see a green dot next to the link if you’ve enabled it.)

Next, you’ll need to pick the funnel you want to work with, and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Verify button to continue.

When you click the Verify button, you’ll be brought to a screen asking you to select an integration from a drop-down menu. Choose Email Marketing from the menu and click the Select button. (If you’ve never used ClickFunnels before and don’t know which integration to choose, click here for detailed instructions on how to choose an integration.)

On the next page, you’ll be asked to enter your email address. This is the address that you’ll use to send the emails triggered by your triggered emails.

You can choose from one of the following deliverability policies:

  • Single Opt-In: You’ll only be sent email once a user has opted-in to receive emails from your company (most efficient).
  • Double Opt-In: You’ll be sent email twice a user has opted-in to receive emails from your company. (Most robust).
  • Opt-In Only: You’ll only be sent email once a user has opted-in to receive emails from your company. (Most basic)
  • No Opt-In: You won’t be sent email even once a user has opted-in to receive emails from your company.

It’s important to note that the term “opt-in” isn’t used in the strictest sense here. Essentially, what this means is that you’ll be sent email even if a user hasn’t explicitly asked to receive emails from your company. (For example, if a user submits an email address for your company’s product review directory, they’ll be added to your list even if they don’t want to receive emails from your company.)

Design Your Funnel Message

Now that you’ve set up your funnel step, you can start designing the message that will be sent to users when they join your list.

To design your message, click the Compose button on the top right-hand side of the page. (If you’ve used an email marketing application before, this will look familiar to you.)

From here, you can either choose to send an email or click the link to open a simple web page with a form. If you choose the link, make sure that you’re actually sending users to the correct place – you can use the URL address of your website or blog in the Location field. (In some instances, you might want to use a tool like Hootsuite to send prospective users to your website or blog, then follow up with an email to introduce yourself and share some information about your business.)

In the Content field, you can include a brief message and a link to more information about your business. If you’ve already set up your business email address (from your website or Twitter handle) in the Email field, you can simply enter it here and click Send.

You can also choose to add an image to your email (either as a background or linked text). Background images are displayed on all devices while the text only appears on Desktop/Laptops and not on Mobile Phones (due to the size of the text box).

Set Up Autoresponder

After you’ve mailed your first welcome email to your new subscribers, you can set up a series of automated emails that will be sent to them based on different scenarios.

To set up an auto-responder, navigate to Settings > Sales > Marketing > Automation. After you’ve clicked the button next to Automation, you’ll be brought to a screen asking you to select an integration.

Choose Email Marketing from the menu and click the Select button. (If you’ve never used ClickFunnels before and don’t know which integration to choose, click here for detailed instructions on how to choose an integration.)

On the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter your email address. This is the address that you’ll use to send the emails triggered by your auto-responder. (Make sure that you’ve got the correct email address – if it’s on your website or in your marketing material, etc.)

After you’ve entered your email address, you’ll be brought to a screen asking you to select an action for your auto-responder:

  • Auto-responder: Sends automated emails to a user based on their behavior (most advanced).
  • Broadcast: Sends automated emails to a user based on your selections (middle ground).
  • Triggered: Sends automated emails to a user when they perform an action (most basic).
  • Unsubscribe: Allows a user to unsubscribe from your list at any time (least complex).

For each option, you’ll see a short description followed by a small button. To continue, simply click the Continue button.

On the next screen, you’ll simply be asked to enter a subject for your email.

You can click the Save button at the top to save your new auto-responder to Dashboard, where you can access it from any device. (Alternatively, you can click the Save button at the bottom to save it directly to a specific customer’s record.)

Create a Blog Post

To create a blog post, navigate to Settings > Blogs > Create a blog. (If you’re using the free version of the tool, you’ll need to wait a few minutes until the app loads before you can continue.)

Once you’ve created your blog, you can write a headline, select a template, and then begin writing your post.