Are you ready to take your affiliate marketing to the next level? Email marketing is a natural extension of your on-site content and a proven way to boost affiliate commissions. Use these tips to launch a successful affiliate email marketing campaign that fosters trust, increases brand visibility, and boosts sales.
What is affiliate marketing?
Under the affiliate marketing model, an affiliate (you) promotes a seller’s products or services. The seller gives you a unique identifier link that’s tracked whenever a visitor clicks it. If the visitor completes a certain action, the seller pays you a commission.
Affiliates are typically paid for one of three actions:
- The visitor makes a purchase
- The visitor becomes a lead, such as when they subscribe to an email list
- The visitor clicks through to the seller’s site
How to become an affiliate
Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative business model for anyone who can produce strong content and knows how to market it. Once you grow an audience and earn their trust, you can weave product recommendations and affiliate links into your content.
It’s best to join affiliate programs within your niche. For example, if you write about camping you should become an affiliate for companies that sell camping gear. You’ll have to contact companies to see if they offer an affiliate program or search for programs on sites such as Commission Junction and Share A Sale. Amazon Associates is another popular affiliate program.
How to become a seller
If you sell products and services, you can start your own affiliate program through networks such as Commission Junction and Share A Sale. Or, you can use software like Tapfiliate. Starting your own affiliate program is a great way to increase your reach — and sales — exponentially.
Once your program is set up, you need to bring affiliate partners on board. Email is a great way to reach out to bloggers, websites, and influencers within your niche to see if they’d like to join your affiliate program.
How can you successfully incorporate affiliate marketing in your emails?
Content is at the heart of affiliate marketing, and most affiliate marketers earn commissions through their websites and blogs. However, those aren’t the only ways to make affiliate sales. Some marketers promote affiliate links via video, some bury them deep within courses and still, others build product comparison and price aggregation tools.
Though affiliate marketing is often touted as passive income, the most successful affiliate marketers work to create fresh, engaging, trusted content; then, they promote their content via channels such as social media and email.
Ways email can help boost affiliate commissions:
- You can send emails that promote your content, which in turn promotes your affiliate partners
- You can send emails that directly promote your affiliate partners
It’s a good idea to try both strategies, and even incorporate both strategies in the same email. Keep in mind: The primary goal of your affiliate email marketing is to foster trust in your business and the recommendations you make — including trust in your affiliate partners.
7 affiliate email marketing tips to launch a successful campaign
1. Build trust
Successful affiliate marketers work hard to earn audience trust. Rather than make overt sales pitches, your emails should benefit your audience in some way.
Pack your emails with useful content that solves problems and helps your audience improve their lives. Then, recommend products that can truly help them. Remember: you’re not marketing to your audience. You’re having a conversation.
In this affiliate email marketing sample from Kim Komando, she tells people why she uses Express VPN, then gives them an affiliate link to check it out for themselves:
2. Tell stories
When you recommend a product, the most convincing strategy is to tell a story that illustrates how it helped you. You want your audience to identify with your pain points — to see themselves in you — and understand that something that worked for you might work for them.
Don’t just tell your audience how great a product is. Rather, tell them how you benefited by buying it. Don’t forget to include your affiliate link in your call to action.
As another good affiliate email marketing sample, Cool Tools tells the story of how this propane torch was used on Battle Bots. Note the affiliate link:
3. Soft sell
Don’t include a product recommendation in every single email. Instead, use email marketing to foster relationships. A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your emails should be useful content and 20% should include product pitches.
In most cases, your pitch should be a soft sell. A mere mention of the benefits of a product can be enough to drive affiliate sales once you’ve established trust.
4. Use lead magnets
Use lead magnets to attract subscribers and build your email list. Lead magnets are incentives delivered to customers in return for their email addresses.
The best lead magnets help your audience solve their problems or achieve their goals. For example, a guide to backyard gardening would appeal to people interested in gardening, while a tax write-off checklist would appeal to small business owners. Give your audience something useful, and you can begin building trust while gaining permission to send them emails.
This lead magnet on I Will Teach You To Be Rich offers a free chapter when users opt-in:
Develop automated systems that make it easy to deploy email nurturing campaigns. Start with subscribe forms that make it easy for your audience to opt-in (and download your lead magnets).
Pop-up forms, exit intent forms, sidebar, and footer forms all work. Set up autoresponder campaigns that are triggered on opt-in and deliver a sequence of scheduled emails to new subscribers. You can still send one-off emails to your list, but automation will free up time to focus on business growth.
6. Segment your lists
If you have multiple audience personas, or your content spans multiple fields of interest, it’s a good idea to segment your lists. Doing so can dramatically increase your opt-in, open, and conversion rates.
For example, if you operate a building supply store, you might have one list for do-it-yourself customers and another for high-volume contractors. Each audience is likely to be interested in different content and deals, so segmenting your lists makes it easier to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
7. Test your emails
A/B testing is a great way to improve your affiliate email marketing results consistently. Start with a “control,” or the email you always send. Then, create an alternative version. Send each version to an equal number of people on your list to see which performs best. The winner becomes your new control, and you can continue testing alternatives against it until you’re confident you’re sending the best version.
Ready to earn more money? Use these affiliate email marketing tips to develop a successful campaign that builds your audience and boosts commissions.
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