7 Affiliate Email Marketing Strategies that Pros Know and Amateurs Don’t

By Cate Rosales

February 7, 2021

affiliate email marketing

As an Amazon affiliate, we sometimes use affiliate links in our content. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

by Cate Rosales

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience, boost your authority, and increase your affiliate income. It’s also something that most new marketers fail to master or just completely overlook.

If you’re not mastering this unique space, you’re missing out on a lot of incredible opportunities to connect with your audience and grow your business.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the affiliate email marketing strategies that pros know and use to maximize their affiliate income and the impact they have on their audience.

Affiliate Marketing Basics

Let’s start with the affiliate marketing basics before we dig into the email marketing side of things.

Affiliate marketing is simply the process of sharing someone else’s products and services with your audience and receiving compensation when your audience completes a specific action. That specific action might be clicking a link, filling out a form, starting a free trial, or purchasing a product.

The affiliate marketer (that’s you) shares a unique, trackable link with their audience, and when someone clicks on that link and completes the desired action, the affiliate marketer receives a commission.

The affiliate marketing process involves a series of activities, including performing market research, engaging your audience, providing value, and calling the reader to act on something. It isn’t just sharing links online; it’s all about building relationships and filling the needs of your target audience. 

You can do affiliate marketing through many different online channels, but one of the most effective channels is through email. That’s what we’re going to focus on today.

Why Focus on Email Marketing?

Three reasons.

Most importantly, because people still open, read, and respond to emails!

There are over 3.9 billion global email users, and that number is projected to keep growing each year.

If people are opening up their emails and responding to what they receive, this creates a perfect opportunity to connect with your audience on a regular basis.

Secondly, your email list belongs to you, which makes it one of your most valuable business assets. 

As much as we love our social media platforms and our followers there, none of that belongs to us. If your favorite social platform crashes or your account gets deleted, you immediately lose contact with your entire audience there, and you have zero control over it.

It’s wise to spend your time and energy on the things that you own and can control. Like your email list.

Lastly, the return on investment for time and money spent on email marketing is usually higher than all other marketing efforts. 

And since email is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your target audience, it’s important to make sure that you are mastering the pro strategies that are working for affiliate marketers and content creators right now.

Affiliate Email Marketing Strategies

Here are 7 pro strategies that most marketing amateurs don’t know about.

#1: The Power is in the Freebie 

Recall that affiliate marketing is more than just dropping affiliate links online. 

It involves getting to know your audience, nurturing a relationship with them, and finding out how you can fill needs for them. When it comes to email marketing, this process begins with getting subscribers onto your email list, so that you can get to know them.

How do we get subscribers onto our list?

By giving them a good reason to hand over their email address. If you give them a reason that they can’t refuse, getting them onto your email list will be a breeze.

No one hands over their email address just because they think you are awesome. They hand it over because they are going to get something out of it. 

What can you do or offer to your potential subscriber?

Start by coming up with some kind of valuable free resource or tool that your audience wants, needs, or can’t resist. Create it and then offer it as a free resource that is only available to your email subscribers.

Some ideas:

  • Worksheets
  • Free guides
  • Checklists
  • Coupons
  • Video training or tutorials

Once you create the freebie, you can set up a subscribe form and arrange to deliver that freebie to anyone that subscribes to your email list.

Check out this article for tips on growing your email list by using freebies!

#2: Nurture First

Another thing that pro affiliate marketers understand is the need to nurture your audience first so that your relationship can grow and thrive.

We don’t jump right into the relationship by making demands. 

We listen, we assist, we show that we care and we’re there to help. 

When sending your emails to subscribers, it’s important to come from a place of service. Ask yourself:

  • “How can I help this person today?”
  • “What valuable tools can I provide for them?”
  • “Why should they open this email? What are they getting out of it?”

Don’t ever send an email just for the sake of sending one.

Make sure that every email you send is worth your reader’s valuable time.

If you focus on serving and encouraging your audience, your affiliate recommendations will be able to flow into the context naturally. But focus on nurturing first.

#3: Small Asks 

People are busy, stressed, and distracted.

The last thing they want to do is answer a 50-question survey or read an insanely long essay when they open up your email.

This doesn’t mean that you can never send a long email or ask for anything from your subscribers. It just means that we need to ease them into it.

Start small and ask for quick, simple things that get them used to engaging.

The more our email subscribers engage with our content, the better our chances of being seen in their inbox, getting those emails opened, and getting those affiliate links clicked.

So, focus on small asks.

Ask them to respond to your question with a one-word answer. Ask them to click a survey that will take less than 3 seconds. Or ask them to think about something or do something that only takes a few minutes (take deep breaths, do jumping jacks, text a friend, answer a question, etc.).

Of course, the “small ask” will depend on your niche audience. Who are they, what do they need, and why are they on your email list?

Focus on their needs and make sure that the small asks are mutually beneficial. The ask should help you get to know and nurture the subscriber, and it should also help the subscriber with something they want or need.

#4: Share, Don’t Sell

The key to being successful at affiliate email marketing is to avoid being salesy.

People don’t like salesy emails. You are setting yourself up for failure if you try to push products or services on people every time you email them.

Remember that space in their email inbox is precious. They are on your list because they want to hear from you and receive something valuable from you. Not because they want to be sold to.

Focus on sharing value.

Share an experience, a valuable lesson learned, a testimonial, a tip or trick…

If you focus on sharing your story, sharing valuable tools, sharing what has helped you personally or what you have done to help your audience…then they will be more inclined to listen and engage. 

Editor’s Note: You might also enjoy this article on affiliate marketing copywriting tips.

#5: Link Placement & Best Practices 

So you’re sending value-packed emails, you’re nurturing your audience, you’re sharing but not selling.

Where should you place those affiliate links in order to get the best email conversions?

The answer is: It depends!

There isn’t one right answer across the board when it comes to link placement. But there are a few strategic things we can do to figure out what works best for our audience.

Firstly, make sure your links are extremely easy to recognize and click.

A lot of people are checking emails from their phones. You need to make sure that your link font and color is easy to recognize and the text is big enough to click easily. 

Secondly, make sure the linked text is clearly labeled so people know what they are going to get when they click the link.

Don’t just say ‘Click Here’. Instead, tell them what they’re clicking on. ‘Check out the Top 10 Goal Planners Right Here.

And thirdly, try to place your relevant affiliate links toward the top of the email, as long as this can be done naturally.

Keep in mind that some affiliate programs, like Amazon, do not allow you to share their direct affiliate links within your emails. So if that is the case with the affiliate products you’re recommending, you’ll need to link to a blog post that contains affiliate links instead.

#6: Make Good Use of Footnotes 

Every email you send should have a clear focus and structured content. 

Lead your reader through the content, peppering a few helpful affiliate links into the content where applicable. And sign off with a clear call to action.

But also, be sure to make use of footnotes in every email.

A lot of people skim emails quickly and catch the summary at the end. Take advantage of this action by adding a catchy footnote or “P.S.” to the bottom of every email.

Maximize those affiliate link conversions by directing your reader to an affiliate product or service whenever possible!

#7: Use Reminders & Timers

Remember how we mentioned above that people are busy and distracted most of the time?

Well, they are. And they often need to see something more than once before they’ll take action.

We don’t want to be salesy or pushy with our people, but we absolutely do need to send them a few reminders when we’ve got something BIG that they shouldn’t miss.

Sending an email reminder or re-sending an email that your subscriber didn’t open can be an effective way of getting their eyes onto your recommendations before the opportunity passes.

A countdown timer is another effective method for getting readers to take action. Most email service providers have an option to easily add a countdown timer to the bottom of your email.

Only use countdown timers for those specific deals and offers that actually have an expiration date and time.

Putting It All Together

Maximizing your affiliate email marketing strategies is going to be time well spent. 

It allows you to connect with your audience, learn what they need, and provide solutions for them via the personal communication line of email.

Remember to focus on serving your subscribers, providing value, and recommending tools and resources that actually help them fill their needs or solve their problems.

Doing so will lead to an increase in your affiliate conversions via email marketing!

Find more blogging and marketing tips from Cate at SweetandSimpleLife.com

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