Have you been looking for ways to monetize your influence? 

Luckily, you don’t need millions of followers before you get started.

As social media platforms become noisier, you’ll need a way to personally connect with your audience that goes beyond likes and comments.

Enter email marketing.

By sending targeted emails to your loyal audience, you’ll be able to build stronger, long-lasting relationships with your followers. You’ll even have an opportunity to generate more income without adding more work to your plate.

If you’re interested in exploring income streams that can help you make passive income with the audience you already have, let’s talk about affiliate email marketing!

What is affiliate email marketing?

Think about the products you love, the ones you can’t stop raving about to your friends and family. What if you could get paid for recommending your favorite products to an even larger online audience? This is possible with affiliate email marketing. 

Affiliate email marketing is the practice of promoting another brand’s products or services in your emails in exchange for a commission of every sale you earn. This happens whenever someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link (also referred to as a “referral link”).

As an affiliate email marketer, you don’t need to worry about creating your own products or offering services if you don’t want to. Instead, you’ll spend most of your time promoting what other brands create in your emails while still making a profit.

If you’ve been looking for an additional income stream to add to your business model, affiliate email marketing might be a winning strategy. Marketers say over 15% of all digital media revenue is made from affiliate marketing, making it a valuable income stream for online brands.

Before you choose which affiliate partners you want to work with, it’s important to understand why few platforms are more effective for affiliate efforts than email marketing.

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We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

Why you should be using an affiliate email marketing campaign

Many entrepreneurs invest in building their lists because they can earn up to $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing. Think about the incredible earning potential you’ll tap into when you implement the best email marketing and affiliate marketing strategies!

There are many benefits to using email marketing as an affiliate marketer, like the ability to:

  • Promote affiliate products on autopilot
  • Make passive income from your email sequence
  • Use email segmentation to track referrals
  • Continue nurturing relationships with subscribers 

Let’s explore all of these benefits in more detail as you make the decision to boost your affiliate efforts in upcoming email campaigns.

Promote affiliate products on autopilot

As a business owner, you’re no stranger to the power of automation. Automating your marketing will help you spend more time connecting with your community and building your influence.

With affiliate email marketing, you can set up an automated email sequence that will send emails to your subscribers. We call this a Workflow that allows you to easily share affiliate products by adding affiliate links.

Once your Workflow is set up, you can let it run on autopilot as you boost sales. Why stop at one affiliate product? You can create valuable content by sharing your favorite things in a roundup email and including multiple affiliate links.

Make passive income from your email sequence

The idea of making money while you sleep may not be a new concept, but it’s still a dreamy one! When you automatically send affiliate emails to your audience, you’ll be able to earn income without lifting a finger.

Affiliate marketing is arguably the most effective passive income stream because you don’t have to create the product or service you’re promoting. Instead, you’ll only be responsible for adding affiliate links to your email content. Really, it’s that easy!

If you’re looking to sell in a natural way, affiliate email marketing could be a great option for you. Think of your affiliate emails as a way to educate your audience on the value of a program or product you’ve invested in and loved. This will help you passively generate more income from your thoughtfully curated recommendations.

Use email segmentation to track referrals

Do you ever wish you could stay in constant contact with your most loyal customers or subscribers? You have an opportunity to regularly connect with them and send them special offers with affiliate email marketing.

One way to do this is to set up Segments in your email provider. That way, when someone clicks on a specific affiliate link, you can tag them so they’ll appear in a segmented group. A subscriber’s interest in a specific product may inform you about their potential interest in other products, services or content.

To track leads and understand who’s primed for affiliate sales, continue reviewing email tracking data in your analytics dashboard. This will help you determine who is interested in affiliate promotions so you can send targeted follow-up emails to win the sale.

Continue nurturing your relationship with email subscribers

Since email marketing is a platform you own, you’ll never have to worry about algorithm changes affecting your ability to connect with your audience. Your affiliate marketing emails provide an opportunity to share helpful links and make personal connections with subscribers.

When someone joins your list, they’re showing just how much they want to hear from you. They want to know what you love and recommend, which includes the products you use. This is why affiliate marketing can feel like a natural extension of your brand!

Affiliate email marketing works best when you’re genuinely excited to share news with your audience and give your favorite products a shout-out. Since affiliate links look like a normal website link, it’ll be an easy way to continue advocating for brands you love in your emails without making the relationship all about the sale. 

Who is affiliate email marketing suited for?

Affiliate email marketing is a wonderful solution for entrepreneurs who want to be compensated for growing their influence. As you make more connections on social media and build a user-friendly website with helpful content, you’ll position yourself as a trustworthy brand.

With more visibility comes more opportunities to boost sales with affiliate partnerships. That’s why many business owners focus on building their affiliate income through email marketing as they grow their online community.

Affiliate email marketing is well-suited for: 

  • Coaches who want to attract new leads while increasing their passive income
  • Ecommerce vendors who want to grow their reach by offering an affiliate program 
  • Influencers who want to work with up-and-coming brands and monetize their content
  • Service providers and freelancers who want to stop trading their time for dollars
  • Bloggers who want to monetize their free content as their website traffic increases
  • Podcasters who want to sell products and services to their most devoted listeners 

Some creative entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income make the majority of their income through affiliate marketing. Others use it as an additional income stream that helps them ride the waves of seasonality in their business.

No matter what is inspiring you to get started with affiliate email marketing, you’ll want to follow these best practices to ensure you’re doing it well.

8 affiliate email marketing best practices

After you choose your email provider and create your email list, you’ll be ready to design your first affiliate email. Before you customize your email and add affiliate links, let’s discuss a few best practices you should follow.

1. Create personalized subject lines

To create a successful affiliate email, you need to write an intriguing subject line. It’s the first thing your subscribers will see as they determine whether or not to open your affiliate email, so you have to make it count.

Did you know that…

  • Over 82% of email marketing experts recommend sending emails with subject lines that have 60 characters or less?
  • Brands that use emojis in subject lines have 56% higher open rates compared to businesses that do not?
  • Emails that create a sense of urgency in their subject line have a higher open rate of 22% over those who don’t?

Keep these facts in mind whenever you are crafting your email subject line.

If you’re writing subject lines for a new welcome email, you may want to create consistent messaging with the content inside. In the example above, you could use “We’re official, friend 🥂” which gives a small hint at what they’ll see when they open the email.

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We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

2. Create emails from professionally designed email templates

Once someone opens your email, what is their first impression? To really wow your audience, you’ll need to put the same effort into designing your email as you do writing it.

We make it easier to create stunning emails with our email templates, complete with Layout designs you can customize to fit your needs. Building your email from a template design is one of the best ways to ensure your email content looks as great as it sounds.

If you want to learn more about how to design, write, and create high-performing emails, check out Flodesk University! You’ll find a series of free video lessons that will walk you through each step in setting up your business for success. Then, sign up for a free trial of Flodesk to start designing your own affiliate emails! 

You have multiple opportunities to make affiliate income with email marketing. Instead of focusing your affiliate efforts on one email, you can sprinkle the right affiliate links into several emails within your email campaign.

One of the best ways to get started is by determining which affiliate programs are a good fit for you. We recommend starting by applying or signing up for five affiliate programs offered by brands you love. Then, you can create a strategy for how you want to input these affiliate links into a new or existing email sequence.

By using Layout designs, you can create email content blocks that show off your favorite affiliate products. Be sure to add a stunning image along with a short, statement-making title about the product. You can switch up affiliate links depending on how they perform over time.

4. Write your affiliate emails with a target audience in mind

When writing email newsletters with affiliate links, it’s important to speak to your ideal audience. It’s easier to create valuable content when your emails feel like they’re personal letters. Just like you would with a friend, feel free to gush about the products you love!

If you aren’t sure who your target audience is, think about the kinds of people you want to help. Is it the stay-at-home parent, the young professional, or the recently empty nester? No matter who it is, you’ll be able to make more affiliate revenue if you’re focused on meeting them where they are.

Start building stronger relationships with your subscribers through your writing by welcoming them to your list. Once you’ve introduced them to your brand and shared your founder’s story, you can talk about your favorite products and services.

5. Utilize marketing assets from the affiliate program

Some affiliate programs give you direct access to a resource library with imagery, swipe email copy, and other items that could be useful in your affiliate email marketing strategy. Whether they offer lifestyle photography, product photography, or illustrations, you’ll be able to sprinkle them into your email design to make it look more unique.

Using marketing assets like this can help you skip the time-consuming (and often expensive) brand photoshoots. However, if you want to create your own imagery to show off the affiliate products, you can certainly do so. That way, everything stays perfectly on-brand for your business.

When you’ve chosen the imagery and customized the email swipe copy, you can input them into your desired email template. Think about creating a collage to show off the overall feeling and mood of the brand, or display how the product can be used in multiple ways. Get creative with this!

6. Send emails during affiliate promotions

Outside of automated email campaigns, you can also create a separate affiliate marketing campaign during a promotional period. Some brands may give you a set of free promotional materials to use during their special launch. This could include a discount code, unique imagery, branded badges or any other assets.

The benefit of sending emails during an affiliate promotion is your ability to make more sales with a special offer. For example, if you’ve taken an online course and its creator is looking for affiliate partners, you could promote their course with your affiliate links while including a bonus free product.

For example, podcaster and speaker Ellen Yin uses email marketing as a way to entice subscribers to join her free challenge which leads to a paid affiliate product. By showing a fun photo with her affiliate partner, Haley from Recurring Profit, and using a title that includes a pop culture reference (from Mean Girls, of course!), she’s able to humanize her affiliate marketing efforts.

7. Grow your list through social media marketing

After building out your email sequence, it’s time to focus on attracting more subscribers. It’s best to go where your audience is already hanging out, which is likely on social media. 

To convince more of your social media followers to become subscribers, you’ll want to offer an incentive or freebie. This could be a one-time discount code, email course, quiz, downloadable resource or another type of lead magnet that will entice people to join your list.

For example, self-sabotage coach Ashley Beaudin posted on Instagram about her quiz which entices people to sign up for her list. After just one week, she was able to grow her list by 3,000 subscribers. Once subscribers are on your list, you’ll have many opportunities to send targeted emails based on your affiliate marketing strategy. That’s why we recommend focusing your attention on engaging your social media audience!

8. Direct website visitors to your email list

Your email list is a platform you own, but so is your website! Think of your website as the online headquarters of your business. To be effective, your website content must accurately describe who you are, what you do and who you help.

Since visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website on average, it’s important to offer multiple calls-to-action (CTAs) that lead to your email list. This can be done through in-line forms or pop-up forms like the example below from Hair for the Girls

Once you add an email sign-up form to your site, you’ll need to get more people to visit. 

You can start by focusing on increasing organic traffic by boosting your blog’s SEO and incorporating keywords, or investing in online advertising services like Google AdWords to bring more people to your website.

How to launch an affiliate email marketing campaign (step by step)

By now, you know the benefits of affiliate email marketing and how it can be used to monetize your influence. When you’re ready to create and launch an affiliate email marketing campaign, follow this step-by-step guide so you don’t miss an opportunity to connect with your subscribers and make more sales.

When choosing an email service provider, you’ll want to consider how they approach affiliate marketing. Most email service providers allow for affiliate links but it’s better to check on this early on to ensure you choose the right comprehensive marketing platform for you. 

If you aren’t sure which email marketing tool is best for you, here’s a tool comparison of the most popular email providers on the market. Also, research spam laws and email marketing guidelines in your region to ensure your emails are legally compliant.

2. Choose the right affiliate program

The most successful affiliate marketers are those that choose the brands they promote wisely. It’s important to promote only the highest quality products and services when you’re using affiliate links. 

When possible, try to market products you already use and love. This will make your content feel more genuine because you’ll have more to say about a product you know a lot about. Some small businesses may need to sign an affiliate agreement, so contact the program’s support team with any questions you may have.

3. Create and publish an email sequence

While you can schedule one-time affiliate emails, it’s even better to incorporate an affiliate link into an email sequence. To get started, create an email in Flodesk and include your affiliate link into the copy.

Then, include the email inside your latest Workflow with other emails to create a comprehensive email sequence. You can also repurpose content from an existing email sequence if this speeds up the process.

4. Increase sign-ups for your email list

After publishing your Workflow, your email sequence is primed and ready to be added to a Form. When building your form, copy and paste the automatically generated embed code and put it on your website.

Simply embed these forms into your website, the bottom of a blog post and elsewhere. You could even create dedicated landing pages to increase subscribers.

5. Track your affiliate email marketing campaign performance

Depending on how long your affiliate marketing period is for, you can check how many people have clicked your affiliate link in Flodesk. Then, you’ll want to compare that number to how many people have made a purchase inside your dedicated affiliate tracking dashboard.

Over time, you can make ongoing changes to your email marketing campaign so you can increase your affiliate marketing potential. We’re excited to see what you create!

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing