If you have an email inbox, you know all about spam and junk mail. You probably get some every day. It’s annoying, but with a simple click it’s gone – relegated to the trash bin. However, as an affiliate marketer, that’s the last place you want your nicely crafted emails to end up.
With so many messages getting deleted, you may think email marketing is a waste of time and money. But actually, it’s one of the best ways to maximize sales. There are well-established practices that can help you create campaigns that customers will open, read, and even look forward to receiving.
In this article, we’ll discuss what an affiliate email marketing campaign is, and what its benefits are. Then we’ll walk you through the four steps for launching your own successful email campaign. Let’s get started!
Understanding Affiliate Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is a way to engage with customers directly, via their inboxes. They have given you permission to market to them by subscribing to your email list. This approval sets email apart from many other marketing strategies, because your target audience is asking for your content.
Though you may send to hundreds or thousands of subscribers at a time, your emails should be written personally, as one-to-one communications. You can create campaigns to target customers according to where they are in the buyer’s journey.
As you build relationships (via email content) with your subscribers, you will include affiliate links and offer solutions to their challenges. We’ll take a look at how this process unfolds, but first, here are just a few impressive benefits of email marketing:
- Email marketing still provides one of the best returns on investment (ROIs), generating $42 in revenue for every $1 spent.
- Marketers who segment their campaigns and target their customers with relevant content see up to a 760% increase in revenue.
- Email campaigns enable you to build trust with your customers, and since they've subscribed to your content, they’ve already indicated some level of interest.
With email, you “own” your list. You can build your business through direct access to your customer, without a social media platform or other entity in between that may change rules or algorithms and diminish your reach and effectiveness.
The Beginner’s Guide to Launching an Affiliate Email Marketing Campaign (In 4 Steps)
Now that you understand the benefits of email marketing, let's walk through creating your first campaign, from signup to send.
Step 1: Choose an Email Marketing Service Provider (ESP)
An email service provider (ESP) is a company that helps you create and send messages to serve your subscribers better. They come in all different shapes and sizes.
Using an email service helps you stay in compliance with communication regulations. Plus, most reputable ESPs offer guidance on adhering to the best email practices.
Many offer different pricing tiers based on the number of subscribers you have. When deciding which provider to use, be sure to evaluate the marketing tools they offer. Some features may be more important to you, and you’ll want a plan that suits your needs.
Step 2: Collect Subscribers
This step can be challenging. However, it helps if you're already creating valuable content. Try designing a special offer or incentive for subscribing, and set up a landing page or subscriber form on your site.
Your offer should align with your content strategy and brand – a downloadable PDF with relevant information, or maybe a free video or email course.
Also, regardless of how valuable your content is, it's best not to send unsolicited emails. Always get permission, and remember that you're an invited guest, not an intruder.
Once you start getting subscribers, you don't want to let that list grow cold. Sending email campaigns is an effective way to nurture your relationships with subscribers.
Step 3: Create Your Email Campaign
After you have an ESP and subscriber list ready, you can start creating your campaign. Depending on the provider you choose, you'll likely be able to use an email template:
You can automate your campaign by setting up a sequence of emails that will be sent when subscribers take specific actions, such as signing up for your newsletter. If you prefer, you can also send emails out manually.
When creating your email content, keep in mind that it's best to take on the position of friend who helps, not a salesperson. Write and design your content in a way that walks your email recipients through the buying process.
Here's a general approach to an email campaign sequence you can follow:
- Welcome them and let them know what they can expect from you.
- Address a common problem or challenge, and point toward a solution coming in the next email.
- Offer a solution in a conversational, low-pressure manner, and include your affiliate link.
- Nurture the relationship by providing relevant, helpful content and sharing your experience.
- Remind them of the challenge and solution (with the affiliate link).
You may need to tweak this sequence, depending on where your customer is in the buying process. For example, newly acquired subscribers may benefit from a general welcome series to focus on building trust.
Your email service plan may also include marketing tools such as segmentation and personalization, to help you better target your customers with content relevant to their journeys. If those are available, be sure to take advantage of them!
Step 4: Set Up A/B Testing and Track Metrics
Adopting a “continuous improvement” mindset can help make your affiliate marketing campaigns more successful. Performing A/B or split testing is an excellent way to optimize key metrics and boost conversions.
A few essential elements to test include subject lines, content format and length, and send time and schedule sequencing. It's best to test only one element at a time.
Some essential metrics to track include:
- Open rate, or the percentage of emails opened. A personalized subject line can help improve this metric.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR), meaning the number of emails sent with at least one link clicked on. Repeating links naturally throughout the email and including a clear and compelling call to action (CTA) can boost CTRs.
- Unsubscribes, which is the number of people who request to be removed from your list. Delivering the quality and content you promised helps keep this number down.
Consider sending inactive or low-engagement subscribers an email or short campaign series to remind them why they subscribed. Offer them value if they stay, but give them a choice to opt out if they don’t wish to remain subscribed.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to maximize sales, with an impressive ROI of $42 for every dollar spent. If you can create campaigns that target customers where they are on their buying journeys, and provide relevant, valuable content, subscribers will look forward to reading your emails.
To get started, you can launch your email campaign in four easy steps:
- Choose an email service provider (ESP).
- Collect subscribers.
- Create your email campaign.
- Set up A/B testing and track metrics.
Do you have any questions about launching an affiliate email marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments section below!