Most businesses focus on traditional marketing strategies like content marketing, SEO, PPC, and SMM. These strategies can bring great results, but there is one significant downside – they require a decent budget upfront.
On the other hand, affiliate marketing works the opposite way – you only need to pay a percentage of the sale once complete. For that reason, setting up an affiliate marketing program is complementary to other forms of digital marketing.
In this article, we will look at some of the best examples of email affiliate campaigns and discuss what made them so successful so that you can repeat that success with your affiliates.
An affiliate email marketing campaign is the same as any other email campaign. The only difference is, it includes affiliate links to products where the email sender earns a commission on sales they refer to your business.
As a brand working with affiliate marketers, it’s essential to have a diverse revenue stream from your affiliates. You do this by working with different affiliate types – including email affiliates. These affiliates have an extensive email list and can promote your products to their audience. While affiliates could use paid ads and Google AdSense alternatives for promotional reasons, leveraging email marketing is a powerful tool.
Email is still a high-performing marketing method, so email affiliates are an excellent idea for your brand. It puts you in front of a different audience you might not reach by yourself or with your other affiliates. That’s why email affiliates are crucial.
Here are four different examples of email affiliate marketing campaigns and what we can learn from them.
AppSumo is a digital marketplace known for offering lifetime SaaS deals to entrepreneurs and small business owners across the globe. But, they are also known for writing funny and super-effective emails.
No matter the scale, and the fact that AppSumo has its own marketplace this is still textbook affiliate marketing. They do have a few products of their own, but most of the platform is for the purpose of promoting third-party SaaS deals for a percentage commission.
Here’s how they promoted Oviond, a marketing data platform, on their marketplace a while back:
Just the subject line “To Infinity… Oviond!” will put a smile on the recipient’s face. And considering this is a purely promotional email – that’s not easy to do. Most promotional emails are deleted or marked as spam, sometimes even before getting opened.
Even though witty writing does require talent and practice, as you can hardly rely on templates, there’s a lot to learn from AppSummo. If your affiliates manage to make people laugh, their audience will have nothing against their promotional affiliate emails.
You can even take it a step further and streamline your website copy to match the humor of your affiliates’ email campaigns, and vice versa. That can have a massive impact and improve brand recognition on all levels. That will not only make the email marketing campaign better but will improve conversion rates too.
BuzzFeed is well-known as a procrastinator’s favorite, a website where you can spend hours browsing through easy-to-digest and fun content.
But, even though the website itself is mellow and fun, their affiliate-based business model is a prime example of how your affiliates can run affiliate email marketing campaigns.
Where BuzzFeed shines is email subscriber segmentation. Their website is extensive, but if you opt to sign in for their newsletter, you will get to choose topics that interest you and will get the latest updates accordingly:
By segmenting, it allows BuzzFeed to target people with their affiliate-oriented content more precisely, giving them things that are more likely to spark their interest.
For example, if you opt for their “Nifty home” newsletter, even the welcome email will contain many of the easy-to-read articles BuzzFeed is famous for, all with useful DIY home hacks and upgrades intertwined with products from their affiliate partners:
You can learn a lot from BuzzFeed’s segmentation and apply it to any email list. Even if your audience isn’t that diverse, your affiliates can still narrow down their campaign efforts based on subscribers’ location, gender, age, or similar criteria you can suggest adding to the opt-in form. That way, you will make their email efforts more targeted, directly influencing open rates and conversions.
Anyone who owns a WordPress website likely stumbled upon WPBeginner, one of the biggest WordPress-specific blogs out there. Although their name suggests they are inclined towards beginners, advanced WordPress developers use their blog too, as it offers straightforward solutions even to complex problems.
While they do a terrific job with SEO, as you can see their site is at the top of most WP-related search queries, WPBeginner also does a marvelous job with their newsletter. In fact, there’s so much to learn from their welcome email alone:
The welcome email is often a missed opportunity, as many affiliates use it as a confirmation page where they leave a “thank you for subscribing” message. Turning the welcome email itself into an actual helpful resource that contains affiliate links will not only make a potential sale but will also trigger the attention of new subscribers to continue reading future emails.
If subscribers see value in the welcome email itself, they are likely to pay attention to any future email your affiliates send. Especially if you end your welcome email like this:
Adam Enfroy is one of the biggest names in the blogging and affiliate marketing world. His rapid rise to stardom is the reason for his popularity – he started his blog only three years ago and achieved phenomenal results in a very short time. Most of his earnings came from affiliate marketing, so he knows what he’s talking about.
The key reason why Adam is on the list is his unique email campaign. Unlike most other websites, he doesn’t have a classic “subscribe to my newsletter” form. Instead, he uses the “FREE BLOGGING MASTERCLASS” button, clearly visible in the website header.
Every person who signs up for the free blogging masterclass is a (potential) affiliate blogger. This means that the whole audience is already segmented, and all of the leads will fall into a single niche.
Because Adam has narrowed down his niche, every subscriber will be a “warm” lead and more willing to read his articles and click on promotional links in the emails themselves.
If your affiliates narrow down your audience as well as Adam, it will make their email writing much easier.
Because Adam only talks to (potential) bloggers, hooking their attention in the subject line becomes super easy – “Meet Eddy (From scratch to 5-figure blogger in under 1 year).” And the email itself has everything well-structured, yet simple – a video testimonial, a free resource, and ultimately, Adam’s central product, all leading to his website, which is all about useful articles with plenty of affiliate links. While this email does not contain any affiliate links, his website has plenty.
Adam’s example of narrowing down a single consumer group via call-to-action buttons effectively attracts the right kind of audience. Those types of leads will be much more open to clicking on affiliate product suggestions or even links found in your affiliate’s corporate email signature area, which is often neglected.
You can also suggest this super-effective tactic to your affiliates, and potentially implement it on your own website.
The examples from AppSumo, Fiverr, BuzzFeed, and Adam Enfroy show us that there are completely different approaches that can succeed with email affiliate marketing.
There’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t apply the tactics to your affiliate campaigns now. Ask affiliates to add humor to their emails, zero in on their leads by using targeted call-to-action buttons or detailed segmentation, or offer your potential affiliates more than one way to sell your products and services.
All of these tactics can complement one another and, combined, make a killer affilite marketing campaign, bringing success both to you and your affiliates, making them well worth trying.
Helga Zabalkanska is a CMO at Newoldstamp (500 Startups backed) and MySignature. She has over ten years of experience in digital marketing with a data-driven approach. Helga is a startup enthusiast and SaaS lover.