How to Build an Email List for Affiliate Marketing
“Wait, isn’t email marketing dead?” you might ask.
Not even close. We sent nearly 300 billion emails last year and are forecast to send up to 347 billion by 2022.
Not only that, but over 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning, and nearly three-quarters of us have bought something after getting an email about it. By creating an email list, you can develop a relationship with your audience, making them more likely to click on your affiliate links and buy. And you don’t have to wait until they visit your website—you can send your content straight to their inboxes.
So, are you ready to learn how to build an email list for affiliate marketing? Let’s dive into it.
Building an email list for affiliate marketing
Email lists give you direct access to your audience through their inboxes. They’re ready to get your helpful information and other emails, so whenever you want to promote an affiliate product, you’ve got an easy way to get their attention.
If you’ve never done email marketing before, here are some tips to help you get started:
Step 1: Get an email marketing provider
Your first step to building an email list is to sign up with an email marketing provider, like Constant Contact, Sendinblue, or Convertkit. These are software solutions that’ll send out your emails automatically to your list. You can create a visually-appealing email in the platform editor, schedule it, and it gets sent out to your list.
Reminder: Many countries have anti-spam laws that govern how you can add people to your list and how you can email them. These laws apply to you, the sender, and not the recipient, so make sure you understand what you can and cannot do.
Step 2: Add optin forms everywhere
Next, you’ll need to get people to sign up to your list by adding optin forms to your site. An optin form is an online form where users provide their name and email address, in order to subscribe to your email list.
Your email marketing provider typically provides you with widgets you can embed on your website, so be sure to add one to your sidebar, footer, and anywhere else you think is appropriate.
Step 3: Optimize your optin forms
Once you’ve started getting a few signups, you can optimize your optin forms with more advanced email list subscription techniques to increase your subscriptions significantly.
For example, with a lead generation tool like OptinMonster, you can create an exit-intent popup that appears when visitors attempt to navigate away from your website. Exit-intent popups are a great way to convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.
IMSource used OptinMonster to create their exit-intent popup and increased their subscribers by over 4000%!
Bonus Tip: Aside from using OptinMonster to build your email list, you can also use it to promote your affiliate links directly. Top 6 Digital used exit-intent pop-ups to increase affiliate revenues by 30%!
Think of the different ways you can use optin forms to convert visitors and increase your affiliate income and embed them on your website as appropriate.
Step 4: Create email marketing campaigns
When you send an email marketing campaign, you’re sending out a series of emails on a specific topic, offering information, and educating your subscribers on it.
Start by creating an onboarding (or welcome) campaign to send to new subscribers that explains what you and your site offers. Then, you can create a number of other email campaigns like one to promote your latest blog posts or reviews, one for people interested in a specific product, and another when people fill out a new form on your site.
You’ll save a lot of time using email marketing because the messages go out automatically based on the schedule and actions you set up. And a regular series of emails can keep your subscribers updated and engaged.
Now that you’ve got your email list set up, your sign up forms optimized, and your email sequences set, it’s time to incorporate your affiliate links into your email marketing.
But first, let’s look at a few more ways you can grow your email list for affiliate marketing and boost your earning potential.
More ways to grow your email list for affiliate marketing
The more subscribers you have, the more revenue you can generate. Try some of these ways to grow your email list and see how well they work for you.
1. Create a quiz
Have some fun with your readers by adding a quiz to your website. Quizzes will make your site more interactive and engaging. Plus, visitors will have to enter their email address before they can download their results, so it’s a great way to get more email subscribers.
2. Encourage content sharing
Add sharing buttons to your email signature, your thank you page, your blog posts, and any landing pages on your website. This will make it easy for existing subscribers to introduce their friends, family, and social media followers to you.
3. Install a slide-in optin form
Find out who’s most interested in your content with an optin form that slides into view on your site after people scroll most of the way through a long piece of content (like a 2,000-word post on your blog.)
The Wirecutter does this on their affiliate review website with a slide-in bar that appears at the bottom of every page:
4. Create a CTA social media post
If your audience is active on social media, try creating a post with your best CTA on it to encourage signups.
5. Host a giveaway
Hold a giveaway for readers and ask them to enter with their contact information to enter. You can also give them additional entries when they share the draw details on social media to increase your reach even more.
6. Add social proof
Show off how many other people have signed up to your list to encourage others to subscribe. Social proof works by playing off our basic human need to belong. When we see everyone else “somewhere”, like, on an email list, we want to join in too.
Numbers establish trust, increase your credibility, and appeal to our sense of wanting to belong. So use it. If you have 13,000 subscribers, mention it. If an affiliate product you’re promoting has hundreds of five-star reviews, show it.
7. Give a preview of your newsletter
Publish your latest newsletter on your site to give people a sneak preview of what they’d get if they subscribed. When they get a glimpse of your awesome content, they’ll be more encouraged to sign up for your email list.
These tips will help you increase your email subscribers, and you’ll have a lot of people to send your valuable content to. But what about your affiliate links?
Here’s how you can boost your revenues with affiliate email marketing.
5 Email marketing tips for affiliate marketing
Most affiliate marketers place their links throughout their website and earn commission whenever people click and buy through them. But you have to attract people to your website for them to click your affiliate links.
Instead, multiply the power of your email list by adding your affiliate links to it. Affiliate email marketing is a slight twist on a regular email marketing strategy and can boost your earnings.
Tip #1: You’re sharing, not selling
First, you have to remember that you’re sharing information, not selling affiliate products. You’re not a sales rep for the affiliate company. You’re merely sharing valuable information with your subscribers in every email; you’re a happy customer talking about the affiliate products you’re promoting, which helps make your marketing sound more natural.
Keep this advice in mind when writing your affiliate marketing emails:
- Highlight the product’s benefits without going over-the-top.
- Personalize the recommendation and explain why you recommend the product.
- Keep the affiliate links to a minimum, say one near the start of the email and one at the end as a reminder.
- Indicate that the link is an affiliate one, so people don’t feel tricked.
Remember, you should write your emails as if you were talking to a friend. It’s a casual conversation over coffee. You found a product that improved your life or business, and you want to let your friend in on the secret. That’s it.
Tip #2: Make sure you can use affiliate links in your emails
Check with your email marketing account to see whether your email provider lets you include affiliate links. Many discourage, or even ban, affiliate marketing because they’re worried about being able to deliver emails consistently.
If you don’t look at their rules before sending your affiliate email campaign, you risk being banned by your provider and losing your entire list. Which means you’d have to build it up again from scratch.
Drip has confirmed they allow affiliate links in their emails, but they advise their email filters look at these emails more closely to ensure they’re not too spammy:
So go check out all the fine print from your email service provider to make sure you can include affiliate links in your emails.
Tip #3: Choose the right affiliate products to promote
The affiliate program you promote will reflect on you and your brand, so make sure you choose one that is relevant to your niche and is profitable for you.
Your affiliate links must be relevant to your niche, which makes it a lot easier to share and not come across spammy. Your readers subscribed to your newsletter for a reason because they like you and your content. That’s why they gave you direct access to their inboxes, so don’t abuse that trust.
Your affiliate links should have a logical connection to your brand, site, and niche. For example, if you’re in the food service industry, you wouldn’t send affiliate links to pet products.
You’re participating in an affiliate program to make money, so you want to earn as much as you can with each sale. Look for programs that have good returns on investment (ROI) on your promotional efforts.
For example, here are the commission rates for Amazon’s affiliate program:
If you had a movie or TV website, you’d make 2.5% for every DVD sale. That means you’d only get 50 cents for every $19.99 DVD purchased through your affiliate link. You’d need 1,000 people to buy a DVD to earn $500.
On the other hand, if you had a lifestyle site, you’d earn 10% for every luxury beauty sale made through your affiliate link. With some luxury beauty products costing hundreds of dollars each, you’d make more with each sale. For example, the La Mer Eye Balm Intense sells for $238, meaning you’d get $23.80. That’s a much better ROI for your affiliate marketing.
Tip #4: Sprinkle affiliate links into your current emails
You don’t have to write brand new emails to get started with your first affiliate email marketing. By adding a few subtly into your current emails, you’ll avoid running afoul of your email provider’s guidelines (even if they allow you to add affiliate links.) Their main issue is to ensure the deliverability of all emails, so by adding your affiliate links into emails or email sequences focused on other content, they’ll pass through without problems (usually).
One drawback of this method is that your affiliate links will get less attention because they blend in with the rest of the email. This can decrease your affiliate earnings, which is why most affiliate marketers prefer the next tip.
Tip #5: Write new affiliate emails and insert them into your current email sequences
By writing new affiliate marketing emails that you’ll insert into your existing email campaigns, you’re adding new information, as well as promotional content, to the sequence. That means writing an educational email that warms up your subscribers a little by explaining why you found the affiliate product useful. Show them how it adds value to the niche you usually talk about and again, casually add in the affiliate links.
For example, your sequence for new subscribers could be:
- Email 1: Welcome (Existing)
- Email 2: Recognize your audience’s obstacle and suggest solutions (Existing)
- Email 3: Affiliate link with a concrete solution (New)
- Email 4: Nurturing email with cool content you want to share (Existing)
- Email 5: Nurturing email with more educational content you want to share (Existing)
- Email 6: Affiliate link email with product related to content from Email 5 (New)
The biggest thing to remember is that your affiliate emails should be heavy on the education and nurturing, and less about selling.
Can you really make money using affiliate email marketing?
Yes, you can. You can make good money by promoting affiliate products to your email list.
Check out these stats that prove it:
- Yaro Starak earned $40,000 by promoting an affiliate info program to his list.
- FinvsFin earns $17,000 a month promoting affiliate products to their email list.
- Ryan Robinson earns over $20,000 per month regularly promoting affiliate products.
- The Points Guy regularly draws millions of visitors every month (8 million as of late last year) and makes money promoting travel affiliate and credit card affiliate programs, the latter of which tends to have high commission rates.
How much you earn depends on many factors, but most affiliate marketers say their email list has definitely helped skyrocket their revenues.
So, now that you’ve learned about affiliate email marketing and how it can affect your revenues, are you ready to start using it? Email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your affiliate products, so building a strong email list with quality leads should be a top priority.
Looking for more ways to you can use affiliate marketing to promote your business? Check out the Tapfiliate blog for affiliate marketing tips & strategies.