Email marketing is not just lower in cost compared to other mainstream marketing methods. It can also help you reach a global audience. Email marketing provides the best Return On Investment (ROI) from any sales or marketing channel.
But what role does email marketing play in the world of an affiliate? How does this form of marketing help affiliates make more money?
This article will discuss how to utilize email marketing to boost your affiliate earnings. We’ll look at effective email sequences and discuss email copywriting tips to help you get more clicks to sales pages.
Use Email Sequences to Keep The Party Going
Understanding your buyers’ journey is key if you’re looking to increase your revenue. The buyer’s journey consists of three factors: awareness, consideration, and decision making. You must ensure your affiliate email marketing plan includes these.
Four types of email sequences you should know as a marketer
Here are some common email sequences you should use as an affiliate marketer. Incorporate these into your affiliate email marketing strategy, and you’ll increase conversions.
1. Welcome emails
The first thing you want to do is thank your lead for subscribing to receive your email newsletters. It’s the polite thing to do.
You don’t need to promote your merchant’s products at this point. Your concern in your series of emails is to build a relationship with your new subscriber. So, just put your best foot forward. Explain what your blog is about and what you can offer. Provide value in each of the emails you send in the sequence.
2. Promotional & sales emails
There is no point in sending promotional and sales email newsletters to subscribers you don’t feel you’ve established a strong connection with. However, once you feel like your subscribers are on board with the products and services you’re promoting, you can start sending them these emails.
Promotional and sales email newsletters can include any new products that the merchant has recently launched. Check out this example from an affiliate marketer promoting a software product.
In your promotional emails, focus on the merchant’s products.
Understand that a percentage of your subscribers are likely to skim through your emails, so make sure they’re informative. Keep them as easy to read and organized as you can. Consider using different colored texts for an aesthetic appeal or bold headings to break up the text in the email. Your call-to-action (CTA) links need to be easy to find and clearly defined too.
You can use either a single email or a series of emails to promote a product as an affiliate. If you use a series of emails, run the campaign over one week or more.
Each email in the campaign should have a different purpose. The first email should typically include details of the promotional offer and its relevance to the customer’s pain points.
Your second email can include an FAQ about the product or service you are promoting. Lastly, your third email will close the offer. Ideally, your offer should be time-sensitive. A time-sensitive offer creates Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
3. Relationship-building emails
Alongside trying to promote affiliate offers, you should also nurture relationships with your subscribers. You should invest time and effort in providing value to your subscribers.
There are many ways you can use emails to build relationships. First, you need to address your readers by name. Nothing screams “I couldn’t care less” than an email that starts with “Dear Valued Subscriber”.
Adding your readers’ names to your email body or subject line is cheap and easy if you use an email marketing platform with those capabilities.
Another thing you can do is to use email sequences to get audience feedback, whether it’s about your products or the email newsletter itself. This year-end email below from BuzzSumo, for example, leads the reader to a 2-minute survey that lets them choose the content they’d like to read in 2021:
The email above helps convince BuzzSumo readers that they are serious about providing a good subscriber experience through relevant content. In addition, they used the opportunity to promote their content engagement study results and announce an extension to their free trial period.
You should ask your audience about their content preferences. By getting feedback from your readers, you can get to know them better. You can then use these insights to create newsletters and on-site content that they may find interesting and relevant.
Also, consider giving away things for free from time to time. Everyone loves a freebie, after all.
4. Content Emails
Content emails include information, tips, and advice especially relevant to your target audience. Moreover, you can share links to blogs and articles on your website. Make sure your content emails provide educational, inspirational, or entertainment value. If they don’t, your subscribers are less likely to find them engaging enough to read fully.
The example above from the freelancer training website nuSchool discusses a topic relatable to the audience—for example, horror stories about clients who are demanding or difficult to work with. The nuSchool newsletter above tells us about a freelancer who went through the same experience and lived to tell the tale.
Your content email newsletter could either tell the whole story or summarize it (see above). If you choose to send content summaries in your email sequences, your emails need clear CTA buttons. In the example we just discussed, the CTA button stands out, and the copy invites us to learn from the writer’s experience.
How to use email sequences in marketing funnels
Before we discover different ways of using email sequences in the context of marketing funnels, let’s discuss what marketing funnels are.
In its simplest form, a marketing funnel is a visual representation of the buyer’s journey. Most funnels consist of four or five stages, which include the following:
Each piece of content you post on your website or send through your email should correspond to the reader’s location in the funnel. For example, a subscriber in the awareness stage will appreciate an editorial newsletter more than a hard sales email. On the other hand, someone in the conversion stage will be more receptive to an email with a discount code.
This section will discuss different marketing funnels and how you can use email sequences to increase conversions and drive revenue.
Affiliate marketing funnel
When discussing email as an affiliate marketing channel, there are certain limitations. For instance, Amazon prohibits affiliates from sharing direct affiliate or product links through email. Doing this will likely result in a suspension or ban. Thankfully, you can still use email marketing to promote affiliate links from other sources.
SEMRush is an example of a business that uses email sequences to boost its affiliate marketing campaigns. The company doesn’t send affiliate marketing emails a lot, but when it does, it’s so subtle that its subscribers don’t realize that it’s engaging in affiliate marketing:
In the example above, SEMRush didn’t add an affiliate link. However, it does have an easy-to-remember promo code that gives the reader a 30% discount on conference fees – and gives SEMRush a cut of the revenue.
What did SEMRush do right in the example above?
First, it chose a very appealing product to promote as an affiliate. The Digital Sales & Marketing World Conference is one of the largest industry events of the year. By associating itself with the event (and its organizers), SEMRush gains instant credibility.
Second, the email above is not a one-off. It’s part of a sequence that subtly pushes the reader to register for the event (and use the SEMRush affiliate code in the process). It starts with the SEMRush welcome email, followed by casual mentions in the editorial newsletters leading up to the event. With just a few weeks to go before the event, SEMRush then sends an irresistible offer.
As an affiliate marketer, you need to recognize where the reader is on the marketing funnel. Sending sales emails right away will turn off the reader while taking a more subtle approach is more likely to yield positive results.
Product launch funnel
When your business is about to launch a new product, there is an air of anticipation and excitement. As an email marketer, your job is to inspire that same kind of excitement in your subscribers. Email sequences can help you accomplish this goal.
Most product launch funnel email sequences consist of at least three emails:
- Announcement email: You send this email when you’re confident that the product is almost launch-ready and you have already identified a launch date. Here, you can briefly describe the product, how the company developed it, and what users can expect from the new product.
- Pre-launch email: You may send a pre-launch email a few days to a week before the actual launch date. You don’t need to add as much detail as you did with the announcement email. Add a video teaser of the product and details about the launch event, if there is one.
- Launch email: This email is the official product announcement. You give more details about the product, such as its features, availability, and pricing. At this point, you may add a link to the full ad for the product and a CTA button that leads to the product page where the reader can make a purchase.
- Follow-up email: You may send this email to subscribers who have already received your previous emails but haven’t made a purchase yet. Here, you can remind them of the product’s features and how the product can help them. You may add CTAs, bonuses (see below), and user reviews to increase conversions.
Some brands use a two-part product launch email sequence:
Lucidchart is one of the most robust online project planning solutions around. However, due to public demand for a collaboration tool, the company decided to launch Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard for remote teams. I received the launch email (left) on the launch date itself.
After a few days, I received the email on the right. I’d completely forgotten about Lucidspark at that point, but when I received the follow-up email, I signed in right away. I haven’t used the software that much yet, but I remember having a positive impression of it when I used it.
As you can see in the example above, a product launch funnel email sequence reflects the marketing funnel structure. You need to start by raising awareness of your product, increasing anticipation in the days leading up to the launch. That increases the likelihood of a purchase.
Brands use bonus funnels to add value to customer purchases and increase conversion rates. Most bonuses consist of two or more related products that complement each other, such as a software package that includes free lifetime support and upgrades or online courses with free ebooks on a related subject.
You can use email sequences to increase your bonus funnel’s conversion rate, either by promoting the bonus on the email itself (and adding a CTA to the checkout page) or by including a link to a landing page.
For example, CoSchedule Academy, a marketing education business, sent the email below for Saint Patrick’s Day:
Clicking on the CTA brings us to a landing page for the same bonus:
The bonus funnel works because:
- It promises to deliver 25x more value than the intended purchase
- It sparks a sense of urgency in the customer.
You need to pay extra attention to #2 as bonuses only work if they are valid for a limited time. Otherwise, the bonus items lose their value and offer no extra incentive for the customer to sign up.
Affiliate marketing efforts are incomplete without email marketing. If you’re looking to make big sums of money, you must send your customers engaging emails highlighting the merchant’s top-notch products containing your affiliate links.
Combine these with intriguing online offers. Moreover, remember that graphics and aesthetic appeal play a huge role in this, so you need to make your emails appear eye-catching on every level.