Turn Subscribers into Sales: Affiliate Email Marketing

affiliate email marketing cover image with a girl and an ipad

Trying to figure out why everyone is suddenly talking about affiliate email marketing? For starters, it’s a great way to earn money. Secondly, the process is simple enough — if there is a topic you are passionate about, create an audience for it and pitch them products they might be interested in.

And email marketing is one of the best channels you can choose to build your affiliate business.

In this guide, we will equip you with all the knowledge and strategies you need to turn your passion into profit.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where marketers (called affiliates in this scenario) promote products or services and earn a commission on each sale they generate.

Affiliate marketing allows businesses to reach a wider audience and generate sales without having to invest heavily in their own marketing efforts. The arrangement is just as beneficial to affiliates — they can earn commissions by promoting products they believe in. This also sets them on the path to building a successful online business.

So, how does one set up an affiliate marketing business?

How Affiliate Marketing Works

This is how the typical affiliate marketing journey goes:

  1. Join an affiliate program: Affiliates sign up for a merchant’s affiliate program through an affiliate network or directly with the merchant.
  2. Promote products or services: Affiliates receive unique tracking links (affiliate links) to promote the merchant’s products or services. They use various marketing strategies to drive traffic to these links.
  3. Track conversions: When a customer clicks on an affiliate link and completes a specified action (for example, making a purchase), the affiliate network tracks the conversion and attributes it to the affiliate.
  4. Earn commissions: The affiliate earns a commission for the conversion. Once a minimum payout threshold is reached, payments are typically processed regularly (say, monthly).

Certain marketing methods are popular with marketers for their affiliate businesses — let’s check them out.

Common Channels in Affiliate Marketing

The below mediums are popular choices with affiliate marketers:

Marketing channelsHow affiliates earn from them
Content marketingBuilding an email list and sending newsletters or promotional emails with affiliate links.
Email marketingBuilding an email list and sending newsletters or promotional emails that include affiliate links.
Social media marketingUsing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to share affiliate links and promote products.
Paid advertisingRunning ads on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other PPC networks to drive traffic to affiliate offers.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)Optimizing website content to rank higher in search engine results, attracting organic traffic that can be directed to affiliate offers.
Affiliate marketing: Channels

As long as the unique identifying code for each purchase can be tracked, affiliates can expect to earn a percentage of the sales, or in some cases, a flat fee. 

You can even combine different marketing channels to achieve better results. For example, you can pair content marketing with email marketing or run social media marketing parallelly with your email campaigns. You could even use all 5 of the methods above for maximum impact.

Affiliate businesses often flourish via email marketing, so we’re going to study this topic in detail next.

Affiliate Email Marketing Explained

As the table above indicates, email marketing is a popular medium for affiliates to generate sales and earn commissions. 

Affiliate email marketing is a strategy that combines the power of affiliate marketing with targeted email campaigns. You connect with a targeted audience who has opted-in to receive your emails. You can be an affiliate by leveraging your existing email list, a group of people who already know and trust you.

To succeed at affiliate email marketing, you must provide value — so blasting your list with promotional emails only won’t work. You must focus on providing valuable content that educates, entertains, or solves problems for your audience.

While other mediums of affiliate marketing are effective, let’s discuss why email marketing offers you an edge over them.

Advantages of Affiliate Email Marketing

By using email messaging as a channel to build your affiliate marketing business, you get these advantages:

  • High ROI: Email marketing boasts a high average return on investment (ROI), making it a profitable way to promote affiliate products.
  • Targeted reach: You can segment your email list and send targeted emails to specific groups, increasing the relevance of your promotions.
  • Control: You don’t have to depend on a third-party platform for your business as your list is your own.
  • Builds relationships: Regular email communication helps you build trust and rapport with your audience, making them more receptive to your recommendations.
  • Passive income: With an engaged email list, you can generate passive income through affiliate commissions.

So — what’s the first step to becoming an affiliate email marketer?

Affiliate Email Marketing: Where to Start?

Before you can fire off any affiliate marketing emails, you need an audience. 

Here’s how you can build it:

  1. Choose your niche,
  2. Build an email list,
  3. Segment the list.

Choosing Your Email Marketing Niche

Choosing the right niche for your email marketing is crucial for success with your affiliate business. It allows you to target a specific audience with laser focus, leading to higher engagement and consistent conversions.

These 7 questions will help you narrow it down:

  1. What topics do you enjoy learning and talking about?
  2. Is there a sizeable audience interested in this niche?
  3. Is there potential to promote affiliate products or even your own products?
  4. Is there a wide range of products you could introduce to your followers in this niche? 
  5. How engaged are people in this niche?
  6. Does the niche have too much competition?
  7. Are there sub-niches that might be more lucrative? 

Once you find a niche you are passionate and knowledgeable about and ticks the above boxes, it’s time to build an email list.

Building an Email List: How is it Done?

Once you know what kind of content people in a particular niche will enjoy, how do you get them to hand over their email addresses and other relevant data? 

Email marketers commonly use these lead-generation tactics to accumulate leads:

MethodHow it helps you collect leads
Website sign-upsPlace forms on your website to capture visitor information, usually for a freebie or newsletter.
Landing pagesDedicated pages are designed specifically for capturing leads.
Pop-ups and slide-insTimed or behavior-triggered pop-ups encourage visitors to subscribe to your email list.
WebinarsHost live or recorded webinars where attendees register with their email addresses.
Lead magnetsOffer free resources like ebooks, whitepapers, or guides offered in exchange for contact information.
ContestsRun contests/giveaways that require participants to enter their email addresses to participate.
Social mediaUse social media platforms to promote sign-up forms or landing pages.
Referral programsEncourage existing subscribers to refer others in exchange for rewards or incentives.
Paid advertisingUse Google Ads or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to landing pages.
Partnerships and collaborationsTeam up with other businesses/influencers in your niche to promote yourself.
Networking eventsCollect emails at trade shows, conferences, and other networking events.
Customer reviews/ testimonialsEncourage happy customers to leave reviews that include a link to your signup page.
Popular lead-generation methods

How to Multiply Your Lead Magnet Signups

For lead capturing, we highly recommend lead magnets. They can attract high-quality subscribers, but you need a strategy and skills to achieve the best results. This is where the Lead Magnet Multiplier course can come in handy. 

This free course helps email marketers master the art of lead generation and teaches them the secrets of maximizing signups. And we assure you, the results are amazing — we’re talking 8x more subscribers compared to traditional lead magnets.

Since we only want to share this knowledge with enthusiastic marketers, we added a clause. You have to finish the course in a week, or you lose access. You can always apply again to rejoin.

Learn how to rapidly grow your email list today; sign up for the Lead Magnet Multiplier program ASAP!

Once you have your leads and relevant data, it’s time to organize them into specific segments.

Segmentation: The Key to Maximizing Affiliate Marketing Conversions

Affiliate marketing is all about targeting the right audience with the right message. List segmentation is a powerful tool that allows affiliate marketers to achieve exactly that. By dividing their audience into distinct groups based on shared characteristics, you have more focused audiences.

Segmentation lets you group email subscribers by factors like demographics (age, location), interests (curious about tech gadgets, fitness goals, dietary restrictions, etc), or past purchase behavior. This allows you to tailor your affiliate offers. 

By applying a smart segmentation strategy, you understand your audience better. This means you can connect with various businesses catering to those specific groups.

For example, you could promote luxury watches to a segment of affluent subscribers interested in expensive purchases, while recommending budget smartwatches to another segment of people more focused on value.

When you keep your emails relevant, users are far more likely to click on your affiliate links.

With your segments in place, you’re now ready to run your first affiliate email marketing campaign.

How to Run Your Affiliate Email Marketing Campaign

Follow the steps below to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground.

1. Choose the Right Affiliate Program

For your email marketing affiliate program to perform well, you must select products that align with your niche and audience interests. Think long-term; only promote high-quality products to maintain your credibility. When researching affiliate products, consider commission rates and potential earnings.

2. Check Your Segments Again

Once you decide on an affiliate merchant, study your segments. The more data you have on your recipients, the better you can target them. If necessary, run A/B tests to see how the most enthusiastic subscribers respond to your affiliate products.

3. Write a Compelling Email

This is your sales pitch. Start with an impactful first impression — write a solid subject line that grabs attention and encourages opens. 

Wherever possible, use email personalization

Your email must have more than just the product pitch; provide valuable information and insights related to the products. Ensure you add a clear call-to-action (CTA) so readers are compelled to click. And before you send your campaign, don’t forget to check if the email looks good on mobile devices.

4. Automate Your Campaigns

You should set up automation so your affiliate links can be sent whenever a recipient executes an action. For example, send automated emails when a subscriber clicks on a link or abandons a cart on your website. Also, set up automated follow-up emails to promote your affiliate products.

5. Analyze Performance

This is where you study how your audience is reacting to your affiliate email marketing campaigns. 

Use the data from your analysis to improve future campaigns. It may take numerous rounds of refining before your emails start to really click.

6. Key Points to Remember

Follow these best practices as an affiliate:

  • Be transparent: Disclose your affiliate relationships.
  • Focus on value: Prioritize providing value over making sales.
  • Build trust: Establish a relationship with your audience by being honest and reliable.
  • Stay consistent: Maintain a regular email schedule to keep your audience engaged.

With time, running an affiliate email marketing campaign will become second nature. Ensure you stay updated with marketing trends and continue to collect feedback from recipients using email surveys.

We’re going to help you out with the first step of the above list — a good affiliate program. Below, you have some of the most popular ones in the market today.

Top 5 Affiliate Email Marketing Programs

If you’re raring to get started with your own affiliate marketing business, these are 5 popular email marketing affiliate programs you can consider.


Shopify affiliate program
Shopify’s Affiliate Program

Shopify is a leading eCommerce platform that allows users to easily build and manage their online stores. Their affiliate program offers recurring commissions, meaning you earn every month a customer you refer stays subscribed to Shopify’s plans. This makes it a lucrative option for marketers targeting entrepreneurs or those looking to launch online businesses.  Promoting Shopify can be a great fit for content creators who educate audiences on dropshipping, building online brands, or the world of eCommerce.

You can earn via:

  1. Shopify Plan referrals ($25 to 50 each),
  2. Shopify POS Pro referrals (Up to $500 each).

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates affiliate program
Amazon Associates Page

Amazon Associates is one of the world’s largest affiliate programs, allowing you to promote virtually any product on Amazon’s vast marketplace. While commission rates might be lower compared to some niche programs, the sheer volume of potential customers and product variety can lead to significant earnings.  

The earnings for Amazon range from 20% to 4% commissions for sales that occur via your referrals.


Bluehost affiliate program
Bluehost Affiliate Program Page

Bluehost is a popular web hosting provider offering reliable hosting solutions for individuals and businesses. Their affiliate program features high commission rates for each signup you refer. This makes it suitable for marketers targeting bloggers, website owners, or anyone needing web hosting services. 

Since web hosting is a fundamental need for any online presence, Bluehost can be a good option for broad audience targeting.

As an affiliate, you can earn up to 70% of each sale, capped at $100.


Wix affiliate program
Wix Affiliate Program Page

Wix’s affiliate program allows you to earn commissions by promoting Wix’s premium website creation plans to your audience. The program offers competitive commission payouts for each successful referral who upgrades from the free Wix plan to a premium plan. 

Since Wix offers a user-friendly platform with a free plan, it can be a good option for marketers targeting a broad audience interested in building a website presence.

For each sale Wix clocks from one of your subscribers, you can earn $100.

WP Engine

WP Engine affiliate program
WP Engine Affiliate Program Page

WP Engine offers a competitive affiliate program that allows you to earn commissions for referring customers to their managed WordPress hosting plans. This program lets you earn progressively higher payouts by referring more customers to the WP Engine platform. 

To earn from their program, you must refer new customers to purchase a WP Engine hosting plan or a StudioPress theme. 

For WP Engine hosting plans, you will earn a minimum of $200 or the same amount as the first month’s payment, whichever is higher. If your referral opts for an annual purchase, the total amount is divided by 12, and the commission is based on that amount.

If someone buys a StudioPress theme using your link, the commission rate is 35% of the theme’s price. 

While these affiliate programs cover various niches, they may not work for your specific niche. With a bit of research, you should be able to find a product or brand that would be ideal for your audience.

Campaign Refinery: The Ideal ESP for Affiliate Email Marketing

The most critical factor in an ESP that every affiliate marketer should care about is inbox placement. And with the best deliverability rates in the industry, Campaign Refinery is an option you should seriously consider.

Our platform is affiliate-friendly; unlike many ESPs, we do not have a blanket ban on affiliate content or links. 

But that’s not an open invitation for spammy affiliate marketers. Our acceptable use policy clearly states we do not encourage activities like CPA affiliate-type sites, network marketing sites, affiliate educational offers, insurance sales, or promotions.

If you’re a legit affiliate marketer who cares about your audience, then Campaign Refinery is perfect for you. 

Here’s why:

  • Automated list-cleaner: Don’t let invalid entries on your email list damage your sender reputation. Our automatic list-cleaning tool neutralizes all threats.
  • Flexible automation builder: Create conditional campaigns and add rules or branches wherever you like, with ease.
  • Integration with third-party tools: Are you curious about how you can transfer data from lead generation tools to Campaign Refinery? We support thousands of the most popular marketing tools in the market with Zapier integration and native integration.
  • Gamification: With gamified emails, you will see a clear spike in your engagement stats.
  • Budget-friendly: We don’t charge clients for the size of their contact list. What you use is what you pay for.

Ready to kickstart your affiliate email marketing journey? Apply to become a Campaign Refinery user today!

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