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How to launch an affiliate campaign
Victoria BerezhetskaJun 21, 2024 3:25:37 AM10 min read

THE Marketer's Guide on Launching an Affiliate Email Campaign

Affiliate marketing is familiar to most people who spend part of their lives online. It’s the basic term for digital marketers, while affiliate programs have probably targeted every casual Internet surfer. Whenever you come across messages like “this post contains affiliate links” or hear a YouTube blogger encouraging the audience to click the link in the video description, affiliate marketing campaigns have reached their objectives.

Similarly, if you have an email, you will likely be targeted by email marketing campaigns. Your email address is required to create profiles on social media platforms, establish banking accounts, and apply for various digital and offline services. Sooner rather than later, it will be used for marketing and advertising.

Affiliate email campaigns are a natural extension of these two marketing methods and their integration. This article explains the benefits of such an approach and suggests how to adjust email marketing tactics for affiliates based on expert opinions in the field.

Table of Contents

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Businesses often collaborate with other companies or individuals to promote their products and services. The development of digital marketing strategies has led to the widespread usage of affiliate links as a safe and efficient solution for advertisers to increase their sales and marketers and publishers to earn their commissions.

Affiliate marketing spend

Source: <Influencer Marketing Hub>

Affiliates can join businesses' affiliate programs to obtain unique affiliate links for publishing within their content. These links contain special codes activated whenever users click on them to track their buying journey through affiliate marketing software. Typically, the publisher is eligible for a payout once the purchase is completed. However, companies may offer rewards for other conversion types or based on the number of users who click the link.

The passive income promised by affiliate marketing is appealing to various content creators and marketers and incorporates many digital affiliate marketing channels. Here are to name a few:

  • Blogging sites: Bloggers consistently write about things that resonate with their audience and incorporate affiliate links directly in their content.
  • Social media influencers: Social media users are more likely to trust recommendations from influencers they follow than brands.
  • Video content creators: Video-sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok are optimal media for product reviews and tutorials and are effectively used for affiliate marketing. In this case, affiliate links are placed in the video descriptions or profiles.
  • Microsites: Small, one-page sites created specifically to promote one product and target a niche audience.

These methods involve creating engaging content that has the potential to attract the attention of a broad audience long after its initial publication. Email marketing stands aside from them, offering unique advantages for affiliates.

What Are Affiliate Email Campaigns?

An affiliate email campaign involves promoting affiliate products through emails. Depending on how the publishers incorporate affiliate links, the email affiliate campaigns employ two primary tactics.

In direct affiliate email campaigns, unique affiliate URLs are embedded directly into the email content. When recipients click on these links, they are taken directly to the product or service page associated with the affiliate program. An example of direct affiliate email campaigns are emails promoting a specific product with a “Shop Now” button that leads to an affiliate-linked product page.

The key features of direct affiliate email campaigns are:

  • Explicit affiliation: The recipient knows the link is an affiliate link.
  • Immediate action: The call-to-action (CTA) is straightforward: click the link and make a purchase.
  • Tracking: The affiliate programs track affiliate links directly from the email.

The primary goal of indirect affiliate email campaigns is not to drive immediate conversions. Instead, they attract recipients to a website or landing page where they can explore further and possibly click on affiliate links. For instance, an email newsletter with a teaser about a new blog post on “Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Lovers” links to the blog post, which includes affiliate links to the featured gadgets.

The key features of indirect affiliate email campaigns are:

  • Curiosity and engagement: The email content piques recipients’ interest without overtly pushing them to buy.
  • Multiple touchpoints: Recipients navigate through the website where they may encounter additional affiliate links.
  • Content-driven approach: Emails often contain valuable content (blogs, articles, etc.) related to the affiliate product.

Remember, both approaches have their merits. Direct campaigns focus on immediate conversions, while indirect campaigns build engagement and trust over time. Affiliate marketers choose the strategy that aligns best with their audience and goals.

Benefits of Email Campaigns for Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate email campaigns have all the advantages of email marketing, such as the ability to connect to over 4.5 billion people and having one of the highest ROI among all marketing communication channels. Being highly effective in various marketing strategies, it has the unmatched potential to promote affiliate products and brands due to the following factors:


Creating and sending emails is affordable compared to other marketing methods, boasting an average ROI of 42:1.

Ownership of your list

Unlike content on other channels (e.g., YouTube or Facebook), email lists can’t be shut down. Consider switching email service providers (ESPs) while retaining all your contacts. This way, monetizing email lists becomes easier, and you have control over its growth and management.

Targeted personalization

Email campaigns allow you to create personalized content tailored to individual recipients. Segmentation and audience targeting enhance relevance and engagement and ensure that affiliate links are offered to prospects likely to convert.

Immediate performance tracking

You can track email campaign performance in real time. Email campaign metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions provide valuable insights, allow A/B testing, and enable rapid adjusting of affiliate email campaigns.

Timely campaigns

Emails enable you to send promotions, announcements, and offers with minimal effort. With email automation software, you’re just one click away from reaching your target audience.


How To Do Affiliate Marketing With Email Strategies

While affiliate email campaigns offer significant advantages and possibilities, their efficiency depends on how they are implemented. Indeed, email marketing is one of the cost-effective ways to contact a broad audience worldwide. However, without campaign optimization and specialized affiliate marketing tools, increasing revenue from your email affiliate ventures will be difficult.

Gaining valuable experience in email marketing, finding the products you’d love to promote, and extensive A/B testing will improve your affiliate email campaign efficiency over time. The following affiliate marketing tips offer guidance that will help you fine-tune your email campaign strategy for promoting affiliate products right from the start.

Attention to Content

We’ve all heard that content is king in content marketing. However, written content is equally crucial in email affiliate campaigns. Its type, quality, and the author’s tone of voice are detrimental to the success of key marketing goals:

  • Establishing a friendly conversation with the audience
  • Promoting your brand's values
  • Preparing users to buy affiliate products

It’s advisable to leverage different content lengths for different purposes, such as short (less than 50 words) emails for invitations to sign up for newsletters, medium (50 to 100 words) for product reviews, and long forms for articles and newsletters.

Email Personalization

Email marketing offers personalization possibilities like no other channels. With the emergence of social media platforms and highly personalized advertising, users expect to receive content tailored to their interests and pay less attention to unrelated messages.

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, email marketing tools enable the automation of personalizing emails. For example, despite sending emails in bulk, advanced email software can add personalized messages, such as the recipient’s name in the title. The deeper levels of personalization involve adjusting letter content or offers based on the recipient’s geographic location, demographic information, behavior on the website, previous purchases, and more.

According to studies, three-quarters of companies that use email marketing incorporate names in their subject lines, believing this approach increases email open rates.

Email Segmentation

Email list growth is essential for affiliate email campaigns, allowing them to reach a bigger audience. Ensure to capture and store any additional information about the users that will help you promote the affiliate products. For example, if you’re using registration forms, ask about their habits, where they live, and their age. If you can’t ask them more than their name and email address, track where they came from: your Facebook account, sign-up form on a product page, or Google ad.

This information about users allows the dividing of email lists into specific segments for the following benefits:

  • Segmentation ensures the content is relevant to users, allowing for offering affiliate products that may interest them.
  • Information demographics or user behavior allows the creation of personalized texts that better speak to the group’s needs and interests.
  • Segmentation allows excluding groups of recipients from certain email affiliate campaigns that promote irrelevant products. This approach minimizes the number of unsubscribers.
  • By targeting the audience more precisely, you can work in affiliate marketing niches where advertisers offer higher commissions.

Testing Affiliate Email Campaigns

Track vital email marketing metrics, including open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Explore the dependence of these metrics on various factors. The email elements that may impact their effectiveness are:

  • Subject line
  • Length of email
  • Layout
  • Usage of visual content
  • Tone of voice
  • Affiliate links embedded in CTAs or anchors within the email body

Test how your success metrics depend on these elements by launching two affiliate email campaigns, each differing in only one element, to a split group of recipients.

AB email test tips

Source <Zapier>

Similarly, study how different categories of affiliate products cater to different segmented audiences. For example, you might learn that individuals from specific demographic groups showcase high click-through rates but rarely buy the product. This may suggest that you’re crafting your affiliate emails correctly but offering a product irrelevant to users from this group.

Tracking marketing campaigns also reveals which affiliate tactics are more effective for converting leads: direct affiliate campaigns with links integrated into emails or indirect affiliate campaigns, where users are encouraged to navigate to the publisher's platform with affiliate links.

Email Automation

Effective affiliate email campaigns demand consistency and regularity when working with large databases and networks. These tasks are unimaginable without email marketing automation tools. These solutions allow marketers to send personalized welcome letters, registration forms, product reviews, questionnaires, or any other content to large email lists at scheduled times or triggered by various factors.

To step up the game, email automation allows the launch of drip email campaigns, where a series of messages are sent to the recipient at predefined intervals. Based on how the user interacts with the content, the system decides which message to send next.

In affiliate marketing, such campaigns could involve sending an invitation letter to visit a landing page for a new product. If the recipients don’t navigate to the intended destination, they will receive a follow-up letter containing a product description, a discount offer, and another “Final offer” email. If the user converts at any point, the email automation software will send a “Thank You” message, a feedback form, or other nurturing materials.

Transparency in Affiliate Marketing

The best communication practices call for affiliate publishers to always be transparent about affiliate links. If you’re sending content with links from your affiliate partners, notify readers about the nature of these links. This approach will not hurt your reputation but will gain loyalty from your subscribers and possibly encourage them to proceed with the purchase.

Avoid overusing emails for affiliate marketing by posting too many affiliate links or sending letters too often. It is best to use affiliate email campaigns in tandem with other marketing strategies, such as investing in creating social media profiles and starting a YouTube affiliate channel to diversify your affiliate efforts.

What’s the Takeaway?

It is fair to say that affiliate marketing is a low-hanging fruit for individuals who know the specifics of digital traffic flows. Marketers can incorporate affiliate links into email campaigns and exploit the benefits of both strategies, such as increased cost-effectiveness of email marketing and low-risk passive income provided by affiliate marketing.

Despite their apparent simplicity, the success of affiliate email campaigns depends on adhering to several key principles and best practices. These include using top-notch content for audience engagement, creating email sequences with automation software, segmenting email lists to offer affiliate products to the right prospects, and maintaining absolute transparency in communication.

Make Your Email Marketing Profitable



Victoria Berezhetska

Victoria Berezhetska is a Content Lead at Phonexa. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer. In her work at Phonexa, she covers diverse topics around digital marketing, including affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead generation, marketing automation, and so much more.