A big reason why email has remained such a popular channel is because, when you have an email list, you actually own it and can get subscribers to continually engage with your business.
One of the ways to make money, and add a new income stream from email, is with affiliate marketing, where you can promote a wide range of products and services that your audience may be interested in.
With affiliate marketing, you can promote the products of thousands of brands such as Nike or Booking.com, and get paid in commissions for the traffic and sales that you send to these brands.
To illustrate this let’s take the example of people who teach how to play guitar on Youtube.
After capturing subscriber emails and receiving a lot of questions related to guitar accessories, the guitar teachers can then send personal advice by email on where to buy the best guitar accessories such as guitar picks, capos, tuners, etc. They could also of course recommend the best new guitars or even online courses on Udemy or Masterclass for example.
By promoting brands that have affiliate programs, the teacher can then use the brands’ affiliate links, and every time someone clicks on these links and makes a purchase, the guitar teacher will receive a commission that can be ranging from 2% to sometimes over 50% of the purchase value.
In this article, I break down how you can make money by combining affiliate marketing with email marketing and following these 6 simple steps.
Step 1: Signup to an affiliate network
The first step is to sign up to an affiliate network which will allow you to access affiliate programs. There are several networks and they all work with certain merchants.
While you can sign up to all of the different networks individually, you can alternatively sign up to Skimlinks who imports affiliate programs from all of the major networks, so you’ll gain access to 48,500 affiliate programs globally.
Skimlinks primarily works with content publishers, so when applying make sure you apply with a link to your blog or social media page if you have one.
Step 2: Find merchants to promote
As soon as you get approved by Skimlinks, you can start searching for affiliate programs here. Use the country and category filters to narrow down your search results and find merchants your audience is likely to be interested in.
You can use tools such as Google Analytics to find out what your website visitors are interested in. Go to the Audience tab, then go to Interests, and you’ll see all the things your audience is interested in and in the market for.
For example, if you see that the two biggest segments in your In-Market Segment report are Apparel & Accessories and Home & Garden, then it would make sense to send products & offers from those industries to your audience.
Step 3: Segment your audience
Personalization is key when it comes to email marketing (and marketing in general).
Indeed, consumers receive hundreds of emails every week, so you will need to find ways to stand out from the crowd as not only will this improve your email open rates, you’ll also make money when people purchase the products you recommend.
Knowing this, make sure to send the most targeted and personalized emails as possible.
You could segment your email list audience by topics, products they are interested in, or by location.
For example, if you are in the fitness industry, you could send a survey using Typeform or Google Forms to your contacts asking them if they are interested in yoga, weight loss, muscle gain, cycling, etc… You can use a tool like Zapier to add tags or fields to your contacts based on their choices.
By using emailing tools such as Mailchimp, Autopilot, Drip, or Sendinblue, you can then use these fields to segment your audience.
Something to keep in mind: The more segments you split your audience into, the more work that will involve. If you have 10 segments, you will need to write 10 different emails, personalized to each segment.
Once you have segmented your audience, you can move on to the next step.
Step 4: Create automated email journeys
Automated email journeys are great as you just need to set them up once, then you can let them run and bring in revenue automatically while you can focus on other tasks.
With an emailing tool such as Autopilot, you can create a list of contacts based on a specific page that they have visited.
So if you have an article on your site about ‘The Best Plant Delivery Services’ for example, you could create an automated email sending plant delivery affiliate programs’ links right after one of your subscribers visits that page.
Emailing tools such as Mailchimp also enables you to send targeted emails based on your subscribers’ locations. So if a big portion of your audience is based in another country, you can send more relevant products and offers by finding merchants who operate in their country.
Both of the examples above can greatly improve the performance of your emails, as segmenting your audience based on location and behavior will make a huge difference in terms of conversion rates.
Step 5: Plan the content for your newsletters
No matter the industry, every business should have a newsletter to maintain a long term relationship with customers and increase recurring revenue.
Similarly to writing blog posts, think about how you can bring the most value to customers. And if you have a content strategy in place already for your blog, you can easily repurpose that content for your newsletters.
Think about your customers’ pain points, challenges, and goals.
How can you help them overcome their challenges and reach their goals?
Let’s go back to the example of the fitness industry. If most of your contacts are interested in weight loss and muscle gain, you could send them a list of the best workouts for weight loss or muscle gain.
You can also include offers for the best fitness equipment to help them reach their goals and link to affiliate programs of merchants such as Puma, Nike, or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
If you have a lot of subscribers in certain countries or markets, make sure to adapt the content of your newsletters so that it’s relevant and consider sending offers from merchants who operate in those markets.
Finally, it’s always good to write about timely topics. To do this you can create a calendar of key events during the year that you should be writing about.
For example, looking at the calendar for public holidays and key shopping events in the US, some yearly events you should consider getting content ready for are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and for the fitness industry, the Annual Super Bowl could be great to cover as well.
Step 6: Report on your results and use the learnings!
Last but not least, once you have started sending a few automated emails and newsletters, you should be continually monitoring and reporting on your results.
If you’re using Skimlinks, you can look at the Revenue Source Report where you can easily track which emails, content, or products are performing best. Make sure to use UTMs or Custom IDs when creating your affiliate links so that you can see them in this report.
Let’s imagine that you’ve sent an email about ‘The Best Offers For Yoga Lovers’ that has performed well and brought in a lot of revenue.
You can then download the data from the report into a spreadsheet and filter only for Link UTM Campaign = Yoga-Offers-Email and analyze which merchant links generated the most revenue.
You can then use these learnings going forward by promoting a certain type of content, merchants, or products that you know your audience will be interested in.
That’s it! Now that you know how to make money with email marketing, you can start joining affiliate networks individually or signup to Skimlinks to access them all, segment your audience, and set up your first email campaigns. Good luck!