12 killer email marketing tips for affiliates

13 min

Of all marketers, affiliate marketers have some of the best reasons to do email marketing. For one, affiliates are most likely to get penalized by Google. They also don’t have buyer information, so they often have to build a list or database of buyers.

Email can help with all of that.

Emailing is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketing strategy. A recent survey by Statista revealed that 37% of consumers are likely or very likely to purchase something instigated by an email newsletter.

So, if you’re an affiliate, now is the time to start building your email marketing strategy to establish consistent income. To help you do this, we’ve compiled this list of the best email marketing tips for affiliate marketing.

Let’s jump in!

12 ways to improve your affiliate email marketing campaigns

An email marketing strategy can help you grow your affiliate business exponentially. But you have to do it right. So here are 12 ways to take your affiliate marketing email campaigns to the next level.

1. Don’t oversell your subscribers

Trying to oversell is a common mistake affiliates make when doing email marketing. While it’s great to have a list to sell to, you don’t want to be selling all the time. Break up the stream of email sales offers with some helpful content. Aim for about an 80/20 split. That would be four straight emails that give great content to your reader and then one email promoting a product.

This pattern of give, give, give, give, take delivers brilliant results. First, it shows your subscribers you aren’t going to spam them with sales emails. It demonstrates to the readers that you are not just interested in selling to them. You want to provide valuable content regularly. 

It hence trains people to open your emails. Moreover, it builds trust, which is the secret sauce of selling anything.

Sending all those “give” emails also keeps email engagement rates high. That means more of your emails will get delivered to peoples’ inboxes instead of being sent to their spam folders. Long-term, that means way more earnings for you.

If you ever want to sell space in your email messages or offer solo emails, all that trust and engagement will mean even more. You’ll be able to offer great results to advertisers. That means you can charge more. It’s a sweet little feedback loop.

2. Use the right email sequences for affiliate promotions

Using the right email sequences will guide your subscribers through every step of their journey—from the welcome email to the purchase. For affiliate promotions, email sequences are essential because they ensure potential customers are consistently exposed to your content. 

Here’s a good example of an email sequence that you could be using:

Email 1: Welcome email

Email 2: Talk about your audience’s pain points

Email 3: Offer solutions

Email 4: Add to the solutions with a natural affiliate link

Email 5: Provide more informative content on the subject

Email 6: Provide new solutions with an embedded affiliate link

As you can see, every one of these emails serves a different purpose, but they all complement each other. 

In the first part of your email sequence, you welcome your new subscribers, telling them who you are and what they can expect from you and your newsletter. It’s a great email to set a good first impression.

Then, you should aim to get people aware of the problem before promoting a product. It helps aggravate the problem. This email leaves your audience anticipating a solution.

The next couple of emails should offer solutions to your target audience’s problems. That’s where you can now start introducing your affiliate products. 

It’s important not to add an affiliate link in the first email. This helps to build trust with your audience, making it easier for you to convert them when you finally start promoting your product.

Read more: 8 ways to promote affiliate links

3. Segment your audience

Want way more sales, higher average click-through rates, and fewer unsubscribes? Who doesn’t? Then it’s time to segment your list.

Segmenting refers to splitting up your list based on your subscriber’s preferences or behavior. You’ve seen segmenting preferences all over the web. Any opt-in form that asks people whether they prefer HTML or text emails is segmenting. Any form that asks people to checkboxes indicating their interests is segmenting, too.

Segmenting according to sign up preferences is good. Segmenting according to behavior is better. GetResponse makes this easy. You can send people a specific, custom email if they click a particular link in your emails. For example, if this was the email you sent:


you could automatically send anyone who clicked on those links an email message designed just for them. Here’s how:

1) From the dashboard of your GetResponse account, go to Tools > Automation

Finding Marketing Automation in the GetResponse dashboard.
Accessing the Marketing Automation feature in GetResponse

2) Next, choose Create Workflow and then Build from Scratch

Building the marketing automation workflow from scratch.
Building an automation workflow from scratch

3) Then, in the Marketing Automation Workflow arena connect the following three elements – Is sent a message (this will trigger your workflow when your email marketing campaign’s sent), link clicked (this will track if your link gets clicked), and send message (this will send the follow up message if we observe a click).

Building an automation workflow that starts whenever a message is sent.
Building an automation workflow that starts whenever a message is sent.

In each element you’ll need to customize the properties:

  • Which message should trigger your workflow
  • Which link should be tracked and for how long
  • Which message should be sent after the ‘click’ has been observed

Once you’ve connected the three elements you can either continue the workflow and set up other steps (e.g. automatically tag those who click in the follow up message) or publish it.

4. Offer a lead magnet

There’s no better way to build your affiliate email list fast than to create a lead magnet (also called a “free report” or “ethical bribe”). You offer the lead magnet as a free gift to give people when they sign up for your email list. See our post about lead magnet ideas to learn more.

A nice example of a lead magnet from LinkedIn expert Melonie Dodaro’s site. 
A nice example of a lead magnet from LinkedIn expert Melonie Dodaro’s site.

4. Offer more than one lead magnet

Even if you’re in a super-tight niche, you probably write blog posts about more than one subtopic in your niche. 

For example, maybe some of your posts are about deep-sea fishing in the Pacific, and some are about deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic. Or, maybe some posts are about knitting with wool, and some are about knitting with acrylics. 

No matter what the topics are, you can offer a unique lead magnet for each. This technique can help you double your opt-in rate.

One great example of an influencer and affiliate offering numerous lead magnets is Joe Wicks, the Body Coach. Joe wants to make the world fit, healthy, and happy. Thus, the content and products he promotes are related to, but not limited to, the fitness niche. 

Here, on his homepage, he offers a free weekly workout and recipe.

The Body Coach promoting his newsletter at the top of the homepage.
The Body Coach promoting his newsletter at the top of the homepage.

But, once a visitor starts exploring Joe’s website, they’ll find many more opt-in forms and lead magnets. Such as this one with a “Meals on a Budget” recipe:

The Body Coach promoting a secondary lead magnet – Meals on a budget recipe.
The Body Coach promoting a secondary lead magnet – Meals on a budget recipe.

The more relevant lead magnets you offer, the more chances of converting leads into email subscribers. The lead magnets are also going to be helpful during segmentation. They can tell you exactly what each subscriber is interested in. That should help you send super personalized emails.

5. Use a pop-up form

As an affiliate, you are drawing people in to your site, then redirecting them off your site in order to make a sale. In the short time they are on your site, you need to capture their email address or you may never see or hear from them again. A pop-up is the best way to do this.  GetResponse lets you create pop-ups and lightboxes from within your account. See our post about creating pop-ups to learn how to make them in your GetResponse account.

As an affiliate you may want to be a little pushier with your pop-up than other sites would be. It may be good for you to show a pop-up right when people land on your pages. If you show the pop-up only after someone’s been on your site for 5 minutes, most visitors will have left before the pop-up is supposed to show.

Creating a pop-up in your GetResponse account is super simple.
Creating a pop-up in your GetResponse account is super simple

7. Test the pop-up

Simple A/B split tests can make a huge difference over time. You can use online tools like Google Optimize, Visual Website Optimizer, or Optimizely to set up your tests.

With A/B tests, you define two or more variations and then implement a different code path for each variation. The right tool lets you determine which users are eligible for the experiment and how to split traffic between the variations.

For instance, you can test two different text versions of the headline of your pop-up form, like in the screenshots below.

Example of a popup A/B test comparing two copy variants
Example of a popup A/B test comparing two copy variants

Aside from changing the text, you can test any variations of your pop-up form. Some common ideas for testing are:

  • Colors
  • CTA
  • Audience
  • Page
  • Type of form

If you’ve got more than 2,000 unique visitors a month, you’ve got enough traffic to test. For those of you who have less traffic than that, apply best practices where you can and focus on building up your website traffic.

8. Add an opt-in form to the footer of your site

While it’s common practice to add an opt-in form above the fold, where it’s easily visible, it’s also important to add one to the footer of your site. 

Visitors may not always be ready to subscribe to your list when they first land on your site. By having the opt-in form in the footer, they can easily find it again after scrolling through your page.

Here’s the website footer of one of the most popular travel bloggers, Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy. Brian is well known for being a killer affiliate marketer. His website visitors cannot miss the opt-in form located in the lower-left corner of the footer.

Example an opt-in form in a website footer
Example an opt-in form in a website footer

Also, adding an opt-in form to the footer of your site ensures that it’s visible on every page. That increases the chances of capturing more email addresses.

8. Add an opt-in form to the About us page of your site

The About Us page is where your website visitors come to learn more about you, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. If you don’t have an opt-in form between the paragraphs near the top of your About Us page, you’re missing out.

This email opt-in form appears on the About Us page of an affiliate site called NicheHacks. The opt-in form is placed between the second and third sections of the About Us page.

This email opt-in form appears on the About Us page of an affiliate site called NicheHacks. The opt-in form is placed between the second and third sections of the About Us page. 
This email opt-in form appears on the About Us page of an affiliate site called NicheHacks. The opt-in form is placed between the second and third sections of the About Us page.

If someone gets to your About Us page, it means they are interested in what you have to offer. By placing an opt-in form there, you can capture and nurture these potential customers.

10. Test your emails

Testing emails is an essential part of any successful affiliate email marketing campaign. It’s important to test your emails to ensure your message is reaching the right target audience and in the correct format.

Testing emails can also help improve your campaigns’ ROI (Return On Investment). Analyzing your test results will help you make the right decisions to optimize the conversion rate of your future email campaigns. 

Here are the email elements that you should test:

  • Subject line 
  • Email designs
  • Copywriting
  • CTA
  • Time of day and the day of the week when emails are sent 
  • Frequency of emails

GetResponse lets you test your emails for free. You can test headlines, layout, timing – anything you want. Check out this guide to email A/B testing on how to set up tests.

11. Add a feature box to the home page of your site

A feature box is basically a full-width opt-in form that sits above the fold on your homepage. It’s a prominent section that displays important information or content to your website visitors. 

Placing an opt-in form on the feature box is a great way to capture email addresses. The opt-in form can be used to share additional benefits of joining your email newsletter. 

Here’s an example of a feature box on a popular affiliate site.

An example of a feature box on a popular affiliate site.

A feature box also helps draw visitors’ attention and entices them to take action since it’s above the fold.

12. Save time with an autoresponder that looks like an email newsletter

One of the best tricks to save time is to have your email newsletter sent with an autoresponder. This tip is especially helpful if you’ve got more than one affiliate site. 

With an email autoresponder, you can schedule email series that are automatically sent to a specified group of your email list. The emails are triggered by a specific user action, such as subscribing to your email list or downloading an ebook.

With an autoresponder, you can set up the following affiliate email campaigns:

  • Welcome sequence sent to new subscribers
  • Lead nurturing email sequence
  • Follow-up email sequence
  • Re-engagement email series

Here’s a simple email sequence example you could automate as an affiliate. From a welcome email sent on day zero to follow-up and promotional emails later on.

GetResponse Autoresponders

The GetResponse autoresponder can help you set up these email sequences. Our email service provider lets you create all your emails at once and then schedule them at your preferred time. This will put your affiliate email marketing efforts on autopilot, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your growing business.

Time to launch affiliate marketing email marketing campaign

Email marketing can be an effective way for affiliates to engage with their audience and promote affiliate products. But keep in mind that overselling can lead to subscriber fatigue and decreased engagement. Without the right techniques, you risk losing the audience you worked so hard to build.

To beat this, segmenting your audience and offering lead magnets can help to keep your subscribers interested and engaged. Testing the right email sequences and using an autoresponder can save you time. It’ll also help you maintain a professional and engaging relationship with your subscribers. 

Adding feature boxes on your homepage will increase your subscriber list. Optimized pop-up and opt-in forms on your website’s footer and About Us page can also help you capture more people’s email addresses.

So, go on and implement these killer tips to create a successful affiliate email marketing strategy that benefits both you and your subscribers.

Are you an affiliate marketer? Maybe you’re an online marketer? Let us know in the comments below what tips you found particularly helpful! What are your thoughts?

Pam Neely
Pam Neely
Pam Neely has been marketing online for 15 years. She's a serial entrepreneur and an avid email and content marketing enthusiast with a background in publishing and journalism, including a New York Press Award. Her book "50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List" is available on Amazon.com. Pam holds a Master's Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. Follow her on Twitter @pamellaneely.