If you have a growing email list, you may now find yourself wondering how you can monetize your efforts. After all, email marketing requires significant time and effort. Your time is valuable, and you deserve to be paid for your work!
For small pet business owners selling their products and services, the answer may seem simple – Drive sales with the emails you are sending. But what if you don’t have something to sell?
This is a challenge faced by many bloggers and influencers. You may be excited to learn that you can effectively monetize your list through affiliate marketing by email. In fact, the relationships created through email marketing provide a unique opportunity with the potential for a successful income stream.
Of course, like any aspect of business, affiliate marketing through email will require you to learn some basic skills and best practices.
To help you get started, I’ve put together this beginner’s guide with some basic affiliate information and tips for writing an effective affiliate marketing email. Let’s get started.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a mutually beneficial agreement between a blogger/influencer and a brand.
The influencer promotes the brand’s products or services to their audience using a trackable affiliate link and, in turn, is rewarded for each sale. In some situations, a payout may also be associated with free-trial signups, downloads of an app, or other desired results.
For bloggers and influencers, building an audience on their website or a social media platform is an effective way to monetize their efforts.
Affiliate programs exist in many forms. Larger online retailers like Amazon offer a wide assortment of products you can promote but at a lower commission rate. Meanwhile, many brands offer a higher commission rate if you join their affiliate program and focus specifically on sharing their line of products or services.
This could include pet supplies, travel gear, online marketing tools you use to build your business, or even hosting services for your website. The secret to success is finding an affiliate program with products or services that will offer value to your audience.
Can You Email Affiliate Links?
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to this. While some affiliate marketing programs are okay with promoting affiliate links through emails, it’s not allowed in all programs.
Each affiliate program you join will provide a detailed terms and conditions agreement.
Make sure that you read through the rules outlined in this agreement carefully. Failure to stick to their rules may result in you being removed from their program entirely.
One well-known example is Amazon’s affiliate program. They only allow their links to be used in public, trackable spaces like blog posts, YouTube videos, and social media posts. But they restrict the use of these links in private Facebook groups or emails.
This is primarily because they can’t see what is being shared, preventing them from being able to check that you are following the basic rules like proper disclosure.
There are some exceptions. For example, some larger private Facebook groups have been given permission IF they allow a member of the company to be in the group to see everything that has been shared.
But for most small pet business owners, the answer is yes, you can email affiliate links IF they are permitted in the terms of the program you joined.
How Effective is Affiliate Marketing with Email?
Email marketing is a highly effective way to promote affiliate links. Why? Unlike a blog post where you are hoping someone will trust you enough to make a purchase, you have already built trust with your email list.
These people have had the opportunity to “get to know you” virtually through your emails to date.
By giving you permission to send emails to their inbox, they already show interest in what you share and trust you to some degree. This is especially true if you maintain your list and remove inactive subscribers.
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee success. You will still need to pay attention to your email marketing basics as well as the importance of storytelling and relationship-building in your affiliate emails.
7 Tips for Effective Affiliate Marketing by Email
Now that you have found an affiliate program you connect with and confirmed you can share links in your emails, it’s time to get started. Learning how to write an email for affiliate marketing is a process that starts with email marketing best practices and introduces some sales tactics.
Here are seven tips that will increase your chances of success through affiliate marketing by email.
Offer Value to Your Audience
As you write each email, ask yourself what value you are giving to your audience. This may include offering entertainment, providing educational content, or sharing the latest news in your industry.
The hard truth is that most people are interested primarily in “what’s in it for me.” With this in mind, try reading through your emails from their perspective. By providing value with each email you send, you increase the likelihood that they will continue to read and engage with your emails, which will help your conversion rate.
Don’t Be Repetitive or Spammy
While you know that you have a goal of making affiliate sales, be careful not to be too repetitive in your efforts. If every email reads like a copy and post of the same sales pitch, they will eventually tune you out or unsubscribe from your mailing list.
This also applies to your email frequency. Sending the same sales pitch to a person’s inbox day after day will either flag their email provider as spam or erode their trust that you have their best interests in mind.
Choose Affiliate Programs that Fit Your Audience
Be intentional when deciding which affiliate programs you are going to promote. Keep in mind that you built your audience around a common interest or shared problem. Try to find affiliate options that leverage and build on that connection.
There are many affiliate programs to choose from. Some of the more common programs and affiliate networks include:
If there is a specific product or service, you strongly believe in, try searching whether that company has an affiliate program. They may list it on their website. However, sometimes you must search to find other creators sharing this information from their affiliate experience or search in one (or all) of the networks listed above.
You can always contact the brand and propose an affiliate relationship if the option doesn’t yet exist.
Use Personalization to Make a Connection
One way to build relationships with your email subscribers is to use email personalization. This could include addressing them by their first name, wishing them a happy birthday, and specifically sharing with subscribers based on their pet or where they are in your sales funnel. It could also mean targeted sharing for a specific geographic area.
By using personalization, you ensure that the information you share will be relevant for those receiving it. This increases the likelihood that they will be interested in the affiliate products/services you share.
For example, if you have a list that is categorized based on the type of pet they have, you can use this to customize the content they are receiving. By only sharing dog products with dog parents and cat products with cat parents, they will learn to trust that what you share is relevant and pay closer attention.
Include a Clear CTA
One of the best pieces of marketing advice I received when working on my Marketing Diploma was: “How can you expect your audience to take the path you desire if you don’t show them which path it is.”
If you’re not making it clear that you are sharing an affiliate product/service because you are promoting it and trying to make sales, they may miss the point of your email entirely. Make it easy and make it clear. Try including a direct call to action in the text or adding a “Buy Here” button to your emails.
Adhere to the Guidelines of Each Affiliate Program
As I previously mentioned, breaking the rules of an affiliate program may lead to being kicked out of the program. This not only means losing the opportunity to promote the product for a profit moving forward but also could cost you any payments you’ve already earned but haven’t yet been paid out for.
The Amazon affiliate operating agreement states:
“If you violate this Agreement, or if you violate terms and conditions of any other applicable Amazon marketing agreement, then, in addition to any other rights or remedies available to us, we reserve the right to permanently (to the extent permitted by applicable law) cease payment of (and you agree you will not be eligible to receive) any and all commission income otherwise payable to you under this Agreement, whether or not directly related to such violation without notice and without prejudice to any right of Amazon to recover damages in excess of this amount.”
Before agreeing to the terms of a program, take the time to read through them carefully. Take note of any rules you are expected to follow or expectations you must meet.
Don’t share any products/services possible just to make money. This old affiliate tactic worked once, sharing as many different affiliate opportunities as possible in the hopes that one would fit. Instead, focus on sharing products or services you know, love, and have personal experience with. This will show through in your email content, further building trust and increasing the likelihood of making a sale.
Final Thoughts on Affiliate Marketing by Email
Affiliate marketing is a great win/win opportunity for content creators and brands with a lot of potential for a solid income. Leveraging your email list to share your affiliate products/services is a great way to build trust, put your offer in front of a relevant audience, and increase sales.
But, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t “easy” to build a successful affiliate marketing business.
Content creators interested in this monetization opportunity will need to focus on the basics of email marketing, successful sales tactics, and, most importantly, building trust and a genuine connection with your audience. When these pieces are all in place, success will follow.
Are you currently a part of any affiliate programs or networks? If so, I would love to hear what companies you’re working with and what your experience has been to date in the comments section!
About the Author: Britt Kascjak is a freelance writer and content creator with a background in digital and social media marketing. In addition to being the BlogPaws Director of Content & SEO, she also runs her own personal blogs Shed Happens, The Kas Pack, and Lucifer the Rescue Pup. When she’s not working, she can be found volunteering in the rescue space, camping, hiking, canoeing, or spending time with her 3 dogs and 2 cats.