Email Marketing

Email Marketing For Affiliate Marketers

Some people think that email marketing for affiliate marketers consists of blasting your list with offers hoping that they will buy something… but they couldn’t be further from the truth. When used correctly, email marketing can be a powerful strategy for affiliate marketers.

In this article, I’m going to explain a few best practices for using email marketing in your affiliate marketing business, but first I’m going to discuss a few things that you shouldn’t do.

Email Marketing: What Not To Do…

A few weeks ago, I was reading questions in a digital marketing Facebook group that I’m a member of when I came across this question:

“I have just purchased a list. I’ve emailed them, but my open-rate is very low. What am I doing wrong?”

I’ve changed the wording of the question to protect the identity of the person asking, however, the sentiment is the same. They had purchased an email list and had sent a promotional email and received very little engagement… and probably no results.

This is a prime example of what you should not do.

In fact, I would go as far to say that this would be classified as “spam”… and nobody likes spam (I Email marketing for affiliate marketers do not spamknow I sure don’t). So before I go any further, let me make it clear that “spam” and email marketing are two very different things. If you “spam” your list, you’re going to face these consequences:

  • Low/no results
  • Your emails will be marked as spam and may not even make it into your prospect’s inbox… they’ll likely find the “Junk” folder more often than not…
  • Low/no engagement
  • A lot of wasted time
  • Your email marketing software provider may shut down your account (if you’re like me and your automation platform basically drives your business, this is a massive problem)

We will not be talking any more about spam in this article so let’s move on to the main event.

What Is Email Marketing?

So now that we know what email marketing isn’t, let’s take a look at what it is. My definition of email marketing is:

Building a relationship with a list of prospects and/or clients via email.

Email marketing for affiliate marketers build relationships

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you think about normal human relationships, there is a natural progression to a relationship. For example, when you first meet someone, you don’t ask them to marry you. There is usually a courting period where certain behaviours are accepted and others aren’t (asking for marriage is typically not accepted in the courting stage ????).

In email marketing, asking someone to click on a link in an email and buy some stuff is the equivalent of asking someone to marry you after just meeting. They don’t know you… they don’t trust you… and they don’t know whether you’re a secret crazy person sending malicious links… so it’s very unlikely that they’re going to perform the action that you want them to.

As we progress through this article and explore best practices for email marketing further, keep in mind the fundamentals of human relationships. If in doubt, a good thought to keep in your head is… don’t do anything creepy.

7 Strategies For Effective Email Marketing

We’ve taken a look at what email marketing is not and, more importantly, what it actually is. So, the next logical step is to lay out some strategies for effective email marketing for affiliate marketers. I ended up arriving at seven strategies for this foundation list. I had a few more but I wanted to keep this list “tight”… I’ll explore the others in a later article.

email marketing for affiliate marketers seven strategies

1. Focus On The Relationship

I mentioned this before so I won’t spend too much time explaining why you should focus on the relationship, but I will give you a few examples of how to implement this strategy.

I want you to think back to the last time you met someone that you have never met before… what did you do?

Chances are, you probably introduced yourself. If that is what we do in “real life”, then we probably should do this in our email marketing. One way you can do this in your email marketing strategy is to set up a “Welcome Sequence”. This is usually a series of emails that aims to do a few things:

  • Fulfil any promises that led them to sign up to your list (e.g. you may need to deliver a reportemail marketing for affiliate marketing focus on relationship or other lead magnet)
  • Introduce you and your business (i.e. what you do, what you believe in, who you work with, your values etc)
  • Invite them to connect (i.e. like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, subscribe on YouTube etc)
  • Share some of your relevant related content (i.e. if they signed up for something relating to fat loss, you may send want to send them your best content around fat-loss to strengthen the relationship and build your authority)
  • Learn a bit more about them (i.e. this can be done by offering a few articles in an email covering different areas and seeing where they click)

You’re going to need a marketing automation system to deliver your welcome sequence. For affiliate marketing, I recommend GetResponse for your email marketing system and automation platform.

2. Human-to-human

Some people I speak to want to be a faceless business… they don’t want to put a face to the brand. I think this is a big mistake. Humans build relationships with other humans so I think that it is crucial that there is a person on the end of every email.

A few strategies that you can use in your email marketing is:

  • Have every email come from a person (potentially you). This means that if your name is John Smith and you work at ABC Corporation, then your marketing emails will come from John Smith… not from ABC Corporation. In my case, my emails come from Shane ????
  • Share personal stories. There are a few reasons for this. Storytelling has been an effective means of communication for thousands of years and that really hasn’t changed over time. We all find a compelling story interesting and this will hold our attention for longer. Secondly, sharing personal information and/or stories is a way to build a relationship with your audience. For example, I always tell new subscribers to my list that I have a wife, a son, and two dogs. I share some other personal information because it is highly likely that the prospect will have at least one thing in common with me.

Email marketing for affiliate marketers welcome sequence

3. Establish An Email Cadence

The age-old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” also holds true for email marketing. You’re not going to send one email and suddenly be flooded with new affiliate commissions. You’re going to need to send numerous emails over time and, because of this, you’ll need to establish an email cadence. Cadence simply means how often you send an email to your list.

I know some super-successful guys and gals that send emails daily, however, my personal cadence tends to be twice a week. Sometimes I will do extra emails if something is going on, however, I will send at least two emails every week.

Now, if that sounds like a bit too much for you then I encourage you to start at a minimum of one email per week. You need to get into the habit of building the relationship, adding value, creating great content, and getting your offer in front of your audience.

Email marketing for affiliate marketers email cadence

4. Value In Advance

To get someone to even subscribe to your email list, you’re going to need to be able to show immense value upfront. This can be done by offering a lead magnet… which is simply a valuable resource that someone is happy to exchange an email address for.

Some people forget about the value in advance principle once they have someone on their list. Please don’t do this. Always add value through great relevant content, useful resources, or anything else that is going to add value to your subscriber. You should be “adding value” 75% of the time and promoting the other 25%.

5. Make It Easy….

When it comes to writing your email marketing material, you need to keep in mind the ‘3 easys‘:

  • Easy to read
  • Easy to understand
  • Easy to take action

To make your emails easy to read, you should keep them relatively short. Aiming for around 300 words for each email is a good starting point. You will also want to space out your email copy. This means having a few more paragraphs in your emails then you may have in other writing formats. This makes it easy to skim read and consume for your audience.

Before setting up your email campaigns, you will want to make sure that your email is easy to understand. Ask yourself, what is the objective of this email? Does the way it’s written make it easy to understand? Email marketing is not where you want to be cryptic… there are probably hundreds of other emails in your prospect’s inbox vying for their attention, so you want to make sure that you are getting your message across clearly.

Finally, you want to make it easy to take action. Assume that your audience needs to be told what the next action that they need to take is… don’t assume that they know what you want them to do. For example, writing “click here to learn more about (insert topic here)” is a pretty clear way of telling your audience that you want them to click a link if they’re interested in learning more about your topic.

Email marketing for affiliate marketers easy message

6. Stay Relevant

I was walking through Hollywood in Los Angeles once when I was approached by a random guy on the street. He said that he was a rapper and that he wanted to give me a signed CD of his work. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to tell him that I wasn’t interested so I politely accepted the CD. As soon as I took hold of the CD, he said “that’ll be $10 thanks”… is there anything worse than thinking you’re getting one thing, only to be surprised by the exact opposite? I thought I was being nice by accepting a free CD from a stranger, supposedly to support him, however, I ended up getting grifted!

Don’t do this to your list.

If you promised them that you would talk to them about fat-loss products, then talk about fat-loss products…

If you promised your list that you would talk about golf products, then talk about golf products…

If you’re like me and you share information about marketing and business automation, then talk about marketing and business automation…

It would be really strange if in one email I’m talking about email marketing automation and in the next, I start talking about dog food. Chances are a large percentage of my list will hit the unsubscribe button. Stay relevant with your content and you will keep the attention of your list a lot longer.

email marketing for affiliate marketers stay relevant

7. Test & Measure

“I don’t think my list would like it if I emailed them…”

A business associate whispered these words to me a few years ago. My response?

“If you meet someone that is so interesting that you give your contact details, wouldn’t you be disappointed if you never heard from them again?

This is what too many affiliate marketers do. They get a “hunch” that their audience won’t react positively to something that they are considering doing. This is a big mistake. In business, you need to test & measure everything. You almost need to approach business like a mad-scientist… if you’re wondering if something will work, implement it, measure the results and decide whether you need to make any changes before testing again.

With your email marketing, you should be testing & measuring different subject lines, different email copy, different sending cadence etc.

email marketing for affiliate marketers test and measure

Now You Know What To Do… How Exactly Do You Bring It To Life?

Email marketing is made simple when you use a marketing automation system. Most modern marketing automation solutions will have a robust email marketing function built in. When it comes to affiliate marketing, I recommend Get Response. They have everything you’ll need to set up and measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. As an added bonus, if you sign up to their Pro or Max accounts you will get complimentary access to their Email Marketing Certification Course (value $199).

If you’ve never used email marketing before, I’d encourage you to at least sign up for a complimentary 30-day trial to get a feel for how to you could use email marketing to grow your affiliate marketing business.



Author: Shane

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  1. Hi Shane. What a great article on email marketing. I must say that I have struggled in the past to understand email marketing. You have made it easier for me with some great’ll try to keep future emails more personal and engaging. I’ll make sure they have a true one on one experience with me. The only thing I still worry about us automated lists. I receive a number of these from various places I am a member of and I find that they all seem to go to junk, even though I don’t want them to. Is this an issue with automation? Jim

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks very much for you comment. 

      Some emails end up in the junk folder because they may have been marked as spam by other recipients or the email service provider (ESP) my have deliverability issues. One way to minimise the risk of ending up in the junk folder is to invite your subscribers to ‘whitelist’ your email address. In the templates I’ve created, there is always a ‘Invitation to Whitelist’ section in the ‘Welcome email’ to increase the probability of landing in the inbox. 



  2. Hey there,

    I have heard a bit about email marketing prior to reading this article, however I won’t lie, I was thinking that this whole email marketing thing consists only of spamming emails with offers. Well, I was damn wrong. Thank You for such informative and detailed article which opened my eyes and made me realize that there is much more to email marketing and that it can be very useful and powerful tool when used correctly. I really admire Your quote- ”In email marketing, asking someone to click on a link in an email and buy some stuff is the equivalent of asking someone to marry you after just meeting.” That’s so true! You taught me that in order to be succesful here, You have to build a trust-worthy relationship between You and a person You are sending emails to and contacting in general. What an amazing advice! And that’s only the tip of the iceberg here, I have to say I am very impressed by Your 7 tips and strategies for success in email marketing, I found them to be extremely informative and useful as well as very user-friendly, keep up the good work! I will bookmark this page

    1. Hi Evald!

      Thanks so much for your kind words. 

      I was hoping that I would bust some myths around email marketing and I’m glad you found the article useful. Be sure to come back regularly to check out my other blogs!



  3. Thanks Shane, for giving these 7 strategies for Effective Email Marketing. I’m new at blogging and there’s so much to learn and to get used to. In all honesty, the thought of writing emails to my subscribers multiple times a week is pretty overwhelming. I’m not sure I have that much to tell them yet 🙂 

    I’d like my emails to really add value, not to simply be just another ‘hey, look at me, I’m still here!’-email. How important do you think it is to write weekly? I wonder if quality isn’t better than quantity. Could a good value email with strong content once a month, be just as effective as a weekly shout out? Or should I find a way to make weekly emails work for me?  

    1. Hey Bianca!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      If you’re just starting out then you could do monthly emails… however if you’re regularly blogging, then emails become a medium to deliver your latest blog posts to your most engaged readers, increasing your website traffic. I definitely agree that quality should always be higher priority than quantity. I always say that your readers should be excited by the arrival of your emails because your deliver so much value. 

      Another option for you is that once you’ve built up a library of quality content, you can actually recycle older content by letting you email list know about it. There is likely people in your list that haven’t seen it before.



  4. Great Post! I think there is a reason Google has a folder in emails called “promotions” a nice way of saying spam. To me that folder is somewhere you do not want to be and a place that is very hard to get out of (sounds like the friend zone!). I think you are right in what you have said.

    Business is always about building a relationship with people and offering value first not just making money. This mind set will get you very far.

    1. Hey Renton, 

      Thanks very much for taking the time to comment!

      Yes, the ‘promotions’ folder is a nice way to potentially say spam… but if your email deliverability is fine and the content of your emails isn’t ‘spammy’, then it’s completely possible to land in the inbox rather than the promotions tab. 



  5. Creating the email list to then send emails to, is the hardest part of this business, so taking the easy way out and buying a list is a very attractive proposition.

    However, we all would like to be making money in this business, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. Your message that emails need to be:

    – Easy to read- Easy to understand- Easy to take action

    is probably the best dot point summary of how to send emails that I have seen.

    The 7 steps you discuss are a great template to follow, especially if you are new to this business and have a new email list.

    Perhaps it is important to mention that in the process of creating, testing and evaluating your activities that more than one list could be created, at least that if you make an error of judgement you do not lose your entire list.

    Would this be a good strategy to implement?

    1. Hi Steve, 

      Thanks very much for your comment, I appreciate your kind words. 

      You should definitely segment your list based on interests so you can deliver the right message to the right audience, however having multiple lists across different platforms can become problematic when you have big lists. Also, you run into the risk of getting into trouble if someone unsubscribes from one list but you continue to email them from another. There is a strategy that I call ‘list hygiene’, which is basically where you keep your list nice and tidy to reduce unsubscribes, increase engagement and reduce the likelihood of errors in judgement. 

      I hope that helps!


  6. Thanks for the great information.  It is very helpful.  I do have a few questions.  Is there a basic email package with Get Response that doesn’t cost anything?  Also, do you start an email list right from the beginning.  The reason I ask, is when you are fairly new with affililate marketing, first of all, you don’t have much traffic or are getting much in sales.  It is hard to spend extra money on things for your website until you are at least generating some income.  Also, when asking for email addresses, can it be so simple of just providing them with additional articles that you have been writing.  I have read that a lot of people are offering ebooks or manuels.  I am not sure if that is necessary or not.  

    Lastly,  with Get Response, are your emails automated to send out?  If you write an introduction letter, is that automatically used everytime that you get a new subscriber, or do you have to be on top of that yourself.  Thanks so much for your information.  

    1. Hi Marla, 

      Thanks very much for taking the time to read the article and ask some very good questions. 

      GetResponse has an ’email’ package that starts at $15 per month and has a full featured trial for 30 days for you to check out the other features of the Pro plan. You can check out the pricing for GetResponse by going to their site and clicking the pricing tab up towards the top of the page

      I believe that you should be trying to build a list from the very start of your business. The reason is that email marketing has one of the highest return on investments out of all the marketing strategies that you can deploy. It also helps build your audience of people who are interested in your niche. The small monthly cost of having a quality email marketing platform will pay for itself many times over if used in conjunction with a solid strategy. 

      You can ask for an email address as long as you offer something in value in exchange. It could be white-papers, e-books, manuals, free trials, mini-course, cheat sheet… absolutely anything that your audience would find useful. You can even take your articles and convert them to an e-book. I use Designrr to easily create e-books from articles. Check it out by clicking here

      To answer your last question, I’m happy to let you know that it is completely automated 🙂 So all you need to do is write the email once, add in any personalisation fields (first name etc), and the system will deliver that same message to your new contacts without you even needing to be aware. It’ll even happen while you are asleep!

      Thanks again Marla!



  7. Thank you for creating such an amazing post. Everything is just on point. I just started my journey in affiliate marketing and your email marketing article gives me another vision of what I can do to increase my chances to succeed with my online business. The 7 strategies that you describe can benefit anyone that is looking to succeed in the email marketing for affiliate marketers, even the “expert” ones (because we never stop learning!).

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. Shane,

    Great information, I have been considering email marketing and have been making some cost comparisons. It’s not that expensive to set up a mailing program or even pay for bulk mailing service that specialize if target mailing.

    I’m glad I found your site to give me some things to consider about the process. I had some general ideas of procedures and they are a bit outdated. I like how you explain some effective strategy and why they are important. 

    What do you think you overall success rate is with email marketing, and is the cost working out to be viable?

    Where would be a good place to get target relevant emails, and is it worth purchasing them or set up an email acquisition program instead, or both? What’s your suggestion?



    1. Hi Noke, 

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my post, I really appreciate it!

      You’re right, it’s not that expensive to get started with email marketing. For example, GetResponse is only $15/month to get started!

      Email marketing itself has one of the highest ROI’s out of every marketing activity, so it definitely can be worth the cost! Where people usually go wrong is “asking for marriage on the first date”, i.e. not building a relationship with their list, so they burn their contacts quickly.

      When it comes to getting emails, I’m a big fan of building a list. I would never recommend purchasing a list… ever! It’s much better to offer something of value (ultimate guide, report, cheat sheet, or other lead magnet) in exchange for their email address. This way you will be building authority and the relationship from the get-go!

      Thanks again Noke!



      P.S. if you’d like to learn more about marketing automation, check out this blog here.

  9. To me this is the most difficult part of Affiliate marketing because I’m always afraid that my emails would be labelled as spam. Your article however has given me strong tips on dos and don’ts when it comes to the entire process.

    In one of the points you mentioned that establishing a relationship is one of the key points in email marketing and I strongly agree that this the entry point and it’s where many of us fail. 

    Now, my question is, there are so many email providers around, which ones are your recommendation to newbies like me? Which one do you personally use?

    1. Hi pmbaluka2016!

      Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to comment on my post!

      To answer your question, I’m a big fan of GetResponse. Their plans start at $15/month so it’s not going to break the bank and they offer a very generous 30-day trial for you to try it out and learn how to use the features. With the right strategy, you could even get an ROI on your investment with them in that 30-day trial period! Check them out here.



      P.S. you should check out some more information about marketing automation here.  

  10. I don’t think the person in your Facebook group thought things through considering he purchased an email list. If they put themselves in the shoes of the people that are being emailed, they would probably not be happy that their email is on a list that they didn’t consent to. So it makes sense why most internet marketers say build a list. At least people are consenting when they subscribe.

    I was also not sure how many times to email subscribers so thank you very much for that. Do you usually send out posts that you just posted to your website as part of your email marketing campaigns?

    1. Hey Jessie!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my post! I really appreciate your kind words!

      Yes, I use email marketing to distribute website content to help increase traffic, engagement and authority. 

      Thanks again Jessie!



  11. Hey Shane,  I’m always looking for effective marketing avenues for my business.  I use to do email marketing quite a bit, but then I notices I was missing a lot of important info sent to me on email, mainly because I didn’t check it like I should,

    I look forward to exploring more about email marketing on your site. 

    Thanx Again for Sharing,  Tu

  12. This is all extremely helpful information. I’ve been so reluctant to dive into the email marketing aspect of my business because, from personal experience, I see so much spam and usually just end up throwing it in junk or deleting it. I never want to be THAT person who is just dolling out trash. But when you break it down it is pretty simple – we’re just fostering relationships with people that make them interested in our emails and carry them towards the idea of selling them a product. I prefer this method in marketing to myself, so of course it has to go the other way. Definitely bookmarking this. 

    1. Hi Jaime, 

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my post!

      Those emails that you’ve listed as junk or deleted straight away are examples of businesses/marketers that haven’t built a personal relationship with you. Because there is no relationship, you quite simply don’t want emails from them. The objective is to have a list of ‘fans’ that look forward to your emails because they are dripping in value!

      Hope that helps!



      P.S. you should rad a bit more about marketing automation and how best to use it here.

  13. I have always had a deep seeded hatred for email marketing obviously because I’ve had my inbox well into the thousands with emails that i could never understand how they even go there. But I know that it’s another tool for advertising and conversions are made this way so I will most definitely put aside my feeling for this type of marketing learn what I can.  I’m not quite ready for email marketing on my site yet but I don’t think its too far off. 

    Great analogy with the relationships very easy to understand how I need to cater my emails. Using the name is funny to me because I remember when some company’s started doing this in my sea of emails i would usually only stop to look at the ones that had a normal first and last name because those would end up being the emails that I would actually need to be opening. But I would hate that they tricked me to stop and open their email to only find out that it’s not what i’m looking for.  

    1. Hey Doc!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

      I also hate email (ironic, right?) but the fact is that it is still one of the highest ROI marketing activities that you can do. 

      With the personalisation, it’s not really a trick or scammy if you have genuinely signed up to a list that you are interested in. The only time that it is a trick is when you get unsolicited emails from someone who has farmed your details. 



      P.S. you should check out a few of the reasons that I listed to use marketing automation (including email marketing) here or read a bit more about what marketing automation ACTUALLY is here

  14. Hi Shane,

    Thank you for the informative post about email marketing. I actually searching at this moment for ways to monitize my website and one option now understand much better is email marketing.

    You have laid out so well how to go about implementing it. Thank you for it.

    I like many others felt email marketing was a scam to be avoided at all costs. 

    I now see ai was so wrong.

    Thanks again,


    1. Hi Jody, 

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

      Email marketing is crucial is you want to maximise your monetisation… simply because email marketing has one of the largest return on investments amongst all marketing activities!

      It definitely isn’t a scam… as long as you have a robust strategy behind your email marketing campaigns. 



      P.S. feel free to check out a few of the reasons why you should consider marketing automation (including email marketing) here

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