How to Build an Email List for Affiliate Marketing

Alexandra Belski Alexandra Belski
Reading time:  8  min.

Building an affiliate marketing email list is one of the most efficient and popular ways for marketers to get their affiliate business off the ground. This approach allows marketers to stay in touch with their target audience and inform them about important business updates. In this article, you will learn how affiliate campaigns work and how you can build an affiliate marketing email list to grow your business.

How to Build an Email List for Affiliate Marketing

Why You Should Build an Email List in 2024

Email marketing might seem old-fashioned, yet it still helps marketers all over the world make sales. Email marketing allows you to establish a direct relationship with each customer and move them down the sales funnel until they are ready to make a purchase. In fact, much of the long-term profits can be attributed to promotions via affiliate marketing email campaigns, due to increased user loyalty.

Starting an email list can be beneficial in many different ways, namely:

  1. Drive more traffic to your blog. If you want to attract people who appreciate hearing from you regularly, growing your email list is the perfect approach. Include links to your latest blog posts in your newsletter or share some of your best older articles to get additional traffic to your website.
  2. Establish a strong connection with your audience. Starting an email list and sending a newsletter on a regular basis allows you to be more personal with your audience. For example, you could share behind-the-scenes moments or personal news related to your blog topic with your loyal subscribers. 
  3. Grow your social following. Did you know that you can grow your followers on social media through email marketing? All you need to do is include a call to action in your newsletter. For example, at the end of the copy, simply invite readers to join your Facebook group or follow you on Instagram.
  4. Boost conversions. Another reason to start growing your email list is to make money. If you establish trust with your subscribers, you will increase opportunities to convert them into loyal customers. The key is to focus on bringing value and not to come across as “salesy”. 

Now that you know the advantages of email marketing, let’s take action by creating your first email list.

Pick Your Affiliate Offer

Before you start building your affiliate marketing email list, it is crucial to choose the right affiliate offer to promote.

If you are an affiliate newbie, begin your journey by selecting the right niche. This is the foundation of any successful affiliate business and we recommend that you approach this choice responsibly. After you have chosen the niche or if you already have an established business, it’s time to pick your affiliate offer. Start by setting criteria for your ideal affiliate program and then narrow down a list of available offers accordingly. The perfect affiliate offer would:

  • Match your target audience’s interests and pain points
  • Be cost-effective for your audience
  • Provide profitable conditions for marketers

Create a Lead Magnet

To convince your target audience to share their contact information with you, make sure to offer something attractive in return. This is where the right lead magnet comes in. For example, to build an affiliate marketing email list, you might offer:

  • Free guides
  • Exclusive content
  • Free webinars
  • 1-on-1 consulting
  • Free PDF templates
  • Product samples or free trials
  • eBooks

Basically, a lead magnet can be anything that comes to your imagination and aligns with your audience’s interests. Make sure to fulfill your promise and provide your audience with what they signed up for. Otherwise, they could end up unsubscribing quickly, leaving you with no contact and a bad reputation. 

A screenshot of the lead magnet featuring a photo of a woman against a backdrop of snowy mountains
Lead magnet example from the My Life’s a Movie travel blog offering free travel tips

Tips for Creating a Good Lead Magnet

So, how do you create a great lead magnet? Here are a few ideas that will help you generate affiliate marketing leads via email:

  1. Identify the problems that your target audience is trying to solve. Put yourself in their shoes and ask: What challenges do they want to overcome? 
  2. Decide on the value proposition of your lead magnet. Make sure it clearly states the offer, is easy to download, and follows up on your promise. 
  3. Choose the best lead magnet type. There are numerous types of lead magnets you can offer, but some of the most effective ones include visual content, access or online software, and monetary value. 

Create Opt-in Forms

An opt-in form gives your website visitors a chance to sign up for your emails on a regular basis. It is a crucial step of building an affiliate marketing email list as it works on autopilot by capturing your visitors’ contact information and adding them to your database. To make sure your opt-in form does the hard work for you, you need to design it in the right way.

Types of Pop-Ups

There are basically two forms of opt-in forms: standard or pop-up. Standard forms are embedded into the page content, while pop-up forms appear in front of the page so the website visitor does not miss it. 

There are also different types of pop-up forms:

  • Entry pop-ups appear when a visitor stays on your site for a certain period time. It is important to have the right timing to make sure the visitor is already interested in learning more.
  • Exit pop-ups are shown to visitors who are about to leave your website. These are considered to be one of the most efficient pop-up forms because they are less aggressive to visitors than other types.
  • Click pop-ups appear once a visitor clicks certain buttons. This allows you to engage only interested users and provide a better user experience on your website in general.

Pop-Up Examples

Here are a few examples of pop-ups that will inspire you to design the perfect opt-in form to grow your affiliate marketing email list.

Nature’s Fynd

A screenshot of the Nature’s Fynd homepage featuring a pop-up form
A pop-up on the Nature’s Fynd website

Nature’s Fynd shows an entry pop-up form appearing a few seconds after the website loads. Users interested in more information can sign up for the newsletter right away. The pop-up appears in the lower right-hand corner of the page to make sure the rest of the content remains visible.

Mia Mia Mine

A screenshot of the Mia Mia Mine blog featuring a sign-up form in the center of the page
A pop-up form on the Mia Mia Mine blog

A few seconds after you open the Mia Mia Mine fashion blog, a pop-up form appears right in front of the page content. You will immediately spot a CTA of a contrasting color, a clear offer decision, a short one-field sign-up form, and a photo of the blogger on the left.

Highway Robery

A screenshot of the sign-up form on the Highway Robery website
Pop-up form on the Highway Robery website

While pop-up forms usually take up only a part of the screen, the one on the Highway Robery website covers the full screen. It offers the visitor the option to sign up to win a free robe, which sounds pretty enticing.

Tips for Creating Pop-Ups and Opt-in Forms

  1. Choose a Pop-Up Creation Tool: Some of the most popular online programs include OptinMonster, Poptin, Wisepops, and more. 
  2. Pick the Right Goal: Modern tools offer a variety of pop-up designs based on the purpose of those forms. Some of the most common goals of pop-ups include growing your audience, driving sales, running promotions, etc.
  3. Customize Your Form: While most programs offer a range of templates to choose from, it is important to add a personal touch to make sure the pop-up aligns with your website design and looks organic.
  4. Add CTA Buttons: Each pop-up form should contain a CTA in a contrasting color, so the user understands where to click to sign up. 
  5. Run A/B Testing: Sometimes, the most efficient option is not the most obvious. Make sure to create several forms and test them out to skyrocket your conversions.

Set up a Thank You Page

To confirm your subscription and give your lead a sense of accomplishment, make sure to create a Thank You page. This will help build trust and provide additional information about the offer and your company.

For example, a Thank You page is a great place to tell your users how often they will receive your newsletter, what type of content it will contain, etc. Alternatively, it can be a place that allows users to navigate around your website to help them find the most relevant information.

A Thank You page offers you a chance to show that your brand is different and capture the attention of your audience. Quite often, such a page contains a lead magnet, such as a link to download some exclusive content.

Create a Squeeze Page

A Squeeze page, also called a landing page, is a page created to collect email addresses and other contact information that your leads may want to share. The name refers to “squeezing” emails out of visitors.

To design an efficient Squeeze page, it is important to:

  • Think up a captivating headline
  • Describe your offer benefits
  • Add a CTA in a contrasting color
  • Use social proof
  • Remove distractions, such as unnecessary content, difficult navigation, etc.

Choose an Email Service Provider

Building an affiliate marketing email list manually can be exhausting, but there is a wide range of online tools that will help you automate your campaigns. To choose the best email service provider, consider the following criteria:

  • Security: Your email service provider should have the right security protocols in place to ensure your emails cannot be accessed by third parties without permission.
  • Synchronization: If you use several marketing tools, you might want to synchronize all your communications.
  • Mobile Access: Choose a user-friendly email provider so that you can access all emails on your phone and respond to every important message in a timely manner.
  • Deliverability: You want your emails to get to subscribers’ email boxes, right? Make sure to check the deliverability rate of various email service providers before choosing one.
  • Tracking: To enhance your email campaigns, make sure your email service provider offers built-in tracking features.

Our Recommendations for Beginners

There is a wide selection of email service providers and email marketing tools available to you. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider: 

  • Google Workspace: Google offers 15 GB of free space to store your emails and digital content, which is enough to begin with. There are multiple integrations available. 
  • Proton: If you want to ensure the highest level of security for your communications by making use of data encryption, consider ProtonMail, which offers end-to-end encryption and complies with GDPR policies. 
  • Zoho Mail: This provider offers a generous attachment space of up to 250 MB for each email (compared to the standard 25 MB with Gmail), which is important if you want to send multiple visuals along with your newsletter.

Build Autoresponders

Autoresponders are scripts that automate email replies. Every time a user completes a certain action, such as completing a sign-up form or sending an email directly, it triggers the script and sends an automatic reply. Autoresponders may have various purposes. For example, you can send them for each new sign-up, support ticket, purchase, account settings change, and more.

Autoresponders can be used to streamline affiliate marketing email campaigns and make sure each new subscriber feels appreciated. Thus, you can send an automatic welcome email every time someone signs up for your newsletter.

Affiliate Marketing Email List FAQs

  • How do I start an affiliate marketing email list?
    The best way to start an email list for your affiliate marketing business is to put a sign-up form on your website to capture leads. Thus, you will gather contacts who are interested in learning more about your brand and can become your customers in the future.
  • Do I need to build an email list as an affiliate marketer?
    You do not necessarily need an email list but it can be a great support for your affiliate venture. Email marketing is an old fashioned yet still effective way to drive conversions and boost your affiliate income.
  • Can I add affiliate links to my emails?
    Make sure to check your email provider terms. Some providers support sharing links in emails while others might block them. So. it is always best to check the terms in advance.
  • How many contacts should my email list include?
    The more, the merrier! However, try to focus on growing your list organically and gathering contacts of people who are really interested in your brand and are likely to become future customers.
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