This is a guest post from Tatiana Buyanova at Travelpayouts Affiliate Network.
Newsletters are not only a way to communicate with an audience, but also a tool for earning money.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to give additional value to your readers and monetize your mailing list.
In this article, you’ll learn how to increase your newsletter revenue with affiliate marketing, as well as receive practical tips on choosing affiliate programs and increasing conversion rates.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning money by promoting another company’s services or products. It works in three simple steps:
- Find a service or product you like.
- Promote it to your audience.
- Earn a commission for each sale that you make.
Advertisers share a piece of their profits with affiliates who generate sales. The commission rates vary, based on the niche you chose.
|Beauty and Wellbeing||6–9%|
There are two main ways to join an affiliate program:
- In-house: directly through the official advertiser’s website.
- Network: through an affiliate network, such as AWIN, Travelpayouts, CJ, Skimlinks, or ShareASale.
Because affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing, you earn money only when a subscriber takes the target action (for example, buying a T-shirt or booking a hotel room from the advertiser’s website).
The action doesn’t have to be making a purchase; it can also be other actions, such as installing an application or sharing their phone number.
Orienting your affiliate marketing towards your audience’s interests is a must when choosing a niche. The more relevant a product or service is to your audience, the higher the conversion rate and your final income.
Elevate your engagement with this guide.
How to monetize email newsletters using affiliate programs
In theory, it seems like a no-brainer: You add affiliate links to your newsletters and earn a commission every time a reader takes the target action.
However, when the rubber hits the road, you may face many issues. Read on to learn how you can effectively monetize your newsletters with affiliate marketing.
How to choose an affiliate program
You must offer products and services that meet your audience’s needs, as they’re the cornerstone of choosing an affiliate program.
Example: If you have a travel newsletter, then travel affiliate programs are a better choice than software ones. If your audience is interested in currency rates, then a financial affiliate program is best.
However, don’t limit yourself to affiliate programs from one specific niche. For example, in addition to flight tickets and hotels, tourists also need travel bags and luggage.
You need to choose an affiliate program, as well as a specific product. Analyze your audience and select the products and services they need.
Example: Travelers are usually interested in tours, but their requirements and wishes are different. If your newsletter is for a family audience, then advertising extreme tours may show poorer results than offering family tours. In both cases, you’re offering tours, but the first type is irrelevant to your main audience.
Find travel and hospitality industry resources here.
Choosing a product or service that you’ve used or are sure of its quality is ideal. In this case, you don’t risk losing your audience’s loyalty and trust.
However, it’s impossible to personally try every service. You can analyze the company’s reputation on such sites as Trustpilot, Yelp, and other review websites before you start offering products to your audience.
You can also choose an affiliate program based on the conditions for you as an affiliate: the available payouts methods, commission rates, etc. Still, the service’s or product’s relevance to your audience is crucial.
Note: When choosing an affiliate program, pay attention to the traffic policy—that is, if traffic from emails is allowed. As a rule, most affiliate programs allowed such traffic because newsletters are a quality traffic source. However, there are many exceptions.
How to use affiliate tools
Each affiliate program offers its own set of tools: affiliate links, banners, and widgets. In some cases, advanced tools are also available, such as APIs or white labeling.
The main affiliate tool for newsletters is links. When you build your email newsletter, you’re limited by the capabilities of HTML layouts, but you shouldn’t be limited to bare hyperlinks only. Using links, you can create buttons and unique banners.
Buttons are handy for users, attract their attention, and positively affect the conversion rates. Here’s an example of a newsletter that incorporates such a button:
Where to drive traffic
There are two main places where you can drive traffic from your newsletters to earn money from affiliate marketing:
- To the advertiser’s website
- To your website
The first option is the ultimate solution if you don’t need to interact with your reader further to sell the service or product. Sending readers to your website can either increase the conversion rate or make it worse; it depends on how you set up your website.
Note: Not everyone who goes to your site will take the next step to go to the advertiser’s site. However, sending readers to your website has plenty of advantages. You can
- Share more information (space is usually more limited in a newsletter)
- Collect data about your visitors and further set retargeting
- Apply your own marketing strategy
For your site to show a higher conversion rate than the advertiser’s official website, you should make visitors interested in purchasing and, at the same time, make the purchase process easier. Remember that your site moves visitors away from the purchase by exactly one step: the transition to the advertiser’s site.
You can earn money without having your own website and, at the same time, drive traffic directly to the advertiser’s website. For example, you can create an Instagram or Facebook account and share affiliate links there.
However, such placement significantly limits your ability to improve conversion rates.
Selling other people’s services and products under your own brand is also possible with affiliate marketing. There is a special tool for this: white label.
If you want to lock the audience to your unique brand, then you can use ready-made white-label solutions, which allow you to create a marketplace with your brand. White labeling is a tool for creating your own services in a short time with low development costs.
Example: If you want to sell hotel rooms from Hotellook, you can use the Hotellook White Label tool and create the same project under your brand.
As a result, the user doesn’t need to transition to the advertiser’s site. Hotel booking can be done through your website.
White labeling is available in various niches, including ecommerce and finance.
How to increase conversions
The right choice of product or service, the right text and design, and many experiments are behind every high conversion rate.
A decent conversion rate can only be achieved if you selected a product that’s relevant to your audience. The products you offer must be necessary for your readers—only then can you increase your conversion rates.
Here are a few highlights of how you can improve your mailing list conversion:
- Make links visible. Readers must understand that they can click on the link.
- Place links as high up as possible. Not everyone scrolls to the end of the newsletter.
- Warm up the demand. Before the readers leave the email to make the purchase, tell them a bit more about the product’s advantages and benefits or explain how the product is useful for the readers.
- Use CTA blocks. Call the readers to action.
You can be guided by the same principles for affiliate marketing as you would be for selling your own products.
Conversion improvement lies not only in the design of the newsletter and texts; you can also experiment with
- Products and services
- The place where you send traffic
- Segmentation (to whom and when you send the newsletter)
- Other parameters
Regular improvements based on A/B testing is the path to success and improving the conversion rate.
Disclosing affiliate links is required in some countries, so it’s important to know what’s required in your country before sending the first newsletter with the affiliate links.
Analyze your audience. Those goods that your readers really need will sell the best. If you can’t find products that sell well, then you can ask your audience for help. You don’t need to ask point-blank. For example, you can share a simple questionnaire on Google Forms about products that readers can’t be without when they travel.
If your audience won’t initially subscribe to a newsletter full of recommendations for other people’s products and services, then you need to be careful with this issue. Try to walk the fine line between the quantity and quality of such integrations.
White-label solutions can be an excellent way for businesses, agencies, and anyone who wants their own brand to grow in popularity. Because the audience is limited to your subscriber list, keeping that audience is of particular importance for email marketing.
Driving traffic directly to the advertiser’s website works great, as does allowing publishers to put the selling process and conversion improvements in the hands of the advertisers.
Affiliate marketing is an effective way to monetize newsletters in different niches. The guiding idea is to find suitable products or services, ensure ever-evolving conversion rates, and put a premium on readers, not income only.
Ready to start a revenue-driving newsletter? Campaign Monitor can help.
Tatiana Buyanova is Head of Business Development & Partner Relations at Travelpayouts Affiliate Network. Having majored in tourism and intercultural communication, Tatiana founded a travel agency at the age of 21. In 2018, she came to Travelpayouts as a Business Development Manager to help travel brands grow their businesses using affiliate marketing channels. Within a year, Tatiana grew a Business Development & Partner Relations team, which she now leads.