7 Proven Ways to Maximize Affiliate Relationships with Email

Becky Doles


Everyday I wake up to at least 100 emails, and by the end of the day I’ve processed a few hundred more. Despite all the chatter about “getting to inbox zero” and the “burden” of the inbox, email is actually an incredibly effective way to communicate.

During Affiliate Management Days in San Francisco, Hunter Boyle, Senior Business Development Manager for AWeber, suggested that email (especially email newsletters) is actually one of the best ways for Performance Marketing Managers to communicate with affiliates/publishers. He explained that the key to communication via email is to focus on building not just email lists, but relationships via email. To effectively build both, Boyle outlined seven steps that a Performance Marketing Manger can follow to maximize email to build affiliate/publisher relationships.

1. Nail down the WIIFM

Boyle explains that first, it’s important that managers look at email newsletters from the perspective of publishers who will clearly want to know “What’s In It For Me,” or “WIIFM.” As Boyle said, it’s critical to have a “clear sense of what’s going to be received by your affiliates that’s going to make their work that much better,” while also improving the success of your email newsletter. A great way to achieve this is to offer incentives in email newsletters, such as offering a reward to complete a survey. Using surveys in email newsletters can also be a great way to help assist in email segmentation, as you can use this opportunity to ask users to tell you about themselves.

2. Validate with analytics

It’s obviously important to analyze data about your email marketing campaign such as open rates, clicks, and unsubscribe rates. Boyle suggested that you “think about how you can take these data pieces altogether to look at trends over time and see if your content is heading in the right direction.” He also suggested leveraging these analytics to see if any low engagement was an anomaly.

3 Audit and analyze content

Email newsletters don’t create themselves. For example at HasOffers we create our email newsletter by curating the content from our blog posts (like the one you’re reading right now). Boyle suggested taking a deep look at what has and what hasn’t worked in your email newsletters, to determine what type of content works best for your newsletter. While you may not necessarily need to change your blog content strategy, you may need to change the lead stories in your newsletter and then compare open and/or click rates to see what worked best.

4. Adapt content for results

Every email audience is different. Boyle pointed out that in light of this, it’s important to curate or create content that your readers can identify with. A great way to do this is to feature outstanding affiliates/customers as a guest email columnist, by having them share their own how-to tips and case studies. Boyle said that “this is not just user generated content, but user driven content, as you’re delivering on expectations.”

5. Review your rewards

Another great tactic for improving relationships with affiliates/publishers is to announce rewards for your publishers via your email newsletter. Recently, AWeber spontaneously announced in a newsletter that their top 10 affiliates would receive an AWeber swag bag, full of goodies like their popular athletic socks, t-shirts, hats and more. Boyle suggested that other brands and managers should sporadically reward loyalty and performance in a similar way via email newsletters.

6. Exploring new segments

As we have written before, segmentation is absolutely critical to the success of email campaigns. However, you can use the newsletter itself to determine this segmentation. Boyle explained it can be as easy as capturing information such as preferred time and frequency of delivery, geo-location, and social preferences during the signup process. He went on to say that you can do this by including a regular survey in the email newsletter.

7. Experimenting with timing

Finally, Boyle said that you shouldn’t “believe in time testing as the best possible way to test the success of an email newsletter – it’s not the first step you should take. There are other steps you can and should do first.” That being said, experimenting with timing can be an effective method to find a more optimal time for delivery; or you may find that delivering email on a Friday morning or Saturday morning doesn’t differ much for you.

If you are a Performance Marketing Manager looking to leverage email newsletters to stay in touch with affiliates/publishers, these seven tips should help you build a solid relationship with your affiliates/publishers. Remember, there are countless ways to build lists, but it takes trust to build relationships.

And if you’re looking for a platform to help, we have one in mind.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

2 responses to “7 Proven Ways to Maximize Affiliate Relationships with Email”

  1. […] 7 Proven Ways to Maximize Affiliate Relationships with Email, HasOffers […]

  2. Great post, thanks Kelly for sharing. I’m working on a couple of new information products over at http://www.trustmango.com, and as I look now to HasOffers and the affiliate community to help me launch, its great to learn more about proven methods like these. Thanks again – @Mangoonis:disqus

Leave a Reply