Do’s and Don’ts of E-mail Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a simple way to add residual income to your content strategy, and it goes beyond the blog post. When done properly, bloggers can use affiliate links within their emails in order to monetize their email list. There are some do’s and don’ts of affiliate marketing within emails, however, in order to maintain trust with your subscribers and to stay within legal limits.

DO: Disclose Every Affiliate Link

Just like in a written blog post, you must disclose when an affiliate link has been used. This can be something as simple as a built-in footer in your email template stating something like:

“I occasionally share links to products and services that I love and trust. These links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage based on your sale. I appreciate your support of my business!” Done and done.

DON’T: Use Amazon Affiliate Links In Email

This is a biggie—Amazon strictly prohibits Amazon affiliate links being used in an email. This includes an RSS-generated email. If a blog post has an Amazon affiliate link in the excerpt that will appear in the RSS feed, move it further down in the blog post to avoid any kickback from Amazon, or risk losing your affiliation.

DO: Be Authentic & Transparent

Don’t abuse your email list by sharing links to #allthethings. Only promote products and services you use and trust. Your email list is typically the closest communication you have with much of your audience, and you will quickly lose their trust if you turn your newsletter into an affiliate link machine.

When sharing affiliate links in your email, tell them why you love the product or service. Better yet, tie it to a recent blog post! You’ll potentially make a little money and promote your own content at the same time.

DON’T: Violate Terms of Use

Every email platform has terms of use that you agree to when you create an account. Before adding a single affiliate link within your email, read through the terms of use to be sure it’s allowed, or if any special stipulations exist surrounding monetizing your email list.

DO: Get Creative with Your Affiliate Marketing

Create a well-designed PDF resource guide for your subscribers that includes links to products or services you recommend. This makes a great opt-in, and allows you to earn recurring affiliate income from those links.

If you’re an affiliate for a smaller brand, ask them for an interview and send it exclusively to your email subscribers. This makes it feel less like a sales pitch and more like a warm introduction.

DON’T: Make Every Email a Sales Email

Be intentional about your affiliate marketing and treat your email subscribers like VIPs. Only share links to products or services that you truly stand behind, and that would genuinely add value to their lives, not because you’re trying to make a quick buck.  Make sure you’re sending emails free from affiliate promotions from time to time in order to keep the authenticity and trust with your subscribers. Nobody likes a sleazy car salesman, so don’t make your newsletters do your dirty work.

Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity to create residual income, and your email list is a prime audience because they’ve learned to trust you. Follow these do’s and don’ts and you’ll to stay on the good side of both your subscribers and the brands you represent.

About the Author

Hello, I'm Kirsten Thompson and the author of Sweet Tea & Saving Grace. Feel free to check me out on Facebook. You can read more about my story here.