The Affiliate Agenda: How To Pick A Good Email Lead Source

Affiliate programs are seen by some marketers as vaguely regrettable. But marketers who think that way may end up overworking their subscriber list and driving customers away.

They need new leads, and one way to get them is through affiliates, according to the Advertiser’s Guide to Utilizing an Email Affiliate Program, a paper released last week by OPTIZMO Technologies in conjunction with CPA network Clickbooth.     

The paper notes that some affiliates “specialize in email marketing and are experts at sourcing and converting high quality leads.” Affiliate programs are easy to track and have wide exposure, it adds.

But how do you go about it? “Building out a high-performing and compliant email affiliate program is challenging and requires understanding of many facets of the industry,” states Khris Thayer, CEO and co-founder of OPTIZMO.

First, pick a company with a reliable network — find out “how selective they are with their affiliates.” In addition, try to confirm the firm’s approach to email compliance.



Compliance begins with the CAN-PAM Act of 2003, requiring that consumers be given a chance to opt out. This is pretty straightforward when a firm is dealing only with its own subscribers. But the paper notes that “when affiliates are mailing on an advertiser’s behalf, they must also include an opt-out link to allow recipients to unsubscribe from future emails related that advertiser."

The paper adds that “the opt-outs generate by every affiliate mailer must also be collected and suppressed from all future email marketing campaigns.” 

This entails collecting all the opt-outs generated by every internal and affiliate mailing, and adding them to the advertiser’s opt-out list.

In addition, the company must add a current opt-out list to every affiliate mailer.

(We would add one rule: All email lists must be permission-based. CAN-SPAM is only one of the many laws that come into play).

Once you’re rolling, make sure your affiliate is utilizing these time-honored tools of email marketing:  

  • Structuring subject lines — Avoid all caps, exclamation points, clickbait lines and other tricks that may attract fleeting curiosity instead of genuine interest.
  • A/B Testing — This is the tried-and-true way of determining the best content and approaches to use the accumulated data from the email campaign.
  • Limit the characters — People have limited attention spans, so keep your lines short -- from 50 to 125 words -- and focus on quality over quantity.
  • HTML — HTML emails work best — the advertiser can implement images, links, headers, call-to-action buttons and other features.  
  • Promo Driven — Value-driven emails perform best. In addition, semi-frequent promotions can create interest without seeming like spam.
  • Personalization — That means tailoring content not only to the email, but to the landing page. This enables the advertiser to better target prospects who have clicked through but not converted. Update graphics regularly and use data to create personalized campaigns.


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