Email has long been established as one of the most effective direct marketing channels, with an unrivalled ROI. The ability to reach the inbox of a targeted potential customer can be used tactically to support other channels, or to drive new customer acquisition as part of a wider campaign.
Building and maintaining quality lists involves a number of technical considerations. Ensuring deliverability, retaining subscribers through quality content and developing continued growth are huge challenges for anyone operating in this space.
Buying lists can also be a false economy. Quality varies significantly, which is reflected in the price. The customers will be ‘cold’ and will have no idea why they are receiving information about your brand.
This in turn can potentially harm your IP, as many customers will mark your carefully crafted prose as spam. Sending an email is a simple procedure, but developing a large list with the ability to drive significant sales when needed is a specialist skill.
While the techniques for building quality lists can be found readily with a quick Google search, these require a significant investment in time which is not always available when dealing with shifting business objectives.
Affiliates have been building large email lists for some time now, as the value of this tried and tested medium has become apparent.
Email affiliates were probably amongst the first innovators in digital marketing, carefully building their lists and segmenting them accordingly for targeting purposes. Continued testing, optimisation of HTML and high quality broadcast IP’s are all at your disposal using a CPA/CPL.
These email lists can be tied to an existing site, as in the case of voucher code affiliates. The larger UK voucher sites have upwards of 4 million subscribers each, which they promote a selection of offers to on a weekly basis.
Larger advertisers have more options in this regard, as the affiliate is mainly concerned with conversion rates. However, tenancy placements are available along with solus opportunities, depending on budget and objectives. Hybrid payment models are becoming increasingly popular, but also afford smaller brands the opportunity to test this type of promotion.
Dedicated list builders are also available. These can be more expensive depending on how targeted the campaign will be and usually have more options in this regard. Geotargeting and niche-specific lists may increase costs, but will no doubt provide a higher conversion rate.
Downsides: Email campaigns require negotiation around the payment terms and the level of discount used.
It is essential to understand the levels of margin available per sale for the brand and to offer terms within a tolerable CPA. This can be made more difficult when factoring tenancy payments also.
Testing is required using different affiliates to find the optimum partners for on-going campaigns and the results of each campaign should be analysed for success and profitability.
Used correctly though, affiliate emails can provide a tactical solution which drives large traffic volumes, additional sales and brand awareness when needed.