If you’re already taking advantage of an affiliate marketing program for your business, you know the benefits this strategy can bring in terms of lead generation and customer acquisition, while maintaining control over the cost per acquisition to ensure a highly cost-effective initiative. Another benefit is that affiliate programs can be leveraged across virtually every digital marketing channel. However, not every advertiser takes full advantage of each channel for various reasons. Email marketing is one channel that not every advertiser chooses to include in their affiliate marketing strategies. This may be due to the complexity in setting up an effective and compliant program in the email channel, which can be more involved than setting up a search affiliate program. Despite the effort, email affiliate programs have a long history of delivering outstanding results for decades and if you select the right partners to assist with the program, it can be more straightforward than you might think.

Why Email?

Despite the annual predictions about the impending death of email, the channel has never been more popular with consumers. As of 2019, there were estimated to be nearly 4 billion active email users worldwide. That number is predicted to continue growing in the years ahead. But, it’s not just about a huge potential audience. Email marketing also delivers results. When added to an existing affiliate marketing program, email will typically deliver incremental volume in leads or sales as the channel engages with different audiences. Lead quality and the consistency of the traffic also typically deliver high marks for advertisers.

There are numerous benefits to incorporating an email affiliate program in your marketing strategy.


You likely already know that a properly managed affiliate marketing program is cost-effective. Email fits right into the mix, partly because the cost of running email campaigns is comparatively low. This is one reason that email continues to deliver such outstanding return-on-investment for many email marketers (reported to be as high as $42 for every $1 spent). This has made email an appealing channel for affiliate marketers over the years. But, like any marketing channel, email requires experience and expertise in order to drive the best results, which an affiliate program can deliver consistently.

Ease of Performance Tracking

Because of the infrastructure built into the email ecosystem, it is one of the easiest channels to track and effectively measure performance, and this transfers easily into the affiliate marketing arena through affiliate performance tracking platforms and networks. This is advantageous both for email marketers and advertisers, as it makes email a consistently popular and effective marketing channel for customer acquisition that can be easily leveraged in an affiliate program.

Incremental Audience Exposure

Adding the email channel to your affiliate marketing program is likely to add incremental audience exposure, above and beyond your current channels. Reaching a larger audience of targeted prospects is always a key aspect of growing an affiliate program focused on customer acquisition. Email can also help grow your audience more quickly than many other marketing channels, as email marketers can quickly ramp up their efforts to promote a new campaign to a potentially very large audience, depending on the size of their database.

What about Compliance?

Advertisers and marketers around the world have become more focused on compliance with laws and regulations around data privacy and how that translates into different marketing channels and strategies. Because the email marketing industry in the U.S. has been functioning under a set of established laws and guidelines since 2003 (when the CAN-SPAM Act was passed), affiliate networks, performance agencies, and email marketers themselves are typically already well-versed in setting up and running compliant campaigns, including the collection and processing of opt-outs and then ensuring that all affiliates honor those requests in the appropriate time frame. The ecosystem is well-defined, with key technology platforms easily integrated into an affiliate program, helping to ensure highly compliant campaigns from the inception of a new email affiliate program.

If you haven’t already added email marketing to your affiliate marketing programs, 2020 would be a good time to consider testing the channel and adding a new tool to your customer acquisition strategy.