If you’re a blogger or online business owner, you’ve no doubt been advised to grow your email list.
“Email lists are a license to print money,” you may have heard.
Or, “The money is in the list,” as another popular saying goes.
But if you’re like most bloggers I know, you’re spending more money on your email marketing service than you’re actually making from your email marketing efforts.
In this article, I’ll teach you 5 strategies you can use to change that — and start making money with email marketing.
1. Earn commissions selling other people’s products.
Let’s start with your easiest option for how to make money from email marketing.
You might think that in order to make money with email marketing, you first need a product to sell. In some ways, that’s true. You have to promote something. But the good news is, if you don’t have an offer of your own, you can simply promote other people’s products!
Affiliate networks such as ShareASale, Impact, and CJ Affiliate are home to thousands of companies, indexed by categories, that are looking for affiliates to partner with. All you have to do is join a few of these programs, grab your affiliate links, and start sending emails about offers your readers will find interesting.
Pro Tip: Certain affiliate program won’t let you promote their products via email because it’s harder for them to track (*cough cough* Amazon). In these cases, you can simply write a blog posts with affiliate links and use your email to get readers to visit the blog post.
This review of the book marketing software Publisher Rocket is one great example of using blog posts for affiliate marketing. Or, if you’re a food blogger, check out this review of the budget meal delivery service EveryPlate.
We also have an entire article about how to get more traffic to these types of articles, in addition to your emails.
2. Sell Your Own Products
Now that we’ve talked about promoting other people’s products, let’s explore the idea of you selling your own.
If you don’t already have a product or service, you’re probably wondering, “But what would I create?”
It’s a great question, and there are hundreds of possible answers, but here’s some big picture advice.
If you have an email list, it usually means you have the attention of people who value what you know. Maybe you’re a great writer, and people follow your emails for writing tips. Maybe you’ve been on an inspiring weight loss journey, and you provide encouragement and support to others who are trying to slim down. This is your “area of expertise,” a term that memoir coach Marion Roach Smith uses to describe “something you know after something you’ve been through.”
The fact is, you have dozens of areas of expertise. You’ve learned strategies and shortcuts from your time as a parent, your time in the kitchen or the garden, your time as a small business owner, and the list goes on. These are just examples to get you thinking.
So try asking yourself, “What do I know now that I wish I had known 5 years ago? Chances are there is a product idea in there somewhere.”
Another smart idea is to run a survey and ask your readers what their biggest challenges are when it comes to your topic. This can lead to lots of ideas.
Whatever it is people come to you for, there’s almost always a percentage of your readers who will pay money for more in-depth help. They’re looking for the faster results.
You can use this insight to create an eBook, eCourse, or physical product that helps people get what they want faster or easier.
Pro Tip: Pre-selling is one way to reduce your risk when it comes to launching a new product. Pre-selling can help avoid wasting time creating a product people don’t want, and it can help you make the money you’ll need to create the product in the first place. Sites like Kickstarter make pre-selling and crowdfunding easier. Here’s an article on how that works.
3. Partner with Us Here at Ultimate Bundles
In some ways, this is like a hybrid of the above two options.
Ultimate Bundles works with awesome eBook and eCourse creators to sell huge digital packages on topics like blogging, photography, healthy living, productivity and more. We then offer those bundles for a short sale and at a big discount compared to the total value, bringing in thousands of sales and thousands of dollars for our partners.
If you have readers interested in one of our bundle topics, you can participate as an affiliate, promoting the bundle in exchange for a commission. And, if you have a relevant product, you can apply to contribute it to the bundle. If we accept your product, you’ll earn a higher commission rate on the bundle sales you make, and you can use the bundle as an opportunity to get your product in the hands of thousands of people, growing your impact and name recognition.
So far, in 2019 alone, we’ve paid over $330,000 in commissions to our Top 10 affiliates in each bundle — that’s an average of $6,762.92 per affiliate and earnings per click of $2.19. And since launching the company roughly 8 years ago, we’ve paid over $4 million in affiliate commissions and sold over 300,000 bundles to happy customers!
Interested in becoming an affiliate? Click here to learn more!
4. Offer a Paid Newsletter
When it comes to making money from email marketing, this idea is one of the most surprising. Did you know it’s possible to actually charge people for the emails themselves? Seriously! You can create a paid newsletter where subscribers pay you for the information you send out.
The Sizzle is one example. Here’s its marketing promise:
“Sick of trawling through blogs full of ads and sponsored content, social media riddled with influencers and a collection of RSS feeds that never seems to end, just to stay on top of the tech industry? The Sizzle relieves you of that burden!
One B.S. free email a day keeps you in the loop so you can concentrate on stuff more important than tech news, but still be up to date.”
The Sizzle offers a free trial to give readers a chance to sample its content. Then, it upgrades readers to a paid monthly plan at $5/month.
Remember, that’s just one example — you can charge a higher rate if you think your customers will pay it. Other newsletters such as The Daily Line charge up to $40 per month!
Or, you might be on the other side of the fence. Maybe you don’t like the idea of charging for content. In that case, you can always accept donations through a service like Patreon.
If reading this has got you all excited about the idea of paid newsletters, here’s a detailed article about how they work, what newsletter creators commonly charge, and how you can launch one yourself.
5. Sell Sponsorship Space in Your Emails
Another way to monetize your emails is to let advertisers pay for promotional placement.
It’s similar to promoting other people’s products — just a different pricing model where advertisers pay a flat fee instead of a commission.
And it can be similar to a paid newsletter — only your sponsors are the ones paying you, not your readers.
Here’s an example from the popular Pocket newsletter, which is free for subscribers. Notice how the list goes curated article, sponsored ad, curated article.
Here’s an article explaining this strategy in more details.
It’s written with potential sponsors as the target readers, which is great because it helps you understand what they’re looking for.
Conclusion: How to Make Money with Email Marketing
We hope this article has answered the question of how to make money with email marketing. As you’ve seen, there are lots of ways to turn an email list into a revenue generator.
And you can totally choose more than one!
The important thing is to start with your readers in mind and think about what option is likely to work well in your situation.
Of course, your success will depend largely on the quality of your emails. So here’s one last article about how to write email marketing copy that converts.
Thanks for reading!