Email may not be a glamorous channel, but you can’t deny it’s lucrative.
That’s a 3800% ROI!
So yes, email marketing may be the coolest thing since PB&J. But if you’ve got an email list, it’s not always easy to know how to monetize it without driving your subscribers away.
In this post, we’ll take a look at seven ways you can make more money from your email list immediately. Let’s dive in!
1. Charge for Emails with Membership-Exclusive Resources
You’ve heard of membership sites. Now get ready for:
Membership mailing lists!
Paid membership mailing lists are a great way to monetize an email list in which you provide exclusive resources that can’t be (easily) found anywhere else for free.
This is a great option for experts at something. Yes, the internet is full of content but most of it isn’t that comprehensive, and often lacks the expertise only professionals with field experience can have.
And it lacks the anecdotes, too.
Take a look at Hot Pod’s example.
Trends in the podcast industry are numerous and updates are almost as frequent as sunny days in July. People who are serious about this field just need a way to filter the most important information.
The owners of Hot Pod charge a $7/month subscription and in return the members can learn everything they need to know about podcasts in one simple newsletter.
Another great example is the Stratechery newsletter which’ll set back a tech whiz about $10/month.
This newsletter analyzes the sea of tech information and provides the takeaways so the subscribers know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what they can expect to happen as a result.
The price people are willing to pay for information is high so paid newsletters prove themselves to be a great way to make more money from your email list.
2. Integrate Ads into Your Email List
Ads are the oldest trick in the book for monetization of pretty much anything.
However, not all ads were created equal. Some are just better than others and generate more revenue.
The main prerequisites for selling ad space in your email list are:
- Above-average open and CTR rates
- At least 2,000 segmented subscribers
- Quality content
When we say segmented subscribers, we mean that your best chance of selling ad space is having a highly-targeted audience.
Two thousand subscribers who are interested in baseball paraphernalia are better than ten thousand people whose only shared trait is the need to eat every day.
Advertisers are always willing to pay more (even if you have a small email list) for a niche audience.
This doesn’t just matter to advertisers. It should also matter to you.
If you advertise a product relevant to your subscribers, they won’t mind. In fact, they’ll be more willing to buy it and consequently, consider you as credible and trustworthy for keeping their needs in mind.
Otherwise, you could be considered a sellout and sent straight to the spam folder.
Types of Email Ads
There are a few ways you can add advertisements to your emails:
1. Sponsored emails
These are complete emails dedicated to a sponsored offer.
For example, Expedia offers access to tens of millions of their subscribers with sponsored email.
You can also use sponsored emails to feature exclusive offers and promotions.
However, you should work closely with the sponsor to create the best content for your subscribers. And as always – keep it relevant. Don’t advertise socks to zebras.
2. Programmatic ads
If you can use ad networks for your site, you can use them to make more money from your email list, as well.
You can feature full-blown carousels with multiple ads, or you can add a small ad or two to your usual emails.
However, make sure you keep it relevant because you could completely disrupt the flow and credibility of your newsletter.
While most people have become immune to seeing ads everywhere, sending a serious newsletter with clickbait-y ads can give off a bad vibe.
3. Native ads
Finally, you can place ads within your content. You have to disclose that it’s a sponsored link, but it’s a good way to integrate ads that make sense with your original content.
In this example from Pocket, the email was sponsored by Monday.com.
However, the email is still contextually relevant and interesting, with the only advertising additions being a few sponsored posts.
3. Monetize Every Step of the Way
The way you’ll monetize your email list largely depends on what kind of email list you’re running.
However, a good rule of thumb if you’re selling your own product or offering a subscription is to monetize every step of the way.
- Monetize opt-in pages
- Monetize subscription preference pages
- Monetize the introductory email
Or, at least, hint towards monetization and advance the subscribers through the sales funnel.
For example, if you sell a product, you can mention it under a ‘P.S.’ on the opt-in page.
If you have an independent project like Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings, you can mention that you accept donations.
A lot of people don’t use these pages for anything more than confirming subscription, but they are micro-moments which ultimately lead to sales.
If you don’t have a product of your own, you can advertise your affiliate partnerships on these pages.
Again, the more relevant the product you’re pitching is, the more success you’ll have.
4. Make Better Offers If You Want to Make More Money from Your Email List
Contemporary advertising spoiled us rotten.
Every day, there are so many new and awesome offers that a regularly-priced product doesn’t stand a chance.
But add a “50% DISCOUNT, 24 HOURS ONLY” line to your email and you’ll see some real magic happen.
On average, if you use urgency when advertising your offers, you’ll get customers more excited to the tune of 59% higher transaction-to-click rates.
Other sales tactics that you can use to make more money from your email list are:
- Limited time offers. You can also use countdown timers to reinforce the urgency.
- FOMO (fear of missing out). Give them an offer they can’t refuse because they’ll lose something if they do. Humans are naturally prone to loss aversion, so phrasing things as “Don’t lose money” rather than “Earn money” drives better results.
- Reduce friction. Make it really easy to get started and give your subscribers follow-up instructions.
- Use the right words. Some words simply reinforce a sense of urgency so make sure you include them in the copy. For example, “one time only” and “before it’s gone.”
- Use numbers and colors. Because psychology. Warm colors create a sense of urgency, and using numbers conveys scarcity.
In addition to these tried and true tactics, you should also include a discount if you want to really motivate your subscribers.
Don’t forget to announce the offer and follow up with them, as well.
By the time you send the email with the offer your subscribers can’t miss, they should already be aware of what’s going to happen. Then, follow up with them a few times to remind them of all the benefits.
Don’t forget about introductory, tripwire offers.
These can be automatically triggered so the subscribers get a special offer as soon as they sign up. According to Digital Marketer, people who purchase the tripwire offer are 10x more likely to purchase the core offer.
Trigger-based offers are a great way of making more money from your email list in general. You can also set up triggers for events like cart abandonment and capture the lead while they’re still hot.
Finally, you can monetize your email list further with up-selling and cross-selling.
If they bought product A, they may be interested in product B which is complementary. Or, if they have the basic plan, they may enjoy a more advanced plan.
5. Create Additional Resources You Can Sell
In addition to the main product you’re selling, you can also create by-products to make even more money from your email list.
This is another great way to upsell and cross-sell, especially if you’ve got a highly-targeted audience.
For example, you can create webinars that educate your subscribers more on the niche you’re in. You can also create eBooks or paperbacks to provide even more value.
If you have a good base of subscribers who have also purchased from you before, they’re the ideal target audience for these byproducts.
For example, Cole of Honey Copy uses his email newsletter to sell a book on copywriting.
He’s pretty authoritative in the industry and his subscribers have enough trust in him to know that the book he’s recently written is worth the price.
This is where thought leadership is really beneficial. It positions you as the expert and creates even more demand for your materials.
And while you should use valuable resources as lead magnets, consider monetizing the in-depth resources that your subscribers will surely be interested in.
6. Spice Up Ordinary Emails
The real key to successfully making more money from your email list is having great content that people love reading.
Yes, you could have the best product that has ever been made, but it wouldn’t stand a chance unless the content around it is equally excellent.
So when you’re thinking about monetizing your email list, you should first think about sending great emails consistently.
The first thing your emails should be is inspirational.
You shouldn’t just understand the basic demographic facts about your audience. Instead, branch out into psychographics and understand what their goals are and what motivates them.
By understanding this, you’ll understand how to phrase your offers.
The second thing your emails should be is useful.
In addition to telling your subscribers that they’ll achieve their goals with something you’re selling them, show them a clear roadmap of how they’ll get there.
Make sure you personalize your emails and segment your audience to tailor the messaging. This is especially important for email lists with thousands of subscribers. You can’t reach anyone with a generic message.
But you can reach and motivate the right people with a personalized message.
Send the emails consistently so your subscribers know when to expect them. Sporadic emails don’t build the trust you need to make money from your email list.
And speaking of building trust, include social proof.
You can use reviews or feature your customers’ success. If you don’t sell a specific product, you can simply highlight the story of an active subscriber.
7. Focus on What Works
Finally, once you’ve gotten the hang of things and built up your email list, make sure you analyze the preferences of your subscribers.
The majority of email marketing tools offer built-in analytics that will show you when your emails are opened, how many people open them, and the click-through rate.
What you have to do is put it into context:
- Why do people open your emails when they do? Are they traveling to and from work?
- What sort of headspace are they in at the moment?
- What content works best?
- Is there a way to integrate monetization into it, or use it to better craft the copy for promotional emails?
Learn everything there is to know about your audience. It’ll help you encourage repeat buyers and referrals.
And finally, just ask them what they like.
There’s nothing like seeing that a brand cares to make you buy everything on the shelf.