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Your email list is one of your most valuable assets as a blogger (there’s a reason they say ‘the money is in the list’) But how exactly do you go about turning your list into cash? Here’s how to make money from your email list…
You’ve no doubt heard that email marketing is super important… That one of your most valuable assets as a blogger is your email list… That ‘the money is in the list’… And that, for every subscriber on your list, you should be earning at least $1 a month…
But how do you actually go about making money from your list?
And can you only make money from your list if you have a product to sell?
There are 5 main ways to make money as a blogger: advertising, affiliate links, sponsored posts, products and services.
And it’s possible to use email marketing to make money ALL FIVE ways.
Often blog posts on ‘How to make money from your email list’ are really all about making money from your list through selling digital products, such as online courses, printables and ebooks…
And yes – selling products is a GREAT way to make money from your list (one which you should DEFINITELY look into, if you aren’t already) but it is certainly not the ONLY way to make money from your list!
In this post I am going to share with you exactly how to make money from your email list via advertising, affiliate links, sponsored posts, products and services.
(Not yet started building your list? Head over here >>> A beginner’s guide to email marketing for bloggers + free challenge)
How on earth do you make money from your email list from advertising?
Well, you make money from ads by getting lots of people to look at your blog… the more pageviews you get, the more money you earn.
Obviously, the best way to drive traffic to your blog is via SEO – that’s the best way to get people to find your blog in the first place.
But don’t underestimate the power of email in driving traffic to your blog and so earning you good money in ad revenue.
You may be thinking, ‘Yeah but Eb, the traffic I get from ads is tiny compared to the traffic I get from SEO’… But is it?
What most bloggers fail to take into account when counting the % of their traffic that comes from email is all the traffic they can’t actually measure…
What do I mean by that?
I mean all the traffic that comes INDIRECTLY through email marketing.
You see, it’s quite easy to measure the traffic that comes DIRECTLY from email marketing… You can do that by looking at your % click rate / number of clicks in your email marketing platform. But that figure doesn’t tell the whole story.
What about all the subscribers who have got to know and trust you via your weekly emails, who then just type your URL into their web browser, or do searches like ‘Macaroni Cheese from Easy Peasy Foodie’ in Google?
While SEO plays an important role in getting people to discover your website in the first place, email marketing plays a powerful and often undervalued role in keeping them coming back again and again.
By working hard on your email marketing to build a strong rapport with your subscribers, you are gradually turning them into diehard fans who will turn to your website as their first port of call whenever they have a problem connected to your niche – because they know you and they trust you!
And remember too – your email subscribers are your most loyal readers – these are the people who are most likely to be reading multiple blog posts each time they visit your site – giving you multiple pageviews for each visit (something which not only has a knock-on effect on your ad income, but also your SEO).
But it gets better… because if you do your email marketing well, not only will you create diehard fans of your blog, you will also create a whole army of blog evangelists: fans of your blog who tell their friends, family and anyone else who will listen how great your blog is.
And this brings yet more traffic to your blog that you are only getting because of email marketing, but which you could never ever measure as coming from email marketing!
It’s almost impossible to put a number on all of this indirect traffic that you are getting thanks to email marketing, but which your Google Analytics will tell you comes from another source (usually either direct or organic search traffic). But one of the best indicators of this phenomenon will be your % returning visitors. A large % of your returning visitors will be as a result of your email marketing efforts. And the harder you work on your email marketing, the bigger % of your visitors will be returning.
On my food blog, Easy Peasy Foodie, I currently get over a million pageviews, and 30% of those pageviews are returning visitors… even if only half of that 30% are because of email marketing (and I have reason to suspect the figure is much higher), that means I get 150,000 visits PER MONTH thanks to email marketing – and that’s worth an awful lot of ad income over a year!
2. Affiliate links
The second way you can make good money from your email list is through affiliate links. And this broadly breaks down into two categories: affiliate links on your blog and affiliate links in your actual emails.
Affiliate links on your blog
One way to make money from email marketing is by driving traffic to blog posts on your site which have affiliate links in them. In this respect, email marketing is no different from all the other ways of driving traffic we as bloggers have at our disposal (Google / Pinterest / social media etc.), but with two crucial differences:
The first is that your subscribers trust you and your recommendations much more than your social media followers (and much, much more than randoms from Google or Pinterest who happen to have stumbled on your blog!). As a result, they are much more likely to click on and buy your recommendations than visitors from any other source.
The second is that your subscribers actually like you and want to support you – you have given them so much value over the months and years that they have been a subscriber and so they are actively looking for ways to say thank you… buying a product through one of your affiliate links is a very easy way for them to do that.
Affiliate links in your emails
The second way to earn money from affiliate links is by linking to affiliate products and ‘selling’ your affiliate links actually in your emails.
This comes with all the same benefits as affiliate links on your blog – that your subscribers trust your recommendations and actively want to support you… but also with added benefits of being able to harness the power of email marketing to send your subscribers down a sales funnel, just as you would do with a product of your own. (See the ‘Products’ section below for more on this.)
A few words of cautioN…
Firstly, don’t abuse your subscribers by constantly selling to them – whether that’s your own products or affiliate products. The majority of your emails should be about delivering pure value to your subscribers. By consistently delivering value to your subscribers, you will develop that all important KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor, which will enable you to occasionally sell to your subscribers too.
Secondly, take care with affiliate links in emails. Not all affiliate programmes will allow you to put their affiliate links in emails. Most do… but not all… The most obvious example here is Amazon: **You are not allowed to put Amazon Affiliate Links in emails to your subscribers** So do check with the affiliate programme concerned before you start adding them to your emails!
Finally, you must always disclose to your subscribers and blog readers if links are affiliate links.
3. Sponsored posts
As with advertising, you might not immediately think of sponsored posts as a way of making money from email marketing… but it absolutely is!
Your email list is a huge asset that you can use to your advantage when pitching to brands or trying to negotiate a better fee!
First up, always include your subscriber count on your ‘Work With Me’ page and/or in your Media Pack. But don’t just mention the number of subscribers – mention your open and click rates too. A blogger who has 3,000 subscribers and an open rate of 50% is of much greater value to a brand than a blogger who has a list of 30,000 but only a 2% open rate.
And don’t stop there – highlight your email marketing stats in your covering email to the brand or PR company – use it as part of your case for getting the job / getting a better fee.
Think about it from the brand’s point of view: if you have 12,500 subscribers and a 40% open rate you are guaranteeing them 5,000 eyes on their product and key marketing messages – which is a much better prospect than the blogger who has 10K Instagram followers, only a fraction of whom will ever see their sponsored Instagram post (let alone actually get to read the key messages the brand wants to get across in their campaign!) And don’t expect the brand to figure this all of this out on their own – spell it out to them in your pitch email (nicely, of course!).
Better still, weave email marketing into your rate card – offer different levels of email marketing, depending on which tier or package they go for. For example you could offer a simple mention that you have been working with such and such a brand / love their new product etc. in your basic tier, up to a full blown dedicated email with images and links to the brand in your premium tier.
Of course, you do need to take care that your email list doesn’t feel spammed by your sponsored work – but with clever copywriting, you can easily turn a sponsored email into something that builds your brand and makes your followers love you even more. Especially since (I am jolly well hoping!) you only take on sponsored work with brands you love and know your readers will love too.
And of course, as with affiliate links, always take care to disclose your relationship with the brand.
READ MORE >> How to make money on your blog from sponsored posts
READ MORE >> 10 tips for pitching to brands
This is the big one! THIS is how you turn your email list into a money-making machine.
The truth is that people buy from people they trust. This is why, if you have ever tried to sell anything off the back of your blog and/or social media alone, it was probably a flop.
For people to want to buy from you, you have to build up a RELATIONSHIP with them. You have to get them to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you. And you have to deliver VALUE to them on a consistent basis. And the only way to do that is email marketing.
You can use email marketing to build up TRUST in you through sharing high-quality advice and sharing testimonials. You can use email marketing to help your subscribers get to KNOW you – via personal news and snippets of your life ‘behind the scenes’. And you can use email marketing to get your readers to LIKE you more by consistently delivering high quality advice, tips, insider info and subscriber exclusives.
You can also use email to warm up your subscribers to a position where they really want to buy from you – by educating them on the topic of your product and by showing your subscribers WHY they really need your product in their lives.
And you can even get fancy with sales funnels: taking your subscribers on a journey from where they are now – just a random visitor on your site – through to the point where they are desperate to buy your product, via clever opt-in offers which attract the right people and welcome, education and sales sequences which move your leads further and further towards a purchase.
The good thing about selling products via email is you don’t even need a large list. Whereas you need a sizeable list to get enough pageviews to make good money via ads or to be interesting enough a prospect to brands to make money via sponsored posts, you can make good money from products from a very small list.
For example, if you have a list of 1,000 and 10% of your list buy your $100 course, you’ve just made $10,000!
If the whole idea of creating a product sounds daunting, don’t worry! You can start small. In fact, you SHOULD start small. Your first product doesn’t have to be something huge. For a product to sell well, it just has to be something your audience really needs in their life – enough to pay for!
It could be a simple ebook or a set of printables… although my top tip for products is to create a course for your audience – courses are actually EASIER to create than ebooks… but you can charge much more for them!
The final way to make good money from email marketing is to sell a service. This could be as simple as one to one training or coaching in the subject of your blog, or really anything you can do that your readers really need help with.
Selling a service via email is very similar to selling a product, but with a couple of slight differences…
Firstly, when someone buys a service from you, they are essentially buying YOU… so it is even more important that they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you. Take care to build up that KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor by delivering tons of value in your emails as well as sharing testimonials, example work and positive stats from past clients (with their permission of course!).
And secondly, because services tend to be even more high value than products, you need to sell even less in order to make good money… and so you can make money from email marketing even with a REALLY TINY list!
Say for example, you have a 6 month coaching package which you sell for $500 – you would only need to sell 20 of those to hit $10K… If you have a list of just 200 subscribers and 10% buy from you, BAM you’ve got your 20!
READ MORE >> How to make money on your blog from services
It doesn’t happen by magic
I hope you can see from this post that there is the potential to make A LOT of money from email marketing… but it doesn’t just happen by magic!
You need to work hard to grow your list with the right people, send high value emails which build up that KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factor and which turn casual visitors into diehard fans and raving blog evangelists.
And you need to seal the deal: whether that’s by creating a product and building a sales funnel, or by including emails stats in your sales pitches and building email packages into your rate card, or by getting serious about ‘selling’ affiliate products in your blog posts and emails.
If you want to start uplevelling YOUR email marketing efforts and taking advantage of the amazing money-making potential email has to offer, I recommend you check out these blog posts:
- Why every blogger NEEDS an email list
- How to get started with email marketing and get your first subscribers
- How to grow your email list FAST with an opt-in offer
- What to put in your email newsletter – 11 ideas to really connect with your subscribers!
- How to create an automated welcome sequence for your email list
And of course, you need the RIGHT TOOLS for the trade. If you want to get serious about email marketing, then you need to invest in the right email marketing platform. Struggling along with free/cheap email software will seriously hamper your efforts!
That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend ConvertKit*. ConvertKit is super easy to use and wonderfully intuitive, but it allows even the most tech-shy blogger to do some really quite amazing email marketing wizardry – and best of all it will save you a ton of time!
Still not quite sure? GET A 14 DAY FREE TRIAL OF CONVERTKIT* and check it out for yourself!
How to make money from your email list – over to you
Got questions about making money from email marketing? I’d love to help you out! Drop me a line in the comments below – I always answer 😀
Or do you have a great tip for making good money from email marketing? Please do share with us all it in the comments!
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*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!