Attracting an audience of newsletter subscribers takes a lot of work. Every week, you need to come up with new content ideas. That’s not all. You also need to reply to subscribers and carefully write your newsletters to avoid getting caught in spam filters.
Despite putting in all of this work, few email newsletters earn much of a return. That’s going to change today. You’re about to learn nine powerful ways to produce income on demand from your newsletter.
1. Sell Subscriptions
Many online businesses offer subscription services and products to customers. For example, marketing expert Ben Settle sells a monthly print newsletter with marketing tips. Podcaster and author Nathan Latka offers a magazine with business software news. You can also use your newsletter to promote software as a service (SaaS) products.
If you do not currently have a subscription product to sell, why not launch your first issue to subscribers? Start by sending out a special email to your email subscribers telling them you are developing a newsletter. Ask your newsletter subscriptions which questions they have. If you receive a large number of responses with detailed questions, that is a good sign!
2. Offer Premium Content
The boom in online streaming services and services like iTunes have demonstrated that many people are willing to pay for premium content. Your newsletter subscribers are used to receiving free content from you. That creates a challenge – how do you sell content when your subscribers are used to receiving it for free?
The solution is simple. Offer something different! Here are a few examples of what you could sell as premium content.
- Audio Content. Some content creators create exclusive member-only podcasts for their paying subscribers. For example, Manager Tools offers premium audio content for sale, such as “First Job Fundamentals,” which helps new professionals.
- Video Content. If you prefer offering video content, consider creating a video course. Nick Loper, a podcaster, has created the Traffic Course, a video-based course that helps online entrepreneurs gain more traffic to their websites.
- Personalized Content. Offer to answer subscriber questions in depth in future newsletters. Charging for personal answers makes a lot of sense if you get many questions from your subscribers.
3. Request Donations from Fans
Do you have passionate fans who admire the content you create? In that case, letting subscribers donate to support your work is a great option. That said, relatively few people will donate money without some benefit.
The benefit you offer to fans could be recognition (e.g., get your name mentioned as a supporter in an upcoming newsletter). Alternatively, you could offer discount codes on your digital products.
Don’t count on donations alone as a revenue source. It is best to think of donations as a supplemental strategy.
4. Earn Fees Through Brand Sponsorships
Email newsletter Morning Brew earns much of its revenue from brand sponsorships. In the case of Morning Brew, they place small ads from companies like The Motley Fool, Fidelity Investments, and Fundrise directly into their newsletter.
There are two ways to arrange a brand sponsorship. First, you can arrange a direct sponsorship by pitching your newsletter to a potential sponsor. Second, you can use a third-party service like Paved.com to search for sponsors.
Sponsors tend to be interested in email newsletters with a sizable audience-focused around a specific focus. For newsletter owners who have a few thousand subscribers, brand sponsorship deals are worth pursuing.
5. Sign Up For Ad Networks
Seeking out a specific sponsor can be a lot of work, especially for larger newsletter owners. That’s where ad networks can be helpful. Some of the largest ad networks include BuySellAds, Letterwell, LiveIntent. Note that each ad network has different requirements and areas of focus.
BuySellAds, for instance, helps advertisers reach developers, cryptocurrency enthusiasts, technology audiences, and women’s lifestyle audiences.
The downside to an ad network is that you have to wait for an advertiser to select your newsletter for advertising. With smaller newsletters, sitting back and waiting for advertising revenue might get frustrating.
6. Earn Income By Recommending Products With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn revenue quickly by recommending other products. The commission rate in affiliate programs varies widely from 1-3% on Amazon to 50% for information products on Amazon. You can also earn commissions of 15-30% by promoting software products. For instance, small business accounting software Freshbooks pays affiliates up to $200 per sale.
In most cases, earning money through affiliate marketing takes effort. You need to buy the product, use it, and then write a review for your audience. In most cases, in-depth reviews tend to perform the best. For inspiration on review-based affiliate marketing done right, take a look at the Wirecutter, which reviews a wide variety of products, including computers, TVs, and travel products.
7. Offer Classified Ad To Your Subscribers
Classifieds ads, once a popular source of revenue for newspapers, are an option for email newsletters. Traditionally, classified ads are tiny: 3 inches wide by 1 inch tall in print. In an email newsletter, a classified ad would be about 1-2 sentences long.
To start offering classified ads, ask your subscribers if they have relevant offers to promote. You may then decide to run 2-3 classified ads per newsletter. The traditional price is about $100 per line. Running a few classified ads can help you offset the costs of running an online business (e.g., cost of your website hosting, email marketing provider, accounting software, etc.).
8. Sell services and consulting
Offering custom services to your subscribers is a significant opportunity to earn income. The service you offer will vary depending on your particular skills. To help you come up with ideas, here are a few examples of email newsletter concepts and related services.
- Email Newsletter Subject: Digital marketing trends
Service To Offer: offer marketing services like search engine optimization, Facebook Ads management, or copywriting to clients.
- Email Newsletter Subject: Artificial intelligence technology news
Service To Offer: provide consulting services to companies that need help with machine learning and AI projects. You might offer strategic consulting on how to use AI or provide technical advice on solving specific problems.
- Email Newsletter Subject: Air travel advice
Service To Offer: Air travel is popular, but many people want to find ways to save money. That’s how the company Scott’s Cheap Flights got started. The founder of the company, Scott Keyes, initially offered an email newsletter with tips on getting low-cost flights. Eventually, he built a service offering, a membership, and a book, “Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Cheaper, and Travel the World,” based on the email newsletter.
When you first launch a new service to your subscriber, starting at a low price is wise. After you sell a service two or three times, ask your clients for a testimonial. You can raise your prices and earn more from selling services now that you have positive quotes to share.
The other advantage to selling services is scarcity. There are only so many hours in the day that you can use scarcity in your marketing. For example, a tutor might say, “I can only accept three tutoring clients a month, so reply to this email today to grab your slot.”
9. Sell Digital Products
We’ve saved the best for last: selling digital products. Unlike services or affiliate marketing, digital products have much higher income potential. You can use PeachPay to sell 100 or 100,000 copies of your ebook. That’s not all. You can also sell premium versions of ebooks with additional elements (e.g., audio or video courses) to earn higher prices.
Selling digital products with PeachPay is easy.
1. Sign up for your PeachPay account
2. Come up with a digital product to sell
Offering an ebook is a great place to get started. Read our post on “How to sell your ebooks online as a beginner” for further tips on how to write your first ebook.
3. Write a promotional email to your email list announcing the digital product
Give your subscribers a reason to act fast. For example, you might offer your ebook half price to subscribers in a 24-hour flash sale. After the flash sale is over, change your ebook price back to its regular price.
4. Ask for feedback and questions
Some people on your email newsletter list might not buy the product. Send an email to the people who didn’t buy your product. They might have questions that you haven’t answered. For example, people might want to know if they can read your ebook on their Kindle. Make a list of these questions because you will use them in the next step.
5. Send a second promotional email
A few weeks after your last promotional email, send another email to your list offering the product. Take the time to answer the most common questions you have been asked in the past. Every additional question you answer can help you to earn more income from your digital product.
Once you have a successful digital product, think about ways you can offer related products. For example, you might offer 1-hour consulting call for $200 or even $500 to help people implement the tips in your ebook.