Unsurprisingly, email lists are a powerful form of marketing for any business, no matter the industry or niche.
But an email list can also be a business in its own right and is capable of generating a lot of extra revenue for you.
And to help you fully utilize this potential of emails, here are the 19 best methods to monetize an email list. Starting with…
1. Paid Newsletters
A paid newsletter is an email campaign that users pay to receive a particular type of content, generally once a month. Still, it can also be weekly, biweekly, yearly, or in different time frames.
This is a direct way to make the emails themselves monetized.
Maybe you offer cutting-edge information and updates on a particular niche, like a summary of that month’s health-related academic research.
Or financial analysis for that week.
Or even a yearly review, analyzing data and statistics of a specific genre that year, like e-commerce.
Whatever the cadence of your newsletter releases, they all share one thing in common: the content is 100% created by you and your team.
No ads or outsider influences on the information you give. This overcomes the downsides of other monetization types, such as an announcer paying to put an ad on your email, which tend to be less engaging than original content.
You can ensure that the content will be on the specific topic that your audience expects and enjoys from your emails.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Get someone else’s product, sell it through their link, and you get a commission based on the sale.
Simple, quick, and a low-cost investment since you don’t generally need to store the products or pay an upfront price.
And what’s more: there are thousands of brands and different products out there craving for you to sell their product.
This means that no matter what niche or industry you’re in, there’s almost some kind of product or service that resonates with your demographic.
Some of the market’s most common online affiliate websites include Clickbank, Rakuten, and CJ Affiliate.
You have to get a link directly to the product you’re selling, some banger copywriting to hook your readers into it, and voilá profit.
One tip, though: keep in mind the importance of relevancy. For example, you don’t want to sell woodcutting products to a pet shop audience. And sending them stuff they don’t care about or didn’t sign up for can result in a loss of engagement.
3. Discount Offers
Whether you’re an e-commerce shop, a service-based business, or something else entirely, giving discounts has proven again and again to be a profitable option.
And with the backing of email segmentation (separating different customers in your email list by various traits, such as engagement, average cart size, and product preferences), you can effectively target a specific portion of your email audience that will be most interested in the discount at hand.
And, of course, don’t forget the classic sales tactic: scarcity. Make the offer time-limited or only available for the first people to take up the offer.
4. Pre-Sell Products/Services
Before you add that sweet new product to your shelves or a new type of service or course, you can excite it up.
By sending your readers information on upcoming products, you can ensure that customers will be fully prepared for your new release.
For instance, a customer may save money specifically to spend on the new product and even spread the information with other people about your upcoming product, generating even more awareness for it.
Another advantage of pre-selling your products is creating special offers to specific customers, like pre-purchase discounts for early adopters.
As if that wasn’t enough, if your product or service is a particularly big or essential release, you can create a series of email content that engage the customers by showing a behind-the-scenes process of development of the product, to send content that touches on pain points your promise solves, and much more.
Upselling is simple: a user bought something from you? Then, offer them an even more expensive product or upgrade to what they just bought.
Classic examples of Upselling include restaurants asking if you want fries with your order, a coke, or an increase to a large size.
And with an established email list, you can send them these upsell offers to increase how much profit and revenue you get from each order your customers make.
Like upselling, you offer customers another product once they’ve finished an order. But while upselling is all about offering something more expensive than initially asked for, cross-selling is about offering something different than what was originally asked for.
Cross-selling aims to open your customer up to other different products you have available.
For instance, if you’ve just bought a PC or a PC part, you can offer the buyer also to buy a mouse.
Down selling is a tactic that offers a lower-cost or lower-tier alternative to a sale.
But why would you want to down-sell when you could be upselling or cross-selling instead, you ask?
The most common reason for down-selling is when a customer is interested in the product but feels it is too expensive and can’t afford it. A salesperson can offer a similar but lower price product in a physical store before a customer walks out.
But with an email list, you can instead have it, so your website detects when a customer had items in their cart but decided not to buy them. Then, you give them an email offer with similar products of lower cost to those in the customer’s cart, possibly turning a user who wouldn’t have bought anything into a buyer.
But that’s not the only reason for a down-sell. If you have items in your inventory that you’re having a hard time selling, you can offer them more often as products for your customers to add to their order and possibly even do it at a discount.
8. “Don’t Forget Your Abandoned Cart” Notices.
A less aggressive version of down-selling a customer who left an abandoned cart is simply reminding them that they’ve abandoned it without finishing their purchase.
And while just warning them that it’s still there can slightly increase your sales, the truly effective way to use these notices is to offer a benefit with the information, such as a discount or a time-limited voucher.
There’s always a reason behind a customer not finishing their order. Maybe it was too expensive, as noted on down selling. Perhaps they found a better price in another store. Or maybe something else entirely.
So, if you don’t give them an extra incentive to finish their order, this might not be a very effective practice.
9. Send Them to Your Webinars
An increasingly popular form of info products, webinars are a great form of extra revenue generation, and email lists are a great place to advertise them.
First, pre-sell your webinars by sending registration forms to users and informing them of the date and time of the webinars. Then, send them 1-3 pre-selling emails, and when the day of the webinar arrives, send them a final email confirming that the webinar is happening and the exact time it starts.
Email lists are a great way to get more clients and jobs if you offer consulting business.
Consulting is the practice of giving your advice and expertise on a particular topic, such as marketing, e-commerce, writing, or almost anything else, to individuals and businesses.
Considering that consulting takes up a considerable chunk of your time and includes your sole presence, you can offer consulting sessions at a higher price-ticket than most services. In addition, having an engaged email list can help you get the clients you would love to pay for your expert advice.
11. Membership Programs
While free webinars can give you the highest amount of people attending your lessons and consulting offers the fewest, membership programs can work as an in-between.
Instead of 1-on-1 advice like coaching, you are giving personalized advice to a small group of people all at once.
You can also give your members unique content – such as special video courses, eBooks, and other types of content.
12. Get Old Customers Back
Have a portion of customers that have stopped buying your products or services?
Then email might help you with that.
Send targeted emails, content, and offers to target customers that haven’t shopped with you in a long while.
One example is to send an email showcasing your current product/service catalog highlighting the new products that these customers aren’t up-to-date on.
13. Increase Engagement Through Content
Content marketing is a tried and true sales strategy.
As you provide value to your readers through information or entertainment, you get your customers and readers to come to trust and engage with you more.
And emails are the perfect place to create free articles, blog posts, and courses to help your customers and have more engagement.
And guess what? More engagement = More money.
The more engaged your customers are with your brand, the more they’ll be willing to spend money on it.
14. Surveys & Research
You can send your customers surveys, polls, and other research forms.
This can help you better segment them into preferences by having them directly tell you what their intentions are.
It can also help you understand why some of your products worked and others didn’t and your customers’ behaviors.
And obviously, the more you know about your customers, the more money you will make.
15. Sell Ad Space in Your Emails
You can dedicate a specific portion of your emails to contain an ad to a different brand and charge other companies to put their ad there.
Remember that, just like affiliate marketing, if you constantly include ads that have nothing to do with your brand, users may lose interest in your email campaigns.
16. Solo Ads
Solo ads are when another brand pays you to send your email list promotional emails of your choice.
You generally get paid by the number of clicks the email receives or the number of subscribers in your email list that are emailed the promotion.
The difference from selling ad space is that the advertiser does not use just a tiny part of your emails for advertisement; instead, they control the entire campaign content.
You can check out websites like Udimi and Clickonomy to help you get started with solo ads.
17. Tripwire Marketing
Once a cold client or lead becomes a customer for the first time, you intentionally offer them low-cost products first to increase the chances of them buying a high-cost product later.
This offer aims to get this cold client warmed up and more comfortable spending money with your brand. Once they’ve made their first few purchases, they’re more likely to buy your higher-ticket items.
And email marketing is perfect for advertising these products.
18. Could you send them to Other Platforms?
If you have other pre-established platforms where customers can interact with you, like Twitter or Facebook, you can use your email to send them to those platforms.
Increasing your activity on those platforms can make more money by expanding your brand’s reach.
And there’s a specific synergistic effect between those two as well – the more your email list grows, the more your other social media platforms grow. And the more your social media platforms grow, your email list grows.
You can also give them certain small benefits to follow you on those platforms, like providing an eBook, or email course, if they follow you on your media.
And speaking of email courses…
19. Paid Email Courses
You can create an educational course that is entirely delivered through email.
A user pays for the email course; once they do, they start receiving emails about the system.
You could separate the course into multiple different emails, each a different lesson or part of the course.
You can deliver all of the course’s lessons at once, or you can provide them over time.
The difference between this and paid newsletters is that paid newsletters are a consistently created form of content, where every week/month/year, you make new content for it.
But email courses are different – you can make them evergreen. You create the course once and continue selling it for as long as you want, without needing constant maintenance like paid newsletters.
Now that you’ve finished this article, you have the tools in your toolbelt to transform any email list into a money-generating machine.
And by fully understanding these tools, you can pick the right ones for the job. The monetization methods that best suit your specific needs and resources. The strategies that can take your email campaigns to the next level.