How to Monetize a Newsletter

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Most publishers don’t realize this, but they have a very large untapped financial resource right at their disposal. That untapped resource is none other than email newsletter advertising.

Yes, you read that right — and though it may be hard to believe that people actually want to receive more emails in their inboxes, your potential subscribers can become a monetary asset to you. This is because these subscribers are choosing to receive your emails. Therefore, there’s a value that will also carry over to your advertising partners since they already have an appreciation for the content and ads you bring to them.

There’s a lot to learn about how to monetize a newsletter, so we’re just going to jump right in here.

Wait, You Can Monetize an Email Newsletter?

We know what you may be wondering — and yes, emails can be monetized. In fact, that’s the whole point of starting an online newsletter. Well, next to reaching your audience on a more personal level. It’s also typically done through sponsorships and advertisements — but we’ll get to those details later. 

The most important thing to understand about monetizing newsletters is that you need to have a solid subscriber base, which means you’ll need to encourage your current audience to sign up to receive your emails. In other words, it all goes back to your website. You need to ensure that your website is offering something of value, whether it be the content or products and services sold there. 

If you’ve got an excellent website with a high volume of recurring visitor traffic, then you’ll have your work cut out for you. This is especially true since 2020 alone saw digital subscriptions grow by 3.3% worldwide — with retention rations surpassing 96%. 

What’s more, email marketing delivers an incredibly high ROI as it’s currently earning publishers and other businesses that use it $42 for every $1 spent.

It’s safe to say that not only can you monetize an email newsletter, but if you haven’t yet, then you’re missing out big time.

How to Monetize a Newsletter

There are several ways you can monetize a newsletter. Of course, not all methods will be right for you, which is why you’ll need to play around a little bit before you get it right. 

To save you a bit of trouble, we’ve created a list of the top methods for newsletter monetization. Keep in mind, however, that you want to figure out which method will not only work best for your online business or website but what will work best for your newsletter subscribers.

Here are the methods to think about and try on for size:

Paid Subscriptions

One of the most popular methods for monetizing an email newsletter is creating a paid subscription platform. The point of doing this is so you can offer exclusive access to premium content for those willing to pay for it — and people will pay for that access, as long as you make it worth their while.

The premium content can be anything that fits within your niche. This includes exclusive articles, digital templates, a members-online discussion forum, eBooks, and so on.  

A good way to get started with this method is to start with a free version of your newsletter but with limited access to certain features. This will give your potential subscribers a preview into what you have to offer, which will entice them to pay for more. You can also try offering a free trial to convert non-paying subscribers into paying subscribers.

Publish Sponsored Content

This method essentially follows the way you monetize your website as a publisher, which is through displaying advertisements for various brands that align with your audience’s interests. 

However, unlike your typical ad placements through programmatic bidding, the partnership you develop with the sponsoring brands is more of a long-term relationship. This means that whoever you choose to partner with will stay your partner under mutually agreed upon terms. Therefore, you’ll have to reserve spots within your newsletters for whichever brands you partner with.

Not only does this method allow publishers to build strong brand relationships but it also allows you to provide more value to your audience by associating with brands that they align themselves with. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an excellent monetization strategy for websites and email newsletters alike. In fact, it’s worth upwards of $6.8 billion in the United States alone. Once you find an affiliate program that suits you best (or a referral program) you can start earning a commission from each sale that’s made through your specific URL links. 

There are several ways to find an affiliate partner. Of course, the most important thing is that the affiliate program you partner with offers products or services that align with your niche — so they’ll align with your audience and generate worthwhile sales.

Arguably, the best thing about affiliate marketing is that it takes little to no skill to generate a significant revenue stream. All you have to do is ensure you partner with the right program or brands and incorporate a few strategically placed links in your email newsletters — and make sure enough people are using those links successfully.

Sell Digital Products or Services 

This method is especially beneficial if your website is based on a business that sells products or services as your subscriber list will become your most effective asset. Studies show that email marketing brings in an ROI of 122%, which is significantly more than the 28% and 25% that social media and paid searches bring in, respectively. 

The benefits of this strategy include a new avenue of encouraging sales and creating a deeper connection with your audience base. Think of it this way — members of your audience may browse your site and leave behind a full shopping cart, minus an actual purchase. Having their email can serve as a unique type of marketing that allows you to remind them that they “forgot”” to confirm their purchase, and further encourage them to do so by offering a small discount.

You can also use email newsletters that are customized per each subscriber. For example, you can send them special happy birthday emails, or source a list of products they may be interested in based on their past purchases or browsing habits on your website.

Moreover, these times of newsletters help to foster not only interest but trust among your audience.

Offer Up Ad Space

Selling ad space is slightly different from the long-term partnership with various brands mentioned earlier. This is because it involves joining with a referral program as well as sponsored partner content, and it’s one of the most profitable newsletter monetization methods you’ll come across.

As a publisher or a business owner who sells ad space for the extra passive income, you already know the value of creating a solid platform for advertisements. In 2021 alone, Google raked in over $256 billion from ad spaces. What’s more, the Association of National Advertisers reported that approximately 66% of consumers have made an online purchase specifically due to an email message in their inbox. 

However, beyond Google, email has a unique way of engaging your audience because they’ve already opted-in to receive more content from you in their inboxes. Therefore, they’re more likely to view and engage with the ads being served up — as long as they resonate with their interests, of course. Additionally, this leads to higher conversion rates which can be leveraged when negotiating your terms with advertisers and brands when it comes to selling your ad space at premium prices.

Sell Branded Merchandise

If you’ve built up an entire online community that follows you closely and trusts you, then selling brand merchandise is a great method for monetizing your newsletter. A strong community feels a sense of belonging, and when it comes to digital communities, finding people who share common interests, goals, beliefs, and so on is incredibly important.

This method allows you to show off your personal brand and advertise it to your most loyal followers. Plus, getting your subscribers to purchase and wear your merchandise can expose your brand to communities you haven’t reached yet, since everyone today has their own personal network of friends, family members, and even followers that they share these things with.

Having people wear your merchandise can also help to build a more physical community as it contributes to that sense of belonging. It’s also a great way to make a few extra bucks if you use this method in conjunction with selling ad space.

A Few Last Words

Email newsletters (or, email marketing) makes for a perfect additional revenue stream if you’re a highly-trafficked publisher with a good niche. Of course, now that you know how to monetize a newsletter, you’ll need to learn what to do to ensure your efforts are successful.

Stay tuned for email newsletter best practices so you can start monetizing your email newsletters and seeing a nice jump in your ROI.

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