If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard “the money is in the list.” I remember when I first started blogging, I would listen to this so often that I would find myself regurgitating it to other bloggers on the importance of building an email list early in your business.
Even when my list wasn’t making me a damn dime.
I always heard people talking about the hundreds of thousands of email subscribers they had on their email lists, and because of this, they’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve heard people say that you should be making $1 per subscriber every month from your list.
Since these things have been embedded in my mind for years now, you’d think I’d be making almost $7,000 from my email addresses every month (That’s how many subscribers are on my list).
But what people fail to tell you is how.
How the hell are all these so-called gurus making money with an email list? And the more important question is, why isn’t my email list bringing in those magical dollars I was promised if I built it?
If these are questions that you’ve been thinking about too, you’re in good company. I have thought long about those questions, and after much research and even more email list development, I can say I know a little something-something.
No, I’m not out here swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck from my email list, but I have had success in unraveling the mystery of that term “the money is in the list.”
I’m gonna show you what I have learned about list building and the various ways that people make money with an email list and prove why it is so essential to build yours. I’ll even include a few examples of how I make money on my email list for you to take with you.
1. Sell Other People’s Products or Services
Oh, no! Selling! Ugh!
The truth is we’re selling and being sold something every single day.
When a person tells you their name, you’re buying it. They are selling an identity to you, and you accept that identity unless, of course, they give you a reason to not believe what they are selling.
If you are giving people what they want and need, then there really shouldn’t be much selling involved. The key is finding the right products for other people to sell.
My favorite thing to sell is affiliate products. Affiliate marketing means if someone on your list buys a product with your link, you will receive a commission from it.
For example, one of my favorite affiliate products is ConvertKit. They are an email marketing platform that I love. Their email service allows you to test subject lines for your broadcasts, which leads to higher open rates, and therefore, more people to potentially buy from you.
But do you know what I love most about them? Their affiliate program.
For every person who signs up for ConvertKit under me, I earn 30% of whatever they pay, every month. And it is at no additional cost to my subscribers.
As a matter of fact, I can offer them discounts. Like if you use my link below, you can expect to get a 30-day trial of ConvertKit. Baller, right?
There are so many affiliate programs out there like this. Actually, I keep a full list of affiliate programs I like to work with. If you talk about affiliate products in your emails and use a few personal anecdotes for how they work for you and why you appreciate them, those who it’ll work for will buy it.
Now, some people will get immediately annoyed that you try to sell them something. But guess what? They were never going to buy from you anyway. So you don’t want them on your list. Good riddance!
If you’re wondering how to find more affiliate programs to sign up for, here are a few I highly recommend:
Each platform has several affiliates offers you can join. You can search for the ones you like, apply to them, and grab your affiliate links!
A word of caution: do not sell your email list things you are not buying yourself. People know when you’re bullshitting them. Don’t bullshit your list. They will know.
And stick with high-quality products along the way. They last longer, and your audience will thank you for this.
2. Sell Your Own Product
This is the one I hear about most often. The way it works is you come up with a great idea, promote it, then make money from it using your email list.
When you think about it, selling your product is one of the best ways to make money with an email list. Instead of getting a 10-40% commission selling affiliate products that already exist, you keep 100% of the profits yourself.
The hard part of creating a product is not only the time it takes to create it, but knowing what you should be creating. One thing that many people who are making money off their own products don’t tell you is that the product that they made the most money from is often not the first one they created.
So factor that into your time. Your first product may be a flop. Hell, your second product may be a flop. Taking this path is risky business.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you choose the right product to create.
- Solve a problem for everyone else that you’ve already solved for yourself.
- Survey your email list and see what they want.
- Pay attention to what content on your blog is doing the best. Can you make a product around that content?
- What questions is your email list asking you? What type of articles are they clicking on the most?
If you can create a product that incorporates those four elements, you should be golden.
But that’s not a guarantee. People can be fickle. Just go into it creation knowing that it may not be all sunshine and roses. However, if it does succeed, it’ll be awesome.
3. Create a Tripwire
OK! So tripwires are one of my faves. But you should first understand what a tripwire is. A tripwire is an upsell landing page you direct people to you after they already got something from you for free.
Here is an example:
Let’s say you give your new subscriber a free list of items they should have in their kitchen. If this person is looking for things to put in their kitchen, they’re probably thinking about decorating it too. So why not sell them on some items to decorate? The tripwire page could be something along the lines of “The Ultimate Guide to Redecorating Your Kitchen.”
Technically, tripwires fall into the category of creating a product, but they are a little different. Creating a tripwire doesn’t require a considerable time commitment. I was able to develop the tripwires I have in a day.
They are an excellent way to test your audience’s interest in a topic before you create a more significant product that may take months of your time to create. This is another way to make sure that the product you create does not fail.
4. Create a Paid Newsletter
A paid newsletter as a form of making money is often overlooked, because who even does paid newsletters anymore? I do, I do! And it is going well for me! I am a case study that paid newsletters work!
Why not charge a monthly or even a weekly fee for people to get the content they want? If it is saving them time, making them money, or helping them in a big way, people will gladly pay for a newsletter. People love a shortcut.
If you’re going to charge for a newsletter, you just have to make sure it is worthwhile for your subscribers.
For example, with my email newsletter, the Blogging Money Update, I charge subscribers $20 a month to get three emails from me every week. In those emails, I give them 10-15 sponsored post opportunities, all ranging from $65-$5,000 each.
If they applied to those opportunities and got accepted to even one of the lowest paying ones, it is already worth it for them to stay on my email list. The numbers just make sense. My email list wins, and so do I. You can check the Blogging Money Update out for yourself here.
5. Host a Webinar
There are two schools of thought when it comes to making money from webinars.
- You can charge people to attend the webinar.
- Or you can give excellent information for free in the webinar and then sell them on something in the end.
The latter method is how most webinars work.
An additional benefit to doing webinars is gaining more email subscribers. The first webinar I hosted was for a company I was working for at the time. We ran a simple Facebook ad for a couple of weeks. It resulted in 2,000 more people being added to our mailing lists!
Two thousand email subscribers over two weeks!
Even if those who signed up for the webinar did not buy or if they didn’t attend the webinar at all, you can still sell them something else down the line via your email list. Because of this, webinars are not only a way to generate income, but a way to build your list quickly.
6. Advertise on Your Email List
I really like this one as a way to bring in an income because it is just so easy.
Here’s how it works.
If you want to make money with an email list, you should already email them regularly. Additionally, you should have a go-to format that you use. I enjoy an excellent newsletter format. And if you are doing the newsletter format, you can charge brands to be in your newsletter that week. It can be a banner ad, a link to their blog post, whatever.
It’s that simple.
You can charge a flat fee for mentioning them as long as you disclose that they are paying you to mention them in the email.
I do this on my weekly newsletter to my list. It’s the last section on every weekly email. When I don’t have ads from companies, I just put in affiliate links instead.
An easy way to get advertisers to pay you for this is by including newsletter mentions in your media kit. Include how much the ad will cost them and stats on your list that will reel them in.
7. Host Sponsorships
This one is similar to writing a sponsored blog post.
Instead of creating a piece of content for your blog, you are creating content for your email list. Think of a long email that talks through a particular product that you enjoy. I have found that many bloggers use this form of email for affiliate products, and it works out well for them.
But this can also be done in agreement with a particular brand too. I have done campaigns for brands where we contract an email to my list into a campaign for a sponsored blog opportunity.
If you are negotiating with a brand and are looking for more to offer to get a bigger paycheck, and you already mentioned your social media accounts, highlight your email list. If you have open rates and a list size to tell them about, they may be very interested.
Just remember to disclose to your audience if a brand is paying you to mention them.
Not sure where to find paid sponsorships? I have a list of 150 influencer networks that pay bloggers to work with brands. You can sign up for it below.
8. Offer a Service
This one uses your email as more of a way to advertise a service if you have one.
For example, if you are a freelance writer looking to write for other bloggers, you could write an email to your list saying that you offer a service and are looking for clients. Of course, your email list should be relevant to the service you are offering, or you’re probably wasting your time.
9. Promote Cost Per Click Offers
These are similar to affiliates, but instead of someone having to buy, they only have to click the link.
If you have reliable click-through rates, this is a pretty good way to bring in income. Just make sure that your offers are relevant to your list and have been checked out by you.
Remember, don’t bullshit your audience! They will know!
10. Partner with Other Bloggers with Products
There are a ton of great affiliate programs that are by other bloggers out there. And honestly, they pay the best. You can earn as much as 30% – 40%. But sometimes, you can go just a teeny bit further and put a campaign together to get even more sales.
Maybe you could work together to host a webinar or a particular challenge. And you can bring in more attention, traffic, email subscribers, and revenue for both of you.
If you see a product that fits your brand well that you want to promote and can see years of working with another blogger, working together on a specific campaign may not be a bad idea.
I love finding new affiliates for my product, Blogging Money Update. And I offer a recurring 10% commission for every member my affiliates send my way. Interested in joining? Shoot me an email at [email protected] letting me know, and I will get you set up!
11. Try All These Strategies in An Evergreen Newsletter
If your head is spinning and you are having a hard time deciding which ideas to go with, why not try them all in an evergreen newsletter?
An evergreen newsletter is an email workflow that essentially goes on forever. You send a broadcast to your list, and once it’s out, you add it to the end of your email automation. That way, anyone who signs up later on down the line can also see the same broadcast email.
So if you happen to do an email that had a high conversion rate for affiliates, you should add that to your Evergreen newsletter so that it can continue to do well for you and all your new subscribers going forward.
Now get out there and make some money!