Let's go over the three main ways to monetize an email newsletter. These are techniques that I've used myself and they don't require any money. I've made over $1,400 some months just from newsletter ad sales. You can watch this on YouTube or read the blog post below.
I had no prior sales experience before making my newsletters two years ago so don't feel intimidated by asking people for money. If you want to find out more about making money with newsletters you can go to https//monetizeyournewsletter.com and check out my full video course. Ok, let's dive in!
Make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliates are really easy to get, but it's unreliable income. You're basically only getting paid when you get a sale. So if I partner up with someone that's made a course for developers and someone buys it from my newsletter, I'll get a percentage of that.
So I might make 20% or 40% or whatever, and that's cool. But if I don't get a set up, then I'm just wasting my time because I'm giving them free publicity in my newsletter, but I'm not making any money.
The flip side of this is it's the easiest way to start, because if you message someone and say, “Hey, I want to promote your course or your content or anything else that you have in my newsletter as part of your affiliate scheme”, then they're very likely to say yes, because from their point of view, they're not guaranteeing any payments to you, so you only get paid when you deliver them a sale.
So affiliates are easy to get, but it's not reliable income. I've seen my affiliate income swing quite violently from month to month. So it's not something that you really want to think about long-term. But it's a good way to get your foot in the door and start making some bucks.
Getting sponsors for your newsletter
Another way to monetize email newsletters is with sponsors. Now that's a lot better than affiliates because if someone sponsors your newsletter, then you're getting guaranteed income. So if someone sponsors for say a month or three months, or whatever period, you know that you're going to get $50 a newsletter or a 100 bucks or whatever. And that's guaranteed because you've got the money in advance. (Hint: always get paid in advance)
And that's really great because it's an improvement on affiliates - it's not based on how many sales you've got or how many results you've got for the advertiser. You're getting paid no matter what. So that's a really good position to be in. The flip side to sponsorship is it does take time and energy to get these deals.
You will have to make a lot of private messages and emails and there's a lot of back and forth. So I just want be honest with you, there are pros and cons to getting newsletter sponsorship.
How to make money with a paid email newsletter
The final method is to convert your newsletter subscribers to paid content. That could be where you have a free newsletter, and then you have a premium version of that, or it could be linking to a paid community or an ebook or a video course like this, or anything else where you're asking your audience to pay.
Now, this has a lot of advantages because if you think about it, if you're creating a relationship with your audience and you're giving them some content already. And if you said to them, “Hey, if you want more of this content or a more advanced form of this, then pay, 10 bucks a month, 20 bucks a month, a hundred bucks a year” or whatever you decide, then that's a really good position to be in because you've already established a relationship. You've got trust. They know what to expect, and that's a really good position to be in. Whereas with sponsors and affiliates, you're putting these other people in front of your audience every week possibly: you're essentially a middleman between the sponsors and your audience.
Whereas, it's a really good position, if you think about it, to have a one-to-one direct relationship with your audience and that way, you know what they want, and you're providing something that's really valuable to them. I think that there's also a lot more control.
So with affiliates, they might change their terms or they might end the scheme. I've had this experience myself where a software company closed down their affiliate system so I lost a source of revenue. With sponsors there is a lot of churn, but with paid content you can keep on promoting the content that you have, and you have a lot more say and a lot more control over it obviously as it's your content, so you can set the prices. So that's a really powerful factor. You can't set the prices of an affiliate, for example.
Paid content is a really great way to monetize a newsletter. There's people like Scott Keys who sends flight deals with his Scott's Cheap Flights newsletter. That makes approximately $4 million a year. And that's a great example of paid content. Now, obviously there's not a million examples of that. It's really hard to get to that level and I'm not going to sugar coat it, but you know, that's, what's possible in the newsletter audience today.
The disadvantages of running a paid newsletter
The disadvantage of making a paid newsletters is pretty obvious in that you have to actually create something. So you have to create another newsletter edition. You have to create premium content people are willing to pay for and you'll be competing with huge amounts of free content. You have to create a video course, or a community, or more editions of your newsletter and you know, that takes time and energy and skills.
Also, all your best content will be behind a paywall. So you won't get the SEO benefit of a brilliant blog piece, for example. And no-one will be able to share your best writing. So you have to weigh these things up.
So these are basically the three main ways to monetize your newsletter. I would recommend starting as soon as possible with sponsorship. If your list is really small or your are struggling to get sponsors, you may want to get some money early doors with affiliates as that's a nice easy option. Paid content takes more work but that's where the real big bucks are and it means you can focus 100% on content and not finding sponsors.
If you want to find out more about making money with newsletters you can go to https//monetizeyournewsletter.com and check out my full video course. It's two hours long and it goes over tons of things like finding sponsors, how to price your ads, how to sell newsletter spots, how to convert people to buying premium content and loads more. I show you real conversations I have with customers. I also go over things like making a newsletter landing page with Carrd which means not writing any code.
The course has eleven 5-star reviews. If you look at it on Gumroad there are loads of happy customers. I've made four figures from my newsletter in one month, just with ads. So you're really getting this advice from someone that knows what they're talking about.