When it comes to making money online, the most powerful tool in your arsenal isn’t social media or SEO or paid search ads . . .
Email marketing has the highest conversion rates of any marketing channel. In fact, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. And transactions from email are three times more profitable than those made on social media, reports the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Want to start earning money from your email list? Then follow these eight proven ways to make money with email marketing.
How to monetize email marketing
1. Sell a product or service
Already have a product or service to sell? Awesome! You can skip this section.
If not, this is your very first step. Find a physical or digital product or service to sell. Without a product to promote, it’ll be extremely difficult (dare I say, impossible) to make money with your email marketing efforts.
Not sure what to promote to your audience? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Training guides
- Online courses (Click here to Learn How to Create an Online Course.)
- Private virtual coaching sessions
- Classes or workshops
Take a look at how this YouTuber promotes weight loss ebooks to her audience using email marketing.
2. Sell other people’s products
You don’t always have to sell your products or services to monetize email marketing. Instead, you can be an affiliate for other businesses’ products or services. As an affiliate, you get commissions from a business that you generate for the company.
Here’s an example of a great affiliate connection: An online business coach offers planning advice to her clients. To help them turn her advice into reality, she recommends affiliate tools — like website builders and email marketing providers — to serve her clients’ marketing and sales needs.
Before you begin affiliate marketing, make sure you have a strong relationship with your subscribers and that you only recommend products and services that make sense for them. Otherwise, they may unsubscribe.
Many companies have affiliate programs you can join — like AWeber! You can sign up for our affiliate program here.
Plus, AWeber integrates with tools like ClickBank that makes finding affiliate products to promote to your audience easy.
In fact, AWeber customer — GetOrganizedNow.com — uses the ClickBank integration to find and sell products that are aligned with her audience’s interests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GetOrganizedNow.com promoted landscaping services, as they found their audience to be taking on more home improvement projects.
Here’s an example of the email that they sent:
3. Upsell premium or exclusive products
One of the best opportunities for making money with email marketing is by offering additional products or services at the point of transaction — a.k.a. upselling.
Let’s say you’re a life coach, and your main product is an online monthly membership that includes access to a community of users, webinars, and a library of resources.
Once someone purchases your membership, you could then offer them exclusive one-on-one coaching sessions. A participant can pick the topic they want you to focus on and ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a live webinar in a virtual room filled with other members. Many people will pay top dollar to get this individualized attention.
Or it can be much simpler than that. If you’re an online personal trainer, you could offer a free downloadable upper-body workout. When someone requests it, they receive an automated email with the download — plus an upsell to a comprehensive 12-week program that guarantees them results.
Here’s an example from the company FabFitFun. The email tries to upsell quarterly subscribers on an upgraded membership for the chance to customize their subscription boxes early and get more products.
4. Cross-sell related products
Every purchase a customer makes gives you insight into their likes and interests. You can use this info to entice them with other products they may also enjoy.
In fact, you probably have an email in your inbox right now that reads, “Because you bought this, you might be interested in this.” That’s because online shoppers who get targeted, personalized messages are more likely to purchase from you again.
Here’s an example of a great cross-sell: A nutrition coach becomes certified through an online course. Once they complete the course, they’re automatically sent an email that cross-sells to other courses — this time about yoga certifications or strength and conditioning certifications.
I recommend sending an automated email with additional recommendations approximately one to three weeks after a customer’s initial purchase. It’s super easy to set up targeted, automated email sequences like these in AWeber. Create your FREE account today.
5. Get repeat purchases
Along the same lines as cross-selling, you may have a product or service that calls for repeat purchases. Sometimes a friendly reminder email is an effective way to keep bringing in a steady stream of sales.
This method to make money with email marketing works extremely well for businesses that rely on recurring, seasonal, or perishable goods. For instance, a window cleaning service may email a client at the end of every season to remind them to schedule their next appointment.
Offering a discount or coupon can also go a long way. Offering a person a discount off their next cleaning may give them the boost they need to book another session.
Or, simply remind your customers that they may want to book their next appointment, and give them the option to set up reminders if they’re not ready to purchase with you.
6. Have a cart abandonment plan
We’re all a bit forgetful, so it’s no surprise that buyers often get distracted or step away from a purchase because they weren’t ready to buy at that moment. But if you’re using an e-commerce platform like WooCommerce, you know what they left behind.
Automatically send highly relevant emails encouraging them to buy the product or service they were considering. Customers who received multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one followup email, according to Experian.
Try sending the first message one day after, a second message 48 hours after, and possibly a third message within three or four days of abandonment.
Keep cart abandonment emails short. It doesn’t hurt if you inject some humor or personality to catch the reader’s eye. Check out this example from the clothing company Chubbies.
And this example from the Dollar Shave Club that quickly reminds the person of all the benefits they’re missing out on by not joining.
You can even offer relevant information to help address questions or concerns they may have, or highlight your great customer service team. Many companies will throw in a discount to tempt you even further or create urgency with a limited-time offer.
7. Ask people to spread the word
The last tactic I’ll write about is also one of the oldest marketing strategies: word of mouth!
According to a Nielsen report, 84 percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about goods and services. That makes personal recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness when it comes to making a purchase.
So if you have an engaged, loyal customer base, send emails encouraging them to recommend your products and services to their friends and acquaintances. You can also go a bit further by asking them to give you positive online reviews and to “like” and share your social feeds.
Think about implementing referral links to incentivize your subscribers to spread awareness about your brand, too. Referral links allow your current customers to promote trackable links for your business. In exchange for sending new paying customers your way, you can give them incentives like discounts, coupons, vouchers, cash, prizes or redeemable points.
Check out how the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race encourages runners to refer their friends to the race below.
8. Automate your email campaigns
With a partner like AWeber, you can set up automated email campaigns to make money with email marketing easily.
Automated email campaigns — often called autoresponders — are a series of emails that are automatically sent to your new subscribers after they subscribe, saving you time and effort so you can keep your focus on your passion.
The first email in your autoresponder series is your welcome email, which should set the tone for the types of emails your subscribers can expect from you. It’s also a great time to make a sale since welcome emails often see higher engagement rates than other types of emails.
Then, expand upon your welcome email with a welcome series to provide ongoing value to your readers. For example, if you’re a podcaster, your welcome series could share top blog posts, more about you and your business, a survey of your subscribers to learn more about them and their interests, and more.
Check out how Marie Forleo welcomes people to her newsletter.
Bonus tip: make more sales by incorporating web push notifications into your marketing strategy.
Web push notifications are a great tool to share time sensitive information with your audience. Running a limited-time sale that you want to promote? Send out a web push notification to your subscribers to let them know and drive them to your website.
Plus, you can let your email subscribers know they’ll receive even more awesome content when they sign up to get your web push notifications.
Learn more about how sending web push notifications can help you make more sales.
Want to use web push notifications as part of your marketing strategy? Well, good news: Web push notifications are coming to AWeber soon.
How to close the sale with email
While all of these tactics are excellent ways to make money with email marketing, they’ll most likely fall flat without some killer email copy or content to win over your potential buyers. Check out our FREE What to Write course and you’ll learn how to craft the perfect email for every layer of your funnel, and get 45+ email content templates to copy and paste.
Plus, save money on your email marketing by signing up for AWeber Free — our 100% free pricing option to make email marketing and landing page services available at no cost.