Make money from your mailing list (how & why it’s important)

“The money is in the list.” I am sure you have heard it before, and I believe it can be true. But it is not absolute truth. This article discusses 10 ways you can make money from your mailing list.

We will also look at how you need to approach your mailing list for it to be an essential part of your online business.

Hot to generate leads and revenue from your newsletter

Mailing list strategies for success

Before discussing ways to make money from your mailing list, let’s define some important principles to apply to your strategy:

  • Never spam: Never send mailings to non-members. Only send what you have permission to send. Double opt-in is a good thing. Use it.
  • Always stay relevant: Only write about and promote relevant products and services. Do not anger your members by just selling anything to make a buck. 
  • Create value: Always ensure you can answer the question: what is in it for them?
  • Write with your tone of voice: Each email should reflect your brand’s distinctive tone of voice, creating a personal touch that resonates with your audience as if you’re speaking directly to them—even if you collaborate with a professional copywriter to write your email series.
  • Engage actively: Encourage feedback and participation from your subscribers. Use surveys, polls, and direct questions to make them feel involved and valued. Offer a % off their next purchase or a discount voucher for participation. This not only enhances their experience but also provides you with valuable insights into their preferences.
  • Segment your list: Not all subscribers are interested in the same content. By segmenting your list, you can tailor your messages to fit different segments of your audience. This leads to higher engagement rates and more effective marketing.

    10 Ways to Make Money From Your Mailing List

    Let’s dive into 10 proven ways you can start monetising your mailing list today.

    1. Promote other companies’ products and service

    Affiliate marketing can be highly lucrative. You include information about a product or service in your mailing. Then, add a link to the merchant directly or back to your website, and make a commission on sales generated.

    But to be successful, you must remember to create value for mailing list members. One rule of thumb is to be informative five times before selling something.

    2. Find a sponsor to pay for your mailings

    I used to do this a lot in the travel industry. Suppliers like cruise companies and airlines did not like to give cash payouts. They much preferred to buy a mailing or newsletter where they could pitch their product, service, or even a new location. 

    Before accepting a sponsor, you should ensure they offer a complementary product or service that creates value for your members. For credibility reasons (and by law in some countries), you should clearly state in your mailing that it is a sponsored post.

    3. Create and sell your digital products

    Use your knowledge, experience, and expertise to create an online course or guide to promote on your website and in your mailings. 

    Creating online courses and programmes is very popular among internet professionals. And when done correctly, it can be very lucrative. Use your mailing list to create interest, and then use a series of emails to qualify and lead the prospect to purchase.

    As you have established trust, you must focus on solving problems and removing pain points for the members of your mailing list.

    4. Paid membership-based mailing lists

    Subscription-based mailing lists can be a great business model if you work in a field where information often changes. One effective model is to have a free and paid subscription membership list.

    The free list will serve a larger audience with free, valuable, and informative content. It can act as an effective recruitment tool for the paid list. The paid list is when visitors sign up and pay a membership fee to receive regular updates about your industry.

    An example could be a fitness instructor with expertise and authority in their field. But it could also be an expert in photography or SEO.

    You can charge a weekly, monthly, or yearly fee for your regular expert tips and advice. Membership retention and recurring billing are critical factors for success.

    A free introductory period is a very effective way to recruit new members. 

    5. Sell advertising space

    Selling advertising space within your mailings or newsletter generates revenue and leads to new potential partners.

    Offer smaller advertising packages where you can overdeliver. This is a great, low-maintenance way to attract new advertising partners. 

    Ideally, you charge a nominal fee as an introductory offer. The key is to overdeliver and exceed expectations. And, needless to say, stay relevant. Sell advertising space in your newsletter only to a company that offers a similar, complementary product or service.

    6. Sell on your “Thank you” page 

    When new members sign up to your mailing list, send them to your “Thank you” page.

    This is an ideal time to offer an introductory. Stay relevant, and do not sell too hard. You may be surprised by how well it works if you offer a deal with excellent value.

    7. Offer lead-in product to start a buyer-seller relationship

    All relationships are built on trust. Many who sign up to be on your mailing list will become only passive members of your audience. Why? Because you may never make an offer to convert them into a buyer.

    Try different techniques, such as a trial for a low nominal fee with clear and straightforward rules and cancellation terms.

    A great way to make money from your mailing list is to offer smaller lead-in products or services to establish a buyer-seller relationship. When the relationship is created, selling additional items will be much easier.

    8. Upsell from freebie

    You will often have to offer something for free to get new members to your mailing list.

    Choose something that is relevant to your audience and has value. For example, if you offer three free recipes with sign-up, you could offer ten more for just $3.

    Getting that first buyer-seller transaction under your belt will help as you move along. However, avoid asking readers to sign up for free offers that require them to enter a credit card number.

    9. Cross- & up-sell complementary products & services

    I used to cross-sell and up-sell with great success in the travel industry. 

    Most of my success came from offering complementary products and services throughout the shopping experience. I always stayed relevant and went to great lengths to match and offer appropriate products and services.

    For example, I offered priority boarding and seating. Priority boarding is an excellent offer for solo travellers who do not want to board last. Seating is a harder sell, as they will find a seat that works, especially if they pay for priority boarding.

    Seating is, on the other hand, an excellent offer for a family travelling with children. But they will never pay for pre-boarding; they will get it for free.

    You may not have this detailed information on your members, but you must think the same way. 

    Match your offers based on all the information you have. Should it be the member’s purchase history or another data point?

    10. Do not make your list for everyone

    Do not be fooled into thinking that mailing lists need thousands of members to be valuable.

    This is not true.

    Focus on building a segmented mailing list where you know your members’ needs, wants, and desires.

    This is more important than just large numbers of random members. Dare to have a defined audience and then solve their problems.

    Having a large number of mailing list members is excellent, but it is more important that they share common attributes, desires, and goals.

    Getting a second shot at success

    Are you trying to reach more members with each mailing? So you build a great newsletter with an amazing value proposition and send it. However, according to the reports, a whopping 60% of the members did not open your newsletter.

    Now, the 40% open rate is not alarming, but with a targeted list, you’ll want to do better.

    Try running a report for all the members who did not open the newsletter. Wait for at least five days, including a weekend. Now, resend the same newsletter but re-write the subject line or heading.

    This gives you a second chance with your members without agitating those who opened your initial mailing.

    More tips for success

    • Stay legal: Keep abreast of laws like GDPR. Privacy is not just a policy; it’s a promise.
    • Leverage technology: Use the latest automation to personalise and optimise your emails.
    • Go mobile: Ensure your emails look great on all devices. Most emails are now open on mobile.
    • Data is king: Use analytics to refine your strategies. Track what works and pivot where necessary.
    • Social synergy: Integrate your email and social strategy to amplify your reach.
    • Interactive emails: Boost engagement with interactive elements. Stand out in a crowded inbox.

    Why mailing lists matter

    Your mailing list remains in a world where traffic sources can vanish overnight. It’s yours. Nurture and respect it; it will serve you well beyond any social media fad or SEO trend.

    Not all lists are created equal, though. Success comes from management, respect, and a focus on delivering value. It’s about building a community, not just a list of emails.

    And that is why your mailing list is vital to the success of your website. Regular, thoughtful emails with valuable content that solves your customers’ problems are still the number one way to make money from your mailing list.

    Are all mailing lists automatically money-makers?

    I wish it were so, but unfortunately, there is an abundance of mismanaged mailing lists.

    For your mailing list to be valuable, it must be adequately managed. To succeed, you must respect and overdeliver the contract you have entered into with the members of your mailing list.

    You may think you have no contract. Well, you probably do. When you initially asked for the email address, you promised to offer value to entice visitors to join. 

    And now you need to over-deliver.

    Why do you want mailing list members to have expectations?

    You want your mailing list members to trust you. The easiest way to earn trust is to establish authority. You demonstrate authority by overdelivering on any implied or specific promises.

    The expectations you created help segment your list of members, and at the same time, you have a mechanism to build trust.

    Ready to transform your email content?

    Let’s make your email marketing memorable and profitable. We offer copywriting services dedicated to crafting impactful emails. If you need help, contact us to start making every email count.