You probably know personal relationships can be improved through quality communication, and your relationship with customers is no exception. When customers are in the loop, they’re likelier to feel connected to your brand.
Newsletters may seem old-school, but they’re effective. In fact, Greentech Media found their newsletter readers spent 80% more time on their site compared to non-readers.
In other words, newsletters allow you to engage subscribers—and not just in the inbox.
Engagement, however, is just one part of business, and most professionals can agree that revenue is actually the major component directly impacting company decisions. So, how can you use newsletters to engage customers, drive revenue, and ultimately increase profits?
Read on to learn how you can turn your monthly newsletter into a money-making email program.
How can you make a newsletter profitable?
- Build an engaged list through gated content
- Provide purchasable content
- Work with affiliates to produce revenue
- Advertise products in your newsletter
- Surprise and delight your readers
Build an engaged list through gated content
Before you can earn revenue from your newsletter, you’ll first need an engaged list. An engaged list doesn’t necessarily mean a massive number of subscribers, but you do want a fair amount of focused views on your emails. In order to attract subscribers, you’ll first need quality gated content.
What is gated content?
Unlike blog content that’s available to read in its entirety, gated content first requires readers to enter their email addresses. By subscribing to your email list, visitors can then access the gated piece, which is typically high-value, long-form content, like an ebook or a guide with original research.
Don’t know what to gate? Try picking high-performing pieces from your blog, or create content that specifically benefits your customers, then advertise it on your site.
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Here’s an example of gated content from Blogilates that provides beneficial content to those who sign up for the Blogilates newsletter.
Once you have gated content in place and a user-friendly form, it’s time to boost that content. Use social media and high-performing pages to drive signups.
Provide purchasable content
Once you have a list of engaged followers, offer purchasable content, such as classes and ebooks.
Let’s start with classes. Classes will require more resources from your team, such as time and creative elements. Because of this, the courses you offer may warrant a higher price tag.
A costly class may feel daunting—both for you and for subscribers hesitant to invest. If this is the case, start small and first offer a free, short course to your subscribers. Segment your list by everyone who partakes in the free course, then advertise your other purchasable classes.
Now, let’s consider ebooks. While ebooks do make for great gated content, they’re also profitable, and they may require fewer resources than a class. This means they’re perfect to sell within your newsletters. Plus, because your newsletters are being read, it’s easy to include an excerpt from your ebook, followed by a CTA to purchase the material—see how MailCharts does it with their Email Marketing Fundamentals e-book.
No matter what content you choose to sell, include an aesthetically pleasing CTA. Rather than a hyperlink, which can easily be missed, use a colorful button with interesting copy. This not only looks great, but it can also increase your click-through rates by up to 28%.
Work with affiliates to produce revenue
There are a number of ways to work with affiliates. For those in e-commerce and retail, you might opt to sponsor another company’s newsletter.
For instance, let’s say your company sells custom wallpaper. An affiliate might create a newsletter about home renovation, sponsored by your company.
This way, the content is more personalized than an ad, and people are learning how they can incorporate your product into their lives. Both companies can earn revenue through this type of sponsorship, despite the initial financial investment on your end.
On the other hand, you could put sponsored content in your own newsletter. This is often done by content-based professionals, such as bloggers and writers. Unlike sponsoring someone else’s newsletter, this wouldn’t require a financial investment from you. Overall, it just depends on what’s best for your business currently.
Whatever you decide, contact brands with customers complementary to your own, and start discussing affiliate partnerships.
Advertise products in your newsletter
In the same way you might advertise products in an affiliate’s newsletter, you can also advertise your products in your own newsletter—for free.
Product updates make perfect content for your monthly emails. Be sure to include a CTA so customers can click through to purchase new items and restocked favorites.
Alternatively, you might advertise other company’s products. Not only does this provide your subscribers with more personalized ad experiences, but this also serves as an additional revenue stream for your business. This option is especially viable for small businesses looking to grow.
Surprise and delight your readers
You can follow these steps to make a profit, but it won’t matter if your newsletters don’t benefit subscribers. Ultimately, your readers want to be surprised and delighted by your messaging.
How can you do that? First, work with your content team to provide value.
Providing value is easy if you’re listening to your customers. Pay close attention to the questions consumers ask on social media and in support conversations. Create well-written newsletters that answer these questions thoughtfully, and hook your readers by using the curiosity gap: the gap between what they know and what they want to know.
Another way to add value? Lay off the promotions. Instead, provide tutorials, information on using your products, and interviews with industry leaders. Let subscribers reply to your emails, then write them back. This is value provided at no cost to your subscribers—what Gary Vaynerchuk calls throwing jabs.
By providing these “jabs,” you’re conditioning your subscribers to trust you and your brand. After you provide consistent value at no cost, you might just find yourself getting consistent sales, increased traffic, a major deal, or whatever success means to you—what Vaynerchuk refers to as the “right hook.” You won’t land a right hook every time, which is why the jabs are so important.
Want to learn a bit more? Check out this post on FYI emails.
There are numerous ways your newsletters can be profitable (even if they do seem a little old-school). But quality newsletters get reads, engagement, and they can even drive revenue, which actually makes them more relevant than ever.
So, work on your content across all channels. Your newsletters, blog, gated content, purchasable content, and social media are all resources that influence list growth and subscriber interest.
We know that’s a lot of content, and if it feels like an investment, that’s because it is. You’re investing in a long lasting relationship with your subscribers—people who will continue to come back to your company again and again.
And best of all? The ROI is well worth the work.
Editorial photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash