One of the hardest hurdles bloggers face is monetizing their traffic and their email lists. How do you take your success and transform that into a viable business that is generating income? I have already illustrated why an email list is important, how to get subscribers and how to keep those subscribers…so how do we monetize this thing and start generating dollars out of all of this hard work? I find that keeping things simple works the best, so let’s break this down into two workable categories of monetizing emails.

In my world of newsletter emails, there are two distinct types to consider, and I monetize them both.

  1. Pre-setup follow-up emails that provide value to your subscriber base on a timed basis.
  2. Off the cuff promotional emails that are time sensitive and not pre-planned.

Monetizing Your Newsletter Email List

So…let’s break into each of these and see how things roll from my perspective. Now, this is my opinion and what works for me. You are going to see other opinions out there and you might even have something else that works for you. In my experience, this has worked the best for me in my quest to provide value and keep subscribers while making income.

#1 – Pre-Setup Follow-Up Emails

These are those emails that I mentioned in a previous post that will put your income on auto-pilot. In my Aweber account for all of my lists, I have a follow-up series setup that hits about every two weeks with some exclusive content that brings value to my readers. This can range from everything from blog tips to mountain biking tips to the latest reviews on my sites, but all of them are 90% content based and provide value outside of my blog. Basically…these emails keep up on the promises I made in the first follow-up email.

Now…just because these emails are 90% content based, that does not mean I do not monetize them. The remaining 10% of these emails typically contain tools or resources that can help my readers solve that issue on a deeper level through a product I have made or I am promoting as an affiliate. In 99% of these cases, these are tools and resources that I personally use, and I illustrate that in the email.

The main objective of these emails is providing quality content first…the sale second. This is not a “hard sale” by any stretch, but it is a high converting one as these products and services solve the issue illustrated in the email on a personal level for me…or…I created a product since there wasn’t one on the market that I felt solved the issue.

Remember when I said that the first follow-up email was not your “sale email”? This is why. You need to build a relationship with your reader based on trust before you are able to convert at higher numbers. The beautiful part about this section of the process is that you are providing value in the content and the sale. By promoting products and services you 100% trust, you are not being that sleazy used car salesman to your newsletter subscribers.

Hypothetical Short Example

Dear John,

(For the interest of space…imagine this is a three paragraph article on getting back into riding shape techniques which one of them is going to the gym.)

Getting back into shape for the peak riding season can be a difficult thing to do after a cold winter…here are the things I do to get ready…(list of things I do).

Now…I mentioned going to the gym above, but I actually take a little bit different approach than I used to in the past that drastically improved my riding. I am not one of those guys that knows exactly which muscle groups to work for the best results, so I picked up The Ultimate MTB Workout (<–use affiliate link) which lays out exactly what workouts to do and win to strengthen the muscles you use for riding. Not only did it get me into great shape, but it strengthened the muscles I use in technical riding situations and made me a better rider.

-198

This is a pretty simplistic example…but you get the point. Value first…sale second…on a product you 100% trust, use or made…

#2 – Off The Cuff Promotion Emails

We have all seen these emails. Some new product or service has hit the market and every affiliate and their mom is out to make a few bucks off the release. As a blogger, the more subscribers and attention you get…the more of these offers you are going to get flying through your email inbox. There are times (in all niches) when I will send out a broadcast email (different from a follow-up email in that it is sent out once, to everyone, at the same time) about the product or service I am promoting.

While most of these affiliate offers will provide form letter styled emails that convert pretty well, I find that I have a lot better results with a personal message about the product or service. In the email I include the following:

  • What the product or service is.
  • What it does that provides value to my reader.
  • Who I think is the prime customer for that product or service.
  • Where the reader can buy it.

I will also run these types of emails if there is a product or service that I use that the vendor is running a discount promotion on. I did this earlier this year on the MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate Plugin that I use and MBP was running a nice discount (my readers got it for a cheaper price than I did!).

One thing to be careful of…

Your readers will start to unsubscribe to your list if you blast out too many of these emails. While it might be tempting to promote every offer that comes across your desk, be selective in your promotions. If you are over promoting and readers are unsubscribing or hitting that SPAM button, you are not working with your cause…but against it. It is all about balance and value.

Final Thoughts On Monetizing Your Email List

Finding the right balance of emails is a tough one to figure out, but you will get it with time. In some niches, readers do not mind getting a couple of emails a week if they provide value. In other niches, more than 1 every two weeks can be considered spamming. Test your audience and gauge the feedback via un-subscriptions and click-through rates. There is no 100% right answer…only through testing will you really find which voice and which quantity works with your audience and that can change and adapt with time.

If you continually focus on providing value to your readers, you will have no issue monetizing your blog in a way that allows you to sleep at night and keeps your reputation high within your niche. Readers do not mind being sold to (most actually like it), but they hate spammers.

While it may seem like we are at the end of the road with this email list series, there is one more subject I need to hit up on which will go live tomorrow…the mindset of business owner vs. employee as it relates to email lists and monetizing blogs. If you are ready to get started, you should go ahead and get signed up with Aweber for $1 and get your blog started on that “next level” of blogging income.

Newsletter Series Recap

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