How To Monetize A Newsletter In 5 Simple Steps

Email newsletters are a big deal, being the third most common form of content distribution after a company's website and social media. But, while the latter here are great for pulling in new people and upping interest in your business, they alone are unlikely to drive reader retention entirely like email is. 

Why is email such a successful marketing tool?

No matter what sort of size your business is, email allows you to reach impressive numbers with targeted, engaging content regularly. And, thanks to its incredible capacity for holding the attention of large audiences, email also seems to have far more staying power than many other forms of media do these days. 

Indeed, many marketers are finding new ways to make email work for them. As a result, Hubspot's research found that last year an incredible 80% of all marketers reported an increase in email engagement.

With email engagement on the rise, it seems that the logical thing to do would be to make the most of your email newsletter and the readers it brings in. And what better way to do that than by using it to boost revenue? Well, if you are looking to monetize your newsletter, we can help you do just that. 

Content is king

Before you get started, it's important to remember that if you want to monetize your newsletter, you have to be sure that the content is of a high enough quality that it will keep people clicking each time the email lands in their inbox. There's a reason email marketing metrics like open rates and click rates determine your content's success, more so than similar metrics you can look at for social media. It's because you know exactly who your content is going to with an email newsletter. 

So, suppose you're serious about making money with your newsletter. In that case, look to keep your open rate up by ensuring your content is always fresh and tailored to your audience. And, while the average open rate of 21.33% may not look like all that much, think of it this way: if your email newsletter has 5,000 subscribers, then with a 20% open rate you've managed to get an impressive 1,000 people's eyes on your content in one fell swoop. 

Now that we understand precisely how and why email newsletters have such impressive potential, it's time to look at the best ways for you to monetize them. 

1. Choose the right email marketing provider for you.

Once you're sure your newsletter content is strong enough, you can start looking for an email marketing provider. There are several different platforms for you to choose from, and they exist to help you streamline the process of creating and distributing your monetized newsletter. So it's advised that you do your research to find the platform that's right for you and your business. 

Not sure what to look for? Don't worry. When you boil it down, the main things you need to keep your eye on including good targeting and personalization features, options for integrating your adverts and sponsorships, and how easy a platform is to use. 

Here at Letterhead, for example, we've designed our platform to make setting up your newsletter as straightforward as possible. With the no-code design, automated advertising placement, and conditional formatting options all included in our sleek and simple-to-use service; we can help you enhance your newsletter's user experience and ultimately raise revenue. 

However, if you want to keep digging to ensure you end up on the right service for you, this handy guide from Campaign Monitor will help you figure out what to go for:

2. Introduce advertising into your newsletters.

One of the best ways to boost revenue with an email newsletter is to introduce advertising. To do that successfully, though, you should aim to include adverts relevant to your brand and its audience. There are two different types of advertising for you to consider. 

Display ads

The first is display ads, which refers to everything from basic banner ads to pop-up videos and interactive advertising. Now, it's essential to make sure you don't go overboard with display ads and to look for tools that can help you integrate them into your newsletter in ways that are tidy, attractive, and as unintrusive as possible. 

Remember that reader experience will always be critical to your success, no matter the platform. If you make your email newsletter too busy as a means of bringing in more revenue, you risk sacrificing the quality and, as a result, its subscribers. The right balance of advertising and content is key to success. 

Native ads 

If you don't think display ads are for you, then native advertising is an excellent way to go. Native ads are far more discreet and appear as additional blocks of content, usually in newsletters and online searches. They also have a higher click-through rate than display ads since they often look editorial and aren't too obviously branded. 

However, because they don't include a visual element, they don't drive brand awareness to the same extent as display ads, making them less attractive to prospective advertisers. 

3. Bring in affiliate links.

A similarly subtle way of generating revenue with your newsletter is by introducing affiliate links. These linked products are sold by businesses that will contain your brand's unique ID so that when one of your newsletter subscribers clicks on the link and buys the product, you get a commission from that retailer/ business. 

While affiliate links are pretty simple to incorporate into your newsletter, mainly if you often include things like product round-ups or recommendations, you have to be smart about how you use them. Be selective with which brands and products you choose to promote and ensure that they don't clash with your content. Remember that quality is more important than quantity, just as with your advertisements. You'll also want to make sure you're disclosing this form of revenue generation to your users; when in doubt, inform. 

4. Create premium content for your newsletter subscribers.

After ads, offering premium content to your readers is the next best way of monetizing your email newsletter, and there are a couple of ways that you can go about it. 

One is to offer a subscription package that includes a premium newsletter, which many newspapers do these days. This is a good option if you have other products you want to sell because a newsletter will help add value to those products. Of course, this would also mean managing a whole other newsletter, so it's probably not an ideal option for solopreneurs or small teams. 

So why not try putting individual sections of your email newsletter behind a paywall? With Letterhead, you can easily control which sections are for paying readers only, allowing you to keep all your content in one place while still making a profit from certain portions. Plus, there's the added benefit that your non-paying readers are likely to be enticed by the content that they can't access and hopefully be encouraged to become paying subscribers too. 

5. Get your readers to sponsor you.

Suppose you don't want to put any of your content behind a paywall. In that case, you might want to consider giving your readers the option to sponsor you, perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on how regularly you send out your newsletter. If you're unsure whether you'd generate much income with this method, remember that the newsletter you send out is in many ways a product because it gives your readers value. So, there's no reason why some wouldn't want to support it financially.

Just as Wikipedia keeps its content free for all but asks for donations, by giving your subscribers a choice to invest in your newsletter, you can keep it open while still attracting revenue from the more engaged and valuable readers. 

Why you should monetize your newsletter 

Monetize your newsletter, and you can take it from merely an audience-engagement marketing channel to a revenue-generating part of the business. With so many options out there for you to monetize in a way that suits you, your brand, and your audience, there's no need to sacrifice quality or layout to make money. Far from prioritizing straight-up money-making, your monetization strategy can complement your more comprehensive email marketing strategy, taking it to new heights by pulling in higher-value customers and introducing new content. 

With premium content, well-integrated advertising and affiliates, and an ongoing sponsorship program, all of which can be managed on Letterhead, you can make your already-successful email newsletter work that bit harder for you.