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, sixty-six percent of online consumers made a purchase after receiving an email marketing message — which is more than social and direct mail, according to the Data & Marketing Association. 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 cashing in on the emails you’re sending out? Then follow these seven proven ways to monetize your email marketing.
How to monetize email marketing
1. Sell something!
Already have a product or service to sell? Awesome! 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 sell? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Training guides
- Online courses
- Private virtual coaching sessions
- Classes or workshops
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 to send traffic to their site and generate sales.
Here’s an example of a great affiliate connection: An online business coach offers planning and operations advice to her clients. To help them turn her advice into reality, she recommends affiliate tools — like website hosting services and landing page providers — to serve her clients’ marketing and sales needs.
Many companies have affiliate programs you can join.
One important note: Make sure you have a strong relationship with your subscribers and that you recommend products and services that clearly align with their interests. Otherwise, they may unsubscribe.
3. Upsell premium or exclusive products
In my opinion, one of the greatest opportunities for increasing revenue with email marketing is increasing your average transaction amount at the time of purchase a.k.a. upselling.
Say you’re a life coach. Your main product is an online monthly membership that includes access to a community of users, webinars and a database of resources.
A potential upsell: 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 Moo. The email tries to upsell customers on their new premium rounded corners feature.
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 messages based on previous shopping decisions may be more likely to purchase again.
Here’s an example of a great cross-sell: A digital marketer offers a paid online course called “Learn How to Become a Master at Facebook Advertising.” Once a person completes the course, they’re automatically sent an email that cross-sells another course — this time about Facebook video marketing.
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.
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 monetize 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.
Another tip: Throw in a coupon. Offering a person 15 percent off their next cleaning may give them the boost they need to book another session.
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.
Now, you can 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 love!
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.
How to close the sale with email
While all of these tactics are excellent ways to make money using email marketing, they’ll most likely fall flat without some killer email copy or content to win over your potential buyers. 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.
Now it’s your turn. How are you using email marketing to sell your products or services?