Wondering how to make money with newsletters? Is that even possible these days? While our inboxes clog on the daily with endless emails, it might feel futile to invest in newsletter marketing.

But let me paint you a picture: A hot coffee steams your glasses as you indulge in the New York Times book roundup or Sephora Insider’s latest deals.

You start dreaming of your very own newsletter: a value-packed series with all your brand’s news, insights, and offerings.

But there’s that one snag. Isn’t email obsolete? 

These days, new customer-communication methods pop up faster than weed stores in LA. 

Social media is the shiny, slick, totally legit weed bazaar in West Hollywood. Email is your unemployed drug dealer. Womp womp womp. 

The last thing you want is to annoy your customers and have your carefully curated content thrown into the dark abyss of the TRASH folder. 

But guess what: You can generate $36 from every dollar you spend on email marketing. Do I have your attention? Good.

Email is far from dead. 

So, how many email subscribers do you need to make money? How do you monetize a newsletter and make every email worthy of opening?

Keep reading to find out!

What Are Newsletters and Why Do You Need Them?

How do you lead customers to your latest blog post? Your new spring product line or latest environmental initiative?

Hello, newsletters. 

Newsletters are digital marketing tools that communicate updates, products, industry news, deals, highlights — basically anything you want to share with your audience. 

Newsletters give you space to…

💖 Appreciate your customers:

Image of Digital Nomad Girls “The Lab” Newsletter
Source – Digital Nomad Girls

🛍️Promote your latest products:

Image of Quickbooks’ quarterly newsletter (May 2022) that makes them money
Source – QuickBooks

🖊️ Share your latest blog posts:

Image of Clickup’s “WriteClick” newsletter
Source – ClickUp

…and so much more. 

That’s what’s so fantastic about newsletters; they’re so damn versatile. You can promote a campaign, announce a new CEO, share a personal story… the world’s your newsletter’s oyster. 

But what’s the main attraction?  

Why Are Newsletters Important? 

Three reasons. 

  1. They’re an easy way to stay on your audience’s radar. Why? You don’t have to attract readers with SEO or Google ads — your content lands directly in their inbox. 

Now that’s a valuable position, considering 99% of people check their emails daily. But what if you don’t have thousands of readers? How many subscribers do newsletters need to make money?

Some marketers say thousands; others swear 100 is enough. Our take? The key is quality, not quantity. If you speak directly to your readers, you can win them over. Audience personas to the front, please. 

  1. You connect with your audience on a personal level. You can greet them by name. You can even schedule specific newsletters based on their purchase history. 

And finally?

Drumroll, please. 

  1. Newsletters increase conversions AKA Cha-Ching!

How to Make Money with Newsletters

We all know quality content is the surest path to regular income — more web traffic, brand awareness, and industry cred translates to dollars. 🤑🤑 

But newsletters offer all that and then some. Wondering how to make money with newsletters? 

Try out these ideas.

1. Flaunt Your Latest Offerings to Power Sales

Did you just release a shiny new coaching course? A summer hairspray? A new batch of openings for your latest retreat?

Promote that sh*t in your newsletter.

You can tailor your product showcase any way you’d like. Maybe you’re a visual person — hello, graphics and icons (more on that later)! 

Create a cool poster to sum up your offering, and align it with your brand colors and values. 

Perfect example? This Sephora Insider email that’s downright sexy on the eyes.

Screenshot of Sephora Insider email to promote products and generate revenue
Source – Sephora

Maybe you’re a storyteller. Behind your new product is a compelling tale waiting to be heard. Tell your story with compelling prose or hard facts and data —whatever makes sense. The climax? A fantastic product or service you’re rolling out. 

Now, why would they want to buy your product? If they’re a subscriber to your newsletter, they’re already interested.

But not every subscriber will become a buyer after reading your newsletter. They might be serial window browsers. 

Yet you can still earn money from them, too. 

2. Add Affiliate Links to Your Newsletters

Want to learn how to start a newsletter business? It’s time to learn about the money-making world of affiliate marketing.

We know… you smell ads coming – the last thing you want to bother your customers with. Just keep an open mind for a few minutes. 

These particular ads are worth your time if you’re interested in learning how to make money with newsletters. 

Did you know that more than 80% of brands use affiliate marketing? It’s the latest technique in digital marketing and super profitable, even in a side hustle newsletter. 

The average affiliate marketer makes about $52,000 per year. Now, we can’t promise that salary. But you’ll reap the benefits if you can predict your readers’ interests and deliver high-quality content they love.

The key is to be genuine, though. Don’t spam your subscribers with things they don’t need or want. 

Don’t place an affiliate ad for a product that has nothing to do with your business. That’s a surefire VIP pass to the trash folder. 

They want authentic value, even if you’re making money from them. 

Promote other businesses or products that:

  • Your customers would already be interested in
  • You’d actually buy or use yourself

For example, let’s say you’re a course creator for hairstylist education and tips. Braids 101, Balayage Basics, and Bleach Blonde Essentials are some of your offerings. 

Audience? Hair stylists. 

Value? Tips, hacks, and products that improve their business. 

Why not include an affiliate link for a high-quality shampoo or conditioner that you already swear by? Tell your readers why you love that product and why you think they will, too. 

Confused about where to start? Kickstart your newsletter campaign with humanized copy and content. Prefer to outsource it to pros? We’ve got you covered. 

Now, should your newsletter have a price tag? For most, the answer is no. 

But some…

3. Create a Paid Newsletter that Gives Exclusive Access to Paying Subscribers

We live in a subscription-based world now, for better or worse.Just peep your bank statement. I’m sure you’ll find a few:

Netflix. 

HBO Max.

Hello Fresh.

Amazon Prime. 

But how many newsletters do you actually pay for? We’re guessing not too many, but you can see the appeal. 

Not only can your newsletter garner revenue from links and traffic – you even can charge customers for the newsletter itself. 

And in all honesty? Paid newsletters are for top-tier experts with built-in followings who crave their content. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be one of them.

Now think: why would someone pay to receive a monthly email? The best paid newsletters share exclusive content that customers can’t get anywhere else. We’re talking real value — stories from influential leaders, value-packed podcasts and ebooks, things your audience wouldn’t mind paying to see in their email inbox.

With paid newsletters, customers pay a subscription fee every month. So how can you make it worth their commitment?

Here’s how you can make a value-packed newsletter worthy of subscriptions:

  • Data: Thought leaders and niche audiences find value in the latest industry data, trends, and reports they can’t find elsewhere. 
  • Exclusive perks: You might have a free newsletter and offer a paid newsletter for VIPs. To do this, your readers must feel like they’re getting exclusive access to a club. Front-row access. Priority booking. Special discounts. Ultimate value. News and insights they can’t get anywhere else.
  • Original content: Make no mistake, every newsletter, paid or not, should have original content. But if you’re an influential creator with a solid reputation — your customers just might pay for that extra bit of originality. 

So, how do you score subscription coin from your newsletter? You might use Forbes Journalist Entrepreneurs if your main product is stories. Or, there’s Substack — a popular platform for entrepreneurs to get paid for their insights. 

Paid newsletters aren’t for everyone. Some of us like to subtly make money without charging our customers from the get-go. 

That’s why you should always…

4. Write High-Quality Content

Excellent copy is the bread and butter of your newsletter. You can have all the product promotions and ads you want, but none of it will matter if your copy is lackluster, long-winded, or downright boring. All that hard work, doomed to the junk folder. 

Content is an opportunity to promote your brand, deepen customer relationships, and establish your authority. This rings true for your website, articles, social media, Google ads, and yes, newsletters.

There’s a reason why content marketing is 3x more efficient than outbound marketing. And your newsletter can be a one-stop-shop for your content strategy essentials – thought leadership, sales, and awareness content. 

Now, what does high-quality content mean for your newsletter?

  • Engaging: One or two affiliate links are OK, but not at the expense of reader experience. Balance sales promotions with engaging copy. Your newsletter is a quick minute away from work, a short coffee break — make it enjoyable and scannable. 
  • Unique: This isn’t your reader’s first rodeo. Trust us; they’ve read a ton of newsletters — most of which end up in the trash. To maintain interest, always provide them with something unique. Personalized stories, new offerings, and branded tone will set your content apart from the rest.
  • Valuable: The number one priority for all content is value. What’s your reader getting out of this newsletter? New insights? Solutions? Laughter? Connection? Don’t fire off fluff. It’ll only backfire. Infuse actionable tips and insights into your content, and wrap it in a light, breezy, digestible tone.
  • Competitive: One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry is to subscribe to competitor newsletters. What are they talking about, announcing, and discussing? Use their newsletters to get inspiration for your own. Brainstorm ways to make yours even more valuable and connection-driven.
  • Credible and Relevant: Every content strategy needs thought leadership content to put you in a higher echelon from your competitors. One easy way is to keep your content up-to-date. Share the latest industry news; tell stories about recent trends; provide solutions to modern customer problems. Stay relevant.

Copy? Check. Affiliate links? Check. Product and service offerings? Check. 

Now it’s time to package all that juicy info into a visually gorgeous newsletter. 

You Think Im Beautiful Paul Rudd GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

5. Use Striking Layouts and Visuals

Can you entice a reader with a paragraph of copy? Absolutely. The pen is mightier than the sword, as they say. 

But the pen doesn’t just craft words — it draws pictures as well. That’s why your content needs thoughtful images, graphics, and visuals to paint the full story. 

Newsletters are an excellent spot for visuals. 

  • Sharing industry reports? Take the essentials and slap them onto an easy-to-reference infographic with branded colors. 
  • Promoting a new product? Showcase the new line with stunning branded images or user-generated content from your loyal customers. This is a great way to repurpose existing content from your social media posts, or create a new campaign chock-full of sexy visual media.
  • Commenting on an industry topic? Break up your commentary with engaging charts, videos, GIFs, and memes to spice up your content and make it easy on the eyes.

Ready to Make Money With Kickass Newsletter Content?

Newsletters should be a part of every entrepreneur’s content strategy. After all, the surest way to make money is through consistently high-quality content and striking visuals. You’ll improve web traffic, build credibility, and connect with your audience on a meaningful level. 

Bottom line? Content is a long game. Brace yourself for a commitment of around 6-12 months to start generating results. 

Why?

Because you can make money via:

  • Product promotions
  • Affiliate commissions
  • Subscription fees
  • Brand loyalty and awareness

Ready to build a kickass newsletter strategy that makes you money? Lyon Content is in your corner. 

Lyon Content writer Chrissy

By Chrissy Kapralos

10/14/2022

Chrissy is a contributing writer at Lyon Content based in Toronto. She loves writing and editing tech, marketing, and lifestyle content. But her favorite part of writing is helping businesses express themselves. When she isn't writing, she's traveling as much as possible and eating a lot of cheese.