Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Five Ways to Monetize a Mailing List

5 ways to monetize your mailing listSuccessful marketing plans require creativity. The most creative marketers, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople are almost always the most successful as creativity is what separates you from the pack. Email marketing may offer security and long-term income, but it is nothing without an effective and creative platform for monetizing it.

These five options take different approaches to monetizing email traffic and all offer the potential for outstanding results. No matter how your business operates, these five strategies can help you boost income and increase orders.

 1) Sell affiliate products.

A popular method in the online marketing world since the late 1990s, affiliate marketing brings the potential for profit more than any other strategy. In exchange for potential clients, affiliates are paid for every sale that is generated.

The business of email marketers puts them in a unique position to be wildly successful with online affiliate programs. With a trusting and value-added email marketing list, even a slight mention of an affiliate product can generate sales for the advertiser; sales that mean valuable commission income for yourself.

 2) Drive leads directly to clients.

There are countless businesses out there that, while lacking an official affiliate program, would happily pay you for incoming business leads. If your email marketing efforts are focused in specific markets, you could contact businesses in these markets directly and offer leads to them.

From real estate agents to simple product-based businesses, almost all local, national, and international businesses are interested in generating more sales, and with the valuable leads that you bring them, you could collect a substantial commission. Refine your business-to-business sales pitches, get on the phone, and get to work earning directly from local businesses.

 3) Market your own products and services.

It is one thing to take a commission from another business, but it’s an entirely different game when you’re making 100% of the profits from your own product sales. With a minor time commitment, you could have your own eBook to sell, your own utility to market, or your own coaching program to advertise for. Rather than taking just a portion of the returns from someone else's product sales, apply your creativity to your own business and create a way to market to your email subscribers directly.

4) Ask for client or customer referrals.

The success of referral-based businesses is evident all over the internet. Zappos, a leading online shoe store, generates business almost entirely through word of mouth marketing efforts and customer referrals. By offer focusing primarily on their incredible customer service, their email subscribers spread the word to their friends which expands Zappos' marketing power and their audience size.

It’s simple, ask your email list for client or customer referrals. If you market to people who are seen as authorities in your target market, you could very well end up with an endless stream of referral sales and contracts.

5) Send subscribers to Adsense-powered websites.

Although sending subscribers to an Adsense-powered website is unlikely to earn you more than a few dollars per email, it can be a good way to test websites before they are officially launched. With a few quick split-testing scripts, a small list of hundreds of prospective customers and visitors can be the perfect testing resource for a pre-launch website or commercial online property.

Conditioning Your Prospects and Customers

Conditioning your prospects and customers

When you’re looking to market to prospects and build relationships with existing customers, it’s important to stay in touch with them as often as possible. Get them on your email lists and segment them according to where they are in the buying cycle so that they can be targeted by your messages accordingly. Consistent communication can go a long way for conditioning customers to trust you and think of your business whenever they are in need of your services.

Tell Them What to Expect

Whenever anyone buys from you or signs up for your email list send them a thank you note with an explanation of what to expect from you in the future. How often will they hear from you? What will you contact them about? Make some promises and assurances to them.

Do What You Say You’ll Do

It’s very important that you do whatever you said you were going to do. For example, if you say you will send them a newsletter every Monday, send them a newsletter every single Monday and never on any other day. If you skip or switch the days they may get confused. A lot of people will actually forget they signed up for a list and when you don’t stay active they will report you for spamming them.

Remind Them of What You Said

Periodically, be sure to remind your prospects and customers about your previous promises and assurances. This will help them remember who you are and will build trust.

Let Them Know When You Follow Through

When you do something you said you would do, tell them. “I told you I would send you an update on my xyz product and as promised, here it is.” Again, this reinforces the point that you stick to your word and can be trusted.

Ask Them for Input and Opinions

Once in a while invite your prospects and customers to submit their ideas and input. If you have a new product idea, tell them about it. Ask them what they think. Ask them what they’d pay for such a product or service. Ask them if they would like to see something from you that you do not currently offer.
Tease Them about New Products – Never pass up an opportunity to give them some hints or small bits of information on a new product, service, or event. As you hint about it, make them really want it by explaining what’s in it for them.

Thank Them for Buying

When someone buys something from you (or answers any call to action), be sure to thank them. A ‘thank you’ is always a nice thing to do, plus it gives you a little bit of extra space to provide them with more information about you and your products and/or services.

Follow Up Regularly

Even after someone has purchased and you’ve thanked them, it’s not over. It costs a lot less to create a repeat buyer than it does to turn a lead into a new buyer. On top of that, repeat buyers are more likely to make larger purchases than first time customers. Cultivate your relationship with buyers even more consistently than you do leads and prospects.

Most people need to hear things multiple times before it sinks in so stay consistent with your messages. The more you stick to your word and the more value you can provide to your audience, the more they’ll look forward to whatever you offer them.