Whether you’re a marketer, affiliate, or business owner, creating a profitable newsletter requires actionable insights to elevate its quality and turn it into a revenue-driving engine.
The GURU Conference 2023 provided a wealth of insights into mastering email newsletters during the captivating webinar “Email Newsletters: Strategies for Growing Your Audience & Monetizing Content” hosted by Phonexa CMO Talar Malakian and MailCon CEO Kristen Haines.
Email marketing stands out as a powerful channel due to its massive user base, high engagement rates, stability, and low operating costs. It offers control and direct relationships, avoiding the uncertainties of algorithm changes on social media platforms.
Let’s dive into the proven tactics and key takeaways that will empower you to create compelling newsletters, grow your audience, and monetize your content effectively.
Want to further explore the path to email newsletter monetization? Check out GURU and Phonexa’s co-presented e-book, “Monetizing Emails: Your Fast Track to Scaling Revenue Through Affiliate Marketing via Email.”
The Power of Email & Challenges in Newsletter Monetization
Malakian and Haines dived right into creating email newsletters that captivate subscribers and serve as a lucrative venture.
“Email surpasses social media and is continually expanding annually … it also trumps even the largest social network in terms of engagement,” said Haines. “Facebook’s organic reach is under 5% this year, and Twitter’s click-through rates are around less than 1%, whereas email, on the other hand, has open rates between 20% to 30% and typically is around the 3% range for click-through rates.”
Stability, low operating costs, control, and more opportunities make email a compelling channel. However, there are potential obstacles to newsletter monetization.
“There is always the issue of CAN-SPAM laws – the digital landscape as a whole is increasingly being regulated with stringent privacy laws,” said Haines. “With the surge in new newsletters and written content paywalls, subscription fatigue is also a concern.”
Haines also cited the difficulty associated with gated content going viral, as people are less likely to share content that leads to paywalls. Overcoming these challenges requires strategic planning. Malakian suggests focusing on engagement over sheer numbers and understanding the unique value your content brings to guide your monetization strategy.
“Engagement matters more than numbers,” said Malakian. “You have to look at the signals that tell you that the audience you have grown already, even if it’s a relatively small audience, is responding by opening and clicking through – all the KPIs typically looked at for email.”
Content Creation & Finding Your Niche for Newsletters
Building a successful newsletter starts with resonating content. Find your niche by addressing what’s missing, disrupting existing spaces, and offering unique insights. Authenticity and uniqueness will help your brand stand out in the crowded landscape.
“Focus on what’s missing in the world rather than what you think will be popular,” said Haines. “And when you’re determining your niche, anything that you’ve spent an above-average amount of time learning about can be translated into information valuable to the average person.”
Haines recommends answering the following questions when determining your niche:
- What space can I be an innovator in?
- Is it a new space, or can I disrupt an existing space by being just 1% better than the competition?
- What have you done that 95% of the population hasn’t done?
- What unique insight do you have that 99% of the population doesn’t have?
- What’s something you would’ve loved to see five years ago that you want now?
The answers to these questions will ultimately reveal what makes you unique, what makes your brand authentic, and what you are a subject matter expert in. Having this knowledge will uncover what makes your perspective so unique that it’s valuable to others, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.
Strategies for Growing an Engaged Newsletter Subscriber List
Malakian then pivoted the session toward discussing strategies for growing an engaged subscriber list.
“When you focus on building trust and creating an emotional connection within your niche, you’re essentially building the foundation for a successful email newsletter. These are your two most valuable components because they establish credibility,” said Haines. “It’s also the key to engagement, loyalty, and growth since people tend to share content from sources they trust and have an emotional connection to.”
Trust and emotional connection are the foundations of an engaged audience. Delivering consistent, high-quality content and prioritizing value is key. Leverage personalization, storytelling, and exclusivity to deepen the emotional bond. Implementing consistent publishing schedules and utilizing social media for outreach contribute to audience growth.
Proven Newsletter Monetization Tactics
There are diverse monetization paths, including sponsored content, subscriptions of varying pricing models, affiliate marketing, and community subscriptions.
Haines examined The Skimm’s success story to showcase the potential of combining these tactics for a multifaceted revenue approach.
“They disrupted an existing landscape by taking bite-sized, digestible news and content for female millennials and giving it to them in a daily email,” said Haines. “Their revenue model is simple – sponsored content, advertisements, affiliate links, and a paid subscription to Skimm Ahead. And their success story shows what you can do with valuable content and information that’s unique to you and how you can monetize it and translate it into a multimillion-dollar company.”
Malakian then examined the success story of Morning Brew to underscore the significance of engagement over size for newsletter monetization.
“[Morning Brew] started by making news digestible, and they took that same premise and applied it to other niches. They didn’t stay in their lane, but they took the format and duplicated it to create a media empire,” said Malakian. “Their monetization style is also a mix, and as you scale, the one thing to keep in mind is you don’t have to stick to a single monetization style. Things can be layered, tiered, and added to your media business because that’s essentially what you’re building.”
Layering monetization styles and exploring additional revenue streams as your newsletter scales are essential for long-term success. Events, product sales, and diverse partnerships contribute to creating a robust media business.
The GURU Conference 2023 webinar demonstrated that mastering email newsletters requires a strategic blend of content creation, audience engagement, and diversified monetization tactics.
By incorporating these key takeaways, you can transform your newsletter into a thriving platform that not only captivates your audience but also becomes a sustainable source of revenue.
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