Making Money with Mailing Lists


It has been said that the #1 way to make money on the internet is with mailing lists.  By building a mailing list you can send messages directly to subscribers who have opted in to your regular emails or newsletter.  Rather than trying to convert random visitors to your website into paying customers, you can build a rapport with your subscriber list and provide them with offers and services over and over again.

Building a Mailing List

There are two parts to building a mailing list:  the methods used to convince people to subscribe and the technology used to physically subscribe people to your list.  There are a variety of different tools, many of them free, for creating your mailing lists.  I’ll recommend a few I’ve used before:

As far as convincing people to subscribe, there are a thousand different opinions on how to most effectively build a mailing list.  We’re not going to talk about marketing methods and consumer psychology here.  For more information and to participate in the discussions, check out these resources:

The main concept behind building a mailing list is the following:

  1. Convince visitors to your website to sign up for a regular email/newsletter
  2. Compile regular messages with new content to your subscriber list.
  3. Promote products/services in your message that make you money.

There are many different ways to make money with mailing lists.  Some of the most common methods include:

  • Selling solo ads
  • Promoting cost per action (CPA) offers
  • Providing links to affiliate products and services

Solo Ads

If you have a large sized mailing list, you can offer related businesses the opportunity to place an advertisement in one or more of your messages sent to the mailing list.  Let’s say you have a mailing list of 50,000 subscribers in the dog training niche.  A business that make organic dog treats may want to place an advertisement in your email, promoting their product(s).

According to MailChimp Email Marketing Benchmarks, the average open rate (number of people that actually open an email sent from a campaign) was approximately 22% at the time this article was published.  In the example above, that means that roughly 11,000 of the 50,000 subscribers would open the email and read some part of it.  The same MailChimp benchmarks show that approximately 3.4% of all subscribers who receive a message actually click an offer inside the email.  That translates to 1,712 clicks!  Compare this to the amount a business might spend on cost per click (CPC) advertising, such as Google Adwords: $0.20 per click * 1,712 clicks = $342.  By offering the business a discount, say $200, you can help businesses get their advertisements in front of highly targeted consumers.  Now imagine if you have 2-5 solo ads in each WEEKLY email blast!

CPA Offers

Making money with mailing lists - CPA offersAnother effective way to make money with a mailing list is to use cost per action (CPA) offers. You make money with CPA offers every time a person completes a specific action. For example, if you have a mailing list of subscribers in the automotive niche, you may extend a CPA offer that asks them to request a free car insurance quote.  Wen they fill out the form, you make money.  Several of the most popular CPA networks are:

Affiliate Products

Some companies offer affiliate programs to people who want ot promote their products or services.  A mailing list of subscribers in the tax advice niche may be interested in a discounted offer to purchase tax assistance software.  By providing your affiliate link in the email, you can earn a commission for any purchases made through your affiliate account.

The Money is in the List

The mantra of many email marketing professionals is, “The money is in the list.”  I think you can see the potential of having a large mailing list made of interested and engaged subscribers.  The opportunities to turn your followers into paying customers are endless.  Without going into complex email marketing strategies, there are some proven principles you should always follow with your email marketing business:

Build a human relationship with your subscribers.  After all, each person in your list is a human being.  They’re not robots waiting to purchase your products/services.  They need to trust you and feel confident in your recommendations.  If you don’t build a real relationship with your list, they won’t respond.

Provide high quality, useful information in your emails.  People can unsubscribe just as fast as they subscribed.  Keep them as long time subscribers by providing them with useful information.  Keep them looking forward to your next release.

The products and services you promote must be relevant.  If you have a list of people interested in dog training techniques and tips, don’t email them about tire discounts.  Keep your solo ads, CPA offers and affiliate products relevant to the subject.

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