5 Ways to Make Money with Email Marketing

5 Ways to Make Money with Email Marketing

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how to make money with emailI‘ve been hearing a lot of discussions lately as to whether building an email list is still a valid way to create more business and increase income.

Sure everybody’s doing it these days.

Sure many people will subscribe just to get your freebie and will unsubscribe the first chance they get.

Sure some subscribers will be unhappy with you no matter how much value you send them.

BUT it’s my strong opinion that list building still works very well for building stronger relationships with your readers/subscribers, providing additional value to them, and yes, creating yet another income stream.

As a matter of fact, I consider my list my biggest business asset I currently have.

How to Build an Email List 101

I build and stay in touch with my list with the help of Aweber email autoresponder system.

It’s the very glue that holds my business together, allowing me to capture email addresses of my readers and staying in touch with them through email broadcasts at any time.

Why Aweber? Take a look at my full Aweber review.

It’s always a great idea to offer an incentive to your potential subscribers to join your list. In my case, I offer my free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series to those who join me.

However, if you provide exceptional content, chances are your readers will join your list just to receive your updates without any “bait”.

If you’d like to read more about my most valuable advice on how to build a responsive list, take a look at my how to build an email list resource section.

“Prelude” to Making Money with Email Marketing

Before you can make any money with your existing or future list, you need to understand this: your subscribers are most likely completely fed up with all the affiliate nonsense they get in their inboxes on a daily basis.

They don’t want to be sold to.

BUT they DO want to buy.

And they’ll be happy to buy from you, IF you show them that you are worthy of their attention.

If you are on my list, then you already know how I do it: I personally send out an email to every new subscriber on my list opening the door for them to introduce themselves.

Some respond, some don’t, but that’s not the point.

Every single subscriber on my list knows that I am a living and breathing person and I am accessible.

The size of your list is not nearly as important as your relationship with the people who entrusted you with their personal information.

Some bloggers do very well with a small list. Some niches might require a much bigger list before you start seeing any sizable benefits from it.

Either way, you won’t make a dime if you treat your list like a cash cow.

How to Make Money with Your List

Now that you A) started a list and B) provided them with value, it’s time to think about the ways you can make money with your newsletter.

Remember: one size doesn’t fit all.

Some or all of these strategies might work for your niche, but then again, some won’t.

The most important thing to remember when exploring ways to monetize your list is to make it RELEVANT to your audience.

You can’t sell a burger to a vegetarian!

Let’s get down to business and see what ideas we can come up with (feel free to add your input in the comment section):


Personally, I rarely email straight affiliate offers. I hate getting them, so I hate sending them.

The best way to introduce relevant affiliate products is to do reviews on your blog or mention how you use the products for your own business in a blog post and then send the link to the post to your list.


This is something I am yet to do, but if you are ahead of me and already have a great product to offer to your subscribers, then the best way to do it is by sending them valuable free content like reports, videos, etc, then introducing them to your product/training program.


Some companies will pay you to send your subscribers to their offers.

For instance, you could make as much as $1 for every person who ends up opting in to download a free report on their site.


For example, you can add a paragraph to one of your emails that advertizes a particular sponsor offer with a link to their website.

You can charge anything from $100 and up, depending on the size of your list.


When a new subscriber joins your list, they are sent to a thank you page that generally would ask them to check their email and confirm the subscription.

Aweber offers some great choices for pre-made thank you pages, including a pretty neat Smart Video Thank You page, as well as an audio page.

Both of those options are a great medium between a generic “Check your email” page and a custom page.

aweber thank you page

Of course, you can also set up a custom thank you page, which is where this email marketing money making opportunity comes in.

The do this in Aweber, go under “Web Forms” tab, then select any one of your sign-up form and go to basic settings.

You’ll see a drop-down menu (see the image above) that allows you to add the URL to a custom Thank You page, which can be any affiliate offer you’d like to promote.

Example of Successful List Building

If you are still on the fence about list building and think “This works only for the big guys” or “It won’t work for my niche“, take a look at this post where I talk about how exactly I use my very small list to develop my business:

Marketing Takeaway

Mind you that just because I mentioned the monetizing strategies above, doesn’t mean that I use or recommend all of them.

My personal take is this: I consider my list too precious of a commodity to waste over a few dollars.

So make your choices wisely.

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Start Your Own Email Marketing List for Only $1.00

If you haven’t started building your list yet, let me tell you – you are missing out big time.

My list is number one reason I make the money I make with this blog and have such a strong readership.

Aweber is the best email autoresponder I have even used. And I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses. This segmentation feature is just one tiny example of what you can do to improve your email marketing with Aweber.

Aweber offers a $1 trial month for all new customers. You’ll have access to all features a paid account is entitled to: unlimited lists, email campaigns, automatic follow-ups, broadcasts, and many, many more.

If after 30 days you don’t like them, just let them know and Aweber will give you your $1 back. Guaranteed.

$1 Aweber Offer


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74 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Ana.. this write up is just great. I recently got your site when I was searching for getting some first-hand information for my first ever email marketing campaign. And reading along your article, I felt like I have got the inspiration and all details.. I am all set for my campaign. Thanks for all your efforts for posting this article. :)

  2. Hi Ana,

    I used to think that if you build an email list, I can just send an affiliate offer and earn money from it. And that it would be just that easy. What I’ve come to understand is that it’s not easy, and that it’s more or less all about building relations and trust. And if you start sending affiliate offers, and that’s almost all you do, even if they’re really good offers, people won’t trust you and they’ll unsubscribe. They want to learn from you, and they want to get to know you and how you work. That’s mostly why I join lists.

    So, I’m thinking that we need to get more personal when we write emails to the people on our lists.

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are very right, Jens.

      That’s why I don’t do canned emails; every email I write to my list I write “live”.

  3. tram4hr

    Ana, I can’t agree more with” People dont want to be sold to, but they do want to buy”. You once again confirm this belief of mine. Awesome

  4. Jeevanjacobjohn

    Hey Ana,

    Thanks for the post. This is really a good reminder to me, especially since I am working on a new blog 😀

    I have seen your newsletter emails (and the various techniques that you have shared here). I am going to try to implement that on my new site.

    I really hope to build traffic, get subscribers and build good relationships with them.

    Thanks again!

    Jeevan Jacob John

  5. Ian Belanger

    Hey Ana,

    Something I have seen many marketers doing lately and something I plan on doing myself is, using the thank you page to explain to new subscribers how to whitelist an email address. Many people have no idea how to do this and I think it is very important to make sure that your emails don’t end up in their spam folder.

    What do you think Ana?

    I currently offer a PLR eBook package to my new subscribers and have had a little success with it, but not as much as I would like. I am thinking it is time to switch it up.

    Thanks for sharing with us Ana and have a great day!

    • Ana Hoffman

      I see a problem here, Ian, if you use double opt-in, which I think everyone should use.

      Reason: you need to tell them to confirm the subscription and if you give them more than one call to action (i.e. confirm AND whitelist), it might have a negative effect actually – make it sound too complicated.

      • Hey Ana,

        I agree that we should all use double opt-in. If someone really wants your emails, they will always confirm.

        To your point; I can see where it might have a negative affect by making it sound too complicated.

        How about this. Put the instructions on how to white-list in your second newsletter, maybe? What do you think about this?

        Thanks for responding Ana, I really value your opinion.

        • Ana Hoffman

          I think that’s a better option, Ian. I also think it’s not really necessary since Aweber deliverability rates are so high.

    • Just in case you decide to add whitelisting instructs here’s a free whitelist generator that I use to use before getting Aweber: http://www.emaildeliveryjedi.com/email-whitelist.php

      Nowadays after subscribing with Aweber I have found that once you enter a proposed subject line in a given message Aweber tells you the chances of it hitting the receivers spam box and if the number on the spam meter is too high all you have to do is change a few words or characters.

      This along with Awebers highly professional reputation and special relationships with the major email providers sort of eliminates the need to hand out whitelisting instructions..

      • Ana Hoffman

        Thanks, Caleb.

        It also helps greatly to have the message in both HTML and plain text formats.

        PS Is your site down? I am getting a 403 error.

        • Unfortunately YES! I am going through that same issue AGAIN that I told you about on your recent Twitter account post (which you said you been through as well).

          It is indeed frustrating to have to keep going through this: the first time they said install W3Tc, second time they said install Gregs HP SEO, now this time I am waiting on a response from their “higher level administration” but from what the tech said it sounds like they’re trying to push me towards getting a dedicated server or VPN or something?!

          The bad thing is this keeps happening while almost 200 visitors a day are trying to access my site and I don’t have a way to redirect them as Hostgator has blocked me from even the login!

          • I see you are back online now, Caleb…

            If I am still on a shared server, I don’t see why you need to move to anything bigger!

            Have you found any long-term resolution to this?

        • UPDATE: Hostgator brought MSB back up about an hour ago and here’s what they said:
          “It appears that your modifications were successful. I have removed all restrictions from your account and we will continue to monitor the situation.

          If there is anything else we can help you with, please let us know. ”

          Funny thing is I didn’t make ANY modifications because I was unable to log in so you tell me Ana, what is up with these companies ❓

  6. Hello Anna, please excuse my frequent commenting today! Just saw this email link from you and actually .
    Point in your case; I read because I listen to what you have to say and because you uphold a personal connection with your followers.

  7. Sye Rodriguez

    Hi Ana.
    I think I made the biggest mistake in the beginning. I provided valuable content and never sold anything.

    The mistake wasn’t in providing valuable content, but not knowing how to monetize at all.

    Now I have a very small list, but I rarely have anyone unsubscribe and the subscriber base is growing.

    One of my concerns is coming up with valuable content over time. I feel I’ve already given a lot of my best stuff away.

    Do you have an opt in form on every website you create? Are there kinds of websites you wouldn’t recommend having one on?

    Thanks again Ana.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think monetization is one of the biggest challenges for most bloggers, Sye.

      To be quite honest with you, I am still struggling with it right now; for a bit different reason though – I have trouble finding time to implement all my ideas. LOL

      Actually, TGC is my only site. It takes too much effort to run, so I can’t dedicate much effort to anything else.

  8. Coming from a Affiliate Marketers point of view. And not a Bloggers. I always regarded building my list as my number one priority. Right from the get go.

    Email marketing has years to run before it runs out of style. Video marketing might overtake it in the future. But for now. Email is where its at.

  9. I agree that e-mail marketing definitely still works. A lot of my friends always tell me the same and try to push me into it too. I have been considering it for a long time now but I want to get my present undertakings consolidated properly first as I’m terrible at doing more than one difficult thing at once.


  10. Aweber themselves just recently released a free ebook providing the most recent stats on how well companies are doing using email marketing along with an email series on how they recommend email marketing should be done…

    I also recall a famous test John Chow did a few months back to see what was better email marketing or social marketing. Now of course he has a huge list along with a huge Twitter following so the test was to send a recommend for a specific offer that he hadn’t marketed anywhere else and with all the Twitter hype you would figure that would be the winner, yet still sending a recommend to his email list came out on top making the most sales.

    BUT one thing’s for sure, you have to test what will work best for YOUR list and if some unsubscribe during that testing phase.. well learn from it and keep moving forward 😉

  11. Hey Ana! Great article and I absolutely LOVE list building. I build new subscribers daily and the bigger my list gets the more money I make. I don’t seem to understand why some people don’t think they should be building their list or know they should be doing it and are not.

    That is the most powerful asset in my business today. Along with my niche websites which I also LOVE! lol

    that’s what it’s all about though doing what you love.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think it’s because starting a list can be a bit discouraging in the beginning, Joshua.

      You set up a list and think that subscribers just start pouring in and when they don’t, people get quickly disappointed.

      Also, there’s a question of what to email to your list…

      Many excuses in other words.

  12. Awesome tips to utilize email marketing for money making !! I liked the simile you used for relevancy … “You can’t sell a burger to a Vegetarian”

  13. Great post, Ana. I love building a relationship with my subscribers. It is so good to get to know them over time. They are PEOPLE first and foremost. My juicing friends quickly learn that they always get something of value in my e-mails. I also almost never send them to straight affiliate offers. It is a question of building trust with information aimed at meeting their particular needs.

  14. sharon akinoluwa

    Hi Ana, Wonderful tips here on email list marketing. Your communication and explanation explicit. I love this powerful statement you made “you won’t make a dime if you treat your list like a cash cow.” It’s loaded! I will surely give Aweber a go.

  15. Dr. Bob Clarke

    I’ve “gone back to the drawing board” when it comes to my list, Ana. I am ashamed to admit that I did it the WRONG way in the beginning… as you say, treating my list as a cash cow”.

    But I am now going back and doing it right. Offering value first and foremost to build a better relationship. I don’t know if I can resurrect a relationship with those on my list from the start (if they even bothering opening my emails), but I can try.

    I’ve gone through my list and weeded out those that haven’t opened up emails in 6 months, so hopefully I am starting relatively fresh with many.
    Thanks for this blueprint.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I don’t blame you, Bob – that’s how the “gurus” teach us to do it and we don’t know any better until we learn from experience.

      Well, now that we do know better, there’s no excuse!

      By the way, did you figure out the custom Aweber template?

      I think I am going to do a video on it.

  16. Excellent post as always Ana. Damn your accent is so well covered up by your writing (just watched a video of you). Anyway, very interesting stuff…

    I originally started spamming the crap out of my email lists. As soon as I got people on, I pitched them 4 different products over the span of a week. Back then a few years ago it worked ok – I made some money.

    Now I deliver value for WEEKS before I send out a single promotion. It seems people remain active for months as long as you don’t pitch them in the first week or two.

    – Jamie

    • Ana Hoffman

      LOL, Jamie – most people don’t know English is not my first language until they talk to me…

      You are right: what worked a year or two ago (sometimes even a month or two ago), won’t necessarily work today. Those who understand that are the ones to watch out for.

  17. Hi Ana,
    I also don’t like to email out straght affiliate offers. I generally update my list with new and upcoming posts. If I want to promote something, I’ll write an in depth post first, and then send out an update to tell my list about the post.

    However, I did hear of a great way that one marketer promotes his list that works for him to get conversions. He tells them up front on the sign up form that he only sends out deals and promotions on that list. His sign up form explains that this is for emails that he sends out to tell them about promotions and deals only and to sign up if they want to get news about new products and promotions.

    That way everyone who signs up on that list is ready to buy something just by virtue of signing up on the list. I think if it’s done that way there’s no reason not to send straight affiliate promotions to that list, since they already know that’s the purpose. I thought it was an interesting strategy.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very interesting concept, Richard.

      Straightforward and honest.

      I don’t do just promos to my list, but I do tell my list (or those who read my emails, I should say) that I DO promote products every once in a while.

      Somehow marketers came to expect a whole lot of free stuff these days and no selling whatsoever…

  18. Hi Ana,

    anopther great post which serves to remind me once more this is something I really need to get done. I’m going to start with Mailchimp but may end up moving to Aweber. At the moment I do have a ‘list’ of email subscribers who get emails via feedburner but I don’t feel this really counts as an ’email list’ though I agree and to me they are the most important asset I have as they are the people who are telling me they want to consume my content on a regular basis 😉 (clever people)

    p.s. being a bit of an expert in all things commentluv – any idea why commentliuv sometimes doesn’t work – it says this: XML error: junk after document element at line 29, column 1 (I don’t think it’s your site as such but perhaps the plugin – I’ve seen it elsewhere too),

    take care Ana & happy holidays,

    • Ana Hoffman

      Sounds like you have a list of RSS subscribers, Alan, and if so, you are right, it’s not a real list. LOL

      As far as CL question is concerned, I have no idea! Not tech-savvy enough…

  19. Mike Sherratt

    Hey Ana, I love your tips on list building these are so spot on that if people reading this aren’t already doing this with their own list they should be creating one asap and getting to work providing value thank you for sharing I have put this in the Free Internet Marketing Tribe please be my guest and start using if you wish have a awesome day Ana :)


  20. Hi Ana

    I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of “building the relationship” with your list – a vital lesson I’ve learned. They’re not just names and email addresses; each and every one is an individual person, with their own circumstance. Seeing it that way hits home the responsibility we take into our hands when sharing information and guidance.

    Commitment and consistency of communication is so important. It’s so easy to neglect your list, or alternatively overdo the affiliate promos. Getting the balance right is key.

    It is oh so worthwhile when a subscriber takes the time to email feedback, because as we know, that requires a level of motivation. I just read a very heartening email from a subscriber who emailed to say how much the information I share in my emails and at my Blog has been making a very positive impact on him in helping him raise his awareness and understanding, and strengthening his commitment to learn and practice more.

    Ana, your TGC Blog right here, and your emails are the perfect role model example of consistent, engaging, and quality “relationship building”.

  21. Informative post Ana!

    To be very honest, I still need to get down and create my email list! I have been giving it a lot of thought and get caught up between opting for Aweber or Mailchimp. I have read a lot of pros and cons about both, though know that Aweber works well for most.

    I love the tips you shared as well and am bookmarking this page to learn more, once I have my email listing sorted out, soon after I end switching my writing blog to WordPress :)

    It sure is wonderful to visit your blog and learn so many wonderful things here. :)

  22. I agree that e-mail lists are a great way to get some extra traffic and some sales as well. Most people need to see a product several times before they are convinced it is for them. If your first product isn’t for them then maybe the second is.

  23. Ana,

    I treat my email list like my children… I am so particular with the content that I send out to them. I also push content to them only once every three weeks. I have yet to try and sell anything, however when I first put my Free eBook to that list I got about 100 downloads in the same day.

    So obviously when I have the right product and feel it’s time there is revenue to be made.

    I feel like you can make a mistake with your Blog but you want to really be careful and limit the mistakes you make with your email list…

    Great stuff as always!

    Ryan H.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Once in three weeks? Wow, that’s really not that often, Ryan.

      I usually recommend at least once per week; twice per week even better.


      1. your subscribers might not remember who you are and will send your emails into spam because of it (happens all the time);

      2. when you do a promotion through your email list, even if it’s every once in a blue moon (which really won’t make you much money to begin with), you’ll have to send them several value emails first, which means that you can self-promote only twice a year or so.

      Do you see what I mean?

      • Thank you for the advice…

        I need to put some thought into this list that I have. I have consistently posted to the Newsletter (which is completely different from blog in content) about every 3 weeks for almost a year and my subscriber numbers and %’s have consistently gone up.

        However, am I leaving a lot of growth and money on the table by posting so infrequently? My impression is that a lot of people like the infrequent nature of the posts… If feels like a special occasion because I usually try to make the topic and content inspirational and motivating and basically as awesome as I can.

        Do I want to lose the VIP or Special Occasion feel of the Newsletter in exchange for monetizing the list?

        Tough questions…

        Thank you.

        • Ana Hoffman

          I understand your dilemma, Ryan.

          However, this is your BUSINESS. Are you making money off your list? Then what’s the point of having one?

          I think you should make a shift and see how it goes. If some of them leave, it’s OK. You need a list that you can achieve a balance of value and promotion.

  24. I tried email marketing before, building my list from those giveaway events, but I failed to segment my list properly and engage with my subscribers. I found my open rates just kept decreasing, even although I was increasing the size of the list (slowly). I did make some sales, but I felt I wasn’t as focused as I could have been and so cancelled my Aweber account. I’d definately do it again, but I’d make sure I thought it out a bit better next time.

  25. Never tried email marketing but im not putting it out of my consideration. 😀 I may try this time, seems like its we can get much if we are lucky enough 😀

    • Ana Hoffman

      One of the regrets I hear from many bloggers, Herbert, is that they didn’t start building their list soon enough.

  26. Aanchal

    Hi Ana,

    Nice points, If you’re really serious about your list building then first you need to create strong reputation so that people don’t hesitate to subscribe your list, once they do subscribe you then give them value…. don’t start spamming with many affiliate links. Remain human and treat them like human only then you can be successful with your list building efforts.

  27. I never “got into” email marketing like so many others have. That whole segment of the internet has always fascinated me but I’ve never tried it. Maybe I will, one of these days!

  28. Sounds about right, Ana. As long as your keep active and stay in touch with your list, you have a chance at getting some extra sales.


  29. List building is one of the bigger challenges of internet marketing, in my opinion. Not necessarily building the list, per say, but rather keeping your list healthy and engaged.

    There have been times when I have been too scared to email my list for fear of ticking them off and unsubscribing, or fear of someone hitting the spam button, and even fear of that wonderful comment some people leave when they unsubscribe. It’s sort of a mental game…..there are always people who will unsubscribe and even people who won’t like you or your products.

    Anyone have any cool strategies for not taking these things personally? You know, besides, “just don’t take it personally”…….

    • Ana Hoffman

      Grow thicker skin? LOL

      It still upsets me when someone sends me that kind of message. Doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does…

      I am learning to ignore them.

      And don’t be afraid to do what is right for your business, Susan; those who don’t belong to your list will find a reason to unsubscribe no matter how often you bend over backwards for them.

    • look at all feedback as data that you can use to improve what you are doing. sometimes, we don’t want to hear it, but it might be something to think over, and see if it is something that you should improve in your business.

      its hard to say it without saying don’t take it as a personal attack, because that is the first critical step to dealing with negative feedback. until you get that down, you will continue to struggle with how you manage any kind of critical feedback that you get.

      one thing that I do is contemplate, could they be right? most people are so consumed by their own ego that they refuse to even try to do that. however, allowing the possibility of them being right gives you the chance to look at what is the real problem.

      you also need to learn how to set aside the personal side of what they say and look at what is the problem that they are having. learning how to deal with negative comments from customers is part of being successful in any business.

  30. Ana,

    Some wonderful tips here on email list marketing. I am convinced that it is still a VERY viable method of marketing since I STILL make most of my money through email lists I have been building since 2006 (in another niche).

    Like you mentioned…it is important that your list is not just simply a heap of ads and affiliate offers. I think the people are getting sick of that old crap. But if you strive to talk about your own product, provide quality and have a lot more than just an unending stream of affiliate offers new e-mail list is still a great way to marke

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are exactly right, Steve.

      Email marketing still works, we just need a different approach to communicating with our list.

      Hype doesn’t work. Relationships do.

  31. Hi Ana,

    Thanks for this. There’s so much contradictory information out there and your blog always manages to cut through the BS. You always confirm my intuition. :) My list isn’t huge (yet…), but the people on there are amazing. I just switched to AWeber so that I can be more responsive and also cull the list of people who aren’t opening my mails. I don’t care what size the list is as much as that everyone on there actually wants to hear from me. Thanks for all your great tips.


    • Ana Hoffman

      My list is small too, Melody – by internet marketing standards; yet they are responsive and most of them open my emails.

      Quality over quantity always pays.