5 Ways to Monetize a Newsletter

Newsletter Monetization

Monetizing a newsletter can be tricky. There are many different factors to consider when choosing how to monetize your newsletter, and there are many overlapping pros and cons of each monetization method. So, to help you choose the best path forward for monetizing your newsletter, we have put together the following guide.

There are two essential elements to monetizing a newsletter


You need subscribers


You need a monetization method

Whether or not you already know how you want to monetize your newsletter, if you don't know how to grow your subscriber base, then this article might help you out.

If you are not sure which monetization method you should choose, then continue reading. We have put together a comparison of the 5 main methods for monetizing a newsletter which should help you to decide which is best for your newsletter and audience.

Don't forget that content is always the most important factor. For any monetization, you must have subscribers who actually open and read your newsletter.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is probably the first monetization method that springs to mind. It is also relatively easy to setup, and to make money with most affiliates, all you need to do is sign up and insert a link into your newsletter to start the process.

Affiliate marketing tends to work best for newsletters that have a focus on products, and not on services, information, opinion, or other creative output. Newsletters focused on product news and reviews work well here (ex. books, tech, fashion, photography, etc...).

Make sure to be transparent with your subscribers about your affiliate marketing. Don't try to choose products to market based on which ones have the highest commissions, or products that are not immeadiatley relevant and interesting to your subscribers. They will recognize any disingenuous gestures and you will ultimately alienate you current subscribers, and kill any hope for future subscriber growth.

Amazon Associates affiliate marketing generally works great for any product focused newsletter niche, because you can give direct links and earn comissions on any products purcahsed even if it was not the specific product that you were marketing.

Display Ads

Display Ads in newsletters are, well, meh... Depending on your niche and audience, these can come off poorly if you use too many ads, or if you use ads that detract from the experience of reading your newsletter. If you are intereted in trying these out, BuySellAds and ampjar are a few good places to start out.

Product or Service Sales

Direct sales of products that help or enhance your subscribers lives is generally a minimally intrusive way to monteize a newsletter as long as you are offering something that your subscribers really need.

Some examples include creating eBooks or online video courses to help your subscribers learn something in your newsletter's niche, or to help them solve a problem that they have in their lives. Using a newsletter to plug your business or agency is generally ok with many subscribers as long as you put the high value content first in your newsletter, and then your product plug or shameless self promotion at the end.

Gumroad is probably the most well known site for creators to sell products.

Subscription Donations

This is a really easy alternative and is probably the least invasive way to monetize your newsletter. Two fast ways to do this are by adding either a Patreon or Buy me a coffee link logo at the bottom of your newsletter. The best feature of using subscription donations to monetize your newsletter is that you harness the power of monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

MRR is really nice because it offers a stable source of income each month that you can rely on.

Once you have a few months of MRR, and you have some data on subscriber growth and churn rates, you can easliy make income projections into the future to better understand your expected future revenue.

Newsletter subscriptions

While selling subscriptions to your newsletter can be one of the hardest monetization methods to pull off successfully, it can also be one of the best methods to choose in the long run, and has the same monthly recurring revenue benefits of subscription donations.

If you are just starting a newsletter, it's generally not a good idea to try this method alone. Instead, try offering a free / premium content mix to drive sales to your newsletter subscription. You may want to consider giving away your premium content from time to time, so that you can upsell non-paid subscribers by letting them see what type of premium content you are offering.

To monetize a newsletter with paid subscriptions, you really need an existing audience from either a free newsletter, or another social media outlet. Conversion rates are usually very small, so you can generally only count on one or two out of every 100 of your existing subsccribers or social media followers to convert to a paid newsletter subscription.

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Check out some of our other blog posts:

Growth Strategies Behind Today's Biggest Newsletters
Newsletter Interview with FontDiscovery
Newsletter Interview with Signals
Newsletter Interview with Brands Mean a Lot
Newsletters are the best Influencer Marketing Platform
How To Choose A Newsletter Niche
5 Ways to Monetize a Newsletter
Tips and Tricks to grow a Newsletter