Ezines in 10 Minutes a Day – Part 4 – Making Money from Your Ezines

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 05, 2010 in: Business Marketing, Tips in 10, Tools & Resources

In previous Tips In Ten articles, I showed you how to decide on the type of ezine you want to distribute, how to select an autoresponder, and how to get it all working together to create an audience and communicate with them.

And now that you know the details, you’re probably wondering: “Heather, how the heck do I make money from it?” After all, you don’t want to simply create a money pit that takes time, cash, and effort and doesn’t return anything. You want to generate revenue!

So, in this issue of Tips In Ten, I’m going to show you exactly how you can make money from your ezines. Ready to cash in?

Here we go: In general, I’ve found that there are 4 ways to make money from ezine. I’ve hinted at some of these in previous issues.

The four ways are:

1.    Driving people back to your site in general (which I’ll call “brand selling”)
2.    Driving people to a product on your site (which I’ll call “product selling”)
3.    Driving people to a product that you earn a commission on (which I’ll call “affiliate selling”)
4.    Selling ad space in your newsletter (which I’ll call “advertising”)

Brand selling:

This is a positioning play, like many other marketing efforts that you do. It’s not necessarily specific to a single offering that you have. The purpose of this ezine is to show that you’re an expert at what you do and to build credibility so that people will look to you for a solution to their problem. The revenue you earn here is from increased billing in general in your business.

Example: Jim sells refurbished car parts for classic American muscle cars. His newsletter doesn’t address a specific thing – carburetors or mufflers or what have you – that would be far too specific. Instead, Jim builds credibility by offering tips for muscle car enthusiasts and backyard mechanics to fix their cars more effectively and affordably. And he links back to his website. The ezine is used to drive traffic to his site and to build his brand.

Product selling:

If you want to promote a specific product or service, within the array of products or services you offer, this is the ezine for you. You might choose to offer the same product or service in every newsletter, or you might offer a different one in every newsletter. It depends on who your audience is and what you want to accomplish. The revenue you earn here is from increased sales of a particular product or service.

Example: Maria, a local Realtor, helps people buy homes and sell homes (and might even make money from other services like appraisals or staging or ebooks) but she really wants to promote her listing services to people looking to sell. So her ezine is all about selling homes. She might bring in other topics from time to time but the link back to her site is specifically to the “Sell Your Home” section of her site and she is intentional about having her subscribers be primarily those who are thinking about selling.

Affiliate selling

In many ways, affiliate selling is a lot like the product or service selling mentioned above, except that you’re driving people to someone else’s site instead of your own! If you are looking to broaden your revenue stream a little or if you want to break into entrepreneuring slowly with a relatively easy effort, this might be the one to choose. Again, you can choose to offer the same affiliate promotion in each newsletter or you can offer different ones each time. The revenue you generate here is from flat-fee or percentage commissions on the product or service that was purchased.

Example: Howard is a relationship coach helping people to meet potential mates online. Although he offers coaching services for a price, he uses his newsletter to earn affiliate income through an online matchmaking service. In each issue, he offers tips and information about how the subscriber can improve their likelihood of meeting a potential romantic interest successfully, and at the end of the three brief tips he includes a link to an online dating site (for which he receives an income when they sign up). He still links back to his own site, when he signs his newsletter, but the primary purpose of his newsletter is to drive traffic to his affiliates.


Including advertising in your newsletter is one way to earn income from the electronic “real estate” you have. There is plenty of space in your newsletter, and you might not use it all, so it could be a good idea to add some advertising in. Since your newsletters are targeted to a specific audience, your advertising (which should also targeted to that audience) will be appropriate… and no different than Google’s AdWords appearing in a search result. The revenue you generate here is (usually) from click-throughs – money earned by the advertiser every time someone clicks the ad.

Example: Sandy runs an investment newsletter that focuses primarily on the Forex market. Her subscribers get 3 valuable articles in each issue, but she also includes a couple of advertisements between each article.

One more option

I’ve listed the four most common ways to generate revenue from your ezines, but there is one more way and that is a hybrid model in which you combine a couple of the choices from above. For example, you might send out a regular brand selling newsletter but, from time to time, also include an additional “special edition” newsletter that promotes your products (product selling) or for an affiliate (affiliate selling) or is just an advertisement (advertising). This is a popular method, although be careful that you’re not bombarding your subscribers with this kind of newsletter. Or, another example: You might send out a regular brand selling newsletter but have a “featured product” section in which you highlight one of your own products in each issue.

So, which one to choose?

There are a number of factors that will help you decide which to choose:

1.    Can you create and sustain quality content for the topic? Remember that brand selling is probably going to be easier to write on an ongoing basis than product selling (because the content potential might be broader). That might not be the case for everyone, but it could be for some of you.
2.    Will your readers grow bored of the content? If you keep sending content that is too broad or too specific, your subscribers might not engage with it.
3.    What happens if your subscribers actually buy from you because of your product selling ezine or your affiliate selling ezine? Will they continue to subscribe? (They might if your information is helpful enough).

Make it work!

So, after deciding on which is right for you, how can you ensure success and build a strong foundation to generate revenue? Here are some tips:

  • Create a compelling call to action. Only give part of your story and include a “read more” link back to your site. This will help you to generate more traffic to your site and can also help you to track what content interests your readers. (If they are all clicking on one article but not another, that’s a good signal.)
  • Be helpful. Don’t make the “sell” the purpose of the ezine. Something else has to be the purpose or your subscribers will unsubscribe in droves. Think of the sell as the accessory. You want to give the reader the silk dress and let them know where they can buy the earrings to match.
  • Track your subscriber’s clicks relentlessly. Test different types of selling methods (one paragraph plus a link-out or an entire article plus a link-out), different delivery dates, different delivery times, etc. Many good autoresponders give you the chance to do A/B split testing.

Heather Recommends:

I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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