Time and time again, you’ve heard that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your brand, build an audience, and even generate revenue.
You’ve even read that all you need to do is to create a newsletter, build an email list, and monetize it.
Sure, it sounds easy on the surface, but what nobody seems so quick to tell you is precisely how you go about doing that.
If that’s the situation you’re in right now, this guide is for you.
Over the years, I’ve used email marketing as part of an effective strategy for building a multi-million dollar content website portfolio, and today, I’m going to show exactly how I did it.
Below, I’ll share with you a simple step-by-step process that you can use to start using email as a valuable tool for boosting traffic, sales, and revenue.
Why Use Email Marketing?
Before we get started, let’s answer a fairly obvious but important question:
Why bother using email marketing at all when there are so many other ways to promote your business and your website, such as social media or making effective use of Search Engine Optimization?
The answer is simple:
Because it works.
According to Statista, the global e-mail marketing market was worth $7.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to rise to $17.9 billion by 2027, proof, if ever it were needed, that brands and marketers see real value in the power of email.
Meanwhile, the Content Marketing Institute reports that almost 90% of content marketers say email is among their highest-performing free organic distribution channels.
Perhaps most importantly, a report by MailMunch reported that email produces significantly higher conversion rates for brands than social media.
In other words, while the use of social media, PPC advertising, and other options remain effective ways to successfully promote your blog, you’re really missing a trick if you don’t get in on the email marketing game.
How to Get Started With Email Marketing and Make Money in 2023
If that’s enough to convince you to start using email as a way to market your brand and make money, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
1. Set a Goal
Remember when you first started your blog and you created a blog content strategy with a clearly defined goal that helped to set the course of action for building your blog? If you’re going to be successful with email marketing, you’re going to need to do the same thing here.
Sure, you could simply add a newsletter sign-up box on your blog, start blasting out emails left and right, and hope for the best, but that’s akin to jumping in your car and driving around randomly, hoping you’ll eventually get to your destination without ever actually determining where that destination is.
When you set a well-thought-out goal, however, it’s the same as defining your destination right from the start and tapping it into your car’s GPS. That way, not only will you be able to come up with a clear plan of how to get where you want to go, but you’ll also know when you’ve arrived.
What Should Your Email Marketing Goal Be?
Given the title of this guide, I’m going to assume that your main goal with email marketing is to make money.
Still, there’s more than one way to do that, so what’s going to be the best way for you?
Ultimately, this will depend on what you’ve chosen as the best way to monetize your website.
If you’re making money by using Google Adsense to display ads in your content, then your goal is most likely going to be focused on driving as much traffic to your content as possible so that more people see -and ultimately click on- your ads.
If you’re aiming to make money through selling your own products or you’ve signed up to a top affiliate marketing program to sell their products, then your goal is naturally going to be increasing sales, meaning you’ll focus your emails on making those products sound as enticing as possible.
Or maybe you’re planning to make your email newsletter the product itself and charge people a subscription fee for access to your content.
Of course, it could be something else entirely, but whatever the case may be for you, having a goal will help you to determine the kind of messages you’re going to send once you’ve begun to build your email list.
Speaking of which…
2. Sign Up With An Email Marketing Service
The easiest and most efficient way to build, grow, and manage a successful email marketing campaign is to use a third-party service that helps you to capture email addresses, create your emails, and distribute them.
A quick look online will reveal tons of services that do this, though if you want my recommendations, I recently put together this guide to the top five email marketing software, services, and platforms currently on the web.
If you don’t have time for that right now, I’ll tell you that my top recommendation is ConvertKit, as it’s incredibly easy to use, comes packed with invaluable features, and offers a free plan which is more than sufficient for newcomers with less than 1,000 subscribers.
It’s ConvertKIt that I’ll be using for the rest of this tutorial, though most of the steps will be similar regardless of which service you use.
How to Sign Up to ConvertKit
A. From the homepage, click ‘Get Started for Free.’
B. Create an account
On the next page, create your account by entering your email address and a password, then accepting the Terms of Service.
The following screen will ask you whether you’re just starting out or moving over from another service.
Since you’re reading a guide on how to get started with email marketing, I’m going to assume that you want the “No, I’m just starting out” option and advise you to click that.
C. Determine your audience size
Next, ConvertKit wants to know about the size of your existing audience.
Again, I’m working under the assumption that you’re brand new at this, so I’m going to select “1-1,000” for the sake of this guide.
D. Determine your creator type
To help provide you with the best email marketing tools and templates, ConvertKit also wants to know what type of creator you are.
You can select up to three options here.
E. Chose a goal
The final part of the sign-up process focuses on that email marketing goal you set earlier.
Since this guide is all about making money from email marketing, it may seem like the “Earn an Income” option would be the best one to go for. Of course, you can still use that later (and I’ll show you how further in this guide), but as a newcomer, you will find it difficult to make any money from your email list if you don’t have an email list, to begin with.
Select the “Grow My List” option, and let’s get started doing just that.
3. Build a Landing Page to Attract Subscribers
There are multiple ways to grow your email list, but one of the easiest ways is to create a dedicated landing page that contains two key components:
1. A simple sign-up form
2. An incentive for signing up.
If you’re going to have success with email, both components have to be in place.
The easier it is for users to sign-up, the more likely they are to do so, but only if they have a good reason for doing so.
After all, only the most die-hard of your followers are going to sign-up for your newsletter just because it exists. The rest will be asking that age-old question:
“What’s in it for me?”
Answer that question by giving them an incentive, and you’ll again increase the chances of people signing up.
What Incentives Should You Use to Grow Your Email List?
Ultimately, the incentive that will work best for you depends on your website and its audience.
If you sell products, for example, then you might want to offer a coupon for 50% or free shipping in exchange for an email address.
If you’re all about providing information that helps your readers solve problems, you might want to compile your most helpful posts, tips, or how-to tutorials into an exclusive ebook that you give away to new subscribers.
Alternatively, you may simply want to incentivize your readers to sign-up by promising them that they’ll be the first to get your new content or other exclusive perks.
Once you’ve decided what that incentive is going to be, it’s time to put your landing page together.
Here’s how it’s done:
A. Click ‘Get Started’
Once your ConvertKit account is set up, you’ll be taken to a homepage that looks like the screenshot above.
Click ‘Get Started,’ then, on the next page, select the “Create a Landing Page” tab and scroll down past the video so that you can click the “Create Your Landing Page” button.
B. Choose a template
Another reason why I love ConvertKit is that their landing page templates are some of the best in the business, combining beautiful, attractive designs with simple, effective forms.
There are a lot of options to choose from, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m going with the ‘Abbey’ template for today.
C. Customize the Template
If you used a drag-and-drop website builder like Elementor to design your website, the way that you customize your landing page template should be well familiar to you.
You can click on individual elements such as images, headings, or text, and this will bring up a menu box to the right that will allow you to tweak, edit, and replace those elements.
All in all, it should take no more than a few simple clicks to turn the template above into something that looks like this:
Here, you’ll notice that I’ve included those two main components I mentioned earlier:
The incentive I’m offering is a free guide on how to build a profitable blog, while the actual sign-up process is no more difficult than entering an email address.
D. Publish your landing page
When you’re happy with the way your landing page looks, simply save it and hit publish.
This will present a new pop-up box that gives you the option to either share your new landing page on social media, share the URL of your page, or embed it into your WordPress website using the ConvertKit plugin.
Honestly, I recommend doing as many of these as you can.
Get out and share your sign-up page if you already have a social media presence set up for your website.
If you have friends or contacts who you think might be interested in joining your newsletter, send them the URL and encourage them to sign up.
I’m going to trust that you know how to do both of these things with zero help from me, but I understand that if you’re relatively new to WordPress, embedding your landing page into your site may seem a little tricky, so let’s tackle that next.
4. Install the ConvertKit WordPress Plugin
You can get the ConvertKit plugin free from the WordPress plugins directory, but the easiest way to get it is to go to select Plugins – Add New from your WordPress dashboard, search for “ConvertKit” and then select, activate and install the plugin.
If you need a little more help with this part of the process, my step-by-step guide to installing WordPress plugins may be useful to you.
With that done, you’ll need to connect your plugin to your ConvertKit account, which is as simple as generating an API key and adding it to your site.
Here’s how that’s done:
A. Go to Settings – ConvertKit
B. Get Your API Key.
To do this, click the link labeled “Get Your ConvertKit API Key” under the API key box, and this will bring up a page where you’ll find the key.
When you have the key, simply select all and copy it, then go back to your ConvertKit settings and paste it into the API key box.
Next, repeat this process for the API secret.
Just copy it from the API page on your ConvertKit account and paste it into the ConvertKit settings in your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’re done, scroll down to the bottom and hit save, and your plugin is good to go.
5. Add Your Landing Page to Your WordPress website
Now that you’ve got the ConvertKit WordPress plug-in installed, you can use it to add the landing page you created earlier to your site.
Doing this is incredibly easy:
A. Create a new WordPress page
Go to Pages – Add New on your WordPress dashboard menu.
B. Select your landing page
Scroll to the bottom of your page editor until you see the ConvertKit options.
Click on the Landing Page drop-down menu and select the landing page template you edited earlier.
C. Publish Your Page
Give your page a name, then preview and publish.
Your new landing page is now good to go. You can add this to your website menu, promote it in your blog posts, create an ad for it in your sidebar and, of course, promote it far and wide on social media.
6. Adding Extra Sign-Up Forms To Your Website
While your landing page is a great place to start, you’ll generate more email signups if you give your readers multiple opportunities to sign up.
To do that, you can use ConvertKit to create forms and embed them in key places around your site.
To do this:
A. Access forms from your ConvertKit dashboard
Back on the ConvertKit website, select Grow – Landing Pages and Forms and click ‘Create New.’
On the next page, select ‘Forms.’
B. Choose Your Form Type
Here, ConvertKit gives you four options to choose from:
1. Inline – A form that fits within your content (including posts, pages, sidebars, and footers)
2. Modal – A pop-up form that can be triggered based on certain user actions
3. Slide-in – A form that slides up from the bottom of the screen
4. Stick bar – A form that remains at the top or bottom of your posts and pages.
While it’s good to have multiple form options on your page, you don’t want to have too many.
So I’m going to recommend that if you already have your landing page in place, you create an inline form to place in either your sidebar or a footer, and then use a modal form to create a pop-up.
C. Choose a Form Template
Again, there are a host of beautifully designed templates to choose from here. I’m going to select the first one, ‘Charlotte.’
D. Customize the Form
The form editor uses the same click-and-edit approach as the landing page we created earlier.
Just click on an individual element to tweak and change it to your liking.
Once you’re finished editing, you can click the “settings” tab to determine what action should trigger the pop-up.
It could be when a user goes to leave your site, when they scroll down a certain percentage of the page, or when they’ve been on your page for a set amount of time.
Once you’re all done, simply hit “publish” to finish making your form.
7. Publish Your First Email
When you’ve successfully created sign-up forms and added them to your site, you should gradually start to see users signing up.
At that point, it’s time to send your first email.
A. Create an Email Template
To do that, first, go Send – Email Templates from the main ConvertKit menu.
Then, click ‘New Email Template.’
Select your preferred template from the options available and edit the template to your liking, then hit save.
B. Send a Broadcast
Next, go back to your main ConvertKit menu and select ‘Send’ again, this time followed by Broadcasts and “+ New Broadcast.”
On the next page, select the template you just created on the next page, then add your subject line and enter your email content into your table.
Remember, this content should be tailored to meet your email marketing goals.
So, if you’re aiming to drive traffic in order to make more money through display ads, you might want to focus on snippets or previews of your latest posts, whereas if you’re making money through selling products, your email will naturally be about promoting that product.
C. Send Your Email
Once your email is ready, click continue.
The next page will give you a preview of your email as well as showing you the address you’ll be sending it from and give you the option to choose whether to send it to all of your subscribers or a certain sub-section of your subscriber list.
If you’re happy with that, click continue, then confirm that you’re ready to send it by clicking “Send Broadcast.”
Other Ways to Make Money With Email Marketing
If you’ve followed the basic steps that I’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to start making money with email marketing by driving traffic to your posts or product pages.
This is great if your blog monetization methods include using display ads, affiliate marketing links, or eCommerce sales, but there are other ways that you can use ConvertKit to generate revenue from your emails.
1. Selling Digital Products and Content Subscriptions
With this option, you can sell digital products such as eBooks, audio downloads, videos, games, or digital art with this option.
It’s also possible to set up recurring subscriptions so that you can charge a fee for access to your premium newsletter.
- Click ‘Setup Payments’ to connect ConvertKit to your Stripe account (other payment options aren’t available at present.)
- Click ‘Create a Product.’
- Name your product
- Choose one of four pricing methods, including a standard, one-time fee, a recurring subscription, pay-what-you-want, or a payment plan.
- Enter the price of your product and the currency
- Tell ConvertKit what you’re selling (digital download, members-only newsletter, or something else)
- Upload any relevant product files
- Create a domain where purchasers can access your product
- Click publish
- Promote your new product through your email list.
2. Set up a Tip Jar
If you don’t yet have a product or service to sell, you can always generate additional revenue by adding a tip jar to your emails and encouraging your readers to donate a small amount if they enjoyed your content and/or found it useful.
To do this:
- Go to Earn – Tip Jars from the main ConvertKit menu
- Select ‘Create a Tip Jar’
- Name your tip jar and select your currency
- Select the domain name for your tip jar
- Choose your preferred currency
- Create a URL for your tip jar
- Click ‘Create Tip Jar’ to publish it
- Add a link to your tip jar in future emails and on your website to encourage tips.
And that’s really all there is to it.
Whether your email marketing goal is to drive traffic, boost sales, or start a premium, members-only newsletter, following the steps above will ensure you’re well on your way to successfully using email to grow your brand in 2023 and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing
What is the best email marketing software for making money?
I recommend ConvertKit as it’s easy to use, comes with a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, and has a wealth of monetization features.
Is email marketing worth it in 2023?
Absolutely, yes. Done properly, email marketing can prove every bit as effective as social media when it comes to promoting your brand, driving traffic, and generating revenue.
How often should I send out a newsletter?
As a rule of best practice, aim for no more than two emails per week and a minimum of at least once per month. This way, you avoid being written off as spam but still maintain a strong
presence in your subscriber’s inbox.
The Final Word on Using Email Marketing to Make Money in 2023
Whether you’re selling digital products, boosting visits to your posts (and thus click-throughs on your display ads), or setting out to achieve another goal entirely, following the step-by-step guide above will ensure you’ve got everything you need to get started with email marketing.
Keep in mind, though, that if you’re really going to use email to make money, then getting started is only the first step of a much longer process.
From here, you’re going to need two key things:
- 1. Lots of great content
- 2. Consistency.
After all, it’s no good simply setting up an email list, firing off one email, and calling it a day.
To generate any significant income, you’re going to have to continue to provide value to those readers who gave you their email addresses, and you’re going to have to do so consistently.
If that sounds like a challenge to you, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Check out how to develop a solid list of blog post ideas so that you never run out of great content to share with your new subscribers.