We talk with a lot of email list owners who are interested in monetizing their email lists but aren’t sure how. They understand their email list is a valuable asset, but they don’t know how to unlock that revenue stream without damaging the value of the list.
A lot of these publishers have a very sophisticated retention email program with great content and engaged subscribers. They just don’t know how to get started in acquisition email or they’ve had a bad experience in the past that generated a lot of complaints and deliverability headaches.
We walk them through the process of what goes into monetizing an email list the right way. Since we discuss this often, we thought it would be helpful to share more information on the blog. I put together this handy checklist that explains what you should know before you monetize your email list.
How do I know if my email list is ready to be monetized?
Know the answers to these questions before you even start the process of generating revenue through acquisition email:
- Do I have permission to send third-party emails to my subscribers?
- Do my subscribers know what to expect?
If your subscribers don’t expect to receive email ads from you, you can run into trouble even if you have permission to send. If you’ve never sent third-party offers in the past, consider a campaign to inform subscribers of what you’ll be sending.
- Do I send high value content to my list?
Remember that people subscribed in order to get value from your content, whether that’s information, entertainment, or coupons. Make sure that you’re delivering on that value before you monetize.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you’re ready to go. If not and you’d still like to monetize your list, make sure you know your strategy for getting all of these answers to yes before you move forward.
How should acquisition emails be sent?
When you’re ready to plan your strategy, make sure that you can answer yes to all the following questions:
- Will I retain control of the list?
Any strategy that involves handing your list over to an advertiser or not having visibility into (and control over) what is sent to your list should be a no go.
- Will subscribers understand why they are getting these emails?
The only company with permission to send to your list is yours. Subscribers should see your company’s name in the mailfrom and mailfrom friendly fields of the email before they open, and they should see your name in the header once they open the email.
A friendly reminder here: It’s natural to be concerned about including your branding on an advertising email to your list. However, clarity and honesty are non-negotiable when monetizing your email list. Not being upfront about who emails are from can confuse subscribers, ultimately harming your brand’s reputation.
- Is there a way to tightly target the ads?
The days of batch and blast email campaigns are (or should be) over. Because the inbox is a highly personal space where people interact with friends, family, and brands that they trust, it’s critical that you only send relevant, welcome emails. Make sure you know how you’ll use targeting to minimize unwanted emails.
- Can subscribers easily opt out of both my list and the advertiser’s list?
Make this process as easy as possible to prevent any spam complaints.
- Do I have a plan in place for reporting results to my advertisers?
Advertisers expect to see how their ads performed in terms of opens, clicks, and conversions.
- Do I have a team in place that can handle this process from end to end?
Monetizing your list the right way means ensuring that you have the resources necessary to sell email ad space, send emails (and more importantly deliver them to the inbox), report results, and handle billing. Some of these processes may be easy to fold into existing processes at your company. Others can be challenging and time-consuming. You can manage this process through a trusted vendor or in-house, but just make sure you know how you’ll manage it.
If you have more questions about making sure you’re ready for email list monetization or how the process works, email us at email@example.com or request that a rep contact you.
Hitting a Home Run in Acquisition Email
The 3 Worst Mistakes to Make for the Health of Your Email List
Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver.
CEO & Co-Founder
Eric Didier is a successful serial entrepreneur with a broad background in enterprise software sales management, complex software development and product management for web technologies. He was the founder and CEO of Soamai in 2000, a metadata applications company which was acquired by Allen Systems Group in April 2004. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.