Email Newsletters: An Unexpected Well-spring of Revenue Generation in 2024

Email newsletters started out as a modest communication channel. Today, however, it has emerged as a source of revenue generation. 

Which is why the email newsletter is among the top email marketing trends in 2024. It’s no longer simply a medium for delivering news and updates. Rather, it’s part and parcel of sending tailored content to your audience with the goal to engage and convert. 

The Case for Email Newsletters: Milk Road And Morning Brew

Milk Road and Morning Brew stand out as illustrious real-world cases for the potential of email newsletters. Their story could be the story of any brand eager to spread the word. 

Let’s start with Milk Road. It began as a newsletter for cryptocurrency-related news, which was launched by Shaan Puri and Ben Levy in February, 2022. By the end of just three weeks post-launch, their newsletter had over 70,000 subscribers. And within 10 months of the launch, Milk Road commanded a staggering 250,000 subscribers to their newsletter. 

How did it happen? Through their masterful application of the newsletter: 

  • Milk Road created a nice-looking newsletter template where most brands did not care much for functional aesthetics when it came to newsletters. 

Source: beehiive

  • Milk Road pushed a simple referral program whereby readers were invited to share each day’s newsletter, and receive a free PDF of their most recent blog post.
  • Over time, Milk Road started featuring recommendations for other newsletters which, in turn, displayed Milk Road’s newsletter on their newsletters, thus inviting more signups.
  • Milk Road used paid acquisition to garner more readers. By showing targeted ads (memes and social proof ads) on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, they were able to add 50,000 crypto-loving readers to their subscription list.
  • Milk Road recognized the significance of analytics to separate the chaff (low-quality subscribers) from the wheat (high-quality subscribers). 

Source: beehiive

  • Milk Road conducted audience polls to gather feedback for continuous improvement. It’s a great way to signal a brand’s commitment to its audience. 

Morning Brew

Let’s turn to Morning Brew, which was founded by Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief. What started out as a small newsletter in 2015 topped 4 million subscribers by 2022.

Like Milk Road, Morning Brew identified what exactly people wanted (i.e. how to stay updated on recent news, stories, and events), and then went on to deliver that. Add to it their pithy writing style and neat, packed nutshell summaries of the biggest news items.

It might be unsettling but Morning Brew’s strategy was as simple as black and white. The founders’ main aim was to write well, track well, and persist in that:

  • They would analyze their copy against other newsletters. Line-by-line, word-by-word comparative analyses helped them to see what constitutes a good story. They went chest-deep into the newsletter industry to find out what worked and what didn’t.
  • Like Milk Road, the Morning Brew founders understood the importance of cracking analytics in order to steer a brand in the right direction. Analytics furnished them with the data needed to convince investors and sponsors.
  • Both Lieberman and Rief were consistent in their efforts to write great newsletters and leverage analytics to monitor their performance. For over two years, all they did was track the open rate every day at 11 AM. 

Now you see why the once-humble newsletter is trending alongside more recent developments, such as generative AI, in the world of email marketing. 

Tips to Make Money off Email Newsletters

1. Deliver High-quality Content

High-quality content is the foundation of a successful email newsletter. Creating content that saves time and educates your audience is key to increasing audience engagement. 

Speaking of content, it’s important to remember that not all niches favor newsletters. If your newsletter is purely informational and entertaining, it may not go the distance. Take time to appreciate the kinetics of your niche, and see if email marketing is the right channel for it. 

2. Deploy Sponsored Content 

You could partner with companies in your niche to create sponsored content within your newsletter. This could include relevant blog posts, product reviews, expert interviews, etc. 

3. Offer Paid Subscriptions

Target your most engaged subscribers with access to exclusive content such as in-depth analyses, market research, business decision strategies, etc. This caters to those who want extra value from your newsletter, enabling you to create a recurrent revenue stream.

4. Create A Referral Program

A newsletter referral program works by rewarding subscribers when they share your newsletter with others. In fact, Morning Brew’s referral program helped them grow from 100,00 subscribers to 1.5 million subscribers in just one-and-a-half years. 

A referral program works because it makes willing advocates out of subscribers. You don’t need to adopt mass promotional tricks to win people over. Subscribers championing your cause to their own networks is a quicker, surer means to gain outsiders’ trust. 

Besides, it also reduces subscriber acquisition costs. You acquire new subscribers for free, with just the reward system requiring an overhead. 

5. Try Cross-promotion

Cross-promotion in newsletters is the process of featuring another newsletter on your own, and vice-versa. That’s what Milk Road did, if you remember. If you’re doing it with a trusted, long-standing business, you can leverage their credibility to establish your own.

Cross-promotion increases your reach to new target markets. Compared to traditional advertising methods, it is cost-effective as well. Depending on your niche, cross-promotion may enable you to diversify your customer base.

6. Literally Worship Analytics

Not an overstatement. Without analytics, it’s like the blind leading the blind. Forgetting or overlooking it can be fatal to your business, even in its initial stages. 

Having prioritized it, you need to learn how to master analytics. Various email marketing platforms offer advanced analytics. At first, it can be difficult to navigate reports. Start small; identify at least one key metric that you want to track. Take the help of tutorials. You could also ask gen AI tools to answer ESP-specific technical questions. 

Start Small, Start Now!

The search volumes for newsletters are mind-boggling. From sports to geopolitical events, there’s a genuine appetite for in-depth reporting and updates. People prefer email newsletters to bite-sized social media posts and mass advertising. If you believe you can make a difference with your newsletter, now is the time to make good on your faith and get cracking!

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