You may have heard that you can make thousands of dollars sending emails, but what’s the difference between an email copywriter that makes a few thousand dollars per month and an email copywriter that makes well over $50,000 per month from writing emails?
Your email copywriting skill is undoubtedly a significant variable that impacts your earning potential, though it’s only one of many variables that affect how much money you’ll make as an email copywriter.
In fact, the email marketing opportunity you pursue may impact your earning potential even more than your email writing skills.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to various ways you can monetize your email writing skills and discuss the pros and cons of each one. That way, even if you’re a beginner copywriter, you’ll be able to maximize your earning potential (and even earn more than many seasoned copywriters) by choosing the most profitable opportunity to apply your writing skills.
How Much Money Can You Make As An Email Writer?
Statistics from Salary.com show that the average copywriter makes about $100,000 per year.
However, there are also email copywriters like Justin Goff, that have made over $2 million dollars in a single year.
So why does Justin Goff make so much more than the average email writer?
The short answer is that Justin Goff chose to apply his email copy skills to a much more profitable opportunity than in-house copywriting.
Instead of accepting a comfortable salary as an in-house writer, he partnered with another entrepreneur selling a greens powder and only earns a percentage of the sales he generates from his emails.
He generated multiple millions of dollars in sales for the company through his emails, and as a result, collected about $2.2 million in profits.
However, if the offer flopped and he didn’t make any sales, he wouldn’t have made any money.
Therefore, we’ll introduce you to the pros and cons of each type of email marketing opportunity and the earning potential of each one so that you select the best opportunity for your situation.
Types of Email Writing Monetization Strategies
Here are the most profitable methods to make money online as an email writer.
Get a Full-Time Job As An Email Writer
Most larger companies hire in-house email copywriters to send engagement emails, write autoresponders, and promote the latest products or sales.
The main benefit of a full-time job is that it provides income stability (you know exactly how much money you’ll make each month), though the downside is that there’s a relatively low ceiling to the earning potential.
As we mentioned in the introduction, you probably won’t make much more than about $100,000 per year as an in-house copywriter.
B2B, B2C, ecommerce, and even personal brands hire email copywriters to write various types of emails, from nurture sequences and autoresponders to sales emails and newsletters. A quick Google or LinkedIn search will reveal plenty of email marketing jobs.
- Stable income with the benefits of a full-time job.
- Learn how to become a great writer on someone else’s dime.
- Limited earning potential
- Limited freedom (unlike a freelancer)
- Limited experimentation opportunities
- Many in-house email writers are “jack-of-all-trades,” making it difficult to become a highly paid specialist.
Write Emails For Clients
Many companies hire freelance email copywriters to write specific email campaigns for their products or services. If you’re starting your career as an email writer, this is probably the best way to make money immediately, and you can choose to keep it as a side hustle or scale it into a full-time income.
Some clients pay recurring monthly retainers (say, $4,000 per month to write eight emails monthly for six consecutive months) or a one-time fee for a specific project (say, $20,000 for an email autoresponder).
There are also several different types of emails that a client may pay you to create, including:
- Lead generation emails
- Autoresponder emails (nurture, onboarding, abandoned cart sequences, etc.)
- Weekly email newsletters
- General news/announcement and content promotion emails
In terms of earning potential, the amount you can charge clients depends on how much money your emails make for the client.
While your skill as a freelance writer is one variable that influences the ROI you can produce, other variables (that aren’t really in your control) include:
- The offer’s relevancy to the email list audience
- The email list’s engagement and loyalty
- The profit margin of the offer
In addition, you’ll make more money sending lead generation emails than writing weekly email newsletters simply because the ROI for a lead generation email is much higher than a traditional engagement newsletter.
For this reason, it’s important to carefully consider the types of clients you work with and the email writing niche you decide to specialize in.
- Immediate cash flow with the freedom benefits of freelance writing
- Moderate earning potential
- You have to find and close clients.
- Less stability than a full-time job
- Client management can be challenging
Offer Premium Content/Subscriptions
Newsletters are becoming increasingly popular, and many people are happy to pay for content from their favorite writers. While some brands/influencers pay ghostwriters to write the emails, the most profitable long-term monetization strategy is to build your own newsletter.
However, if you’re just starting your career and don’t have an email list, you can offer to ghostwrite a newsletter for an influencer to earn while you learn and simultaneously start building your newsletter as a side hustle.
Once you’ve built a newsletter, offer some of the content for free and then a subset of exclusive premium content for paid subscribers.
For example, you might offer a weekly newsletter with tips and tricks from the week and then a premium subscription with exclusive deep dives, data, or other premium resources.
Category Pirates is an excellent example of a newsletter that monetizes by offering premium content. While the newsletter is free to consume, they offer a library of premium resources for paid subscribers for $20 per month.
- You have full control over the monetization and don’t have to manage clients.
- This monetization strategy is truly passive (even though you will still have to write emails consistently).
- Monetizing through paid subscriptions usually isn’t as scalable or profitable as offering a product or service to your audience.
- You won’t see an immediate ROI as you’ll have to first earn a substantial number of subscribers before monetizing your audience.
Promote Affiliate Email Offers
If you have your own email list, you can partner with other businesses and offer their products or services to your audience. Then, when your audience buys those products/services, you can earn a commission on the sale.
The key to affiliate email marketing success is selecting products and services that align well with your audience’s pain points and interests. Otherwise, you won’t make any sales, which also means you won’t make money.
In addition, it’s important to balance the number of affiliate marketing offers you promote with valuable content. If you’re constantly promoting products and services and never provide valuable content, you’ll lose trust with your audience, and they’ll eventually unsubscribe from your email list.
Thomas DeLauer is an excellent example of a health and wellness influencer with a thriving email list. He regularly sends emails with tips and tricks and occasionally adds affiliate links to products he supports.
Here’s an excellent example of this in action:
- Income potential is high if you have a large, engaged list.
- You don’t have to deal with client management.
- It’s the best email marketing opportunity to generate passive income.
- You must build your own email list, meaning it may take months or years to make money.
- You aren’t guaranteed to make any money as you only earn when you sell products.
- You can’t control the quality of the products and services sold by your affiliates.
- You must find and collaborate with affiliates.
Promote Sponsored Content
This monetization strategy is similar to affiliate email marketing, though instead of earning a commission for any of the products you sell through your emails, you charge a set fee for promoting the partner brand’s products or services to your audience.
For example, if you have an audience interested in meditation, you can partner with a meditation app like Headspace and offer to promote their product for a set fee of, say, $300 per email.
The fees you’ll be able to charge for including sponsored promotions in your emails depend on your email list’s size, loyalty, and engagement (open rates, clicks, past brand performance, etc.).
Demand Curve is an excellent example of a newsletter that offers sponsored content. For example, the brand Segment pays them to promote their products and services. You can see an example of one of their latest sponsored emails below:
You can also see that they charge over $1,700 for this placement:
You can see the entire Demand Curve sponsored opportunities slide deck in a PDF they’ve posted.
- You’re paid a set fee rather than a commission, which reduces your risk.
- You can include multiple sponsored listings in a single email without fatiguing your audience.
- You can typically sell long-term sponsored opportunities, which creates more stable income.
- Once you’ve signed the contract with brands, the income is mostly passive.
- You must already have a highly engaged email list.
- You can’t always control the product/service quality of the brands you promote.
- You must source the brands, which requires some sales skills.
Creating Your Own Offer
Affiliate email marketing allows you to promote other brand’s products and services, though if you have your own email list, you can create and promote your own products and services.
For example, if you have an email list of yoga enthusiasts, you could create and sell your own yoga mats/clothing, yoga courses, and even online coaching.
This opportunity usually has the highest earning potential, but it is also the most risky as you must create the product/service and handle fulfillment.
To solve this, many email copywriters collaborate with other entrepreneurs to create an offer and then split the profits. The other entrepreneur can help you manage fulfillment and product creation while you focus on building an email list and selling.
Justin Goff has a highly engaged email list of copywriters and therefore created his own training to sell to his email list.
- It has unlimited earning potential as you collect all of the profits from the sales, and you can also add in upsells and downsells to maximize earning potential.
- You are in full control of the offer (no client management or dealing with the affiliate brands).
- You can experiment with different offers and A/B test without client restrictions. As a result, you’ll probably become a better email copywriter faster.
- It involves the most risk as you must create and sell the product. If the product doesn’t sell you don’t make money and still have to cover the costs of developing the product. So there’s no guarantee you’ll make money.
- You must have an email list, and building a highly engaged list can take time.
How to Make More Money As An Email Copywriter
If you’re still unsure which email marketing opportunity to pursue, start building an email list around a specific niche as a side hustle, and in the meantime, work on closing your first copywriting client.
Owning an email list is the most profitable email marketing strategy in the long run, but it takes a long time to build up a loyal engaged audience.
So working for clients will give you immediate cash flow while you’re building your email list, and then once you’ve built a loyal, engaged audience, you can scale back on client work and focus on monetizing your email list.
The other benefit of writing for clients is that you essentially get paid to learn on their brand.
However, once you start monetizing your email list, here are a few ways to make money from your email efforts.
Grow Your Email List
Increasing the number of high-quality subscribers is the most effective way to make more money from your email marketing efforts, as any tactic you use below (adding more revenue streams, collaborating with other copywriters, etc.) will generate more revenue if you have a higher volume of quality subscribers.
To increase subscriber volume, optimize your landing page by adding highly visible call-to-action buttons and create a compelling lead magnet (free ebook, checklist, etc.) to encourage users to subscribe. You can also add testimonials praising your email list:
You can also create an ambassador program like the Morning Brew to encourage people to subscribe to your content.
That said, a common mistake many email copywriters make is sacrificing the quantity over quality of subscribers. Unfortunately, adding more subscribers to your list that aren’t a good fit is worse than just having a handful of high-quality subscribers.
This is because low-quality subscribers won’t purchase anything and will probably quit reading your emails, which will also hurt your email delivery rates.
Add Additional Revenue Streams
The beauty of owning an email list is that you can monetize it in multiple ways. For example, if you start by only offering sponsored content, you can then expand to also offer affiliate products or even launch your own products.
However, maintain a high value to ask ratio as people will likely unsubscribe if every email is purely promotional. So as you add different monetization strategies, be sure to also increase the value you provide to your readers.
For example, if you’re already offering affiliate and sponsored content and decide to offer paid content to subscribers, create new resources that are only available to paid subscribers rather than locking away content your audience currently accesses for free.
You can also offer upsells and downsells for existing content. For example, you could offer three different levels of premium content for paid subscribers. The first level might be your free email newsletter, the next level could include a template, checklist, or step-by-step video tutorial, and the highest level could also include a monthly group coaching session with you.
Improve Your Copywriting Skills Through Mentorship and Courses
Selecting the best opportunity to pursue as a copywriter is critical to building a scalable online business, though improving your skill as an email copywriter is still important to maximize revenue.
For example, even if you just learned how to write better subject lines and increased your average open rates by 10%, you could significantly increase total revenue by either selling more products or justifying a higher price point.
Excellent copywriters also understand customer research and offer optimization, which are both essential to creating a highly engaged email list and selling more products and services.
Practice is ultimately the best teacher, though you can accelerate your rate of learning by attending conferences, paying for mentorship, and joining courses and masterminds.
In fact, mentorship, courses, and masterminds were among the most powerful influences that helped me in my career as a copywriter, so I decided to build the Copyblogger Academy to offer the same opportunities in a single platform.
The Copyblogger Academy is a membership community that offers all of the traditional video course content you need to level up your email writing skills, as well as access to other peers, accountability groups, live coaching sessions, and exclusive interview content with some of the best content writers of the day.
You can try the Copyblogger Academy today risk free to see if it’s the right fit for improving your career.
Focus On Building a Brand
The best email copywriters realize that building a brand is key to turning an email list into a sustainable business.
Great copywriters can make a good living with just an email list, but the catch is that you’ll have to constantly create new content to continue earning. Over time, this can become exhausting, and you want to take a break after years of creating.
Therefore, if you scale your email list into a brand, you can protect yourself against the risk of having all of your audience on one platform and eventually hire other people to do the content writing for you.
Once you’ve built a sustainable following, you can pay writers to repurpose your email content on social media and even write blog posts to boost your SEO to help you reach the top of search engines for relevant keywords.
You can also do content collaborations with other similar brands. For example, you could go on podcasts, make guest appearances on similar YouTube channels, and do joint webinars with other brands and creators.
You’ll also notice that building a brand will help you organically generate more leads so that you don’t have to constantly drive ads to landing pages and sales pages to drive more email signups, reducing subscriber acquisition costs and making your overall business more profitable.
Start Your Email Writing Career Today
Email copywriting is an excellent career choice as you can immediately make money by writing emails for clients and eventually build your own business by creating your own email list.
However, like any business opportunity, getting started and growing your email copywriting career can be challenging. From getting your first few clients to selecting a niche to building your own email list, there are usually more than a few unforeseen obstacles, and it can be nice to have mentors, peers, and a proven process to guide you during these times.
That’s exactly why the Copyblogger Academy exists. It’s an all-in-one membership community for copywriters that want to achieve financial freedom through writing. You’ll have direct access to coaching with myself, a network of other peers building their writing businesses, and courses/premium content to guide you through the journey. You can check it out today risk-free (30 day money back guarantee) to see if it’s the right fit for you.