6 Ways to Make a Living Writing Emails
“You’ve got mail!”
Remember that 1998 movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?
When Nora and Delia Ephron wrote the script for the movie, they had no idea how just important emails would be to a company’s bottom line some 19 years later.
Today, just about every person on the planet gets emails. And, I can’t think of a company that doesn’t use it as a marketing channel in some form. According to the January 2017 Email Statistics Report by The Radicati Group, 269 billion emails are being sent every day.
That works out to over 11 billion emails an hour.
That's a lot of crowded inboxes!
Yet, two things are happening:
- That number keeps growing, despite the additional communication channels like text, social media, video chatting, instant messaging, and more.
- All the metrics used to determine success, like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates show that email marketing is as strong as ever.
In fact, 81% of U.S. companies believe email marketing drives customer acquisition and 80% believe it drives customer retention.
In plain speak, that means companies are using email to GET customers and to KEEP them. Both critical tasks for a company's bottom line.
Obviously, all this email communication has created a huge ongoing demand for email writers.
Why Write Emails?
When it comes to launching your freelance writing career and getting paid to write in the shortest time possible, writing email copy gives you every possible advantage:
- Easy to learn. You could realistically learn how to write email copy in one week. In fact, I have personally seen some folks become competent at it in less than a week.
- You can write them fast. Typically, writing a single email may take an hour or two. The more of them you write, the quicker you’ll get. Obviously I’ve been doing this for a while, but I can write a single email in as little as 30 minutes.
- Plenty of work. Emails are the cheapest and most effective way to stay in touch with past, present, and future customers. Any business that is serious about making more money will email their customers on a regular basis — usually daily.
- Short writing projects. Most emails are only 300-800 words, making them quick projects to start and finish!
- Better-than-average pay. Even if you are new to writing email copy, you could realistically charge $100, $300, $750, even $1,250 or more per email you write, depending on its intention. The closer you are to the sale, the more money you’ll typically charge.
- Fees Add Up Quickly. Most potential clients will need anywhere from 3-10 emails at a time. Depending on how much you’re charging, those fees can really add up!
And here’s something else you may not realize about the email writing opportunity …
There is a ton of variety! Enough for you to pick and choose the types of email copy you want to write.
Plus, most companies use more than one type … so you can be booked solid with just a few clients.
Let’s look six of the most in-demand email types …
In-Demand Type #1: Lead Generation Follow-Up
Many companies — especially in the Business-to-Business industry where companies are selling to other businesses instead of consumers like you and me — have a long sales cycle that starts with generating leads.
A lead is a potential buyer who raised their hand to say “I’m interested” by filling out a form, downloading a white paper, signing up for a free trial of the software, etc.
The “lead” knows the product exists, and is already considering making a purchase. So the intention of these emails is to move the person forward with their buying decision, either by answering questions or encouraging them to talk to a sales rep who can close the deal.
In-Demand Type #2: Email Funnels
Email funnels are similar to lead generation follow-up in that they are sent to someone who is a potential buyer …
But they’re usually a bit less aware of the product. With email funnels, someone signs up for a webinar, free report, or free training on a topic related to the product your client is selling.
And because the person is interested in a particular topic, the company then tries to sell a product or service they feel is of interest.
For example, maybe your client is selling a supplement to reduce inflammation. They may offer a free report on the 10 risks you face if you have too much inflammation in your body.
The person who downloads the report isn’t necessarily looking for a supplement at the time. But they are interested in the risks inflammation poses for them, and are therefore a good potential buyer.
There are usually 5-7 emails in the sequence, but can go much higher. You can get paid just to write the emails. Or, you can get paid $1,500-$2,000 to develop the email strategy, and then get paid again to write the emails.
These emails are often automated — which means they run on their own. And once someone turns into a buyer thanks to your emails, they move on to the email list for our next set of in-demand emails …
In-Demand Type #3: Post-Purchase Onboarding Sequences
These emails are all about customer experience. They’ve purchased a product, and now you want to help them receive the benefits from consuming it.
Whether it’s a workout program, a financial newsletter, training, or anything in between, you know the buyer won’t benefit until they use it. So your job here is to keep them engaged and get them using the product …
You might show them how to get started, point out exciting features, see what questions they have … anything that helps them move forward towards the solution they were looking for when they first made the purchase.
In-Demand Type #4: Content Emails/Advertorials
Content writing is one of the most misunderstood opportunities in the writing industry …
I hear writers say that they’re not a sales writer. They write content. Yet the purpose of good content — the kind clients pay writers $300 to $500 to write, is to prepare the reader for the sale.
Ultimately, every business is selling something. That’s why they’re in business. And if you as a content writer can help those sales happen, you’ll make good money and be in high demand.
Content emails — also known as advertorials — are similar to articles and blog posts you see on a website. The only difference is they have a sales intention …
They may never even mention a product or service. But the entire piece of content is preparing the reader for the solution the product provides. And at the end, there will be a clear call-to-action to learn more by visiting a sales promo or other type of sales copy.
This is a great opportunity for writers who “get” content …
Along with great fees, this one can be set up on retainer — where you agree to write a set amount of pieces each month, and your clients in return will pay you the same amount month after month.
In-Demand Type #5: Warm-Up Sales Emails
Similar to content advertorials, these emails have a very important job …
To prepare the reader for the sales message.
They are also often used to make the sales message relevant to the reader.
For example, let’s say a health newsletter decides to promote a financial investment service. The reader might open the email and think, why am I getting this? But the warm-up email might say something like …
“Normally, I write to you about ways to improve your health. But today, I want to talk about your financial health. Money is one of the biggest causes of stress … which increases cortisol, inflammation, etc. So we’ve partnered with this company because we believe they can help you get your financial health in order.”
Not great copy, but you get the idea. ;)
In-Demand Type #6: Direct Sales Emails
This is where my direct-response copywriter friends will want to live … mainly because it’s where you can expect the highest pay ($750 to $1,250). Unlike the other emails, in this one, you are going to ask for the sale. And the closer you are to the sale, the more you can expect to make.
If you’ve taken the time to learn about direct-response copywriting, and put those superpowers to use — but don't have the interest, focus, or attention span to write a 20-page sales letter — this opportunity is for you!
So, you can see there are loads of ways to make a living as an email copywriter …
How to Choose Your Email Writing Path
Now that you've got an idea of some of the in-demand email projects you can write, it’s really a matter of deciding whom you want to write for …
Do you want to write emails to consumers like yourself, prospects for businesses, or your own group of followers?
There is no wrong answer here. Emails are great copy projects for every skill level from up-and-coming to advanced.
At AWAI, we've been teaching aspiring writers how to craft emails for years.
Plus, as email marketing has grown in demand, we've expanded the online learning programs we offer, so you can keep your skills focused and up-to-date with your target market.
Which one is right for you?
Here's a quick breakdown so you ensure you get the right training you need to make a living writing these short projects …
If you'd like to write to consumers, check out our Email Copy Made Easy program by Jay White. Jay has been focused on writing emails for over 11 years and is one of the most in-demand specialty copywriters in this business.
His program teaches email copy basics, including how to apply them to sales funnel emails (often called autoresponders), how to drive people to take action, and how to write to prospects vs. buyers. With this one program, you’ll be able to take on many of the emails I covered above.
If you'd like to specialize in the B2B market, look at Writing Email Copy for B2B Companies by Steve Slaunwhite. Steve's a B2B expert with over 16 years of experience writing B2B emails. He’ll teach you the five in-demand email types for B2B and how to write each one, how to grab the B2B reader’s attention and make sure your emails get opened, and much more.
And there’s one more opportunity I should mention too …
If you like the idea of writing emails, but want to write them to build your own business, you’ll want to check out Ben Settle’s 10-Minute Workday.
Ben shows you step-by-step how to create an easy email business. His program is designed to help you build up a passive income stream by writing emails to your own list of buyers. Ben’s become a multimillionaire using his 10-Minute Workday system, and has been helping train AWAI writers to follow in his footsteps.
Just remember, no matter which path you choose …
With 269 billion emails being sent a day, you can make a good living by specializing as an email writer. Or you can expand your writing business by offering emails as one of your services.
Either way, I encourage you to give emails a shot. It’s a solid channel that has had continuous growth, increased ROI for companies, and shows no end in sight.
If you have any further questions about the various directions you can go as an email writer, leave me a comment and I'll be happy to guide you. Which email market would you like to write for? Please share in the comments.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »