Most methods of making money from writing involve creating relatively long pieces. These might be articles, reviews, recipes, stories or something else entirely. Regardless of the piece, you’d often be writing anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words (sometimes more).
That’s perfectly fine – if you like that type of content. But, it isn’t the only approach. You can also get paid to write emails. With this idea, you’re writing much less content at a time. And, if you do well, the income potential is high.
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Being An Email Copywriter
When people talk about writing emails, they’re often focused on copywriting. With this, the idea is to write content that converts to income. The more persuasive you can be, the more money you can make.
Copywriting sounds simple. You’re just creating short emails to sell products. And, some companies may pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an amazing email.
But, that’s the catch. What you write has to be extremely good. After all, people get countless scams and sales pitches in their inbox.
You have to create something good enough to cut through that clutter, provide value and actually convert. Doing this successfully is a skill – one that many people don’t have.
Some key areas that you need to focus on include:
- Having an attention-grabbing headline
- Removing unnecessary words
- Using phrases that are effective but aren’t overused (for example ‘killer’ and ‘amazing’ are constantly repeated and no longer have the same impact)
- Being conversational rather than too pushy
- Making your call to action clear
- Ensuring the email is visually appealing
- Making sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes
- Writing the copy to match the target audience
The best way to get this type of work is with freelancing. This means that you’re not a formal employee of any company. Instead, you are hired as a contractor, often through sites like Upwork.
These sites offer many different tasks that you can apply for. Some may involve short-term work, like developing copy for one specific email list or for a single autoresponder series. Others may be long-term and may involve writing regular emails for a website.
The jobs will also offer details about what you can expect and what the pay is like. This can help you work out which ones are the best before you invest any time.
When you’re applying for any role, many copywriting concepts are still relevant. So, you want to be persuasive and to match your writing to the specific company/person and the position at hand. You also need to follow any instructions and make sure your application is correct.
This is important for any freelancing position but is even more relevant for writing emails. After all, if you can’t convince them that you’re good at writing, there’s no way they’ll hire you to convince others.
And, as with any freelancing career, success takes time.
Sites like Upwork favor people with experience and you have to progressively build up your reputation. This may involve taking on smaller jobs at the beginning, including ones that pay less.
That’s not entirely bad though. Those early jobs can help you learn more about the field and figure out the best way forward. They might also teach you that copywriting for others just isn’t the right fit for your needs.
Making Money With Your Own Emails
One variation is to earn money through your own emails – an approach that many people follow. The main idea here is to build an email list and sell people products through it. If planned and implemented well, this approach can be profitable.
Say you had a website on bodybuilding, as an example. You may offer a range of content on the site, such as guides, research, eating plans and macro calculators. You could also offer an email list that provides exclusive content. Perhaps people get a free report or something else when they sign up too. There are plenty of other angles too, like a website for people into outdoors activities, like camping. What about one that talks about cars and car auto parts?
If your website is good, people will sign up to that list. And, if your emails are interesting, people are going to stay on it. You then have an audience you can market to.
So, from time-to-time, you may send out information on a fantastic product that you found or something new that just hit the market. If you have the right connections, you may even be able to offer an exclusive discount or a bonus. Even if you can’t, simply promoting the items can lead to sales.
With this idea, you’re not earning money from every email. Instead, most of your emails would probably be content, rather than a sales pitch. But, even with a relatively small audience, the income potential is there.
The one limitation is time. In the long-term, this is a powerful way to make money and is more reliable than simply being a copywriter. Nevertheless, you have to work your way to that point. Doing so involves creating your own website, developing an email list and sending out semi-regular emails. So, you can find success but it isn’t going to be overnight.
Writing Emails As A Part Of A Job
One final approach is when writing emails is a general task, often as a form of customer service. For many businesses, email can quickly get overwhelming. They may get hundreds or thousands of emails each day and only a fraction of them require any attention. The simple answer is hiring a person to filter through them.
This individual acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that the important emails get seen while the rest of them don’t. The practice is exceptionally common as businesses grow, especially if they have a strong online presence. The person may also be responsible for writing emails, especially if the answers are simple.
In some cases, the role might be a formal job. If so, you would find the listing in the same place as other positions. Here, you would have to go through the hiring process, which includes submitting a resume and the like.
If this is the case, then you would at least be earning the minimum wage, possibly more. How much you make depends on what your role is and who you’re working for.
For example, the wage may be higher if you’re working for a well-known company or if you need significant training or experience to filter through the emails and reply to the relevant ones. In contrast, it would be lower if the position was entry-level and little was expected of you.
Still, relatively few positions like this exist. Brick and mortar companies don’t normally hire a person to just answer emails. Instead, they may hire assistants or secretaries. For them, filtering through and writing emails is just one of their roles.
An alternative is to work for online companies. Here, you’d typically be hired as a freelancer, rather than an employee. This gives you fewer legal protections and means income can be more variable as well.
Here as well, the role often goes beyond just writing emails. For example, you might be hired as a virtual assistant. That position can include many different tasks, such as filtering emails and planning.
There are many places that you can find such work and you can also advertise your skills. For example, Craigslist, Upwork and Freelancer.com all work well as places to begin and there are many jobs that you can apply for. The competition for work can be intense but with enough time and energy, you can make headway.
A Final Thought – Watch Out For Scams
Scams are a concern in any field – but particularly so for email writing. The reason is simply that emails sound like a fast and easy approach. So, many companies use it as a way to get attention. Often, such scams will make the income potential sound much higher than it is – and may charge you for information.
For example, the course Make $100/day Sending Emails sounds amazing but it really isn’t. Instead, the author just offers a basic video, teaching people how to promote products through an email list.
That style works. But, having a decent email list takes time and there are many more steps than the course teaches. This means that if you want training, it’s best to focus on something high-quality that will actually teach you what you need to know.
You’ll also see many sites that imply you get paid for each email you send out. In practice, you might just make money for the ones that convert to a sale and most of them won’t. You'll find similar issues in fields that focus on writing or mailing physical letters.
To avoid products like this, you need to pay close attention to what sites promote. If their claims seem too good to be true, then they probably are. This includes ideas like earning $100 or $200 each day. The same is true for claims that you can earn $200 to $300 per email.
In both cases, those claims are possible. But, they only apply to unusual or exceptional circumstances. For example, if you write an amazing email and promote just the right product at the right time, yes, you can earn a considerable amount.
Even so, you won’t see that outcome each time. Instead, most legitimate approaches earn you relatively little per email or you earn nothing for most of the emails that you send.
As a writer, you have an in-demand talent that can be used to earn you TONS of money online. You can earn money freelance writing, for sure, but it's still just trading dollars for hours. Personally, I recommend starting your own website! Information is the currency of the internet, so why not leverage your talents to build yourself a serious online income! Learn how to create your own blog-style website and make money through advertising.