Businesses are investing an increasing amount of resources in email series and other forms of direct marketing day by day.
This scenario creates an excellent opportunity for the freelance copywriter with a talent for crafting emails.
In this article, I’ll show you how to make money in the email copywriting niche, and how to work on your skills to get better at it.
1. Putting Your Skills to Use for Ecommerce Retailers
John McIntyre and Neil Patel agree that email is a very powerful medium for driving ecommerce sales. Email has one of the highest ROI figures for marketing campaigns, delivering “good” or “excellent” results for 68% of companies.
If you have excellent email writing skills, ecommerce retailers need your help.
A well-written message in a prospect’s inbox is often the most personal mode of communication available to a marketer. Your message appears next to messages from family and friends.
I want you to consider the power of that: in a subscriber’s inbox, your message appears in a context where the attention is the highest.
This means you have great power but it’s precisely why you must exercise great responsibility. While promotional messages are okay, you don’t ever want to come off as spammy.
A good way to land your first gig writing email series for ecommerce businesses is to conduct a cold email campaign. Reach out to some ecommerce retailers and see if they would like some help with writing their promotional emails.
Typically, holiday times such as Labor Day and Thanksgiving involve dedicated email promotions. When you reach out ahead of the event, you might pick up some clients who desperately need the help.
Vin Clancy and Charlie Price, in their “Traffic and Copy” publication, credit cold emails for driving a high number of copywriting clients. When you write persuasive cold emails, the client can see that your claims about your writing skills are accurate.
As a result, they’ll be much more likely to hire you.
2. Offer Email Marketing for SaaS Startups
Joanna Wiebe knows a thing or two about the power of emails in marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. She expands on an onboarding email sequence for Wistia that raised paid subscription conversions by 350%.
A key part of getting SaaS emails right is not rushing into the paid subscription pitch right away. In the Wistia case study, Joanna wrote a total of 8 emails.
According to her, taking your time allows you to nurture the lead and let the user become familiar with what your product does.
In a nurturing sequence, you get to show off all the positive ways in which your product can help the user.
Be careful though. You want to mention substantive improvements which your product can bring to the user’s life. As such, you should skip marginal features that don’t do that much for the user.
To land SaaS businesses as your clients, it helps to reach out to SaaS businesses on their social media handles. These businesses take their social media mentions very seriously and might get back to you. You should also reach out on recruiting-specific platforms such as LinkedIn, AngelList, and company job boards.
3. Honing Your Skills in Email Marketing
You will only achieve lasting success writing email series if your skills are indisputably good. This means that you’re able to consistently achieve results for clients.
One of the best ways to become an expert at email series writing is to invest time or money, sometimes both, in a copywriting course.
If you just want to dip your toes in, I suggest you take Joanna Wiebe’s “Conversion Copywriting 101”. This course will show you powerful persuasion techniques that you can use in your emails to make people buy whatever you happen to be selling.
Once you’ve mastered this skill, the sky’s the limit. The best part is that this course is available for free from CopyHackers.
Another great means of improving your email writing skills comes in the form of books. In his famous blog post “How To Become a Copywriter (With No Experience)”, Neville Medhora makes a number of book recommendations.
The ones you can check out to begin with include:
- “The Boron Letters” by Gary Halbert
- “Advertising Secrets of the Written Word” by Joseph Sugarman
- “Ogilvy On Advertising” by David Ogilvy
Neville Medhora also recommends his own course, the “Kopywriting Kourse”. The advantage of a course over a book is that courses typically employ video.
Video explanations can cut to the chase and convey the nuances of the material that might be hard to pick up in a dry book.
4. Establish an Online Reputation via Guest Posting
While cold emailing and job boards are good ways to get access to clients for email marketing, these are by no means the most effective methods. Done right, guest posting is an even more effective strategy for getting your name out there.
Guest posting, for those unfamiliar with it, is the practice of offering unique blog posts to other blogs. Why would you guest post?
You guest post in order to get your writing and expertise in front of a potentially new group of readers who have never heard of you before.
Derek Halpern, the author of the Social Triggers blog, recommends what he calls the “Drafting Technique” for getting published on major blogs. In a case study, he shows how one follower used the technique to get 800 visitors and $2,000 in revenue to her brand new blog.
In the case study, the blogger was able to use her success using the Drafting Technique to land an interview with another major blog. In digital marketing, success builds on success. If one growth hacking technique works, you can build on it to get even more exposure.
To use the Drafting Technique, you need to identify a major blog that has published guest posts by people in your niche. Any blog publishing your competitors’ work is fair game.
Then, you send them a carefully-worded pitch where you show them how you can contribute a valuable blog post for their audience.
5. Building Your Reputation Using Podcasts
Another great avenue for generating demand for your email-writing skills is to reach out to podcast owners.
Podcast guesting, even more so than guest posting, requires you to do a lot of research into the host. Familiarizing yourself with the host prepares you to engage in banter and answer all kinds of questions that might pop up during the live interview.
Appearing on a major podcast does several things at once that build your money-making capabilities.
First, it brings traffic back to your own blog or website, where you can showcase your email writing skills. Prospective clients in need of a freelancer can quickly see your skills and reach out.
However, you need to be strategic in the choice of podcasts you target. Go mainly for shows and podcasts that are related to your writing niche, e.g. fashion, travel, arts, and design.
Secondly, appearing on a reputable podcast establishes you as an authority in your field.
For example, getting featured on major podcasts such as “Entrepreneur On Fire”, “The Eventual Millionaire” or “The Joe Rogan Experience” is a virtual badge of honor. Fans of these large podcasts are primed to see people that appear there as authorities.
If you need clients, chances are, podcast fans who have heard of your work from their favorite podcasts will be eager to work with you. To them, you come with one of the best possible recommendations.
6. Write Cold Emails for Sales-Driven Businesses
If your skills are good enough, you can freelance writing cold emails for sales-driven businesses. Businesses that thrive on sales include:
- Software development agencies
- Car dealerships
- Ecommerce deals sites
- Promotions sites
- Event hosts
- Music show promoters
These are businesses where a single well-crafted email could make a 300% difference in revenues.
The owners of such businesses are aware of this and are especially sensitive to the need for good email writers. If your skills are only average, however, you could find the going quite cutthroat.
Neville Medhora talks about how he got started writing email promotions for a small ecommerce site. He then moved on to writing daily deals for AppSumo, a tech deals site by his friend Noah Kagan.
The idea here is to offer your skills to businesses that cannot refuse a good email writer because their business model is predicated on outstanding email marketing execution.
Focus on those businesses first, and show them the value you can generate for them.
Certain other businesses like social media sites, financial services firms, and others have a much less acute need for good email marketers.
As a result, they’ll be tougher to approach unless you are already an established email series writer and they come looking for you.
7. Working with Established Bloggers on Emails
Another strategy for making money writing email series is to approach a major blogger who needs help with their emails.
You will find that major bloggers prefer to write the subject-matter blogs that comprise the bulk of their writing. These could be: fashion posts if they’re fashion bloggers, music reviews if the blogger writes about music, or car reviews if they’re car bloggers.
However, writing emails—particularly sales-focused emails—can be a struggle and an unwelcome chore for some of these bloggers.
This is where you come in. If you’ve been following a particular blogger because you like their work, but their emails seem poorly done, that’s your opportunity.
If you’re on their email list already, that offers you an easy way to start the conversation.
Send them a polite email response and engage with them over their email series. Mention that you love the work they’re doing and that you happen to have helped other organizations improve their email marketing.
Then ask if they would like to do a quick, no-obligation discussion to identify areas to accelerate their email marketing results. Chances are, if they have been thinking about outsourcing this work to someone, they’ll be willing to give you a shot.
You are helping them, and they get to focus on the writing they really love to do.
8. Freelance for an Advertising Agency
A natural ally for any freelance email writer is the advertising agency. Advertising agencies have the need for writing talent spanning everything from ad copy to social media posts and email series.
Advertising agencies serve some of the same businesses you would want as clients:
- Fortune 500 companies
- Top-notch startups
- Big businesses
You can find advertising agencies on platforms like LinkedIn. Either pitch directly on job listings or first connect with the hiring person. Then, mention that you’re a freelance writer and your specialty is email writing.
Jorden Roper shares how optimizing your LinkedIn profile with highly targeted keywords can lead to clients coming to you, rather than you pitching them.
It helps if you have strong samples or a couple of case studies of results you have accomplished for relevant businesses.
The important thing, however, is not to let a lack of credentials hold you back. Advertising agencies out there need your email writing skills, so pitch freely.
9. Partner with SEO, Social Media Marketers, and Other Marketers
As an email writer, you are part of the marketing strategy of any digitally-savvy business, but you are not the only one.
Good businesses need other marketing experts too, beyond just writing:
- SEO specialists
- Conversion rate optimization specialists
- PR strategists
- Web design experts
- Social media marketers
Do a simple Google search for these business types around you and you’ll discover thousands of them. They might be skilled at SEO or social media marketing but their clients most likely need the entire marketing mix.
This creates opportunities for you, the writer.
You can directly pitch established SEO freelancers or agencies to see if you can offer your skills to help them. If they have a large client contract that requires email marketing, your skills could come in very handy.
Rather than turning down the requirement because the client requires a skill they do not have, they outsource that part of the work to you.
The same goes for social media marketers. If their main skill is Facebook marketing, you can partner with them to provide any email writing services that their clients demand as part of their service needs.
Daniel DiPiazza calls this “The Marsupial Method” and writes about how he was able to launch a profitable business in 24 hours using this technique. Plugging the expertise requirements of other marketing organizations is a great way to keep busy and make money as a freelance email writer.
10. Land a Coveted Gig Writing for Forbes and Watch Business Roll in
Marketing expert Josh Steimle talks about the success he encountered when he became a thought leader and started writing for Forbes.
Before he started writing for Forbes, his marketing agency struggled and had to lay some people off. As a last-ditch attempt, he decided to do some unpaid writing for top-tier media platforms like Forbes, Mashable, and others.
As he recounts, in the first year of writing for Forbes, his agency’s revenues grew by over 1,000%. His salesperson was so busy fielding calls from interested prospects that he had no time to make outbound calls to interest prospects.
This formula could work for you if you have honed your writing skills to the level demanded by big publications.
The first step is to start writing Forbes-worthy articles on suitable topics where you can offer an authoritative perspective. Good topics could include case studies of work you have done for clients or other personal experiences.
Then, reach out and pitch some of the editors at Forbes or other publications of your choice. Point to your previously-published articles as proof of your work.
As Josh points out, this route definitely works, even if you have no previous contacts at the publication. The only hard requirement is a healthy dose of stamina. If you get turned down, write another article and try again.
Master Email Writing, Then Go Change the World
I hope you’re now ready to go out there and make some money writing email series. From books to courses, there have never been more opportunities to make your email writing skills world-class.
There’s one more thing you should know…
As an individual email copywriter with a seasoned level of skill, you present a good investment but even more so an opportunity for all the great businesses out there that are in need of expertise in email marketing.
So, go out there and make it count.