Effective Email Marketing for Influencers and Content Creators: Earn Sustainable Revenue No Matter What the Algorithms Do

Influencers are the most powerful voices on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, commanding the attention of thousands or even millions of followers.

Yet we hear story after story of content creators going dead broke and collapsing under the stress of unpredictable algorithms.

email marketing for influencers going broke

The Solution: A Super Simple Email Marketing System That Brings in Sustainable Revenue Every Month

Influencers and content creators need email lists so you can get direct access to fans, overcome the algorithms, negotiate bigger brand deals, and sell products. An email marketing system is far simpler to run than most people realize, and provides an incredibly high return on investment. 

I don’t care if you’re a beauty influencer, a fitness instructor, or a chess expert — you can use this article.

Note that I use the terms “influencer” and “content creator” interchangeably. While they are not exactly the same thing, they both benefit from the free email marketing strategies shared below.

Today you’re going to learn 

  • Why you need an email list
  • The unique benefits of email 
  • How you can make money from an email list
  • How you can build your list
  • What kind of emails to send
  • Which tools you need to start.

And before you get overwhelmed, RELAX! 

This is way simpler than you think. You don’t even need a website! Here’s a table of contents so you can skip around as you’d like:

Table of Contents
No headings found

Why Influencers Nmaeed an Email List

You Build a Direct Connection with Your Audience:

One of the biggest advantages of having an email list as an influencer is the direct connection you get with the audience. Unlike social media platforms where algorithms can limit your reach, emails go straight to your subscribers’ inboxes. You control when you reach people.

Best of all, you know who your biggest fans are.

Maybe you have 100,000 TikTok followers.

Wouldn’t it be great to know which ones are your hardcore, ride-or-die supporters?

Email lets you do that.

Email Lists Are Downloadable and Portable

ActiveCampaign is my current Email Sending Provider.

And I’m happy with them.

But if I wasn’t, I could download my email list to a spreadsheet.

Then I could take that list and move it to ConvertKit, beehiiv, or any other email platform I wanted.

But you can’t move your Instagram followers to TikTok.

You can’t move your YouTube subscribers to Snapchat.

Social platforms don’t let you download any information on your followers, let alone move followers from one platform to another.

It’s Easy and Cheap to Get Started

convertkit free plan

I tell influencers and creators getting started with email marketing to use ConvertKit.


Because ConvertKit has a free plan for email lists up to 1,000 subscribers.

It even has a built-in landing page builder so you can start your email list without a website.

When testing ConvertKit, I was able to build this landing page in 5 minutes:

I’ll get more into why I recommend ConvertKit down the page.

You Build Independence from Algorithm Changes:

Social media platforms and search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and we rarely get the details. So you constantly have to track what each platform is doing:

So your traffic can drop 50% in the blink of an eye with no warnings. 

An email list gives you control and independence. 

And if you build a healthy email list, you can reach your email subscribers any time you want.

You can also write pretty much anything you want without fear of being flagged by an algorithm.

There’s a hidden side benefit here people don’t think about.

You Can Jumpstart Your Audience on New Platforms

The most recent major social platform launch was Meta Platforms’ Threads.

But it won’t be the last.

Want to jumpstart your growth any time a new platform hits?

You use your email list, where your biggest fans are ready to give you a boost.

You also don’t have to worry about cross-platform rivalries.

Remember when Twitter blocked links to Threads?

That’s not an issue with email where you can send traffic anywhere you want.

Email Has Amazing Flexibility

Email marketing is so flexible you won’t believe it. You can personalize just about anything you want. You can segment your audience and send tailored messages based on their interests and behaviors, creating a deeper connection with your followers.

Want to send a message only to your super fans?

Or only to people who haven’t read your messages in 30 days?

Or only to people who have bought products from you.

Social media is all or nothing. With email, you send to only the people you want.

Unlocking Diverse Revenue Streams:

An email list gives you the power to unlock new revenue streams. 

You can get into affiliate marketing, direct product sales, and newsletter advertising.

Email Marketing Has a Sky-High Return on Investment

Omnisend data indicates that email marketing has a return on investment of 40X

return on investment roi of email marketing

So for every $1 you spend, you earn back $40.

And the crazy thing is that you can start an email list for FREE. 

Yes, FREE. More on that below.

Email Usage Is Still Growing

There were 4.26 billion email users in 2022, and that number is expected to grow to 4.73 billion in 2026.

how many people use email

That’s more than half the people on Earth.

And those folks send a lot of email.

In 2022, 333.2 billion emails were sent per day. 

Statista forecasts growth to 392.5 billion in 2026.

how many emails are sent per day

So email is not only not dying, but it’s growing!

Email is more relevant in 2023 than ever, and it will be even more powerful as time passes.

Email Marketing Platforms Give You Amazing Analytics

Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter/X, and TikTok give you some helpful analytics.

But email platforms take things to a new level because you get data down to the individual contact level.

Here’s just one sample of the info I can get in my ActiveCampaign account:

active campaign user information

An email service like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, or MailChimp lets you identify who’s engaged with you in the past 7 days. Or the past 30 days.

Or who clicked on one specific link.

Or how many people unsubscribed from that one edgy email you sent. 

This gives you fresh insights into what people really want.

You Can Remove Unengaged Followers

Want to dump unengaged followers from your social feeds?

It’s impossible without paying for an expensive outside service which might technically be violating terms of service.

With email, you can remove unengaged subscribers in seconds at zero cost, which improves your email deliverability and lowers your monthly bill.

So you know why you need an email list.

Now let’s talk about something really fun – how to use email to make more money from all the work you put in.

You learned about email marketing’s superior ROI. 

Here’s how you get it.

How Influencers Can Make Money With Email Marketing

Now let’s talk about how you can leverage an email list to generate more money.

Later on we’ll get into starting your email list.

You Can Negotiate Bigger Brand Deals

If you do any kind of brand deals, pay close attention here because this is how you instantly increase your profits on every agreement.

Show up to negotiations with an email list, and your prices go up. Way up.

Because marketers know that email subscribers are more valuable than social media followers for two simple reasons: 

  • You can reach your email subscribers more reliably than your social media followers
  • Your email subscribers are your most hardcore fans because they went through the extra effort of joining your list

According to HubSpot, the average engagement rate on social media is 1-5%.

Meanwhile, the average email open rate is over 20% and can easily be over 50% with a well-managed list. Here’s a few of my emails with their open rates:

email open rates

If you have 50,000 Instagram followers and a 5,000-person email list, you can double your prices – or more.

Instead of making $1,000 on a deal, you might make $2,000. Or $4,000. Who knows?

Because you can guarantee impressions and engagement for your ad partners.

Product and Merchandise Sales

If you make your own digital or physical products, the best way to sell them is through email.


Because you can be sure that your best fans will see your messages.

And since you know who engages with your emails, you can do things like:

  • Resend emails to nonopeners
  • Send extra messages to people who clicked but did not buy
  • Send specific offers to specific groups of people like past buyers or people who joined your list in the past 30 days

And if you don’t have your own products like online courses or t-shirts, remember…

You Have Unlimited Options for Affiliate Marketing

If you don’t have your own products, affiliate programs are a great way to generate revenue with email marketing.

Affiliate marketing is when you get paid for referring buyers to a product seller. 

Say you’re a beauty influencer.

You could recommend that your fans buy a certain makeup item from Sephora.

In exchange, Sephora would give you a percentage of the sales you generate for them.

The sales are tracked through custom links that let Sephora know when you referred a customer.

Amazon, which runs the largest affiliate program, has a specific program for influencers:

There are almost endless affiliate programs out there, including:

  • Retailers like Amazon.com and Best Buy
  • Online education platforms like MasterClass and Udemy
  • SAAS companies like ConvertKit and SemRush
  • Financial services companies like Robinhood and SoFi

Just make sure you are honest about the products and services you recommend.

Exclusive Content and Memberships

If you have a large, well-engaged email list, you can charge money for exclusive content and/or memberships. 

This can come in the form of:

  • Paid online communities
  • Paid newsletters
  • Coaching programs
  • Consulting 

Essentially, you are giving people the opportunity to pay money for even more of your great stuff.

Email Newsletter Ads 

Companies are always looking to advertise in email newsletters.

This is a great way to augment your income for very little work.

Just pop in a text ad or banner to your email, and collect the cash.

Solopreneur Justin Welsh is great at this:

In fact, I plan on making this a big part of my own email newsletter in the future.

So now you know 5 ways you can increase your influencer income with email marketing.

Now let’s talk about how you can build your email list.

How Influencers Can Get Started in Email Marketing

It’s way easier than you think to start an email list. These days, service providers give step-by-step instructions for just about everything. And if you have trouble, you can get help from their customer service departments.

It starts with…

Step 1: Get a Domain Name

godaddy domains

First things first. Register a domain name, which should be your name, your company’s name, or something close.

Even if you’re not ready to launch a website, there are three big reasons you need your own domain name.

  1. You look more professional when you email people to negotiate deals.
  2. Using a free email account like Gmail can hurt your email deliverability when sending bulk emails.
  3. You don’t want someone else registering a domain you might want in the future

I’ve used Google Domains and GoDaddy for this in the past.

A domain name will cost you about $20 a year. 

Make sure you have “Privacy Protection” turned on so people can’t get your personal information through your domain.

Step 2: Get a “Real” Email Address Using Your Domain

Next, you want to set up a “real” email address using your domain.

For example, the site you’re reading is michael99.com.

And I used the email address michael@michael99.com.

I set this up through Google Workspace, which costs $6 a month.

Most web hosting accounts allow you to set up email addresses like this, but I prefer Google because it’s so easy to use.

I also get video conferencing and other services I need, so I’m fine with the cost.

And frankly, it’s a small price to pay.

Step 3: Open a ConvertKit Account

ConvertKit is an ideal choice for new email marketers because it’s free to get started and it’s easy to use.

The company also specializes in helping online creators and influencers, so they have all the tools you need.

That includes landing pages, so you don’t need to start a website.

Plus, when you’re ready for more advanced features, you can upgrade to a fancier plan.

Step 4: Create a Landing Page in ConvertKit

ConvertKit has tons of great landing page templates built-in, which is one of the reasons I recommend the service.

All you have to do is replace some text and you’ll and I was able to create a decent one in under 5 minutes – even though I’d never used ConvertKit before.

Step 5: Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a free item you give away to get people to join your email list.

You can offer:

  • An ebook or white paper
  • A training video
  • An online course
  • Templates

And more!

For example, I give people an ebook when they join my email list.

A lead magnet is optional, but can be a big help in getting people to join your list.

Step 6: Start Building Your Email List!

Now it’s time to start building your email list.

There are at least 18 ways to build your email list, but since you’re an influencer or online creator, you know where to start.

First, put a link to your landing page in all your social media bios.

email link in social media bio

And start sharing links to your landing page in your Tweets, Instagram stories, YouTube video descriptions, etc.

You can also do contests, giveaways, and cross-promotions to incentivize people to sign up.

And you’ll see your list start to grow.

But, you might be wondering about…

What Kind of Emails Should Influencers Send?

Now let’s talk about the kinds of emails you can send to your list.

A Welcome Email

Your welcome email is one of the most important messages you can send because it sets the tone.

Email platforms like ConvertKit let you automatically send your welcome email when people join your list.

In it, you’ll want to:

  • Give a warm thank you to your new subscribers
  • Set expectations for what they’ll receive
  • Ask people to interact by replying to your email, clicking on the lead magnets, or reading more of your content

Weekly Email Newsletters

While I recommend that most email marketers send multiple emails per week, a weekly newsletter is a good way to start.

You can do things like:

  • Highlight your most popular social media posts
  • Talk about news and other industry issues
  • Share interesting content you’ve seen

And don’t be afraid to repurpose your existing content.

If a Tweet or Instagram post goes viral, adapt it to work on email.

That’s what I do in my email marketing tips newsletter.

Articles, Videos, and Other High-Value Content

If you produce content like articles and videos, make sure you email them to your list.

Here’s one of my best performing emails linking to an article about my R.I.P.E. email framework.

email content

Remember, your email subscribers are your biggest fans, so they’ll be happy that you’re giving them easy reminders to get your stuff.

And yes, you can send people directly to your social media posts.

I even have emails dedicated to sending people to Twitter threads.

Special Messages

If you have something on your mind, open your email service and just type!

You don’t have to be a great writer to send effective emails.

As long as you are clear and you have a good idea, your audience will be happy to hear from you.

They don’t care about typos or grammar. Seriously.

Sales, Product, and Affiliate Promotions

When you’re ready to start promoting, you can use your new email list to:

  • Sell your products and services
  • Promote your affiliate deals

This is where you’ll make the bulk of your money, though you can also consider:

Personalized Recommendations

Once you have a decent-sized list and you’ve been sending for a while, you can segment your list to send personalized messages.

For example, maybe you’ll want to send specific messages to people who have been on your list for more than a year.

Or maybe you’ll have special promotions that only go to past buyers.

Surveys and Other Requests for Feedback

Email is a great way to conduct surveys and collect feedback from your audience.

You can use Google Forms to ask people what they’re interested in, how they like your emails, and more.

I recommend doing this at least twice a year to stay on top of what your audience cares about.

So now you know why you need an email list, how to start your email list, and what kind of messages to send.

We’ll talk about one more topic:

Monitoring Your Email Performance with Three Metrics

You’ll want to monitor your email metrics so you can improve your performance over time.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 3 big ones you should pay attention to at the start:

  • Open Rate: the percentage of your subscribers who opened your email. If you send 1,000 emails and 500 people open it, you have a 50% open rate.
  • Click-Through Rate: the percentage of your subscribers clicked on a link in your email.
  • Email List Growth Rate: how fast your email list is growing over a given period of time.

Monitor these over time to judge the performance of your email marketing efforts.

And as you get more advanced with launching products and joining affiliate programs, you can look at things like conversion rates.

Related: 7 Key Email Marketing Metrics You Need to Know

Next Steps for Influencers and Content Creators That Want to Get Big Results from Their Email Marketing

Check out Email Marketing 101 which is full of free guides to email marketing.

If you’re ready to kick off your email marketing journey in the most efficient way, enter your email below to get 100% free weekly email marketing tips.

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