Successful email marketing is a balancing act between sharing quality free content that shows your readers that you know what you’re talking about and keeps them on your list, and offers for paid products, so you can earn a living. Let’s talk about how you can find that balance, and come up with a successful email marketing strategy.

I wish there was an easy, fail-safe formula I could share with you that would tell you exactly when to send free content, and when to make an offer, and even when to combine the two. The truth is that there is no such formula. While I’ve developed a system and some rough guidelines that work well for me in my niche and for my email list, they likely won’t work for you. Plus things change over time. You’ll use a very different schedule now than you will a few years down the road. Things change, readers change, and what they expect from your business will change.

The question then is where do you start and what do you do to find your own personal balance between sharing free content and paid offers? The first thing you need to realize is that you set a lot of expectations by what you’re currently doing. If you’re mostly sharing lots of great helpful free content, that’s what your readers expect right now. You have to change those expectations slowly. Add a few offers here and there and occasionally send out a solo email. Don’t push too hard. Give your readers time to adjust and gradually get them used to the idea of seeing offers. Point out the benefits of this to them. Yes, your main goal may be to make money, but you’re also handpicking and evaluating products and services for them. Show your readers how this benefits them. Over time, get them used to seeing more and more offers.

If you’re starting out with a new list, start making offers from day one. Mix them up with helpful free content, but don’t be afraid to make a sale from the beginning. Then start experimenting and paying attention to your stats. Try mixing more solo emails in with your free content ones, or combine a helpful tip with an offer for a related product. What makes the most sense business wise? You want to strike a balance between sharing great content and making money. Sometimes ending less solo emails makes more sense because it helps you grow your list and keep your readers from unsubscribing. In the long run, sending one solo email per week instead of two or three may make more sense. But you won’t know until you try and track your stats, click through rates, unsubscribes, and sales.

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