A newsletter is the name given to a regularly distributed publication generally about one specific topic that is of interest and value to its subscribers. Newspapers and magazines are types of newsletters although newsletters which are delivered electronically via email (e-Newsletters & e-Zines) have gained rapid acceptance for the same reasons email in general has gained popularity over printed correspondence.
This is one of those questions that I am asked very regularly, and there are a number of answers. Frequency of send would be one of those answers because I state how often I send out my newsletter in advance of prospects subscribing to them, were-as I may only send out to my e-mail list when I have specific value generating information to offer which could be far more infrequent.
Another important consideration would be the brand of a newsletter as I would like to develop my newsletter as a stand-alone product with its own identity which could later be sold on as a going concern.
One of the great things about running a newsletter is the sheer volume of profit streams which you have available to you. In fact, you are only limited by your own imagination as with a little creativity you will find many different and attractive methods of including new profit streams into your publication.
If you have your own products and services a newsletter gives you the unrivaled opportunity to provide ongoing upfront no obligation value upon your particular topics or area of expertise. Of course, these would all have hyper-links back to your sales page.
No hard selling is required because you have the opportunity to WOW your newsletter recipients and build the relationship with them on a regular basis by giving them ongoing value. With every exposure they become more familiar with you and your product, and as you are probably already aware some people will require multiple exposures to you and your product before they start to trust you or become sales receptive.
So the opportunity to drip-feed benefits to your prospects is an ideal technique for maximising sales conversions and one which always delivers premium results.
Now you are probably already aware of affiliate marketing and the profit potential they offer those who take it seriously? Well, product reviews are a great way of maximising upon this just so long as you give value. A review will compare the positive and negative benefits of two or more products or services and may also highlight methods of generating income from them. Sometimes there may be a clear winner and a product which is superior to others on the market. However, on other occasions they may simply be different products which offer different benefits.
It goes without saying that all of your reviews will carry affiliate links to enable you to maximise upon your profits. Once your newsletter is established you will find no shortage of product developers asking you to review their products for them which means they will generally provide you with the product as well as an affiliate link to generate an ongoing income.
If you are publishing your newsletter in HTML format, and I encourage you to do so you will be able to include a certain amount of banner advertising which dependent upon your list size you can sell for premium prices. These will be quite acceptable to newsletter recipients as they will fully understand that in return for the value you provide you need to find remuneration and generate an income. However, they may not understand just HOW MANY income streams your newsletter contains.
Banner advertisements can be of any size which you dictate although 250×250 pixels would be a good standard size to offer and one which most markets are familiar with. Alternatively 480 x 60 pixels for a premium header banner advertisement. However, you don’t have to wait until someone approaches you to advertise as you can do banner swaps with other newsletter list owners to your own products or affiliate products.
A MAJOR newsletter benefit that many publishers totally overlook are article swaps, and they work like this:
A third party produces an article specifically for you which they then host upon their own website and you in your newsletter write teaser copy and a hyper-link directly to the article. Their article may have many links to other related aspects or pages upon their website or include an opt-in for further information or a report etc. Obviously this is a less obvious form of advertising and so they would be encouraged to pay a premium fee for the privilege. Or, and more importantly in the early stages of your newsletter development, they allow you the opportunity of an ARTICLE SWAP and publishing your own article upon their website if you deemed it to be of sufficient value to add new newsletter recipients to your list.
I have already mentioned you need to be creative and experiment in developing your income streams and just so long as it offers your readership value you can include as many affiliate income streams as you wish. The warning here that you should pay PARTICULAR ATTENTION to is when your newsletter becomes too SALESY, and fails to offer value to your reader, then at this point you will start to receive more unsubscribes from your list than people joining it which is the last thing you want to have happen.
The joint-venture covers a variety of possibilities including product or service launches etc. What makes them different from ordinary affiliate commissions is that you will work closely with a developer to ensure maximum exposure and sales potential. Some launches can generate HUGE sums of profit in a very short time and as you progress you will find potential joint-venture partners so numerous that they will almost be crawling out of the woodwork. For this reason you will have to become VERY PARTICULAR and discriminating upon who you decide to work with.
However, joint ventures work both ways, and as your list grows you will find approaching other newsletters and large list owners’ one of the best ways of generating profit and at the same time increasing the size of your own list.
Although e-mails do not enjoy the same open rate which they use to, if you learn to develop a strong relationship with your list and separate the qualified prospects from the time wasters you can still do exceptionally well. Once you have educated them that you offer ONGOING VALUE and they become familiar with your brand you will find that a high percentage of your subscribers will stay with you for many years. More importantly, they will recommend your publications, products and services to their friends, family and colleagues and make your newsletter a viral entity.
The big mistake which some people make is that because they give their newsletter away for nothing they don’t feel they have to sell it! So let’s get this straight right now, your newsletter is your means to generating an ongoing income. The more qualified prospects you get to sign up to it, the more profits you are likely to generate, and for that reason you need to sell it hard to build its perceived value. In fact, once you have your newsletter content worked out, gaining new subscriptions is going to be your primary concern.
For this reason you will need to develop at least one high quality opt-in page and one or more benefits such as a report or a quality benefit giving video which you can offer as an incentive or an ethical bribe to get people to subscribe immediately. You will also need to develop a short auto sequence of benefit giving e-mails which help your new opt-in to stay subscribed, let’s call this the honeymoon period.
More and more I am seeing Internet entrepreneurs creating SALES VIDEOS rather than sales letters for their prospects which is a great idea because sales videos tend to out pull their text counterparts. However, I suggest you offer the best of both worlds which is a sales video with a link to an all text sales page below and you’ll be surprised at just how many people will watch the video and then still go over the text based sales page.
Now it obviously goes without saying that your newsletter must give your recipient’s lots of benefits, HIGH QUALITY benefits! …and if it doesn’t do so your recipients are just a click away from unsubscribing from your newsletter and becoming another lost opportunity. So if you find more people are falling out of the bottom of your newsletter list than you can drive to opt-in and become subscribers you have valuable feedback that the quality and focus of your newsletter is not yet correct.
Looking for content ideas and benefits is an ongoing task and you will find ideas everywhere and in the strangest places. So once again, I suggest you start a list of future content ideas and begin carrying a digital dictaphone around with you so you don’t miss any of those ideas when you see them. By developing a good sized list of content ideas and material well in advance you are making publishing your newsletter so much easier for yourself. I only run a small newsletter publication, but at this point I think I could publish it for the next two years without having to look for any more content due to the list of ideas which I have already developed and have ready for use.
This is a good position to be in and one which I enthusiastically promote you to strive to achieve for yourself. Doing too much too soon is far better than doing too little too late as well is keeping you in control.
Now MOST of the content which I produce for my newsletter will be placed upon my website for a number of very good reasons which I am about to go through.
FIRST: Producing a long copy newsletter can take time and has the potential for many mistakes.
SECOND: I would prefer to put quality material upon my website for SEO (search engine optimisation) purposes and then hyper back to it as this will also very much benefit my website.
THIRD: it is far better to provide a much shorter newsletter with great headlines and seductive teaser copy and hyperlinks to stories and articles you have created or found. Most people are on information overload and so providing them with quality BUT SHORT synopsis of your newsletter content will generally be far more appreciated than pages and pages of material which will never get read.
For the above reason a great investment of your time will be learning how to write compelling headlines and teaser copy because these grab attention. A short newsletter with good headlines and powerful links is likely to be kept and shared far more than a long copy newsletter which may get scanned just once.
HTML stands for (hypertext mark-up language) and is a language which allows you to produce a colorful magazine type format which will generally be far more appreciated than a boring plain text copy.
Photographs, illustrations and videos as well as layout and variety in text emphasis all go towards generating a more exciting newsletter experience, and for that reason you should use HTML format as much as possible. At this point almost every modern computer should be able to read the HTML format and view your newsletter as you designed it to be read. However, there still may be a few purists who would prefer text only copies and you can provide this for them if you’re prepared to also develop a text only copy for them which won’t take that much longer if you are only publishing a short copy text publication with hyperlinks.
Now at this point you have a choice which is you can develop a short copy HTML or plain text format newsletter which is sent by e-mail, or you can send you recipients an e-mail stating that the latest newsletter is ready upon your website and a hyperlink to find it. I would prefer to send a short copy HTML newsletter directly by e-mail because this way I know it is in front of them and I can see what links they are clicking upon and what is of most interest to them which allows me to refine future copies of my newsletter and content even further.
The one thing people will never have enough of is FREE TIME, most are experiencing information overload and really want to get directly to what matters and is important to them. For that reason it is exceptionally important that you keep your newsletter short and simple and most important of all UNCLUTTERED! Design a format which makes scanning your short copy newsletter easy and simple for your reader.
Although your newsletter is not long it must always be compelling and this is why I have encouraged you to work on your creative skills so that you can develop high-quality headlines and teaser copy because nothing will get them clicking faster than this.
Your number one priority will be to work out your subscriber’s problems and challenges. If you can get into their heads and discover what they need in their lives as well as their worries and phobias you are then in a GREAT position to help them by finding solutions and this is the point where you will begin to financially benefit.
Above my workstation in my home office, and printed in large letters is a simple question which asks “What Do They Want?” This is to remind me to constantly ask and look for ways of finding this out and generally the best way is to ask my list recipients and prospects directly. Once you have started to build a quality relationship start asking questions in every publication you send. It may be the opportunity to ask you questions, or a simple multi choice survey you may be running. It’s a very simple equation if you can address or even part address what they are thinking about most you will keep their attention.
If you ever give your recipients the opportunity to ask you questions, you will soon discover that many of them are going to be of a personal nature. By personal I mean that they are trying to find out if you are a real human and someone who lives their life like them, or if you are different. I have found that people really enjoy knowing little facts about you and your family and I am happy to share these with them.
My recipients seem to love hearing about where I live and my little home upon the beach next to the sea and how I enjoyed walking up and down the beach a couple of times a day. They enjoy hearing about my children who both participate in high-level judo, and I am their taxi driver as we go around the country to the different competitions etc.
Now some people, including my wife, DON’T AGREE I should do this. However, in my humble opinion people enjoy it and those that don’t can skip it. I am not giving away any great secrets but rather showing a passion for my lifestyle and allowing them a small glimpse of what they could soon develop for themselves if they wished.
Now this is a cardinal rule which you should never break. Profit is important but not at the risk of losing your subscribers. For that reason you must stay HIGHLY ETHICAL and never ever promote products or services which you wouldn’t be happy to use yourself or your family to use!
Remember as you build a value and trust based relationship you have an obligation to your subscribers which is to be truthful. So if you don’t like something tell them this and tell them why, then it’s up to them if they want to try it out for themselves. However, if they try something you have promoted and get a bad experience I promise that they will never trust you again and this is the position you never want to be in.
As you probably realise I track virtually every link on my newsletter or in my e-mails which I send to my specific lists. I know exactly how many and what percentage of my readers follow each and every link which is exceptionally valuable feedback. A few years ago I started to encourage my list to share my newsletter with their friends and acquaintances. I achieved this by placing a simple encouragement at the bottom of each publication followed by a link for interested parties to subscribe to my newsletter directly once they had experienced it.
I’m not sure why I had never done this before because this subscription link started to develop 20 or 30 new subscribers EVERY TIME I published my modest sized newsletter and sometimes many more. For that reason I encourage you to use this simple mechanism inside your own newsletter.
Alternatively, you can use “tell a friend” software and on occasions this can get dramatic results, so I encourage you to use them both.
If you are not familiar with “tell a friend” software this is a simple program which you need to place upon one of the pages on your website and is a simple form which allows your visitors to send an e-mail directly to their friends and family telling them about your newsletter or website etc. Obviously, the e-mail has been composed by you but inserts their name right at the top of the message and in the subject line to gain attention. “Tell a friend” software can be exceptionally effective in making your newsletter or website viral.
If you are now wondering where you’re going to find the content for your newsletter I can tell you a little trick which will provide you with tons of specific and targeted information and ideas. This is to invite them to tell you what they want to learn more about and what is of interest to them. I provide my subscribers with a simple link to a feedback page upon my website and this works wonderfully well.
If you promote this correctly you are going to get lots of questions but at the same time be prepared because some of them are going to be really off the wall. However, amongst them you are going to get some very insightful quality questions which will give you the opportunity to research and develop some quality content which your list will appreciate.
You are probably wondering what tracking tools I use and the answer is I use Mail chimp as my auto responder and mail server and it includes all of the tracking software as standard. However, many of the other auto responders offer an equally beneficial service. Mail chimp tracks all of the hyperlinks which I place in my newsletter and gives me instant feedback to the popularity of that link.
The simple rule this is; if it works keep it in and improve it, and if it doesn’t work throw it out or replace it with something better. Interestingly, paying attention to tracking in this way highlighted that certain parts of my newsletter are hotter than others and what I mean by this is that they get noticed and click upon more than others. Armed with this information you are in a position to put your most profitable information and links in this position to maximise upon your profits.
I usually write number of new articles for each and every newsletter and I promote these by writing a good headline, some interesting teaser copy and then a link which may say “What do you think?” Or “Please leave a comment!” …have you got the idea?
What I noticed when I started to use instructional links rather than ones which just said “click here” or “learn more” is that it immediately started to get my subscribers to leave comments and telling me what they thought. As you know social proof is really important and good quality comments highlight the interest of others. So I encourage you to try this technique for yourself as it really gets results.
I have already stated that you must sell your newsletter hard and what you must work out and HIGHLIGHT to your prospects is what your newsletter will be giving them in ADDITIONAL BENEFITS which they won’t get from subscribing to your RSS (really simple syndication) feed, or feed burner feed which is a Google’s application that allows subscribers to receive all of your latest posts by e-mail.
If they think that they are going to get everything you produce via these services they are LESS LIKELY to subscribe to your newsletter. So for this reason you will need to make a list of additional benefits that subscribers can only gain from your newsletter to encourage them to join.
One of those benefits may be discounts!
Not only discount to your own products and services, but how about encouraging advertisers to offer discounts also as well as paying you for the privilege of advertising in your publication. If you want something to get read and catch the eye of your reader coupons and specifically discount coupons are an excellent medium for doing this.
In fact, you are not restricted and can add many interesting and novel elements to your newsletter. I encourage you to do so and make reading your newsletter a fun experience and something which your recipients will look forward to receiving.
This is a difficult one to answer directly as a lot will come down to the marketplace which you are serving. However, bear in mind that you are walking a fine line between being a pest and being persistent. If you start to get more unsubscribes than expected you may wish to cut back on the frequency of your newsletter delivery.
You will find me repeating this many times but I’m a lazy person and so I am happy to send my newsletter on a biweekly basis, by the way I don’t have to be at home when I send out the newsletter as all of this can be achieved on an automated basis. I have recently been thinking of taking my newsletter up to 36 times a year from 24 which means I will send it out approximately every 10 days and the benefit here is I will soon be able to discover which days are most profitable.
Right now I send it out on either Wednesday or Thursday because these are the days which I have found to be most receptive and develop highest profit level as well as receiving the highest open rate.
Now I have developed a module specifically on auto responders and auto responder software, but to make this profit model complete I will give you a brief outline here also. You don’t have to invest into any expensive software to get started. In fact, you probably already possess Microsoft outlook and if you wish you can send directly from outlook very successfully. You will find there are many templates designs which you can use or you can design your own in HTML template if you understand how to use it.
Alternatively, you may decide to use one of the major auto responders such as aWeber or Mail chimp which I use and these will make building and maintaining your lists simple and putting together a newsletter very easy. The good thing about using online auto responder facilities is that they will maintain it all for you and there is nothing to go wrong. All you have to do is invest a little bit of your time in learning how to effectively use their software.
What I mean by this is you should always address your recipients directly, for instance:
Welcome to the latest publication of???
You see, all of these programs will allow you to use fields from your list database and merge them into your newsletter. This means with just a little effort you can make your newsletter highly personalised and looking as if it was written specifically for the recipient who reads it. Remember you can personalise it with any information you have already gathered from a recipient.
I have tested newsletters with and without personalization and let me tell you right now that personalised newsletters will be responded to far more than generic ones, so don’t miss this opportunity.