Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Revenue Potential of Newsletters

According to a survey, newsletters do surpass search engines and social media when it comes to conversion rates by website traffic as well as “Add to Cart” rates. This means that there is a great likelihood that newsletters drive your readers not only to your site, but if you are selling products or services on that site, they are more likely to make those purchases as a result of subscribing to your newsletter.

In terms of driving online traffic to your advertisers’ websites as well as your own newspaper’s website, social media presence and well-developed SEO play a huge role. Of course, traffic means more readers, more views per page and ideally, increased revenue. In the wake of new developments in technology, newsletters may seem like old news, but don’t let them get lost in the mix. Newsletters are still a proven way to drive traffic to websites, although they don’t garner the same results as search engines and SEO. However, according to a survey conducted by Ecommmerce Quarterly, newsletters do surpass search engines and social media when it comes to conversion rates by website traffic as well as “Add to Cart” rates. This means that there is a great likelihood that newsletters drive your readers not only to your site, but if you are selling products or services on that site, they are more likely to make those purchases as a result of subscribing to your newsletter. Newsletters are often seen as having low ROI, because of the time spent creating content and design, but the boost they offer to your advertisers’ website traffic is worth it. Plus if they follow some quick steps to monetize their newsletters, they might be more than what your advertisers originally thought — so let them know!

Sell Ad Space

This should be a no brainer at your ad department, so make sure you’re acting as an advertising consultant by coaching your advertisers on how to sell ad space in their newsletters. There are plenty of online sources (for example, LiveIntent, a website offering newsletter creation solutions) that connect publishers and advertisers in order to make these newsletter ads happen and even make the code for easy implementation. You could even cut out the middleman by offering your own services, once again proving that you are the go-to advertising resource in town. Offer to cross-sell your client’s ad space and take part of the profits in return or increase the fee for your services accordingly. Depending on the newsletter service that you use, payments could be based on how many clicks the ad receives or how many times it’s displayed.

Beyond selling to outside advertisers, make sure your advertisers include self-promoting ads that redirect to their websites or specifically their online stores. After all, your advertisers should take advantage of every opportunity to market and sell their products.  

As an industry expert, make sure you inform your clients of the best places to advertise in a newsletter. For instance, suggest banner ads at the top and bottom of the email, and perhaps a couple of display ads on the right-hand side of the email, depending on the layout and design.

Connect With Affiliates

With your newspaper and your advertisers, it’s important to demonstrate your connection to the larger community beyond just selling them a product or service. So when looking for ways to monetize your clients’ newsletters, suggest that your advertisers create an affiliate network with other retailers and organizations in the community. They can then sell banner ad space or even promote their services within the content of another advertiser’s newsletter! However, this cannot outwardly seem like gratuitous selling. Make sure your advertisers pick associated affiliates who are relevant to their own product or service, and therefore relevant to your email list. This has the potential to become a mutually beneficial relationship, since they may advertise your clients in return.

Subscription Fee

Before stamping a price on your newsletter, it’s important your advertisers assess the content of their emails and their worth to their current recipient list. Determine first if the content is valuable enough to warrant subscribers to pay for it. You could perhaps send out a survey with the next newsletter asking readers if they would be willing to pay for the email. This will help you determine if it’s worth taking the plunge and charging a subscription fee. If the ROI does not add up, then it’s best to keep the newsletter free for subscribers and focus on filling out the advertising space as described above.