Publishers rely on newsletters to reach their audience and maintain strong relationships. They’re not alone. Sixty-six percent of marketers say sending newsletters is the main purpose of having their contact list, followed by sending promotional emails.
Newsletters provide great engagement rates and are a good way to keep in constant communication with subscribers. But a growing number of publishers are using their newsletters to generate additional revenue. That’s right– publishers have found innovative ways to monetize their email newsletters.
There are several different ways publishers can use their newsletter’s reach to bring in more revenue. If you’re interested in trying something similar, give one of these innovative tactics a try.
1. Include a subscription link in your newsletter
To create a must-read newsletter, you likely curate your best content. You pick the freshest, most captivating articles and display them in an easy-to-read format. Some publishers even have exclusive newsletters where the content is only available via email.
As you’re creating the newsletter, consider saving one of the content blocks for self-promotion. Include an ad that gives readers the option to subscribe to your publication. It might be an online publication that readers pay for or a physical magazine that’s mailed to subscribers.
Discover Magazine, for example, added a subscription block to its newsletter to generate some revenue. Take a look at their newsletter below. You’ll notice the green block in the newsletter and an additional “Subscribe” option in the top right corner. Both direct subscribers to a paid subscription page.
When readers click on the green block promoting a magazine, Astronomy, for example, they’re taken to this check out form. Readers can easily pay for their one or two-year subscription from this point.
When readers click on the top right “Subscribe” image, they’re given the chance to buy the Discover magazine on this form:
This publisher gives readers an option to get a paid subscription of two different magazines. The newsletter provides a way to direct readers to these purchase points.
Adding this kind of promotion is simple and seamless. It doesn’t interrupt the reader. If readers are interested, they’ll click on it. If not, they can check out the other articles you’ve provided.
2. Include unobtrusive ads in emails
To monetize your newsletters, you can also consider displaying an ad or two inside.
Why are advertisers interested in your newsletter? Think about it. You have direct access to a niche audience. You know who your ideal customers are and who you’re marketing to. Advertisers who are aligned with the same audience would LOVE to reach your customers.
Don’t worry– you don’t have to dedicate a large chunk of your newsletter to a flashy ad. You can include ads in an unobtrusive way. For example, Apartment Therapy offers a great example with a small, tasteful banner on the top of its newsletter.
You could consider doing something similar. You’re already sending the newsletter, so why not include a simple ad?
3. Partner with advertisers to promote products
Publishers are also teaming up with specific brands to promote products directly to their newsletter subscribers.
Most publishers have an amazing email list full of great contacts. While they’re not willing to share the list with any brand or advertiser, they are willing to partner with them to create an ad that’s directed to their regular subscribers.
Discover Magazine, for example, promotes Focus Factor to their newsletter recipients. Take a look at the email below:
The product is relevant to the audience and is displayed in a science atmosphere to match the magazine’s tone.
Some publishers embrace this tactic while others feel like it’s a bit too “salesy.” It’s up to your brand to decide where you fall on this debate.
If you decide to promote products directly, make sure the product is really of interest to your readers. Even though you’re trying to sell something, it should still provide value. In other words, be selective with the brands or products you choose to promote.
Marketing products to your newsletter subscribers should be done in moderation too. The majority of your newsletters should still highlight your top-notch content, but every once in a while, offering a cool product is fine.
4. Include sponsored content in your newsletter
To generate additional revenue, you can also include sponsored content in your newsletter. Sponsored content looks and feels like any other article on your site, but it has a sales component to it.
Take a look at the Apartment Therapy newsletter below. The article in the red box, “Summer Makeup Capsule: The Only 9 Products You’ll Need All Season” is sponsored content.
When readers click on it, the article provides readers some great tips, just like other Apartment Therapy articles do, but this one provides links to each product in hopes of readers making a purchase. If readers do make a purchase, Apartment Therapy makes a commission.
If you decide to promote sponsored content, make sure it still feels organic to your site. It should be something that your subscribers enjoy reading out and have a genuine interest in.
You should also tell subscribers that the content is sponsored. Whether you add a “Sponsored Article” label to the top of the piece or include a small disclaimer at the bottom of the article that explains how you, as the publisher, benefits, is up to you.
Apartment Therapy adds this disclaimer to the bottom of its sponsored content. It provides transparency and tells the readers that they do receive money for any sales that happen as a result of this article.
Subscribers enjoy reading newsletters, but they take some time for publishers to create. Writing articles, finding images, formatting the newsletter, and sending it out takes time. Making efforts to monetize your newsletter can offset some of this investment.
Publishers have deployed savvy marketing techniques to make sure that they’re maximizing their newsletter content. Using any one of these techniques can help publishers increase their bottom line and elevate the need for a newsletter that much more.