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How to Monetize an Email Newsletter

Monetize a Newsletter

Whether sending periodic updates or automatically sharing your publication’s top stories each morning, newsletters are a popular way for publishers to distribute content and generate revenue. By sending content directly to subscribers’ inboxes through a newsletter, publishers can increase site traffic, improve reader engagement, and offer advertisers a valuable way to reach your readers.

There are many publishers who would like to monetize their newsletter, but aren’t’ sure how. Although there is no precise formula, there are strategies that have proven to be more effective than others.

Below, we’ll dig into what makes newsletter monetization so lucrative and explain some of the most popular ways digital publishers have found to take advantage in 2021.

Newsletter Setup

The first thought many publishers have when considering launching an email newsletter is the potential work involved. However, much of that assumed workload, such as uploading stories and advertisements, can be completed much easier than expected.

Newsletters, especially with MailChimp, can be automated using RSS merge. Many publishers use this feature to automatically pull articles into their newsletter. A simple and effective example is a daily newsletter that automatically shows the five most recent articles published on a site. This same feature works for advertisements. Ads can automatically be pulled into a newsletter and placed wherever a publisher prefers. This makes it easy to set up a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter that proves to be financially rewarding.

How Do Newsletters Make Money?

Newsletter monetization involves generating revenue from your newsletter, generally through some combination of display advertising and sponsorships, the most popular of which is through display advertising. Newsletters are an ideal place to run ads. Publishers are able to charge advertisers a premium for placing their ads directly inside subscribers’ inboxes, because of the value this offers advertisers.

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Some advertisers, especially local ones used to print advertising, love to be inside email inboxes. Unlike website display advertising, newsletter advertising feels tangible to advertisers. Many advertisers think of the newsletter as the modern day newspaper because of this. Since subscribers are opting-in to receive this content, it can be assumed they want to read it. This distinguishes a publisher’s newsletter advertising from the standard email marketing channels advertisers use. Newsletters also have exceptionally high open rates — as high as 22% — so advertisers can feel confident that the ads they’re placing are actually being seen by readers.

Other ways that publishers can generate revenue from newsletters are by selling sponsorships to advertisers, placing affiliate links in the content, and promoting ancillary products or services, such as their virtual conferences, ebooks, and e-commerce stores.

How to Generate Revenue with Newsletters

Newsletter advertising generates a strong ROI when it’s done the right way. For smaller publishers, that means setting up a direct sales program and using the latest tools and ad management platforms, like Broadstreet.

It’s true that the larger your subscriber list, the more you can charge advertisers for the opportunity to run display advertising in your newsletter. However, even the smallest publishers can generate revenue through email newsletters when the value proposition of advertising in their newsletter is made clear. In fact, many small publishers make more money with their newsletter than their website.

For all their similarities, website advertising and newsletter advertising do have key differences. The first of these has to do with the ideal ad size. We recommend using 3×1 size ads, like 900×300. These look great on mobile, and are a big hit with advertisers. If your newsletter uses more than one column, then other ad sizes may also make sense. It’s important to make sure ads are formatted correctly for all mobile devices before publishing. Many publishers charge a premium for ads in the header and the footer. However, ads placed throughout a newsletter’s content generate higher levels of engagement and clicks. Therefore, determining a advertiser’s goals is crucial when placing and pitching newsletter ads.

Best Practices in Newsletter Monetization

Why do some publishers have more success monetizing newsletters than others? For the most part, it comes down to the technology and the techniques. What technology platforms is the publisher using, and what sales techniques is the publisher’s sales team trying?

MailChimp is our recommended email software for publishers’ newsletters. It’s a good complement to WordPress, Squarespace, and other website builders. Constant Contact and myEmma are other popular options. All of these integrate nicely with Broadstreet, so your email advertisements have the same benefits as your website ads.

As a best practice, we recommend placing newsletter ad units throughout the content. While headers and footers do appear attractive to advertisers, data shows that newsletter ads placed throughout the content perform best and generate the highest levels of engagement and click-throughs. Your advertisers will be happier with the high performance.

Broadstreet enables publishers to set up robust newsletter advertising with ad shuffling, view, and click tracking. That’s something that advertisers appreciate just as much as publishers.

To learn more about what Broadstreet can offer, click here.

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