How to Launch a Profitable E-mail Publication From the Comfort of Your Home in Just a Couple of Hours
Start Attracting Subscribers and Advertisers by the End of the Week!
Owls Head Maine
The opportunities in e-mail publishing are hotter than ever.
I've sold more than $10 million in advertising in e-mail newsletters and dedicated (standalone) e-mail promotions since 2001.
On top of that, I've helped publishers launch dozens of profitable advertising-supported e-mail newsletters on the Internet.
How in the world did I do it?
In late 1999, I read about a guy who built a billion-dollar publishing empire by perfecting a formula that was guaranteed to increase advertising sales. The guy's name is Bill Ziff - and his technique is still referred to in the trade as "the formula."
You can learn all about "the formula" in a great e-book titled Amazing Secrets That Guarantee Advertising Sales (still available through Nitro Marketing).
Basically, "the formula" boils down to four words:
Talk about simple! But these four words are packed with insight and wisdom.
I'll walk you through it in a second. But first, I want to mention that there are basically only three ways to make money with an e-mail publication.
1. You can sell advertising. (By this, I mean dedicated, standalone e-mail promotions and advertising within the content of the publication - but not SPAM!)2. You can sell fee-based subscriptions.3. You can sell products and services directly to subscribers. (This would include paid advertorials.)
Today, I'm going to focus on the first way - publishing an e-mail newsletter that is supported by paid advertising. That's what "the formula" is all about.
Before you can sell advertising, you're going to need lots of subscribers to your publication, Sadly, the size of your subscriber list matters to most of the high-profile, Fortune 1000-type advertisers.
I'm aware of dozens of publications that have less than 500 subscribers, and those publications have attracted enough advertisers to make them profitable.
But I'm also aware of e-mail publications that reach more than 500,000 readers ... and those are very, very profitable!
In order to ramp up your subscriber numbers, you'll need to do six very specific things:
1. You'll need to create a simple website that describes the benefits of your publication.2. You'll need to provide a mechanism whereby people can sign-up - or "opt-in" - to receive your publication.3. You'll need to come up with a relentless, low-cost, effective marketing plan that will get your publication in front of as many "qualified" eyeballs as possible.4. You'll need to provide editorial content that motivates readers to recommend your publication to others.5. You'll need to buy, rent, or exchange similar subscriber lists to promote your publication.6. You'll need to submit your opt-in subscription Web page to the top-tier search engines. (Buying keywords and phrases is not a bad idea either.)
I realize this probably sounds like a lot of stuff and way too much trouble.
But there are dozens of top-quality services that provide some or all of these things for you. Yahoo! Groups is one, SmartGroups.com is another.
Okay, let's get back to "the formula": the Market, the Buyer, the Competition, and the Solution. What do these words have to do with selling advertising? Everything.
Let me explain ...
When you approach a prospective advertiser for your e-mail publication, you need to know their market. I'm not talking about reading one article about it. I'm talking about having a thorough understanding of it.
Your prospective advertiser could be into security software, horse breeding, online gaming, or hundreds of other markets.
And you need to know that market as well as, or better than, they do.
You need to know who your prospective advertiser's buyer is. Is he or she an IT administrator, a CEO, a farmhand, an office manager? Ideally, your subscribers are the buyers that this advertiser is selling to.
You need to know your prospective advertiser's competition. Ask them who their competition is - and then research it yourself on the Web. Is your prospective advertiser larger or smaller than their competition?
This is a very big deal - a "hot button" for advertisers. If, for example, your prospective advertiser is afraid that the competition has an advantage, you may be able to persuade them to advertise their products or services in your publication to "head off" any damage.
Every company has a problem. It could be a problem with a lack of sales, profits, prestige, public relations, declining stock price, or maybe their products are becoming obsolete. What you need to do is identify their problem. Then you can craft a proposal for the prospective advertiser that presents your subscribers as the solution to that problem.
And you convince them that your subscribers would be very responsive to whatever it is that they are selling.
Your proposal may only be a couple of sentences long - or it could be 6 pages.
In either case, it would be built around "the formula" - the prospective advertiser's Market, Buyer, Competition, and the ultimate Solution to their problem (which is your subscribers!).
I realize that most advertising salespeople have never heard of this approach.
In fact, most advertising salespeople that I've met could care less about an advertiser's Market, Buyer, Competition, or Problem (let alone the Solution to that Problem). The average
advertising salesperson today is nothing more than an order-taker. Prospective advertisers call in or e-mail and the "ad rep" sends them a rate card.
But the formula that I'm describing here will make you an authority when it comes to advertising any product or service - and you'll find that major corporate advertisers tend to be attracted to knowledgeable salespeople.
What's more, major corporate advertisers (with very deep pockets) tend to stick with a publication for years. That means you only need to sell them once, and they'll rebook with your e-mail publication month after month after month.
I sold an advertising test package to one of the largest gold coin retailers in the world. They've been advertising in that particular e-mail publication ever since (and that was 10 years ago!).
If you don't have a subscriber list, you need to start one. The fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to do this is with free Web-based newsletter and list hosts like Yahoo! Groups.
You can start a newsletter, discussion list, blog, or announcement list in just a few minutes - and it's free.
Yahoo! Groups also provides a way to market and advertise your newsletter. This will help you grow your subscriber list.
In addition, you can promote your e-mail publication with Google AdWords or hundreds of other pay-per-click or flat-fee search engines.
The object is to build your opt-in subscriber base as quickly as possible. You can also advertise in e-mail newsletters, search engines, and/or on high-traffic sites.
This doesn't mean that you'll have to spend a lot of money. But list building and promotion does take time, attention to detail, and passion!
Let's say you want to launch an e-mail publication on horse racing.
You've started promoting and marketing your publication on search engines ... and perhaps on high-traffic websites that are focused on horse racing.
Now, in order to attract advertisers, your publication will need to "flow" with similar publications that already have paying advertisers. You can be different. But when you're starting out, the publication needs to be a natural fit for advertisers. That's what Steven Crist did when he started the Daily Racing Form.
Granted, the Daily Racing Form started out as a print publication. But the e-mail version has been almost as successful.
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