Selling Ads in Email Newsletters
Many email newsletter publishers want to sell advertisements to help monetize the publication. Some sell ads to supplement subscription revenue. Others sell ads to support a free subscription model. If selling ads is important to you, you should consider the following basics:
1. Grow Your Subscriber Base. – Most advertisers will not be interested in buying ads in your email newsletter unless you have a subscriber base of several thousand. You should probably not start an advertising sales effort unless you have at least 2,500 subscribers.
For some ideas on how to build your subscribe base, visit our page on acquiring email newsletter subscribers.
2. Define Your Target Market – You can sell ads more easily and at a higher price if you have a clearly defined target. A well defined target market also helps you more clearly focus your editorial content, which helps keep and grow your subscriber base.
To attract advertisers you should provide as much information on your typical subscriber as possible.
If you your email newsletter has a business audience, you should capture information about the typical subscriber’s role in his/her company, company size, etc.
If you are serving a consumer market, you should capture information on age, income, interests, etc of a typical subscriber.
3. Make It Easy For Advertisers – You will sell more ads with a streamlined process for purchasing ads. To make the purchase process easy, offer a variety of payment options credit card (use PayPal if you don’t have a merchant account), check through the mail, and even post-pay for long-standing advertisers.
To keep a loyal advertiser pool, make sure you provide exceptional customer service.
4. Keep In Touch With Previous Advertisers – In sales, it’s easier to sell to existing customers. Make sure you keep in touch with companies that previously advertised in your email newsletter.
If you have remnant ads (ad space that you did not sell), you can reach out to this list and offer a discount as a thanks for past purchases.
5. Offer Good Stats Tracking and Success Stories – Make sure you have the systems in place to help advertisers track the click-through rates (CTR) from your ads.
Also keep track of your average (CTR) to share with potential advertisers. Don’t be shy about providing these numbers. Advertisers expect to know.
In most cases, advertisers in your well-targeted email newsletter will have a higher CTR than sending their message in a blast email. Some industry reports show CTR as high as 15% for free offers on third-party email newsletters. This is well above the 2.5% from email to third-party lists.
Keep track of what has worked well with past advertisers. Do your subscribers respond well to a free white paper, a webinar, or other free offers? Do your subscribers respond well to links to videos? Also keep track of which ad sizes tend to bring the best results (see next item).
6.Offer Various Standard Ad Sizes – Some industry research shows that larger ad sizes will give advertisers a higher click-through rate. While it can be harder to place a larger ad within your email newsletter, you should offer a wide variety of sizes.
7. Incorporate Ads Within a 60/40 Split – If you place all ads in the right-hand column of your email newsletter, you make it very easy for subscribers to gloss over the ads.
To help out your advertisers, try to sprinkle the ads throughout the editorial copy. Try a 60/40 content-to-ad ratio, which means the email newsletters contains 60% content and 40% advertising (at the most). Just make sure that you clearly mark advertising messages as such with words such as “advertising” or “sponsor”
8. Encourage Ad Testing – Once you get a large enough subscriber base, you can greatly increase the results of your advertisers by offer a testing platform.
For example, you can split the list and offer two different versions of an ad to allow the advertiser to test copy. This can help your advertisers get a stronger return on their advertising investment and increase their loyalty to you.