If you’ve been keeping your ears close to the ground, you are well aware that revenue is down for many ad-supported websites, mainly because rates have gone down and people just aren’t clicking as much as they used to. And since their business models depend a lot on a steady stream of traffic coming from search engines, each algorithm update shakes things up puts them at risk of losing revenue (and many already did, actually.)
But do you want to know one channel where people are still making a killing? E-Newsletters. These crafty marketers are making a ton of profit on a mode of communication that many people have already written off as outmoded, trampled upon by the rise of social media channels. The really ironic part to this is that e-newsletters are still much more profitable than social networks and even ad-supported e-commerce sites.
Best of all, once the subscription base is healthy and the business is running, they’re very rarely, if ever, affected by algorithm changes on major search engines. They don’t sit around waiting for people to arrive – they actually get the priviledge to appear on people’s inboxes. An e-newsletter is a much deeper commitment, and more conducive to purchases.
However, e-newsletters are not magic bullets – not by a longshot. You can’t just send out any newsletter with a link to a product and expect money to fall from the sky. Much like any business endeavor, there are poor newsletters and there are profitable ones. If you’re having trouble picturing the difference between the two, here are some of the secrets of the most profitable e-newsletters:
Most novice e-newsletter connoisseurs tend to pick popular categories like “health” or “make money” when starting out. But the thing about popular categories is that they are very broad and can cover a lot of topics and interests. If you go for this, you are basically trying to sell to everyone.
And you know the old adage: when you sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one. The right approach is to go for the popular topic BUT try to winnow it down to something that is more specific. For instance, an e-newsletter about “hwo to make money” is too broad, so you need to go one level deeper, like “how to make money blogging.”
It’s not really limited to e-newsletters. In any marketing or selling endeavor, people are naturally going to gravitate more towards things that are authoritative. Consumers only want to listen to or buy from people who are considered as the experts. For your e-newsletter, you can achieve this in oh-so many ways. You can build a reputation first, which is a long-term project, or you can interview industry experts, celebrities, or just people famous in the same niche. This will give you an aura of authority – basically someone whose words carry weight. Additionally, you can also do little things like write in a more authoritative tone – third person – instead of an informal one (keep in mind that this is on a case by case basis, there are situations where first person is better.)
A common mistake that many novice e-newsletter writers make is forget that they are showing up on people’s inboxes as guests. How would you feel if a guest that you invited into your home did nothing but try to get you to buy something?
When it comes to e-newsletters, don’t just try to sell things to your readers. In fact, some of the most profitable newsletters actually don’t sell any products. They just carry interesting or entertaining content. Where do they get the profits? They sell ad space. When the reader is engrossed with your content, they won’t mind if you sneak in an advertisement or two in there. They’d be glad to look at those ads, and maybe even buy from it out of gratitude.
The key thing to remember is that even though the main goal in your e-newsletter is to get people to buy something or to make a profit, you can’t go straight to that goal. There are steps in between, and one of them is keeping the attention of your readers by being entertaining or interesting.
You can make a good income out of a well-written and properly structured e-newsletter. But you can actually make more if you create two versions of the newsletter. A standard one that already works on its own due to solid content, and a premium version that offers even more benefits.
You have to find a balance between the two – make sure the standard version doesn’t look crippled, but you also have to ensure that the premium version provides significant benefits and incentives over the standard version – such as giveaways, access to video content, live webinars, etc. If you do this right, the standard version will give you a consistent stream of income, but the premium newsletter will make up the majority of your gross profits.