An email newsletter is not only one of the most lucrative small business models on the Internet, it’s also the easiest one to get into, due in part to the low startup costs – for less than $100, you can start a small website and an email delivery system. The fact that you can work from anywhere where there’s Internet access makes it even better. However, getting from point A to point B is not as simple as one would expect. In order to create profit from your newsletter, you have to take the following recommended steps first:
1. Get a Healthy List – whether you’re building your list through an opt-in form on your website or just buying from someone else, you have to ensure that it’s a quality list made up of contacts who are aware of what they signed up for. Don’t buy lists full of people who were tricked into signing up, or worse – lists full of abandoned email addresses.
2. Compile a list of potential partners – try to collate a list of companies or marketers who have products that may suit your targeted readership. Then you can contact them later and try to strike a deal for cross promotion or even freebies that can be used as giveaways for contests.
3. Test for various devices – in the past, newsletters can get away with little testing because people only have access to the Internet via desktops or laptops with large screens. Nowadays, a single person may read emails using a wide variety of devices that include smartphones, tablets, and even game consoles and TVs. You have to ensure that your newsletter will display correctly on majority (if not all) devices.
4. Optimize text – remember that newsletters are essentially emails, and people don’t want to read novels from their inboxes. However, you also need to ensure that you can provide a lot of interesting or valuable content in a single newsletter, so try to find the sweet spot. Brevity and proper formatting is the key.
5. Come up with a schedule and stick to it – think of a TV show that you regularly follow. Would you bother keeping up with it if the broadcast schedule was random and there is no official notice on when you can expect an episode to air? The same applies to newsletters. You have to “train” your readers to expect your newsletters to appear on their inbox on a specific date.
6. Study your stats and make improvements – take a look at your open, conversion, and delivery rates, and do a little background research on how you can improve your stats based on what you can see. It’s not enough to have just one of these numbers at an acceptable state, you have to ensure that you’re getting the best numbers across the board.
7. Find sponsors that are a good fit for your readers – don’t be blinded by money. It’s true that you’re doing this for a profit, but if you want your newsletter to be profitable for a long time, you have to ensure that you only get sponsors that your readers will be interested in. If you hit a readership with ads and products that they don’t like, your newsletter will be misinterpreted as spam and you know where spam goes.
8. Lastly, find a good mentor – you can play everything by ear and learn as you go, but chances are you’ll be wasting a lot of time if you do it. All the trial and errors you’ll have to go through can be avoided by finding a good mentor beforehand, so that you can benefit from the experience of someone who’s already ran the laps and done the tests and committed the mistakes. There are a lot of good mentors out there, some of them will be expensive, some of them will offer their mentorship for free, and some are in the middle. Find which ones will suit your approach to newsletters.