Selling ads through newsletters can be very profitable. However, it is a completely different process from traditional ad selling, particularly if you’re basing it within the context of print publications. If you want to succeed, you need to acknowledge the differences and follow a few keys to success, such as:
Offer Data on Performance
Many e-mail marketers shy away from presenting numbers because they compare their numbers with expectations derived from traditional print advertising. A 25 percent open rate with an 8 percent overall CTR with 0.30 average banner CTR might not look very impressive and the numbers may seem “low,” but those numbers are actually decent if you are familiar with the industry benchmarks.
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It is also worth noting that the numbers presented on newsletter advertising are much more accurate compared to print advertising due to the availability of tracking tools. Add the fact that newsletters have a significantly wider reach and larger audience and you’ll see that the supposedly “low” numbers are actually above average when compared to other advertising channels.
So, do not be afraid to present actual data. Spend a little bit of time on educating potential advertisers on what the numbers really mean and you’ll find that they’ll end up trusting your data more.
Consider the Size of Ads You Offer
When it comes to banner advertising, size does matter. Larger ads usually generate better numbers compared to smaller formats. However, an email newsletter more often than not has a limited amount of real estate available. This means you have to test and offer large size ads that won’t ruin the newsletter itself, or offer smaller sized formats that are cheaper. Make sure you standardize everything: pick the largest possible size and then slice it into smaller formats that you can offer piecemeal (this way, advertisers have the option of choosing the size that fits their budget.)
Avoid Separating Advertising from Editorial
In the publishing world, editorial is kept completely separate from advertising. They need to avoid making readers think that the editorial is influenced by advertisers. However, things are different when it comes to email newsletters. You don’t want to overwhelm readers with ads, but placing advertisements alongside editorial content will help them be seen by more people. The rule of thumb is just to ensure that readers are made aware of which ones are editorial content and which ones are advertisements – this can be done by including the word “advertising” or “sponsor” as a watermark or small caption. Banner ads don’t really need this, but text ads need them in order to avoid making them look like text content. You don’t want to come off as deceptively trying to get people to click on ads.
The above tips are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg – selling through newsletter advertising is a big, lucrative industry and there are other things that you can learn through experience.