How to Start and Grow Your Newsletter from Scratch

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Email is one of the most direct and engaging channels through which to reach your customers. Especially if you’re growing a niche blog or online publication, email lets you deliver personalized, opt-in content right to people’s inboxes — so they can stay up-to-date with their favorite stories.

The power of email doesn’t stop there, either. Once you start growing your subscriber list, you can begin monetizing your emails with personalized ads and offers, increasing revenue and engagement for your burgeoning business.

In fact, according to the Data & Marketing Association, marketers can earn an average of $42 for every $1 spent on email. And, as eMarketer reported, 63% of consumers prefer to hear from their favorite retailers via email.

So, ready to learn how to grow and monetize your newsletter? We’ve got you covered.

5 strategies for newsletter growth

Use these actionable tips to start building your email newsletter from scratch and expanding that list of subscribers.

1. Offer a free lead magnet

Create a downloadable or exclusive piece of content, such as an ebook or video, inviting people to enter their email address for access. This can help you provide value to your subscribers off the bat and gain a better understanding of which types of content they’re interested in.

The Balanced Life fitness blog, for example, offers five days of free workouts in exchange for a reader’s name and email address. The sign-up form includes a disclaimer that participants will be added to the website’s email list for more content, tips, and special offers.

(Source: https://thebalancedlifeonline.com/pilates-strong-challenge/)

2. Segment audiences for personalization

Segment audiences so you know you’re reaching the most engaged readers with personalized content that meets their needs and interests. You might segment audiences by age, location, interest, or subscription tier, for instance. According to Campaign Monitor, marketers who segmented campaigns saw up to a 760% increase in revenue.

Take the Girl with Curves fashion blog. They give readers a choice to sign up for different types of newsletter content, including information about the retail collection, new blog posts, and a weekly roundup.

(Source: https://girlwithcurves.com/)

3. Include social sharing buttons

Encourage subscribers to share your emails and invite friends to sign up by placing social sharing buttons or “Email to a friend” calls to action in your newsletters. As Disruptive Advertising reported, this simple feature can increase email click-through rates by 158%.

That’s why the NerdWallet finance blog includes socials sharing buttons — and calls-to-action for app downloads — at the end of each newsletter.

4. Host online events

Launch a webinar, live product release, expert interview, or online workshop for your audience. Make it registration-only, so they can provide their emails to attend. You can then use that email list to follow up with participants, providing more exclusive content such as transcripts, relevant articles or videos, and newsletter offerings.

Literary magazine The White Review, for instance, hosted a series of online events this summer, featuring talks with poets and essay writers. Attendees were invited to register via Eventbrite.

5. A/B test creative elements

Find out which copy, images, layouts your audience responds to most by A/B testing different options. For example, you might split test two different subject lines to see which drives the best open rate. Or you might test two call-to-action buttons against each other to see which generates more clicks.

How to monetize your newsletter list

For many publishers, email is an untapped revenue stream, ready to deliver increased profit.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to start monetizing your newsletter list:

Sell ad space

Sell ad space directly or programmatically within your email newsletter. You made build slots for banner ads into your templates, allowing relevant marketers to buy space in the top, bottom, or side bars of your emails.

Use native advertising

Native advertising involves placing ads in your emails that match your surrounding newsletter content. This provides a more seamless and experience for the reader. In fact, native ads have been found to drive an 8.8X higher CTR and 18% higher lift in purchase intent than typical display ads.

Add affiliate links

Affiliate links are embedded within the copy of your newsletter, connecting readers to advertiser’s content or products. Typically, if a reader clicks on the link or converts to make a purchase through the marketer’s website, the publisher receives a payment. Affiliate don’t affect the layout of your newsletter and are generally easy to incorporate, especially if they relate to the content you’re already providing.

Unlocking the power of email

Email can be one of your most important channels — as long as you know how to use it. By proactively acquiring subscribers and delivering high-quality content, you can grow your newsletter list and keep audiences coming back for more. From there, you have a valuable opportunity to monetize email content in innovative and engaging ways — contributing to the success of your ad partners and your own bottom line.

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