July 15, 2009
Writing and publishing a successful newsletter is perhaps the most competitive of all the different areas of mail order and direct marketing.
Five years ago, there were 1500 different newsletters in this country. Today there are well over 10,000, with new ones being started every day. It’s also interesting to note that for every new one that’s started, some disappear just as quickly as they are started – lack of operating capital and marketing know-how being the principal causes of failure.
To be successful with a newsletter, you have to specialize. Your best bet will be with new information on a subject not already covered by an established newsletter.
Regardless of the frustrations involved in launching your own newsletter, never forget this truth: There are people from all walks of life, in all parts of this country, many of them with no writing ability whatsoever, who are making incredible profits with simple two-, four-, and six-page newsletters!
Your first step should be to subscribe to as many different newsletters and mail order publications as you can afford. Analyze and study how the others are doing it. Attend as many workshops and seminars on your subject as possible. Learn from the pros. Learn how the successful newsletter publishers are doing it, and why they are making money. Adapt their success methods to your own newsletter, but determine to recognize where they are weak, and to make yours better in every way.
Plan your newsletter before launching it. Know the basic premise for its being, your editorial position, the layout, art work, type styles, subscription price, distribution methods, and every other detail necessary to make it look, sound and feel like the end result you have envisioned.
Lay out your start-up needs; detail the length of time it’s going to take to become established, and what will be involved in becoming established. Set a date as a mile stone of accomplishment for each phase of your development: A date for breaking even, a date for attaining a certain paid subscription figure, and a monetary goal for each of your first five years in business. And all this must be done before publishing your first issue.
Market research is simply determining who the people are who will be interested in buying and reading your newsletter, and the kind of information these people want to see in your newsletter as a reason for continuing to buy it. You have to determine what it is they want from your newsletter.
Your market research must give you unbiased answers about your newsletter’s capabilities of fulfilling your prospective buyer’s need for information; how much he’s willing to pay for it, and an overall profile of his status in life. The questions of why he needs your information, and how he’ll use it should be answered. Make sure you have the answers to these questions, publish your newsletter as a vehicle of fulfillment to these needs, and you’re on your way!
You’re going to be in trouble unless your newsletter has a real point of difference that can be easily perceived by your prospective buyer. The design and graphics of your newsletter, plus what you say and how you say it, will help in giving your newsletter this vital difference.
Be sure your newsletter works with the personality you’re trying to build for it. Make sure it reflects the wants of your subscribers. Include your advertising promise within the heading, on the title page, and in the same words your advertising uses. And above all else, don’t skim on design or graphics!
The name of your newsletter should also help to set it apart from similar news letters, and spell out its advertising promise. A good name reinforces your advertising. Choose a name that defines the direction and scope of your newsletter.
Opportunity Knocking, Money Making Magic, Extra Income Tip Sheet, and Mail Order Up-Date are primate examples of this type of philosophy – as opposed to the Johnson Report, The Association Newsletter, or Club-house Confidential.
Try to make your newsletter’s name memorable – one that flows automatically. Don’t pick a name that’s so vague it could apply to almost anything. The name should identify your newsletter and its subject quickly and positively.
Promoting your newsletter, finding prospective buyers and converting these prospects into loyal subscribers, will be the most difficult task of your entire undertaking. It takes detailed planning, persistence and patience.
You’ll need a sales letter. Check the sales letter you receive in the mail; analyze how these are written and pattern yours along the same lines. You’ll find all of them – all those worthy of being called sales letters – following the same formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action on the part of the reader – AIDA.
Jump right in at the beginning and tell the reader how he’s going to benefit from your newsletter, and then keep emphasizing right on through your “PS”, the many and different benefits he’ll gain from subscribing to your newsletter. Elaborate on your listing of benefits with examples of what you have, or you intend to include, in your newsletter.
Follow these examples with endorsements or testimonials from reviewers and satisfied subscribers. Make the recipient of your sales letter feel that you’re offering him the answer to all his problems on the subject of your newsletter.
You have to make your prospect feel that “this is the insider’s secret” to the success he wants. Present it to him as his own personal key to success, and then tell him how far behind his contemporaries he is going to be if he doesn’t act upon your offer immediately.
An acknowledgment letter, in an envelope, will cost more postage to mail than a simple postcard; however, when you send the letter you have to opportunity to enclose additional material. A circular listing other items available through you will produce additional orders.
Thus far, you’ve prepared the layout and copy for your newsletter. Go ahead and have a hundred copies printed, undated. You’ve written a sales letter and prepared a return reply subscription order card or coupon; go ahead and have a hundred of these printed, also undated, of course. You’ll need letterhead mailing envelopes, and don’t forget the return reply envelopes if you choose to use the coupons instead of the business reply postcard. Go ahead and have a thousand mailing envelopes printed. You also need subscription order acknowledgment cards or notes; have a hundred of these printed, and of course, don’t forget the imprinted reply envelopes if you’re going along with the idea of using a note instead of a postcard. This w ill be a basic supply for “testing” your materials so far.
Now you’re ready for the big move – the Advertising Campaign.
Start by placing a small classified ad in one of your local newspapers. You should place your ad in a weekend or Sunday paper that will reach as many people as possible, and of course, do everything you can to keep your costs as low as possible. How ever, do not skimp on your advertising budget. To be successful – to make as much money as possible with your idea – you’ll need to reach as many people as you can afford, and as often as you can.
Move slowly, start with a local, far-reaching and widely read paper, and with the prof its or returns from that ad, go to the regional magazines, or one of the smaller national magazines, and continue plowing your returns into more advertising in different publications. By taking your time, and building your acceptance in this manner, you won’t lose too much if one of your ads should prove to be a dud. Stay with the advertising. Do not abandon it in favor of direct mail. We would not recommend direct mail until you are well established and your national classified advertising pro gram is bringing in a healthy profit for you.
Do not become overly ambitious and go out on a limb with expensive full-page advertising until you’re very well established. When you do buy full page advertising, start with the smaller publications, and build from those results. Have patience; keep close tabs on your costs per subscriber, and build from the profits of your advertising. Always test the advertising medium you want to use with a classified ad, and if it pulls well for you, go on to a larger display type ad.
Classified advertising is the least expensive way to go, so long as you use the “inquiry method.” You can easily and quickly build your subscriber list with this type of advertisement.
We would not recommend any attempts to sell subscriptions, or any product from classified ads, or even from small display ads. There just isn’t enough space to describe the product adequately, and seeing the cost of your item, many possible subscribers will not bother to inquire for the full story.
Gino Mazzenga – Writing and publishing a successful newsletter to promote your business is one of the best ways to build your business. I use these everyday in my business and they are very rewarding.