Email marketing is more than just collecting your prospects’ emails, send them your free gift, follow them up with offers and hope to close some sales.

In order for you to gain the most of email marketing, you have to be able to brand yourself and develop your authority in your niche so that you will gain more trust from your subscribers.

The best way to brand and develop yourself as an authority is by making a newsletter part of your email marketing campaigns. A newsletter is also known as e-zine is basically a form of digital magazine that talks on a certain topic and making you, as the publisher, to have an authority on that topic if you publish your newsletter regularly.

Starting your own newsletter can be a lot easier than you think. This is because all you really need to get started publishing is a great topic, plenty of content ideas, an auto responder with a broadcast feature, and a website or blog.

Deciding the topic of your newsletter

Chances are you already have a pretty good idea of what you want your newsletter to convey to readers but when choosing a topic, it’s important to consider a few important factors that will help determine the goal of your newsletter, content flow and a publication schedule. Understanding what you want to achieve will help you get set up for success and keep you from getting off track as you grow your subscriber base.

You should also take the time to research your topic thoroughly before you begin the planning and setup phase to make sure that there is a demand for the type of information you plan to offer.

One good way to do this is take a look at popular magazines. If there is a magazine related to the topic you want focus on then you can be relatively sure that there will be people who are interested in what you have to say.

For instance niches that revolve around food, fitness, sports, lifestyles, hobbies, self-help and relationships are always popular. While it may be tempting to pick a general topic like sports you should be careful not to go to broad. Instead choose a specific sport like baseball or golf. This will make the task of building your list and creating content much easier.

Generally you will want to write non-time sensitive content such as short tips, mini stories and interviews. This will enable you to create content in advance so that you can conveniently distribute it to your subscribers as they join your mailing list. For example, you can compile 100 short tips in a day and distribute 10 tips a week. This will allow you to compile 10 weeks’ worth of content in day.

Setting up a publishing schedule is very important. It will allow you to consistently provide readers with information they will enjoy while gently reminding them of your business. If you just randomly send out issues whenever you get around to writing it, people will forget who you are, why they subscribed and that will end up costing you readers. Not only that they may also flag your emails as spam which is even worse and can lead to problems like getting black listed or fined.

Best newsletter formats

When it comes to the look and feel of your newsletter which format you decide to use is completely up to you. There are three commonly used formats that you can choose from and adapt to suit your needs. However each format has its pros and cons.

For instance the text newsletter which is most common because it is easy and universally accessible. The advantage of this format is that other than writing, you don’t require any special skills other than a working knowledge of a text editor link use a Word or Notepad.

On the other hand you have the optin to publish an HTML newsletter.

This format requires a certain degree of skills and at least a general understanding of tags and short-codes. The nice thing about this format is that you can add more sophisticated features, making them more appealing to your subscribers. It also helps increase readership value, which is something that text newsletters can’t provide.

With HTML you can change the look and feel of your issues by using different font styles, headings, columns, images, and more. However, the drawback often faced by this format is that they often get trapped into spam filters before they reach your subscriber’s inboxes.

Lastly there is the PDF newsletter. It is a nice option if you want to deliver a printable version of your issues. This format can be very time consuming but it often make up for it in quality readership. Due to the commitment required, PDF newsletters are usually published on a monthly basis.

Keep in mind that given all of the available options you don’t have to necessarily choose just one newsletter format. As a matter of fact many publishers opt to create their issues in multiple formats in order to reach a larger audience.

Use autoresponder to deliver content and manage your subscribers

An autoresponder stores your visitors’ emails and sends them follow up messages automatically.

An autoresponder is a program that automatically generates a timed response to all messages sent to a particular email address. They come with a wide variety of options depending on the one you choose and they have many practical uses, especially for digital newsletter publishers.

Not only do they make it easy add and manage subscribers on your list they can be set up to send automatic responses to people who subscribe to your newsletter which makes it possible for you to send out issues at predetermined intervals. For instance, when someone joins your list an autoresponder will automatically send them a welcome email.

For newsletter delivery you will need an autoresponder that has a good broadcast feature, which most reputable services provide. The broadcast feature works essentially the same as the auto-response feature, with one big difference. The messages aren’t sent out at certain intervals. Instead they can be sent instantly or scheduled to go out on a certain day and time, with no bearing on when the subscriber was added to the mailing sequence.

While it is possible to publish your newsletter without using an autoresponder to maintain you mailing list and send out content it makes the process much easier. It allows subscribers to easily opt-in, or out without you having to lift a finger. It can also take care of distribution and segmentation, based on the preferences and schedule you set.

It also allows you to plan ahead and create content in advance, then have it delivered to your mailing list, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Which is the beauty of automation and as your list grows the basic maintenance can become very difficult without the automation that autoresponder’s provide.

Since all past broadcast and auto response messages are saved, you can easily refer back to old issues as I mentioned above. You can also use the tracking feature in each issue to determine how many clicks you are getting for the various products and website links that you promote recommend.

If you want to publish a worry free, successful newsletter, then in my opinion an autoresponder is a must have tool. However not just any autoresponder will do. You want one that is reliable and that provides excellent email deliverability and all the features you need to grow your readership. I personally use and recommend GetResponse.

Creating great content

When you love the topic you are writing about creating content for your newsletter can be fun and easy in the beginning but as time goes on and you have published several issues it can start becoming a challenge to find interesting thing to write about.

That is why it’s a good idea to break your issues by providing different types of content. For instance you can send them longer issues with industry news or case studies. Then in between those you can send short bursts that contain tips, updates, special offers and discounts.

While you will want to write a majority of the content yourself there are also other options available for obtaining content when you are short on time or ideas. Let’s go over a couple of my favorite sources:

  • Private label content (PLR): This is one of the quickest and easiest way to populate your issues. It comes in many forms like articles, ebooks, white papers, reports, blog posts and more. As a matter of fact just about anything you can think of is available for licensing. This type of content is written by others and sold to consumers with a special license that allows them to edit it and use it as if they had written it themselves. It is a very popular option content is popular because of its versatility.
  • Public domain content: If you are not familiar with the term “public domain”, it refers to anything that isn’t protected under US copyright law. This includes ALL works published before 1923 and, under certain conditions, works published up to 1978. Some examples would be the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven as well as most of the early silent films, but those don’t really apply here unless that is the topic you are focusing on. Using this type of content to help fill in the light areas of your issues can help save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to creating content. Just make sure that you always check your licenses and that it is good before you use publish it. You should also take some time to make some edits, make it better and inject some of your own your personality in to it. You don’t have to come up with anything brand new, just make it unique.
  • Invite a guest: Another option is using guest article or doing interviews. They are both a great ways to provide fresh content that is entertaining, engaging and add value for your readers. When looking for guest authors or other publishers to showcase in your newsletter issues you (of course) don’t want to go to your direct competitors. Instead look for industry related leaders that your subscribers will recognize and identify with.
  • Product reviews: Don’t forget subscribers are shoppers too. They appreciate being in the know about new products and services which makes product reviews a great way to provide content as well as increase revenue from your newsletter if that product has an affiliate or revenue sharing program. All you have to do is research a quick list of top products that are relevant to your subscribers then compose an issue that discusses their features, and benefits. Be sure to be honest when it comes to the pros and cons of how the product works and your readers will thank you.

Monetize your newsletter the right way

People start publishing newsletters for many different reasons one of which is to generate income and many of them make a comfortable living from just by selling ad space or recommending products and services to their subscribers.

Building a mailing list of hungry subscribers can be one of the best investments of time and energy you’ll ever make because it can be a literal gold mine that you can tap into whenever you want to generate revenue.

  • Selling advertising: Let’s say for instance you have a list of a 1,000, 5,000 or more subscribers and you sell advertising 3 ad slots per issue for $100.00 each. That can add up fast especially if you publish several times a month. To attract advertisers it is important to provide them with as much information on your subscribers as possible. They will want to know things like how many people are on your list, as well as other demographics like age, gender, income, interest etc. As we discussed in your third lesson this is where having a good autoresponder will be beneficial because it will allow you to collect that type of data. There are many ways that you can streamline the process so that advertisers can submit ad copy and payments online. The key is to make it as easy as possible for advertisers. You will sell more ads if purchase process is simple and automated. It’s also a good idea to offer a variety of payment options credit cards and checks through the mail. If you don’t have a merchant account use a payment gateway like PayPal to handle transactions.
  • Promoting products: Selling ad space isn’t your only option. You can also sell your own product and services. A newsletter is a great way to let customers know about any new products, discounts and specials you have to offer. You can also promote other peoples products. This is referred to as affiliate marketing which is when a product owners pays you a commission or a percentage of any sale you refer to them. The commissions are usually set by the product owner and can vary greatly. Some may offer only one time commissions while others offer reoccurring commissions and others pay for leads. There is almost unlimited supply of products in many niches that you can promote. You can find them on affiliate networks like ClickBank, JVzoo and LinkShare. If you decide that you want to promote affiliate offers in your issues you should make sure to choose programs that are reputable, offer a nice commission structure and always be sure to read all of the rules and stipulations for the program, because they will vary as well. For instance some may pay you instantly while others only pay weekly or monthly. You will also run into those with payment thresholds which means you won’t get paid until you reach a certain amount of sales.

The bottom line is that there are many ways you can monetize your newsletter so that it will generate a nice income stream for your business. The key is to take the time to build a solid relationship with your subscribers by providing them with content that both entertains and engages them. If you can do that you will have no problem growing a subscriber base that is eager to read what you have to say and better yet buy what you have to sell.

I hope that you have learned a lot about how to start your own successful newsletter and how it can help you build your passive income stream on the internet. Feel free to comment below if you have any suggestion or question.

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