Article: Jim Turner


The Small Business Library

June 30, 2000

Publishers Only -
How To Grow Your Newsletter List In 6 Easy Steps

Every newsletter publisher wants more subscribers - and you are probably no different. The reason you are publishing your newsletter is probably to build your relationships with your subscribers to build familiarity, trust and ultimately sales. And the more subscribers you have, the greater number of sales.

Here is a way to increase the number of your subscribers, quite quickly and without a whole lot of work. It harnesses the power of joint venture marketing and endorsements - key ingredients for internet marketers without huge budgets but who still want results. And it catches the prospects when they are very open to receiving new information.

Step 1

    Identify other newsletters similar to your own - that either provide information similar to yours, or serve an audience which is likely to be interested in your newsletter as well. You can find them in newsletter lists or directories listed at ibizcenter.com.

    Look for:

    • active newsletters with increasing numbers of subscribers. Clues include subscription bases over 1000 which have been in existence over 6 months.
    • newsletter publishers who appear to be attracting new subscribers at close to the same rate as you are, as you will probably get the best response from them, as compared with a newsletter that is getting grossly more per week than you are

    The newsletter lists or directories which show the number of subscribers to each newsletter on the list are helpful here. The list of the sites with lists of newsletters that arrange for ad swaps at "Getting Advertisers for Your Newsletter' at http://ibizcenter.com/internet_business_informer_11-6-99.htm is quite helpful there.

    The sites that show publishers that sell ad space usually contain updated subscriber number information are also helpful, such as:

    • The Directory of Ezines from Lifestyles Publishing http://www.lifestylespub.com $39.95
    • Ezine AdSource http://www.ezineadsource.com Access costs $99 per year.
    • The Ezines Directory TED $24.95

Step 2

    Subscribe to 15-20 of these newsletters. Explore their newsletter archives if they exist.

    Quickly review the newsletters to get a feel for them. See if they are of the quality with which you would wish to be associated (and I am assuming that you are of the quality that they would wish to be associated with).

    Note:

    • the topics covered by the newsletter - (are they ones likely to attract the same target audience as yours?).
    • the attractiveness of the layout,
    • the spelling and grammar,
    • the tone (blatantly hype / commercial versus professional),
    • are the articles original, or reprints of articles you see everywhere?
    • the kind and numbers of advertisers and sponsors of the list,
    • how it is published (on a free service, paid-for professional mailing list management service or by a personal e-mail program).

    For those that meet your selection standards, add the publisher's name, contact e-mail address and newsletter name to a spreadsheet, database or text file which contains the following fields:

    • Publisher's name
    • E-mail address
    • Newsletter name
    • Date message sent
    • Date response received
    • Date follow up message is sent to the non-respondents
    • Response: Yes or No
    • Wording of the message to be added
    • Date their message is added to your welcome letter
    • Date your revised welcome letter is sent to the list owner, requesting theirs in return
    • Date the list owner's welcome letter which includes your subscription instructions is received.
    • Date follow up message is sent to those who have not sent their revised welcome letter to you.
    • Date of latest monitoring unsubscribe - resubscribe

    The more organized you are, the easier it will be to keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. Follow up is critical to success.

Step 3

    Contact the list owners, with a courteous, brief, direct, to-the-point, e-mail message. Tell them:
    • who you are and what you do
    • you have subscribed to their newsletter and like.... (tailoring your letter to the specific newsletter dramatically increases your response rate)
    • why you are writing this letter and why their reading this letter will benefit THEM! Stress the benefits to the list owner from your proposal.
    • how big your list is. Don't inflate the numbers of your subscribers or lie about anything.
    • how fast your list is growing.
    • what plans you have to expand it further - but avoid hype.
    • that your newsletter is free, and that it is an "opt-in" list.
    • that your new subscribers automatically get a welcome message.
    • how the joint venture would work
    • where they can view a sample of your content - your newsletter archives on your web site or an autoresponder where they can get a sample of your newsletter.
    A sample letter may be viewed on the online version of this newsletter.

Step 4

    Revise your welcome letter you send out to new subscribers by adding the information from the list owners who reply positively to your joint venture proposal. Do this immediately as the favorable responses come in - at least daily. Confirm with them by sending them a copy of your revised letter to demonstrate your follow through. Request that they send you a copy of their welcome letter with your information.

Step 5

    Send a follow up letter to those who did not respond. You can increase your total response dramatically with a second request, and with very little extra work. Simply pull up the original e-mail message and hit "Forward" and add your reminder message to the top and "Send".

    A sample reminder message is included in the online version of this newsletter.

Step 6

    Do this again with the next group of 15 - 20 prospects. And again, and again.

These are the basics. The 6 step process works great, just as it is. There are numerous refinements to this tactic, however, that you will find in the online version of this newsletter that dramatically increase the response.

Bottom line: think innovatively about how you can work with others to benefit everyone - even competitors. This is not a zero-sum game, where if one wins that means others lose. By working together, we all can win more than if we remain strictly independent.

Article by Jim Turner,   The Publishers Only List.