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Email Newsletter as a Business

DustinG

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Based on the success from businesses that are primarily an email newsletter, such as TheSkimm and TheHustle), I've been intrigued by this idea lately.

For the 2 companies I mentioned, their daily email newsletter is their focus, and they make money by selling advertising space in their newsletter. While most companies use email newsletters as a weekly type of thing to usually push people to their website or products, some companies are successfully basically using email in place of a blog.

While some people think of email as 'old' technology, it's still something almost everyone checks every day (compared to blogs/websites).

I've been thinking about (and taking steps toward) creating something like this in the guitar industry/niche. I was originally thinking of it being a daily newsletter, but as I've started working on it, it's of course quite a bit more time consuming than I originally imagined, so I'm now thinking 2 or 3 issues/times a week. The newsletter would feature a guitar lesson, a gear showcase, and curated guitar-related news. While I originally thought about just including lessons, I think having a gear showcase would hopefully get companies I featured to share it with their audience, and help spread the word (but it obviously increased the amount of work that goes into it).

Email of course does pose some challenges, such as the fact that emails are typically only about 600px wide. My content is very heavily focused on images, and a small viewing area isn't ideal (email providers could also potentially flag emails with a lot of images as spam).

Anyway, I'm curious if any of you have tried this business model.
 

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Late Bloomer

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Hi Dustin. It is a specialty. I chatted with a guy in a coffee shop last year, who said that running these kinds of newsletters and campaigns for other businesses is his full time work. I only met him the one time while waiting to meet someone else, so I don't know any more about how his model works. But it sounded very similar to what you have in mind. Seems you have a clear enough idea to start talking with some potential clients. Maybe you could do one for a few weeks as a free marketing test for both parties, with an up front agreement that they'll become paying clients if you can demonstrate a certain level of traffic or sales? Maybe a web marketing, SEO or Wordpress meetup could be a good place for you to meet existing online marketers who'd like to white label or refer a newsletter service?
 

Andy Black

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There’s a thread on the inside of someone starting or doing this.

I’m considering it. A paid email, not necessarily a newletter. It’s got to be one of the simplest subscription business possible.

What I like about it

1) The content in the emails is private. It’s not on a website that can get indexed by Google.

2) You miss all the emails prior to you joining. You miss all the emails if you leave.

3) It’s simple to start. Set up a cart that adds people to an email list. Configure it so they’re tagged or removed if they stop paying.

4) Quite a lot of other benefits...
 

Late Bloomer

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I'm not saying for me to do this for clients, I mean to run my own newsletter.
Oh, sorry I misunderstood.

It looks like the popular wave now in online marketing is to have both a web site and a newsletter. The web site is the hub for whatever ads and content marketing can drive traffic to some interesting item, which also includes an invitation to sign up to the newsletter.

The newsletter constantly reaches people who might not think to check back to see what's new on the website. The newsletter can include a summary of a few highlighted articles on the site, with links to the site so the full formatting of the Web is available. If it's a paid subscription, the newsletter can have additional content that isn't on the public site.

All of this seems like straight forward publishing and marketing work.

I don't play guitar but I play other instruments. Personally, I would much rather look forward to a really great weekly or twice a month newsletter, rather than a daily item. If a bunch of daily individual items don't interest me, or I don't have time right now, I'll get in the habit of deleting the emails until I unsubscribe.

If I know that the occasional newsletter will be packed full of tips, gear reviews, interviews, how to play a new song, etc. I'll look forward to savor and explore it throughout the whole week or two ahead. Maybe I'll print it out so I can enjoy all of it, even with the computer turned off.
 

Andy Black

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Oh, sorry I misunderstood.

It looks like the popular wave now in online marketing is to have both a web site and a newsletter. The web site is the hub for whatever ads and content marketing can drive traffic to some interesting item, which also includes an invitation to sign up to the newsletter.

The newsletter constantly reaches people who might not think to check back to see what's new on the website. The newsletter can include a summary of a few highlighted articles on the site, with links to the site so the full formatting of the Web is available. If it's a paid subscription, the newsletter can have additional content that isn't on the public site.

All of this seems like straight forward publishing and marketing work.

I don't play guitar but I play other instruments. Personally, I would much rather look forward to a really great weekly or twice a month newsletter, rather than a daily item. If a bunch of daily individual items don't interest me, or I don't have time right now, I'll get in the habit of deleting the emails until I unsubscribe.

If I know that the occasional newsletter will be packed full of tips, gear reviews, interviews, how to play a new song, etc. I'll look forward to savor and explore it throughout the whole week or two ahead. Maybe I'll print it out so I can enjoy all of it, even with the computer turned off.
I have quite a few printed monthly newsletters still on my bedside table. Printed ones stay top of mind a lot longer I think.
 
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DustinG

DustinG

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Going to printed route is a probably good option to consider, and something you can charge for. When I've looked into this in the past, I had a hard time finding a company that can print and mail them on demand for a reasonable cost. Would probably be cheapest to print them locally and mail them out.

In what industry are the printed newsletters you get in?
 

Andy Black

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You can charge for non-printed too...
 

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