Selling Ad Space in Your E-Zine

If you are sending an email newsletter, or e-zine, to a substantial list (say more that a couple thousand), chances are someone will be willing to pay to advertise in your publication.

Consider carefully the placement of advertising in your publication. The two types of advertising commonly carried in e-zines are classifieds and inline ads. Classifieds are grouped together in one section of the e-zine, perhaps near the end. Inline ads run "in line" with the publication's content, separated out by some kind of graphical element. In one newsletter I used to publish, I separated advertising from editorial content like so:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Sponsor's Message -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Advertising copy here
Advertising copy here
Advertising copy here

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Sponsor's Message -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

I encourage you to devise a strategy for separation of advertising and editorial. You can seriously degrade your relationship with your readers if they begin to feel that your e-zine is "nothing but a bunch of hype."

Also, give some thought to what kind of advertising you will and won't accept. You are not obligated to accept just any advertiser who approaches you. I know of one e-zine publisher who received criticism for accepting ads from bulk email services, even though he claimed to be opposed to spamming. I personally feel that most so-called "business opportunities" you see advertised are worthless; so in NETResults, I won't accept ads for business opportunities.

Next: How Much Should You Charge?

How much should you charge? It depends on your target audience and how eager advertisers are to reach that demographic. Make it reasonable, but maybe not too reasonable. At one time I was asking $80 for sponsorship of my NETResults newsletter. After I doubled it to $160, I started getting some advertisers. Go figure!

I find that rates for newsletter advertising are all over the place, typically somewhere between $10 and $100 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for well-placed inline ads. Advertising to a more targeted audience tends to cost more.

Once you've got your advertising program planned out and set up, you can start promoting it to advertisers. Start with your own subscribers. Let them know that you're now accepting advertising in your publication. Likely some prospective advertisers are already among your loyal readers.

Be sure to set up a Web "rate card" or "media kit" -- a special page or section on your Web site with information for advertisers; link to it from the front page of your site. Include information such as the size of your list, your advertising rates, any demographic information about subscribers, and complete contact information. You should also make this information available in text form, so it can be sent out by email.

Get your publication listed in the various e-zine directories on the Web. I've created a site called The Direct Email List Source, a Web directory especially for email advertising. If you offer advertising in your e-zine -- or if you offer other opt-in and voluntary email lists -- you're welcome to enter a submission.

Even if you don't have any outside advertisers to start with, you can create ads for your own products and services. If you're involved with any affiliate programs, you can advertise these in your e-zine as well.

No doubt there are businesses that would be glad to advertise in your email publication. Advertising revenue can help to offset the time and costs involved in publishing an e-zine.

Understanding the request form...

  • What are you selling: Most email campaigns are selling a product or service. Name that product and/or service in this field. (for example: security services, accounting software)
  • Target Market: Name here who you see as the market or potential buyers of your product/service. (for example: home owners, accountants)
  • Size of your mailing: How many emails do you plan to send -- this will affect your potential revenue and cost. (for example: 100,000 to 250,000)
  • Your Time Frame: When do you plan to do your mailing? (for example: mailing within one month)
  • Campaign Details: Give a more complete description of what you are planning. (for example: I plan to do 3 sequential mailings to homeowners in New Jersey in order to sell a new security system.)
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