and publishing a successful newsletter is perhaps the most competitive
of all the different areas of mail order and direct marketing.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
publishers do all the work themselves, and are impatient to get that
first issue into print. As a result, they neglect to devote the proper
amount of time to market research and distribution. Don't start your
newsletter with out first having accomplished this task!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
your newsletter should be consistent with the image you're trying to
build. If you're starting a "Me-too" newsletter, never price
it above the competition. In most instances, the consumer associates
higher prices with quality, so if you give your readers better quality
information in an expensive looking package, don't hesitate to ask for
a premium price. However, if your information is gathered from most
of the other newsletters on the subject, you will do well to keep your
prices in line with theirs.
the best selling points of a newsletter is in the degree of audience
involvement - for instance, how much it talks about, and uses the names
of its readers.
like to see things written about themselves. They resort to all kinds
of things to get their names in print, and they pay big money to read
what's been written about them. You should understand this facet of
human nature, and decide if and how you want to capitalize upon it -
then plan your newsletter accordingly.
as important as names in your newsletter are pictures. The readers will
generally accept a newsletter faster if the publisher's picture is presented
or included as a part of the newsletter. Whether you use pictures of
the people, events, locations or products you write about is a policy
decision; but the use of pictures will set your publication apart from
the others and give it an individual image, which is precisely what
as to whether to carry paid advertising, and if so, how much, is another
policy decision that should be made while your newsletter is still in
the planning stages. Some purists feel that advertising corrupts the
image of the newsletter and may influence editorial policy. Most people
accept advertising as a part of everyday life, and don't care one way
or the other.
publishers, faced with rising production costs and viewing advertising
as a means of offsetting those costs, welcome paid advertising. Generally
the advertisers see the newsletter as a vehicle to a captive audience,
and well worth the cost.
problem with accepting advertising in your newsletter would appear to
be that as your circulation grows, so will your number of advertisers,
until you'll have to increase the size of your newsletter to accommodate
the advertisers. At this point, the basic premise or philosophy of the
newsletter often changes from news and practical information to one
of an advertiser's showcase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
include a "PS" in your sales letter. This should quickly restate
to the reader that he can start enjoying the benefits of your newsletter
by acting immediately, and very subtly suggesting that he may not get
another chance to get the kind of "success help" you're offering
him with this sales letter.
about the length of your sales letter - most are four pages or more;
however, it must flow logically and smoothly. Use short sentences, short
paragraphs, indented paragraphs, and lost of sub-heads for the people
who will be "scanning through" your sales letter.
to the sales letter, your promotion package should include a return
reply order card or coupon. This can be either a self-addressed business
reply post card, or a separate coupon, in which case you'll have to
include a self-addressed return reply envelope. In every mailing piece
you send out, always include one or the other: either a self-addressed
business reply postcard or a self-addressed return reply envelope for
the recipient to use to send your order form and his remittance back
response will come from a business reply postcard on which you allow
your prospect to charge the subscription to his credit card, request
that you bill him, or send his payment with the subscription start order.
up of this subscription order card or coupon, simply start saving all
the order cards and coupons you receive during the next month or so.
Choose the one you like best, modify according to your needs, and have
it typeset, pasted up and border fit.
need a Subscription Order Acknowledgment card or letter. This is simply
a short note thanking your new subscriber for his order, and promising
to keep him up-to-date with everything relating to the subject of your
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.
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
ready for the big move - the Advertising Campaign.
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.
years, we have launched several hundred advertising campaigns. We always
ran new ads for a minimum of three issues and kept close tabs on the
returns. So long as the returns kept coming in, we continued running
that ad in that publication, while adding a new publication to test
for results. To our way of thinking, this is the best way to go, regardless
of the product, to successfully multiply your customer list.
start with a local, far-reaching and widely read paper, and with the
proof 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.
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.
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.
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
do expand your efforts into direct mail, go straight to a national list
broker. You can find their names and addresses in the yellow pages section
of your local telephone directory. Show the list broker your product
and your mailing piece, and explain what type people you want to reach,
and allow them to help you.
decided on a list to use, go slowly. Start with a sampling of 5,000
names. If the returns are favorable, go for 10,000 names, and then 15,000
and so on through the entire list.
the entire list based upon the returns from your first couple of samplings.
The variables are just too many, and too complicated, and too conducive
to your losing your shirt when you "roll out an entire list"
based upon returns from a controlled sampling.
a number of other methods for finding new subscribers, which we'll explore
for you here, detailing the good and the bad as we have researched them.
is that of contracting with what is known as a "cash-field"
agency. These are soliciting agencies who hire people to sell door-to-door
and via the phone, almost always using a high pressure sales approach.
The publisher usually makes only about 5% from each subscription sold
by one of these agencies. That speaks for itself.
are several major catalog sales companies that sell subscriptions to
school libraries, government agencies and large corporations. These
people usually buy through these catalog sales companies rather than
direct from the publisher. The publisher makes about 10% on each subscription
sold for him by one of these agencies.
are generally piggy-back mailings of your subscription offer along with
numerous other business offers in the same envelope. Smaller mail order
entrepreneurs do this under the name of Big Mail Offers. Coming into
vogue now are the Postcard Mailers. You submit your offer on a business
reply postcard; the packager then prints and mails your postcard in
a package with 40 or 50 similar postcards via third class mail to a
mailing list that could number 100,000 or more. You pay a premium price
for this type of mailing - usually $1000 to $1500 per mailing, but the
returns are very good and you keep all the incoming money.
form of co-op mailing is where you supply a charge card company or department
store with your subscription offer as a "statement mailing suffer."
Your offer goes out with the monthly statements; new subscriptions are
returned to the mailer and billed to the customer's charge card. The
publisher usually makes about 50% on each subscription. This is one
of the most lucrative, but expensive methods of bringing in new customers.
mail agencies such as Publishers Clearing House can be a very lucrative
source of new subscriptions, in that they mail out more than 60 million
pieces of mail each year, all of which are built around an opportunity
for the recipient to win a gigantic cash sweepstakes. The only problem
with this type of subscription agency is the very low percentage of
the total subscription price the publisher receives from these subscriptions,
plus the fact that the publishers are required to charge a lower subscription
rate than they normally charge.
also several agencies that offer Introductory, Sample Copy and Trial
Subscription offers, such as Select Information Exchange and Publisher
Exchange. With this kind of agency, details about your publication are
listed along with similar publications, in full page ads inviting the
readers to send $10 or $20 for trial subscription to those of his choice.
The publishers received no money from these inquiries - only a list
of names of people interested in receiving trial subscriptions. How
the publisher follows up and is able to convert these into full term,
and paying subscribers is entirely dependent upon his own efforts.
newspapers will carry small, lightweight brochures or oversized reply
cards as inserts in their Sunday papers. The publisher supplies the
total number of inserts, pays the newspaper $20 per thousand for the
number of newspapers he wants his order form carried in, and then retains
all the money generated. But the high costs of printing the inserts,
plus the $20 per thousand for distribution, make this an extremely costly
method of obtaining new subscribers.
civic groups and other fund raising organizations work in about the
same manner as the cash-field agencies. They supply the solicitor and
the publisher gets 25% or less for each new subscription sold.
to sell subscriptions via radio or TV is very expensive and works better
in generating sales at the newsstands than new subscriptions. PI (Per
Inquiry) sales is a very popular way of getting radio or TV exposure
and advertising for your newsletter or other publication, but again,
the number of sales brought in by the broad cast media is very small
when compared with the number of times the "invitation commercial"
has to be "aired" to elicit a response.
A new idea
beginning to surface on the cable TV scene is "Products Shows".
This is the kind of show where the originator of the product or his
representative appears on TV and gives a complete sales presentation
lasting from five minutes to 15 minutes. Overall, these programs generally
run between midnight and 2 AM, with the whole program a series of sales
presentations for different products. They operate on the basis of the
product owner paying a fee to appear and show his product, and also
from an arrangement where the product owner pays a certain percentage
from each sale generated from this exposure.
publishers often run exchange publicity endorsement with non-competing
publishers. Generally, these endorsements invite the reader of newsletter
"A" to send for a sample copy of newsletter "B"
for a look at what somebody else is going that
of especial help, etc. This can be a very good source of new subscriptions,
and certainly the least expensive.
ads in the Mail Order Ad Sheets is not very productive, either in terms
of inquiries or sales. About the best thing that can be said of most
of these ad sheets (and there seems to be a million of them with new
ones cropping up faster than you can count them) is that your ad in
several of them will let other people in on what you're doing. You will
be able to keep track of a lot of the people trying to make a place
for themselves in the mail order field.
not least, is the enlistment of your own subscribers to send you names
of people they think might be interested in receiving a sample copy
of your publication. Some publishers ask their readers to pass along
these names out of loyalty, while others offer a monetary incentive
or a special bonus for names of people sent in who be come subscribers.
and understanding the information in this report, you should encounter
fewer serious problems in launching your own successful specialized
newsletter that will be the source of ongoing monetary rewards for you.
However, there is an important point to remember about doing business
by mail - particularly within the confines of selling information by
mail - that is, Mail Order is ONLY another way of doing business. You
have to learn all there is to know about this way o f doing business,
and then keep on learning, changing, observing and adapting to stay
way of learning about and keeping up with this field of endeavor is
by buying and reading books by the people who have succeeded in making
money via the mails; by subscribing to several of the better periodic
journals and aids to people in mail order, and by joining some of the
mail order trade associations for a free exchange of ideas, advice and