Marketers know that email is a great way to reach and retain customers. But building your own email list can take a long time, meaning your business is unlikely to see a return on investment in the short-term. Newsletter sponsorship allows your business to reach prospective customers on third-party newsletters and can be a great acquisition channel.
Successful newsletters reach huge audiences. Sponsoring these in return for advertising space is a great way to leverage their circulation and drive targeted traffic to your website. For the newsletter distributor, sponsorship is an excellent source of income, so it is a win-win for all stakeholders.
However, if you are new to the game of newsletter sponsorship, there are a few things to consider when planning your campaign.
What Is Newsletter Sponsorship?
An easy way to think about newsletter sponsorship is as a way of buying advertising space on a newsletter. But, there are subtle differences. While advertising is a simple value exchange, sponsorship is often a deeper and more personal relationship.
When you sponsor a newsletter, you are addressing a very specific audience. And so, you should deliver a message appropriate and specific to that audience.
Think of it as a mutually-beneficial relationship. The publisher gains more than they would from selling non-targeted advertising space. And you are obtaining a self-selected audience appropriate to your product or service.
There is another big difference between sponsorship and advertising. If you simply buy advertising space, you will be competing with other advertisers. While this might apply to sponsorship too, some newsletters offer exclusive sponsorship.
With exclusive newsletter sponsorship, you can own all the banners and messages in that edition of the newsletter. Some deals are semi-exclusive which restrict the number of sponsors to two or three per issue.
How Can I Find Newsletters That Accept Sponsorship?
There are various ways to find newsletters that accept sponsorship. One way is to search for newsletters within your niche, adding sponsorship to your search terms.
For instance, if your niche is musical instruments, search for “newsletter sponsorship” “musical instruments”. This will provide you with some good starting points.
If you are just getting started, look for newsletters hosted on platforms like Curated. If you search for “published with curated”, you will find thousands of newsletters that readily accept sponsorship. You can sponsor issues from as low at $20, making this a great way to experiment with your first campaign.
Remember, not all newsletters are worth sponsoring. So you need to be careful to select those that are likely to provide a good flow of leads and an acceptable ROI.
A quick look at the stats will reveal that around 70% of newsletters are unread. The industry average open rate is 32%, and anything over that is a bonus. The average click through rate (CTR) is around 7%, though they vary across sectors. Note that not all newsletters make their readership stats available.
What Is a Reasonable Price for Newsletter Sponsorship?
This depends very much on the newsletter. Premium high-quality newsletters naturally charge more. Sponsorship offers are usually priced in terms of CPM (cost per thousand subscribers) and you should expect to pay $20 to $40 CPM.
During your campaign, you should use the same performance metrics you track for other acquisition sources. This will give you a clear idea of how sponsorship compares with other forms of marketing like PPC and display ads.
UTM link tracking will make it easy to calculate your CPC (Cost per Click), but what sort of CPC should you be aiming for? This depends very much on your industry. But, for a targeted newsletter, a CPC of around $1.00 is a reasonable starting point, making newsletter sponsorship a low-cost source of leads.
How to Write a Good Sponsorship Advert
Writing a good sponsorship ad is something of an art. It must include all the essential elements such as a headline, description and call to action and (preferably) an image. Putting these all together in a way that really sells requires considerable thought and imagination. Let’s look at these in more details:
Your headline shouldn’t just state the product or service you are offering. It should tell the reader how that product or service will solve their problem. The key is to focus on the end solution. For instance, if you are in the car trade, a headline such as “Instant cash for your car” is likely to be more effective than “Sell your used car”.
- Body text.
Today, people talk about emotional triggers; in other words, text that evokes an emotional response that will spur someone to act. It should address the reason why people are likely to need your service. For instance, if you are selling health supplements, use phrases such as “Feel and look better with…”. This is better than a plain description of what the supplement contains.
- Call to action (CTA).
Focus on short, strong verb phrases that will convince people to act. Avoid CTAs that say “Buy now” or “Sign up here”. These tell someone what to do, but fail to motivate them to do so. Far more effective are phrases such as “Find your perfect holiday today”.
Not all newsletters accept images or logos. But you should support your ad copy with good images, as this can increase click through.
How to Use UTM Tracking to Track the Traffic Coming to Your Website
The Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) is an excellent way to track the performance of your newsletter sponsorship campaign. In fact, it is an excellent way to identify traffic from any source. But here we are dealing specifically with newsletters.
The tracking system uses a set of URL parameters that identify the source of your traffic. So you can track the number of clicks your sponsorship ad receives and, if you have multiple links, the specific link your reader clicked. In all, there are five parameters, though usually you only need only three of four of them.
This identifies the origin of the traffic. For instance, for an email list: “&utm_source=email_sponsorship”
Identifies the kind of link: “&utm_medium=email”
Identifies a specific email sponsorship campaign: “&utm_campaign=abc_newsletter”
Identifies search terms used: “&utm_term=bluetooth+dongle”
Identifies exactly which link was clicked. This is useful if you have multiple links in your ad: “&utm_content=banner_ad”
To use these codes, you will need to construct your link. For example:
https://example.com/your-landing-page ?utm_source=email_list &utm_medium=email &utm_campaign=abc_newsletter &utm_content=banner_ad
To track the performance of your ad, log into your Google Analytics account. You can then drill down to analyze these aspects of your traffic. If you are running multiple campaigns, it is important to ensure your URL codes are unique to each campaign. Otherwise, it would be difficult to analyze the results accurately.