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How to Achieve Success with your Own
Money Making Newsletter
Writing and publishing a successful newsletter is perhaps
competitive of all the different areas of mail order and direct
Regardless of the frustrations involved in launching your own
never forget this truth: There are people from all walks of life,
in all parts of this country, many with no writing ability whatsoever,
who are making incredible profits with simple two-, four-, and
Twenty years ago there were 1500 different direct mail newsletters
in this country. Today there are well over 10,000, and new ones
being started every day. It is also interesting to note that
all the new ones being started some will disappear just as quickly
as they appeared due to either lack of operating capital or marketing
know-how. 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.
Your first step is to subscribe to as many different newsletters
and mail order publications as you can afford. Analyze and study
what and how others are doing. Attend as many workshops and seminars
on your subject as possible. Take a lesson from the pros. Learn
why the successful newsletter publishers are making their enterprises
succeed and why they are making money. Adapt their success methods
to your own newsletter, but determine to recognize where they
weak and to make yours better in every way.
Plan your newsletter before launching it. Know the basic premise
for its being, your editorial position, the layout, art work,
style, subscription price, distribution methods, and every other
detail necessary to make it look, sound, and feel like the end
you have envisioned. Lay out your start-up needs. Determine the
length of time its going to take to become established. Know
will be involved in becoming a success. Set a date as a milestone
of accomplishment for each phase of your development. A date
breaking even, a date for attaining a certain paid subscription
and a monetary goal for each of your first five years in business.
All this must be done before publishing your first issue.
Most newsletter publishers do all the work themselves and
to get that first issue into print. As a result, they neglect
devote the proper amount of time to market research and distribution.
Don't start your newsletter without first having accomplished
important task! Market research is simply determining who the
are who will be interested in buying and reading your newsletter;
what kind of information these people want to see in your newsletter
that will compel them to continue buying it. Your market research
must give you unbiased answers about your newsletter's capabilities
of fulfilling your prospective buyer's need for information.
much is he willing to pay for this information? What is the overall
profile of the readership -- income, sparetime activities and
business needs, etc. The questions of why he needs your information
and how he'll use it should be answered. Make sure you have the
to these questions, publish your newsletter as a vehicle of fulfillment
to these needs, and you're on your way!
You're going to be in trouble unless your newsletter has a
and easily perceived point of difference with other publications.
The design and graphics of your newsletter, plus what you say
how you say it, will help give your newsletter this vital difference.
Be sure the look of your newsletter projects the image you're
to build for it. Make sure the content reflects the personality
your subscribers. Include your advertising promise within the
on the title page, and in the same words your advertising uses.
The name of your newsletter should also help to set it apart
similar newsletters and spell out its advertising promise. A
name reinforces your advertising. Choose a name that defines
direction and scope of your newsletter. Opportunity Knocking,
Making Magic, Extra Income Tip Sheet, and Mail Order Up-Date
prime examples of this type of philosophy. Weak names such as
Johnson Report or The Association Newsletter should be avoided.
to 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
Pricing your newsletter should be consistent with the image
trying to build. If you're starting a copy-cat newsletter, never
price it above the competition. In most instances the consumer
higher prices with higher quality. Thus, 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
will do well to keep your prices in line with theirs.
One of the best selling points of a newsletter is in the degree
of audience involvement; how much it talks about and uses the
of its readers. People like to see things written about themselves.
They resort to all kinds of things to get their names in print,
they pay big money to read what's been written about them. You
understand this facet of human nature, decide if and how you
to capitalize upon it, then plan your newsletter accordingly.
Almost as important as names in your newsletter are pictures.
all else, don't skimp on design or graphics! The readers will
accept a newsletter faster if the publisher's photograph is presented
or included as a part of the newsletter. Whether you use photos
the people, events, locations, or products you write about is
decision. However, the use of pictures will set your publication
apart from the others and give it an individual image. This is
what you want.
The decision whether or not to carry paid advertising, and
how much, is another policy decision best 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, however, accept advertising as a part of
life and don't care one way or the other. Many newsletter publishers
faced with rising production costs view advertising as a means
offsetting those costs, and welcome paid advertising. Generally,
advertisers see the newsletter as a vehicle to a captive audience
and well worth the cost. The only problem with accepting advertising
in your newsletter will appear as your circulation grows and
number of advertisers grows accordingly. You will have to decide
whether to increase the size of your newsletter to accommodate
advertisers or to remain a standard size and raise your advertising
rates. At this point, the basic premise or philosophy of the
often changes from news and practical information to one of an
Promoting your newsletter, finding prospective buyers and
these prospects into loyal subscribers, will be the most difficult
task of your entire undertaking. It takes detailed planning,
and patience. You'll need a sales letter. Check the sales letters
you receive in the mail. Analyze how these are written and pattern
yours along the same lines. You'll find that all of those worthy
of being called sales letters follow the same formula: AIDA --
Interest, Desire, and Action on the part of the reader.
Jump right in at the beginning and tell the reader how he's
to benefit from your newsletter and keep emphasizing right on
your "PS" the many and different benefits he'll gain
Elaborate on your list of benefits with examples of what you
or you intend to include in upcoming issues. Follow these examples
with endorsements or testimonials from reviewers and satisfied
Make the recipient of your sales letter feel that you're offering
him the answer to all his problems on the subject your newsletter
addresses. You have to make your prospect feel that "this
insider's secret" to the success he wants. Present it to
him as his
own personal key to success, and tell him how far behind his
he is going to be if he doesn't act upon your offer immediately.
Always include a "PS" in your sales letter. This should
restate to the reader that he can start enjoying the benefits
your newsletter by acting immediately, and very subtly suggest
he may not get another chance to get the kind of success help
offering him through your publication.
Don't worry about the length of your sales letter. Most are
pages or more. However, the letter must flow logically and smoothly.
Use short sentences and short, indented paragraphs with lots
for the people who will be scanning through your sales letter.
In addition, your promotion package should include a return reply
order card or coupon. This can be either a self-addressed business
reply postcard or a separate coupon, in which case you'll have
include a self-addressed return reply envelope. In every mailing
piece you send out always include either a self-addressed business
reply postcard or a self-addressed return reply envelope for
recipient to use in mailing the order form and remittance back
you. Your best response will come from a business reply postcard
on which you allow your prospect to charge the subscription to
credit card, request that you bill him, or send his payment after
receipt of the first issue.
Many publications offer a "No Risk Trial Subscription"
a first issue in the reader's hands, enters his one year subscription,
and bills him for the yearly cost. Should the reader decide to
he may do so without charge. The benefits of such an offer are
The reader feels no pressure in subscribing to a publication
a complete guarantee. You as publisher benefit because once he
through an issue he will no doubt find it to his liking. Also,
his subscription is automatically entered he needs no extra push
to elicit a subscription. The cost of free issues to those few
who do decide to cancel their subscription will easily be offset
by the larger number who pay the invoice for the subscription
soon as it is received.
To determine the makeup of your subscription order card or
simply start saving all the order cards and coupons you receive
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.
design of the cards and ads used by the large, well-established
will assure your mailing piece of success.
Next, you'll need a Subscription Order Acknowledgment card
This is simply a short note thanking your new subscriber for
order and promising to keep him up-to-date with everything relating
to the subject of your newsletter. If this letter is sent in
to a Trial Subscription offer include the subscription invoice
a pre-addressed envelope with the letter. An acknowledgment letter
in an envelope will cost more postage to mail than a simple postcard.
However when you send the letter you have the opportunity to
additional material. A circular listing other items available
you will produce additional orders.
An ample supply of mailing materials will be necessary before
begin your advertising campaign. Go ahead and have several hundred
undated copies of your sales letter, subscription order card
coupon, subscription invoice, and order acknowledgement letter
You'll also need letterhead, mailing envelopes, and return reply
envelopes for coupons and invoices. Go ahead and have a thousand
mailing envelopes printed. This will be a basic supply for "testing"
your materials so far.
Now you're ready for the big move: The Advertising Campaign.
by placing a small classified ad in one of your local newspapers.
You should place your ad in a weekend or Sunday paper that will
as many people as possible. Do everything you can to keep your
as low as possible. However, do not skimp on your advertising
To be successful -- to make as much money as is possible with
idea -- you'll have to reach as many people as you can afford
as often as you can.
Over the years we have launched several hundred advertising
We always run new ads for a minimum of three issues and keep
tabs on the returns. So long as the returns keep coming in we
running the ad in that publication while adding a new publication
to test for results. It is our opinion that this is the best
to go, regardless of the product, in order to multiply successfully
your customer list.
Move slowly. Start with a local, far-reaching and widely read
With the profits or returns from this ad move up to the regional
magazines or one of the smaller national magazines. Continue
your returns into more publications reaching your prospective
By taking your time and building your acceptance in this manner
won't lose too much if one of your ads should prove to be a failure.
Advertising is crucial: stay with it. Do not abandon it in favor
of direct mail. We would not recommend direct mail until you
well established, and your national classified advertising program
is bringing in a healthy profit .
Do not become overly ambitious and go out on a limb with expensive
full-page advertisements until you're successful. When you do
full page advertising, start with the smaller publications and
from those results. Have patience. Keep close tabs on your costs
per subscriber and reinvest the profits of your advertising.
test the advertising medium you want to use with a classified
and if it pulls well for you go on to a larger display advertisement.
Classified advertising is the least expensive method to use as
as you utilize the inquiry method. You can easily and quickly
your subscriber list with this type of advertisement. We would
recommend any attempts to sell subscriptions or any product from
classified or even small display ads. There simply is not enough
space to describe the product adequately, and upon seeing the
of your item many possible subscribers will not bother to inquire
for the full story.
When you do expand your efforts into direct mail go straight
a national list broker. Your can find their names and addresses
the yellow pages section of your local telephone directory. Show
the list broker your product and mailing piece. Explain what
people you want to reach. Allow the list broker to help you.
success is also built upon matching your target audience with
lists he brokers. To maintain your trust and business he will
everything possible to assure the successful match between his
and your advertising piece.
Once you've decided on a list to use, go slowly. Start with
of 5,000 names. If the returns are favorable go for 10,000 names,
and as your success continues move upward through the entire
Never rent the entire list based upon the returns from your first
couple of samplings. The variables are just too many, too complicated,
and too conducive to your losing your shirt when you impulsively
mail to an entire list based upon returns from a relatively small
There are a number of other methods with both positive and negative
features for finding new subscribers. One method is that of contracting
with what is known as a "cash-field" agency. These
agencies who hire people to sell door-to-door and via the phone,
almost always using a high pressure approach. The publisher usually
makes only about 5% from each subscription sold by one of these
That speaks for itself. Schools, civic groups, and other fund
organizations work in about the same manner as the cash-field
They supply the solicitor and the publisher gets 25% or less
each new subscription sold. Secondly, there exist several major
catalog sales companies and clearing houses that sell subscriptions
to school and public libraries, government agencies, and large
These people usually buy through the catalog sales companies
than direct from the publisher. The publisher makes about 10%
each subscription sold for him by one of these agencies.
A third medium for enlisting new subscribers is Co-Op Mailing.
These are generally piggy-back mailings of your subscription
along with numerous other business offers in the same envelope.
Smaller mail order entrepreneurs do this under the name of Big
Offers. Coming into vogue over the past several years are the
Mailers. You submit your offer on a business reply postcard that
the packager then prints and mails in a package with 30 to 100
more similar postcards via third class mail to a mailing list
could number 1,000,000 or more. You pay a premium price for this
type of mailing, usually $1000 to $1500 per mailing, but the
are very good and you keep all the incoming money.
Another form of co-op mailing involves your supplying a major
card company or department store credit service with your subscription
offer as a statement mailing stuffer. Your offer goes out with
monthly statements. New subscriptions orders are returned to
mailer and billed to the customer's charge card. The publisher
makes about 50% on each subscription. This is one of the most
but expensive methods of bringing in new customers.
Direct mail agencies such as Publishers Clearing House can be
very profitable source of new subscriptions in that they mail
more than 100 million pieces of mail each year all of which are
around an opportunity for the recipient to win a gigantic cash
The only problem with this type of subscription agency is the
low percentage of the total subscription price the publisher
from these subscriptions and the fact that the publishers are
to charge a lower subscription rate than they normally charge.
There are also several agencies that offer Introductory or
Copy offers. With this kind of agency the details about your
are listed along with similar publications in full page ads inviting
the readers to send $10 or $20 for trial subscriptions to those
his choice. The publishers receive no money from these inquiries,
only the list of names of people interested in receiving trial
How the publisher follows up and is able to convert these into
term and paying subscribers is entirely dependent upon his own
Most major newspapers will carry small, lightweight brochures
oversized reply cards as inserts in their Sunday papers. The
supplies the total number of inserts, pays the newspaper by the
for the number of newspapers he wants his order form carried
and then retains all the money generated. The cost of printing
inserts, coupled with the per thousand fee for distribution,
this an extremely costly method of obtaining new subscribers,
if your newsletter appeals only to a very narrow market segment.
Attempting to sell subscriptions via radio or TV is very expensive
and works better in generating sales at the newsstands than new
PI (Per Inquiry) sales is a very popular way of getting radio
TV exposure and advertising for your newsletter or other publication,
but again, the number of sales brought in by the broadcast 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 surfacing on the late night television scene is
Shows. These shows feature the originator of the product or his
either in a talk show format before a studio audience or set
exotic location such as Hawaii, giving a complete sales presentation
lasting from five minutes up to one hour. The entire sales presentation
may be short, but is repeated in a slightly different format
times throughout the course of the half-hour in order to make
presentation to those viewers who may have just tuned in or missed
a portion of the previous presentation. Overall, these programs
run between midnight and 3 AM. Such programs are merely long,
advertisements for which the product owner pays a discounted
to the cable or open-air station for non-prime time play. Such
require a large investment of time and money to produce, and
the availability of 24 hour operators, toll-free telephone numbers,
and credit card processing abilities to field incoming orders
inquiries throughout the day and night as the programs air across
Newsletter publishers often run exchange publicity endorsements
with non-competing publishers. Generally, these endorsements
the reader of newsletter A to send for a sample copy of newsletter
B to get a look at what somebody else is doing that might be
help, interest, etc. This can be a very good source of new subscriptions
and is certainly the least expensive.
Running ads in the Mail Order Ad Sheets is not very productive
terms of either inquiries or sales. About the best thing that
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
you're doing. You will be able to keep track of a lot of the
trying to make a place for themselves in the mail order field.
Last, but not least, is the enlistment of your own subscribers
send you names of people they think might be interested in receiving
a sample copy of your publication. Some publishers ask their
to pass along these names out of loyalty, while others offer
incentive or a special bonus for names of people sent in who
subscribers. Some publishers will grant a free year's subscription
to those readers who enlist ten or more new subscribers.
By studying and utilizing the information in this report you
encounter few serious problems in launching your own successful
newsletter. However, there is an important point to remember
business by mail: Mail Order is only one way of doing business.
You must, however, learn all you can about it, and keep on learning,
changing, observing, and adapting to stay on top. The best way
learn about and keep up with mail order is to buy and read books
by the people who have succeeded in making money via the mail.
to several of the better journals and aids designed for people
mail order. Join some of the mail order trade associations for
free exchange of ideas, advice, and help.
Success lays before you like an open door. Only you can make
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decision to move through the door and enter the world of self-fulfillment
and financial freedom. The choice is yours alone: make the move
of which you've always dreamed!
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