A newsletter may refer to several different platforms: an email newsletter, a print (or digital) newsletter, or a newsletter subscription website.
An email newsletter is a daily and often weekly email sent to a list of email subscribers with links to your editorial content. A promotional email newsletter, which we refer to as a spotlight email, includes promotions for your publication and other services. For editorial email newsletters, we recommend designing it to be responsive using the email stack template.
A print (or digital) newsletter subscription is a weekly, monthly, or quarterly publication. It can be delivered through the postal mail and physically held, read, and paged through. A digital newsletter is read online, either through a PDF format, or a newsletter subscription website.
A newsletter subscription website is set up solely to sell subscriptions for a related print – or, even cheaper to produce, digital – newsletter. Often, the site also provides access to issues of the newsletter. A newsletter subscription website is commerce-based, with an overall objective of increasing product sales and providing customer service to existing subscribers. These sites are fairly simple: Usually the home page consists of a free area, with content that focuses on the benefits of becoming a subscriber to the related publication – a sales letter – and conversion architecture where a visitor can subscribe.
Some newsletter sites have a password-protected private area, where paid subscribers can view an HTML version of the current issue of the print or digital newsletter or download it in PDF format, as well as access and/or download back issues and other premium content. Like all premium models, a newsletter website is typically paired with an affinity (free) model like a portal or community which promotes the newsletter website.
No matter whether you’re just starting a subscription website or you already have one of the Internet’s successful subscription websites, you can learn and do more with your subscription website after you read my new FREE handbook, Subscription Website Publishing: The Most Profitable Subscription Website Models.
A few tests to prove which subject lines make for great open rates
Studies show that most people decide whether to open and read an email message based entirely on a quick glance at the sender’s address and the email subject line.
If you’re an email newsletter publisher or marketer, you have four tasks: You need to get your offer delivered, opened, read and converted. Continue
f there were just three things you could do today to increase your audience, revenue, and profits, what would they be?
In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda shares a strategy for each. Continue
A Mequoda Audience Development System is a physical, turn-key content management system that is customized to help publisher’s attract new visitors, convert them into email subscribers, engage them, and finally, monetize by converting those visitors into paying customers and subscribers.
To build every Mequoda Audience Development System (Mequoda System for short), we use the Mequoda Method — a collection of best practices that have been formed by watching the world’s most successful online publishers. We also document the results of every a/b and split test that our portfolio of clients are testing every day, and when we see consistent results over time with one methodology, we share it as a best practice with our clients. Continue
Even though you might associate usability with website design, it’s been an important factor in our everyday life for at least a century. Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911, is the first instance where the world started paying attention to how people use things, and how we can help them be more efficient. In 1936, Frigidaire cited “usability” as a key feature of their new refrigerator. In 1943, Alphonse Chapanis made the case for redesigning airplane cockpits in order to reduce errors.
But it wasn’t until 1985 that Computer Usability Testing & Evaluation was published by Richard Spencer. Of course, by this point, usability wasn’t anything new, so designing computers that were most usable was a given. In fact, the war of operating systems, mainly between Microsoft and Apple, has been centered on usability since the beginning.
When home-accessible Internet arrived and websites became the next usability feat, Steve Krug published Don’t Make Me Think in 2000. I think we can all agree that web designers everywhere desperately needed this book back in 2000 and the web has become better for it. Continue
It’s amazing to see the evolution of the email newsletter – how brands use it to communicate, how the designs have changed over the years, and how the strategies of staying relevant have advanced.
Even though email newsletters have been around for years, they are still valuable for digital publishers. They are often a publisher’s largest source of revenue. Continue
Some helpful hints on generating revenue through online advertising
What comes to mind when you think about revenue models on the Internet? Is it a relatively new model that was designed specifically for the Internet? Or do you think of traditional business models that have transformed from the physical world to the digital world?
That may have been a trick question, but if you answered “both”, you are correct. The Internet offers an array of revenue models, which in turn have their own subsets of revenue-generating models. If this sounds complex now, just keep in mind that this all means revenue can be generated in many ways. As you read on the intricacies should become more understandable. Continue
We all know the four basic advertising models, Cost per Thousand (CPM), Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per Action (CPA), Directory/Classified advertising platforms. But what else is out there?
In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains how niche publishers are boosting sponsorship revenues with one innovative strategy that advertisers love. Continue
“It’s more effective than direct mail and as effective as telephone – and so much less expensive.” That’s a quote from ClickZ’s latest report, Email and the Age of First-Person Marketing. While marketers were saying just three years ago that social would consume email, it’s proven to become even more powerful and celebrated during that time, especially in magazine marketing. A study by the Direct Marketing Association shows that “email campaigns conducted with house lists achieved an ROI of 30% to 32%, compared with 15% to 17% from social media, and 18% to 20% for direct mail using house lists.” Continue
Are you in the process of writing a magazine business plan for a new venture, or an extension of an existing publishing business? I won’t beat around the bush here. If you’re looking to develop a magazine business plan, we should chat. Continue
In multiplatform marketing and social media, do you ever feel like the content you produce is making more money for other people, than for you? Think about it. 100 years ago, American songwriter, Victor Herbert sued a restaurant for playing his song on a piano without paying royalties for the song and formed a society, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to keep this from happening to other artists and publishers. Sure, plagiarism is one angle of what multiplatform publishers encounter when someone uses your content without permission, but what about the content you give away for free on other platforms? Continue
Before hiring subscription website publishing experts, take this advice straight to the bank.
If you’re looking to grow the most beautiful rose garden on the block, would you prefer to go to your local gardening center and rifle through the rose section to see what’s brightest, or would you head straight to specialty rose nursery, with employed experts in growing roses?
So then why is it that so often we hear of publishers who hire web development companies that have no experience developing subscription websites for publishers? A magazine or newsletter website requires an expertise in search engine optimization, conversion architecture, subscription management, and content management, in addition to an array of other specialties. Continue
While the challenge of choosing the right subscription and single copy pricing strategy is not new to magazine publishers, it’s virgin territory for most subscription website publishers and many publishers exploring the digital newsstand landscape.
Even magazine publishers are faced with new economic realities.
The marginal cost of delivering a digital subscription to your own website is near zero. The cost of delivering digital issues via the Apple, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble digital newsstands is based on remit and the cost of delivering a digital issue paid to your digital publishing software provider (Mag+, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, etc.). Continue
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Have you ever felt in your personal life, like plans are useless? Many people feel this way, and in fact I’ve heard the best advice you can give a bride before her wedding is to plan that not everything will go as planned. Just knowing that imperfection is part of the plan can be a soothing anecdote.
It’s not just magazine, newsletter and newspaper publishers who seek custom CMS development services. Content management systems are built for most media businesses, even those who may not consider themselves in media but produce digital content regularly. The trouble with finding a content management system is that despite the word “content” in the title, rarely do out-of-the box solutions work for publishers, and rarely do even the most talented custom CMS developers understand publishing business models enough to build a system that is built to attract, capture, engage, and monetize all in the same place. Continue
A Mequoda subscription website Portal generates value from both users and sponsors
Mequoda has guided the development of more than a 300 successful niche media websites on a wide variety of niche media topics. Our best practice is to pair a free subscription website Portal with any premium subscription business model like a magazine or newsletter.
When you charge Continue
New report looks at the efficacy of ads on websites versus social; Huffington Post tries newsletter-only content strategy; Condé Nast rethinks digital website strategy
Which content strategy works best, ads on a publisher’s website or ads on social media? We begin by looking at a story from AdWeek, which is reporting on a study from Neuro-Insight that Continue
Audience development personnel have a very specific, and incredibly important job within an organization.
Finding the right audience development staff can mean the difference between thousands of email subscribers and tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue.
The best audience development job description I’ve ever seen comes from one of our clients. Continue
How to create new products and passive income from old products as a multiplatform publisher
One of the most interesting rodents on the planet is the grasshopper mouse, native to the US and Mexico, which has a bit of a superpower: it’s impervious to venom. Also, it’s a carnivore. So it dines on venomous centipedes, scorpions Continue
How would you like to expand your product line with something that’s based on content you already have, increases your credibility in your niche, offers your customers immediate gratification, and will sell in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands … or even millions? Continue
“Do your job.”
Those are the famous words of New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, and the mantra of the whole team, who I imagine you already know just won their fifth Super Bowl in the greatest game of all time (no New England bias here, nope!)
If you have a magazine, you have a magazine subscription website. Most publishers don’t use the same definition as we do, because I don’t think most magazine subscription websites do their job. They exist, and they process payments, but they do very little to attract (provocative pricing), entice (great copy and packages), and keep subscribers happy (digital archives and access). Continue
An Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) code is the way that businesses track sales from their origination point (like a tweet, email or a brochure) down the funnel to their conversion page. Every audience development campaign is packed with UTM codes to see which campaigns perform best. In Google Analytics, these codes can be tracked under the general “Traffic Sources” area just like any other source. Continue
Most publishers are only using one or two of these email call to action ideas for building an email list to sell more magazines
Did you know that by pairing unproductive employees with productive employees, you can actually improve productivity overall?
Cornerstone OnDemand conducted a study of more than 2,000 tech company employees with a dataset of Continue
If you’re not writing contextual email text ads, your magazine marketing and paid products aren’t selling as well as they could be.
Have you ever thrown a birthday party for your kid that was totally themed? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—you got this. There was pizza and ice cream (the Turtles’ favorite food combo). All the kids Continue
There was a time when investors were shying away from publishing media because “journalism” is “expensive” and user-generated content is “cheap”.
But as the world changes tides and begins to preach the quality over quantity sermon, investors have begun to appreciate journalism again. It reaches specific audiences. Now, who else do we know who creates that kind of content? Why, it’s the niche publishers Mequoda has always served! Imagine! Continue
Increase email revenue by determining your ideal revenue per subscriber, and then using service journalism to keep them on a path toward monetization
A Mequoda online publishing and marketing system measures revenue produced by email newsletter subscribers differently from the way that print publishers have traditionally measured the lifetime value of a subscriber.
The revenue per email Continue
These days, when people talk about newsletter best practices, they’re usually referring to free email newsletters, used as a marketing tool to drive inbound traffic to websites. But because some of us are old-time journalists here at Mequoda, we also think fondly of paid newsletters, a classic journalistic form that survives today in the digital era. Continue
It’s been reported that the average email users spends at average of 51 seconds on each email newsletter they read. If this average pertains to your market, you need to develop a way to maximize your email’s ability to connect with your audience. Continue
There I was, getting my hair cut at the village barbershop. The barber was a thirtysomething woman who was new to the shop.
While making small talk, she came to the inevitable question, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a magazine publishing consultant,” I said automatically, having answered the question that way many times over the past Continue
Some of the most successful publishers let their users generate more than 99 percent of their content. The publishers that can do this become masters at building communities that draw users to both read and post.
Out of the nine subscription website business models, the community subscription website archetype is the only one where the publisher relies on its community to create the content. There are six premium (paid) archetypes, and three affinity (free) archetypes. This is one of the three free ones. Continue
36 ways to build your Internet audience, revenue and profits while building your magazine circulation
There are five different ways to build a magazine audience. You can use free subscription offers, use efficient call to action placements, use time-tested brand-building techniques, email-building techniques and other types of traffic drivers.
Consider the offer
The offer is the most important Continue
Digital magazine publishing software is important; which option are you using?
Publishers have been trying digital magazine publishing software during the last few years in hopes of creating the best digital products for their audiences. And like everything else in digital magazine land, digital magazine software has evolved at light speed since we made our initial recommendations in January.
Here’s our latest (opinionated) look at the magazine software landscape. Continue
How to promote a digital magazine online, offline, and everywhere in between
How do you usually promote a magazine? Afterall, subscription and newsstand sales are the keys to driving advertiser interest, so what are you doing to promote your print magazine?
Blow-in cards. Social Media. Newsstands. Direct mail and email renewal series. Subscription agents. The list goes on.
Now what Continue
Magazine events bring in user and sponsor revenue, and many publishers have made a profitable business model out of them.
When we talk about multiplatform publishing, it’s easy to jump right into the obvious choices: the ones with words, like books and portals and ebooks. But some of the biggest publishers I know have incorporated live Continue
Resolve to investigate the possibility of added revenue with a club-style business model in 2017
Every publisher and subscription marketer should recommit in 2017 to customer relationship building and asset leveraging—after all, these are two things that you already have, customers and content! And one of the hottest new trends for capitalizing on your content and Continue
Whatever your specialty, there are membership website ideas you can profit from
Membership websites are defined by the fact that users access the content on-demand, when they have a question they need answered or a learning tool they need to access. A membership subscription website archetype provides paid members with a library of information on a specific topic of Continue
If you could, you’d hire a professional email subject line writer. You would, because you depend on your email list to sell magazine subscriptions or ads to advertisers, so smashing together 50-100 characters on the fly every day is a stinky approach to accomplishing those goals. Continue
Aggregating great content is just as valuable as creating great content
Content aggregation is often given a bad name, because it’s often done incorrectly.
The best content aggregators approach the process as the valuable art form that it is. Content aggregators recognize the web is all about content aggregation, and their work allows users to reach new depths on the subject matter they care about.
We first wrote about content aggregation in 2011. At that time, he had been researching best practices for content aggregation and strategies content aggregators should avoid. Continue
Improve open, click-through, and conversion rates with these email template testing ideas
Even our best-performing emails tend to drop in engagement rates over time. In fact, every time we change email templates we will typically see a boost in click-through rates. This reason is mostly based on something new and shiny appearing in people’s inboxes. Even Continue
Our most-read subscription website publishing posts of last year show an interest in building profitable subscription websites and improving the usability and site speed of existing websites.
In 2016, toward the end of the year it was made abundantly clear to publishers they would need to focus on more simple site design with faster loading times. Continue
Our top-read audience development posts of last year show an interest in subject lines and the power of email newsletters.
Despite the rise of social networks, most publishers we know still get the majority of their traffic from organic traffic and email. That’s why it’s no surprise that our most-read posts on the Mequoda Daily this Continue
Social media users are highly engaged – but if you want to master social media for magazines, you must approach each network differently
Most publishers we’ve talked to say social media isn’t a huge sales driver for them. Sure, they’ve made a few bucks here and there, but they’re not making Dell money or anything (Dell Continue
Your magazine and newsletter content is incredibly valuable.
There are, in fact, 10 well-documented content business models that can be used to build and grow your audience, revenue, and profitability. When used together, they form an incredibly efficient, fully integrated multiplatform publishing and marketing system that can be used to dominate virtually any content niche from Continue
Our top-read digital magazine publishing posts of last year show an interest in creating, marketing, and monetizing digital magazines and newsletters
In 2016, publishers couldn’t stop talking about the possibilities of digital magazines. After learning that digital magazines are a profitable content business model they’re actively seeking new ways to create new magazines, market them, and Continue
Coming up with the right subscription website business model(s) is usually the biggest stumbling block for those wanting to get into this business.
Choosing your content focus is a business-critical decision, as the focus you choose pretty much dictates your chances of success with a subscription website. However, more serious than the focus on content for Continue
Are people finding and clicking on your email call to action, or is your click-through rate dwindling?
The Dalai Lama said, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” And if you want your customers to take an action, you must put the instructions in front of them. Otherwise, how Continue
A series of voice-focused trends are beginning to evolve within Hearst’s magazine arm
This week at Hearst, it was announced that they will be using a new Food Network persona to diversify their magazine brand by giving them their own magazine, a trend we expect will grow with more Food Network personas. Women’s Wear Daily writes:
What to look for in live event management software from Haven Nexus, to Bizzabo, CVent, EventBrite and Event Ready.
As publishers have struggled with print revenues during the last 10 years, many have turned to live events as an additional revenue stream. As a strategic extension of a publishing brand, events make a lot of sense. Continue
Although a text ad could refer to any ad consisting of text, we’re currently referring to those that are part of your conversion architecture. These ads are placed in the dead center of all your articles and invite your website visitors to download a free product that will get them on your email list. Continue
Do your magazine marketing promotions spark revenue? If they do, recycle them. If not, dispose of them.
A few years ago, a publisher came to us and during our initial conversations about email, we looked into their EMS backend and discovered that they were creating new email templates for every day of the week as part Continue
If people aren’t opening, maybe they’re worried they might “have trouble viewing this email.”
Some marketers have noticed that the first thing a reader usually sees when their email shows up in the preview pane of an inbox is “Having trouble viewing this email? View this email on the web” or similar wording. That boilerplate line Continue