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Start and Run a Paid Newsletter – Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Promoting affiliate products that charge the customer month after month and pay you a percentage of that amount is the simplest way to earn recurring revenue.

However, there are some disadvantages to using affiliate marketing:

  • You’re not making a name for yourself.
  • You get a cut of the profits from your own sales.
  • You can’t get affiliates, and if you do, you’ll only make about 5%.
  • You have no influence over the affiliate program; the owner of the affiliate product you’re promoting can close it, alter it, change the commission structure, or completely delete it.

These things rarely occur when the program is performing effectively. They have, however, occurred in the past, much to the dismay of affiliates who worked so hard to promote the program and bring in clients.

(Hint: While you can never be sure what’s going on with a product, it’s always ideal to promote well-established programs that at least look to be trustworthy.)

Of course, the solution is to create your own recurring payment product.

Starting a paid newsletter is one of the simplest and maybe most enjoyable methods to do this.

“Will consumers pay for a newsletter when they can access the same material for free on the internet?”

"Will consumers pay for a newsletter when they can access the same material for free on the internet?"

Absolutely.

Of course, there are aspects to consider, such as selecting the appropriate niche, which we’ll discuss shortly.

Here are a few reasons why subscribers are willing to pay for your newsletter, assuming you have a solid niche and are targeting the correct people:

  • You are helping them save time. It could take hours or days for them to gather the information you can provide in your newsletter.
  • You’re providing them with information that they would never have discovered otherwise. People aren’t always sure where to seek the information they require. In fact, people don’t always realize what options are open to them until they are guided by an expert.
  • You are helping them save money. You’ve got a winner if your newsletter can save them money and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money. Teaching individuals how to save money on things like utilities, house upgrades, and car purchases, for example. In this specific niche, Bottom Line has sold millions of volumes.
  • You’re generating money for them. Stock advice, Forex tips, and commodities tips newsletters consistently perform well.
  • You’re providing them with insider information.
  • You’re informing them of the most recent developments in their field.
  • You’re providing them with a valuable benefit.

To be effective, your newsletter does not need to include all of these features. However, the more you can cover, the better.

“How do I pick a niche?” you might wonder.

pick a niche

Look for the famished population, as Gary Halbert famously said. You want to target a niche where people are hungry for information and willing to pay for it.

Here are a few examples; there are hundreds more, but this should get you started:

  • Stocks, Forex, commodities, and other investments are examples.
  • How to generate money by buying and selling homes
  • Make money online and through internet marketing – pick a strong sub-niche here, such as traffic creation, SEO, and so on.
  • Coding – for example, Ruby training, and so on.
  • Accountants, chiropractors, dentists, presenters, and other professionals are targeted in this category. Would cover the most recent developments in the industry.
  • Writers can specialise in fiction, copywriting and sales, technical writing, and so on.
  • Travel – narrow this down to different forms of travel, cheap or free travel, destinations, and so on.
  • Choose a sub-niche in health, such as a chronic illness like diabetes.
  • Exercise – select a niche in which people are zealous, such as weight lifting.
  • Choose a hobby that people spend a lot of money on, such as golf.

What’s the greatest way to tell if you’ve picked a decent niche? Check to see if the niche you’re interested in already has paid newsletters. If there are, you’ve probably got a winner.

“How can I get more subscribers to sign up for my paid newsletter?”

The usual approach is to set up an affiliate program and then work on attracting affiliates. This can be quite useful. The only drawback is that you split your profits with your affiliates. However, you can earn a lot more money than if you tried to gain all of your subscribers on your own.

Another technique exists, and you can use it alone or with affiliates. It’s known as the “freemium” model, and it works as follows:

You don’t provide your paid newsletter to prospects at first. Instead, you make your newsletter available for free. This version contains excellent content and is still useful. However, it lacks the bells and whistles of the paid version.

For instance, if you provide daily stock suggestions, you might only give away half of them in your free version. And you might wait until after the markets open to submit that version.

However, your paid version includes all of your tips, even the greatest of them. It’s also delivered one hour before the market opens.

If you go this path, keep in mind that your free version must be worthwhile. “If what he’s giving away is this excellent, just imagine what’s in the paid version!” your free subscribers will think.

Offering a free version is a fantastic method to establish trust with your readers. It also allows you to promote your paid version every time you send out the free version.

It also significantly increases the size of your mailing list. Some of your free version subscribers may never upgrade to the paid version, but they can still take advantage of any additional offers you make to them.

HINT: Give your free version a price. If your paid version costs $15 per month, your free version could be worth $7 per month, or $84 per year. This may persuade users to get the free version (while it is still free).

Also, do not inform visitors or prospects that they are joining up for the ‘free’ version. Give your free newsletter a strong name, and your paid version a name that sounds even more essential.

This brings us to…

“What should I call my newsletter?”

Of course, our niche will determine this. However, try to include the key benefit in the headline. “Europe on $30 a Day” and “Stock Investing for New Investors,” for example, both describe the newsletter’s content.

Your paid version should be very identical to the free version, with one exception: add a powerful phrase like “insiders,” “top secret,” “platinum,” or “elite.”

So you might have a free version of “Commodity Investing 101” and a paid version of “Commodity Investing 101 Insider’s Edition.”

“Can you tell me what tools I’ll need?”

Naturally, you’ll require a payment system. You can accept payments directly with PayPal or through a service like ClickBank.

You’ll need an affiliate system if you want affiliates. JVZoo and ClickBank are two of the more popular options, but there are plenty more to explore.

To collect email addresses and deliver emails, you’ll need an autoresponder. The classic standbys, Aweber and GetResponse, are well valued. There is a free version of MailChimp. ConvertKit, the new kid on the block, has some amazing features that help you effortlessly segment your lists and much more.

You’ll also need a mechanism to distribute your newsletter. Of course, you may simply attach it to your email, but spam filters may consume them.

It’s usually preferable to host your newsletter somewhere and let subscribers download it. ConvertKit will host it for you, or you can keep it on your own website or with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3).

Set up a member’s area on your site for your paid subscribers if you want to go fancy.

The possibilities are practically unlimited; the only limitation is how complicated you want to make it. I would suggest keeping things as simple as possible at first and then going elaborate later.

“How do I promote the paid version?”

Paid Newsletter

If you like, you can send emails to your list. You’ll want to promote the paid version of your newsletter in particular in the free version.

Don’t be rude about it; simply display a banner encouraging readers to sign up at the top of the first page and again at the bottom of the last page.

“Subscribe to Your-Newsletter-Name Premium and get (insert numerous perks),” it can state.

When visitors click that link, they are taken to a landing page that explains why they should sign up. It is not necessary to write a lengthy sales letter. Remember, people clicked the link because they already know you and enjoy your content.

So simply discuss what they’re missing out on in the paid version. This can be done in writing or on video. If you pick a video, include a textual version for individuals who prefer not to watch videos.

“Do I still send the free version after they sign up for the paid version?”

No, because your paid version will include the free version’s content as well as the premium, paid stuff.

So, while your free version maybe 6 pages, your paid version will almost certainly be twice as long, if not more.

When subscribers buy a subscription, some autoresponders, such as Aweber and ConvertKit, will automatically remove them from the free list and add them to the paid list.

“How can I obtain subscribers to my free newsletter other than affiliates?”

Of course, if you already have a list, you should start there.

Both paid advertising and personal relationships are fantastic ways to promote your free newsletter on social media. If your newsletter is published regularly, write teasers for each piece that include a link to the newsletter sign-up.

It’s a great idea to have a blog with relevant articles. To gain free traffic, optimize each content to be found on Google. Your blog should prominently display your free newsletter.

Guest post on relevant blogs and offer your free subscription to their followers.

Find the best places to advertise your newsletter based on your niche.

As you learn how much each new subscription is worth, this will become easier.

If each free version subscriber is worth $5 on average over their lifetime, you’ll know how much you can afford to pay to bring them in.

“Should I provide incentives for people to upgrade to the paid version?”

When combined with a deadline, incentives are quite effective. You might have a special report or book that you’re giving away for free to current and new subscribers, for example. However, there is a deadline, and they will lose out if they do not join the paid version by that time.

You could then offer the same book plus a new book to new subscribers a few months later, again with a deadline.

Anything you give to potential subscribers should, of course, be given to your current paid subscribers as well.

Another effective inducement is to offer them a $1 trial for the first month. This is really effective, especially when combined with the free incentives.

Then, a few times a year, you could offer a deal where customers may pay for a complete year at a discounted rate. This will result in a large cash infusion.

Also, because it’s only fair, extend this deal to existing subscribers.

If you do decide to run a sale, be sure to keep the original price on the page, cross it out, and replace it with the new price in red. Simply using this basic trick will boost your conversion rates by several percentage points.

“How can I prevent cancellations?”

It’s the nature of subscriptions that some people will cancel. However, there are steps you may take to reduce your attrition rate.

The first step is to always provide excellent material.

After that, surprise them. Give them the book you’re giving away to new subscribers, for example.

Third, keep people guessing about what’s coming next. If you publish a monthly magazine, dedicate one section to teasers for the next issue. This is critical because it keeps people interested and anticipating the next issue.

Finally, keep up with what’s going on in your niche so you’re always up to date on what’s new and what your followers want. You’ve done well if you can become so important in their lives that they couldn’t imagine not being subscribed.

“How frequently should I post?”

This will be determined by what makes sense in your niche.

If you’re sending out a financial newsletter with precise buying and selling advice, you might want to publish it five times a week.

You can publish weekly or even monthly if you’re publishing something less time-sensitive.

“Should I charge a certain amount?”

Find out how much other paid newsletters in your niche are charging. Subscribing will allow you to see how much value they provide for that amount. Then set your price accordingly.

The sweet spot is charging the same amount or less but providing better value.

Of course, if you’re providing exceptional value in comparison to other paid newsletters, go ahead and charge more.

Also, inform your prospects in your sales text that you charge extra since you provide all of these services that other newsletters do not. This distinguishes you from the competition and promotes your newsletter as the niche leader.

The most important thing is to test. Compare different price points to find which one generates the most money.

For example, compare $9.99 to $14.97 to discover which one generates the greatest revenue.

You might be surprised to learn that charging a greater price results in you getting more subscribers. However, you will not know until you test.

Another technique is to gradually raise your pricing with each sale until you reach a defined goal. For example, you could start at $9 per month and gradually increase the price by a penny or two with each sale until you reach $14.97, at which point you could freeze the price.

One more tip on price: keeping it under $10 will give you a psychological advantage in the market.

  • First, consumers are more likely to subscribe to a lower-cost newsletter in most (but not all) niches.
  • Second, if the amount is less than ten dollars, they are less likely to be concerned.

Consider this scenario: a subscriber is low on cash this month and is considering cutting something out.

He has two monthly subscriptions, one of which costs $97 and the other $9.

Which one is it that he takes the time to cancel?

I know people who pay less than ten dollars per month for services they never use or read.

They’ve been doing it for a long time. They’re simply too lazy to find a way to cancel. After all, why bother when it’s only $9 (or whatever)? At least, that’s how people perceive it, and it’s a significant benefit when marketing a subscription service.

“Should I just go for a really low pricing and hope to acquire a lot of subscribers?”

No, in general, although it will depend on your niche.

People will not value your newsletter if you give it away too cheaply. They may first refuse to purchase because they believe, “If it’s this inexpensive, it can’t be very nice.”

And if they do buy, they don’t pay it much thought because they haven’t put much money into it.

Also, selling a high-priced newsletter can sometimes take the same amount of effort as selling a low-priced newsletter.

You must also consider who your target market is. Is it value shoppers who are looking for the best deal? Is it people who want and are willing to pay for the information you can provide?

When people recognize the value, they are willing to pay a higher premium.

As you can see, the answer to the question “how should I price my newsletter?” isn’t straightforward. Examine what’s available in your market, compare what you’re offering to what’s already available, differentiate yourself from the competition, and then set a price.

Finally, test, test, and test again.

“How can I boost my earnings?”

To your paid and free subscribers, promote relevant affiliate products. One thing to keep in mind: only promote a small number of products that you actually believe in.

Your major goal should be to earn and keep your readers’ confidence, not to make quick cash and lose all credibility.

Make products on your own. There is room for new products in every niche you choose, assuming you chose wisely. Discover what people desire, what their issues are, and what their objectives are. Then design products to match.

Offers should be placed on the thank you page. When someone purchases a subscription, they are clearly in the market for something. Why don’t you give them something else to buy?

Advertisements can be sold within your newsletter. Once you have a large number of subscribers, you can do this. Just make sure you’re putting out as much content as you can – advertising doesn’t count.

Also, only accept advertisements from products and businesses you trust. After all, you’re giving them access to your customers; if they don’t treat your subscribers well, you’ll hear from angry customers.

“How can I discover affiliates other than the normal channels?”

Many of your finest affiliates will begin as subscribers. Let them know you have an affiliate program and provide them with all of the resources they’ll need to promote your newsletter.

You can also approach bloggers in your niche, who, if they’ve been building and nurturing their lists, can be a great source of new subscribers. Many of them are also pleased with the monthly money they will receive as your affiliate.

You can also approach product proprietors, depending on your niche. This is very popular in the make money niche, but consider a different one: golf.

Let’s imagine someone invents and sells a tonne of this handy little golf gadget. But what happens next? If you approach this person and ask if they’d want to distribute your golf newsletter to their mailing list, they’ll almost certainly say yes.

Other people’s products may benefit from your free subscription. Your free newsletter is distributed to their customers.

The person who suggested them then receives a monthly commission if they upgrade to the paid version.

“How much should I pay in commission?”

At the very least, 50%. More than 60% is preferable.

Some may object but consider this: the majority of the subscriber’s affiliates bring you are folks you would never have reached otherwise.

Additionally, they assist you in growing your list of both free and paid newsletter subscribers. You can even promote additional products to both groups.

In fact, you could give away almost the whole subscription cost to affiliates and still make a lot of money simply by marketing your own products and affiliate products to your followers.

“May you tell me where I can get content for my newsletter?”

Of course, you can write it yourself.

If you prefer, you can also record it. Yes, you may create video and audio newsletters.

Ghostwriters are available for rent.

Guest writers, similar to guest posters on blogs, are available.

You can also request to republish other people’s articles in your newsletter. Make sure you get their permission in writing and include an author’s box with a brief bio and URL.

Interviewing experts is one of the simplest methods to generate fantastic, new, and fresh material. This can be done over the phone, via Skype, or by email.

Aside from generating outstanding information, interviewing experts has other advantages.

You’re also meeting the people who matter in your niche, who might spread the word about your newsletter to their own contacts.

You’re cultivating relationships with these influencers, which will lead to future opportunities.

By association, you’re being known as an expert. When people see your name next to the names of specialists they recognize, they assume you are also an expert.

“What do you think the best part of having your own paid newsletter is?”

paid newsletter

For starters, you can call yourself a publisher, which is a cool title to have at a cocktail party.

You also have control over your future. You have complete control over the content of your newsletter (aka: how GOOD it is). You have complete control over how aggressively you sell it. You also have control over your earnings.

Do you want to offer yourself a promotion? Get more subscribers to sign up. It’s that simple.

It’s also nice to know that everything you accomplish today will earn you money not just today, but for months to come as those subscribers renew their subscriptions.

Furthermore, your newsletter will establish you as an authority in your niche. Other marketers will approach YOU, offering to do business with you, promote you, and so on.

There are numerous advantages, and it all starts with the first paid subscriber.

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