As a niche site owner or budding online business owner, you may be looking for new and innovative ways to connect with your audience and grow your brand. One powerful tool that is often overlooked is a newsletter business.
Newsletters are an effective marketing tool that can build a community around your brand, deepen relationships with your existing audience, and generate revenue.
With the number of email users worldwide set to increase through 2025, newsletters might be a marketing channel that you can’t afford to ignore.
So what do you need to get started with a newsletter business?
Let's start with the basics.
What exactly is a newsletter business?
A newsletter is a digital business that produces and distributes regular content to a list of subscribers. Your newsletter can be targeted to a specific niche or topic, such as technology, health, or personal finance, and can contain a broad variety of content, including -
- Opinion pieces
- Promotional offers
Starting a newsletter business give you the ability to establish yourself as an expert in your field, build a loyal and engaged audience, and potentially generate revenue through advertising, product sales, or paid subscriptions.
As your mailing list grows the opportunities for reaching a broader demographic and gaining revenue opportunities expand, making a newsletter business a viable method of income generation for those who manage it successfully.
Perform market research
Before starting a newsletter business you will need to know that there is a market out there for your chosen subject or niche. This means you will need to conduct market to identify the levels of potential demand for your newsletter, and understand your target audience's -
Identifying a viable niche isn’t easy, it can be a tricky balance and the numbers don’t always tell the full story.
If a market seems saturated that doesn’t automatically mean that there’s no room for your own newsletter, especially if it presents a new angle or shares unique information.
By the same token, finding a niche that is wide open doesn’t always mean that there is an active market for it.
Zero demand may also mean zero interest.
There are multiple ways to perform market research and compare different sectors or niches. Before taking the plunge and sending out hundreds of emails to your followers you will want to take some preparatory steps.
Identify other newsletters in your niche. Analyse their content, frequency, style, and engagement levels. Consider what makes them engaging or unique and identify any gaps or opportunities in the market. That is the area where you can target your own newsletter and bring something original, and hopefully, irresistible, to your audience.
If you have an existing email list or a large social media following, use it to your advantage. Get feedback on your ideas and poll your existing audience to gain insights, or join like-minded groups to collect information. Surveys can help you to gather valuable feedback. Tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey create surveys that ask questions about interests, needs, and pain points. Social media channels like Twitter and Linkedin allow polls to be created that your followers can vote on, giving you insights into preferences.
Check keyword search volume
Knowing the kind of search volume that a niche attracts is helpful for future content planning. Tools like Google Trends or SEMrush will identify the search volume for keywords related to your niche, helping you to understand the level of interest in your topic. It can also identify potential opportunities or gaps that you can capitalise on with your own newsletter to keep your readers engaged.
Use analytics tools to analyse your audience's behaviour. Identify the type of content that performs well, the demographics of your audience, and the channels that drive the most traffic. This information can help you to effectively optimise your content and target your newsletter to where it really counts.
Choosing a Platform
Once you are confident that you have found a winning niche you will need to choose a platform to host your newsletter and there are many available, each with its own set of tools and features.
Platforms like Substack, Beehiiv, and Mailchimp are designed to manage a newsletter easily. They give users the ability to test emails across audience segments or check the efficacy of content with A/B testing.
Each newsletter platform has its pros and cons, so it's essential to research and compare them before making a decision, but at the very least your newsletter or email software should be able to -
- Segment audiences into multiple lists
- Track click and open rates
- Provide you with design tools and templates
There are of course costs associated with using software to manage your newsletter business, but prices are generally affordable and increase incrementally as your audience grows. This gives you the opportunity to scale your newsletter business as your revenue increases without feeling the pinch.
Newsletter Templates for your Brand
A newsletter template is the design that your subscribers will see when they receive your newsletter. It's essential to create a template that is visually appealing and easy to read but it should also reflect your brand. You can use a pre-designed template or create your own using applications like Canva to create a template that is easily recognisable and contains brand information like your logo or strapline.
Your template should be clean and easy to read. Cluttered complex layouts will be hard to read and distract from your message, so keep the layout simple and easy to navigate, and don’t forget to use white space to your advantage.
Headlines need to be bold and attention-grabbing. Icons, graphics and eye-catching images can make your content more appealing and memorable. Make sure that any images or graphic content are high-quality, sharp, and relevant to the information you are sharing.
While these points may all seem small details, they are all things that make your newsletter readable, engaging and more appealing to your audience. And the more your audience is captivated, the longer they will stick around.
Setting a Publishing Schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to publishing a newsletter. Set a publishing schedule that works for you and your audience. You can choose to publish weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on your content and audience's needs.
Using the tracking tools included with your newsletter platform will show click-through rates (CTRs), and it is worth experimenting with sending days and times until you find what works best for your audience.
Small changes can have a big impact and things like the day or time you send your newsletter can support better open rates. Test and adjust schedules to see the kind of effect it has on your email stats.
In a recent survey by GetResponse, email open rates by industry were as follows.
Strategies to Grow your Audience
Once you have your newsletter template set up and ready to go, the next step is to grow your audience. Again, this may take some experimentation until you find the channel that brings the moist results, but you can try things like -
Promoting Your Newsletter on Social Media - Use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share and promote your newsletter.
Guest Posting and Collaborations - Collaborate with other bloggers or newsletters in your niche as a part of your growth strategy. You will be able to reach a wider audience and build relationships with other creators.
Exclusive Content and Incentives - Offer exclusive content, discounts, or incentives for your subscribers. This can encourage a higher number of subscribers and encourage them to stay subscribed.
List Building - Lead magnets and opt-in forms can be placed on your website and social media accounts to collect subscribers’ email addresses.
Channels used for newsletter promotion can be organic or paid and the results will vary depending on your audience and industry.
Monetising Your Newsletter
Website owners, influencers and other online business owners use newsletters to grow their audience and generate income in many different ways.
Typical monetisation methods include -
- Subscriptions or Paid Content
- Sponsored Content
- Advertising Opportunities
- Affiliate Marketing
- Product Sales
Consistency and quality content are key to building a successful newsletter business. But there are other things you can use to help your newsletter business.
Automation Tools can further your distribution strategy and help you with sending emails on a preset schedule.
Analytics and Metrics that monitor click-through and engagement rates can be used to support adjustments to your strategy and optimise your content.
Personalisation and targeting your content directly to users support a better open rate and higher revenue return.
Sharing your knowledge and expertise with a newsletter business can be a fantastic way to convey information about your chosen niche while growing your audience and generating an income stream.
To be successful you will need to be committed to delivering high-quality newsletters to your subscribers with consistent delivery and engaging content.
Key takeaways to focus on are-
- Identify your niche and conduct market research to ensure demand.
- Choose a platform and create a visually appealing newsletter template.
- Develop a content strategy and set a consistent publishing schedule.
- Promote your newsletter through social media, collaborations, and incentives.
- Monetise with subscriptions, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing.
- Deliver quality content consistently to build and maintain your audience.
- Analyse and adjust your strategy as needed.