Those of you who are paying close attention may have noticed that I recently started the Eat Sleep Publish E-mail List (if you sign up you get a free mp3 recording of The Pitch!), partly as an experiment to see what publishing possibilities there are in e-mail.
There’s good reason to be looking at e-mail. Jason Calacanis, who founded, grew, and profitably ran Weblogs Inc, recently quit blogging to start an e-mail list. Peter Shankman is running Help A Reporter, which has at least 30,000 subscribers by now.
MediaPost offers a slew of daily e-mail newsletters on all kinds of interesting topics. I recently talked to a small business owner who told me that he’s pulling in an extra $40,000 per month through his e-mail list.
Clearly there’s money to be made in E-mail.
How can e-mail be used?
When people think about tacking e-mail onto a news site, most of the time they think of some kind of daily or weekly news digest. But there are tons of different uses for e-mail on a news site.
Here are a few examples that come to mind:
- A weekly newsletter with a custom “letter from the editor”
- A weekly collection of aggregated links from around the web on a given topic
- Alerts whenever an article is posted that relates to a certain topic
- A daily e-mail that shows the top 5 most e-mailed, most commented on, & most read articles on the site
My point is that there are a lot of ways that a news site can connect with their readers via e-mail, and these are all things that a newspaper should be trying to do, because e-mail content will help maintain your consumer mind share and will bring you new revenue.
Make money with e-mail?
As it turns out, there are a lot of companies using e-mail lists to generate revenue for their business. A lot of them are doing sales e-mails (as in, there’s a product to buy), which doesn’t apply to newspapers as much, but some businesses seem to be finding e-mail revenue from advertising.
Take MediaPost as an example. I’m signed up for several of their daily e-mails, and they always include ads. Here’s a screenshot of this morning’s e-mail:
Note the full HTML layout and ad space included in the e-mail. E-mail clients have come a long way in the past few years, and it’s becoming easier to reach thousands of people with well-displayed full HTML e-mails.
When it lands in the inbox, it looks and acts just like a web page.
E-mail formats like this make it a no-brainer to include and serve ads in your e-mails. Just think – if create a number of alerts and e-mail lists, you could be sending out thousands of e-mails per day, all of them with advertising attached.
That could be a significant revenue boost. How are you using E-mail?