How to Start and Run a Paid Newsletter

The easiest method of all to earn recurring payments is by promoting affiliate products that charge the customer month after month, and pay you a percentage of that fee.

But there are several drawbacks to going the affiliate route:

You’re not building a name of your own
You share in profits of your own sales
You can’t get affiliates – or if you can, you only earn about 5%
You have no control – the owner of the affiliate product you’re promoting can close the program, change the program, change the commission structure, eliminate the affiliate program altogether, etc.
Generally these things don’t happen if the program is doing well. But they have happened in mandiribisnis the past, much to the surprise of the affiliates who worked so hard to promote the program and bring in the customers.

(Hint: While you can never know for sure what’s going on with a particular product, it’s always best to promote established programs that at least appear rock solid.)

The solution, of course, is to start your own recurring payment product.

And one of the easiest and perhaps most fun ways of doing this is to start a paid newsletter.

“Will people really PAY for a newsletter when they can get information for free online?”


There are factors to consider, of course, like choosing the right niche, and we’ll cover that in a moment.

Assuming you have a great niche and you’re targeting the right people, here are several reasons why subscribers are happy to pay you for your newsletter:

You’re saving them time. It could take them hours or days to gather the information you can give them in your newsletter.
You’re giving them information they otherwise would never find. People don’t always know where to look to find what they need. And in fact they don’t always know what’s available to them unless there is an expert to guide them.
You’re saving them money. If your newsletter can save them money and let them keep more of their hard earned cash, you’ve got a winner. For example, teaching people how to save on utilities, home improvements, car buying and so forth. Bottom Line has sold millions of books in this exact niche.
You’re making them money. Newsletters on the hottest stock tips, Forex tips and commodity tips consistently do very well.
You’re giving them insider’s info
You’re giving them the latest news in their industry.
You’re giving them a benefit they dearly want
Your newsletter doesn’t have to provide all of these benefits to be successful. But the more you can touch on, the better.

“How do I choose a niche?”

As Gary Halbert once said, look for the starving crowd. You want a niche where people are eager for information – so eager, they’ll gladly pay for it.

Here is a short list of examples – there are hundreds more but this should get you started in the right direction:

Investments – this can be stocks, Forex, commodities and so forth
Property investing – how to make money buying and flipping properties
Make money online and internet marketing – best to choose a powerful sub-niche here, like traffic generation, SEO, etc.
Coding – for example, Ruby related training, etc.
Professional – geared towards one type of professionals – accountants, chiropractors, dentists, speakers, etc. Would cover the latest in the industry.
Writers – niche this down to fiction, copywriting and sales, technical, etc.
Travel – niche this down to types of travel, traveling cheap or free, destinations, etc.
Health – choose a sub-niche, perhaps a chronic problem such as diabetes.
Exercise – choose only a niche in which people are super-fanatical, such as weight lifting.
Hobbies – choose one in which people spend a lot of money, such as golf.
The best indicator that you’ve chosen a good niche? Research if there are already paid newsletters in the niche you’re considering. If there are, odds are you have a winner.

“How do I get new subscribers to my paid newsletter?”

There is of course the traditional route – set up an affiliate program and then work on bringing in affiliates. This can be quite effective. The only downside is you’re splitting your profits with the affiliates. But the upside is you can make far more than if you try to get all of your subscribers on your own.

There is another method, and you can do this alone or with affiliates. It’s called the “freemium” method, and it works like this:

Initially you don’t offer prospects your paid newsletter. Instead, you offer a free version of your newsletter. This version still has great content and it’s still valuable. But it doesn’t have all the whistles and bells of the paid version.

For example, if you’re offering daily stock tips, you might only give half of your tips away in your free version. And you might not send that version until after the markets open.

But your paid version has all of your tips, including your very best ones. And it’s sent an hour before the market opens.

If you take this route, remember that your free version has to offer good value. This way your free subscribers will think, “If what he’s giving away is this good, just imagine what’s in the paid version!”

Offering a free version is a tremendous way to build credibility with your readers. Plus if gives you the chance to offer your paid version each time you send out the free version.

And it also builds your list – big time. Perhaps some of your subscribers to your free version never sign up to your paid version – they can still purchase the other offers you might make to them.

HINT: Place a value on your free version. For example, if your paid version is $15 a month, your free version might be worth $7 a month, or $84 annually. This can help to convince people to grab the free version (while it is still free).

Also, do not tell prospects and visitors they are signing up for the ‘free’ version. Give your free newsletter a power name, and give your paid version an even more important sounding name.

Which leads us to…

“How do I name my newsletter?”

That will depend of course on our niche. But see if you can put the main benefit in the title. For example, “Europe on $30 a Day” and “Stock Investing for New Investors” both tell you exactly what the newsletter is offering.

Your paid version should have practically the same name with one addition – add a power word such as “insiders” or “top secret” or “platinum” or “elite.”

So you could have “Commodity Investing 101” as your free newsletter, and “Commodity Investing 101 Insider’s Edition” as your paid version.

“What tools do I need to do this?”

Of course you’ll need a payment system. You can take payments yourself with PayPal, or use a service such as ClickBank.

If you want affiliates, you’ll need an affiliate system. JVZoo and ClickBank are perhaps your best options, but there are many others to consider as well.

You’ll need an autoresponder for capturing email addresses and sending out emails. Aweber and GetResponse are the old standbys and highly regarded. MailChimp has a free option. And the new kid on the block – ConvertKit – has great features that let you easily segment your lists and a whole lot more.

And you’ll need a way to deliver your newsletter. You can of course simply attach it to your email, but these sometimes get eaten by spam filters.

It’s generally better to host your newsletter somewhere and let readers download it. ConvertKit will host it for you, or you can store it with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) Or store it on your website.

And if you want to get fancy, set up a member’s area on your site for your paid subscribers.

The options are nearly endless – it’s just a matter of how complicated you want to make it. In the beginning I would recommend keeping it as simple as possible, and getting fancy later.

“How do I advertise the paid version?”

You can send out emails to your list if you like. And you especially want to advertise the paid version in the free version of your newsletter.

Don’t get obnoxious about it – simply place a banner at the top of the first page and again at the bottom of the last page that encourages readers to sign up.

It might say something like, “Subscribe to Your-Newsletter-Name Premium and get (insert several benefits).”

When they click that link, it takes them to a landing page that covers why they should subscribe. This doesn’t need to be a long form sales letter. Remember, they already know you and like your stuff or they wouldn’t have clicked the link.

So simply talk about all the things in the paid version that they’re missing out on. You can do this written or video. But if you choose video, offer a written version below for those who don’t like videos.

“When they sign up for the paid version, do I still send the free version too?”

No, because your paid version will include all of the content of the free version PLUS the premium, paid content.

So while your free version might be, say, 6 pages, your paid version will likely be twice that, or more.

Some Autoresponders, like Aweber and ConvertKit, will let you set it up so that subscribers are automatically removed from the free list and added to the paid list when they buy a subscription.



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