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How to Use Your Newsletters to Get More Sales

Updated on August 8, 2013

Did you know you can use your newsletter to increase your sales and to earn extra cash with very little to no change in your current marketing strategy? It’s just a matter of adding and tweaking certain things in your content and how you deliver your message.

I don’t do affiliate marketing anymore because the income I generate from my newsletters is enough to cover the income from affiliate marketing and it will increase if I just pour my energy on improving my newsletters and current publications.

Click here for the Absolute Email Marketing Guide.

A newsletter is often overlooked as a powerful sales tool
A newsletter is often overlooked as a powerful sales tool | Source

Before I share how I use my newsletters to get more sales, here are the givens:

  • I sell toys for the big boys online but my online shop has a twist. Hobbyists can come to me if they are looking for something they can find online. Usually, they ask me to look for hard to find stuff, like an old magic card or an old dog tags or an old Superman toy. Stuff like that. Monthly, I send out newsletters to my regular customers. The newsletter contains hard to find and new items. Those who subscribe to the newsletter get a first crack at getting the items I find.
  • I have another online store that specializes in Asian movies and music. I send out a monthly newsletter featuring new DVDs and CDs that I got. All DVDs have English subtitles of course. Most of these DVDs are not brand new. I buy them from people who have seen it already and just want to dispose of them. Those who are subscribed to my newsletter will get the chance to see my list ahead of the public.

Now that you know what my sites are, it’s fairly obvious how I make money. I naturally mark up all the stuff that I sell. Shipping is shouldered by the customer.

I am very careful with my newsletter because I earn from my newsletters and I know that my customers continue to subscribe to them because they see the value. I don’t want to start sending random offers and promos in which they are not interested. The key is for me to increase my sales and earning using my existing newsletters.

Below are some tips on how I did it.

Click here to read "16 Small Business Cost Reduction Tips".

It’s About My Customers

It is never about my products or my profits. My customers couldn’t care less if I don’t earn anything monthly. They are loyal to my newsletters because they get what they want, not necessarily what I want them to buy. I wanted to maintain the integrity of my newsletters. That is imperative.

That’s the one thing you need to understand. No matter what you do, make sure that you continue doing what has already worked for you or make sure that whatever you do, put your customer’s interest front and center. It is better to send nothing than to send garbage.

Send something that has value to your customers even if you will not earn from them.

A great way to visualize the journey of an online customer.
A great way to visualize the journey of an online customer. | Source

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Start segmenting your list

I used to have one list for all my customer. I only segmented them according to blog to which they are subscribed. I started segmenting them when I noticed a huge chunk of my subscribers in my Asian Movies and Music Blog are buying loads of Korean movies and CDs. I took a closer look and found out the following:

  • I have a huge chunk of subscribers who are in highschool and college
  • The top 2 sellers are stuff from Korea and Japan
  • Names of celebrities get a lot of clicked and participation when I link contents to their names

Based on this, I segmented my list according to celebrities, subscriber age and area of interest.

  • I implemented the following changes on my newsletters:
  • I catalogued my products based on the name of the celebrities
  • I cross-sell stuff based on the connection to celebrities
  • I created different versions of the newsletter to prioritize the contents of the segments area of interest. For example, I put Korea and Japanese DVDs and CDs front and center to those who often buy products from Korea and Japan
  • I changed the tonality of my writing to make it more friendly to high school and college. In fact, I asked my cousin to write those newsletters and I just treated him for lunch. He is happy. So am I.

I saw a 700% increase on products I cross-sell based on celebrity names.

Click here to read "Advice to High School Graduates about Entrepreneuship".

Test a Product

Another thing I explored is to use my subscribers to test a product. I wanted to start ordering stuff in bulk to increase my profit margin but I didn’t want to buy things unless I was sure there will be demand. I used my current subscribers to announce and offer new products. For example, I wanted to start selling clothing, geek-themed merchandise, of course but I wasn’t sure if that’s something my current base would want.

I tested the products through the newsletter. I ordered several pieces and waited for the response. It turned out, they liked geek-themed accessories like belts, pins, caps and even mugs. However, they didn’t like geek-themed clothing.

That’s what I ended up ordering and offering in my store. It worked! My first batch of order sold out in two months. The product test allowed me to diversify. That’s extra income right there.

This is how text-based ads appear on your newsletter.
This is how text-based ads appear on your newsletter.

Put Ads on Your Newsletter

A friend of mine suggested that I put ads on my newsletter. That was pretty clever. However, it is not that easy to execute. I don’t have a large subscriber base, certainly not big enough for companies and brands to put ad on my newsletter.

However, it turned out that there are sites that could put ads on your newsletter and existing publication. I use Admailr and Emercury but you could explore others. Like any ad-based system, I earn whenever someone clicks on the ads. The advantage on being a part of this system is that they are programmed to determine what kind of ad or product a certain subscriber is most likely to click. The next time you send a newsletter with ads, the ads will be more relevant.

Out Of Season and Clear Out Sale

I never subscribed to the idea of doing clear out sale because I believe that if my customers are willing to pay for premium price, I don’t have any reason to pull down my prices. However, when I started to buy merchandise to sell, I realize the value of getting rid of my inventory after a time.

However, I didn’t want to publicize my clear out sale because I still believe that I don’t have any reason to pull down my prices if a customer is willing to pay premium price. I just use my newsletter to announce what items are on sale and I send it to those who haven’t purchased anything in the last three months.

It “awakens” my sleeping customers and usually, it gets them going again. They click through the links on my newsletters and browse other products available online.

I hope those tips help you. Remember that before you can implement these tactics, you first need to establish a good reputation as a content provider to your base and build a base that is actually interested in what you have to offer. I don’t have a very big subscriber base but because almost all of them are interested in what I sell, they stay with me.

If you have any more tips or stories to share, do leave a comment. If you have questions, leave a comment and I will try to address your concern at the soonest possible time.


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