Back in the nineteenth century, the US government came up with a bright idea.
It wanted an informed electorate, people who took part in civil action and felt part of the nation, so it encouraged them to read newspapers. It took the profits generated by the mail service and used them to subsidize newspaper content. By 1832, newspapers were making up 95 percent of the weight delivered by mail but contributing only 15 percent of mail service’s revenues.
The channels might have become digital since then and the government is no longer passing out cash to the newspaper industry, but mail services are still subsidizing content. Even websites that depend on advertising revenue generated on a cost-per-click basis find that ad clicks spike the day after sending out a newsletter by email. ProBlogger Darren Rowse, for example, has shared figures that show a rise as high as 50 percent in his typical clickthrough rate following each weekly newsletter broadcast.
In those early days of content though, there was no relationship between the content of the letters the mail service delivered and the content of the newspapers it carried. The only connection was the cash that flowed from one to the other. Letters were personal rather than commercial. Newspapers didn’t support their distribution by sending out samples in the mail. And advertisers didn’t link advertorials with direct mail marketing.
Subsidize Your Own Content
That is what’s happening now.
The most effective way to make money with online content is to link the content delivered by email to the content placed on websites for visitors to enjoy. That’s true whether you’re pushing an affiliate promotion, selling one of your own products or even just bringing in readers in the hope that they’ll click advertising links.
The email newsletter informs subscribers that there’s something they need to know. It reminds them that they need to visit your site now, and it tells them what to expect when they get there. It sparks curiosity.
Having reached your site, your subscribers are ready to give you their attention and an opportunity to push your sales points, recommend a purchase or present your ads.
So if you wanted to promote a special offer, for example, you’d write a blog post explaining the reasoning behind the offer, how long it will last and what makes it so special. And you bring readers into that blog post with an email that tells readers why they should be looking at the blog. You’re marketing the email to an opted in subscriber list and presenting the offer to a section of that list that’s already expressed an interest in learning more.
Your website content won’t be receiving money from the government but it will be coming from a more reliable source: your own mail service.