For free newsletters, sponsored ads are a great way to monetize your work. But where do you find sponsors? Creating a landing page for sponsors specifically, with information about why they should work with you, can be a great way to get started. Here, we'll look at the sort of landing page you can build to close the deal.
1. Newsletter Numbers
Statistics are key. They're concrete, clear, and give a definitive picture of your audience. By listing your subscriber number, open rate, and click through rate up front, sponsors can estimate can estimate how well their ads will perform. Here's an example from Stacked Marketer.
2. Defining Your Audience
Beyond the quantitative data, you also want to paint a qualitative picture. Who are your subscribers? What sort of readers are they? What are they interested in, what do they like to do? By defining your audience, you help sponsors to compare their target audience with your newsletter audience. The key here is finding audiences that overlap. An example:
Sponsors are looking for your audience's demographic, location, origin country, and income level. You can identify some of this data through an anonymous survey of your readers. Here's another example:
3. Mention Previous Sponsors
If you've worked with sponsors in the past, share a blurb about how it went. Did that sponsor meet their goals? Did that sponsor see a significant return on their investment? Any data you can offer is helpful here.
4. Previous Sponsors' Reviews
Even without explicit data, you can offer an impression of what it was like to work with you. Ask your sponsors to share a quote or two about the experience. Social proof is valuable. Sponsors want to know that their emails will be returned on time, that you'll be open to collaborating on ideas, and that you will underpromise and over deliver.
5. Ad Formats
What format are you selling ads in? Weekly, monthly? Is the copy static, or can it be customized each time? Is there a podcast, Twitter account, or other medium the ads will also be run on? Will you support affiliate links? Make this explicit up front, so sponsors know exactly what they're getting. (And, having a clear offering will cut down on back-and-forth email negotiations later.)
6. Process for Booking Sponsors
Reduce as much friction as possible. Chasing sponsors can become a hefty drain on your time as an independent writer. Creating an automated ad-booking system that allows sponsors book instantly can protect their time and yours. Here's an example of a self-serve Ad booking sheet you can use to create a 100% fully automated sponsor booking process. All sponsor ad details are added to the worksheet. You just have to copy paste them in your newsletter.
It makes things easier for you by allowing your sponsor to pay and locking the date for their ads. Once the date is locked, it is no longer available for other sponsors to book. The sponsor who has paid and locked the date also receives an autoresponder email with another form to submit ad details according to your newsletter format. For an example of what this looks like live, check out Dense Discovery.
7. Capture Sponsors Who Aren't Ready Yet
Some sponsors may be interested, but not certain enough to sign a contract. Their information is still valuable. These are leads you want to nurture and develop. Instead of letting them go, capture their email with an incentive: Maybe an e-book, a quarterly sponsor’s report, or some other resource. Once you have their email, you can create campaigns to follow up and stay in touch. (Don't forget to highlight your previous reviews!)