A Few Good Mailings: E-Newsletter Best Buys

Response to last week’s column on making intelligent e-newsletter buys indicates this market is still going strong. Despite the spam epidemic, media buyers still seem to be very interested in this form of Internet advertising.

Many of the e-newsletter endorsements I received, though sent by online marketers, were distinctly written from a consumer’s point of view. This demonstrates the power of a great newsletter to turn subscribers into brand evangelists. If a newsletter can make a subscriber out of a media buyer, it’s likely other subscribers are equally loyal. This can mean great returns for advertisers willing to associate themselves with the newsletter brand.

Before we delve into some particularly noteworthy e-newsletters, there are a couple of newsletter providers that, though largely perceived among buyers as somewhat clichéd owing to their inexorable popularity, continue to provide great value for ad dollars spent.

One such property is iVillage, provider of 47 different woman-oriented e-newsletters covering an assortment of advertiser-appealing topics, such as health, fitness, and parenting. According to the mega media conglomerate, open rates for its newsletters range from 13 percent for a mom-oriented periodical to a more impressive 52 percent for one of its Hearst Publications magazine newsletter titles. Because each newsletter topic is so specific, advertisers are able to reach highly targeted audiences. They can tailor ad messages to be relevant to both that audience and the content within each email piece.

The email newsletters distributed by CondéNet (online counterpart of Condé Nast Publications) include those from famed sites Epicurious.com, Concierge.com, and Style.com, sure bets for delivering targeted and engaging content and a loyal audience of readers. Though known within online media buying circles to be somewhat costly, these sites offer half a dozen delightful newsletters — some HTML, some text. Many clients drawn to big name sites find the advertising and sponsorship opportunities irresistible, in spite of the price.

Mammoth newsletter providers aside, buyers can choose from hundreds of other successful newsletters, depending on need. Such choice frustrates media buyers who are forced to sift through the debris in search of gold.

Open rates, fresh and engaging content, and personalization are three virtues to look for when choosing an e-newsletter ad placement. First and foremost, it’s content that draws many buyers researching potential buys. As one reader aptly stated, he seeks out newsletters that are “topical, relevant, informative, and accurate…. Those are my criteria for newsletters.”

A Few Good Mailings

For those who wish to reach a really tech-savvy audience made up of professionals and PC hobbyists, Lockergnome.com‘s free email newsletters allow advertisers to target users by operating system and/or job function. The name may sound a little unorthodox, but don’t let that deter you. Lockergnome offers newsletter titles such as Apple Core (for Mac fanatics) and Webmaster Weekly (for Internet developers), along with a sizeable readership and a fair amount of support from the press. A Lockergnome sponsorship is well worth investigating.

At the risk of displaying a bias, I note the internet.com network (of which ClickZ is a part) offers advertisers dozens of tech newsletters to choose from — some free, some paid subscription. Newsletters are divided into distinctive content channels, such as Developer, Small Business, and Internet Investing.

Architecture, engineering, and construction industry advertisers may wish to promote their products and services via one of the newsletters distributed by Construction Executive. The company recently bought the A/E/C Media network along with all of its existing newsletters. These industry newsletter offerings may not have the markings of a “sexy” buy, but the network currently mails to 200,000 targeted subscribers overall. Business-to-business (B2B) advertisers in this market should consider this an essential part of their media plans.

What’s in a Name?

Done the necessary research and still not sure how to narrow down your shortlist? Heed the advice of the aforementioned ClickZ reader, who also named a catchy e-newsletter title as a key factor when deciding which newsletter to sponsor.

Users receive hundreds of email messages each week. A memorable title (generally also appearing in the sender line) is critical to advertiser success. A great name will help ensure the newsletter doesn’t get deleted along with the spam.

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