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The Insider Guide to Power Ezine Promotion

 Articles: Revenue
Ezine Profit Alternatives
by Brian Alt
[December 3, 2001]
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Revenue generated from advertising has been the most popular source of profit in most publishing ventures, and email publishing is no exception. But unfortunately for the online publisher, there is not an endless supply of advertising dollars to support his or her publication.

Many publishers have turned to alternative sources of revenue to maintain the profitability of their ezines. In some cases, these sources provide a supplement to advertising revenue, which remains the primary profit source. In other cases, publishers have found that alternative sources of revenue can actually be more profitable than advertising. This article looks at several of these profit alternatives and examines how you might incorporate them into your own publishing venture.

  • Your Own Product Or Service - Developing your own product or service that is an ideal match for your audience -- or in the other direction, building an ezine around the product or service you already have for sale -- is one of the best means of maximizing the profit potential of an email publication. Theoretically at least, your ideal product or service should do better than any advertiser's offer in your ezine from an overall profit standpoint. If an advertiser doesn't recover its investment, that company won't continue to advertise with you. As the publisher, however, you don't have to risk a cash loss if a certain offer doesn't do well in your ezine. You can simply try a different approach in the next issue. A business owner with both the product and the audience is in a great position to turn a profit.

    Beyond specialized products for specific ezine audiences, most ezine publishers can produce and offer books, e-books, or other products of the "information" variety to their subscribers. Previously published ezine content can be a great source of the intellectual property to create these products. We will examine the creation of these informational products in a future issue.

  • Affiliate Programs - If you don't have a product or service of your own, you may be able to find an appropriate affiliate program that sells relevant products or services for your ezine's audience. While this source of revenue will be dependent on "performance" -- the number of clicks or sales generated by your ezine -- affiliate programs will usually perform better than CPA (Cost Per Action) offers from advertisers, which may not be the best match for your audience. For a list of sites that will help you identify the right affiliate programs for your ezine, see this page.

  • Subscription Fees - A growing trend among online publishers is to charge a subscription fee to access some or all of their content. If you do take this approach, it is recommended that you maintain a free version in addition to the paid version. This free version should still offer significant value to your subscribers, and should be used to encourage free subscribers to "upgrade" to the paid version, which offers much greater value. In upcoming issues, we will look closely at the paid-subscription model. Much of our research in future issues will be aimed at some of the best methods of running a fee-based online publication.

  • Profit From Your Expertise - One of the largest benefits of publishing an ezine is that it will help to establish you as an Internet "expert" in your given field. This expertise can be leveraged to create sources of profit such as consulting, public speaking, and book deals. The most significant source of profit that has created for its publisher is the consulting business that it has helped to generate. Similar opportunities surely exist in other fields.

  • Non-Monetary Profit - Ezine publishers profit in ways that can't be measured in dollars. The most obvious example here is the "education" that you receive from subscribers. The feedback that your readers will send to you will provide article ideas and an overall sense of the scope of your topic. For more on the benefits of reader feedback, see this article.

    Other non-monetary sources of value include the benefits of being a member of the "press"; namely, the ability to get your foot in the door to interview executives of major companies, free "review copies" of books and other materials, and so on.

What's your opinion on the alternatives to advertising as sources of ezine profit? To send feedback on this week's EPDigest, email [email protected].

Until next time,

Brian Alt, Publisher
Email Publishing Digest

Brian Alt is the founder and CEO of Email Possibilities, a provider of comprehensive email publishing solutions. He also publishes the weekly Email Publishing Digest and is the author of several ebooks on email publishing-related topics.

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