Blog Post

E-Mail Newsletters: Still Unsexy, Still Selling

imageWe have always realized the utility and value of e-mail newsletters, and discussed them here before. After all, that’s how we reach a big part of senior-industry audience for more than six years now (yep, we’re that old). In the current depressed economy, and despite the world being all atwitter over Twitter and Facebook, it is worth reminding everyone that the Web 0.1 remnant is still reaping rewards for investors, or at least bringing in revenues for some publishers. BusinessWeek examines some of them, and finds out, not surprisingly, that the world outside Silicon Valley, especially the East Coast, has a disproportionate share of successes in the sector. Among them, DailyCandy sold to Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) for $125 million last year, not exactly a bad return for investors including Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group. Then, the male-focused Thrillist, also backed by Pittman, says it is profitable with high single-digit millions in revenues, and is launching in its 10th city this month. Also, another Pittman-portfolio company IdealBite, also tips and newsletter-focused, sold to Disney (NYSE: DIS) last year for about $20 million

Arguably, the returns aren’t YouTube-huge for investors in the sector (nevermind the actual revenues), but at least are supposed to be reliably consistent. Also, from the publisher and advertiser perspective, it is about being in a user’s inbox day in and day out, and having a better chance of being opened/glanced-over/read, if only out of sheer habit. Then if the list is clean enough, the marketers have better measures of accountability because of reliable analytics such as open rates, and, of course, better registration data on users.

The story contends that some Valley companies are now following doing newsletters: examples include dog-owner-focused social net Dogster and the user-gen reviews site Yelp. Dogster claims it is getting newsletter CPMs as high as $20 to $40.

3 Responses to “E-Mail Newsletters: Still Unsexy, Still Selling”

  1. Newsletters are old school and still work wonders. It's not about advertising or selling a certain product which I see a lot. It's about taking your audience by the hand and saying "Here let me show you…"

  2. Newsletters should just be a no brainer. Not only are they a superior advertising vehicle but they drive a tremendous amount of web traffic. It is the best way to leverage your audience.