Email newsletters have been around for decades, but the strategies that digital publishers are using to monetize their newsletters have gotten more sophisticated. In just the past few years, the number of business tools for newsletter publishers has doubled (if not tripled). With so many options available now, how do you choose which business tools to use?
The best business tools for newsletter publishers include features for creation, marketing, monetization. Wrapping these features into one platform decreases the strain on busy publishers, who would otherwise have to spend time clicking from platform to platform as they design and monetize their newsletters. It also makes it easier for publishers that want to sell ads and sponsorships without switching to a new email service provider, since many integrated business tools for newsletter publishers are designed to work with existing ESPs.
Most of the business tools for newsletter publishers that we’ve included in this list also offer support and resources, including guides, webinars, and community workshops that publishers can utilize as they work to build their businesses. The amount of business support offered will vary from tool to tool, of course, but the information is invaluable for newsletter publishers that want to monetize their products using the latest strategies and techniques.
Let’s take a look at five of the must-have business tools that newsletter publishers are using right now.
5 Business Tools for Newsletter Publishers
The Letterhead platform was developed by a group of local news entrepreneurs. Letterhead especially well suited for digital news publishers and online magazines that want to capitalize on the current opportunities in email newsletters. Publishers can customize the look of their email newsletters with Letterhead’s no-code design tools and automatically place ads based on pre-defined parameters. Letterhead’s platform is designed to work with publishers’ existing ESPs, but it provides users with automated metrics, like tracking opens and clicks on ads and reporting metrics automatically to advertisers. Publishers can create their own advertising stores, as well. Letterhead’s Starter package is available for free.
Substack bills itself as the “place for independent writing,” but many of its newsletter tools seem perfectly suited for small and mid-size publishers, as well as independent journalists. Substack’s business tools focus on helping writers get paid for their newsletters. In that way, Substack is working toward building a better future for local news. In addition to charging users to subscribe to their newsletters, publishers who use Substack can send automatic renewal reminders, they can create multiple newsletters or podcasts under one publication, and they can offer complimentary subscriptions to users who already subscribe to their websites or other products. Advanced reports show metrics around monthly visitors and the sources where those visitors came from. Publishers with free newsletters can use Substack for free. Otherwise, the platform charges users a percentage of their newsletters’ price.
Whether you’re launching a newsletter, a Patreon account, or an online community, Ghost is a business tool that can help get you there. Ghost turns audiences into businesses with advanced publishing tools and a publisher dashboard that includes detailed statistics on audience engagement and business growth. Ghost’s editor was built to publish by both web and email newsletter. Publishers can also use the platform to create their own native signup forms and launch paid subscription products. Ghost integrates with other business tools, so newsletter publishers can take advantage of things like referral programs, payment gateways, and A/B testing. Ghost’s Start plan costs $9 per month.
Revue was built for publishers that want to focus on monetization. Although the company recently joined Twitter, it has a large following of devoted fans within the local news space. With Revue, newsletter publishers can charge their subscribers for access, sell ads, sell sponsorships, and manage many lesser-used types of business strategies. Revue’s business tools are hard to beat. Publishers can handle all aspects of subscriber management and review all engagement metrics through the unified platform. They can also build on Revue’s features using an API. Revue charges publishers 5% on paid newsletters.
Letterfuel’s mission is to help publishers send better newsletters. In this case, “better” means creating engaging newsletters that people actually want to read. Letterfuel automatically curates links from your own website and adds those links to your newsletter with no copy/pasting required. Letterfuel generates newsletter landing pages and SEO-friendly archive pages, so readers can access content well into the future. By making the process of building each newsletter faster and more seamless, Letterfuel is freeing up publishers’ time to focus on more pressing aspects of business development. Letterfuel pricing starts at $19 per month.
To learn even more about what it takes to generate sustainable revenue through email newsletters, read 17 Tips to Improve Your Newsletter Open and Clickthrough Rates.