Getting your newsletter series off the ground: Essential questions answered

By Kim Ross
Getting your newsletter series off the ground:  Essential questions answered


When you're in the process of creating a newsletter series for your list, all sorts of niggling questions, trivial or significant, are bound to pop into your head.

I know as well as you do that when it's hard to find the answer to something right away, it's easy to lose interest, and progress can get delayed.

We don't want that happening!

That's why I've collated answers to many of your common questions about setting up a newsletter series from various places around the Affilorama website. I've put the information right here in front of your noses so that there really is no excuse to be side-tracking that large but crucial task of creating your newsletter series.

What should the ratio of promotional to informative content in my newsletter series be?

There is no hard and fast rule for this one, but you do have to be careful to get a balance. The purpose of your newsletter series is to build a reputation of trust and authority with your subscribers. Bombarding them with promotional content is unlikely to win you respect, which is unlikely to win you sales.

Getting this right from the beginning is crucial to establishing the nature of your relationship with your subscribers. For this reason, many newsletter series will often start off with a ‘6 part mini course' before any promotional emails are sent at all (see our free lesson on this).

A good rule of thumb is to do one promotion (where the content of the email focuses purely on promoting an affiliate product) for every seven emails you send. That is:

1 promotion: 6 informational emails.

For every promotional email you send, you may also send a follow up - so the ratio 2:6 might more accurately describe the ratio of emails.

Remember, this is just a rule of thumb and you might decide to run a promotion after 3 or 4 informational emails. If your informational newsletters are really high quality, you can probably get away with more. However, this is something you will need to test for yourself.

How often should I email my subscribers?

An email every two to three days is perfectly acceptable, but again, it is up to you. Sending emails more frequently than this may risk annoying your subscribers and cause them to unsubscribe.

On the other hand, sending emails far less frequently (i.e. more than 10 days between emails)will inhibit or slow down the process of building a relationship with your subscribers - thereby making it harder to convert sales.

While this may seem like your subscribers will be hearing from you an awful lot, remember that they are unlikely to open every email you send. The choice remains with them how engaged they become with your newsletter series.

How long should my newsletters be?

Consider the following two questions:

How long would your attention be held on a topic that you have no interest in?

How long would your attention be held on a topic that you have a lot of interest in?

I assume that you would have more time for a topic that you are interested in. I also assume that subscribers are on your email list because they match your target market, and are interested in your niche.

With that in mind, your subscribers are after quality information and the more you give them in one email, the more likely they are to respect you and ultimately, purchase from you.

You also want to allow room for a short soft sell or two to be inserted into your newsletter, without obstructing the quality content that you are providing. The shorter your newsletter is, the harder it is to do this.

Newsletters of 500 to 600 words are actually a conservative length, but you can still fit a soft sell in if you are very careful. A newsletter of 800 to 1000+ words allows room to provide true quality content, and several opportunities to promote a product. Of course, writing every newsletter at this length sounds like an overwhelming task, so you might choose to scatter these longer ones throughout your series.

How do I put a soft sell into a content newsletter?

Soft sells are mini advertisements a subscriber reads within a content newsletter and they work much like an audience sitting through an advertisement break on television.  It is a means of ‘paying' for the free content that they are receiving.

These soft sells are very short. They work by identifying a problem that the subscriber is likely to have, and proposing a solution (the product), or identifying a benefit and pointing the target market to where they can get it. An example:

"Getting (benefit) is the dream of every (subscriber market group). Visit (product website) for secret, insider XX you've never even thought of before:  


These may be inserted at the beginning of the newsletter, again at the end, or part way through. Exercise careful judgment on how best to craft these into each newsletter, and try to make the soft sell relevant to the content of the newsletter wherever possible.

How many products do I need to promote and how relevant do they need to be?

A minimum of seven products should be worked into a year's newsletter series, as promotions for the same product can be repeated several times throughout this period.

If you're niche is very specific, you may be concerned that it is hard to find enough different products. Keep in mind that products suitable to promote don't necessarily have to be specific to your niche. They can appeal to a wider audience and yet still be relevant to your subscribers.

For example, self help and motivational products can be relevant for many niches - subscribers of a weight loss email series will likely be interested in these as well as weight-loss specific products. On the other end of the spectrum, pairing a golf skills product with subscribers of a dog training niche is unlikely to do you or your subscribers any favors.

There is no hiding the fact that there is a lot of work involved in getting together a quality email series. But there's also a great deal of evidence testifying to just how well this work can pay off.

Have you got more questions or advice to give? Post them below.

Good news: AffiloJetpack will soon be available to purchase again. Each Jetpack comes with a fully completed year-long email series to use - so you don't have to concern yourself with any of the above issues!

Doug Champigny 14 years ago
Great info, Jason! One format I use in my e-courses is to send two content e-mails with a pitch in the PS, then a solo for that product. The next two lessons are strong content with a PS for a second product, followed by a solo for that product. So far results are good, and no one has complained since 2 of every 3 e-mails has strong, actionable content.
Surlianto Can 14 years ago
Wow! Very Good Information for newbie like me!
I also impatient waiting for affilojetpack..

thx, this info make me more carefully in writing newsletter series...
14 years ago
Should the email be HTML or plain text?

Which works better?

todd bowman 14 years ago
I've had my newsletter up for 1 week. I wrote the 6 part mini course myself, then got your jetpacks and just made my first sale from the newsletter. Aweber cost me 19 a month (first month for 1 buck) and my sale was $87 dollars. So that one sale from my newsletter paid for about 5 and a half months of aweber. Can't beat that. :)
sewa mobil 14 years ago
Nice article, thanks for sharing.
James Pruitt 14 years ago
BigBoss, this is widely open to debate. some people say that HTML converts better. However, many people don't allow html in their email service. The people that I see using HTML do better if they send out 2 versions. With aweber, you can set it up to send a plain text version as well as the html version. this makes it easier for those of us who don't use an HTML capable email service to read the email that you send. Otherwise, we get an email that is just the plain html code, and that can be really hard to read.

Jason, great post. thanks for sharing it with us. Personally, I like to send out 2 hard promotions/month with several content articles. I also am setting mine up with my blogs so they get a weekly update of any blog posts which will help bring them back to my site.
MartinJohnPrice 14 years ago
To email or not to email that is the question? Quantity of contact to your list is always a thing I wonder about. How many links to affiliate products should be included... I just tend to email 1-2 times per week and as long as I'm giving something to my list for free then I also don't feel guilty about adding in an affiliate product link or two at the bottom.

Nice topic, thanks,
Mavis Nong 14 years ago
Hi Jason,

Great tips you are sharing here.

When you let people into your world with your follow-up and broadcast messages, your goal should be to provide a warm, unique, personal and professional environment. This is so key to keeping your list “happy” and interested in getting to know you more and interested in your offer(s).

Thanks for sharing your insights.

All the best,
Mavis Nong
Juana Gillum 14 years ago
Great post! I am starting my first e-mail series and sincerely appreciate the advice. I think the ratio of promotional material to informative content was an especially helpful tip. I had a promotion in every follow-up. Clearly, I need to do some revision on my e-mail series! Thanks for the advice.
Angie Rinehart 14 years ago
Great Info, infact it should be mandatory reading for anybody sending a newsletter...that way it might weed out some of the clowns who think nothing of emailing 2 - 4 times a day, with nothing more than Ad Swaps and promotional links to offer their readers.
Pierre Lemay 14 years ago
Q1. I'm about to use MailPush to manage my newsletter email series. I read previous comments and I have the feeling that people are creating their newsletter email series, evaluating for example what ratio of promotion to informational emails would be best for them.

What about the newsletters file downloaded at the beginning: day 1..., day 3..., day 7..., and so on. Can we use them as is (after site and name ajustments) and be confident of its efficiency? Or is it a must to rewrite them all?

Q2. The first 20 emails or so have inside the email on the first line a title --> Subject: bla bla bla.

Many of the emails don't have a title. Why? And does MailPush cut those titles from email text to paste them in the Subject Box? Do I have to ceate titles for the ones that don't have one?

Q3. Where can I find technical answers for questions like: In the emails: YOUR NAME appears in . Are those brackets a function for MailPush (to put your name automatically) or simply there to highlight what you must change?

Thanks for your answers
Kelly Tenda 14 years ago
This is a clever little article, do you allow full text in your RSS subscriptions?
Can you explain to me what reality is? Do robots exist in reality because they cannot judge and make perceptions?
What's a good starting point for launching an interesting blog? I want people to come and read my articles, and I want to see lots of comments.
Look at me I'm posting comments. Feels good, I hope my ramblings don't get removed by the admins :)

Nothing is 100% certain, bug free or IBM compatible.
hunter22 11 years ago
I have a jetpack and have set-up the first year of emails. I am wondering what the best system is for the news letters after that? how many more should I add or do I keep adding never ending? and end up with years and years of newsletters? How do you keep up with what products are on the market and which are off the market? so that your news letters preset-up are still relevant?