What? No E-Newsletter?

There are a number of business models for making money on the Internet. Of these, my favorite – and the one I recommend to those who want to sell information products, dietary supplements, or just about any other product online today – is the “Agora Model.”

In a nutshell, the Agora Model says you should offer a free e-newsletter in order to build up a large subscriber base. Then, you make money by e-mailing promotions to your online subscriber list.

Companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars in sales online with the Agora Model. Yet when I recommend it to marketers – both experienced and novice alike – they are immediately and strongly resistant to the idea.


One reason for their reluctance is that they have read articles by so-called Internet marketing gurus telling them that e-mail marketing is dead, passe, old hat. And that they should be focusing instead on blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, online video, mobile marketing, or whatever the fad flavor of the month is.

Another reason is a fear – reasonable, but not true – that the e-zine “space” is overcrowded.

“There are so many e-zines out there, and everyone I know says they already get too many,” an attendee at ETR’s 2008 Information Marketing Bootcamp told me. “It seems impossible that I could be successful by publishing yet another one.”

If you believe this, slap yourself – and listen to me as I tell you what really works in Internet marketing today…

The Agora Model really works. I use it myself to earn a mid-six-figure income online – “working” on my Internet business only a couple of hours a day.

All the components of the Agora Model – e-newsletters, e-mail marketing, online ads – also still work. Like gangbusters. As an article in a recent issue of DM News reported: “While social media and mobile marketing continue to be hot topics, marketers are still finding e-mail newsletters relevant.”

One of the neatest things about the Agora Model is that e-newsletter subscribers tend to be loyal readers – because they have chosen to opt in to your e-list. And despite the glut of e-mail in your prospects’ inboxes, sending an e-mail is still an effective way to gain their attention:

  • A study at Loughborough University found that users take action, on average, in less than two minutes upon being notified that a new e-mail is waiting for them.
  • According to a report by Forrester Research, opt-in lists (including e-newsletter subscriber lists) retain 49 percent of their subscribers over time – nearly double the retention rate of compiled e-lists.
  • And a study from ClearContext, an e-mail management tools vendor, found that over half of users surveyed spend more than two hours a day in their e-mail inboxes.

Yet another reason why marketers hesitate to launch an e-newsletter is that they have the mistaken belief that it is time- and labor-intensive to produce.

That’s not true either.

In fact, your e-newsletter doesn’t have to be elaborate, lengthy, complex, or fancy. But it does have to deliver useful content to your subscribers – and do so on a consistent basis.

Publishing your own e-newsletter gives you three essential advantages when it comes to making money online…

1. The best way to get people to opt in to your e-list is by offering them free content. When you publish an e-newsletter, you always have new free content (your e-newsletter) to offer.

2. A monthly e-newsletter ensures that your prospects hear from you – on a regular basis – at least 12 times a year. Assuming they find your content valuable, this consistent communication helps build relationships with your online readers.

3. When people subscribe to an online newsletter, they give you permission to e-mail to them. That means you can send them e-mail marketing messages – with product offers – whenever you wish, at minimal cost.

Repeated exposure to your e-newsletter and solo e-mail promotions gets subscribers to trust you enough to start buying the products you sell or recommend. And before you know it, you’re making money selling information and/or merchandise on the Internet!

[Ed. Note: Personal, frequent contact with your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to build solid relationships with them. Starting an e-mail newsletter – filled with relevant, useful advice – is a perfect way to do it. For a step-by-step guide to setting up your own info-publishing business – including starting an e-newsletter, creating a website, and writing copy to drive traffic to it – sign up for ETR’s Internet Money Club. See if there are any spots left for the “Class” of 2009 right here.

To learn more marketing secrets from freelance copywriter and marketing expert Bob Bly, sign up for his free e-zine, the Direct Response Letter. Do so today and get $116 in bonuses.]

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Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.