Offering sponsorships for your newsletter is a fantastic idea. You can cover the cost of the newsletter, or you can even generate a little newsletter profit that can be used to send more newsletters, or to pay for that printer/copier/faxer/condiment-caddy that's been on your office wishlist for months.
Some folks choose a top-down approach and include sponsors at the top and the bottom of their email, or the top, middle and bottom if they're feeling particularly saucy. Experiment with different layouts in your own newsletter, and consider these tips as well.
- Looking for newsletter sponsors? Start with the people who read it. Your subscribers are already interested in what you're saying, and most of them have jobs. By including a note in the newsletter inviting people to sponsor it, you're likely to drum up interest.
- Decide on your ad specs before you start. Coming up with a simple set of rules (images can be no larger than 100 x 100, or text can't exceed 75 words, etc.) will make sure the ads you receive are consistently formatted and, well, look nice.
- Include both a graphic and caption for each ad, and link both. Remember that not everyone will receive the HTML version of your email, and that not everyone knows to click on images. So include both and be sure to link them both back to the sponsor's website.
- Use response tracking to let sponsors know how they're doing. One of the big advantages of email advertising is the tracking -- Your account already lets you know how many people (and who) saw the email and clicked on each link. Now, you can use that same information to let sponsors know how much exposure they're getting.
- Offer sponsorship packages. You might consider offering people a discounted package price if they buy, say, a quarter's or a year's worth of spots. Do what you can to encourage long-term buys and you can cut down on the administrative work (and receive more money up front).