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Janet Roberts

What's the Going Rate?
By Janet Roberts

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(Want to help create a current picture of email-newsletter ad rates?
Skip to the end.)

The question I get most often from readers is "How do I start an ezine?" (Pardon me for not answering that one in full, please.)

The next most popular question is, "How much should I charge for ads?" My answer, and I mean it sincerely, is "It depends."

How much you charge depends on whether you rely on advertising as your sole revenue source (not a good idea anyway) among a host of other factors:

-- Do you sell lots of ads in each issue or just a single-issue sponsorship?
-- Do you expect ad sales to cover costs or just sweeten your bottom line?
-- How many subscribers do you have?
-- Is your list a single opt-in, confirmed opt-in or two-step confirmed?
-- Are you a general-interest publication or do you appeal to a specific kind of reader with some buying authority?
-- Do you allow anyone to subscribe or must each reader meet certain qualifications?
-- Do you sell subscriptions?
-- Will you charge everyone a standard rate or use a sliding scale to encourage advertisers to buy more of your inventory?

You should see that some of these factors rely on hard evidence, such as circulation and number of ads. Others are more ephemeral, especially the quality of your subscriber list.

My Ezine-Tips predecessor, Brian Alt, wrote a great basic guideline for establishing cost-per-thousand (CPM) ad rates. It's almost three years old but still relevant. Other factors come into play, but this is a good jumping-off point: "CPM Guidelines for Ezine Topics"

Or, just call up the "Revenue" category in our archives and rummage around.

If you just want to know what everybody else is charging to see whether you're in line with your competition, I will be surveying email newsletters -- large and small, paid and free, niche and general interest, major publisher and home business -- to check out current rates.

I'll report findings -- range and average for different circulations and types -- next week.

Ezine-Tips for October 28, 2002

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