How To Sell Ads In Your Email Newsletter

Selling Ads is Easier Than You Think

Monetizing your email newsletter is a great way to turn your audience's engagement into revenue. 

No doubt, placing ads is the fastest, most direct way to monetize your newsletter. Yet, the leap from content to commerce can, at times, seem daunting and a little overwhelming. 

If you’re new to advertising sales, knowing where to start, how to find clients, and how much to charge is crucial. 

This article cuts through the complexity, offering a clear guide to avoiding common pitfalls and ensuring that your newsletter remains both profitable and aligned with your audience. 

By the end of this post, you should feel confident and excited to sell your first ad — so let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Ads in Email Newsletters: Where To Begin

If you’re interested in selling ads in your newsletter, start by gathering key numbers, cleaning your list, and organizing your information into a marketing plan.

Step One: Gather Your Numbers

Advertisers will want to know some (or all) of the following:

  • Your total number of subscribers

  • Your open rate

  • Your click rate

In general, the higher your numbers, the more you can charge for ads. You should be able to find all these numbers using your newsletter platform dashboard.

Step Two: Clean Your List

Your advertising clients will want to engage with a large audience while also prioritizing active engagement from your subscribers. 

Therefore, if your open and click rates appear to be lower than desired, cleaning your subscriber list and removing inactive members should be beneficial in maintaining the highest open and click rates. 

Step Three: Create a Marketing Plan

If you’ll be selling ads through a marketplace (more on that in a moment), your numbers may be all you need.

But if you’ll be selling ads directly, it’s essential to figure out who your potential advertising clients are and create a few marketing statements explaining why they should choose your newsletter.

Think beyond the obvious here — if you have a newsletter about raising teenagers, your audience is directly interested in college admissions, SAT preparation, and other teen-specific topics. But you also probably have an audience of women aged 45-60, which is a very lucrative demographic that’s appealing to the skincare industry, home goods sellers, and more.

If you don’t know much about your readers’ demographics, ask about age, gender, and income in your next survey to collect numbers you can share with potential advertisers.

Why Trust Us: Lauren Haas has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years. She’s managed teams that handled advertising sales and ad copy design for hundreds of clients in magazines, websites, and email environments.

How To Place Ads In Email Newsletters

There are three primary ways businesses connect with newsletters to place ads: Open exchange, ad network, and direct buying.

Open Exchange

An open exchange is a public auction for advertising space in newsletters. If you’re familiar with Google or social media advertising, you can think of this as a similar concept for newsletters.

To participate, you apply to one of the popular exchanges and tell them about your audience. Advertisers bid on ad space, and if your newsletter is included, their ad will appear in your emails, and you’ll be paid.

The downside is that you must work in a platform compatible with the exchange’s ad placement tech. Also, many exchanges won’t welcome you unless you have a large number of subscribers.

Some of the top exchanges include:

How To Sell Ads In Your Email Newsletter

Ad Network

How To Sell Ads In Your Email Newsletter

When many small newsletter publishers band together, they can pool their numbers and attract larger advertisers. That’s the theory behind the beehiiv Ad Network. The network lets smaller creators on the beehiiv platform connect with premium brands and feature ads from the world’s top companies — and you can apply with only 1,000 subscribers.

beehiiv acts as your sales team, finding the advertisers, closing the sales, administering the contracts, creating the ad copy, and reporting on performance.

Newsletter creators simply apply for the program and get paid.

Here's a quick guide to getting started with beehiiv’s ad network.

  1. Log In: Sign in to your beehiiv account. Go to Monetization > Ads from the left panel to access your ad dashboard.

  2. View Ad Opportunities: Check for pending ad opportunities listed under the calendar. These are matched to your profile based on various factors like audience demographics and previous ad performance.

  3. Review Details: For any ad that interests you, click "View details and respond" to see more information, including CPC and campaign dates. Choose a date and decide whether to accept or reject the opportunity.

  4. Select Ad Copy: After acceptance, pick the ad copy version that best suits your newsletter. You can preview each option to ensure it fits well.

  5. Insert the Ad: In your newsletter editor, type "/ad" to find and insert your selected ad.

  6. Post Submission: Remember, once an ad is placed, it cannot be edited. Schedule your newsletter for the chosen ad date to ensure compensation.

How To Get Guaranteed Ad Placements On Day One

Introducing beehiiv’s monetization guarantee. For those eager to kickstart monetization from day one (and who can blame you?), the opportunity is now yours.

All users on the Scale plan are now guaranteed ad placements, giving you the potential to monetize your newsletter from day one. 

There are only two requirements:

  • Active Scale Plan: Ensures you have full access to all of our premium features.

  • Stripe account connected to your beehiiv account: This allows beehiiv to deposit earnings into your account seamlessly.

In the past, getting your newsletter to a point where it was ready to be monetized via ads required a team for sales, data, writing, tracking, etc. 

But with beehiiv, all you need to do is send newsletters. 

beehiiv will then handle the following:

  • Sales: Presenting you opportunities from premium brands

  • Writing: Ready-made ad spots

  • Reports: Automatic tracking, attribution and results

  • Improving: Continuous testing and improvements

  • Payments: Automated payments that are directly deposited into your wallet

Watch the three-minute tutorial to see how this works here.

Direct Buy

A direct buy is a one-on-one conversation between a newsletter and a business that wants to advertise or become a sponsor. Generally, this method is used by larger newsletters, but it’s also a good choice for creators who hold an audience in a tight niche that specific advertisers may want to reach.

Suppose your newsletter only has 5,000 readers, but they are all intensely interested in the same obscure hobby, like Eastern European stop-motion animation or flamenco dancing. Vendors in that industry will want to talk to you.

The downside to direct buying is that it’s labor-intensive for the creator. You’ll need to compile your numbers, create a pricing strategy, reach out to potential ad clients, help them create their ads, serve the ads to your readers, and collect payment.

What Size Ads Can You Put In Email Newsletters?

If you’re setting up a direct buy with an advertising client, you can negotiate any size ad you’d like. But offering display ads in standard sizes will help you look more professional and make it easy for clients to produce artwork for you.

Standard Display Ads

Banner ads are a popular choice for email newsletter ads and sponsorships. Some of the standard display ad sizes that are common in newsletters and on the web include:

  • 468 x 60 – Banner

  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard Banner

  • 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard

  • 320 x 50 – Mobile Leaderboard

  • 250 x 250 – Square

  • 200 x 200 – Small Square

  • 300 x 250 – Medium Rectangle

Most advertisers will have artwork available in one or more of these sizes.

Native Ads

Native ads match the visual design of your newsletter in terms of fonts, colors, and sizes. If you’re offering native ads, you can still use the standard display sizes listed above, or you might offer something specific to your design.

Native Ads In Email Newsletters (Key Design Factors)

If you’re offering native ads, you’ll want to create design templates that will get results for your advertisers. Here are some key advertising design elements to keep in mind:

  • Responsive design: Test your designs to ensure they look good on desktop and mobile formats, in different browsers and screen orientations.

  • Eye-catching headlines: Headlines should use a much larger font than the body copy and should be brief and intriguing.

  • Compelling images: A logo is not usually the best image for an ad. Instead, you want an image that pairs with the headline to create a strong message that draws the viewer into the copy.

  • White space: Ads should be set off by some breathing room on all sides.

  • Clear call-to-action: What do you want the reader to do? Stay focused on that goal, and make it easy for them to take action with a large, colorful button.

Placing Ads In Email Newsletters (Closing Thoughts)

When it comes to monetizing your newsletter, advertising is one of the best options available. You can offer ad space on an open exchange or make individual deals with advertisers who want to reach your audience.

One of the easiest ways to get started is with the beehiiv Advertiser Network, which lets you pool audiences with other creators and turn the beehiiv staff into your personal ad sales team. Sign up at beehiiv today to start monetizing!

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