How to find the first sponsors for your newsletter

You’ve created a newsletter with several thousand subscribers. Congratulations! Yet writing and mailing your newsletter is an investment both in time and money. Finding sponsors would be a good solution. How to find them and how to convince them to sponsor your newsletter? Let’s find out.

An introduction: who am I?

Who am I to explain things about newsletters and sponsors? My name is Carl Chenet, I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve created a newsletter — Le Courrier du Hacker — more than two years ago. This newsletter already has 136 issues and nearly 3,000 subscribers. To this day, five different sponsors have financed this newsletter, some during campaigns which lasted several weeks. This article sums up my own experience.

Why would someone sponsor your newsletter?

An easy one. You get a visible audience, about a specific topic or addressing a specific market. You are a new and growing media addressing this market. You are a precious tool to anyone interested in this market. They may want to recruit specialists, advertise their existence or a new product to this market.

An IT newsletter sponsored by an IT product. A match made in heaven.

How to get sponsored?

You’re ready, but how to attract sponsors for your newsletter? It may seem very basic, but trust me I’ve tried it before: simply talk about it to your audience. Just like that! It works.

You won’t get positive return immediately after your first message. You will have to talk about it more than once, maybe in your newsletter’s editorial? You may also mention you’re willing to have sponsors on social media used by your newsletter, once a week.

Also mention the fact you’re looking for sponsors somewhere in your newsletter.

Footer with request for sponsors of the Last Week in AWS Newsletter

Create a Page for the Sponsors

When someone is looking for sponsors, one’s first step is usually to create a new page dedicated to its sponsor. This is both a bad and a good idea.

A bad idea: your potential sponsor will never get to this page on its own. More often, sponsors will contact you directly, and will ask you how to proceed. At least, that was what all of my newsletter’s five sponsors did.

A good idea nevertheless: you’ll be able to sum up on this page all details you want to share with them, without hunting the info at each request. Have a look at my own. I’ve added a PayPal button most sponsors used to pay for my services.

Don’t forget the most important element: your contact mail for everything related to sponsoring.

THE BIG one: how much should a sponsor pay?

Let’s be blunt: this question has no definitive answer. Too many factors may impact it. What is your newsletter’s size and how it will impact your sponsor’s business. How many people actually open it? Having 10,000 subscribers and only 1% of them actively reading it is far less interesting than having only 4,000 subscribers but 50% of them reading it on a regular basis.

There is a less objective factor which is: the reason why the sponsor got in touch with you.

If he’s the one to reach you, that’s mean he’s already interested. You just have to comfort him in his choice. No need to oversell your product. Or worse to underesell it.

Never start the negotiation with a price too cheap. Your sponsors are companies, don’t undersell yourself. For example, start at €100, excluding VAT, and don’t go under that price. Remember you won’t find sponsors every week (unless you’re an excellent marketer, of course!) Each sponsor will have to help you reduce your costs for several months.

My personal rate is €100 per 1,000 subscribers. It’s a totally random price, but it pushes myself to go further and to grow my newsletter’s audience.

Last Few Words

I hope these elements will help you find your first sponsor for your newsletter. They are based on my own experience, and may not apply to your situations. I still think they cover most topics I saw on entrepreneur and newsletters manager’s discussion boards. Recurrent topics worthy of a blog post on its own.

I’m available to discuss this in the comment section of this blog or on the social network (Twitter, Mastodon) of your choice. If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Hacker News, Reddit and/or your social networks 😉

A few more links

About the author

The newsletter “Le Courrier du hacker

Translations

This article is also available in French on lechantier.co.

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