Pay To Play: How Purchasing A Sponsored Email Can Be A Great Growth Hack

By on February 26, 2015

Pay To Play: How Purchasing A Sponsored Email Can Be A Great Growth Hack

Many business owners think that the only growth hacks of value are the free tactics, but there are many pay-to-play tactics that can be highly effective if you plan and use them correctly.

One great example is paying for a sponsored email blast from a business or website persona whose audience matches your target demographic. The reason is that you can piggyback off the developed, highly targeted audience of someone else and leap frog your own growth efforts without having to hack it out on the grassroots level looking for leads. Often these sponsored email blast opportunities will be in the format of long-form content, special deals or offers or even editorial in nature – so there are a variety of ways and options to match what you offer to the right email blast sponsorship.

Let’s use a concrete example to walk you through one potential scenario as a case study. Let’s say you run a yoga studio in Scottsdale. If you really know your audience, you can define their likes, mindset and activities outside of just yoga alone. By identifying what else your yoga class clients love to do and be a part of, you can more easily identify what types of sponsored content would lend itself well to attracting more people to yoga. After going through your yoga client avatars you realize that the majority of them feel passionate about eating organic and also donate time and money to animal welfare organizations like no-kill shelters.

That’s highly valuable information because you now know of three potential topics to research for sponsored email outreach opportunities. You can do research on both national and local organizations that support organic gardening or foods and also animal charities or groups that might offer sponsored content options. Don’t shy away from national organizations as these powerful content powerhouses usually offer geo-targeted offers and email blasts that you can still use to highly leverage their list in your local area.

When you have your sponsored outlet opportunities identified, the work has only just begun. If you want to really growth hack a paid email blast, you’ll need to do some key things to make the most of your ROI.

Here are a few important ways to get started.

1. Match your business’s avatars to the audience of a similar, but not competitor’s, audience.

Double-check the outlets you’ve identified before reaching out to them to make sure they don’t offer similar products or services to yours. If they do, odds are good they aren’t going to let you promote yourself (as the competition). Save some time and foot-in-mouth embarrassment of making sure the sponsored outlet is not a direct competitor but a nice companion to your business.

2. Research their site and lists.

Every site has a subscription management tool, see what subscription lists your intended outlet offers and then sign up for various emails to start getting a feel for their content. Research their site to see if they offer paid or editorial content options to advertise. Some don’t but many do and you’d be surprised by who does! For instance offers sponsored content post opportunities, sure they’re around $25,000 and up per article, but know that you can organically get your business in front of some esteemed audiences with a little digging.

3. Craft A Special Offer

To really get the most growth and best ROI, make a special, valuable offer to their audience as part of your sponsored email. Make it exclusive to this group with a validation code (make it simple like the name of the outlet or something very short and easy to remember). This increases the likelihood of the audience taking action from their inbox, because what you’re offering is so compelling, they are going to want to know more. If it’s a generic offer it’s much less likely to convert and that’s bad for your investment. Then of course, make sure your offer is in exchange for their information. Don’t release any offer or guide without getting their email first!

4. Track Your Results

Make sure you track your results and ROI to ensure this is an effective and repeatable growth tool for you. You may want to test several outlets and if you have the budget, even different offers within outlets to see if it’s the outlet or the offer that’s causing any conversion friction.

Utilizing the lists of others is a great way to grow your own list of prospects without the heavy lifting of doing it all yourself. Sure, it’s going to cost you some money, but it can be a highly effective tool for growth if you manage the offer, process and tracking right.

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right .