I was tired of going back and forth with prospective newsletter sponsors, tracking down payment, and scheduling timing. So, I built an automated system that takes care of most of that for me.
I took big inspiration for this system after looking at how Ben’s Bites self service platform was setup.
This system allows a prospective sponsor to view all of your newsletter information, pay for an ad spot, provide their ad info, and ultimately schedule a time without you having to do anything.
I’ll give you a deep dive of how I set it up and what tools I used to accomplish it.
I’m using Carrd as my landing page of choice. It’s easy to setup and requires minimal web design knowledge to get something acceptable up. It’s also very affordable at $19/yr.
My landing page is mostly text based and simple as I’m assuming most advertisers are already familiar with my brand and just looking for the stats and how much they’re going to have to pay.
I started with the following template from carrd and then simplified it for my own use.
Then I created simple buttons that linked out to a Stripe Payment link which allowed me to then take payment.
I’m using Stripe as my payment processor as their checkout experience is very simple and they accept most payment methods. You can view my checkout page here for reference.
Once signed up for Stripe, you’ll need to create a product for your ad(s) so that you can ultimately create a payment link for sponsors to checkout.
You’ll enter in a name and pricing information and click save. Products can have multiple prices, but I’d stick with one for this application.
Once you get your product created, we’re going to want to create a payment link.
Once you’ve created the payment link you’ll have a few options you can choose from to then customize this checkout experience. You’ll be able to choose if you want to allow them to adjust the quantity, collect taxes, and allow promo codes.
All of these can be useful for your publications needs just depends how you want to set these things up. I personally only opted for letting them to select multiple quantities if they wanted to because of course I want to sell more ad spots.
Most importantly, you’re going to want to go into the after payment tab, select don’t show confirmation page and provide your intake form link we’ll make shortly.
This is the mechanism that will forward your sponsors to your intake form automatically so you don’t have to hound them for their assets. We have computers for that.
After someone checks out we want to gather all of the relevant details we’ll need to create their ad.
You can use whatever form builder you like, but I’m using Tally due to their ease of use and beautiful looking forms. I’m also using the free version for this use case which is another plus.
You can view my form here.
I’m asking for some pretty basic information:
I won’t recreate the wheel here on how to create the form. Tally has some great support guides on that and have made it super simple.
The only important thing to note for this system is that you’ll want to setup another redirect on completion of this form so that they can then be sent to your scheduling system to pick what day they’d like their ad to run based on your availability.
Now that you’ve got all the information you need from your sponsor. It’s time to take this automation to the next level and have them self schedule when they’d like the ad to run.
This is by the far the step that has saved me the most time. Now you can just send them a scheduling link and have them self select.
For this workflow, I’m using SavvyCal ($12/mo). I’ve found it’s scheduling page to be better than Calendly, and it gives me a little more flexibility in how I setup my ad slots.
I’m sure Calendly or any other scheduling tool you’re currently paying for can be used in this setup though.
SavvyCal also has a direct Stripe integration where you can use it as your intake form as well as your payment collection in a single step. This would be a great solution if you’re not needing to accept any images or you can make your sponsor provide a dropbox or google drive link with the images attached.
Depending on the amount of ad spots available, you’ll want to set your availability accordingly. For example, I have two ad types.
My main ad that only has 1 spot per send, and then featured products that has up to 8 spots per send. To account for both of these ad types, I set my availability in 2 hour increments on my send days.
So, then to fill these spots I setup my main ad as a 2 hour meeting and then my featured products ad in 15 minute increments.
The time’s are irrelevant, I’m just trying to open up the necessary spots so that my sponsors can see real time availability.
It’s a little hacky, but it gets the job done.
Now that we have all of the pieces of our newsletter sales system in place it’s time to connect them all together.
The workflow is as follows:
This should take care of the entire sponsor workflow without you having to be involved.
If you want to take it to another level, you can setup a custom email trigger using Zapier to send all of these relevant links in an email once a sponsor has checked out.
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