E-Mail Newsletter Targets Female Travelers

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An e-mail newsletter targeting female travelers with travel advice and special deals promises advertisers an opportunity to reach what the publisher believes is an underserved market.

The 3-month-old e-mail newsletter, called "Shhh .... Tell Only the Women," is delivered to 3,000 subscribers each month, said Debra Asberry, founder of the newsletter and of Women Traveling Together, Annapolis, MD, the all-female tour company that produces it.

Through a pass-along incentive program and barter ads on other women-oriented Web sites and e-mail newsletters, Asberry predicts that the newsletter's membership will grow to 25,000 by the end of the year.

She attributed the newsletter's growth -- it has added nearly 500 readers since the first June issue -- to the scarcity of publications targeting her audience. The typical subscriber is a college-educated woman between ages 35 and 60 who has traveled by herself or plans to do so imminently.

"Women are novice travelers," Asberry said. "We don't do it as often as men, so I thought it would be useful to share information about traveling and traveling etiquette."

The newsletter provides hard-to-find travel information, such as getting better seat assignments, how to connect with other women travelers, tipping baggage handlers, and identifying places that might be less safe for solo travelers.

In addition to the editorial content, the newsletter alerts recipients to special offers from airlines or hotels. It also runs two promotions -- one a house ad for a Women Traveling Together tour and the other an editor's pick that promotes another Web site or e-mail product. The editor's pick allows Asberry to swap advertising spots with other marketers and gain wider exposure for the newsletter without having to fork over significant dollars.

After the debut issue in June and the follow-up July edition, Asberry said the newsletter picked up 40 to 50 subscribers. After the August newsletter, which featured two editor's picks with reciprocal links to decoratorsecrets.com and myfooddirectory.com, there were 400 new subscriptions.

Asberry noted that all of the 3,000-plus recipients visited the Women Traveling Together Web site at www.womentraveling.com, where they subscribed to the newsletter. Prior to the June launch, the company put up a registration page and collected the names of women who wanted to receive regular updates on travel packages and tips.

"Those names became the starting point," she said. "So everyone who received the first e-mail was familiar with us because they had been to the Web site and asked to receive information."

Asberry acknowledged that there might be some money to be made by renting the list to outside marketers, but she said she has not had time to pursue that option, nor have any third parties contacted her.

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