Newsletter Will Drive Subscriptions

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Newsletter publisher Blue Dolphin Group expects to launch an electronic newsletter on Sept. 1 designed to drive subscriptions to financial publications that provide content.


Subscribers to Blue Dolphin Money Update will receive weekly e-mail alerts with a lead tip from a major publisher. Readers who want to view more can click through to www.bluedolphin.com, where they can subscribe to the featured publication.


Don Nicholas, founder of Blue Dolphin, Wayland, MA, described the marketing approach as "iceberg marketing."


"They can view the tip, but if they want to see the rest, they have to pay," he said.


Publishers will pay Blue Dolphin part of the revenue for each subscription sold through the site. The revenue-sharing agreements vary among partners, but Nicholas noted that publishers generally pay 90 percent of revenue from the first-year subscription and 60 percent of second-year subscription revenue.


Blue Dolphin will partner with publishers that have more than 200,000 subscribers and can generate at least 10,000 new orders per year. The marketer has formed partnerships with companies such as Consumers Digest, Business 2.0, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Worth, Red Herring and Morningstar Fund Investor.


Blue Dolphin initially will access its audience through traditional direct mail campaigns, which will be brokered by American List Counsel Inc., Princeton, NJ. Nicholas expects to send 200,000 pieces of mail throughout August. The marketer also will rent e-mail lists to locate consumers for the weekly alerts. Be Free Inc., Marlborough, MA, will manage an affiliate marketing campaign for Blue Dolphin in which Blue Dolphin will display cobranded ads on financial Web sites, such as online banks and mutual fund companies.


Blue Dolphin plans to launch 19 other newsletters covering various vertical industries under its SmartSub System, including a health newsletter on Oct. 1 and a travel newsletter on Nov. 1. Starting in April, it plans to launch a newsletter each month for a year. The company hopes to have 300,000 subscribers to the first three channels by 2001.


Venture capital firms North Bridge Venture Partners and Matrix are providing $10 million toward the launch of the SmartSub System.
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