Case Study: Marketing an Entertainment Newsletter

Meet John Waterman, creator of the Bandit A&R newsletter, a monthly print and email publication providing artists information on which industry professionals are currently seeking new talent and how to get demos/samples to them.

Customers often ask us for examples of how people are using AWeber in different industries, and what they can do to effectively run an opt-in email marketing campaign.

So, last month we solicited candidates to help us show how they’ve implemented email campaigns with their businesses.

Our 2007 case study series starts in the music industry, with John Waterman and the Bandit A&R Newsletter.


We’ve all heard great bands that we simply couldn’t find in our local music store. We say to ourselves, “These guys are great! Their CDs should be flying off the shelves!”

But the CDs aren’t flying off the shelves. Because they haven’t made it there. Because the band never got noticed by the record labels.

That’s where John Waterman comes in. His Bandit A&R Newsletter was formed in 1988 to help aspiring artists:

“Bandit aims to help ambitious singers, bands, songwriters and producers find a market for their music whatever commercial music style they are working in.

There are many paths to making a living from music and Bandit tries to cover recording deals, licensing of finished tracks, song publishing deals, TV/Film/Advertising use and artist management.”

Bandit is a monthly print and email publication providing artists information on which industry professionals are currently seeking new talent and how to get demos/samples to them.


While Bandit grew, so did use of another valuable tool: the Internet.

“In 1995 I ‘retired’ from the day job and set up a full time office, bought a PC and started to investigate the Internet.

By the end of the year Bandit had a self designed/written web-site with the help of a 7 Pound ($13) “Teach yourself HTML” book and a plain text email option for subscribers!

The subscriber base quickly spread world-wide and I decided to start an additional US content edition to satisfy and encourage more US based subscribers.”

A few years later, John picked up an AWeber account to automate his list management.

How John Uses AWeber

John offers a free sample copy of an old back issue of the Bandit newsletter as a PDF, and delivers the download link via AWeber.

Web forms are located on several pages of the Bandit website. Here’s an example from his homepage:

Bandit's Previous Inline Web Form
He also collects subscribers via emails to his autoresponder address, which he advertises in various industry publications:

“The facility to add a second section to the front of the auto-responder email address ( is a key feature that I use to track the source of enquiries. I use this for keying print Ad responses or anywhere that uses email response.

I also use it as a basic affiliate program where I give affiliates a exclusive number to add the email address they use to send me prospects and also to embed in their web-forms offering the free sample issue. If the prospect subsequently buys a subscription the affiliate can have their commission credited to their account.”

After subscribers confirm and get their sample, John follows up with them through a sequence of seven messages. He also broadcasts to his list one-two times per month, offering further samples and benefits of paid subscriptions. All messages are in plain-text format.

Results So Far

A look at his account showed that John gets a lot of junk traffic to his opt-in forms and spam sent to his autoresponder. However, he’s getting a lot of quality subscribers as well.

He’s currently converting nearly 7% of prospects to paid subscribers via his follow up messages. Most occur after the first follow up message, with the remaining sales spread across the subsequent ones.

John’s goals are to:

  • Get more people to confirm their signups to his list
  • Increase his sales conversion rate

John’s obviously succeeding. Keep it up, John!


  1. Dave Franzwa

    2/18/2007 12:05 am

    Thanks Justin,

    I enjoy case studies from the trenches, and this one came at just the right time.

    I’ve been tinkering with a new site, and therefore the opt-in process. Since this particular site deals with an entertainment/poetry subject matter, your headline caught my eye.

    I tend to be a little wordy at times myself, so seeing others slash away at their pages and gather success doing it, helps me to at least attempt to keep things under control.

    I always get something out of your pieces, Justin.


  2. Dina Beach Lynch

    2/19/2007 11:53 am

    Justin, what a practical case study. I’m thrilled with aweber and love hearing new ways to use it.

    I plan to use the confirmation page language and thank you page to increase my conversion rate from my free teleseminar into my subscription website for mediators. It easy and effective without being pushy!

    Keep the case studies coming!

    Dina Beach Lynch

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  4. sheryl wardle

    5/18/2007 8:07 pm

    I learned so much from reading this page today. This case study will go a long way with my website about audio books. Could you put me in touch with someone who knows about newsletters and sales letters to audiobooks buyers…This market is hard to get to. where are the associations and newsletters hiding????Thanks, saw Oh yes, how do I get my newsletter or sales letters in the hands of the elite on the east and west coasts???

  5. Hugh

    1/31/2008 10:26 pm

    I have been struggling a bit to make the best use of this service but these case studies have certainly given me plent of food for thought. I didn’t even know that this page was here, amazing what little gems you find if you only open your eyes.