CN#12. Elevator: Eye and brain candy for 700,000 upscale men


FREQUENCY: Daily, Sunday to Friday

TYPE: Consumer

TARGET AUDIENCE: Affluent English-speaking males





DESIGN: Minimalist, large sans serif text, big colour curated photographs.

Striking, punchy, editorial

It's a rare newsletter that doesn’t have a subject in the subject line, just the newsletter name and the date. So Elevator's a bit of a tease and you have to open to see what’s there.

First up is model Lexi Gryszowka. She was Miss Indiana Teen USA 2021, and is no doubt pleased with the re-use of this image from her Instagram feed, a welcome boost to her career prospects.

The top slot (always a similar image) is a direct appeal to a mainly male audience expecting something easy on the eye.

Editorial is curation only. The editors search the net for high quality articles, reproduce a headline and a picture from the source site, write a summary, and link back.

The style is characterised by choice of striking images and sharply crafted curator’s commentary. It’s intellectually and visually stimulating and written with a lad’s mag attitude and language.

Creating connection between the editor and the reader is high on the agenda. In this 500-word edition there are 15 instances of the words we, us, and our, and 12 instances of you or your.

It’s a simple formula that ensures the writing focus is serving reader interest.

There’s no hard news. Content is unique, compelling, interesting-to-talk-about articles.

“In the time it takes to ride an elevator, we’ll make a guy’s life richer.”

This edition has 13 links to articles on other sites including Men’s Journal, The Atlantic, and Fortune.

Each story is a self-contained unit with picture, 50-100 words, and a bold link from the text (the URL is not shown) to the source website.

It’s eye and brain candy and stuff with a purpose, like buildings you might want to visit, films you might want to see and hobbies you might want to start.

What's left out is politics, celebrities and gossip.

Readers can act as volunteer curators, and are encouraged to provide suggestions and feedback.

There are 9 links under the heading of The Mixer, which get the curiosity juices flowing, including a reminder about the partner promotion with an asterisk.

100% advertising and affilate business model

Elevator is free, as are all the titles published by its owner Rotary Digital, based in New York. Revenue is from partner advertising and affiliate commissions.

Four other newsletters follow the same or similar models and formats.

Blazer – Menswear, weekly.

Cool Material – Gear and gadgets, drinks, leisure and design.

Jimmy – Dating, sex, and relationships.

Shift – Health and wellness.

Advertising with 40% off deals

Recommending products and writing the advertising copy in editorial style builds trust and encourages sales intent.

Coupled with great deals, the newsletter acts as a powerful partner for advertisers.

Although the ads and editorial look the same, partner material is labelled and the publisher states that ads should be relevant to readers.

They look like they are.

The average open rate is 34% and CTR (click-through rate) 8%.

Elevator is sent out over 300 times a year, so a guess at the annual revenue assuming CPM (cost per thousand) rates between $10 and $30 would be between $714,000 to $2,142,000.

(700,000 x 34% = 238,000 opens. 238 x $10 = $2,380 per day. 238 x $30 = $7,140 per day).

That could mean a cost per click of between $0.125 and $0.375, which seems more than reasonable.

Elevator was unable to verify this guess, so let me know if anyone thinks it is wildly inaccurate.

Marketing to young, affluent, high-spending men

Instagram is the marketing vehicle of choice in Elevator's search for “upscale” men.

With 85K Instagram followers this is a good source of list growth.

The standalone sign-up landing page has no distractions or anywhere else to click. Just give Elevator your email address!

Comment: Supercharged, super simple, lad’s email

I never was a reader of lad’s mags, but I'm a regular opener of this quick-read, go-deeper-if-you-wish email newsletter version.

Their claim to select only editorial gems worth readers’ time is justified by the consistently surprising and enlightening, yet never sensational content.

What curious male wouldn’t want to know how an Aztec death whistle sounds?

The curation value is high, as readers wouldn’t easily find these conversational nuggets on their own, and certainly not in one place.

The editors try to avoid “normal and average” and this must be hard.

Locating the exceptional requires no small amount of editorial research and assembly on a daily basis, so anyone considering emulating Elevator should bear this in mind. Quality is everything.

Rotary Digital’s portfolio has 1.4 million email readers among mainly US professional men, underscoring the power of newsletters to provide influence and reach.

This directly accessible audience is hugely appealing to advertisers suffering with ever lower returns from web advertising.

The company’s mantra highlights one of the key features needed for successful newsletters - a rich, deep and engaged relationship with readers.

A big part of that is having the product delivered.

Elevator says: “Subscribers increasingly turn to such newsletters that meet readers’ criteria for the content they want delivered to them, rather than forcing people to wade through gatekeepers such as search engines’ and social networks’ algorithms.”

Bravo to that!

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