May 02, 2022

How I Manage Ads For My Newsletter With Airtable And Gumroad

Reading Time: 8 mins

My newsletter Design Insight now features a Classifieds section. For a fee, people can buy an ad spot in my newsletter to promote their product or service.

To make this process easier to manage I set up a Gumroad listing and combined it with an Airtable base. With this setup, I’ve automated most of the process to the point where I only need to check in on things once a week.

This article describes how I set up this process including how I created the Airtable base, published a form for user submissions, added automations, and set up the Gumroad listing.

Airtable Setup Overview

User Flow

Here’s the user flow for buying an ad spot:

Airtable Base + Tables Setup

I started by setting up a new Airtable account. I’m currently using the free account and haven’t run into any limitations.

I then created a new base to manage the ad spot data. I called it Design Insight Classifieds.

I knew I wanted 2 tables, one to manage the availability of ad spots and one to manage the booking details.

Table: Classified Availability


Table: Classified Bookings



These tables evolved over time as I set up other components like the submission form and various automations.

Airtable Form Setup

Once I set up the tables I needed, the next thing was to create a form to handle user submissions.

I was originally going to manage this on a Google form but found out Airtable has a forms feature.

In Airtable, forms are managed as a type of view. In my case, I opened the Classified Bookings table and created a form view called Design Insight Ad Spot.

Airtable Ad Spot Form

Form Fields:

I turned on the option to email me whenever the form is filled in so I can manually keep an eye on things for now.

As I’m on the free version of Airtable, there are limited customization options I can work with as regards the design but this works well for now.

The link to this form is presented to a user after they purchase an ad spot via Gumroad.

Before I marked this step as finished, I tested out submitting the form a few times to make sure everything worked as expected.

Airtable Calendar Setup

Similar to Forms, you can create Calendar views in Airtable.

This allows me to see which ad spots are scheduled for which newsletter edition. There’s also the added convenience of linking this calendar to my Google calendar so I can view this from anywhere.

I created a Calendar view under the Classified Bookings table and called it Ad Calendar. I then selected the Ad Spot Availability field.

To link the calendar to my Google calendar, I selected Share view then selected Sync to an external calendar. This gave me a link which I then pasted into my calendar app.

Gumroad Listing Setup

OK, so by now I have the tables, form, and calendar set up so I have enough in place to put together the Gumroad listing.

I created a new product called Design Insight Ad Spot and started writing out the copy for the ad spot.

I included a background about the newsletter, various stats, and examples of newsletter ad spots.

At the bottom of the listing I pasted in the Public URL of the Classified Bookings table and it appeared perfectly.

I ensured the product URL was clear, created a cover image and thumbnail, and set the price.

The final step was to include the URL to the Design Insight Ad Spot form in the Content section of the product listing. To do this I put the URL into a text file and uploaded that to Gumroad. This allows me to add a short message after the purchase to thank the user for buying an ad spot.

I hit publish and then viewed the new listing to make sure everything looked good including the Airtable embed. You can see the live Gumroad listing here: Design Insight - Ad Spot.

Airtable Automations

Now that everything was set up and running, I wanted to experiment with some Airtable automations to make maintaining everything a bit easier.

This section could be a whole article in itself so I won’t delve too deep into how it’s all set up. I’ll include screenshots where helpful to give an idea of how it’s all working.

Some tips I found helpful for using Airtable automations:

Automation 1 - Mark fully booked issues as fully booked

When an issue of the newsletter is fully booked, an automation runs to check the checkbox “Fully booked” in the Classified Availability table.

This removes it from the Public Classified Availability view which also removes it from being selectable on the Design Insight Ad Spot form.

Automation 1.1

Automation 1.1

Automation 2 - Update Ad Spot Availability When Form Submitted

When the Design Insight Ad Spot form is submitted, mark the appropriate slot for that date as booked in the Classified Availability table.

This means I don’t have to manually review every form submission and change the availability calendar for each slot to booked.

Automation 2.1

Automation 2.2

Automation 2.3

Automation 2.4

I’ve discussed a lot in this article I know. So if you have any questions for me on how any of this works, just let me know 🙂

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