Email is, without question, the most popular and powerful marketing tool available to entrepreneurs today. Website are great, but without an effective email, your marketing efforts will be anemic.
So how do you take advantage of email marketing? The best method is to begin your own opt-in periodic ezine--or an electronic magazine. There are over ten thousand ezines on the internet addressing hundreds of subjects.
What is the real power behind ezine marketing? It is RELATIONSHIPS. Those who have learned the art of editing an ezine are developing relationships with readers that will (in many cases) be transformed into customers and business partnerships.
There are several skills that must be learned to become a effective ezine editor. Here they are:
FIND A FOCUS
In his best-selling marketing manual "Make Your Site Sell," Ken Evoy points out that any effective marketing strategy must remember that "if you try to sell to everybody you'll end up selling to nobody." That's why he points out haw important it is "target your audience" (learn more about Ken's book at http://allaboutsuccess.sitesell.com/)." target="_blank">http://allaboutsuccess.sitesell.com/).
This strategy is also important for newsletter editing and promotion. Think about it. The next time you pass the magazine rack in your local grocery store look at each publication. Each has a theme that is specifically focused toward a particular segment of society. Your ezine should also be focused in that manner.
What should your focus be? That depends on you! What are your interests? What are your areas of expertise? With what segment of the internet community do you hold a particular affinity? I've seen ezines that address e-commerce, web site development, comic book collecting, cat lovers (ugh),etc.
What's your niche? If you don't find it you'll only develop a nice safe-list--you won't be the editor of an ezine! Do you know the difference between the two? It's relationships. An ezine helps you develop meaningful personal and professional relationships.
Got your focus. Great! Now you need to...
DEVELOP A FORMAT
Many editors overlook this aspects of their ezine development. Without a effective format, however, your ezine appears disorganized and frustrating to read.
Here are some things to consider as you develop your format.
1) When you open the ezine email, does the first page grab the readers attention and make them want to keep reading? Items such as a "quote of the week," a personal greeting, or a attractive table of contents will help keep subscribers reading.
2) Is you format geared toward advertisements or content? You've read those ezines that look like the the classified ad section of your local newspaper, haven't you? Neither have I! They are annoying! Focus on content, not ads. Both your advertisers and subscribers will appreicate it. Your subscribers will appreciate your focus on content. Your advertisers will appreciate the fact that their ad will probably be read.
3) Don't forget to provide clear and easy to follow subscription and unsubscription instructions.
Now that you've got your focus and format, what's next? Oh yes, you need to...
How do you get subscribers? You ask them to subscribe!
Sure, that's common sense. But how many times have you found yourself subscribed to a list you've never heard about? I have made it a policy to NEVER manually add names to my list. To get on my list people must do one of two things: 1) send an email request, or 2) complete a subscription form on my website at http://allaboutsuccess.com" target="_blank">http://allaboutsuccess.com or http://ezinesuccess.com" target="_blank">http://ezinesuccess.com
How do you get folks to do that? Here are five powerful methods for building your subscription base...
1) Write articles and submit them to other ezines. In the author's tag include instructions for subscribing to your ezine.
2) Exchange ads with other ezine editors. Ezine editors tend to be some of the nicest people on the internet ;-) Most will go out of their way to help a comrade succeed.
3) Give away FREE stuff to those who subscribe. Special articles, software programs, discounts, and ebooks are all popular gifts to give your subscribers.
4) Join in strategic partnerships with companies that market services specifically geared toward increasing my ezine subscription base. Examples include the following...
...The Directory Of Ezines http://www.lifestylespub.com/cgi-bin/ezines.cgi?10282" target="_blank">http://www.lifestylespub.com/cgi-bin/ezines.cgi?10282
...The Ezine Advertisers Network http://www.guerrillamlm.com/members/7969BN.html" target="_blank">http://www.guerrillamlm.com/members/7969BN.html
5) Announce your ezine in the databases on these websites...
http://www.liszt.com/" target="_blank">http://www.liszt.com/ http://www.escribe.com/internet/-aannounce/" target="_blank">http://www.escribe.com/internet/-aannounce/ http://www.neosoft.com/internet/paml/" target="_blank">http://www.neosoft.com/internet/paml/ http://www.promotefree.com" target="_blank">http://www.promotefree.com http://www.reference.com/" target="_blank">http://www.reference.com/ http://www.virtualpromote.com" target="_blank">http://www.virtualpromote.com http://www.newsletteraccess.com/" target="_blank">http://www.newsletteraccess.com/ http://catalog.com/vivian/interest-group-search.html" target="_blank">http://catalog.com/vivian/interest-group-search.html http://www.goodstuff.prodigy.com/Lists/main.htm" target="_blank">http://www.goodstuff.prodigy.com/Lists/main.htm http://bizx.com/newsletter.html" target="_blank">http://bizx.com/newsletter.html
In addition, make sure you have your ezine listed in the powerful new ezine search engine, available on my site at: http://www.ezinesuccess.com/temp/" target="_blank">http://www.ezinesuccess.com/temp/
Now you've got a focus, a format, and subscribers. What's next? You need...
A DELIVERY SYSTEM
While your list is small you can probably get by using your current email program. But you always run the risk of raising the ire of your ISP. That's why I have chosen to use the services of a listserver. Several companies on the internet offer such services for free--but most are unreliable.
The benefit of a listserver. You compose your email, paste it to a online form, hit "send," and your done. The listserver does all the mailing for you.
What do you want your listserver to do? Here are the basics!
It must send to at least 10,000 people. It must allow unlimited mailings. It must have automatic subscribe and remove functions. It must refuse multiple subscriptions of the same email address. It must reject non valid email addresses in your list. It must generate subscription URL code for your webpage. It must be VERY SECURE--only accessed with appropriate passwords. It must operate from a safe administration area--not via email.
That's right, use your List Server as often as you like, every hour, every day, once a week, as often as you like! Several companies offer such services. Contact me at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com for a referral to one of these providers.
Having your own ezine is one of the most powerful and popular ways to build relationship online that will serve your business ventures. I encourage you to get started today.
Dr. Bill Nieporte is editor of "The Success in Life Newsletter." Published twice a week, you will find numerous articles aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business leader to enjoy greater success in all apsects of their lives.