Ezines: Creating Potential Customers

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If you are not publishing an ezine, start one yesterday. Here’s why.

People Expect It

Credibility is tough to build on the Web. Without a store and goods that can be handled, and even smelled, it’s difficult for people to believe in you, your site, or your business. What you offer on your website has no substance really. All is images, and your visitors know this.

An ezine provides a simple way to add dimension and reality to your business. Surfers are becoming smarter every day. Most can now see in a glance the difference between a business that’s for real and one that is not up to their standard. And one of the clues lies in whether or not a newsletter is available.

While most visitors will not subscribe, many will be turned off if you don’t offer this essential option for them to stay informed about your business.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

While expertise needs to be demonstrated throughout your site, an ezine allows you to do so easily over time. There are two advantages here.

First, surfers know professionals can be hired to set up a good looking site and develop its content. You want them to know you did not take this route, that everything on your site is your creation. You can’t say this, for it sounds like brag.

But you can show it’s so by sticking your neck out and writing to your subscribers. They will recognize what they read as being your work, then come to see your site and business as truly yours.

Second, there’s this matter of trust, in a different guise here. An ezine gives the opportunity to demonstrate to your subscribers that you know your business. That you understand the concerns of your customers. And that you’re in this for the long haul, thus will be available if things come apart.

Short of a multi-million dollar ad campaign, I don’t know of another way to make this happen. And it must. Many simply will not trust an online business on first meeting. They will do so over time, however, if you invite them to follow your ezine.

Make Money

When just getting started, selling advertising is not profitable. It probably won’t be until your list grows into the thousands. Even so, you can sell your own products in each issue. And your advertising costs amount only to the time it takes to produce the content.

If your business has a sufficiently narrow focus, you may not need thousands of subscribers. People wanting to sell within a narrowly defined niche, will pay a premium price for targeted traffic.

The Mechanics

Your ezine doesn’t need to be trick or fancy. Just make sure it’s loaded with great information of interest to your readers. Note “loaded” doesn’t mean long. Three brief items work fine. News and ideas of interest work well for content.

As for frequency, many get by with a monthly format, but people tend to forget. Twice a month may be best. And weekly better yet. Any choice amounts to about the same amount of work. A monthly ezine needs to be lengthy and chuck full of good stuff. This content can usually be distributed twice a month, simply by splitting the monthly content into two parts.

If you decide on weekly, do keep it brief. Else you’ll tend to wear out your welcome. While some recommend daily, I can not. There is just not that much to say about a small business. And people do not want to hear from you every day for the rest of their lives.

An Aside: If you don’t have the writing skills to carry this off, hire someone to do it for you. Add them to your “team.” Make a big deal out of it. That you have delegated this task, has no negative impact. In business, different people accomplish different things. In fact someone else can say things about you that you could not say of yourself.

Growing Your List

A simple subscription form on each page of your site will bring subscribers. Or use a link to a single page that does a good job of selling the benefits in subscribing.

Including a bonus works well. A free report will do. A free ebook shown with a virtual book cover is stronger yet. In either case, however, make sure the content is solid, practical and useful to your new subscriber.

Develop this content as carefully as you would if you were planning to sell it. People have had more than enough slop palmed off on them. If you want new subscribers to hang in, give them only the best.

Pop-unders are very popular and those who use them swear by them. Some claim they have increased their subscriber rate by as much as 25%. I haven’t tried this. And I’m hesitant to do so. Of late, it seems to have been overdone. Since it’s clear they annoy visitors, I’m not sure about this. But those using them report great results.

Distributing Your Ezine

While getting started, AYMAIL will handle the task effectively. As your list grows, you’ll want to use a mailing service. Free services are available, but there are restrictions. For one, the ad these services append to the end of your newsletter detracts from your professionalism, much as does free hosting.

You may find a paid service more effective. At present my list is hosted by Rick Roundtree. 734-529-5331. Rates at present are $25/month + $0.65/1000 to $0.95/1000 mailed, rates being a function of length.

Requiring Confirmation

Anti-spam groups have put a lot of pressure on mailing list owners to require a double opt-in. That is, the subscriber gets a request to confirm they indeed subscribed. While this does not sound unreasonable, in practice I’ve found I lose over 50% of new subscribers because they do not confirm.

I personally feel this requirement is nonsense, for my welcome message includes a URL which when clicked, automatically unsubscribes the address it was sent to. This is something you must decide for yourself. But there’s no question but what you can grow your list much faster when confirmation is not required.

Ezines As An Image Booster

Gather all noted above, and you can put the purpose of your ezine into one sentence: Enhances your image and demonstrate your expertise. If yours does not already accomplish these objectives, it’s time for changes.

Bob McElwain, author of “Your Path To Success.” How to build ANY business you want, just the way you want it, with only pocket money.
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Phone: 209-742-6349

Ezines: Creating Potential Customers
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