Newsletter, EZines,

or whatever you want to call them, oh my...

If you haven’t already, start by diving into the section on List Building, then come back here when you’ve already covered that ground.

OK: Welcome back.

The majority of the time, when we’re talking about Newsletters and EZines, it’s in reference to a website. The website serves as the attractor of visitors, and there are often subscription offers on every page of the web site and/or on pop-ups, offering inducements to people to provide their name and e-mail address. Often, the inducement is in the form of a newsletter or EZine. It’s a method of building a list of names and e-mail addresses, and of maintaining a great relationship with the people on the list, with the intention that you can convert that relationship into sales of your product(s) or of products for which you are an Affiliate.

However, be aware that you don’t have to do it that way.

Although it’s rare, there are people who make a nice income, on very rare occasions even a full-time living, simply out of their EZine, without a formal web site whatsoever. (Although today, the EZine is often backed-up by a Blog.)

  • In some cases, the EZine IS the focal point; the web site exists only to attract subscribers, and they may well charge a subscription fee for the Newsletter or EZine itself … although you had better be sure it’s providing real value if you’re going to do that.

  • Almost all EZine and newsletter owners with serious subscription levels charge for advertising in the newsletter or EZine. This just plain makes sense; newsletters and EZines are usually highly targeted to a specific market, and others are willing to pay to have access to that market.

  • Newsletters and EZines are also an excellent vehicle to promote products where you have an Affiliate arrangement with a merchant. They give you the justification for repeated mail-outs to your List. This can be more than lucrative ... it can be VERY lucrative.

  • They can also be an excellent vehicle for promoting a product where you are in a Joint Venture with the product’s owner.

Whichever way you go, you’ll find the same kind of issues arising.

One of the biggest, these days, is the growing problem of getting your EZine delivered. The explosion of Spam means many spam filters flag perfectly good EZines, aimed at Double-Opt-in recipients, and kill them before the intended recipient knows anything about it.

This has prompted a lot of different strategies and tactics; there are ways to check whether your e-mail passes the Spam filter tests, for example, before you send it. And more and more EZines are being backed up with a Blog; the main EZine is sent out, but soon after it is followed by a simple e-mail, designed to easily pass through the Spam filters, which says something like “If you didn’t receive my EZine, then click here to see what you missed.” And the link is almost always to a Blog, where the newsletter owner posts the entire article and invites comments.

In addition to these tactics, you’ll find hot discussions on a lot of other issues.

Should you have a plain text e-mail newsletter, or a fancy one using html code, with a header, perhaps some graphics, colors, etc?

You’ll find passionate supporters of both. Many Spam filters are very quick on the trigger with html EZines more than text newsletters, it seems; but others will tell you that, having been delivered, the html versions will be read all the way through much more often than a plain text one. But then that begs debate about the quality of the copy, and … so on.

The real answer? Use a list management service that allows you to track deliverable rates, track open rates, then test, test, test.

Which day of the week should you send your EZine?

There ARE major differences in the rates in which people open newsletters, for example.

Where should you place your promotional material?

You’ll see arguments for having it first (but you’re asking for a high rate of unsubscribes), last (but how many people will read all that way?), or somewhere in the middle, interrupting the flow of the content (my preference, but not that common).

Should you go with long copy (lots of content) or short copy?

I listened to Jim Edwards interview a fellow a while ago, where the guest was explaining the results of a test; against all their intuition (and Jim Edwards's intuition is better than most … which still makes it worth spit in comparison to actually conducting a test!) when the copy was shortened, it performed better in terms of being read, AND causing clicks through to the web page carrying the promotional product. Shortened again … and the response improved again. Right along to the situation where it appeared that basically a greeting, a useful tip, and a promotional offer, were the ideal newsletter!

Now I have to tell you that having read this, I’m still seeing mostly long copy from the Pros. But it’s worth testing. The optimum direction obviously depends on the type of EZine or newsletter you have, the target audience, your relationship with them, etc.

IF You Want To Learn How To Do This Right...

As always, you can find a lot of free material on EZines and newsletters just by searching the ‘Net.

If, however, you are seriously interested in a high-performing newsletter or EZine, interested enough to want to learn from the professionals, then I have a couple of recommendations.

First of all, subscribe to Christopher Knight’s free newsletter at email Universe; his web site, Blog and EZines are packed with useful information. And you can actually observe a successful EZine in action, as well as learning from his material.

Then wander along to another of his pages, where he offers a huge wealth of information in the form of articles and EZine Tips. You'll start to see the breadth of topics that are worthy of discussion in this field.

Also, subscribe to the free E-zine Tips offered by Alexandria Brown, who goes by the handle The EZine Queen.

Then, if you want an in-depth course in managing an EZine, consider one of Ms Brown’s products. She knows of what she speaks … she earns a very nice income from EZines. In the neighbourhood of tens of thousands of dollars a month, which is a very nice neighbourhood. But I’ll warn you, her know-how doesn’t come cheap; she knows what her knowledge is worth, and she prices it accordingly.

Her flagship product is Boost Business with your own E-zine, and it's without question the best of the breed. If you want to get into the EZine business, this is simply invaluable.

It’s not inexpensive at US$247 (I warned you). Why would anyone pay that? The answer is in the arithmetic. The odds are that implementing just ONE of the thousands of suggestions in her material will pay for the book handsomely. Just a handful of new customers would probably repay that investment completely, and anyone applying Ms Brown’s strategies is pretty much guaranteed to a do a LOT better than that (or your money back, for up to 12 months). If you're starting from scratch, getting you up and running a few weeks earlier than you would otherwise have done will probably recover your investment just from that benefit alone. Her material is comprehensive, and detailed, with lots of goodies that will save you a LOT of time. Check out the testimonials on her site … there are people who will have recovered their investment in days, realistically, with the boosts in subscription rates that they point to.

Summary of Resources mentioned on this page

email Universe - sign -up for Christoper Knight's free EZine, it's always informative

EZine Tips - free, valuable tips and articles from Christopher Knight

free E-zine Tips - sign up for Alexandria Brown's free newsletter and tips, always valuable

Boost Business with your own E-zine - Alexandria Brown's excellent step-by-step guide to profiting from an EZine