By Ray L Edwards
Running a successful online newsletter or Ezine can be one of the most effective means of marketing your product or service. Even though blogs have almost taken over this practice there are still many successfully run online newsletters that pack a powerful marketing punch. Below I share some of the secrets to maintaining a faithful subscriber base and grown your Ezine.
1. Give your newsletter a name that will tell what it is all about. The name should also be memorable and catchy. You are trying to build a readership and also a brand that will spread as quickly as possible. If you use your own name in the newsletter this means that you'll have difficulty selling the business later on, so keep this in mind.
2. Provide your subscribers with valuable content but don't tell them all. If you tell them all then they don't need to buy your product. You articles should tell them the 'why' of your product or service but not the 'how'. If you give away too much the subscribers will get accustomed to getting everything for free and be less inclined to buy your product.
3. Give your Ezine some personality. You want the Ezine to say 'you'. You are the owner and this is how you give your newsletter a personal identity. If you sound like everyone else then you'll get lost in the mix. If you inject your thoughts and opinions then you can stand apart from the crowd.
4. Ask your subscribers' opinions to engage their involvement. People like to know that their opinions matter. You can run a survey and then give the results in a follow-up issue. This gives the readers something to look forward to and your Ezine a better chance of getting opened.
5. Speak in the language of your subscribers. Use the same jargons that they use so that you can build a sense of community. You will be viewed as one of the group and not just a cold outsider providing information.
6. Provide a fair balance of articles and ads in your newsletter. If your newsletter appears to be just a big classified ad section then you are likely to lose subscribers. Nobody really read a paper for the ads so give them what they need and make your ads a 'by the way'.
7. Ask subscribers what subject they would like you to cover to make sure that you are scratching where it itches. Rather than hoping that you are catering to their needs ask and know instead. The response you get will also give you an idea of the effective reach of your newsletter.
8. Do joint venture deals where you can offer your subscribers special subscribers-only deals. This will build readership loyalty and also show that you are looking out for their best interest. People like to know that they are a part of an exclusive group.
9. Give a preview of the upcoming topics to keep curiosity high. This is much like the newscasters that tell you what's coming up next to keep you glued to the TV set until the commercial break is over. You can cover a topic that requires a series of articles to build reader loyalty among new subscribers. So those who sign up for a weekly newsletter wouldn't have to wait the entire week before they get their first issue.
10. Provide a link in your newsletter to where the archives can be accessed. The products that you promote in the past could still bring you sales in this way. It's also a place to showcase the quality of the information that you provide.
11. Publish your newsletter in both text and HTML format so you can give subscribers a choice of the format they wish to receive. Also because the newsletter will be longer than a normal promotional email (and so more difficult to bypass the SPAM filters) you can email both the full newsletter and another with the link to the web-published version.
12. Test your email open rate to determine which days of the week are the best to send out your newsletter. Some marketers claim that Fridays followed by Tuesdays give the best open rate. But each Ezine publisher will have to test for themselves. This is one factor that shouldn't be overlooked though.
There are still many online newsletters that I cannot wait to open and read not only because of the information they provide but because they have established themselves as a source of news and even entertainment. Don't neglect the power of a well written ezine.