Email Newsletters to Market
Article by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
If you're promoting your small business on the Internet, you aren't alone. The latest surveys show that small businesses outnumber larger firms on the Internet by a margin of four to one. Corporations are advertising on the Net just like they do with other media: contact an Internet ad agency, buy banner ads, and watch results come in.
That works fine if you've got thousands of dollars to spend each month on advertising. But what if you're going it alone and your advertising allowance has to come out of the grocery money?
E-zines are the answer. E-zines (short for email magazines or newsletters) are quick and cheap to produce and often go to huge numbers of eager subscribers. Publishers don't have to pay for postage or printing, and the savings are passed on to advertisers in the form of extremely low ad rates.
For inexpensive Internet advertising, it's very hard to beat classified ads in e-zines. Here are just two examples to give you an idea. DEMC will include your ad in an issue to 270,000 subscribes for about $38 (http://www.demc.com) Your ad includes a live link to your email and web site for some of the best response available anywhere (contact Gary Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org). Kevin Needham's A.I.M. Newsletter goes to a rapidly expanding subscriber base of 40,000 and also gets excellent results at very low cost (see Kevin's site at inetexchange.com)
There are literally thousands of e-zines, some specifically targeting your best customers. For a list of several hundred of the best, see the listing with links at http://www.site-city.com/members/e-zine-master.
Maximizing Your E-zine Classified. As is the case everywhere on the Internet, your ad's first line is what makes or breaks it. Use the first line to announce your most important customer benefit. And don't forget the two most powerful words in advertising: "you" and "free." The sentence-- "You can get my FREE report"-- always gets big response.
Sometimes e-zine ads bring disappointing results. If at first your ad doesn't succeed, try and try again. There's an old saying in marketing that the first ad never works. Advertising brings home the bacon when you smartly repeat your ad week after week. It takes time (sometimes as many as seven times) before your ad gets the prospect's attention.
Go One Better--Write For E-zines. The beauty of email publishing is that it works so quickly. I often write an article in the morning, send it to an e-zine in the afternoon, and see it published in a new issue by evening. Responses flood in by midnight. On the Internet, there's no wait-time while printing presses roll, trucks make their way through town, or mail waits to be sorted. If you need marketing results fast, write an article for e-zines. Keep your article short. One or two pages is fine. Tell readers how to do something that will interest many of them. Keep sentences short, informal, and talk directly to the reader. If you don't feel comfortable with your writing skills, have a local English teacher or journalism student look over your article for you.
Also be sure to include four to six lines at the end promoting yourself, your business, your offer, and your contact information. Because you won't get paid for your article, publishers don't mind allowing you a personal plug at the end. The article makes you look like an expert in your field. Your contact info at the end urges thousands of impressed readers to contact the expert.
Put Out Your Own E-zine. A lot has been written lately about the importance of networking to build your business. When marketing expert Leslie Speidel polled hundreds of successful entrepreneurs on what they attributed their growth to, most replied "networking!"
Nothing helps you network like your own email newsletter. Your ideas and expertise along with product news and tips from customers go out to everyone you know and do business with. It's also OK to include some ads for yourself and associates. Readers don't seem to mind ads if they're packaged along with helpful articles.
Check http://www.e-zinez.com , a terrific resource for anyone putting out an email newsletter. Kate Schultz, who runs the site, even has an automatic newsletter maker that looks better than most top ezines. It's free.
People on the Internet are usually in a hurry, so keep your e-zine short. One or two articles coupled with two or three short ads may be all your e-zine needs. Keep lines short enough to fit into an email browser and put a hard return at the end of each line (to keep them from breaking up when emailed).
For starters, you can send your e-zine out with your favorite email program (a good free one is Eudora Lite--http://www.eudora.com) Later, when your subscriber list grows, you may want to upgrade to a majordomo provided, most likely, by the same company that provides your web site space.
Get subscribers by placing free ads on classified sites, ads in appropriate newsgroups, and announcing your new e-zine to firms that specialize in keeping track of various lists of subscribers. Start with liszt.com and The List of Lists (Listserv@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU). Send a description of your newsletter to email@example.com for inclusion on the "Yoken" list. Be sure to mention your new email newsletter in all your print and broadcast advertising and add a place for people to subscribe on your web site. Your subscriber list can easily grow to include a few thousand within a year. An audience that size will be a continuing source of sales, contacts, and insights.
Consider how to incorporate e-zines into your on-line marketing. Start with consistent e-zine advertising, progress to writing articles (or having them written for you), and on to putting out your own newsletter. It's currently the best marketing tool available for small businesses.
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