What is an Ezine?
An Ezine (let’s just call it that, here; there are lots of names!) is a newsletter that is delivered via email that your customers can subscribe or “opt-in” to.
The feedback we’ve had over the years, and experience ourselves, is that Ezine marketing works consistently well. One element of good business is maximizing your return for effort employed. After all, entrepreneurship is essentially about using and deploying resources for return. For the amount of time you put in to run an online list (relatively little), the return is well worth it.
But, remember: online users will unsubscribe from many lists lately because of lack of quality. You need to be creating quality. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and don’t cut corners. Why would you stay subscribed if you just get bombarded with offer after offer and get no benefit?
If you aren’t producing quality content, then subscribers to your list, no matter what topic you are covering, are going to start unsubscribing in droves. It is now more important than ever to start building a real relationship with your subscriber list and nurturing it by offering serious value.
The people who grasp this concept are going to be the ones making a lot of money with email marketing in the future. And they’ll be the ones who enjoy what they do, too. So far, people have gotten away with low or “no” content, but that is changing. Time are changing (at last).
You need to make your Ezine a worthwhile read for people to want to read it. If you do that, success is likely to follow.
If you have your own product already, then start an Ezine in that market to help promote your product and future products.
If you do not have a market to publish in yet, don’t worry, you don’t need a product to start an Ezine. However, what you do with that Ezine, and what its goals are, must be fully scoped: do you intend to use it to build and drive readership and sell advertising? If so, plan it. See our post on building your website for advice on scoping and mind-mapping.
It’s a question for debate and planning what your scheduling plan looks like, but from experience in this area we’d suggest you send out an Ezine with a 3-5 page article of good information about once or twice per month at the least with once per week being the most. This may or may not compliment a more regular update (perhaps a mailing list run through FeedBurner or a blog update). Obviously, Twitter’s an amazing tool in this area, too.
That is all you need to send. When heavily involved in building a list and marketing to it, the ‘formula’ can be to send out one week with a 3-5 page article, and the next week was a solo advertisement for something you want to promote. Then, the week after, you may decide to send another 3-5 page article on something your subscribers wanted to know about, developing their interest and adding real value.
You can alternate successfully between content and advertising, should you wish. Like in most businesses, customers will not balk at advertising as long as the associated content is informative. Remember your brand and don’t damage it.
If you’re going to get into this area of marketing, focus on a content driven Ezine that can help build your business and be a reliable source of benefit for you.
There are various different types of formats that you can use when publishing your Ezine. Focusing on three:
• Put the entire Ezine in an email. This can work well, particularly when people nowadays often read email on mobile devices (Blackberry, etc).
You can put the introduction, marketing/advertising content and article content all in one well-crafted email and send it out to your subscribers.
This is probably the ‘easiest’ way to approach this for newcomers.
We’d advise always sending your email as text and not an HTML page as those can still cause problems with some email readers. But you can give subscribers a choice, obviously.
• Another popular option is to put your article in a PDF downloadable file and then send an email to your list telling them where they can download the file.
This has the added benefit of people being able to save it to their computer and view it later (more views means more people will click on the links in your Ezine which means more traffic for you).
This also has an added benefit of a viral effect. You can put at the bottom (or top if you really want to stress it) of your Ezine that they can pass the PDF file to their friends or make it downloadable on their web site or blog.
This can help introduce your Ezine to people who are not yet subscribed to it. And of course, if your content is good and they like your Ezine, they can subscribe.
A PDF file format is certainly a decent option if you like the ideas above, and you can create PDF file for free with something like PrimoPDF.
• You can use an HTML page where you put your Ezine issue on your website as a regular HTML page, then email your subscribers and give them the link to the latest issue.
This has the same benefit as the PDF file where people can refer their friends, or link to it from their own web site or blog which can generate more subscribers for you.
Plus, it has an additional benefit of being able to use HTML in your Ezine if you wanted to do more interactive content like pictures, flash animations or even video.
If you can add these to your free Ezine to explain your articles/ideas, it will enhance the experience for readers and should attract subscribers. People are drawn to entertaining videos (just look at YouTube’s phenomenal success) so adding these to your free Ezine could certainly help its success.
See Part 2, which will follow soon, about structure, building a relationship with your users and quality of content. Bye for now.