Re-evaluating The Purpose Of An E-Zine
With all of the push these days to publish an E-Zine as an online marketer, deciding whether to accept articles and paid advertising is becoming nothing more than a quick second thought. As E-Zines are increasingly turning into mere tools to generating sales, people are turning more to pre-written content. Are E- Zines loosing their aire of freshness as an outlet for true discussion?
I personally subscribe to numerous E-Zines just to see what others are writing about. Most simply circulate the same articles written by a chosen few without writing any original content themselves. Coming up with clean fresh ideas truly takes work, but don't you owe it to your subscribers?
Times are busy and life is rushing by. People simply do not have the time to sit and read every article, commentary, or advertisement that passes their eyes. As the commercial marketplace becomes increasingly saturated with hype after hype, people are developing a keen sense about worthwhile
I like to think of my weekly E-Zine issue as a get together with your closest friends over coffee, wine, a beer, or whatever they wish to entertain. Would you repeat the identical conversation week after week?
When just starting out with your E-Zine, your relationship with your subscribers is analogous to a first date. It is the same for authors who publish in other E-Zines or for inclusion of outside ads in your publication. Subscribers just don't know anything about you.
Why not build a relationship with your subscribers? They came to you wanting information. Don't simply give them "cut and paste". Give them you. Add freshness. Add your insight. Your humor. Your perspective. If you honestly talk to them they will listen. Your friends would. Wouldn't they?
I don't pretend for one minute that building this relationship will be easy, only fruitful. There are a few guidelines that will maximize the strength of our subcriber relationship.
After you take time to put yourself into your E-Zine, then decide if you want to let anyone else in. Don't be tempted by the quickness of using someone else's content and profits from paid advertising. Develop first a high content electronic publication. Self satisfaction, praise, and the esteem of others will result.
About The Author
Dan J. Fry is an independent researcher and owner of e-Kinetic.com, a site devoted to providing resources for small budget home businesses. He has a PhD in Physics, two daughters and two cats. Subscribe to his free E-Zine on home business resources at e-kinetic@GetResponse.com or by visiting his Home Based Business site.
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Using newsletters for business development improves your sales and marketing efficiency because they: Improve your prospecting by being more focused and personal than a newspaper ad; Generate referrals Ask your clients if there's anyone they can suggest who would appreciate receiving your newsletter, as it's much easier for someone to suggest an addition to your newsletter mailing list than to flat out give you a name to call; Build walls around present clients A newsletter keeps competitors away by repeatedly reminding your clients of your continued interest in them;Recover lost clients Many lost clients would like to revive their relationship with you, but don't know how, so add a personal note to a newsletter, and mail it to them; Enhance other practice-building techniques For example, when contacting a client you might mention something from a past issue that's applicable to his situation, and in seminars, speeches and client meetings, use appropriate issues of your newsletter as handouts or to explain certain points.Think of your client newsletter as an education tool, as well. It's a place to explain to your clients what they should know about your area of expertise, and how it relates to their situation. Look around at what other advisors are doing, and see what you think will work best for you and your clients. A little help from your friends When deciding on the type of content you are going to use in your newsletter, keep in mind that you don't even have to write it yourself. The internet is a vast source of all kinds of free content (e.g. EzineArticles.com) that you can cut and paste into your newsletter. Which format? Convinced of the power of this tool yet? Good. The next question is which type to use: a paper version to be mailed out to your clients by regular post or an electronic version to be e-mailed. If you decide on a paper-based newsletter, you may wish to also consider an e-mail version. Why? For starters, it's cheaper. Paper will cost you at least a dollar for each copy you have printed, folded, stuffed, stamped and mailed. But faxing or e-mailing as many as a thousand copies will cost you practically zilch (word of warning: I would suggest foregoing faxing altogether, as many people on the receiving end resent having their own paper wasted or their phone line tied up). An e-mail version is immediate and "in your face", whereas "snail mail" can take longer to cross the city than the ocean. As most of the benefits of a paper newsletter apply to an electronic one, why bother with a paper version at all? More people have postal addresses than e-mail addresses. A lot of your prospects and clients may not have fax or e-mail access or might just prefer a paper version. So go for both, but ease into your electronic version. Take a few months to get your routine established for consistent quality and delivery of your paper version before worrying about creating your electronic version. Bringing it to life When starting with your paper-based newsletter, keep it simple. When sending a monthly newsletter, I have always found one page to be enough - anything longer could end up in a pending file to be read later, maybe. Some advisors I know who send out a quarterly newsletter might put three or four pages together. Whatever your choice of length and number of issues per year is, start by sending your newsletter to your existing client list only. Include a cover letter with your first issue to announce what you're doing, why you're doing it and what to expect (i.e., no sales pitches!). Include phrases such as "let me know what you think of it," and a note to let your clients know they can be taken off the mailing list if they don't wish to receive future issues. Once your clients begin to receive it regularly (and you get up to speed on producing it), ask them if there is anyone else they know who would benefit from receiving your newsletter. The aim is to develop a relationship so recipients feel they know you as an expert in your field before you actually meet them. One important point to remember is to create a newsletter you can easily adapt to an electronic version. Then ask your paper-based subscribers if they'd prefer to have it e-mailed. Some may want both versions, which is great. They may want the paper version to take home, to file for future reference or even pass on to someone else.Always be consistent It's important that you establish a regular routine. Your delivery and quality of content can't be hit-and-miss, skipping some months because you were too busy or forgot about it. Your newsletter is a projection of you, so commit to getting it out on the same day every month (or three months, or whatever your timeframe may be), no matter what. If you don't do that, you'll just alienate your clients with your unreliable efforts. 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