It seems like everyone and his dog is publishing an ezine these
days...and from what I've seen, the dog's may be better than most.
So why -- if there are so many ezines out there -- do you need to
publish one? The answer is simple: If you have a website where you are selling goods and/or services you need to establish an opt in list of visitors to your site.
The majority of people who visit your site won't buy from you the
first time, but by offering them a chance to sign up for your
ezine you get a chance to extend your communication with them,
establish a "relationship," and possibly turn them into a customer
sometime down the road.
Right about now you're scratching your head saying to yourself
"but I don't know the first thing about publishing a newsletter;
where do I start?" That's where I come in. I'm going to lead you
down the primrose path and show you exactly what you need to
do and just how to do it.
Step #1) The first step is to decide on a title for your new
ezine. You may want to incorporate your business name into it
or choose something related to its theme. For example, if your
company name was "Bob's Automotive" you may choose something
like "Bob's Automotive Press". Speaking of themes, your ezine's
theme needs to relate to your site. If your site is a pet supply
store then your ezine should be on animal care and tips, or training.
If your site sells your services as an online marketing consultant, your ezine
should center on teaching people how to market and promote their
Step #2) So now you have an ezine name and you know what the
theme is, you need to decide where your newsletter will live.
This is often referred to as list management and your best bet
is to source it out or check with your web host and see if
they supply this service as part of your account. Don't think
for a minute you can manage an ezine with just your email
program. A list can grow to a substantial size and you need
to prepare in advance for this from the very beginning.
If you're trying to save money, I'd highly recommend you sign
up with one of the many free list host services that are
available. They work great, and make it easy for people
to subscribe and unsubscribe at will. The only trade off
to using a free service
is the advertising they will place at the very top of
your ezine for the privilege of your free account. But
remember, they are hosting your list for free so they've
got to get something in return, too.
Here are some list hosts you may want to try:
Yahoo Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com
My personal favorite and the one I use for managing all
three of my ezines. I've been with them since the old days
when they were called Egroups (before Yahoo bought them
out). The service works great and is free
in exchange for a banner ad they place at the top of
each issue. You can also have the ad
removed for a nominal fee. Make
sure you set your list up as "moderated." This keeps outsiders
from posting to your list, which is something you'd only
want if you were setting it up for two-way discussion.
Cool List http://www.CoolList.com
Another free mailing service similar in functionality to
Yahoo Groups mentioned above.
Another online leader when it comes to list hosting,
it is free to set up. Easy step by step instructions and
they have excellent customer service.
Group Mail Software: http://www.Infacta.com/
If you are daring enough to want to
download some free software to manage your list you
won't find anything better than Group Mail. It's an
excellent tool for handling and mailing to large groups
of people. There are also some free handy plug ins you
can download that will increase its versatility.
OK, so now that you have an ezine name, a theme and a place
for your list to live, what's next? Getting subscribers;
you need to make sure you add a subscriber sign up box
on every page of your site to encourage sign ups. Some
people resort to adding a pop up box, but I wouldn't as
most people say they find them very annoying. If
you do decide to go the pop up route, create one
that only pops up when the visitor exits your site.
As far as how often you should publish, you want to shoot
for two to four weeks. If you go longer than one month
between issues, your subscribers
will forget who you are and if you publish weekly it may
become overkill. But whatever you do, pick a publishing
schedule and stick with
it. Consistency is key. If you say your ezine will be
published on the 7th and 23rd, then you need to do your
best to get your ezine out on those promised dates.
In Part 2 of this article we'll discuss formatting your
ezine, tools that will help you, growing your subscriber
base, and where to find free content. For some more help
you may want to download this free e-book
"Ezines: A Complete Guide to Publishing" from
"Website and Ezine Promotion Made Easy" which can be
found at http://www.linkcounter.com
Publishing an ezine is an essential step in any online
marketing campaign. By following the simple directions
I've outlined above you'll be well on your way to
building your very own opt in list -- and that my friend,
is worth its weight in gold.
Merle has been "working" the Net for over
8 years and has a Special Gift just for you.
Download my FREE E-book "50 Easy Ways to
Promote Your Website". Get your copy now at
You have permission to publish this article
electronically or in print, free of charge,
as long as the bylines are included.