Ezines: A Proven Method For Making Money Online
If the value of a mailing list is gold, publishing an ezine would have to fall into the platinum category.
Naturally, you can keep in touch with your mailing list members without an ezine, but why pass up the opportunity to gain their respect and trust on a regular basis.
If you merely contact your list members on a random basis, you risk the possibility that they’ll forget who you are. Or even worse, what your product or business is all about.
With an ezine, you have the perfect opportunity to step into the privacy of their homes on any given day of any given week or month. You decide. And once you do and you arrive at their inbox, you have their undivided attention.
At least, that’s what you’re hoping for. Their undivided attention.
The first thing you have to do, of course, is develop an ezine that your readers will be hungry to devour, from top to bottom.
In all honesty, that’s not an easy task. Especially when you consider how many emails the average viewer receives on a daily basis. Competing with tons of junk mail, carefully drafted solo ads by other marketers, and dozens of ezines that have already been subscribed to can give anyone reason to pause.
In many cases, those types of obstacles have prompted webmasters to not only think twice about having their own ezine but caused them to decide not to publish one at all. Ever.
But when you calculate the enormous benefit of publishing a ezine, it’s something that needs to be taken quite seriously. After all, a good deal of revenue is at stake.
- The more people you can contact on a regular basis, the more income you’ll generate.
- The more information and advice you can provide, the more income you’ll generate.
- The more respect and trust you establish between you and your subscribers, the more income you’ll generate.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is how much time and effort is involved in publishing an ezine. All kidding aside, it’s a lot of work. And you need to be prepared to handle that volume of work before you send out your first issue.
As long as you enter into this decision with your eyes wide open – and with a totally realistic attitude – you can easily manage the burden (or reward, depending on how you look at things) of a scheduled publication.
Unless you have nothing else to do (which is highly unlikely), don’t choose to send your ezine every week. Instead, start with one that goes out every other week or possibly once a month.
That way, you’ll have an opportunity to ease into things, get a feel for what you can do in the time that’s available between issues. Then, if everything goes well and you decide to publish more frequently, you can do so without difficulty.
- What helps the most is having content ready long before your start sending out the ezine.
- That gives you a cache of articles, information, and features that can be quickly and easily inserted.
Or, if you don’t include any features that require current dated information, you can create entire issues ahead of time (say three or four months in advance). You can even stockpile content that relates to different areas of your ezine, like how-to tips, resources, and articles.
If your features do happen to rely on current information – such as reviews of products that have just been released – you can create the majority of the issues ahead of time and then add the final touches just prior to publication.
Either way, it cuts down the amount of pressure you would feel if you had to write everything from scratch within the small time frame that exists from one ezine issue to the next.
As far as the focus of your ezine is concerned, only you can decide.
Depending on what type of business you’re promoting and the customer audience that you’ll be reaching, you could base your content on tips and advice, in depth topic-related information, or simply a “joke of the week” concept.
You can publish in text, HTML, or online format. Or a combination of all three. But regardless of how or when you publish, you need to make certain you follow the most important success factor…
Above all else, your ezine must provide interesting and valuable content.
If not, your readership and financial gain will be minimal, or worse, non-existent. If, on the other hand, you can secure the undivided attention of your subscribers, your ezine (and subsequently your business) will be a resounding success.
Publishing an Ezine
Once you’ve established the name and the frequency of your ezine, you’ll need to decide what type of format you’ll be using. In that respect, you’ve got three primary choices.
Text versus HTML is and probably always will be a controversial subject. To add to the mix, more and more webmasters are publishing their ezines online.
So which version is the best choice? Unfortunately, it’s not as clear cut as simply choosing one over the other.
Text vs. HTML
Although text is probably the safest version you can publish, it’s not necessarily the most popular. Nor is it the most effective.
For the most part, readers seem to prefer HTML versions, both via email and online. And when compared to their text counterpart, more links were clicked and acted upon in the HTML ezine.
In other words, the HTML version prompted more positive response from readers.
From a webmaster’s standpoint, HTML is far superior. Not only can you be more creative with regard to how your ezine is formatted, you have many more options for its design and layout. Much like you would with a print newspaper.
Plus, you get the benefit of being able to brand your particular business. You can even give the ezine the same look and feel as your website.
With text versions, all you can rely on for branding is the name of your ezine and the type of symbols you use to separate and distinguish between segment features.
Last but not least, publishing an HTML ezine means you’ll have the ability to calculate how many members of your list actually open each issue that you send. That’s not something you can do with text versions.
Although using a plain text format is the easiest and least complicated, it produces a somewhat boring presentation.
The best you can do to “dress” it up is to use symbols or special characters. For example…
For emphasis, you can use *asterisks*, “quotes”, or ALL CAPS. Be wary of the last one and use it sparingly. Some spam filters interpret all caps as a sign of junk mail.
In order to maintain a clean look, you need to restrict each and every line to a maximum of 55 to 60 characters. If you exceed that limit, some email programs will chop up the lines, giving your ezines a rather disheveled appearance.
If you don’t limit characters to 60 per line, there’s the possibility your ezine could look something like this when it arrives at its destination.
Some email programs won’t hyperlink a URL address unless it has the http:// prefix. Make certain you include it so your readers can click on any of your links just like they would on a web page.
The same concept applies to email addresses. If you don’t precede them with the mailto: attribute, the reader won’t have access to a live link.
For your subject line, it’s best to simply insert the name of your publication and the current issue information. Something like, “Marketing Software Gazette – Monday September 7, 2016 Issue”.
The first thing your subscriber should see in the body of the email is the name of your ezine, the volume and/or issue number, and the current date. Place all that information at the very top of the ezine. If you wish, you can also include your name, email address, and website URL.
Below that, place a brief statement that lets the reader know why they are receiving email from you. “You are receiving this ezine because you signed up [insert how, when, and where].
At the very bottom of the ezine should be your signature which would generally include your name, your email address, and website URL.
Below your signature, you need to place two things. First, explain how to subscribe to your ezine (in case the ezine has been forwarded to someone who doesn’t happen to be on your mailing list).
Secondly, you need to include clear and precise information about how to unsubscribe from your list. Don’t make them jump through hoops. If they want out, let them do it without difficulty.
And make certain you send a test ezine to yourself. That way you’ll know if everything is correct prior to blasting it out to your entire mailing list.
HTML Email Version
There’s no question an HTML email version is more attractive. But it’s also the most difficult to deal with. At least, from a design perspective.
Here are some tips that should help in that respect…
It’s important that you hand code your HTML ezine. If you use a WYSIWYG type editor, there’s a good chance your recipients won’t be viewing the same clean attractive version that you originally created.
Be aware that every email program handles HTML differently. Keep your design, layout, and coding simple and there shouldn’t be any problem when your ezine arrives at it’s various destinations.
Use HTML tables rather than CSS for layout. This will allow your ezine to be read by older email clients.
When using CSS attributes, make certain you embed it directly into the HTML code rather than link to a remote stylesheet.
For example, between the opening and closing <HEAD> tags…
[insert style attributes]
Here are some additional tips for HTML formatting…
- A single-column layout is best.
- Try not to exceed anything more than the traditional two-column layout.
- Avoid using background images.
- Use the target=“_blank” tag so links will open in a new browser window.
- Use the mailto: attribute so email links are live in all email clients.
Just like the text version, always send a copy of the finished ezine to yourself before letting it go out to your entire subscriber list.
If possible, arrange for friends or associates who are using different email clients to also receive samples. Depending on their feedback, make any necessary changes or corrections.
Once you’ve established an HTML version that passes inspection, simply create a blank template that you can use for any and all future ezine issues.
Aside from archiving back issues of ezines, most webmasters didn’t really think about publishing online versions. At least, not until spam filters began to prevent ezines from reaching their destination.
Currently, online versions have become more of a necessity than a novelty. But rather than choose only the web page publication, most webmaster still send their ezines via email and then send a separate email message with just a link to the online version.
In case the filters kept you from receiving the email version of [insert ezine name], you can access the online version at [insert URL address].
With a safe subject line (like your ezine title and issue date), there’s very little chance that type of message will be zapped by the spam filters. And sending it a day or two after the usual publication date ensures that one way or another every subscriber will have an opportunity to view all your ezine issues.
The overall best choice is to publish both an email and an online version.
Having an online version makes perfect sense, mainly because you’ll be archiving past issues. Since that means you’ll need to create an HTML version at some point, why not create it right from the start.
As far as the email version goes, you still have to decide whether to publish it in text or HTML format. Since both have their own pros and cons, it’s merely a matter of choosing which one better suits your needs and the needs of your subscribers.
Ezine Guidelines and Tips
In this day and age, there’s no such thing as creating a ezine and then expecting to automatically have viewers sign up left and right.
Nowadays, you have to work at getting people to subscribe to your ezine. That’s mainly because there are just so many of them already out there.
You have to “sell” it. And in order to do that properly, you’ll need to create a separate and independent page on your website that is used exclusively to describe and promote your ezine.
The overall content on that page would include things like:
- ezine sign-up form.
- A description of the type of content and information they can expect to receive in every issue.
- The different features you’ll be including such as the editor’s corner, featured article, tips and advice, questions and answers, and product reviews.
- A description of any free sign-up bonuses and how they’ll be delivered once the person signs up.
- When and how often the ezine will be delivered.
- Informing subscribers that they will also be receiving independent solo ads from time to time, in addition to the regular ezine issues.
- Unsubscribe option including where the information is located and how they can remove themselves from your list.
It’s also a good idea to present a brief sales pitch.
Let them know why your particular ezine will be valuable to them. There are so many of them out there, you definitely need to give potential subscribers the proper incentive and motivation to sign up for yours.
Establish a Solid Publishing Date
Set up a regular publishing schedule, one that you can adhere to over an extended period of time. Although some webmasters can easily produce an ezine each and every week, it’s not absolutely necessary in order to gain success.
If you don’t feel comfortable publishing every week – or you just don’t have the time to do so – consider sending out an ezine every other week. Or, at the very least, once a month. Anything beyond that time frame and you’ll lose a good deal of your subscriber base.
Remember… the whole idea behind a ezine is to remain in touch with your subscribers, to keep you and your business fresh in their mind. Let too much time go by from one issue to another and the effectiveness of your contact will be seriously diminished.
Your subscribers will come to expect a certain degree of consistency, with regard to your content and your publication date. Don’t let them down.
Delivering a Bonus
If you offer new subscribers a bonus for signing up, don’t make them perform a ridiculous series of actions just to get it. And don’t make them wait an extended period of time before handing over that bonus.
Most likely, you’ll be using a double opt-in system. That means you’ll be asking your subscriber to confirm their sign-up by clicking on a link in a confirmation email that is automatically sent when the form is submitted.
Once they confirm, there are two good choices for how they should receive their sign-up bonus.
- Have the download information included on whatever web page you send them to after they click on the link in the confirmation email.
- Have another email message automatically sent to their address which includes the download information.
The point is, everything about their initial sign-up and receiving their bonus should be handled automatically. If any of these tasks need to be performed manually, you’re wasting valuable time and energy.
Show Them Who You Are
It’s important to let your subscribers get to know you. Not just in a business sense, but on a personal level as well.
The more human you appear, the more easily you can establish a relationship of trust and respect. That can be accomplished by simply writing all your ezines in an informal and conversational manner.
The best method of conveying who you are, though, is to include a casual and personal note at the beginning of every issue. Some call it the editor’s note or letter from the editor, others don’t bother to give the segment any title whatsoever.
Either way, it’s simply a matter of getting the ezine issue started in a way that’s similar to writing a letter to a friend…
What a great week this has been. So many exciting things have happened, I don’t really know where to begin. I guess the beginning would be as good a place as any. 🙂
On Sunday, Suzy gave birth to four very healthy Beagle pups. Three girls and a boy. And wouldn’t you know it, she waited until four o’clock in the morning to do it. Both mom and the babies are doing just fine!
Now on to business…
Remember that software “genius” I told you about a couple of weeks ago? After some serious arm twisting, he finally agreed to let me offer a special subscriber only deal for his latest software product. You’ve find all the juicy details below.
The more natural your writing style, the more comfortable your subscribers will feel.
Just don’t overdo the personal aspect. You want them to see you as a real person, but you always need to retain your status as a professional in your field of expertise.
The bottom line is, be yourself. Your subscribers will not only recognize your sincerity, but they’ll reward you for it by making purchases based on your recommendations.
Always keep in mind…
People are much more likely to purchase from a friend than a virtual stranger. It’s your job to convince them that you fall into the former category.
Maintain a Comfortable Balance Between Info and Sales
Many a mailing list has gone down in flames simply because the owner chose to abuse it by sending out way too many solo ads.
Naturally, the ultimate goal of having a list (or, in this case, sending out an ezine), is to generate revenue. But the primary focus should be on developing a solid and ongoing relationship with the people who are on the list.
Without that, you have little or no chance of realizing financial gains.
Yes, there will be occasions when you send out a separate mailing that’s associated with a particular product you’re promoting. But if you bombard your subscribers with ad after ad after ad, your credibility will plummet to the point that your list will be virtually useless.
Your first objective should be to provide valuable information. Woven throughout – in a much less in-your-face manner – should be your promotional messages.
Let’s say you’ve written an article that explains several proven and effective methods of increasing Google AdWords revenue. Within the article, you include mention of Ad Word Analyzer, a valuable resource that will help accomplish that goal.
In fact, it’s always a good idea to choose topics (both for articles and general content) that can be associated with a specific product. It can be your own product or one that you’re promoting as an affiliate.
Either way, you get to kill two birds with one stone. You provide valuable content while at the same time using that opportunity to make a subtle, yet extremely effective, sales pitch.
Of course, once you’ve established a solid and trustworthy relationship with your subscribers, they’ll be much more receptive to any solo ads you send their way (separate and independent of your regular ezine issues).
You just need to keep the number of solo ads to a minimum. That way, your subscribers will be much more likely to take any and all of your recommendations seriously. In other words, they’ll trust you.
First and foremost, it’s important that any and all content within your ezine is either directly or indirectly related to your business or business theme. For example, topics like search engine optimization, online marketing and promotion, publishing e-books, health and fitness, or any other niche area.
What you need to supply is information that’s targeted toward your subscriber audience. That way, you maximize your overall ability to make sales and therefore generate more revenue. You concentrate on a particular area of interest and then promote products that are associated with that area of interest.
The content you provide should exist on a highly professional level. Although it will most often be written in a casual and somewhat conversational manner, it should still be clean and error free with regard to spelling and grammar.
And make certain – whatever subject you’ve written about – that the facts are correct. If you’ve not sure about something (for example, a certain statistic), look it up. If you can’t verify something, it’s much better to leave that information out rather than guess or assume what it should be.
Another good practice is to make certain you provide a fairly large volume of new and unique content. This can be something you’ve written or something supplied by a “guest” writer.
What you don’t want is to simply publish articles that countless other ezine and website owners are using. It’s fine once in a while, especially if there’s a great deal of valuable information supplied.
Just don’t make a habit of relying on what’s commonly referred to as reprint right articles. That works great for web page content. But your ezine needs to be something special, something different.
Accomplishing that task includes the following options…
- Quality articles (and content) that haven’t already been widely distributed throughout the internet.
- Original ezine segments such as an editor’s corner, questions and answers, weekly tips and advice, recommended resources, and product reviews.
- A fresh and unique writing approach that comes from you personally and is therefore something that only you can provide.
The more value your ezine possesses, the more likely your subscription base will remain solid, both in terms of current members and those names and email addresses you gain from future sign-ups.
Writing your own articles is and always will be one of the best content solutions. Not only does it provide new and interesting information, it helps brand you as an expert in whatever niche or subject area you’re working with.
Plus, you have the benefit of using your articles to direct targeted traffic to your website, promote your ezine, and to capture additional subscribers.
Articles can be submitted to other ezines and offered as free content for website owners. Most importantly, they can be used to generate income by promoting products that are directly associated with the article subject matter.
To get the most benefit from your articles, include a highly effective resource box. That would include a link that leads to your website, your ezine, your ezine sign-up form, or a combination of these choices.
Keep in mind, however, that the two most important links will be your website and the page that gives the viewer all the necessary information about your ezine.
Also, you’ll want to make it clear that your articles are free to publish as long as the resource box remains intact. You can include that information above or below the article, just so it’s clearly visible to anyone who might be interested in publishing your content in their own ezine or web pages.
When it comes to promoting your articles, you’ll want to submit to as many online directories and announcement services as possible.
Other Good Content Ideas
Aside from articles, you can include a variety of other content within your ezine.
- Include tips and advice that’s related to the products and niche market that you’re involved with.
- Write product reviews. You could select a new product each issue and then, if you already know beforehand, announce what product will be reviewed in the following ezine issue.
- Conduct customer surveys and then turn the results into descriptive paragraphs of information.
- Write how-to instructions about individual products or practices. For example, how to set up an autoresponder system or how to create a money-making blog.
- Conduct interviews with other webmasters or marketers and then publish the conversation in your ezine. If it’s a rather long interview, you can publish part of it and then link to a web page that contains the whole interview.
- Provide resources that would be relevant and valuable to your subscribers and then write brief descriptions and reviews of each resource. Include your own affiliate link whenever possible.
- Include a “guest” article. The best option would be to publish new articles rather than those which are found in online directories and are somewhat dated or already being published in other ezines.
- Include a syndicated column that carries content which is relevant to your particular niche.
- Develop a question and answer feature whereby subscribers ask for information or problem solving techniques. Whatever question is asked, be thorough in providing an answer. The more helpful your information, the more anxious your subscribers will be to read that feature each and every issue.
- Pick a timely or important topic and ask your readers one or more specific questions about that topic. Then publish the best responses you receive.
Reaching Your Destination
One of the biggest challenges facing anyone who sends their ezine by email is making certain the publication does in fact reach its destination. In this case, that would equate to your individual subscribers.
Although there are numerous reasons a ezine might not get to the intended recipient (full mail boxes, servers being down, incorrect email addresses), spam filters are most often at the very top of the list.
When a subscriber signs up, it’s important that you tell them to add your email address to what is referred to as their whitelist. This is the method by which a viewer can manually override any filter or block that happens to be in place.
In most instances, these blocks are geared toward preventing the arrival of junk mail, otherwise known as spam. They are also generally put into motion automatically by the email system or program.
In order to bypass this type of preventive measure, a viewer can simply add individual email addresses to their whitelist. That way, any and all messages from that sender will arrive without difficulty or interruption.
To make certain each subscriber does this, include a notification to either the final confirmation sign-up email or the web page they’re taken to after confirming their desire to receive your ezine.
Here’s an example of this type of notification…
- When you receive the ezine, you’ll see [insert name or email address] in the “From” field of your email message.
- If you’re using a spam filter, or suspect one might be in place, please add that information to your whitelist. That way you’ll be sure to receive each and every ezine issue.
Naturally, you can give them as much information or instructions as you like. Just make certain you include any and all names and email addresses that might appear during your correspondence with them.
Checking For Spam
Even though you’ve asked subscribers to add your name and email address to their whitelist, there’s no guarantee they’ll do it. For one thing, they might get distracted and simply forget. Or, they might not be familiar with how to access or alter their whitelist.
Regardless, it’s your job to do everything in your power to see that spam filters don’t prevent your ezines from reaching their destination.
Here are several things you can do…
Your first and most productive line of defense would be to use a simple utility called Mail Tester at https://www.mail-tester.com.
Once you’ve completed your ezine, send it through this utility. It will analyze your content and then return an evaluation and score. This in turn will let you know the probability of whether or not your ezine will be zapped by spam filter programs.
You’ll then receive a score as well as any recommendations for how you can improve that score. That’s assuming your ezines doesn’t pass with flying colors the first time around.
Another method you can use to prevent your ezine from being blocked by spam filters is to publish an online version. This can be in addition to your email version or as an alternative.
If it’s an alternative, all you need to do is send an email to your subscribers giving them the URL address to the web page where the current ezine is located.
This week’s issue of [name of ezine] has been posted at [URL address].
You could also list what features or articles they’ll find in that particular issue.
And here are some other things you can do to fight back against spam filters.
- Don’t use all caps.
- Use the word ezine in your subject line.
- Don’t use the words “to unsubscribe”. These are commonly associated with junk mail. Instead, you can say things like “if you no longer wish to receive” or “to take yourself off this list”.
- If there are “spam” words that you just can’t avoid, use symbols such as carets to disguise them. For example, the word free would be displayed as fr^e, the word spam would be displayed as sp^m.
Of all the methods suggested, the only one that is foolproof is publishing your ezine online. The only problem is, not all subscribers want to call up a browser window. And certainly not right away.
Most often, they prefer to skim through the entire publication first. Then, if something really catches their eye or seems worthy enough, they’ll be more inclined to head over to the web page.
So, there you have it. Ezine marketing is a simple, yet proven method for making money online.
Countless Internet marketers have mailing lists and never send out anything of value to their subscribers.
Don’t let that be you!
Use the power of the ezines to stand out from the rest of the crowd and catapult you and your business to much greater success.
Sure this takes a little time and effort to do, but the ultimate payoff is well worth your minimal investment.
This can finally give you the extra money you need or even enable you to build a wildly successful Internet business.
The sky truly is the limit here.
So, take action now!