If you do start your own e-zine, you should spend sufficient time planning and testing before you publish to ensure that you do it right. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and you want your readers to subscribe and tell others about the great e-zine they found. You want them to be excited to read your e-zine every time it is delivered to their email box. The following tips will help you in your email-based e-zine planning and preparation:
- Provide great content. This goes without saying. If you have content that people want to read, they will remain subscribers. Don’t think that shameless self-promotion is great content; your target audience certainly won’t. As a rough guide, make sure your e-zine is 80 percent rich content and no more than 20 percent promotion and ads. Your e-zine should be full of what your target market considers useful information.
- Consider the length of your e-zine. You want your e-zine to be read relatively soon after it has been delivered. You do not want it consistently put aside for later because it is always too long to read quickly. In this case, less is more. Subscribers should be able to read your e-zine in five minutes or less. If you do have a lengthy article, you might give a synopsis in the e-zine with a hyperlink to more detail on your Web site.
- Limit your content to four or five dynamite articles for an email-based e-zine. Provide a brief table of contents at the beginning of the e-zine. Keep the copy short and to the point.
- Encourage your readers to send a copy to others they feel might be interested in your great content. Make sure you provide subscribing instructions as well for those who receive these forwarded copies. You should also provide instructions on how to opt out, or unsubscribe.
- Make sure you run your e-zine through a current spam checker to ensure that your e-zine will not be seen as spam by the spam filters.
- Have an unsubscribe button at the bottom of every email, enabling anyone in your database to opt out.
As word about your e-zine spreads, a large community of people who fit your target market will be reading it.
Once you have your own e-zine, you’ll have to:
- Promote it to your target market through your social media accounts— tweets in Twitter, posts to your Facebook page; and also through the traditional methods—your private mail lists, your Web site, and your email signature file.
- Provide an opportunity for subscribers to let others know. In your online e-zine, have a form that allows subscribers to email a copy of the e-zine to their friends and colleagues. Use a call-to-action statement such as “Do you know someone who might be interested in this e-zine? Click here to send them a copy.” This is a great way to pick up additional subscribers because some of the nonsubscribers who read your e-zine might then become subscribers if your content is interesting to them.
- Make it easy for people to subscribe to your e-zine. Provide clear subscription instructions in each email version of your e-zine and on the online version. Have a form handy on your site to collect email addresses from people who wish to subscribe. Always ask for the first name so that you can personalize your e-zine.
- Provide an archive of past issues on your Web site so that visitors can sample your wares before subscribing. Make sure you provide an option for visitors to subscribe from that page as well.
- Don’t provide your list of subscribers to anyone. This protects your subscribers’ privacy and keeps your list spam-free. People will not be happy if they start receiving spam as a result of your e-zine.