There is an old saying that goes: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
It is your business; Nobody cares about it as much as you do. So what are you going to do about it? One answer is “Promote my services with an E-zine.”
Starting an E-zine can be a large undertaking. You can work hard to find contributors and advertisers if you want to go that route, but it definitely is NOT necessary. An E-zine is a newsletter, and a newsletter is a letter with news in it. Do you know how to write a letter? Do you keep up with the industry news? Bingo! You already have what it takes.
If you follow a few tips, putting together a great looking E-zine is not that hard to do. Before you begin, remember you are sharing information worth hearing about. Leave the fluff to your competitors.
Here are some tips:
* Start simple. Before you begin putting everything together, come up with a master plan so you can make sure everything is visually appealing. For example grouping together content, and making sure there is a good balance of pictures, bullets and regular written content. Before adding any words or pictures, try adding random words and graphics to see what the E-zine looks like as a whole, and that it makes sense. If you’re having trouble, you may want to consider hiring someone to come up with the design for you.
* Be consistent. It’s important to decide on a format and stick with it. Sure, you can update your layout and style every so often, but if you do it all the time people aren’t going to be able to find the information they’re looking for. You also want to be fairly consistent within your layout. This means using similar fonts, colors, and graphics throughout. To see what I am talking about, go to www.travelresearchonline.com and see what consistency looks like.
* Don’t rely on pretty graphics. A great format and beautiful graphics are a great way to add to the appeal of your E-zine, but they can’t be the only thing. Many programs automatically disable pictures and the user has to opt to have them included… and many people don’t bother. That means your emails should have a readable and informative layout, even with graphics disabled. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a huge amount of readers who don’t want to deal with downloading all the extras.
* Remember the opt-out. Every good E-zine has an opt-out option that’s easy to find and use. Sure, you’d rather they stick around, but you don’t want people to become frustrated with the difficulty of opting out that they report you as sending junk or spam email. The opt-out is also a great opportunity to add a short survey and collect data on why they no longer want to hear from you.
* Back up your presentation. You may have the best looking, well-organized e-zine in the world, but if it’s not supported with quality content and products, it’s not going to be successful. Do your due diligence and go to great pains to find out what kind of content “floats your client’s boat.” Then fact check.
While these few tips will get you started, you’ll probably have to make a few adjustments once you’ve put out your first few issues. If you can, try to include a survey to see how people like it and start making your adjustments from there.
I know your next question. How often? The answer to that is simple. Send your E-zine whenever you have something worthwhile to share with your audience. No more, and no less. Remember, when you are out of sight you are out of mind, so work hard at finding some good news to share.
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