The Four Methods of List Maintenance
E-zine Or Newsletter: The e-zine, or newsletter, is a list of people that you gather, and send information related to your target market on a weekly, bi-weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. The idea is the useful content that you send them will have them want to keep reading and open your mail each time, keeping your response rates and read rates high.
Ok so here we have it. The staple of most online marketers before they hit is big, and sometimes even after, the well-known e-zine list. I’m sure you’ll already know from reading the intro here that this method in itself can actually become a lot of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of work, obviously, seeing as I’m sitting here writing a half million word report spread over 15 manuals, but when it gets to a particular point, it may not be prudent for you to run an e-zine anymore. This however is a good place to start if you have the time.
Expect to have to present an issue of your e-zine every week or two weeks and avoid leaving long, long gaps in between mailings, otherwise, quite simply people will forget you. This is a great place to start if you’re starting out, for the simple reason people like free info, and it’s so much easier to get people to subscribe to this type of list compared to others, even when there’s freebies involved. Of course, you will have to know a lot about your field of expertise to present regular useful issues, or even pull in outside articles from publishers to use as content.
The catch is you’ll have to be on top of things, and it does take some time to come up with good content for issues. The up side to this is people will be waiting for your e-zine. If it’s good and keeps people reading content wise, it’s a surefire way to keep response rates up and to make a connection with your subscribers, the personal touch, which in turn will add up to trust and a higher purchase rate for your own products.
The next upside to this is that you can sell ads for cash. To whom? To your subscribers of course. It’s an instant quick way to earn cash, by selling large solo ads that go out separately from the e-zine, to smaller ads that precede each issue, and even cheaper, mid and smaller ads contained within the issue. It’s a good all rounder in fact. The downside here is many e-zines turn into ad lists (Category 4, which we’ll talk about later). When the ads massively outnumber the useful content, subscribers start to feel cheated and leave. I’ve been there before, and if you’ve tested out or subscribed to some e-zines before you may have seen this.
Another great thing here is prospects. Your e-zine is attracting people who are in your field of expertise and may have lists of their own. This in turn increases your prospects for joint ventures, meeting new contacts that can sometimes spiral into full blown products (This course for example is a product of such a case).
Another great thing about the newsletter and e-zine is it can be quite personal. As the readers and subscribers get used to you as a publisher, and you become white listed (In their spam filers and in their minds) you’ll see a greater interest in your products, because after all, you’re not just another marketer out there spouting rubbish to everyone to make a quick buck. You’re a trusted publisher in an authorititative role, and people will listen to you, and buy your stuff. This takes time though. Don’t expect to become well know to all your subscribers overnight.
Unsubscription Rate: **** Many e-zines have become successful because of their great response rates and low unsubscription rates due to good content. A small lapse though and this can all go pear shaped, especially when it starts to turn into an ad list and subscribers trust is broken.
Subscription Rate: **** A higher than average subscription rate is good news. Reasons for this include people liking to get useful content for free. Once you’ve proven to them that this is the case, it’s not unlikely they’ll tell their friends. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. With so many dud e-zines out there that are just ad lists, it can be hard to persuade people that your list is quality. Use example issues, or a website of back issues to combat this and prove you are what you say you are.
Ad income: ***** Excellent and steady ad income from your subscriber base. Compared to other lists that don’t even sell ads, this is a great way to bring in the few extra thousand dollars per month. Be careful not to over do this though, as subscribers may start deleting mail from you on the basis they think it’s an ad rather than anything useful.
JV Circle: ** Only two stars here for a few reasons. The main one being if you’re already selling ads, it’s quite likely that your joint ventures or any ad swaps you may do with other marketers may reflect the cost at which you sell your ads. Personal non public lists are far more desirable in general, and are much more valuable when put on the bargaining table. There is, however, an income to be had here through joint venture affiliate promotion, a free ad for a percentage of the profits. If your list is particularly good though, and your ad cost low enough, the promoter may instead opt just to buy the ad themselves and bypass the need to pay you a percentage of each sale.
Response Rate Over Time: *** Response rate over time is again higher than average. Of course this stat varies a lot depending on if your subscribers are actually interested in what you’re sending them or not. If not you may see your response rates dwindle. Another danger here is the use of freebies. Get a list of non spenders and freebie seekers, send too many special offers, and they’ll come to expect it, which will also have an effect on your profits. This also applies to outside ads that people may have no interest in that you may be selling. This can only be bad for your subscriber base.
General usefulness: *** Very handy to get that all important information from your subscribers. Many have asked why their subscribers never write to them. I tell them that they need to ask them to write to them about something that affects them, and they will. Again, third party ads can be a distraction, but all in all, if your content is good and people are reading, this is prime research material, albeit not quite as personal as some of the other list types, which can bring in a lower response.
Maintenance Time: * One star. Ouch. You want people to keep reading your e-zine? Well you have to make sure they stay interested, balance the amount of adverts with the amount of content, write articles or organize consent from third parties. If you’re a writer and enjoy this, great, go for it. But many of us just don’t have the time to write a full fledged e-zine every week, because we’re busy with other products and projects. It’s hard work alright, but if you don’t believe there’s anything more productive that you can be doing, or enjoy writing and editing your e-zine, keep at it. The results and income both from your own ads, and paid ads is worth it in the long and short term.
Summary: A great place to start if you have no list at all right now. The ease of pulling subscribers when you’re giving them good content beats any other type of list out there. If you don’t mind high maintenance and putting a lot of time into this, the e-zine or newsletter may just be for you. If however you’re short on time, or don’t enjoy writing articles particularly, the other lists may be more up your street. The results, however, from running this type of list are plain to see and are very encouraging. Just be careful how you balance out ads and content. And hey, if things get too much in the future, you can always slowly evolve the e-zine into one of the other list types, which is how many marketers start out. It is hard work, but a great little earner, and an investment for the future.