By Liz Folger, Work-at-Home Mom Expert
A reader recently wrote me asking the following,
"Dear Liz, How do I get started with an e-newsletter. I have what I feel is a great idea for a newsletter, but am a little unsure of how to get going. What are the pros and cons? .Maybe you could include some other suggestions and things you've learned from doing yours? ~ Thanks again!!!"
Due to the volume of e-mails I get asking me about how to start an e-zine, I thought I'd start the year off talking about how to make this happen and make money from it. I've been sending out some form of e-newsletter for about 3-4 years now. The Bizy Mom newsletter first started out as a chat announcement when I was working for Parent Soup. I started by sending it to my regular chatters to remind them of my chat and what we'd be talking about. I remember when I had 20 subscribers receiving it each week. Over the months I decided I'd throw in a column on the subject of the chat, which always had something to do with being a work-at-home mom. Each week I'd ask new people at the chat if they'd like to get on my mailing list. From that, my mailing list grew to a few hundred subscribers.
Then came bizymoms.com, my web site! My e-mail list announcement slowly turned into a weekly e-zine. Each week it had a column of my work-at-home mom experiences and I very slowly started to get people who paid me money to place an ad in my e-zine. At last count I have over 13,600 subscribers, receiving about 150 new subscribers each week. Just a tad more than when I first started.
I don't see many downsides of sending out an e-zine. The only one I do see -- they take time to put together. The upsides of sending a newsletter via e-mail, has many benefits. The biggest one being, it's so much cheaper than mailing them. Consider those costs: paper, printing, and then there's postage. Thanks to the Internet we can send out our newsletters, basically for free. If you put out a newsletter your target market will enjoy reading -- you creating for yourself a free form of advertising that really works!
In my quest to bring you the best information on how you can and should get an e-zine off the ground, I thought I'd ask other e-zine owners their success tips. They've been kind enough to share their secrets. And to be honest, I even learned a few things.
* "Growing the newsletter has taken a few different steps beyond registering it with newsletter search engines. I have subscription boxes posted on every page as well as a link to an auto responder that describes the newsletter content. Additionally, I've included subscription boxes on every form on site. The subscription boxes on my contest pages are particularly effective." WomanLinks, [email protected]
* "Since its inception we have developed a circle of syndication partners and recently became a content partner with Inc.com. It also continues to promote my book, Bootstrapper's Success Secrets: 151 Tactics for building Your Business on a Shoestring Budget (Career Press). And it continues to spread the gospel on bootstrappin' around the world to those hungry for savvy tactics and real-life strategies, which provides me regular feedback and contact with people to interview and profile for my books and columns." The Bootstrappin' Tip of the Week - http://www.kimberlystansell.com
* "I've asked people to share it with friends and family. I've made it interesting (good content, etc), I've done ad swaps with other like sites, and I've put a subscribe box on every single page of my website." ChildFun News, [email protected] (whose e-newsletter went from 250 subscribers last January, to just over 9,000 this January)
* " I started my second newsletter after trying to think of something I could offer my visitors to the special recipe section I had added to my site. I already had a monthly newsletter but really wanted to promote this new section on it's own. I named it Tea Time Tidbits, set it up at OneList and posted announcements to several work-at-home email lists I was on. I also submitted the newsletter to http://NEW-LIST.com/ where it was announced to their subscribers. Before I knew it, I was getting requests for swapping ads in other newsletters and the response was great! I of course, had spots to subscribe in many places on my website. I learned a valuable lesson in what my visitors really wanted to see from my site, and have been able to focus much better on where I want to take it." Tea Time Tidbits, http://www.seedsofknowledge.com/teatime.htm
* "My tips to others wanting to start an e-zine: 1) Make sure you love it. If you enjoy it, others will, too (and you'll stick with it during those low-subscriber months). 2) Place strategic links. Advertise (preferably with ad swaps) in other Ezines that target a similar audience. Make sure it's in your sig file. Cross-promote with your other business ventures. 3) If it's free, more people will sign on. I started out with a paid e-zine and could barely get a dozen subscribers. When I made it a free e-zine (and reformatted it so it was a little less work for me), the numbers jumped up. Now people pay to ADVERTISE with me. I earn more money in a month with a free e-zine than I ever did when I was charging for subscriptions. Home of The Backyard Fence, a FREE e-zine for parents, http://www.angelfire.com/biz/cbd
* For getting subscribers, "Participate in ad swaps with complimentary sites and newsletters, when running a contest on your site, be sure to give the entrant the option of subscribing to your newsletter, have a page on your site that offers a sample issue for people to view and be sure to include the subscription information here as well.
Your e-zine, "Spell check! Don't send out a newsletter with errors, its unprofessional. Make it readable. So many newsletters are jumbled, crammed with ads and difficult to read. Have a format that is easy to read and easily sets each section apart from the other. Avoid multiple exclamation points and bad punctuation (Imagine submitting this to your English teacher from High School), and skip the table of contents --it just takes up space.
Content is king, be sure to give more content than ads! Make the ads look like reviews. And keep the format consistent. If the titles of the articles are all in capitals, then put the title of the ads in capitals as well. This will keep the ezine format uniform and easier to read." - The Family Corner http://www.thefamilycorner.com/services/lists.shtml
* "I started my newsletter "$mart Money New$" in August of 1999. Almost 6 months later, I have a little over 2,000 subscribers and the number is still growing. The top three reasons I think it has grown so quickly and is successful, I submit articles to other ezines promoting it, I target my advertising to people who would be interested, I provide a high quality and valuable product/service for FREE" $mart Money New$- http://www.creativefinances.com
All e-zines start with just a couple subscribers, but if you have a real passion for the topic of your e-zine, love sharing that passion with others, and listen to the tips you read in this column - you too can have a successful money making e-zine with lots of subscribers!
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money". You can buy the book from Amazon.com by simply clicking on the book title. The book is also available at your favorite bookstore or by calling, 800-632-8676. Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at: http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit don't forget to sign-up for the free e-newsletter that includes work-at-home resources and job opportunities.