During the free e-zine publishing teleclasses I offer every month, I always get a few people who say to me, "You know, publishing an e-zine sounds great, but I just don't think I have the time to do it on an ongoing basis." Or, "I'm not sure if I'll have enough content to publish an e-zine."
If this is your case, you may want to consider one of these e-zine alternatives. These can still help you achieve your goal of establishing credibility, staying in touch with your prospects, and capturing your Web site visitors.
For the first two alternatives, you'll need an e-mail autoresponder. This is like a fax-on-demand system that sends out e-mails automatically when others request them.
The great thing about autoresponders is that you can preset the timing of a series ahead of time. For example, you can schedule message 1 to go out immediately once a person signs up for the list. Message 2 could follow two weeks later. Message 3 would follow two weeks after that. Get the idea?
ALTERNATIVE 1: THE "EVERGREEN" NEWSLETTER
If you don't foresee yourself writing fresh new content every week or month that you publish, why not make your newsletter "evergreen?"
This means that you write all your content ahead of time, and none of it can be time-sensitive. That is, it should be just as relevant today as it would be a year from now.
Evergreen e-zines are brilliant and easy to do. Here's how it works: Suppose you want to publish a short tip every two weeks. That means you'd have to write 26 issues for a year. Once you had this content written, you'd just set up the messages on your autoresponder and tell it when you want them sent out. (For this example, it would be day 1, day 14, day 28, etc. - each reader would get a message every two weeks.)
Internet marketing expert James Maduk does this. He offers an evergreen e-zine called "52 Secrets My Mom Never Told Me About Internet Marketing." When you sign up, you get one secret a week, which adds up to a whole year. Very effective! (You can see what I mean and sign up at www.JamesMaduk.com. I signed up about 10 weeks ago, so I'm on secret 10. But if you sign up today, you'll start on secret 1. (See how easy this is?)
ALTERNATIVE 2: THE MINI E-MAIL COURSE OR REPORT
These are very popular right now. You simply create several e-mails' worth of content to spread out over a certain amount of days, and set them up on your autoresponder.
Many sites offer 7-day courses or reports, and quite frankly, many of them are awful. So here's a chance for YOU to stand out. Make sure yours offers really useful or interesting content that's more helpful than salesy.
For example, say you're a small business coach. You could offer a course called "5 Ways Hiring a Coach Will Make This Your Most PROFITABLE Year Ever!" Just sit down and list the 5 ways, then write a few paragraphs of copy under each.
Then write one final sales message that you'll add on to the end of the series as the 6th message. This should be a friendly invitation encouraging the reader to call you for a consultation, buy your book, sign up for your workshop, etc.
Paste all the messages into an autoresponder series, set the timing to what you want (e.g. every day or every few days), and voila -- you've got an e-mail course!
ALTERNATIVE 3: PROMOTIONS ONLY
If you offer products on your site that don't lend themselves well to creating related content, just offer what you've got!
Give your visitors the chance to receive special offers that will save them money at your site. The trick to high sign-up rates is to make them feel as if they'll be part of an exclusive group. Use words like "special, exclusive, limited, VIP, first looks, discounts, savings, club, and members-only."
For example, one site that I frequent sells discounted designer clothes. During my last visit, they invited me to sign up for "discounts, exclusive offers, and first looks." I jumped at the opportunity!
Don't underestimate your visitors' interest - many of them WILL sign up for e-mail offers if you politely extend the invitation and make them feel special.
Just make sure not to overdo your messages to this crowd. Keep your blasts to a maximum of once a week. Otherwise your readers will get irritated and may unsubscribe.
(c) 2003 Alexandria K. Brown
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine." To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://EzineQueenTutorial.com/