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Christopher Knight

Ezine Trends For 2005 - Email Publishing Predictions
By Christopher Knight



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2005 for ezine publishers and email marketers is going to be a great year. Let's take a peak at some of the major trends that will impact us all:

Is it a Blog? …an Ezine? … I can't tell!...

Email newsletters have collided with Blogs (online journals) and blogs have added email subscription boxes to notify people via email when there are new posts… further blurring the line between ezines and blogs.

Many new entrepreneurs that have come on the scene who started their online life with blog-centric thinking and then wanted to start an email newsletter - were confused and just used their blog to post their new ezine articles. As a reader, you're not sure if you're reading an email newsletter article from the archives or if you are reading a blog post.

One thing is for certain: You MUST add an RSS feed for your email newsletter(s) so that your audience can subscribe to them via RSS in addition to via email. RSS is how blogs were typically published in terms of syndication or distribution of the posts and many search engines have taken very kindly to RSS feeds…therefore, ADD ONE today to your ezine.

To see how this all works, go surf Google to find yourself an RSS READER and then put this URL in your RSS reader of choice: http://rss.emailuniverse.com/ezine-tips.xml

Email Deliverability Becomes Paramount in 2005:

A large percentage of your email list membership are not getting your emails. Do you know why? Better find out why and do something about it. This might include testing format (HTML vs. ASCII TEXT), time of day, who is sending it for you, subject line, and the content (when checked against known spam filters).

Are your emails being blocked? 2005 will be the year you will need to find out and do something about it. Even innocent people will be blocked by accident. Time to be more paranoid and go find out by watching your email deliverability reports or checking 3rd party blacklist monitoring sites.

Blatant Plug: My Email Deliverability training manual is almost ready... I'm working on chapter 5 today on how to improve ISP relations and then will begin the bonus material for the CAN-SPAM kit, California Privacy laws, EU's privacy laws, deliverability terminology and even a few case studies! No release date yet, but very soon the final manuscript will be done.
New Member Acquisition Becomes A Top Priority:

Because email publishers are losing so many members who are abandoning their accounts, many in 2005 will try new email subscription drives to gain new members. Whatever you do, I'd recommend keeping your confirmation or double-opt in subscription method as this is doing your deliverability more good than the harm that could be caused if you allowed people to get on your list with single opt-in that never asked for it.

Strategies to test that you might not have done in the past: New position above the fold on every page of your site for your subscription box; Java hover sub boxes, endorsement swapping with similar publishers or peers, and you might even want to test buying Adwords or other Pay-Per-Click type options to gain new targeted subscribers…even though this last method can become very costly.

RETAIN YOUR EMAIL MEMBERS: In addition to stepping up your efforts to gain new subscribers, you must also pay closer attention to those who are leaving you on purpose. Be sure to send them an auto generated email upon exit to ask them for feedback or a reason why they left so that you can learn more.

HTML Formatted Ezines Rule:

I can just see the nerf bricks being thrown at me by several readers who are HTML-Email-phobic. HTML emails have been tested six ways to Sunday and the end result is that they deliver more traffic and more value for the publisher (especially in reporting open rates, click through, etc.) than plain text emails.

Expect to see a lot of ezine publishers testing HTML for the first time in 2005 and many who publish in HTML will also drop down to plain text for special alerts or more timely/transaction emails. ASCII plain text emails are not evil…and neither are HTML emails.

Plain text emails are still the best format for transactional or very time-sensitive emails, but I expect to see more transactional emails to be formatted in HTML for 2005 than in 2004.

Improved Relational & Narrowly Focused Content:

It's difficult to control losing members who abandon their email accounts, but you can control the emotional connection with your audience. Expect savvy publishers to improve the quality of the content to become more relational to their readers needs and timing. The stronger the emotional connection, the stronger your chances are of keeping the subscriber as they change email accounts.

You can also expect to see a higher percentage of email publishers (not to the delight of their readers) to only send summaries or brief abstracts of their new ezine articles with a link to a web page to read more. It might get to the point where ezines function just like RSS feeds and email list members who know how to read RSS feeds will begin leaving the email version because it begins to look identical to the RSS version.

Changing Addresses Will Become Easier:

More publishers will add new tools this year to make it easier for their members to manage their subscription or change their address. In the past this was only done manually but now it can and should be automated so that your members can help themselves to change their email address.

2005 Ezine Trends Conclusion:

If you have not adopted it yet, there is a good chance 2005 will be the year that you add an RSS feed or two or three or (more than a hundred like I did last year). There are obvious CMS (Content Management System) issues for ezine publishers to navigate in 2005 as many have begun using MT or Wordpress (two very popular blogging tools) to manage their ezine archives…and this has blurred the line between typical ezine article archives and blog posts. Improving email deliverability, growing more than enough new subscribers to offset the attrition lost to abandoned accounts, and improving the relational quality of your articles will make up some of the changes for 2005 that you can look forward to.

2005 is going to be a great year for ezine publishers that go the extra mile!

Useful Links (For Those Interested in Understanding Blogs Better):

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter: http://www.emailuniverse.com/subscribe/.

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