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Brian Grulke

Giving and Getting: Reward Programs
By Brian Grulke



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A good way for list owners to promote their list and build goodwill among new subscribers is to offer a reward program. Since any kind of promotion can have a positive effect on list owners, it can be beneficial for them to offer a program that is interactive as well as helpful for each and every new subscriber to take advantage of.

Certainly there are many kinds of reward programs that list owners can implement, but one specific example has to do with owners offering to run ads as a "reward" for every subscriber that signs up for their newsletter. This act alone can foster promotion of an individual's list as well as create goodwill and trust among a list owner and his/her audience of subscribers.

Here's an example of how you as a list owner can implement the aforementioned reward program:

You can announce that you are offering free advertising to every new subscriber who signs up for your list within a certain period of time. Let's use two weeks as an example if you have a daily newsletter that goes out Monday through Friday. Any new subscriber who signs up during those 10 days will get a free ad in your newsletter. This is, of course, where the reward part comes in. Advantages: your list will get promoted simply because people know you are offering free advertising. You will also gain subscribers and build goodwill because people know they are getting free advertising if they sign up for your newsletter. :)

After the two-week period, start running the free ads from your new subscribers. Sure, you run their ads in your newsletter and get nothing in return. However, if any of your new subscribers offer to run an ad for you in their newsletter, great. The more promotion for your list, the better, right? The kicker here is that as soon as one of your new subscribers runs an ad for you, you can track the success of your reward program. Any new subscribers you gain from _your_ free ad in another newsletter is above and beyond what you expected in the first place. Ain't reward programs grand? :)

Of course, offering this type of reward program does take some careful thinking on your part. Here are a couple tips to help you along the way:

  • Make sure you block out and announce the _exact_ period of time you are going to offer this free advertising to new subscribers. Organize it, of course, around any prior list advertising obligations you have already made. Paid advertising should take precedence over any free advertising you run. Furthermore, you could take any free ad submissions on a first come, first serve basis. Or, you could keep those same free ad winners up-to-date each day as to your current ad space availability.


  • Let those free ad winners know _exactly_ what they are getting so there is absolutely no confusion. Let them know what day it will run, in what newsletter position, and so on. Sending them confirmation copies is always a good thing to do as well. As long as the ad is placed in a content-specific newsletter (one that corresponds with what the business' ad is about), they should have no problems. However, in the case of having multiple ezines or lists, be sure to run the winners' ads in a list that will help them achieve the best results.


  • Reward programs can be a great way for list owners to promote their lists as well as gain new subscribers. It's also a way for you to build relationships and rapport among your list members. Hey, 'tis the season! Why not give away some free advertising as a reward?


Submitted by Brian Grulke, Former Associate Editor of List-Universe

Ezine-Tips for December 08, 2000

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