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Christopher Knight

How To Ensure Your Ezine Has Impact - 12 Tips
By Christopher Knight

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Every week, tens of thousands of ezines are sent out the door to compete for the attention of the limited number of humans on this planet who get email. What can you do to improve your ability to distance your ezine from your competitors or all of the noise that reaches the inbox of your end recipients? It's a competition to make a positive impression with your newsletter for the precious 1-7 seconds that I'd estimate you get once your members do open your emails.

Readability & Relevance Are Sisters In The Ezine Impact Department:

Did you ever read someone else's ezine and think, Damn! They really have it together or better yet, it draws you in and creates a connection or warm fuzzy feeling… or better yet, influences you to take some kind of action that is in your and their best interest.

Amazingly, it's not that difficult to pull ahead of the inconsistency and slop that is in the marketplace as a high majority of ezine publishers are still newbies…and the production of their ezine shows it.

To separate yourself from everyone else, you must take action to do the extra 10% that most competitor don't do.

Here is a quick 12 point idea check list for you to consider:

  1. Publish on a consistent schedule over a long period of time.

    This is difficult for many folks, but if it were easy, we would all be doing it. Use an editorial calendar to support your consistency goals.

  2. Timelines: Get your ezine delivered when it will be most relevant to your core audience.

    It doesn't make much sense to send your newsletter when your audience is least expecting it.

  3. Add flash audio to your ezines.

    Having tested this myself, they DO improve CTR (Click Through Rate) by 9-12% on average.

  4. Add simple, clean and small graphics that are relevant to tell the tale within your ezine if you publish in HTML.

    You can also add graphs, charts, or other visuals that set the mood or communicate a point that is more fun to read than text.

  5. Have a professional header designed for your ezine template so that it has the same brand look and feel of your website.

    You are selling an image whether you intended to or not.

  6. If you do PLAIN TEXT for your format, consider indenting the first space on each line to create a unique look.

    I give credit to Paul Meyers for this distinction as he uniquely separates his long running plain text ezine from others that left justify all of their text. You don't have to do what Paul does, but you can do a lot with plain text newsletters other than the typical left justified 50-65 character hard line wrap that most folks do.

  7. Keep your articles brief and to the point.

    Start with your main point in each paragraph and supporting the points with no more than 4-6 sentences thereafter.

  8. When you are all done with your newsletter tests and you're ready to send it out, ask yourself this question:If I invested just 10% more time, how else could I create an easier to understand and higher value newsletter for my audience? Then do whatever comes to mind and test it.

    Would it surprise you if I told you that I send about 9-16 tests of EACH of my own newsletters before I send them? Even with a template, I look to make small incremental improvements each week.

  9. Do content research via Google Suggest or one of the keyword tools or trade journals.

    It's important that you stay on top of what your audience is buzzing about so that you can address the 'hot buttons' in your next newsletter issue. You can also survey your members on a quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. It's about relevancy.

  10. Subject line determines if your ezine will be read or not.

    There is nothing more important than making sure your subject line is BENEFIT driven.

  11. Writing articles for your ezine also means being a keen copywriter.

    This is where you leave the ego at the doorstep and lace up your "what's in it for me" benefit shoes to list what your audience can experience if they click on or take the action you want them to take.

  12. Personalize your ezine.

    It's not that difficult to put the first name of your member in the newsletter and every good email list management software supports this technology.

    You can take it even one step further and personalize your email to be more relevant to each member of your list especially if you have a client database of your ezine members and know their purchase history… but that is definitely an intermediate to advanced level discussion. For me, there is nothing sweeter than a favorite vendor that uses their database knowledge of me to deliver highly relevant emails rather than the useless "batch email or mass email" mentality trash that exists yet today.

Ezine Impact Conclusion:

Often times it only takes an additional 10% of time and caring to create an enormous distance between your ezine and that of your competitors in terms of end-user positive impact. I'd encourage you to try some of today's suggestions and while it would be difficult to implement them all over-night - why not start out with the goal to make small incremental improvements in each issue. Within a year's time, you'll have made at least 52 improvements if your ezine is weekly. Complacency is the enemy. Freshen up your ezine with that little something extra and you'll come out the winner!

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:

Ezine-Tips for February 02, 2005

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