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Brian Alt

Interview: Allan Gardyne,
By Brian Alt

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BA: Hi Allan. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I know you're really busy. Let's start with list promotion. What are some of the things you've done to grow your list membership?

AG: I work like crazy to make my newsletter interesting and useful. Occasionally I go off on a silly tangent and get back on track again by asking myself: "Will this be USEFUL to my readers?" I think it's because of that approach that I made it on to the top 10 list of the marketing ezines at If you work hard enough at making the newsletter useful, other people will promote it for you.

BA: So do you attribute most of your list growth to free publicity from people impressed with your work?

AG: I don't have any tracking in place to find out where subscriptions come from. However, I've received a lot of powerful free publicity, so I would have to say yes, I think that's what has helped my newsletter and my site most. I've been too bogged down to do much marketing of either. Wonderful new friends have done most of it for me.

BA: What's your take on ezine advertising?

AG: I don't like newsletters with lots of ads so I don't have many in mine. I've recently reduced the number from five to three per edition. I don't hunt for advertisers. I have a targeted market, so advertisers find me. I'm getting so many ads I'll probably have to push the price up soon to scare some advertisers away.

I have, however, listed my newsletter in every directory of ezines I can find. I have a list of them on my old free site.

Three years ago, when it was easy, I obtained a merchant account from a bank, so advertisers can use credit cards or checks to pay for the ads. I have a simple system. I ask people to email half the credit card details to one email address and half to another. It works.

BA: What do you use for list management? How effective has this been for you?

AG: I use Phil Tanny's service at It's brilliant. I just copy and paste my newsletter into an online form and Phil automatically sends it to more than 8,500 readers. Also, he supplies a wonderful subscriber verification service. If you want to know if I *really* have 8,500 subscribers, you can send a message to with SEND SUB COUNT in the BODY of the message and a friendly robot will zap back the answer. Advertisers like that.

BA: I've been reading your newsletter for the better part of a year, and one of the things I've noticed is that you write the majority of your own content. Do you have any tips on coming up with ideas, managing your time, etc.?

AG: Occasionally I publish short items which are usually commenting on something I've said before. Many of my articles are written because I've wanted to know something, so I do the research and write an article on it. For example, I'm researching using links to revenue sharing programs in newsletters. Also, people write and ask for advice, or give me advice. Sometimes I turn those letters into articles.

I also review new revenue sharing programs. New ones are pouring out in a never-ending stream, so I'm never short of something to write about. I upset a lot of people because I don't write about things they are urging me to promote.

Managing my time? I bought a good book on that, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey. I haven't managed to read the first page yet.

BA: In your opinion, what is it about your ezine that makes it successful?

AG: I supply original, useful information that can help people make money. My little Internet business is my full-time employment. I write from experience and describe what works and what doesn't. I also interview successful webmasters.

BA: What makes it unique?

AG: Me. :-) I'm a writer living in a pole house by the beach at Tuan, a tiny fishing village in sub-tropical Queensland, Australia. Of course, it doesn't matter a scrap where I live (today I'm in the spare room at my in-laws' house in Dunedin, New Zealand) but it gives people a memorable image.

Actually, being friendly and memorable can be a two-edged sword. It's wonderful for business but I'm usually so swamped by email that I don't have time to market my site or newsletter. This year was supposed to be the year in which I worked smarter instead of harder. It's not happening yet.

BA: Well, on that note then, I'll let you get back to work. Thanks Allan.

Ezine-Tips for May 27, 1999

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