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Debbie Weil

Top Three Tips to Drive Sign Ups to Your New E-Newsletter
By Debbie Weil

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Editor's note: One day, after comparing notes on our respective newsletter launches, we asked WordBiz Publisher Debbie Weil what three tips she would offer to new publishers who need to build their subscriber bases. Here's her response, the last in this week's unofficial series on boosting subscribership:

Launching an e-newsletter is a bit like launching a ship. All you see when you push 'send' is the final product, sailing off into the ether. Hopefully, it's gleaming and fresh and intriguing to your readers.

Let me offer a few lessons learned from all the stuff that leads up to that final moment. Whew - it takes a lot of work. But it's worth it! Last month, I published the first issue of my e-newsletter aimed at B2B e-marketers, with a focus on content and copywriting. I've now got close to 2,000 subscribers.

1. Promote your e-newsletter before you launch it.

No matter how small your marketing budget, you can build your subscriber list before you publish your first issue. Here's what you do:

-- First, promote your e-newsletter in your sig file every time you send a message. Just include a link to a landing page on your site whether there's a sign up box.

-- In addition, be sure to put the sign -up box on every page of your Web site where no visitor can miss it.

2. Craft a great offer and pitch it to the right list.

-- Remember the three variables in direct response marketing: the list, the offer and the creative (which usually means the copy). When you're promoting through your sig file, the "list" can be the email discussion list to which you post pithy comments.

-- So, what's a great offer? Something free, something of value, and something related to the topic of your e-newsletter. In my case, I offer a free download of my "Guide to Killer Copywriting" to anyone who signs up for my e-newsletter. I got a talented Web designer to dress up my Word doc as a spiffy-looking PDF file.

-- Great copy is just that: it stresses the benefits of your offer, NOT your as-yet-undelivered e-newsletter. Remember, your objective is to be so enticing that they've just got to subscribe to get your free offer!

3. You can swap for sponsorship text ad space.

-- This shouldn't come as a surprise, given the current state of the online advertising market. Suggest swapping sponsorship ad space with other e-publishers.

-- Be bold. Call on the publisher of an e-newsletter that you particularly admire (and whose audience is similar to the one you're trying to attract). Everyone loves flattery; tell them how much you like their pub. Promise to run their text ad in the top position of your first issue.

-- Or, you could spend a few hundred dollars and place a sponsorship text ad in an e-newsletter with a like-minded target audience. I purchased a text ad in two other SparkLIST pubs: Dr. Ralph F. Wilson's Doctor Ebiz and Larry Chase's Web Digest for Marketers, with good results. Combined, my paid and swapped text ads resulted in hundreds of new subscribers.

BONUS TIP: Keep all your guns firing, all the time.

-- Whatever you decide to do to promote your e-newsletter and drive subscriptions, keep at it. It takes persistence and attention to detail to successfully launch an e-newsletter. Good luck!

You can read about the launch in my ClickZ column here.

Here's the sig file I use in all my email correspondence:

"Get Debbie's FREE Guide to Killer Copywriting when you sign up for WordBiz Report:

" Debbie Weil is president of, a publishing company which helps B2B marketers leverage online content - in e-newsletters, on the Web and through email marketing campaigns - to meet business objectives."

Ezine-Tips for August 24, 2001

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