If you have never heard the word ‘e-zine’ or thought that, somehow, this has nothing to do with you or your digital business, think again.
Heaps of marketers, BIG and small, are using ezines daily to generate millions of $$$ in the sale of products and services and grow their lists to the thousands.
Sure you could be thinking ‘Right! It sure is difficult and expensive! Why bother!?‘
And you’d be WRONG!
Ezines are so popular among professional digital marketers because they are highly effective (i.e. highly targeted, hence producing higher than average conversion rates) and because their relative cost (to other forms of paid advertising) can be significantly lower.
So, you see, if you are not yet making use of a good ezine as part of your digital marketing efforts, you may be really preventing your list (and your income) from growing in an explosive way.
What exactly IS an Ezine and how can you make it your secret weapon for highly successful list building?
Before I get there, let me give you a brief foreword on THE element that should never miss from a good, well thought and effective digital marketing blueprint: the exploration and use of the best resources to scale your traffic with the ultimate goal of growing your list.
If you haven’t been doing it already, you should really make everything in your power to grow your list, both in numbers and in quality.
Ever heard the expression: the money is in the list?
While I agree with this statement, this is only half of the truth: the real money is in the relationship that you build, nurture and grow along with your list.
Whatever you do, you must always offer great products, services, and high-quality content. In short, you should always provide the best value you can, so that your ‘prospects’ will become your avid fans and followers.
Naturally, while you do that, it is important that you acquire subscriptions to your list in the first place.
There are MANY ways to do that and almost invariably they involve the creation of a unique and powerful landing page with a strong copy for unique value proposition, along with free giveaway or bonus for those who sign up, with powerful, high-converting graphics and calls to action… in short a ‘squeeze page‘.
Virtually 100% of the sites out there make use of a squeeze page to collect subscribers: the graphics will be different, as the copy of the call to action will be, but all will be highly optimized to convert visitors into subscribers.
Naturally, and this is the bread and butter of everything we teach as part of the Digital Marketing series in SFM, the key to obtaining a high number of conversion is, primarily (even before the presence of an effective ‘squeeze’ element), a high volume of traffic.
Not just any traffic, though, but the ‘right’ traffic, a highly targeted audience who is going to resonate with your message, with a higher probability of converting into a subscriber as opposed to any casual visitor.
This is a bit like selling bread to those visiting a garage: they are probably not going to be very receptive to your bread (no matter how good it is) with a low propensity to purchasing.
Try and offer the same people a product or service related to the context they’re in though (in the example of the garage it may be car cleaning services) and the conversions, in this case from the people opting in to purchase the product/service, will skyrocket.
The key is NOT to leave these business dynamics to chance: you may, in fact, be very lucky and obtain a certain level of conversion, but more likely this would turn out to be a very volatile and costly ‘hobby’.
You need to know that successful business people do NOT leave these dynamics to chance at all: they are very number driven and scientific about running and growing their businesses.
And if you think that you need to possess a level of superhuman knowledge or awareness, think again because more often than not it is really about applying basic concepts of arithmetics and… common sense.
In the case of building a large and profitable list (i.e. highly targeted and with a high propensity to reacting to your marketing messages), the common sense will tell you that you need to know who you are marketing to, i.e. your ‘persona’.
If you were offering products, services or knowledge around the creation of online businesses using digital skills, would you target your messages, email marketing, and articles to people interested in gardening?
Sure you may get the sporadic response to your messages and ads, although you’ll agree with me that this would NOT be a good match.
This is what I talk about when I write of ‘common sense’.
One of the most underestimated ways to reach a highly targeted audience without having to necessarily recur to solo ads is leveraging an ‘ezine’ (read e-’zeen’).
You can see below an example of ezine I have taken from my inbox and you are likely to be a member of one (or many) of them already.
The name derives from the combination of the words ‘E-lectronic’ and ‘maga-ZINE’ (E-ZINE) and, in very simple terms, it represents electronic messages (like newsletters) that send very targeted information to their subscribers on a very specific area or subject with a certain frequency (from daily to weekly, to anything in between)
There are ezines about virtually any conceivable topic, from gardening to digital marketing, from cooking to martial arts.
…you are now starting to join the dots and understand why ezines can be a very effective and highly profitable way to reach a highly targeted audience…
Think about ezines as newsletters on steroids.
Ezines can range from several thousand to several million (yes, MILLIONS) subscribers and, like paper magazines, they leverage their massive circulation to generate profits for those who manage them by selling in-message ads.
Ads that you can get (paid or free, I will tell you how to do it) yourself to promote a link, with a strong and highly converting copy, to your squeeze page.
Generally speaking, an ezine can offer 3 types of ads:
- Banner ads
- Sponsor ads
- Text ads
Banner ads do not really need much introduction: banners are present on virtually any web page currently on the internet and they’re represented, in general terms, by a graphic with a specific message/call to action and a hyperlink to the target page (i.e. typically your squeeze page).
Sponsor ads are embedded in the text of the ezine appearing like a part of the ezine information itself (similar to contextual ads in Google Ads) and they are usually indicated by the word ‘sponsored’ placed either on top or at the bottom of your text. This can be a highly effective form of advertising.
Last but not least, the Text ads: as the name suggests, they are the most basic form of hypertext ad, usually placed in the form of a highly converting headline copy at the bottom of the ezine itself. This is the cheapest form of advertising and, despite its less ‘flashy’ appearance, it can be handsomely effective in reaching a broad, targeted audience.
The price range for each of these ezine ads varies much with the size, specificity, and reputation of the ezine itself.
In general, though, the cost of advertising through an ezine can be less, in some cases even far less (i.e. 10x less), than other forms of paid advertising (i.e. PPC, solo ads).
Some ezines also offer the possibility to generate your own ‘solo ad’: all you need to do is to provide your best and highest converting copy, and the ezine will do the rest, transmitting the message to its thousands of subscribers.
Normally, ezines are easily accessible to advertisers like you and me, provided that your messages, products, and services are aligned with the interests of their target audience and provided that you have something that can provide real value to their subscribers.
After all ezines, exactly like you, want to keep their audience safe from irrelevant messages that could undermine their reputation and generate an unwanted rate of unsubscriptions.
As you can imagine, ezines don’t like people unsubscribing and will do anything in their power to avoid that.
This is why you should always make sure, before submitting your request for advertising to any ezine, that your content and call to action is highly relevant to that audience.
Now, here’s my goodie to you. I’ll tell you about an often under-explored but highly relevant (and profitable) possibility: free advertising with ezines.
By their own nature, ezines have a constant need of fresh, relevant and high-quality content and guess what? They are ready to pay for that… even in the form of free advertising.
What I’m talking about here is the possibility to start a joint venture (JV) with one or more ezines, for multiple submissions to their audience.
This is definitely possible, but you need to be aware of a few things.
For starters, your content really must be of superior quality, highly relevant and offer unique value.
Is this sufficient? You guessed it already: no, this is NOT sufficient.
You see, here’s the catch.
For an ezine to accept the terms of a joint venture with free advertising, your content really needs to be unique.
Further to the high relevancy, there is a very practical reason behind this.
If the ezine can directly access whatever you are offering or promoting… it will.
After all, why should they come to terms with you and give you free ad space if they don’t need you to get to the ‘special offer’?
This is also giving you an indication of how to avoid this: you must provide some unique extra value to the readers of the ezine, that the ezine itself would not be able to offer without you.
It could be a special bonus that you offer as part of the package you advertise or access to your exclusive member area as part of the deal: this would be something of extra value to the ezine subscribers and it would be unique, meaning that nobody else would be able to offer the same value. Only YOU can offer access to your exclusive members’ area!
If you are proposing a WIN-WIN offer, a reputable e-zine would have all incentives to consider such a JV.
Even then, it’s probably not going to be an easy ride.
The most sought after ezines, those with the most subscriber and high reputation for highly relevant and quality content, will probably receive many such requests so you better make sure that YOUR request stands out.
How? By following a systematic approach and template.
First of all be ready to receive ‘no’ as an answer, and multiple times: like with everything else in business this is NOT personal and you shouldn’t feel discouraged at the results of your first attempts.
That is why I recommend you to follow-up at least 5 times with each ezine you propose a JV to, taking a 3-day lead time from the first request to the other follow-ups.
Why these numbers? Statistics. They are simply proven to give the best results with this kind of requests.
Charlie Page, the owner of DOE (Directory of Ezines) arguably the broadest directory of manually vetted, high quality and highly targeted ezines, has accumulated more than 40 years of experience in the advertising, marketing, and digital world, and with ezines, and has recently offered his vast knowledge, tools and techniques (including some that I cover in this article) in his exclusive 2-sessions interview of 2 hours each for SFM (you’ll be able to access the recording in the members’ area of SFM).
If the timing is important, the way you communicate with the ezines requesting contact and JV is also important.
Ezines are no different from any other kind of business. If your proposal makes sense to them, they will also want to make sure that they do business with professional and reliable people.
Your communications need to reflect that.
Based on experts instructions from Charlie Page, I have recorded this podcast episode illustrating the step-by-step approach that highly successful people like him use to create highly profitable Joint Ventures with highly reputable ezines.
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Fyi – the exclusive interview with Charlie Page on how to professional use ezines to boost your list is fully available to SFM Members only.
I highly recommend that you get access to this exclusive content: that interview alone has changed the way I do marketing and will do immensely good to you as well.
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