Some merchants use a newsletter as a way to promote their products. This can be a very effective marketing tool, but there are a few things to remember:
■ It's a lot of work putting together a regular newsletter.
■ You'd better be sure you can put together a newsletter that is truly worth reading;
the Internet has plenty of web sites and newsletters that are not worth reading—it doesn't need more.
■ It's a lot of work promoting the newsletter to new subscribers.
If you're working with Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, you can get a 3-month free trial of the e-mail tool, Got Campaigner (see Chapter 21).
The bar has been raised very high in recent years. There is so much online content now, and people are so swamped with e-mail, that it's much harder now to make a newsletter work than it used to be. A newsletter that can act as a successful marketing tool must have these:
■ A large subscriber base In general, newsletters with only a few hundred subscribers probably don't do their owners much good.
■ A loyal readership You need people to actually open and read the newsletter. "Open rates" have declined precipitously recently, so only a small number of e-mail newsletters are opened.
■ Quality It needs to be good, so good that readers will sometimes forward copies to friends and colleagues.
If you do decide to create a newsletter, you may want to consider it as part of a three-pronged campaign, combing the newsletter with search-engine optimization and content syndication. Every time you write an article, it appears
■ On your web site, providing well-keyworded content for the search engines to read (see Chapter 26), and
■ In your syndication library, so other web sites can use it (see next).
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