After my live talks, I always get a few people who say to me, “You know, publishing an e-zine sounds great, but I just don’t think I have the time to do it on an ongoing basis.” Or, “I’m not sure if I’ll have enough content to publish an e-zine.”
If this is your case, you may want to consider one of these e-zine alternatives. These can still help you achieve your goal of establishing credibility, staying in touch with your prospects, and capturing your Web site visitors.
For the first two alternatives, you’ll need an e-mail autoresponder. This is like a fax-on-demand system that sends out e-mails automatically when others request them. (I recommend 1ShoppingCart.com, which has a 30-day trial for $3.95.)
The great thing about autoresponders is that you can set the timing of a series ahead of time. For example, you can schedule message 1 to go out immediately once a person signs up for the list. Message 2 could follow two weeks later. Message 3 would follow two weeks after that. Get the idea?
ALTERNATIVE 1: THE “EVERGREEN” NEWSLETTER
If you don’t foresee yourself writing fresh new content every week or month that you publish, why not make your newsletter “evergreen”?
This means that you write all your content ahead of time, and none of it can be time-sensitive. That is, it should be just as relevant today as it would be a year from now.
Evergreen e-zines are brilliant and easy to do. Here’s how it works: Suppose you want to publish a short tip every week. That means you’d need 52 tips for a year’s worth of content. Once you had these written, you’d just set them up on your autoresponder and tell it when you want them sent out. (For this example, it would be day 1, day 7, day 14, etc. — each reader would get a message every week.)
It’s important to realize that when you use a sequential autoresponder, these are sent as a SERIES. That means everyone who signs up goes through the series in order, no matter when they sign up. For example, let’s say you publish a weekly tip like in the example above. If I sign up today, I start with tip #1. And in 10 weeks, I’ll be on tip #10. But if Suzy Q signs up 10 weeks from today, she starts with tip #1 just like I did. Get it?
[BONUS TIP: You don’t have to write your entire series before you begin! Just stay one tip ahead of the first person who signs up for your series. : )]
ALTERNATIVE 2: THE MINI E-MAIL COURSE OR REPORT
These are very popular right now. You simply create several e-mails’ worth of content to spread out over a certain amount of days, and set them up on your autoresponder.
Many sites offer 7-day courses or reports, and quite frankly, many of them are awful. So here’s a chance for YOU to stand out. Make sure yours offers really useful or interesting content that’s more helpful than salesy.
For example, say you’re a small business coach. You could offer a course called “5 Ways to Make This Your Most PROFITABLE Year Ever!” Just sit down and list the 5 ways, then write a few paragraphs of copy under each.
Then write one final sales message that you’ll add on to the end of the series as the 6th message. This should be a friendly invitation encouraging the reader to call you for a consultation, buy your book, sign up for your workshop, etc.
Paste all the messages into an autoresponder series, set the timing to what you want (e.g. every day or every few days), and voila — you’ve got an e-mail course!
ALTERNATIVE 3: PROMOTIONS ONLY
If you offer products on your site that don’t lend themselves well to creating related content, just offer what you’ve got!
Give your visitors the chance to receive special offers that will save them money at your site. The trick to high sign-up rates is to make them feel as if they’ll be part of an exclusive group. Use words like “special, exclusive, limited, VIP, first looks, discounts, savings, club, and members-only.”
For example, one site that I frequent sells discounted designer clothes and handbags. (Hooray!) During my last visit, they invited me to sign up for “discounts, exclusive offers, and first looks.” I jumped at the opportunity!
Don’t underestimate your visitors’ interest — many of them WILL sign up for e-mail offers if you politely extend the invitation and make them feel special.
Just make sure not to overdo your messages to this crowd. Keep your blasts to a maximum of once a week. Otherwise your readers will get irritated and may unsubscribe.
© 2003-2009 Alexandria Brown International Inc.
Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com