…by Suzanne Falter-Barnes

Want your ezine list to catch fire and really start to fill up? Jenna
Glatzer took her own list from the hundreds all the way to 75,000 in 7
years by simple, steady marketing, and using many of these techniques.
(Jenna bought only 4000 opt-in names along the way.) Here are some tips
we provided, and some I\’ve pulled from my own experience, building my
list for The Joy Letter to 17,000 over five years.

1. Free Stuff. Pick genuinely useful free stuff that you know
your audience wants and needs. For instance, my brand new ezine, Expert
Status, attracted 600 readers in just a few weeks by offering a report,
“25 Top Self Help Literary Agents”. The practical freebie works. Jenna
Glatzer offers two free ebooks/reports to subscribers on agents who are
receptive to new writers, and on writer\’s markets.
She notes: “Before I did that, my subscriber numbers were in the hundreds, not thousands.

2. Put a subscribe box on every page of the site. This has
worked for both Jenna and me. Mine is parked in the left hand column of
the site. Experts advise putting a simple sign up box (with freebie
mentioned) in the top left hand corner, as that\’s where the eye
naturally travels first. A simple sign up box that requests only email
address works best.

3. Ad swaps. Exchange plugs for your ezine with another website,
to run in each other\’s ezines. Be sure to mention those freebies! Doing
this on a regular basis with a rotating selection of web partners will
keep your subscription page busy.

4. Cross-registration. I\’ve found subscribers by having a
plug for my ezine on the thank you page of a comparable (but not
directly competitive) website. This offer is made to folks who just
signed up for an ezine, and are therefore deemed ‘in the mood for
more.\’ Offer a swap with your site, and try not to list more than about
two other ezines. Also, make a point of including only really good,
reliable publications that reach your target market.

5. Give away a bonus for other sites to use, based on your ezine. A
popular web marketing technique is the special one or two-day promo
that offers big bonus lists when you buy a certain product on those
particular days. (I cover this promo technique in more detail in my
e-book/binder, Get Known Now; How to Build Your Platform as a Self Help
Expert.) So collect some of your best ezine essays, pack ‘em up in a
downloadable PDF-based e-book, and offer it as a bonus these sites can
use in their special promos. Don\’t forget juicy descriptive copy about
your ezine, and a subscribe link at the end of your e-book. I\’ve gotten
hundreds of new readers this way, and much traffic to my site.

6. Announce ezine ‘events\’ on PRweb.com and other PR sites. There\’s
an entire world of web-based press release distribution services out
there, some of which are low cost or even free. So use them. But be
sure to only plant press releases that are truly newsworthy, and thus
likely to get press attention. Even if the media don\’t use your words
this time, they\’ll hopefully file you as an expert for future use.

7. Use discussion boards or groups. These are sites frequented
by gangs of people interested in the same thing. Avoid the unmoderated
sites, because they\’re likely to be spam targets that generate little
bonafide traffic. Boards found on member sites are the best. Don\’t spam
the board with your subscribe message. Instead, offer some genuinely
helpful info. Then sign off with a signature line that includes ezine
and subscribe info. You can find some of these groups at groups.yahoo.com, topica.com, mail-list.com, and listfool.com for starters.

8. Sponsor other people\’s contests. Jenna Glatzer gives away
products like her paid newsletter, Absolute Markets Premium Newsletter,
to writers\’ groups, contests, and conferences that request it,
regardless of size. I\’ve tried this too, to good effect. Simply run an
announcement in your ezine that you\’d be happy to sponsor comparable
events. Ask them to provide a URL for an event description so you know
it\’s legit. Then offer up your gifts, and ask for a plug for your ezine
and for them to talk up your dazzling freebie, as well. Jenna notes
that groups she sponsors “often send out ads for us to their lists …
just as a thank you.”

9. Run quality content. There\’s no substitute for heartfelt writing
plus solid information about a subject that matters. Jenna writes: ‘The
main reason our list stays so big is our ‘letter from the editor\’ …
Each week, I chronicle my writing life and my triumphs and failures …
when an article is killed, when I\’m having trouble finishing a book …
And I share personal things, too, like when my grandfather died….
People write: ‘ I feel like I know you so well.\’ And I think that\’s why
they stay on the list, even when their mailbox fills up with dozens of
other writer\’s newsletters.

10. Allow reprints. Allow any newsletter that wants to reprint
your articles do so. I like to have an email requesting permission, so
I can enter their info into a big database I use to track where I can
send more articles in the future. I end each article with the line: You
may reprint this article in your own ezine or website. Simply send an
email requesting permission to EMAIL ADDRESS. Please be sure to include
our full bio box at the end.

11. Create a survey or contest. This would be one of those
newsworthy ‘ezine events\’ I mentioned above in point # 6. Make it a
fun, relevant question that you could really develop a good, newsy
story from. I did a survey asking people what they fought with their
spouse/partner/boy or girlfriend about. The results made for the kind
of reading offline media enjoy running short, 100-word pieces about
(fillers.) I made sure to attribute the survey to my ezine, The Joy
Letter, with a mention of the site\’s basic URL. You can get the
technology to run your own survey and collect responses at surveymonkey.com (for a fee) or bravenet.com (for free.)

Drop by Suzanne\’s site at www.getknownnow.com and pick up our free
database, “Suzanne\’s Top 50 Media & Publishing Contacts” – and
learn more about how to get known … now!