Businesses use ezines, typically emailed newsletters, to keep customers engaged with the business and to create additional revenue streams through direct sales and advertisements. Although some businesses pour a great deal of money into the process, you can start your own ezine with free services and resources.
Ezines require two major technical requirements: a method for people to subscribe and a means to deliver the ezine to all of the subscribers. A free list-hosting or autoresponder service provides the simplest solution for both of these problems. These services typically offer a form-builder feature that lets you create a simple signup form. The form builder generates HTML or Java code that you add to your website or blog, and the form appears to visitors. You load your content into their system, and the service delivers the ezine to your entire subscriber list. The other main advantage of using autoresponder services is that they deal with noncontent-related CAN-SPAM compliance, such as opt-ins and unsubscribe options.
You need to make several decisions about design. Some ezine producers elect to use a minimalist, plain text approach. This strategy helps you limit the size of the email and focus on content, but it often proves visually unappealing with dense blocks of text. HTML-based ezines give you more room for creativity, as they support images, columns and text formatting. You can design your own, if you possess some coding skills, or use one of the many free templates that are available.
You need content to fill out the ezine, and getting free content usually boils down to writing your own, getting voluntary contributors or using ezine article directories. Producing the content costs you time but no money up front. You can ask for content from others in exchange for credit and a link back to their website. People working in the industry or a field related to the one your ezine covers, as well as businesses that specialize in the industry or topic, often prove willing to contribute short pieces or tips to draw attention to themselves, their products and their services. If you use ezine article directories as a source of content, remember that everyone else in the world can access the same articles for the same purpose.
Even if you create an ezine for free, it can make you a profit. You can monetize your ezine by selling ad space to businesses in related fields or employing affiliate links for related products. Announcing your own sales or product launches, along with links, helps drive direct sales. Making a profit from your ezine requires recipients to remain engaged with your ezine and business. That engagement stems directly from you providing value in the content either with tips, insights or actionable information.
- EmailUniverse: What Is an Ezine? E-Zine? Email Newsletter? E-Newsletter?
- Smith Family Enterprises: What Makes a Good “Ezine”?
- The Site Wizard: Staring Your Own Newsletter or Ezine
- FTC: CAN-SPAM Act -- A Compliance Guide for Business
- Microsoft: Email Newsletter
- Wow! Women on Writing: How 2 Start Your Own Online Magazine
- Business Online Guidance: The Best 10 Places Online to Get Free Ezine Content
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