Top 7 Ways To Increase Your Ezine's Circulation Through Joint Ventures With Other Publishers
By Brian Alt
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By far the number one way to increase your ezine's subscriber base, in my experience, is through cross-promotion with other publishers. I'm not talking about simple ad-swapping, although that's one kind of cross-promotion. You'll notice it's number 7 on my list though ;-) Effective, certainly, but let's look at some of the other ways to successfully promote ezines through joint ventures with other publishers.
- "Thank You" Page:
This has been the absolute number one way I've increased my ezines' circulations over the long term. The idea is simple: After someone submits a form on your website to subscribe to your ezine, send them to a page where they can subscribe to 3-5 related ezines by other publishers. The other publishers do the same for you on their sites. Because the surfers are "pre-qualified" in a sense (they've already subscribed once), chances are that they'll subscribe to one or more of the other publications as well. In my experience, around 70% of website subscribers go on to subscribe to at least one more publication on the "Thank You" page. This is cross-promotion at its finest: There's no need to send visitors away from your site to help each other out.
- Welcome Message:
A similar idea is to recommend ezines similar in topic to your own in the E-mail welcome message you send to your new subscribers, and to have other publishers do the same for you. While this won't be as effective as the "Thank You" page idea (it's not as immediate, not everyone reads welcome messages, etc.), it is much easier to set up.
- Affiliate Program:
The concept here is simple: Pay other publishers and web site owners to generate subscriptions for you. Not surprisingly, this is a very effective way of getting people to recommend your publication ;-) Sites like Amazon.com have created empires out of this principal. For an excellent example of a list-building affiliate program in action, check out Eldon Sarte's new CashPlus! program at [http://e-factory.com/news/cashplus.html]
- Article Exchanges:
I'm not talking about the mass reprinting of the same old articles that goes on all over the 'Net, but rather arranging with another publisher to write an *original* article for her publication, while she writes one for yours. This is an ad swap without being an ad swap, and can be much more effective, as it allows you to reach each other's subscribers and show them your unique twist on a topic, your writing style, etc. You would of course include subscription instructions for each other's ezines after the article.
- Guest Editors:
This is an extension of number 4, where you actually take over another publisher's ezine for an issue, and vice versa. Obviously, this can be dangerous, as it can alienate your subscribers or just confuse them. Done well, it can be an excellent means of cross- promotion.
- Personal Recommendations:
Similar to the simple ad swap idea below, this takes it a step further, where each publisher recommends the other's ezine in their own words. This is more effective than a simple swap, because your long-term subscribers have usually come to respect your opinion. It can also be more dangerous for the same reason: Recommend a sloppy ezine and your subscribers may *lose* respect for you.
- Ad Swaps:
Finally, we've made it to good old ad swaps :) These can be very effective if done right, but you may be surprised at the amount of labor it takes to set these up. Finding the right ezines to swap with can be a full-time job in itself.
Obviously, all 7 of these ideas require that you do a decent amount of networking with other publishers. Discussion lists and Web-based forums for E-mail publishers are a great place to start.
Article Submitted On: June 16, 1999