Tips To Grow Your List

Tips To Grow Your List In Just Seven Hours

Dr. Mani’s GET-‘EM Program

Hi.

I’m the editor of two health ezines, and have recently been experimenting with some new ideas to grow subscriptions. I’ve devised a plan that works for me – and will work for you too. I call it the Grand Ezine Temptation Endeavour by Mani – or GET-‘EM !

The beauty of this plan is that it doesn’t matter what the topic of your ezine or list is. GET-EM can be suitably modified to work for any kind of list.

There are some criteria though to ensure that GET-EM really does “get them”.

What you’ll need is:

  • discipline and commitment
  • seven hours of your time
  • patience and persistence

I’m now going to tell you what to do in each of the SEVEN hours you’ve set aside to implement the GET-EM program.

GET-EM : THE FIRST HOUR

The first step in any program of this kind is to identify other lists and ezines like your own – that either provide information similar to yours, or cater to an audience who’ll enjoy being on your list too. For instance, my ezines are about Heart Disease. I presume that anyone who has an interest in health and fitness, or who actually has heart disease, will want to subscribe to my ezines.

So how do I find these lists and ezines ?

A couple of years back, this process was extremely difficult. No longer. Ezine directories and networks are cropping up everywhere. There are some excellent and exhaustive ones like

The John Labovitz’s E-Zine List
http://www.meer.net

The E-ZineZ Search Engine: The search engine exclusively for sites publishing E-Zines
http://www.e-zinez.com

There are many others as well. But what is more relevant to GET-EM is to find ezines that accept advertising, more specifically EXCHANGE (or SWAP) advertisements. One of the best resources that I’ve come across is The Publishers Exchange Center: http://www.peakprofit.com.

GET-EM : THE SECOND HOUR

So you’ve found lists similar to your own. By this, I mean that you have decided these are the lists whose readers/ subscribers will like your list or ezine as well.

Now SUBSCRIBE to these lists/ezines yourself. To start with, subscribe to 15 or 20 of them.

In most cases, the subscription process is complete in a day or two. Some lists even offer a sample of their content – if they do, ask for it.

When you have received sample content from these lists, skim through it. Get a feel for the topics being discussed, the comments list members have about the list or ezine, the kind of advertisers and sponsors of the list, the quality of the publication (layout, originality of articles, spelling and grammar), the tone (blatantly commercial versus professional) and how it is hosted (on a free service, paid-for professional host or off a personal email program). And find out the name and contact email address of the list owner or moderator.

This will help in tailoring your Joint Venture offer to each specific publication, and ensure a higher positive response from list owners.

Tip: If you do this on a Friday, the content will be ready for you to review on Monday !

GET-EM : THE THIRD HOUR

So you’ve identified target lists and browsed through their content. You are now ready to contact them.

This is the most important step – your first note should not be too strident or threatening. Remember, some of these lists may be in direct competition with your’s. Many may have been around for years, may have much larger subscriber bases than yours. All these facts will condition the way these list owners will view your first approach – PROCEED CAUTIOUSLY.

How should you word that all-important first message ?

Rule 1: INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Say hello. And then introduce yourself. Your name. What do you do.

Rule 2: TELL THEM WHY
Say why you are writing this letter. Be brief. Be direct. Get to the point. And tell them WHY reading this letter through will benefit THEM ! Not you, THEM. Stress the benefits to the LIST OWNER from your venture, and you’ll have him (or her) hooked right from the start.

Here’s a sample from what I wrote:

“Hello.
My name is Dr.Mani Sivasubramanian, and I publish two ezines on Heart Health and Disease.

I would like to suggest a joint venture with your own health related publication which could help increase subscriber base to both of our ezines.”

Rule 3: DESCRIBE YOUR LIST / EZINE

Write a brief note about your list or ezine. Avoid hype. Don’t inflate the numbers of your subscribers. Don’t lie about anything ! Tell them where they can view a sample of your content – archives of previous postings, an autoresponder where they can get a sample of your ezine. Unless they ask you to – DO NOT SEND THEM A COPY OF YOUR EZINE; DO NOT ADD THEM TO YOUR LIST.

Tell them

  • how big your list is
  • how fast your list is growing
  • what plans you have to expand it further
  • whether or not advertising is accepted
  • mention if it is an opt-in list
  • tell them if your new subscribers automatically get a welcome message (the importance of this will become apparent in the next part of this tutorial)

GET-EM : THE FOURTH HOUR

There are two ways to go about GET-EM now. You could stop your introductory message here, and ask the list-owner to contact you if he/she is interested in pursuing the joint venture. Or you can spell out the terms of the joint venture in the original message itself – this is what I did. The downside is that you’ll be sending a LONG email as the FIRST contact, but it might work for some. You be the judge !

In this step, you need to SPELL OUT the terms of the joint venture. This hour is spent drafting and re-writing and then again re-writing your offer letter. Make it crisp, short – and remember the offer must be attractive to the OTHER LIST OWNER.

Here are some ideas you could implement – I’m sure there are many more you can think of. If you do, please run them by me ([email protected]), I’m always looking for new promotional ideas.

IDEA 1 : WELCOME MESSAGE

You could ask the list owner to include a brief note about your ezine in their welcome message to new subscribers, along with instructions on how they can subscribe to your publication as well. In return, you could include a short spiel about their ezines, and offer it in your welcome message to your new subscribers when they join up.

This is one sure-fire technique to net new subscribers. The magic behind this is that the new registrant is in what I’d call “SUBSCRIBE MODE”. He or she has just subscribed to a new list or ezine. He or she is ready, primed, to subscribe to one more – provided it is of potential interest ! This is where targeting ONLY lists and ezines similar to your topic pays off.

IDEA 2 : A PERSONAL ENDORSEMENT

On your list or ezine, you could include a new section called SOME MORE EXCELLENT LISTS YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE TO. In this you could spotlight their list, along with a personal endorsement (from YOU) in the form of a short note listing its merits and benefits – and including instructions to subscribe to their list. You could leave the option of drafting this note to the list owner, or write it yourself based on a sample of their list’s content.

In return, the list owner would promote your list or ezine in his/her publication. You must keep ready a short write-up (around 25 to 30 words) of your list for this purpose (in case the list owner prefers to leave it to you to write your own review). But sometimes, it just might be better to get the other list owner to do the writing. I was pleasantly surprised to read one such review of my site – it was better than any I could’ve written myself !

I hear you wail “But this is only an AD SWAP !”

No it isn’t. Its called ENDORSEMENT MARKETING. And it works better than an ad swap. Because it has the LIST OWNER’S personal endorsement. Over time readers of a list or ezine have developed respect and regard for their list owner or moderator or editor. When a review comes with his or her personal endorsement, it generates a MUCH HIGHER response rate.

IDEA 3 : AN AD AFFILIATE PROGRAM

This is an idea some of you might not find acceptable. But I suggest it for smaller and newer ezines and lists which haven’t yet been swamped by requests for paid advertising – Hey, don’t worry guys – You soon will !

You offer (or can begin to offer) advertising space on your list or ezine. Let’s say the owner of the list you are proposing a joint venture with also runs ads, and already has some paying advertisers. And those advertisers are always looking for new targeted audiences to display their offers to.

You propose a revenue sharing arrangement with the list owner. Tell them:

“If you have “paid” advertisers who want to place their ads in my ezine, YOU can finalize the deal with them directly – and pocket 60% (Note: replace this figure with any other percentage you deem fair and fit) of the ad revenue ! Just send me a check for my 40% and the text of the ad by email. If this appeals to you, please write to me requesting my rate-card.”

This is a classical win-win-win situation. The advertiser gets a new audience. The list owner gets a finder’s fee for referring the advertiser to you. And you get the best deal – a paying advertiser when you had none, and who might continue to make direct deals with you in the future for other ad runs.

GET-EM : THE FIFTH HOUR

Ever heard of the Boy Scout’s motto ? Be prepared. It applies to you too. Many things need to be checked now, before you start getting a response to your offers.

Keep a copy of the welcome letter you send out to new subscribers of your list handy. Re-write it if necessary. As and when the list owners reply positively to your joint venture proposal, you must add their information into the welcome letter. This avoids delays, and spaces out your workload.

Inform your current list members about the forthcoming addition of the new section on OTHER EXCELLENT LISTS THEY SHOULD SUBSCRIBE TO. Preparing them in advance for this new feature will build up eagerness and curiosity, and this translates into a higher response rate. Create a new template for your ezine or list to accomodate this section.

Prepare to accept payments for any ad referrals from your joint venture. Ideally, you need to be able to accept credit card payments online. Having other methods to receive payments is an added bonus. However, you could manage by asking the advertiser to snail mail a check to you – but this will lose you some potential advertisers.

GET-EM : THE SIXTH HOUR

Boy, aren’t you tired after doing all this hard work ? Thought you could now stop even THINKING of this Joint Venture thing for another week or so, right ?

WRONG.

The mail will come flooding in. If your offer is attractive enough, you will get atleast a 50% response rate. Many of these list owners will have already taken up your ideas, and made the changes you are still thinking and talking about. For instance, within a day of sending out my first offer letter, three ezine owners had included my short write-up in their list’s welcome letter. I couldn’t delay adding their information on my welcome note any longer without seeming selfish and insincere.

So get prepared to make changes to your existing structure atleast once daily. For the next few days. Until the mail in response to your offer stops pouring in. And of course, that means it is time to send the offer again to the next batch of prospects ! I never said this was going to be easy, now, did I ?

GET-EM : THE SEVENTH HOUR

So now that you’ve gone through all the steps discussed earlier, what should you be doing next ?

Tracking your response rates.

What does this mean ? Well, you’ve put in a lot of time and effort into this Joint Venture. So you should now determine how this has affected your bottom line.

  • How many new subscribers did you get ?
  • Where did they come from ? Which list netted the most ?
  • Which ad worked best ? You should try different ad copy to see which pulls best
  • How many new advertisers wanted to place ads on your list ?
  • How did your present list members react to the new changes ? Ask them. You don’t want to antagonize and/or lose them !There are many ways to do this tracking.
    1. One way is to direct new subscribers to a distinct web page for each Joint Venture partner. For instance, if the URL at which people subscribe to you can set up separate (similar) pages and name themhttp://www.mylist.com/subscribe1.htm
      http://www.mylist.com/subscribe2.htm
      and so on, and give each Joint Venture list a unique site to subscribe at.
    2. Set up a brief form or questionnaire on your subscription site and ask new subscribers where they found out about your list.
    3. Code the subscribe email address with a unique identifier for each Joint Venture. Well ….. Laughing all the way to the bank isn’t such a bad idea, now, is it ?!I hope you enjoyed reading these tips about Dr.Mani’s GET-‘EM program. If you have any comments, praise or criticism, please write to me and Happy JV’ing !