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9. Always link to a sample issue. Otherwise, they have no idea what they’re signing up for. Always refer to title of publication. I’ve seen signup requests for publications with no name!
10. Provide free archives. A history of a newsletter indicates if it’s new, or an established publication. The latter hints at authority on subject matter. If new, note somewhere that archives will be provided. In this way, you offer a second chance to sign up later, once prospect has an opportunity to see product.
11. Have you seen this? I have. Some newsletters ask for content suggestions and ideas, but they don’t have an issue available, or archives online, making it difficult to understand what they cover, or what was previously written about.
12. How often does it arrive? Make sure this is indicated on informational page.
13. Is it HTML or text based? Do you offer a choice?
14. What are benefits of subscribing? Does it teach? Offer discounts? Accept advertising?
15. How good is it? Provide testimonials and reader feedback, with their permission. This is especially helpful in competitive industries.
16. If your publication is monthly, here’s an idea from magazine publishers. In your information page, list topics to come in next year beforehand. This is great for fee-based publications too. Keep reader interested by what you plan to cover.
17. Offer referral incentives. This may make more sense for fee-based publications, but be creative. If you’re a consultant, and want to drive up readership, is there something you can offer such as free 15 minutes of your time, or a give away ezine, or discount on future services?
18. Announce upcoming issues on your homepage, and publication itself. Some newsletters come same day, every week. If for some reason they will NOT be delivered, make sure to warn subscribers in previous issue. Otherwise, you may be bombarded with “Where’s my newsletter!” emails.
19. Avoid relying on a simple box signup alone. Place a “View information” text link inside it that invites your visitor to learn more, gain trust, and get excited about your publication. Place a “Tell a friend” box on information page too, for fast and easy referrals to your newsletter.
20. For more ideas on how to promote and present a newsletter offering, study techniques used by Successful-Sites. There’s information on writers, pictures, archives, topics, resources, and more!
Usability Consultant, Kimberly Krause Berg, is the owner of UsabilityEffect.com, Cre8pc.com, Cre8asiteForums.com and co-founder of Cre8asite.net. Her background in organic search engine optimization, combined with web site usability consulting, offers unique insight into web site development.