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HTML e-mail – although HTML is not preferred way for some readers, all of my e-zines are HTML format. They simply look better.
ASCII text - regular text email format, which includes up to 65 characters per line.
Web based - posting your e-zine on web.
Font - use a generic font such as Arial, Times Roman, Courier, or Helvetica
When designing your e-zine, here are some things to keep in mind:
Use a Template – This provides consistency and you can make changes gradually over time.
Spell Check – Always. Period.
Proofread – Have someone else proofread. I have a professional editor read each issue. I read it over two or three times between edits and so does editor.
Answer Every Email – When someone writes an email to your organization, there’s someone on receiving end waiting for an answer. You owe it to your readers to respond.
Inform, Entertain, and Serve – People sign up for email newsletters to gain knowledge, information, to get involved, and to be entertained.
Cultivate contributors – Take your time, build interest, gain trust, then ask for money. Include links to giving pages. This allows supporters to make a contribution via credit card or a pledge. If your e-zine has what readers want, you will have a much higher likelihood of increased giving. An e-mail newsletter is an excellent tool for finding new donors online, and increasing its circle of stakeholders.
The technology you use to disseminate your e-zine must be secure and have capabilities you either now need or will in future.
One of most important things we had to deal with was when our lists started growing (beyond 250); we were very limited in sending through our original e-mail account (AOL). They have rules and sometimes will freeze an account if you send too many at once. The format would also get botched sometimes. The lists became unmanageable when we had to remove unsubscribes and duplicates. Finding ones who wish to unsubscribe can be challenging. We switched to another service hoping they could send our newsletters and maintain our lists. It was a good service; however, we didn't like look of our newsletter. It had limited capabilities (no bold or italic). Since I'm creative type, I didn't want my ezines to look like everyone else's. We have now found a program we are very happy with. There is no monthly fee, just a one-time purchase fee. It is called Group Mail Pro - Mailing List & Group Management Software. And it only costs $79.95 (and you own it). For more information visit Group Mail Pro or follow this link: (http://www.sellshareware.com/CustomView.asp?PrID=34362.&AfID=7838&PageID=1)
Have a subscription form on your website!
Have a sign up sheet at office and at all events. If you speak before a group, make sure you mention your e-zine. Some people are bound to want to sign up.
Promote it with postcards in your monthly statements or on your business card.
Tell anyone you think might be interested. This includes current stakeholders, contributors and volunteers.
Offer a fr*ee report when people sign up. When people subscribe to Legacy they receive not one but two reports just for trying us out.
When you use e-mail for an outgoing message - to cultivate, to inform, to request action, to ask for money - you are creating public relations. Good things happen with E-zines; increased visibility, increased contributions and goodwill. If you plan your e-zine right, give it an interesting title and offer your stakeholders benefits, your e-zine will be a success! Happy Writing!
© 2005 - Heidi Richards
Heidi Richards is the author of The PMS Principles, Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business and 7 other books. She is also the Founder & CEO of the Women’s ECommerce Association, International www.WECAI.org (pronounced wee-kī) – an Internet organization that “Helps Women Do Business on the WEB.” Basic Membership is FREE. Ms. Richards can be reached at Heidi@speakingwithspirit.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.