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Why email is taking center stage in internet marketing ... and what you can do to catch the wave
by Kevin Nunley
The news is in from America's heartland and the word is good for email. As the economy cools and Internet mania tempers, email is pulling even with the World Wide Web.
AdAge recently reported email activity accounts for as much as half of Internet use. Forty percent of North Americans jump on the Internet each week, yet a full 20 percent of us only log on to check our email.
The shift to email is causing Internet marketers to change their attitudes. I recently fielded an inquiry from a major magazine wanting to know how their corporate readers could switch from banner ads to ezine ads.
Web site visits are down, surfers seem less eager to spend an evening exploring the web, and banner click-throughs are dismal--now well below one percent. Yet email newsletters and discussion lists are booming.
One longtime ezine publisher told me business has never been better, especially since the economy started cooling. His 110 ezine ad slots available each week are consistently sold out. We've noticed the same trend. More expensive forms of online advertising are moving slower while the always affordable, efficient newsletter ad soars in popularity.
Here's why. Most all of us who use the Internet have never been busier. Most of us lead lives that are happily jammed with jobs, family, and nonstop demands for education and retraining. The last thing we have time for is a painfully slow 56k modem connected to an even slower phone line.
Email makes downloading a newsletter or responding to an email discussion a very fast and painless way to get information. It doesn't matter if you have an old computer or the latest email appliance gismo, you can participate with people from around your industry or the world without going through the World Wide Wait.
This trend toward email will not end soon. The promise of fast broadband Internet service simply hasn't panned out.
DSL is years behind schedule and often bewilderingly difficult to install. Cable delivery is still unavailable in many major cities. The result is 80 percent of us are on slow phone lines with little relief in site. Advertisers won't have the fast, interactive Internet they need for another three to five years.
In the meantime, place your ezine ads and build your own list of opt-in addresses. The simple text message may be your best path to wealth, health and happiness on the Internet.
Kevin's 6 Steps for Getting Results With An Email List:
1. Tightly focus your ezine or regular messages on a sizable group in your industry. While there are thousands of already established newsletters, it is a good bet your industry's specific interests are underserved.
2. Give yourself at least one year to see your list grow. On average, a good ezine idea takes 12 months to get its first 1,000 subscribers. Realize that you are building a powerful community which will deliver impressive results down the road.
3. Include as much original material as you can in your ezine. Try checking through technical information and paraphrasing it in easier terms for your audience. Many business and professional readers crave this kind of information in bite-sized form.
4. Accept your role as an expert. As soon as people start reading your ezine, they will look to you as a source for good answers.
5. Get professional help with your mailing list. Topica and Yahoo both offer excellent free service. Later, when your list gets larger, you can switch to a paid service. Plan on having at least a simple web site for members to refer to.
6. Of course, you don't have to be a publisher to get in on the email trend. Run your ad in ezines that are read by your best customers. Try to keep your ad in the same ezines. When customers become familiar with your ads, your sales will go up. Don't automatically blame the newsletter if you don't get sales. First rewrite your ad, then take a hard look at the product or service you are advertising.