Ezines help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. When current and prospective clients receive your ezine filled with helpful information that is relevant to their needs, desires, and interests, they will begin to regard you as a source of information. Not only that but when they have questions or needs, you may very well be the first person that they call on for help simply because you obviously know your stuff and because your regular contact puts you foremost in their minds.
Ezines are also still an amazing marketing tool. They put your company and your products or services in front of customers in a non-threatening, non-obtrusive way. You create a community with your clients and prospects by involving them in industry news and even more if you ask for feedback and offer a question and answer column.
Lastly, ezines offer you a regular method of putting new offers or a new product or service information in front of your customers and prospects. You don’t have to wait for a ezine issue to make them aware. You have their email, sending out a supplemental ezine with information or offers just for subscribers is a great way to sell. Podcasts, audio, and video marketing and blogs are all popular mediums, still nothing beats the opportunity to be invited into your customer’s email box on a regular basis.
According to the Kelsey Group, 70% of U.S. households use the internet as an information source when shopping for products and services. In fact, according to Jupiter Research, having a website is imperative in the dialogue between retailers and consumers. They estimate that online sales are only 5% of the total retail market but about 30% of retail sales are researched on line prior to purchase.
What does this mean to your company?
Well it certainly means that you need a website but even more than that, it shows just how important an e-Ezine is to your marketing campaign. Why do you need both? They both provide your customer with information about your company. If done correctly, they both entice your customers to purchase your products and services. In fact, if you provide your customers the ability to purchase on-line then your website goes one step further than a Ezine ever could.
How Can an Ezine Benefit Your Company?
Ezines build credibility by providing potential customers with valuable information on a timely and consistent basis but they’re also an integral part of your marketing campaign. While your website offers valuable information about your company, your products, and your services; your ezine can delve deeper into your buyer’s concerns, interests, desires, and needs.
Your customer might go to your website to find out what products you offer but your ezine can show how a specific product can benefit a certain area of your customer’s life. A manufacturer of roofing products for the construction industry might detail their products and benefits on their website but a ezine article could detail how a particular roofing product could speed up actual construction time and thus lower the overall job cost saving prospective clients time and money.
Ezines can build customer loyalty. Despite the vast number of ezines pouring into in-boxes on a daily basis, people enjoy being part of a community, being kept informed, and being valued as a customer. Sending your valued clients and prospects regular updates and offers on your products or services as well as information to better their lives, involves them and brings them into your corporate community. Moreover, if you provide a question and answer feature in your ezine, it shows them that you value their concerns.
How can my Website and Ezine work together?
On the internet, there are two crucial methods of acquiring sales, the first is to generate traffic to your website and the second is to convert your website visitors into customers. While your website may drive traffic to your store or business, your ezine can serve to drive traffic to your website in a variety of ways.
Ezine Archives and Search Engine Optimization. When potential customers begin their research process they often start with a search engine. An archive of ezine articles that match their key words brings them directly to your website where they may read the plethora of articles that you have on the relative subject matter. The longer that you keep this potential customer at your site, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
More important than waiting for potential prospects to find your website on a search engine, your ezine will bring them to it. Providing valuable information and including a forward to a friend option in your ezine and you have the ability to widen your prospect base and thus widen the potential number of visitors to your website.
Ezines are a valuable tool for evaluating your customer’s buying habits. Tracking what your customers and prospects read in each ezine can give you insight on how to optimize your product selection, placement, and help to focus future marketing initiatives.
While your website makes the front end sale or sends the customer to your store, ezines provide you the opportunity to build on your relationship with your customer and encourage future sales. It increases the lifetime value of your customer.
While, there’s no doubt about the importance of a website, an ezine can prove to be a valuable marketing tool to, not only drive traffic to your website but to also build relationships with current and prospective customers.
What is Involved in Creating An Ezine?
Before you get started, it is important to take some time and research your competition. Do they have ezines? If they do, subscribe to them. Search their archives. What do you like about the ezine? What do you not like? What can you do better or differently from them? What can you learn from them?
Look at the ezine not just as a business owner with an eye for marketing but also review it from the eye of a consumer. It is vitally important throughout this entire process that you are able to get inside the head of your consumer.
Expect that you will take approximately 8-10 hours to craft your first ezine. After than, you can expect it to take approximately 4-5 hours per issue depending on how you’re distributing the ezine and how much copy you plan on offering. Set aside an hour and a half per article if you’re writing them all yourself.
• Creating the original design format for ezine 6 hours• Creating the copy-2 hours (for a 1 or 2 article ezine)• Formatting the ezine-1 hour• Sending the ezine-10 minutes• Testing/tracking-1 hour per ezine
As you develop a method for creating your ezine this process can be significantly shortened. I’m a writer so it takes me much less time to craft the copy but my graphic design skills are shall we say…challenged so it takes me much more time to design and format a ezine.
Regardless, the initial time commitment will be greatly shortened as you become more accustomed to the process. So don’t be deterred by the initial time commitment.