tips to make your e-newsletter sell, Part II
By Debbie Weil
Publisher, WordBiz Report
Is there a formula
behind an e-newsletter or ezine that consistently sells your products or services?
I spoke with Joan Stewart, aka The
Publicity Hound, who has been publishing her eponymous ezine (about
how to get free publicity) for over three years. 173 issues and over 8,900 subscribers
later, she's got a formula that works.
Following her advice
to keep it short, here are her top 5 tips on how to sell through your e-newsletter:
1. Fanatical consistency
She is “absolutely fanatical” about publishing every week, including Christmas
and New Year's. Thus both the schedule and content of her ezine is predictable.
Readers know what to expect - and when.
By listening carefully to feedback and questions from her subscribers (a mix
of corporate and small business), she knows what problems they are facing. “Readers
get bored if you promote the same product week after week,” Joan said. “They
have different problems they want to solve so you have to have different products
that offer a variety of solutions.”
She now has over 100 products in her online store. Mainly, digital special reports
along with audiotapes and CDs (the latter are derived from her teleseminars).
“That's over 100 problems I can offer free advice on in my newsletter.”
3. Extract 3 to 5 content tips from a product
When she's planning an issue of her ezine, she selects a product she
wants to promote. It can be new or 2 years old. She extracts from it “anywhere
from 3 to 5 content-rich tips that people can use and benefit from even if they
never want to spend a penny with me.” She writes a mini article (200 - 300 words)
incorporating those tips.
4. Pair content with promotion
After this feature, she pitches the product “in one short paragraph”
(100 words or less). She uses a lead-in such as “Need more help solving this
problem? Need more ideas? Check out product title." Then she links
to that specific product page on her site.
Most of her products are in the $29.95 range. She may also bundle several products
together or offer a special 20 –30 percent off promotion.
A former journalist herself, Joan's writing style is clear and succinct. When
she makes the “ask,” it comes across as a natural progression of the content
preceding it. There's no hard sell.
In a nutshell, this is her secret formula: free advice paired with a product.
5. Sell easy-to-create products
One mistake a lot
of would-be information publishers make, Joan emphasizes, is to spend months
creating one high-priced product. Don't, she says! “The more narrowly you can
define your topic, the more you can sell. But to do that you have to have a
lot of products.”
She can crank out a special report “in one afternoon” on a topic related to
free publicity. They're generally 5 dense pages - “an inch wide and a mile deep,”
as she puts it.
Joan publishes The Publicity Hound every Tuesday in a no-frills, text-only
format. She says she's busy filling orders Tuesday and Wednesday. And they're
still trickling in on Thursday and Friday. Then her week starts over…
In 2004 she wants to surpass her monthly record of over $12,000 in sales of
products and consulting.
browse over 40 “free articles” on her site. Note that in each one she has links
leading to related products. It's the same formula: content + promotion.
more help in learning how to package and sell your content?
You might be interested in Joan's report "How to write and market special
It's packed with tips. For example: you don't have to be a Great American (or
other nationality!) Novelist. Special reports are how-to guides. You can develop
a format based on lists and bulleted items. Include a resource box at the end.
here for Joan's special report #20
You'll have to scroll down to find #20. Her special reports, 47 of them, are
USD $9 each.
Publicity Hound - Joan Stewart's site
Sign-up box for her ezine is on the top left-hand
corner of every page.
I of Adding up the 3 C's of an e-newsletter that sells
This article originally
appeared in the January 21, 2004 issue of WordBiz Report. Read
Part I here.