e-mail marketing via newsletters and
e-zines !
MARCH 31, 1999

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A Short Weekly Tip-Sheet for Small Business Web Masters
March 31, 1999 Issue #5
Mike Valentine, Editor,


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by Mike Valentine

THE LATEST BUZZ around the internet about effective web
business is all about e-mail marketing via newsletters and
e-zines. We discussed the value of these approaches in last
week's issue and have since received several requests for
advice on how to set up and produce a regular e-zine like
the Reading List. This week's guest column by Nancy Roebke
discusses the first steps to take toward that goal.

This week I'll repeat one line from the previous issue to
emphasize the importance of staying within sight of your
CLIENTS! You have no doubt noticed the increase in contact
from online businesses in the frequency of their news and
product updates that come via e-mail to your mailbox. This
is only likely to increase as more of them establish and
maintain a database of customers' e-mail addresses.

Heated debate over the issue of SPAM, even hair-splitting
definitions have cropped up on forums and bulletin boards.
UCE or Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, seems to be getting
lots of attention lately as get-rich-quick-fly-by-night
operations spring up to take advantage of the web and it's
relative anonymity. Everyone seems to be taking a stand
firmly on one or the other side of this splintered fence.

Responsible OPT-IN lists are the only way to avoid the
anger and heat generated by the topic of SPAM. If you're
planning on starting your own e-mail list, be sure that
you use the opt-in model to establish your readership!
Many list hosts like ListBot and Onelist as well as a
new list server at Internet-Gazette require a follow-up
reply from new members to confirm that they truly WANT
to receive your e-mail. So there can be no confusion
about subscriptions. The list server maintains secure
lists that are protected from the SPAMsters.

Regular, valuable content is the only way to avoid
ANNOYING your subscribers. Entertain, instruct, amuse
or delight your list members with valuable offers like
contests or freebies. You'll find that your e-mail is
greeted like a ladybug or a fluttering butterfly by the
recipients when you offer content. If you loudly buzz
in and annoy them with "BUY YOUR WIDGET FROM ME!!" Your
customers will delete your messages then swat you like a
fly and unsubscribe.


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by Nancy Roebke

I Want To Start An E-zine. Can You Help?

Q. When Richard Bridle wrote the following to me, he
touched on a few questions that are often asked about
starting an ezine. Here's what he said:

Have found your newsletter a great inspiration over the
months, and have always found time to sit down and read it.
You have given me an idea about doing a similar thing within
my own profession, with the aim of linking colleagues in the
academic side with those in commerce, do you think it could
work as a kind of forum for discussion, with contributions
invited on a subject and responses published monthly on a
linked website?? How would you go about it? At the moment we
have no such link or network. Should I mass e-mail, where do
I get the addresses from?

A. Here's a brief outline for getting an ezine up and running.

1. Determine the "topic" of the ezine. You have a field of
expertise. That's a great place to start for the "topic".

2. Determine how you will deliver the ezine. You may need a
list host to manage the subscriber base you will end up with.
Some folks have started their ezine using their e-mailer
program. Others have started one using free list hosting.
Each one has it's challenges. I elected to pay to have this
one hosted. I have never had any downtime, my subscriber
addresses are "secure", and I find it easy to manage.

3. Determine the frequency of your publication.

4. Determine the format- What information will you share,
where will you get it from, will you have ads, will you
accept ads from other folks? You mention putting your ezine
on a website.. good thinking.. but it shouldn't be the ONLY
way to get your ezine. You'd be floored by the number of
folks who only have/use e-mail. If your ezine is ONLY on a
website, those folks can/will never subscribe.

5. You talked about a Q and A section. I find this format
quite beneficial- to me as an editor and to my readers. I
get to see what areas people would like help in and my
readers get to find sources for answers to their questions.

6. Determine who you will get your subscribers. There are
lots of ways to do that- put mass e-mailing to unexpecting
folks isn't one of them. I took the subscriber base of this
ezine from 0-5000 subscribers in ten months doing two things
- promoting this in my sig and offering an interactive page
on my site that states that participants will be subscribed.
You can also run ads, do ad exchanges, write articles ...
and a slew of other things... but do not spam.. It hurts you
more than you realize.

Nancy Roebke
Learn to Network!
Increase income, cut costs, and put an end to cold calling.
Subscribe to our FREE newsletter that teaches you the secrets
of successful networking.

ProfNet- Helping Business Professionals Find More Business
How to be a guest columnist:

We are always looking for great ideas to help small business
webmasters increase their online effectiveness and profits.
If you have a great idea or a promotional tool that would
help your fellow subscribers succeed, Please submit them to or at

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which are Myron and Marilee Miller! Congratulations!
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Copyright 1999 Mike Valentine

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