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February 14, 2000

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' WEBSITE101: READING LIST
Reaching Great Minds Online
February 14, 2000 Issue #31
Mike Valentine, Editor, learn@website101.com

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By subscription only Welcome to the February 14, 2000 issue

"WEBSITE101: READING LIST".

You are receiving this issue because you subscribed or
because you requested our Free WebSite101 Short Course.
Unsubscribe by using the address at the bottom of page.


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IN THIS ISSUE HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
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=> Sponsor Ad: INTERNET BOOT CAMP!
=> Feature article: How to Edit a Newsletter
=> Our Guest Column: I Couldn't Live Without It
=> HOT TIP! Free Download eHits Marketing Course!
=> Classifieds
=> Subscribe/Unsubscribe information


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How do You Edit a Newsletter?

by Mike Banks Valentine

This week I was asked what is involved in editing a
newsletter and thought I'd pass it along to this list
since I advocate EVERY webmaster have a regular e-mail
newsletter to keep in touch with potential clients and
create a sense of community within their audience of
web site visitors.

Editing involves proofreading articles for spelling,
punctuation, grammar and readablility. There is also
formatting the newsletters so that all mail clients
from Eudora to Netscape Messenger to Outlook Express
can see a properly displayed page with word wrap set
at a maximum 65 characters per line. Use a fixed-
width font such as courier new to view your work as
it will be seen in mail clients that require them.

Then any stylistic concerns like indenting paragraphs,
double spacing between sentences and using specific
"spacer characters" such as asterisks or dashes used to
create a specific look for each ezine.

Gathering and editing material or writing original
material for each issue is also an important task.
Understanding list management software commands and/or
list host user interface. Knowing how your work will
perform (mailto and hypertext links) in AOL mail
clients. Setting up advertiser links to track responses
and determine "ROI" for their ad dollars. (Here's a good
one to try http://www.roibot.com/w.cgi?R263_ROIbot for
free trial)

Dealing with advertisers by phone fax and email for ad
supported lists is critical for businesses that
value their subscriber lists as traffic generators and
advertising vehicles. (Love those machinery metaphors!)

So, there you have a job description for an editor/ list
manager. This is a position every webmaster should strive
to fill with either a qualified editor or learn to handle
themselves. An editor and list manager can make or break
your list and dramatically affect your online business!


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I Couldn't Live Without It

by June Campbell

Man oh man, I am so excited about all these amazing products
and services for sale on the Web. I know they must be amazing
and wonderful because of the glowing testimonials that people
are offering. Everywhere I turn, people are urging me to
purchase the miracle product that allowed them to make fantastic
sales the very first month they used it. Why, I've seen people
saying that thanks to the miracle product, they brought in an
additional $16,000 per month or $20,000 or even more.

Wow. Do the math. At $16,000 a month, that's $192,000 a year
EXTRA on top of what they were already making. Just for investing
a relatively small amount of money in a marketing course or a
piece of software or a service of some sort. At that rate, you
could work one day a year (maybe less) and basically retire!
What's even more amazing, these great people are willing to
share their secrets with me so I can do the same.

There is only one problem. Almost all of these testimonials are
fabricated. Thanks to the proliferation of associate and reseller
programs on the Net, hundreds of thousands of resellers are trying
to peddle someone else's wares -- using testimonials written by
marketers and provided for the associate's use. Resellers may or
may not customize them for a little authenticity.

Want to know just how far it can go? I'm an associate reseller
for a few products that I have used and found worthwhile. Recently,
I received an exuberant email from one of the marketers urging me
to participate in a "testimonial" contest. The associate who writes
the best testimonial will receive a prize worth several hundred
dollars. The email even suggested that I might let people know
that thanks to their product, I am now bringing in an additional
$16,000 a month or more….

I use testimonials on my web site. All of my testimonials are
unsolicited, and all are published with the writer's consent.
All contain a link so viewers can verify the accuracy. Of course,
given that my testimonials are genuine, they lack the wild
enthusiasm that you find in the other variety. I'm more likely to
get a nice thank you note from someone who says they are using my
products and find them worthwhile.

On a similar note, I have been astonished to find testimonials
written by myself on a few web sites. Interestingly, I was quoted
accurately, as far as it went, but the remarks were distorted and
taken out of context. They were not what I would have said had I
known I was providing a testimonial.

This proliferation of phony testimonials troubles me for two
reasons.

First, I am concerned that the public, who are not stupid after
all, are becoming increasing skeptical about testimonials. At one
time, a good testimonial was one of the most effective sales
strategies you could use. Is this still true? We may be in danger
of losing one of the strongest tools in our sales arsenal.

My second concern about the use of fabricated testimonials is
that of lost credibility. Speaking for myself, once I have reason
to doubt the integrity of a sales message, I look elsewhere for a
place to spend my cash. I'm not alone. Surveys reveal that Web
shoppers rate a merchant's credibility as their number one concern.
Knowing that, can we afford to practice anything other than complete
integrity?

Just my opinion, but I think not.


June Campbell is a professional writer whose work has appeared in
a several international print and online publications. Visit her
on the Web for a FREE newsletter,FREE gifts, articles, guides for
proposal writing, business plan development and more.
http://www.nightcats.com).



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Copyright © 2000 Mike Valentine

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-------------------WebSite101: Reading List-------------------
ISSN: 1527-5094
Mike Valentine
WebSite 101
learn@website101.com







 

   
 
 
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  June 9, 2001