Five years ago today — with my heart beating a mile a minute — I hit “send” on my very first eZine.
Back then, I was still playing music, and my eZine was called “Live Creative.” I had 3000 subscribers. Up til that point, I sent out a monthly update to my list (when I remembered to send it). I was making about $150,000 a year.
In just five short years, my list has grown to almost 30,000 people. (We’ve added a zero.) My business model changed completely. And we’ve added a zero to our income – shooting Uplevel YOU well into the 7-figures for the last three years.
I’ve learned much from having an eZine, and I now teach my own signature blend of strategies to my students in my Uplevel your Business Program. Here are five of the most important lessons I’ve gotten along the way…
eZine Lesson #1 – eZines aren’t dead
Recently, an internet marketer (who was wearing so much hair product that he resembled the heat-miser) gave me his opinion on eZines:
“Ezines and newsletters? They’re dead. They don’t work.”
Hmmmm. My subscribers never got that memo.
I make it a policy to do what works, regardless of the latest marketing wisdom being spouted off. In my experience, eZines are not dead.
If your eZine gives value and gets real, your ideal client will open it over and over again. Yes, it does take focus and time to make this happen. (This is why I devote an entire module to it in my Uplevel Your Business program.) So, while eZines aren’t dead… they also can’t be robotic, like so much of the email in your inbox.
eZine Lesson #2 – Consistency builds trust
One of my favorite moments at Uplevel Your Business LIVE this year:
A woman stood up at the mic to share how angry she was at me for leaving my music career to start Uplevel YOU, and how she threw out all of my CD’s, and told all her friends I had sold out.
“But I kept getting your eZine,” she said. “And one day, I saw it in my inbox and said to myself, ‘Hey, I liked her songs. Maybe I’ll like her articles. And I did! And I’m here!”
If I hadn’t been the one to consistently continue the relationship, she would’ve given up on me. I had to show up. Not just once. But over and over again. Consistency builds trust. And people buy from people they trust.
eZine Lesson #3 – Weekly. Not bi-weekly. Not monthly.
When you first start an eZine, it may feel scary to be on a weekly schedule. It can seem like a lot. But it’s not. It’s actually much easier on you AND on your readers.
When people come to expect your ezine on Wednesdays, for instance, they know it will be there, even if they don’t have time to open it. A monthly eZine can get confusing because they’ve had a lot of time to NOT think about you.
And second, when you deliver weekly, you can make it more “bite-sized” for people. You don’t have to fire-hose them with all of your news for the month.
eZine Lesson #4 – Get personal
My client Sue Ludwig is President and Founder of the National Association of Neonatal Therapists. At Uplevel Your Business LIVE last year, I showed an example of Sue’s association eZine next to an example of another association newsletter in her industry.
Sue’s ezine connects, gets real and adds value. The other one is stiff, formal and “medical.” The audience laughed out loud at the staggering contrast. Both associations are trying to reach the same audience. But guess who has sold out her annual conference for three years in a row? Guess who is growing at a staggering rate, getting corporate sponsorships, and working with luminaries like Brene Brown and Jill Bolte Taylor? Sue! Because she insists on being real. She is not afraid to have soul. After all, her readers do!
The question of vulnerability is a big one these days. Many of us grew up with slick corporate models of business. Yet, our clients and customers need models, not facades and phoniness. It’s okay to be real and get personal. Share what you do and who you are, not just a slick exterior.
eZine Lesson #5 – Unsubscribes do not mean you suck.
Okay, listen closely here.
Do not…do NOT… DO NOT set up your system to email you every time a reader unsubscribes. Similarly, don’t check your unsubscribes everyday. This is death to your confidence and it doesn’t serve you.
Analytics are important. Open rates are important. If you suddenly have hundreds of unsubscribes, that would be important. However, the best way to keep track is to create a dashboard of the key numbers you need to view. Better yet, have your assistant gather the data… then you can review it weekly or monthly.
Got any lessons to add? Got any questions for me about starting an eZine? Let me know in the comments!