When it comes to advertising, I've tried just about everything. I tried free classified ad sites, I tried FFA sites, I tried banner exchange programs.
The results? Not much.
I was tired of hearing that the Internet is the largest market in human history. Maybe so, but how could I reach those millions of people?
The answer, I discovered, is ezine advertising.
Ezines are sometimes called "opt-in" lists because everyone who receives an ezine has chosen to do so.
And that's why ezine advertising gets results. People read ezines and they'll read your ad. And if you've matched the ezine to the product you're selling, you've reached your target audience.
There are currently around 90,000 ezines being published every month. So whatever you're selling, there's more than likely an ezine that will take your ad straight to the audience you want to reach.
Ezine advertising is not only effective, it's cheap as well. A 5 line ad in an ezine that goes to 3000 people will cost you between US$5 and $20 per issue. As a general rule, you'll always get back at least the cost of the ad, and usually much more. So there's very little risk.
Here are some tips for successful ezine advertising:
- The first and most important rule is:
"Track your Ads!" Say you place an ad in 5 different ezines and get a hundred responses. If you don't track your ads, you won't know which ezines were pulling responses and which weren't.
But how do you track your ads?
The simplest method is to place a key or a code at the end of your email address:
Then, when you get a reply with 'ezineA' in the subject field, you'll know which ezine it came from.
For a URL, it's the same principle:
However, if you're going to code your URLs, you'll need a good webstats program to track the coded URLs. These two programs are excellent and they're both free:
Here's another way to code your URLs: for every ezine ad, create a duplicate of your homepage and name the page after the ezine that your ad will appear in. So, if the ad is appearing in EzineA, this is the URL you'd place in that ad:
- Target your audience.
It may seem obvious but some advertisers overlook this. If you're selling a web-marketing course, don't advertise in an ezine that deals with stock options; they probably won't be interested.
Use the *subject categories* in any ezine directory to find ezines that relate to the product you're selling. You can find a list of 56 ezine directories in 'The Free Directory of Ezines' at:
- Once you've chosen a number of ezines that target your audience, subscribe to them and examine the ads closely. If you see an ad that keeps repeating issue after issue, you can be pretty sure that it's getting results. You've found a good ezine to advertise in.
- Check to see how many ads are in the ezine. You probably won't get much response from an ad in an ezine that has 15 or 20 ads per issue. Readers of those ezines have become hardened to the ads and have learnt to skip them.
- Check to see if the ezine publisher has a policy of never running ads for two similar products in the same issue - your ad will be much more effective if it's the only one of it's kind in that particular issue.
- Small ezines vs. Big ezines:
bigger is not always better. The big ezines with 1000's of subscribers tend to have more ads than the small ezines. Also, small ezines with only a few hundred subscribers often have a much more targeted audience than the big ezines.
- Repeat your ads.
Research shows that off the Web, an ad has to be seen about 21 times before someone acts on it; on the Internet it's about 9 times. If your budget allows, try and have your ad repeated at least three times in a particular ezine. Most ezines offer discount packages for bulk advertising.
- Email address vs. URL:
The advantage of giving an email address is that it gives you the opportunity to send a powerful sales letter to the person who responded to your ad. It's also much easier to track your ads with an email address than a URL.
- Offer something free in your ad copy.
It'll often tip the balance between a response and no response.
- Keep your ads short, even if you're not using the number of words you're allowed. Short ads are more likely to be read. Keep your sentences short too; they pack much more power. Use the word 'You'. Don't describe your product but tell the reader what your product can do for them.
Michael Southon is the publisher of The Free Directory of Ezines.
He is also the Editor of 'FreeZine Express', a twice-monthly newsletter that brings you details of new Ezines added to the TFDE as well as Articles and Tips on Ezine Advertising and Ezine Publishing. To subscribe, send a blank email.