What are the 10 “New Rules” for effective ezines? Here are a few tips that are shaping effective ezines today.
1. Headlines are more crucial than ever. A cleverly crafted headline (or subject line for email) will determine if your email gets opened and read or not. Those headlines that can appeal to reader’s desires on an emotional level will be more effective. “Insider secrets,” “5 tips you can apply now to save time/money/energy,” and “What they don’t want you to know,” are examples of titles that work because they are compelling. They offer a promise to solve a problem. They leave the reader with great curiosity. They seduce the reader to open and read the email.
2. Keywords should be placed in the headline. Use them again in the first paragraph, and repeat several times in the body of the content. When somebody sits down and types keywords into a search engine looking for information they need, will your content be found?
3. Content length should be short and to the point. Once you write your message, review it and delete as many words as possible. Ask, “So what?” to each sentence. Keep the focus on your core intention for that email message.
4. Use bulleted lists to provide readers a means to scan your points. Remember the Jakob Neilsen survey that showed only 11 percent read an email thoroughly? Make your messages user-friendly. Oh, and use keywords in both your bullet points and your sub-headings.
5. Use stories to make it real to readers. Use your own experiences, or those of your clients. One tactic is to use your own mistakes, and then describe a lesson learned. This is because you want readers to trust you.
6. Always write with the reader in mind. Focus on providing solutions to their pain.
7. The purpose of the content should be clear. Each email should have one intention only. One subject, one call to action.
8. Use statistics, testimonials, case studies, and expert references to support your point. Never forget that readers have sensitive BS antennae and a finger poised on the delete key. Don’t waste their time.
9. Make an offer clearly. Be transparent, and up-front. Give them a “reason-why” and a reason to act now. Whether you are selling a product or a service, help reduce the readers’ fear of risk. Stand behind what you offer.
10. Go easy on the hype. A good tip is to read your content out loud. If it sounds like a commercial, rewrite it to sound like part of a conversation. Be friendly, yet professional. Over-use of power-words will trigger the delete finger.