|Loyal Readers or Subscribers?
By Kate Schultz
When you think of
your subscriber base, do you have loyal e-zine readers or just a bunch
You can develop legions of loyal readers by developing an
interactive relationship with your readers through the use of some proven
reader response mechanisms.
A "Reader Response Mechanism" is merely a tool that
encourages your readers to respond to your messages by sending you
1. Letters To The Editor
Ask your readers for opinions and then feature one or more of their opinions
in your newsletter. Pretty soon you'll be getting letters to the
editor about letters to the editor. Always ask, "So,
what do you think?"
2. Ask The Expert
This type of column provides you with the opportunity to find out exactly
what your readers want to know. Answer your readers' questions and
then carefully consider how to best use this information when
developing material for future issues. By providing the answers
to these questions, you also present yourself as an expert and
boost your credibility with your readers.
3. Survey Your Readers
This can be done easily enough by sponsoring a "Question of the
Week," or placing polls or surveys on your Website. I often
hear publishers lament their poor response from surveys. Perhaps
this is because they are asking for too much too soon. For best
results, follow these 4 simple rules:
a. Keep it short: Even your
loyal readers are busy. Don't
make them jump through a lot of hoops.
survey should take less than 30 seconds or you've
b. Make it easy to use: If it's
an e-mail survey, give
them a separate e-mail address to use. If
it's a link to
an online poll or survey, limit it to three
choice answers -- click three times and submit.
c. Create an entertaining survey or
poll. Think "Cosmo
d. Keep it anonymous: Always
provide the option for your
readers to submit their answers anonymously,
Post the results in every newsletter. If you have a
question of the week and post your results, sooner or later even the
diehards will be curious enough to participate.
4. Hold Contests
Offer a valuable prize in exchange for demographic information.
Put an entry form on your site and try to gather some basic demographic
information such as: age, gender, and zip code. Always include
an area for free-form comments. Of course, you need to collect
their e-mail address so that you can notify the winner. Be sure
to disclose what you will do with the information provided.
Popular contest prizes are books, videos, CDs and software.
Choose one that will be of interest to your readers.
5. Meet And Greet
Get out and meet your readers face to face. If you are attending
trade shows, events, demonstrations or workshops, use these events to
meet with and talk to your readers. Participating as a guest on
radio programs is another excellent way to actually get to know your
When you ask for feedback from your readers, you learn about
their passions and interests. Armed with this very specific
information ABOUT your readers, FROM your readers, you can present
them with high quality, relevant content. The more they
like your e-zine, the more likely they are to go from passive readers
to active participants in your newsletter community.
Schultz is the founder of the renowned EzineUniversity, and
the co-founder of E-Zinez -- the premier newsletter for e-zine
Her new book, “Ezine
Adrenaline: How to Create, Publish and Market A Profitable E-Zine
on the Internet” is the definitive guide to high-octane
e-zine marketing, and contains the fastest cash-producing
e-zine tactics that give a dose of adrenaline to any Web