How to Build an Ezine List from Absolutely Nothing

Yesterday I was coaching a client who presented me with a not-very-unique problem. We'd just put the finishing touches on her website and blog, and were about to embark on promoting her new workshop series.

"Just one problem," she said. "I have absolutely no one to promote them to."

"Well, surely you have someone - like maybe a thousand? Or 500?" I asked hopefully.

"Nope," she replied. "I have... like, zero."

Wow. OK, I thought, let's just put together some speedy and highly visible ways to get folks on your list. And as I thought about it, a number of excellent ways leapt to mind.

Here's my foolproof way to build your list to thousands in a relatively short time. (But you do have to do these steps ... like, REALLY, honestly do them ... or it won't work.)

1. Get a kickass bonus. There's just no other way to put it. Your bonus has to be something everybody wants and simply can't resist. Mine for this newsletter used to be a list of '25 Top Self Help Literary Agents'. Which worked pretty well, except that this limited my market to self help authors. Then I changed it to the more general 'Suzanne's Top 50 Media & Publishing Contacts' and that works MUCH better. If folks want your bonus, they'll also get your ezine - because you'll be adding them to your list.

2. Hold a contest. Last spring I doubled my list and my web visitors by inviting 12 partners to help me put a $4500 Marketing Makeover contest. They all got lots of exposure, and I got lots of entries - almost 1500. And you can bet every one of those entrants got on my ezine list as well. I let them know that joining was the 'price' of entering the contest. And they were happy to do so!

3. Announce your contest or other ezine give-away event on or any other press release submission service on the Web. But be sure to only plant press releases that are truly newsworthy, and thus likely to get press attention. Even if the media don't use your words this time, they'll hopefully file you as an expert for future use.

4. Give away a bonus for other sites to use based on your ezine. A popular web marketing technique is the special one or two-day promo that offers big bonus lists when you buy a certain product on those particular days. (I cover this promo technique in more detail in my e-book/binder, Get Known Now; How to Build Your Platform as a Self Help Expert.) So collect some of your best ezine essays, pack 'em up in a downloadable PDF-based e-book, and offer it as a bonus these sites can use in their special promos. Don't forget juicy descriptive copy about your ezine, and a subscribe link at the end of your e-book. I've gotten hundreds of new readers this way, and plenty of hits on my sites.

5. Sponsor other people's contests. Give away copies of your bonus (and ezine) to pertinent groups, contests, and conferences that request it, regardless of size. (Make sure their target market matches yours.) Simply run an announcement in your ezine that you'd be happy to sponsor comparable events. Ask them to provide a URL for an event description so you know it's legit. Then offer up your gifts, and ask for a plug for your ezine on their site and in their materials (i.e. handouts, goodie bags, etc.) and for them to talk up your dazzling freebie, as well.

6. Give away something totally unique in your content. Who's not covering something important in your world? (And remember, your ezine can be really short.) One of my favorites - at (Totally Unique Thoughts) - is only a few sentences long. But it's got GREAT pass-along value, and has a huge list of 40,000 because of it. Think about what info you could offer that would REALLY motivate folks to forward the email to friends. And make sure your 'Join Here' info is really prominent in each email.

7. Brevity is key. As proves, brevity is key. Make sure your ezine doesn't blab on forever but is so pungent, and boiled down to the essence that in our time-pressed era, anyone can make time for it.

8. Feature the bonus attached to your ezine in all of your email signatures. Again and again and again. And be sure to make it sound tantalizing AND hyperlink it. And while you're at it, load the graphic of that bonus up high on the typelist (margins) of your blog with a direct link to sign up.

9. Consider Google Adwords or other pay-per-click search engine listings. Google's got the biggest, and for many categories, the most expensive ads but you can't beat the tra.ffic. (There's some great information on how to manage this business at for free pointers on how to use Google Adwords effectively.) And drop by my blog at as I play with a Google campaign to build my list ... and post about the results.

Download Suzanne's free list of 50 Top Publishing & Media contacts at . Drop by her blog at www.painlessselfpromotion for almost daily tips on how to get known now, the easy way!

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