One of the toughest teachers I ever had in all of my years of schooling drummed that little chestnut into my head. One year under her strict tutelage taught me to hesitate and resist when presented with something that promised to be “the easy way” of completing a task. As much as I might not have enjoyed it then, I’m grateful for that life lesson, as it has helped me to achieve all that I have.
But…and there’s always a “but”…should we shun all things that are easy?
There’s no easy way to succeed in business. If there is, I have yet to learn of it. Success comes through hard work: work done the hard way. That said, there are ways of achieving success and boosting business that are conceptually easy.
Consider the ezine.
For those unfamiliar with the term, an ezine is a type of electronic newsletter sent out to customers and/or subscribers. Business owners can center an ezine on any topic they deem suitable, although it is advisable to adhere to topics closest to their area of expertise. The ezine allows the business owner to share knowledge in meaningful ways with readers, enabling the business to grow in value to its customers and/or subscribers and to maintain an active and relevant presence in their lives. That is an enormous benefit to your business for, comparatively, a little work.
Even so, there are some important strategies involved in creating an ezine that will work for your business. Here are a few:
Know your audience. This means knowing not only the demographics of your readers, but also their interests, and writing accordingly. While it is best to stick to a topic on which you are an authority, you need to consider what areas of that subject are of greatest interest to your readers. Talk to your customers. More importantly, listen. You’ll find that the ideas will spring from these conversations and messages.
Read some other ezines. This is in no way advocating plagiarism. What this means is to view other established ezines to understand what works and what doesn’t. Take notice of the way fonts and graphics are used (or not used). Are the articles using a “how-to” format? Are they humorous or serious in nature? Do they tend to have a more personal or businesslike tone? By reading other ezines you will be able to make decisions regarding the style and direction that will most likely be of interest to your potential readers and will be of greatest benefit to your business.
Get assistance. The truth is that not everyone is a gifted writer. While you can certainly work on developing this skill, the best place to practice probably isn’t in a publication that will be sent out to your customers. It is highly advisable, if writing isn’t your strong suit, to seek out the help of someone in your company who does write well or to hire a writer to do the job for you (or with you). As trivial as it may seem, readers notice things such as poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Fairly or unfairly, this can give a negative impression of the way you conduct business.
Be consistent! Determine how often you will send out your publication, and, by all means, stick to that schedule! Your consistency in the release of your ezine speaks volumes to your customers about the dependability of your company. This is an easy way to earn people’s trust, even before they actually become your regular customers. It tells them, “We’re here, we’re experts, and we’re reliable.” What a simple way to send a message that can take years to convey!
Keep it pithy, yet informative. This is not War and Peace. Keep your articles brief and to the point, preferably between 300-500 words. Remember that your readers are there to take away something they did not have before. That is what makes your ezine (and your business) valuable to them. Always offer content that is interesting and will impart knowledge. You are building up your credibility with each article.
By keeping these strategies in mind, you will be able to craft an ezine with articles that attract readers and inspire confidence and trust in your company, converting readers into buyers.
How easy is that?
This post is from Bola Olonisakin, Creative Head & Online Strategist at GTechDesigns LLC. Bola specializes in web design and development techniques, standards and methodology. She works to enable organizations to grow their web strategy and increase the visibility of their websites. If you’re interested in improving your web presence, feel free to contact her at [email protected], or @gtechdesigns on Twitter. This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com.