Back in 2005 when we first started Virtual Photography Studio, I did all kinds of studying on Internet marketing. I knew the best way to grow was to start up an email newsletter, so the VirtualPhotographyStudio Tips ezine was born.

Over the years I’ve changed the style, the look, and even how I produce my ezine, its still one of the best tools I have to market my business.

Whether you have produced your own ezine for years, or you are still looking at the possibility of starting one up, there are many things to consider as you are building.

No matter what type of photography you are in, your money will always be in your list. The only way your business will ever grow, will ever be profitable, and will ever succeed is if you create a list and market to them all the time. You can’t build a business by constantly looking for new clients in new ways. The only way to grow is to keep your existing list happy, and let them know what you are up to again and again. Which is why ezines are an amazing tool, and probably one of the most economical choices you can make.

I still talk with people who are trying to build and send an ezine on their own, with their own list in Outlook or some other program. Don’t do it. If you send large batches of email through your email program, your hosting service will quickly see it, and probably end up banning your account. They don’t want to be associated with spamming, and will quickly cut off anything that looks like it might be advertising. Instead, invest in a good ezine program – Constant Contact and aWeber are two great programs. I’ve used both, and currently prefer aWeber because it offers both autoresponder and ezine options for the same low price. I’ve used them for years, and have never been disappointed.

Is Email Dead?
While some might argue that email is a dying form of marketing, so why waste your time, I disagree. Yes, email has its problems. Right now, statistics show up to 90 percent of all email is spam. Studies show that college campuses don’t even offer email to its students because they never check it; instead they set up Facebook accounts and other forms of communication to stay in touch with their student population. But I also look to my own stats.

Right now I have a dozen or more people sign up for my ezine every single day. And on average, 40 to 60 percent of all my ezines and other email correspondence are opened up when I send it. Which means I have a ton of people actively wanting the information I provide. Why would I quit anything with that high of a response? The typical direct mail piece will only gain 1 to 3 percent action rate – my 40 to 60 percent blows that away!

My ezines have changed over time. Right now in every issue, you’ll receive an original article that you can’t find anywhere else – its written specifically for my ezine customers. And you’ll see two of my best blog posts from the previous two weeks. And you’ll gain a little inside information about my business, and the personal side of what we do here. That’s the format I’ve found works best for me. Because I have my template set up, and know exactly how to put the format into place, it takes me 30 to 60 minutes to prepare.

Turning To Social
When you create an ezine, you’ll start from ground zero, meaning you’ll have no signups. The most important thing to remember is everyone starts at zero. You just have to put it in place, and give people a reason to sign up. Your signup box should be at the top of your website or blog, and should be located on the sidebar of your blog, and even within your navigation. If you want people to sign up, you have to make it obvious and easy for them to do.

While just getting people to sign up for an ezine was easy a few years ago, now its more important than ever to add a little more. Free report, free consultations, a coupon for something free – anything to give value to the person when they enter your site, and entice them to want to give over their email address in exchange for what you have to offer. Your ezine is included in the offer.

While its important to have your signup box on your website or blog, its equally important to include it on your social sites. If you’ve never visited our VirtualPhotographyStudio Facebook page, you’ll be taken to our Get Started section, which has a signup for our ezine. My goal is to also gain people through Facebook into my email list as well – and it works. They never have to visit my blog, and they’ll still receive my ezines every month.

While Facebook makes it easy, it doesn’t have to stop there. Using other social sites like Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, you can build a following, and direct them to your blog with every new post you create. If they like what they see, they’ll sign up for your ezine – that’s how I gain a dozen or more new signups every day.

As you worked your way through this post, hopefully you’ve taken note on how to grow your own email list. To provide you with a step by step list, here are the 10 steps to attracting more email subscribers to your list:

1. Register an aWeber account to manage your subscriber list.

2. Add a signup box onto your website and blog.

3. Create a page for your ezine describing it in detail, and place it on your site within your navigation.

4. Create a free report or give something of value to entice them to sign up.

5. Create a template for your ezine. Custom design one to match your site for branding.

6. Create the format. What will you write about? What will you say?

7. Schedule your ezines. When will you deliver them? You should always deliver your ezine on time and on topic to keep your readers happy.

8. Create a Facebook fan page, and add your signup box.

9. Create other social accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn) and begin growing an active list.

10. Stay active. Whether on your Facebook account, or within your own blog and ezine list, action is key. You have to keep doing it in order to make it work for you.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter, or click the Like button below. And if you haven’t signed up for my ezine yet, what are you waiting for?

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