Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Lessons Learned From Becoming a Self-Publisher on the Web, by David Strom

Use Email to Get the Word Out

[]December describes promotion and marketing at CMC Magazine.

The best Web publications make use of email as an effective marketing tool for the Web content, notifying your reader/viewers when something is new on a regular basis. While there are products out that can notify you when a page is updated (most notably, First Floor), for the most part people on the Internet are email-driven. Many of us use our email inbox as our official "to do" list dumping ground: as long as that inbound email message sits their staring at us, it is an action item. So why not capitalize on this and use it to your advantage when it comes to promoting your Web site and attracting traffic?

Now, I am not advocating spamming by any means: be appropriate in your blasts of email, keep them short (under 5 k bytes is ideal), infrequent (somewhere between monthly and weekly is about right), and to the point. Go back and read point #4 about community again.

Of course, it helps to have some content in the email message, and not just be a promotional puff piece. Cathy Pacific airlines' CyberTraveller uses emails to their advantage: they tell frequent flyers of their latest award-redemption bargains in a message and then point them to the Web site for more details. Terrific--and better yet, these emails don't come that often that they loose their impact.

Email is an important part of my own Web publishing venture. I send out about three messages per month to my own mailing list: these messages are medium-length (800 words or so) essays about Web marketing topics. They are sent in HTML format, which I though would be a nice way for people to get them so the links are live and I have some control over the look and feel of the message. I am surprised that more people haven't adopted this particular style yet--but I guess that shows that Web browsers aren't as prevalent as we all possibly have thought. (On a side note, it is interesting how hard it is for many of my reader/viewers to know how to save their messages into a file and then be able to read it into their browser. Such "easy to use" systems such as America On-Line make this particular series of tasks difficult.) --

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