Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Internet Marketing > Affiliate Marketing


By Michael LaRocca
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I've been asked this question. My newsletter--let's be honest-- is just a sales pitch for fans of a nobody named Michael LaRocca. Here I sit, not yet published, with 421 subscribers. That's one heck of a fan base.

Okay, I've been published since making that statement, but the question remains. 421 subscribers in four months with no product to sell. What is my secret?

Let's look at what I just said. "No product to sell." I've been sending out newsletters for four months, and I've written about 20 of them. One issue had a product to sell. What could I possibly have written about in the other 19?

It doesn't matter. The point is, I wasn't "selling" anything. People do not want to check the email box and find somebody trying to sell him something every damn time he writes. They want something that will help them, or something that's interesting, or something that's just plain funny. If you get someone to subscribe to your newsletter, and the newsletter gives him/her nothing but a sales pitch, he leaves.

Every time I send out a newsletter, I lose about two subscribers. But the rest just keep reading. That's the first point. Make it a good newsletter. Otherwise, all those people who joined the list "just to see what it's about" won't stick around. If that's the case, all the promotion in the world won't help you.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's assume your newsletter totally rocks. Let's assume it's so well written that every person on the planet who sees it wants to bear your children. It won't do you a bit of good if people don't know your newsletter exists. And that's really what this article is about. How to tell them.


Since you have a newsletter, you should start by listing it in all the newsletters that do nothing except announce new newsletters. Who would subscribe to such a newsletter? Not me. I presume that the subscribers are folks with waaaay too much free time on their hands. Just the sort of people I'm after.

What I did was visit each of the announcement lists, read their rules, and put together a single ad that is acceptable to them all. I saved the ad in a file along with their email addresses. As often as I'm allowed, I send the ad to the appropriate places and record the date that I did it. Some are weekly and some are monthly. Here's my list:

ListBot has no searchable database, but they tell me it's coming soon. I will look for "announce" and "promote" and add some lists to my list.

SmartGroups -,,

Topica -,,,,,,,,

Yahoogroups -,,,,,,,,,,,,,

As long as you're visiting the egroups, consider this. E-groups allow you to send a single email to everyone on the subscriber list. If you dive into every group you find and say, "Here's my site and here's what I'm selling," you're immediately identified as a spammer. People get pissed at you, and that's NOT the way to sell a book or a newsletter or anything else.

But here's what you do. As an example, let's say you wrote a book that's loaded with horse stuff. Find the groups where horsey people hang out. Join the conversations. Don't spam! Just have some fun talking about something you love, horses. Be as helpful as you can. At the end of each message, slip in your SIG. Your SIG will contain your website or newsletter address. You'll be surprised how many people "follow you home" and join your group.

Ask yourself why you're visiting my website or subscribing to my newsletter. (You are subscribing, aren't you? ( It's because I'm providing content you want and need, and am genuinely nice and helpful. That's just how I am, but it also happens to be a great sales gimmick. Remember that. Provide something USEFUL in those conversations, and casually slip in your URL. Don't just go plastering everyone with the same spam or they'll never forgive you.


If you have a newsletter, and you have a website, each can promote the other. Both are free, so if you don't have both, fix that right away.

Now if you have a newsletter but no website, you may be saying "I can't set up a website." Wrong! I'm not going to go into all the details because (1) There are too many and (2) There are far too many people more qualified than I am. But if you want some help getting started, visit (

The site mentioned above is my own. It's where I put info and links about the places that I've learned from. It'll get you started. What you want to remember is this. Don't go after writers. Yes, I did that, but don't follow my example. Go after readers. Always remember that when you market. Readers.

Another example. If you wrote a book which is full of action scenes on snowmobiles, put up a snowmobiling website. Don't put up a site that says "I'm Michael LaRocca. Buy my snowmobile novel." Who logs onto a search engine and specifically looks for Michael LaRocca? Nobody. If they knew who I was, I wouldn't have this marketing problem. No, bring in the snowmobilers. Create the ultimate source of snowmobile info, the kind of place that everyone who owns a snowmobile or is thinking of getting one will want to visit. Then slip in the mention of your book. Easy to see, but not overpowering. Do it right, and sales will take care of themselves.

What you'll have, if you can pull this off, is a website that's highly placed in the search engines every time someone logs into one and looks for snowmobile stuff. If all THOSE people visit your site, that's the kind of exposure you want.


This is my new pet theory. The Internet is overwhelmingly large. Nobody can take it all in. Nobody has the time or the desire. So what they do is form little "communities." Authors hang out over here, dog lovers over there, etc. We have our little address books, and we spam everyone on our list with tired jokes or "Hey guess what I did today" or whatever. We use little pieces of the Internet. If you've been to my site, odds are you're a writer. We have our community as well.

All writers visit Inscriptions, all writers visit their publishers' egroups, etc. But let's pretend you sell your book to everyone in your community, which you won't. What next? There aren't enough people in your community to make it worthwhile. I'm always looking for ways to get the word out to new communities.

As in, fire up a search engine and look for snowmobile sites. Go sign their guestbooks. Again, not with "visit my site!" Sign them with real comments and real content, and slip in that URL. Heck, sign guestbooks that have absolutely nothing to do with anything connected with your writing.

Ideally, you'll make it into word-of-mouth advertising. That's where some total stranger likes what you're doing so much that he tells his buddies, who tell their buddies, and so on. Shall we mention Mahir? That's the Turkish fellow who you may have seen playing ping-pong on David Letterman in red Speedos. Word-of mouth advertising made his site the success that it is today, and if we can be honest his site stinks.


Having said all that, there are some writer groups you must visit. ( is the first. Subscribe to it for the advice you'll receive. When you're published, mention that to them. It's free, and over 5000 subscribers will read your little blurb.

If you're an epublished author, EPIC and EPPRO come to mind next. Writer communities, but extremely helpful ones. You'll sell some books there, perhaps, but mainly you're in it for the advice. EPPRO is free. EPIC is $30/year. (Yes, I know I said "free" before, but I made an exception for EPIC.) The addresses are ( and (


You've got a newsletter, and I've got a newsletter. If I post a brief ad for your newsletter in mine, you post a brief ad for my newsletter in yours. That's an ad swap. Quick, painless, free. My readers can visit you or blow you off. They can join or not.

When I had 80 subscribers, the guys with 250 refused to swap ads because I was too small. I call them geeberheads. I've got 421 and I just swapped ads with a guy who has eight.

Anyway, look for ad swaps. Try not to put more than two per issue-- nobody wants to read dozens of ads. If you want to swap ads with me, I'm at


Log onto any search engine and look for this phrase, and you'll be amazed. I used a lot. Some are legit and others are FFA (Free-For- All) places where everybody on the site will spam you with their own classified. The biggest fish in the pond is ( and it's certainly worth a visit. Advertise both your site and your newsletter. Renew your ads whenever Yahoo automatically tells you that you should do it.


Back to my "community" theory. If you have a website, and it wins an award, the site that gave you that award will put you in its winner list. Now that's outside your community. Odds are it's full of award-seekers who will never visit your site, but I figure it can't hurt.

Banner ads stink. How many banners have you paid attention to lately? But awards may be different. When a search engine evaluates your site, it looks at how many other sites link to you, and how many other sites you link to. So I figure, why not award sites?

Award graphics take forever to load. So on my website is a link to my "Awards Page." I don't care if no one ever sees that page. It's just my way to display those awards. It also contains a list of over 800 awards. If you want to apply for some, the address is (


There is a form on ( that allows authors to list their websites. There is a form on ( that allows people to list their newsletters. I don't know if it'll help your traffic, but it can't hurt.

About the Author
Michael LaRocca


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft