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What Aunt Marge Can Teach You About Ezines

By Jessica Albon
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I have a certain relative, let's call her Aunt Marge (mostly because I don't think there's ever been a Marge in the family). Aunt Marge never met a forward she didn't like. People have actually been known to set up email accounts just for Aunt Marge's forwards.

Virus warnings, chain letters, "cute" photos, jokes, etc, etc, etc. I don't think she knows how to actually write an original email--just how to click and send to everyone she knows.

In my own email account, I have a folder just for Aunt Marge's emails. Outlook automatically routes her emails there and from time to time I go through and delete the messages she's sent. Unread.

Perhaps you have an Aunt Marge of your own. Most of us do.

Aunt Marge teaches us two lessons about effective email newsletters.

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What Do They Associate Your Name With?
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The first, what do subscribers think when they see your name in the "from" field? Information they've already seen a half dozen times? Or fantastic, to-the-point advice that's always entertaining?

Entertain them, inform them, and your list will grow. That's because people like to share information they find interesting and engaging.

What's Aunt Marge's second lesson?

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Why Does Aunt Marge Forward Those Emails?
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Take a look at those forwards she shares with you. Chances are, they're very specific about who she should send them to--"Six people who know you best," "Everyone in your address book," etc, etc.

And yet, most newsletter publishers write a more generic, "If you know someone who might be interested in this newsletter, please forward it to them."

I don't know about you, but, as a reader, I don't have time to think about who I know who might be interested.

But, tell me to forward the newsletter to someone who's struggling to find their perfect new house, or to someone who's just bought a new puppy, and I can think of two or three people to share the newsletter with.

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Aunt Marge, More than Just an Email Threat
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Lesson one, make your newsletter fresh. Don't rehash information that's been going around the Internet for the last six years.

Lesson two, tell readers precisely who to share the newsletter with.

Turn your readers into a powerful sales force for your newsletter and your list'll grow. Just, please, don't let Aunt Marge subscribe! One copy of your newsletter's enough for any reader.

Excerpted from Getting Permission, by Jessica Albon. Get your copy of Getting Permission in the Foolproof Newsletter Success Formula Kit by visiting (http://www.designdoodles.com/kit.htm) today

Want more tips on how to put the joy back into publishing your newsletter? Subscribe to Newsletters in Focus for free tips every two weeks on creating wonderful newsletters. Visit (http://www.designdoodles.com/free_newsletter.htm) to sign up and receive your free copy of "Do You Make These Six Mistakes in Your Company Newsletter?"

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