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Is This Thing On?

By Jim Schulte
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2005

t seems that every hour a new ezine or newsletter shows up on the Internet. They are endless in titles and content. Everybody has to have one to be successful with the program, product, or service they are offering the millions of "Internet Junkies" in oder to be able to quit their day jobs.

I don't know who came up with the idea that a newsletter or ezine was an essential document in online marketing, but it appears that "they" were correct in that assumption. If you don't have a vehicle in which to get your product to market, then you won't have a market in which to sell your product.

Herein lies the question that many, if not all publishers and editors alike, cannot seem to answer. How do you know if anyone is reading your publication?

If you belong to any of the ad co-ops you know that you get subscribers on a daily basis. You watch your active subscriber count rise on a weekly basis, and your list server gives you endless pie charts that show first time visitors, repeat visitors, most recent visitors, pending subs, active subs, on and on and on.

None of that information tells you if any of those people are reading your newsletter. You know, the one you slave over day after day, week after week, trying to give all of those subs the best you can. So here is the question again. How do you know they are reading your publication?

The truthful answer to that question is, you really don't know. Unfortunately, in this day and age when we can see an ant colony eating all of the goodies at the annual Martian company picnic, there is no miracle software (not yet anyway) that can tell us if anybody is reading all of these ezines.

It seems like such a simple task doesn't it? Why can't we have a sign like Mcdonalds that says, "Over One Billion Read Your Newsletter Today". Radio and television stations have a ratings book that tell them how many people are watching and listening to their shows. So why can't we find out how many people are reading our newsletters?

I recently did a survey of publishers with less than 200 subs, and ones with 10,000 plus. They all said the same thing. I don't know how many people read my publication.

They did however offer ideas on how to get a handle on how many are really reading what you put out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Some try offering free reports, or information, that always brings out the quiet ones.

One publisher offered this explanation. "I sent out my latest ezine, and minutes later I had 12 new leads that I was certain had to come from ezine readers because of the offer I was making". That only told him that 12 people read his offer. But how many readers don't respond to these types of offers, and how do you know THEY are reading the newsletter?

The bottom line to this whole thing is that no one really and truly knows how many people read the ezines and newsletters of the world. I thought that Terri Seymour hit the nail on the head with this quote "I do not know of a way to track the actual reading of an ezine, but I would love to find one".

I say all of the publishers of the world should just keep banging away on their keyboards and put out the best damn publication they can. When you have no more subscribers, then scrap the whole ezine newsletter idea.

This could be a very hard thing for publishers to do however, because how will they know if they have lost all of their subscribers, when nobody knows how many subscribers read their newsletters in the first place.

About the Author
Jim Schulte
Editor I.M.J. Newsletter
(http://www.imjpads.com/mycustompage0013.htm)

Creator I.M.J. Mouse Pads (http://www.imjpads.com)