An Electronic Newspaper (E-paper) is an important tool that delivers solutions for interactivity, promotion and marketing of a website. The E-paper allows to maintain a constant contact with the browsers, which makes them revisit the website. In addition it delivers news updates, statements, the marketing and advertising of services and products, makes the content more rich with qualitative inputs and eventually contributes to the overall ranking of the website. In short, it is a powerful and valuable tool. However, one should consider carefully whether or not to engage in such an "adventure," because an improper use of this tool would cause damage in the long run.
This article deals with certain aspects of the managing and distribution of an E-paper, the maintenance of the high caliber value of the newspaper and the maintenance of the right balance between the texts and the advertising in the newspaper. This article is a follow-up article for the article "Bulk E-mail as a Marketing Tool," which I recommend on reading prior to this one.
What is an Electronic Newspaper?
There are several ways to define what an Electronic Newspaper is. We will discuss them in this article in the following format: An Electronic Newspaper is very much like a printed newspaper that specializes in a certain area, only it is spread via the Internet to a list of members who wish to receive it on a routine basis.
How does it work?
There are a number of possibilities to run and operate an E-paper.
Alternative A: Using your e-mail software. This is a fairly simple alternative in which one can manage a list of subscribers in his e-mail software (such as Outlook) and send that group an email with the content of the e-paper. This alternative is not the ideal, it is too plain, and is only good for a small number of subscribers, such as friends or family and not a professional E-paper managing which aims towards a great number of subscribers.
Alternative B: Using a professional E-paper software. There are a few softwares that can assist you to manage your E-paper and your bulk email list. The softwares include a feature that looks for duplicate email addresses, a feature that allows you to pull subscribers out of the list, and all the professional elements required for running an E-paper. Here are a few examples for commercial E-paper softwares:
Alternative C: This alternative, which is my personal favorite, is using Scripts, such as PHP, ASP, CGI, who have more or less the same qualities as the softwares. The difference is that the script runs directly on the server and through the website's channels. Hence, every activity that involves the operating of the E-paper, is done by the script. Among the possibilities the script offers, one could find: subscribing new members, allowing the member to pull himself out of the list, managing the users, managing the E-paper, designing and creating the E-paper, delivering and distributing the E-paper and keeping an archive of old editions. Whereas using the software prevents the modification and editing of the E-paper, in most cases, the scripts can be modified and adjusted for the users special needs (for instance, displaying the E-paper in Hebrew). Moreover, the prices of the softwares are far more expensive than the prices of the scripts. There are actually a few scripts that were written under the General Public License (which means that they are free). Here is a list of examples for scripts - some are free and others are commercial:
If you do not have the option to activate scripts on your server, you could signup for an On-line service that would provide it, through websites that provide such services for the managing the bulk email lists and the distribution of the E-paper. Here are a few links to these websites:
Why would anyone want to get into the list? People hate advertisements...
Well, that is true. Mostly, people do not appreciate getting advertisements on their email. But - there is a big difference between a commercial newspaper and a contents newspaper. If the newspaper was filled only with advertisements, it is likely to assume that the browsers would like to be pulled out of the bulk E-mails list and not even bother reading it. Worse than that, you might be classified as someone who sends junk mail or spam. But in case your E-paper contains a genuine, reliable and qualitative content concerning the nature of the defined topic of the E-paper, and the advertisements are minor and hardly noticeable, then it is likely to assume that the browser would consider the advertisement as legitimate and perhaps even read the advertisement seriously and make a purchase. In my opinion, the most important thing is to convey reliability. The best way to do that is to be reliable. Moreover, the best way to incorporate an advertisement inside the contents is by using recommendations. Still, it is important to make sure that the recommendation would appear qualitative and useful. That is the right way to build a qualitative and reliable E-paper.
One of the secrets for good marketing is to convey reliability.
The best way to do it is to be reliable!
What is the Submission Form?
The article "Bulk E-mail List as a Tool for Marketing" was dealing with the subject of forming a qualitative bulk email list. We mentioned a few examples that can be used to lead the browser to the website and to offer him to subscribe as our E-paper reader. Well, it is of no consequence what method is being used to pull the readers into the website. It is important to bring the browser to the specific webpage that was designed with the purpose of feeding the reader with all the details he needs to know, including the benefits he would enjoy by submitting his name, along with the contents of the newspaper and Q&A's concerning disturbing questions he might have (for instance, about his privacy). Eventually the reader would be able to subscribe himself as a member of this list. This page is called the Submission form.
How should I write and design an E-paper?
That question deserves its own article. Perhaps even its own best-seller. Therefore I will only say this much:
In one word.
And if you would like me to illustrate on that then...
Simplicity, Simplicity and more Simplicity.
I have seen and received many E-mails and E-papers, as I am sure you have. Try to pay attention to which E-papers you took the time to read more than 2-3 seconds. Ask yourself what makes someone linger before he deletes the E-mail that contains an E-paper. This is a war over the browser's attention. This war lasts 2-3 seconds at the most. If we have failed to catch the browser's attention by that time.. then we have been wasting time. In the attempt to characterize the Spam newsletters and the Bulk E-mails sent straight to the trash can, we will come up with some common features, such as:
- We have never asked for this E-paper.
- A condescending and cocky formulation.
- Confused and Confusing
- Lack of ability to understand immediately what is it that they want from us
- Feels like someone is trying to make us take something we do not want
- The messages are too complex.
- Many advertisements we do not care for.
- Too long.
On the other hand, Emails or E-papers that succeed in pulling our interest for more than 2-3 seconds have the following features in common:
The E-paper is coherent, straight-forward, simple, intense and interesting.
Do not confuse the user with complex messages; one of the trade secrets to marketing is simplifying and clarifying things as much as possible. Do not try to be clever or to be manipulative; transmit reliability and provide useful contents for the readers. In short,
A successful E-paper is coherent, qualitative, interesting and to the point, with a simple, strong and clear slogan in which you state the reader's benefit from your product.
So... Till next time, Good-Luck
Rami Ben-Ami and Staff
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