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Selling Information on the Internet- Email and Ezines

 

Report: Selling Information on the Internet- Email and Ezines, Part II:
Interview with Allan Gardyne

Following on from our last report - Selling Information on the Internet:
Email and Ezines - in this report we interview an Australian journalist,
Allan Gardyne, who has built a successful internet business using email
newsletters (in combination with a web-site).

Allan Gardyne runs the Associate Programs web-site
(www.AssociatePrograms.com) and newsletter - geared towards web-masters who
are looking for ways to build commission income from their web-sites.  He
describes himself as "a journalist, not a computer geek" who lives in a
"tiny village without a shop" in Australia.

Within a year, he has built his Associate Programs enterprise from virtually
'zilch' to an internet business which he can live from - and this despite
facing numerous setbacks...

"Because I live in a tiny village without a shop, for my first year on the
Net every access cost me a toll call. A fluctuating power supply kept making
my old computer crash. I got wiped out by a virus. I built a site and nobody
came - well, almost nobody. A hacker froze my first message board, my main
page disappeared from the server a couple of times. . . You get the
picture."

Indispensable to Allan's business is his "Associate Programs" newsletter,
which he uses both to attract leads for the Associate Programs he is
selling, and and to attract advertising  sponsorship.  Allan built this list
from 0 to 7,000 subscribers in less than 10 months, so - for budding
netpreneurs, anyway - his story is probably worth listening to!

Anyway, we fired him some questions:

WF:  I understand you come from a background as a journalist.  Could you
briefly describe your background, and the work you did before you went
full-time in your internet business?

AG: I've worked as a reporter, sub-editor, associate editor and chief of
staff for five daily newspapers in Australia and New Zealand. I've also done
a little part-time tutoring in journalism. For about 10 years before I "quit
my day job" in December, 1998, I was working three days a week as a
sub-editor. I still think of myself as a journalist. I interview people,
write the newsletter and write articles. In fact, I do more writing now than
ever.

WF: What did you do to publicise your Associate Programs newsletter?  What
was most effective? What was least effective?

AG: I think the most effective thing I do is publish testimonials for the
newsletter on the main page at AssociatePrograms.com. If someone writes to
me and says "I love your newsletter," I zap back a reply saying "Thanks. May
I use that as a testimonial?"

A few months ago I bought classified ads in a couple of newsletters and my
circulation rose by about 100 a week. I kept on buying ads for several
weeks. Then I stopped advertising - and my circulation STILL kept going up
by 100 a week! I'm not advertising any more and I added about 1,000 readers
in the past month.

I've made a lot of wonderful friends who mention the newsletter in their
newsletter and on their sites. Those new friends and their testimonials have
helped me more than any advertising ever could. For example, Jodie McPhee of
TrekPlanet.com has just reprinted my "Open letter to a thief" -
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/newsletter037.html - in her TrekPlanet
newsletter and urged all her readers to subscribe. Wow!

Today I received a copy of Jim Wilson's excellent VirtualPROMOTE Gazette and
saw  AssociatePrograms.com was recommended in it. I think he has more than
100,000 subscribers, so that's fantastic publicity.

The Associate Programs Newsletter was recently rated highly by
BestEzines.com. That [is] ... excellent publicity...


WF: How did you go about attracting advertising sponsorship?

AG: I don't like newsletters with lots of ads so I've done virtually nothing
to attract ads. I don't want more than five per edition. I put a two-line
note in the newsletter. I've also listed the newsletter in every newsletter
directory I can find. I have a list of such directories at
http://www.satcom.net.au/success/newsletter.html .

I received some excellent publicity recently with a post to the I-Sales
e-mail discussion list. Sometimes I promote the newsletter in my signature
when I make posts to various discussion lists, but usually I just mention my
site in the signature and people find out about the newsletter when they
visit AssociatePrograms.com.


WF: How did you go about researching what would be a 'reasonable' rate to
charge advertisers?

AG: I work fast and have a lot to do so I tend to make snap decisions. I saw
one epub which was selling ads for one cent per subscriber. That sounded
fair enough, so that's what I charge. It's a lot less than some publishers
charge for a targeted audience.


WF: How much money do you make per week from advertising in your ezine? (You
don't need to answer this one if you'd prefer not to!)

AG: It varies. I charge $70 (US) for a 10-line ad. If I sell all five spots,
that's $350. Sometimes I sell three, so that is $210. I keep pushing the
price up as the circulation climbs.


WF: Did you have a particular reason for choosing "Oaknet Publishing"
(www.oaknetpub.com) as your provider (rather than one of the many other
providers that are out there)?

The system is nice and easy to use. Each week I just send out one copy of
the newsletter and Oaknetpub.com does all the rest. I'm really fond of a new
feature - I can tell my advertisers that if they want to verify how many
subscribers I have, all they have to do is send an e-mail to
associate-programs@oaknetpub.com with SEND SUB COUNT in the body and a
friendly robot will zap back the answer. I believe some subscriber numbers
out there are heavily inflated. Mine aren't.

WF: Thank-you for your time.

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Your can find out more about Allan's business, and sign up for his
newsletter, by visiting his web-site at: http://www.AssociatePrograms.com
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Nicole Bishop is the publisher of "Writerfind News", an ezine for professional writers and publishers which focuses on the internet. Subscribe at http://www.writerfind.com