Ezine Promotion

We test 36 directories, announcement lists, and review

 

Test Number: #112501-SD

Word Count: 1950+

Focus: 7 Questions

  1. How many subscribers a day can you expect to achieve with a comprehensive directory/announcement listing campaign?
  2. What is the true cost per subscriber?
  3. Which ezine directories are most effective?
  4. How difficult is it to get your ezine included in a review site?
  5. Which directories are still being well maintained and which directories are being neglected by their webmaster?
  6. What are a the top 3 announcement lists?
  7. Does it pay to list your ezine with Yahoo! Groups?

Credits:

  1. Writer – Flint McGlaughlin
  2. HTML Designer – Cliff Rainer

We analyze GOOGLE’s new “adword” program. The results are promising. We are projecting 27,900 highly targeted impressions for just $418.

So how many subscribers can you win with a 30-day blitz in 36 directories, lists, and review sites? What if you were featured on the popular List-A-Day web site? What if you hired one of the web’s leading authorities on ezine promotion to coordinate the campaign?

Disraeli ruminates, “What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.”

The truth of his maxim has proven itself, once again, as we completed this study.

Here is a brief synopsis of our findings:

Test Summary

We worked with Brian Alt, consultant and editor of the highly popular daily, Ezine-Tips, to craft a comprehensive promotion campaign: We submitted to 16 directories, 17 Announcement Lists, and the 3 leading review sites.

Test Product

We were seeking subscribers for a new ezine focused on web marketing (one of the most popular categories).

Test Costs

The labor to perform the (tedious) submission work cost us $600. It took approximately 10 man-hours.

Test Methodology

We channeled responses to an isolated email address, which then forwarded them to separate tracking locations. We also created a mirror web page, with a meta-refresh tag. The function of this page was to identify visitors who came to the site directly, bypassing the email subscribe link.

Test Definitions

  • Ezine Directories – a web-based list of ezines and their subscription information, typically organized by category.
  • Ezine Announcement Lists – an online publication that “announces” the debut of new ezines.
  • Review Sites – a web site that evaluates and/or rates ezine publications.

Test Results

Here are the results we achieved after 30 days:

  • Traffic generated to mirror web – 35 visits
  • People who subscribed using the email link in the directories – 50
  • Total new subscribers* – 120

*Though we setup a specific URL to track subscribers who went directly to the web, we still cannot account completely for those who may have just typed in the name.

Why is this bleary-eyed researcher (somewhat) pleased with a marketing campaign that has, thus far, cost (an outrageous) $5 per subscriber? How can he find any satisfaction in a directory submission effort that has only achieved a 44% listing success?

Read on… but read, first, the bad news.

The haphazard collection of ezine directories which now litter the Internet are, for the most part, under-maintained, and over-hyped. Many (for us) seemed to be complete waste of time.

We submitted to 16 of these directories, and then 30 days later, we re-visited their sites to study the results. Here is what we discovered:

Directories

  • Ezine-Dir.com – On visiting this site we were met with a “loud” popup window announcing that this company was for sale. Undaunted, but unsure… we pressed on. After 12 clicks we gave up on the navigation system and did a direct search. Eventually we found our listing.
  • InfoJump.com – We could not find our listing.
  • ListQuest.com – We could not find our listing.
  • EzineLinks.com – A search for our test zine’s exact name yielded 280 records. We never did find our listing, though we have subsequently been informed that we are on the second to last page.
  • CommunityStart.com – This site (run by Brian Alt, himself) is a quality offering, however it did take 10 clicks to find our listing. It should be noted that CommunityStart is not an ezine directory, per se, but it does maintain a category of newsletters useful to online community builders. A simple search for “marketing” immediately returned our test ezine information.
  • LowBandwidth – We could not find our listing. The site has posted a (year old) notice saying “April 1st 2000: major updates coming soon”.
  • Ezine-Universe.com – This site has more than 4365 ezine links. It is very professional, but its server is sometimes slow. We found our listing in just 2 clicks. Joy.
  • Fidget.com – They have, apparently, removed their ezine directory.
  • DoList.net – This (French) site accepted our listing and for that we are grateful. But it took us 8 clicks to find the target ezine, and even then there were more than 604 confusing references.
  • eZinesZ.com – Apparently, they are not accepting new submissions at this time.
  • Ezine-Search.com – This site has more than 3000 zines listed. After 4 click we went straight to the search function and found our target zine.
  • Liszt.com – We could not find our listing.
  • EzinesPlus.com – We could not find our listing. We never even found a search button.
  • paml.alastra.com – At first we could not find the site. We later discovered that you cannot use “www” in front of their URL. The site, itself, proved to be very professional. We located our listing in just two clicks. This was despite the fact that PAML references more than 7337 ezines.
  • EzinesToday.com – They boast a total of 2547 ezine, but we never did find ours…
  • SparkList.net – We found our target zine in just 3 clicks.
  • WebScoutLists.com – After 5 clicks, we did a search and found our target ezine. The site was appealing, but it took 4 clicks to subscribe AND then we had to create a password. It was ponderous and annoying.

In general, we failed to get results in 56% of the sites to which we submitted. That’s a fairly pathetic track record when you consider that the submission work was performed by one of best known ezine promotion experts on the Internet.

Still, there is a silver lining to this dismal cloud and we will reveal it soon enough.

But first…

What about the announcement lists? How effective were they?

We submitted to 16 lists, 14 of which were Yahoo! Groups http://groups.yahoo.com. After analyzing the less than satisfactory return, we went back and determined their exact member base. Here is what we discovered:

ANNOUNCEMENT LISTS

> 00-list-announce – 473 members
> 2000publications – 220 members
> Announce-Lists – 344 members
> Ezinestoday — 382 members
> GetMoreSubs – 345 members
> List-Your-List – 282 members
> ListAdvertise – 375 members
> Listpromote — 310 members
> Lists_For_ALL – 265 members
> List_Of_Lists – 495 members
> MyListAnnounce – 139 members
> Sitesandzines – 239 members
> WritersZines – 261 members

The Yahoo! lists were small and probably not worth the effort.

ClassroomConnect’s NEW-LIST proved to be of no value to us, as they do not accept business ezine submission. They do, however, accept consumer ezine submissions and they have a circulation of more than 5000. Their URL is:

<http://listserv.classroom.com/archives/new-list.html>

We also submitted to NewJour, but they never responded. Their URL is:

<http://gort.ucsd.edu/newjour/>

The most effective announcement list we discovered was New-List.com. They boast 9732 subscribers, but that number is an aggregate of 21 different categories (lists).

We also submitted our test ezine to 3 review sites. To increase the likelihood of an acceptance, we packaged our submission with a professional, hype-free, pre-written evaluation. We selected:

REVIEW SITES

> List-A-Day.com
> BestEzines.com
> Topica’s Tipworld List Of The Day

On February 20th our test ezine was featured on List-A-Day. During the next 24-hour period, traffic and subscriptions increased by approximately 700%.

The results were encouraging, if also deceptive. In the final analysis, we don’t believe that the review sites will produce as high a yield as the directories.

And as intimated earlier, we project this campaign to be more cost effective then it would seem at the moment.

Here is why…

Section 2 (Continue…)

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