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Cut Down on Paper and Use Ezine/Email Newsletters: Tips & Templates

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/18/2010

Free Ezine templates are available in spades on the Web. Ezines are email newsletters that you can send to existing and potential customers alike to keep them abreast of what your small business has to offer, along with industry-related news. It’s an excellent and “green" mode of marketing.

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    Ezines designed from free templates are an outstanding, and slightly veiled, advertising tool for small business owners to market their wares in an interesting and alluring manner. With an email newsletter you can capitalize on both using the Internet to generate revenue and the trend of people wanting their information quickly, paperless, and with convenient links right at their fingertips. Is an Ezine technically within the bounds of desktop publishing? The question is moot. This article highlights the free sources for these templates and also touches upon a few pay sights, as well, for those who want more bells and whistles.

    With a ready-made template you can insert things like logos, graphics, pictures, and of course, articles that apply to your industry. Although it can be time consuming in the beginning, the reward for creating a good Ezine can be customer loyalty, credibility in your niche, and obtaining the same results that expensive advertising might generate. Also, you control the timing and the message in this manner of marketing. There’s something personal and inclusive about a good Ezine. Maybe it creates a sense of community, and all the marketing gurus (and probably most psychologists, too) will tell you that people want to feel that they are included in something. The job of making that inclusion seem worthwhile is yours.

    With an Ezine template, the job of laying out the design is already done for you. Creating your own from scratch would take up a lot of time and money. The two basic elements to include in your Ezine are content (news pertinent to your business and services and other intriguing items) and copy (which is essentially your sales pitch--what you want them to come to you for).

    There are many things to consider when choosing a template to create an Ezine such as size (number of pages, margins, headings, subheadings, and so on) and how much room you want for pictures and graphics. Browse through many examples to get a feel for what is right for you. Typically, the templates are arranged categorically according to particular types of businesses.

    You have to consider whether you want to make your Ezine in HTML, plain text, or PDF format. The sites I reference have FAQ sections that should clue you in to the pros and cons of each type of formatting. Go to http://www.freenewsletterideas.com/newsletter-formats.htm to get the basic gist of these options without getting too bogged down with information you don’t necessarily need to know.

    Here are a few sources for you to download Ezines and hammer out the details. There are two at http://www.alouwebdesign.ca/free/free-email-template/free-email-template-instructions.html. A larger selection can be found at http://www.templatesbox.com/free-newsletter-templates/index.htm. I found another good source of HTML templates at http://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/templates.aspx.

    Constant Contact has software you can download free for sixty days and it might be worth it for the convenience this template-laden package offers, including a step-by-step wizard to aid the novice in the creation process. They also offer features like tracking, reporting, and coaching. Check them out at http://search.constantcontact.com/index.jsp?utm_id=em-news-temp&cc=ovr921505d. A similar service that offers many templates for a nominal fee and includes an easy setup and ways to track your newsletter’s success month after month is available at http://www.icontact.com/lp/newsletters-tab1.php?afid=151074&utm_campaign=(roi)_newsletter&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=newsletter_template&utm_term=newsletter_template. When using services such as these you don’t need any technical skills to produce a consistent Ezine that arrives in your customers Inbox exactly the way you formatted it. In order to access and download these services you’ll have to register your personal information, however.

    Also, if you want a large volume of industry-related articles to plop into your Ezine, you don’t have to look that hard. The above information and links should be more than enough information to get your Ezine up and running.

    One final note: Ezine's not only convey your company's message to the masses, they also do it in a green-friendly way. No direct-mailings that add to landfills. For more information on the benefits of going “green," check out Tara Walsh’s informative piece at http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/publishing/articles/3241.aspx.