I've personally come across a number of ezines in the past, whose subscriber base was obviously over exaggerated to say the least. Here are a few tips to help fellow ezine advertisers beware. I'm sure ezine publishers will pull out a few useful ideas after reading this article also.
- Look (or ask) for an Explanation of How The Subscriber Base Was Established:
This is an important factor that will determine how responsive the subscriber base will be to your ad. Many publishers collect subscribers through questionable means. Some will add all who submit links to their "Free For All Link Pages" using automated software. If the publisher doesn't verify the actual domains of all email addresses, then it's very likely the majority of these subscribers don't actually exist.
Also most people who use such software generally use free email accounts. These are only used as dumping grounds for the thousands of automated replies that they receive. This being the case, while the ezine might be delivered to those email addresses, it's never actually read.
- Look for Previous Customer Testimonials:
Any good ezine publisher should display previous customer testimonials on their web site. It's not good enough to read, "our past advertisers have been extremely satisfied with their advertisements..." Look for the proof!
Look for the opinions of others and if they have contact information displayed with their testimonial, consider contacting the past customers directly and asking for their personal results.
- Check the Length of Time that the Ezine Has Been in Publication:
While new ezines may have credible subscriber bases, those that have been around for a while give us (the advertiser) more leverage to make a better-informed decision. If the ezine has been around for a while then chances are other people have had experiences with them. Internet Marketing Discussion forums are a great place to discover other peoples results and opinions. They are also a great place to discover other good ezine advertising experiences that fellow marketers have had in general.
- Does the Publisher Guarantee Satisfaction:
It is very rare to find a publisher that will guarantee your satisfaction. This is largely due to the fact that it will mean they will lose advertising revenues when re-running your ad. They will also claim (fairly enough in part) that the response you will achieve will be based upon your copywriting abilities.
However those that do guarantee satisfaction are a safe bet. Not only does it show the publisher is confident, but it also shows that they wish to keep their customers satisfied. People who I like to do business with!
- The Better Business Bureau:
Cheek to see if the business that runs the publication is registered with "The Better Business Bureau", "PublicEye" or a similar organization. A third party auditing / quality assurance organization takes a lot of the risk off our own shoulders. It also shows that the business is highly professional.
I hope the above tips have given you a good starting point when it comes to selecting which ezines to advertise in. If you have lingering doubts about certain ezines then I recommend you investigate further, avoiding those publications until you're 100% confident that the ezine is all it's cracked up to be.