Recently, I came across an idea to add new readers to my monthly newsletter. Every month, I will raffle something for one lucky winner. The premise is simple: forward the newsletter to at least three people and get your name in the drawing. Every forward after the first three earns the participant an additional entry.

So…how do I keep track?? I use this nifty service called Constant Contact. This service not only helps to generate very slick looking newsletters and other marketing pieces for use with email, it also generates a whole lotta data that tells me if I’m spinning my wheels — or whatever is the correct euphemism that correlates to typing for no one else’s amusement but my own.

CC allows me to see how many “opens” my newsletter gets…as in, how many people actually take a gander. I can also see if it has been forwarded…though I cannot see to whom. And it gives folks the freedom to unsubscribe easily and without any effort from my part to wade through contact lists and delete.

My last send-out was 4 days ago…and you’d think that with the promise of a shiny-new iPod shuffle I’d get lots of forwards. Alas, the odds of winning are VERY good at this point because only a handful of my readers have forwarded the thing along.

I’m guessing that the consensus must be that there’s a catch to my offer. At least I hope so…because otherwise I’m forced to contend with the thought that my newsletter is a load poppycock. :(

So, in the hopes of putting my reader’s at ease, I thought that it may be a good idea to dispel any misgivings. Though I don’t know that these are accurate, for I can only imagine myself in the seat of the reader, I’ve come up with some Q and A’s below. For the sake of sanity, that’s what I’m calling it. Because otherwise, it’s just me talking to, and actually answering, myself…for all of cyberspace history!

1. If I forward the newsletter, my friends are going to start getting unsolicited email…like those annoying ones I get with threats of pending doom if I don’t send to 10 more people in the next 5 minutes. Why would I do that?
  • I’d like forwards to be thoughtful. If you have a friend that could use the information, by all means, send it along. I cannot see their email address, all I can see is that you sent it. I would never send unsolicited mail to anybody…I hate chain letters and junk mail as much as the next guy — or girl.

2. So why do you want me to forward the email, then?

  • If it’s sent to someone who finds it useful, my hope is that they will press the button to subscribe. And then next month, they can forward to their friends, and so on.

3. Why do I have to use the “forward” button on the newsletter instead of just hitting forward on my email server?

  • This magic button is how I can see that you’ve shared it with someone else. If you just forward on your own, I can’t keep track and put you in the drawing. So, this is me making sure you get what I promised you.

4. Why do you care if more people subscribe?

  • I hope that the more people that read it, the more friends I will make. I like friends. :) But also, it stands to reason that the more friends I have the more chances Plum Tree will have to provide a service when any one of those friends should need it.

5. Why give away free stuff and not just ask to forward?

  • I guess because I know that it takes effort, and I believe effort should be rewarded. I could spend the money sending out postcards to people in selective zip codes or some other advertising vehicle of that nature, but I’m a huge believer in grassroots marketing. I truly do like having clients who also see me as an ally, if not also a friend.

So, you see, it’s not a ploy or an underhanded tactic. It’s just me, making friends and hoping that I can write for more and more folks who may find my witty humor amusing. ;)

End of monologue.

Your iPod Awaits.

ipod shuffle%5B1%5D So, Maybe Somethin Smells Fishy...

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