Please don't despair... Just keep on doing what you are doing...
I do a LOT of Net marketing. That IS what I do. I have only been doing it professionally for six months. Before that I studied and apprenticed in Web marketing for two years. I have been do professional bulk marketing via phone, fliers, bulk mail, magazines, billboards, newspapers, radio, TV and now the Net for just over 30 years and I don't have it all figured out. I’ve taught the subject and spent many thousands of dollars to have others teach me.
Marketing here on the Net has several things similar to other bulk marketing including bulk mail; that is that it takes unbelievable numbers of people seeing the ad to get a single response; and that it takes numerous and continuous mailings to get responses from folks who thought about it 37 times before they did anything.
Phew, can you imagine billboards? Twenty thousand people a day go by some of my billboards and I get three or four calls a year from them. None of them that called, in ten years, ever bought anything. Now I just rent the billboards out to others.
Magazine ads, for instance, will seldom do much per dollar spent as far as a direct result. I've run full page info ads in fairly large specialty magazines and gotten less than one response per 10,000 circulation.
The Net is far better than any other marketing I've ever done as far as response per dollar spent. But it takes a LOT of time and the response per numbers of people reached is small. My first suggestion is to get the membership of TFL up to several times what it is now. Work a circular promotion of TFL promoting SWAT as you are doing and also promote TFL in the SWAT magazine as suggested above.
It is good that you are doing a real life marketing quest – here with your request for our responses. Just keep up the good work. You are doing less than you expected. I understand that. But, you are doing great compared to most of the rest of us.
The percentages for Net marketing, as you probably know, are very low, far lower than bulk mail, for instance. A great % in bulk mail is a .5% response (1 person in two hundred). In Net marketing a GREAT response is .1% or (1 person responding in one thousand readers).
Actually your response to your magazine subscription promotion on TFL -- is GREAT in my opinion, for the short time you've offered the subscription.
There is another great hurdle for now, in Net marketing. The Net has been FREE, free for everyone for almost anything. People who get things for free have a hard time buying anything similar.
Don't dare try it, but IF you were to charge $20 a year or some such for TFL, you'd likely get a CRASH in membership. Just keep up the good work! Keep on reminding us to subscribe to SWAT and give us some teasers. For instance run the articles a few weeks later here on TFL or on a related Web site. Those who subscribe will get the articles earlier and start to discus them while telling those who have not subscribed to "eat your hearts out".
The tried and true method of Net marketing is to give teasers and partial content, or the same content released later, of your magazine here on-line. Forbes is probably doing it the best. And they have a constant enticement to get a free copy of the MAG and they get your e-mail address when you ask for that free copy.
It's been a while; but the last time I spoke with Steve Forbes, he said that his on-line magazine presence was a HUGE success marketing wise... I hope that is still true. It probably is as it's still up there. http://www.Forbes.com
and the on-line content grows by the week! The nice thing about Web marketing is that what you print is not wrapped around fish the next day.
I no longer do print ads. I do bulk mail BUT only to get people onto my web sites. Yes, the Net is very time consuming and expensive. There is no free ride for those of us who provide the "free" content. However, look how much a newspaper ad costs and then it's covered in coffee grounds, lying in the trash a few hours later -- while the Web page is still up and working.
By the way!
I AM one of the cheapskates myself. I don't subscribe to anything. However I do help with the marketing of a local book store and coffee shop. Once I've gotten a chance to see the new mag, I'll likely ask that they carry the magazine in the store. Currently they carry Guns and Ammo alone.
You've done a fabulous job of marketing this on-line TFL Forum. It's obviously valuable to all of us. Look at how much TIME we invest here. However, based on the fact that folks have an option to pay a couple of dollars a month for some of my sites and most don't -- most people don't want to pay for information on the Web.
I know I’ve rambled on even more than usual. I just don’t want to read any despair in your writing. I don’t want to take the time to edit this LONG post right now. BUT, I Hope this helps. AND… Keep on Keepin ON.