Email Marketing Tips – How to Start Your Own Opt-in List.
It is common knowledge that email marketing is one of the most reliable ways of generating consistent and free targeted internet traffic for your business website. Developing your own opt-in list is essential, if you want to be successful.
An opt-in list that is specific to you and your website is better for your business, because the people who opt-in and keep coming to you, responding to your EMAILs have gotten to know you, your brand, and your product through the information you have shared with them. You have made friends and built a relationship; they will be more familiar with your company and more likely to buy, or continue to buy from you.
Almost all business owners who have written about building a personal business opt- in list make the same suggestion for getting started: get clear on what your specific goals are. They mean, know what you want, beyond making cash. They also suggest a few things you might want to consider developing with people who subscribe to your list:
• Loyalty – theirs to you and yours to them.
• A reputation for reliability.
• Mutual trust.
• Recognition of your expertise.
• Popularity around your business and brand.
• A willingness to allow others to share what they know about you with their friends, making them yours, also.
There’s a lot of advice available on how to go about building an opt-in list; everyone offering it includes all sorts of information on what to do and where (and how) to get help; it’s all good advice, too. But in the interests of keeping it simple, we’re going to start with four steps. And, it is really important to recognize that you won’t be able to build up an opt- in list overnight: it takes time and effort on your part to get people to trust you and start coming to you, so if you’re using paid lists, don’t stop immediately until you can replace the income that’s generating for you. You can drop the paid lists once yours is built up.
1. Offer a product or service that people want or need, and that you care about. This is an important step, one that you’ve already gotten past. But do take note of the part about something that you ‘care about’. You’ll be more likely to be believed, and trusted, if you care about what you are saying. Remember, enthusiasm is catching!
2. Start building a web and/or social media presence. Good ways to start are to write a blog; join a discussion forum about your product or service or related products and services; offer advice to customers, remembering to post the question AND your answer on your website on a searchable Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page; comment often on others’ blogs; and join the discussion on a competitor or related service/product provider website. When reading someone else’s blog or post where you’ve commented, include a link to your site in your response, then recommend the site and the discussion you participated in on your own website or blog. And don’t forget Facebook: It will give you an incredibly broad reach – if you put up a page and get your opt-in list members over to it; they’ll let their friends know about you, potentially expanding your opt-in list.
3. Get your prospective customers to trust you, your products, and the quality of service you provide with your products. The best way to do this is to write about your business or service, either in a blog or an emailed newsletter. Topics could include how to use your product, or how to solve a specific issue with something you offer. Your newsletter or blog need not even be primarily about your product as long as it gets a mention, somewhere. Part of getting yourself known and recognized for having something good to say, is finding out what your target audience wants to hear about. Sometimes sharing a quick note with a heads up about a sale, specials, coupons, local events, or something cool you saw, can do more to brand you as friendly and reliable, than a dozen auto-email sales letters can.
How to start an Opt-in list
4. Make friends with other business owners who build their own opt-in lists and exchange favors often. This goes back to the first step. Remember the suggestion to establish a relationship with the site owners. You can help them out and help yourself at the same time by discussing a positive interaction with the other business on your blog or in your email. Why? It’s the Facebook principle of ‘liking’ something someone said, or liking a website and having them do the same for you, you will be taking a chance, but the other business owner will also do the same for you – it can help both businesses, and greatly expand both your opt-in lists.
If you use an email auto-responder, use it wisely. Here’s a tip from some long-time personal opt-in email list marketers: once your list is developing, you should think about designing your email campaign for quality, not quantity. You don’t want to make people mad and alienate them, or cause them to report you to their internet service providers or the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
It’s best to go with a commercial auto-responder, you’ll pay a subscription fee but in return, you don’t have to manage your list and mail backups yourself. Auto-responders have been the tool of choice for email marketing for a long time, but more and more states are passing legislation against them and coming down hard on business owners, due to the sheer volume of complaints being made by people who don’t want to hear from a business that’s on email autopilot. The members of your opt-in list won’t come to trust someone they don’t know, so don’t treat them like prospects treat them like your friends.
A responsive, engaged opt-in list can open up a variety of opportunities for you and your business, these can include being able to add paid advertising space to your site as well as develop those previously-mentioned friendships with other list-owners. A great example of a business making friends with competitors and related businesses to build a shared opt-in list, involves a high-performance auto repair garage, a transmission rebuilder which does auto repair, a towing service, and a used car dealership with an auto-repair shop.
I will cover ‘Email automatic responder’ in my next post so stay tuned.