Build Your Online Business with Opt-In Lists

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted October 27, 2008

Before revealing the secrets of the trade, there are three myths that need to be cleared before one begins building an opt-in list. These marketing misconceptions could pose an obstacle to profiting well from your business.

Myth 1: Not a lot of people use e-mail.
E-mail marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods today simply because almost all people do use e-mail.

Myth 2: E-mail marketing offends a lot of people.
The not-so-secret way to surmount this dilemma is through permission-based advertising. There's no harm in e-mailing once you have a person's permission.

Myth 3: It's stupid to send e-mail to everyone.
The key to this predicament is to have a discerning eye on who to e-mail and who not to e-mail. It's a better idea to look for data on which group of people would give you high a return on investment (ROI).

Building an Opt-in List

After clearing the fog regarding e-mail marketing myths, here's how you can benefit from employing the power of e-mail marketing campaigns -- building an opt-in list. However, building an opt-in list is not easy, particularly for the uninitiated. Here are tips on how to succeed in this kind of marketing endeavor.

1. Strategic DataCollection

Know which information from your audiences will help you lower expenses and/or make sales flourish. Devise a tactic to make people voluntarily provide you with the information necessary to create higher conversion.

Data overload isn't good. Ask only for opt-in, with their full name and e-mail addresses. Make sure that the profiles you gather are updated to improve the relevance, timeliness and satisfaction from each deal you make.

2. Good Implementation

The old adage says it all, "Action speaks louder than words." Executing your e-mail marketing efforts can be challenging. Fortunately, various low-cost methods can help you take action and facilitate building your opt-in database.

Tracking your e-mail marketing results can pose problems, too. Technology and relevant sources can make this aspect of your marketing more manageable. Be sure to note which high traffic opt-in groups yield the greatest results.

The following are the most widely used methods to leverage channels without overspending:

1. Leverage Your Web Sites

Your business Web site (or sites) is excellent tools for data collation and providing you with relevant info regarding your e-mail offers. Use forms that solicit your visitor's e-mail address and consent.

2. Print Ads, Brochures, TV, Radio and Direct Mail

These are the more popular ways of driving lead traffic to your Web site. You may want to ask for signups for e-mail services. Make your Web site more visible through these options. Offering free electronic newsletters and/or rewards program can make it easy to win the confidence of your audience.

3. Maximize Your Sales Force

Customer service associates can help you benefit from your e-mail correspondence and contribute to a higher ROI. Techniques such as offering account updates and special programs through e-mail can land you those lists of valuable visitors.

4. Don't Make Your Point-of-Sale Pointless

Cash registers and other high-traffic and highly visible locations can be excellent venues for your business to collect e-mail addresses. Customers will often provide their names and e-mail addresses in return for notification of upcoming sales or special events.

5. Conferences or Trade Shows

Give-away event offers or entries to sweepstakes are great for opt-in to volunteer their contact details.

These tactics should be applied with caution and should focus on earning the trust of your opt-in list instead of simply collating data for your own benefit. Always make sure that the forms you use (and other methods) make it easy to subscribe.

Steve Renner is a well-known Internet Marketing Expert, author, consultant and speaker. Get Professional Internet Marketing training and resources at imtrain.com.

Adapted from Webreference.com.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!


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