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Building your opt-in mailing list

You have heard it before: It takes between seven and ten contacts with a prospective customer before they will actually make a purchase. The easiest way to make these multiple contacts is through the use of email. The problem becomes, how does one go about emailing their potential customers without spamming?

The answer is simple, get your target market to voluntarily join your mailing list. The list of addresses of those who joined is referred to as an "opt-in" list. An opt-in mailing list is the single most valuable marketing tool any business can possess. The trick is: How do I get people to voluntarily join my opt-in list?

There are several successful methods of building opt-in lists being practiced today. Let's take a look at few of them.

Publish a free ezine
Entice people to join your opt-in mailing list by publishing your own ezine. Create a simple sign-up form and place a link to it on every page of your web site.

Offer incentives
Give those who join your opt-in list a free bonus of some type. The bonus could be a discount on your product or it could be a free download of a specially create information product, such as an ebook.

Submit articles
Write your own articles and submit them for publication. Select topics that you know well and are related to your product or service. Find ezines that are read by your target market and contact the publishers with your articles. Be sure to include a resource paragraph that contains instructions on how to join your opt-in list.

Guestbooks
Guestbooks are not the greatest way to get folks to join your opt-in, but they are simple to set up and maintain. The concept here is when people sign your guestbook you send them a personal invitation to join your list. This approach is most effective when combined with an incentive offer.

Autoresponders
Create a multipart autoresponder based instructional course related to your area of expertise. Promote that course by giving it away to web masters looking for content for their sites. Your course could even be positioned as their incentive offer, so target web sites related to the subject of your course. In every installment of the course you have the opportunity to encourage people to join your opt-in list.

Easy to opt-out
One of the most critical aspects of your mailing list is: How do your subscribers who wish to leave unsubscribe?" It really boosts your credibility to have an easy to use opt-out process. If people feel they can stop your email at anytime, they are more likely to join in the first place. Be sure to include instructions on how to opt-out in every correspondence sent to your mailing list.

A properly developed, opt-in mailing list is, metaphorically speaking, worth it's weight in gold. Never miss an opportunity to ask your business contacts to join your mailing list. Encourage web site visitors to join your list by employing one or more of the strategies listed above. Combine strategies for maximum effect. Do what you must, within ethical limits, but get people to join your list.

About the author
Copyright 1998, 2003 Tony L. Callahan All Rights Reserved
Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Links-subscribe@topica.com. For an online archive of Tony's articles available for reprint, visit: http://www.link-promote.com/articles

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