To begin, we’d like to discuss what separates e-mail marketing from spam. Spamming people is illegal, and punishments for sending spam can be ridiculously high (think anywhere from hundreds of thousands to billions, depending on the offense) – not to mention the fact that spamming simply doesn’t work – it’s unprofessional and will most likely hurt your business as opposed to helping it. E-mail marketing, or at least proper email marketing, is suggested selling to customers who have given you their permission to inform them of the value of new, or additional, products and services. These customers are targeted because of their interest in a type of product.
It is possible to manually administer a mailing list – especially if that mailing list does not contain many addresses – but it’s difficult and time consuming. If your list is so small that you can handle it without any form of automation I would suggest that the list probably isn’t worth much as you simply don’t have enough subscribers.
Here are the essential steps to creating a e-mail list:
You will need a subscription form on a webpage that enables visitors to subscribe. This form will need to be on a webpage, and preferably one that gets lots of traffic from your target audience. Once the form is filled out and submitted the maintainer of the list (see bottom of article for hosts) will most likely send a confirmation email to the address entered (note, this is mandatory in many countries, including the United States). This process of email confirmation is referred to as “double opt-in” and is a standard as far as regulations pertaining to email marketing are concerned. You now have a subscriber to your list! Congratulations. Now here comes the absolute need for automation: What if you’ve informed new subscribers that they’ll receive an email on the fifth day of joining? Hopefully you’ll have people joining your list at all hours of the day, everyday of the week – but now you’ll have to send them emails accordingly. This would be an extremely inefficient, if not impossible, way to conduct your marketing – and is why automation is mandatory for successful internet marketing using email.
Email Marketing Services
There are two real options as far as automating your list building:
Buy software that installs on either your desktop or web server – this is not our recommended approach, as even though it is relatively inexpensive, it’s not particularly elegant or fluid (as far as it’s ability to change with the times). Pay a list building service (also known as an autoresponder) – the vast majority of marketing through e-mail is done with one of these services. Aweber, GetResponse, Imnica Mail, and Mailchimp are some of the more popular autoresponders. Professional autoresponders all operate using double opt-in (which we discussed above) which protects the the service as well as it protects YOU. This is the business they’re in, and these professional autoresponders are not looking to develop new software – they are looking to continue to adjust their offerings as times change so that their paying customers lists continue to grow. It is in the list building services’ best interest that your emails get delivered correctly, and not flagged as spam, so please do not cut corners when it comes to choosing an autoresponder.
The Squeeze Page
We’re going to defer to wikipedia to describe a “squeeze page” –
“Squeeze Page(s)” are a single web page with the sole purpose of capturing information for follow-up marketing; that means NO exit hyperlinks. Quality squeeze pages use success stories that the prospect would relate to when making a buying decision. They also use things like color psychology, catchy sales copy and keyword rich text placed with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. Some advanced marketers even use audio and video on their squeeze page. Another advantage of using a quality autoresponder is that you will build your squeeze page using their site, which greatly reduces the number of technical problems you may run into. You’ll design the page and simply copy and paste the code provided onto your webpage.
Here are some things to remember when building your own squeeze page:
Immediately answer the visitors question “what’s in it for me?” – this is paramount, as users will not subscribe if there is no incentive to do so. Be very clear with why users should subscribe – use bullet points if need be, but be honest about the advantages of being a subscriber Tell the user that they NEED to subscribe in order to receive the information, services or product Emphasize that the offer is FREE So you have your list ready to be populated on your chosen autoresponder, and you have your squeeze page setup to attract customers – now all you need are some e-mails to send them once they’ve subscribed. You’ll want to upload messages to the list building account, and configure your settings to send out the messages at given intervals. For instance, you’ll probably want to send a welcome message the first day so that the user knows that they’ve subscribed and can expect you to be sending them information on a regular basis.
The interval of your messages is completely up to you – and the great part of these autoresponders is that no matter when a user subscribes to your list, they’ll receive your emails at the same rate everyone else has up to that point (i.e. Welcome email on Day 1, First Promo Offer on Day 7, Second Promo Offer on Day 21, and so on…). This is one of the greatest advantages to email marketing, is that once you have it running it is for the most part set-it and forget-it.
Remember why your customers opted-in to receive your emails – they want solid, free, useful information from you. They do not want to constantly be subjected to unnecessary product placement, sales pitches, and other advertisements. Over time as you feed them quality information they will begin to understand the value of what you’re offering, and the value of some of the products/services that you’re offering them – and then is when they’ll spend money.