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Beginner`s Guide to Building an Effective Opt-in List
By: Joe Eitel
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    Table of Contents:
  • Beginner`s Guide to Building an Effective Opt-in List
  • The Form
  • Maintain Trust

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    Beginner`s Guide to Building an Effective Opt-in List - The Form

    (Page 2 of 3 )

    Whether you're in the process of developing your website now or you've had it for a while, it's absolutely crucial that you begin using an opt-in form for new customers to complete so that you capture their names and e-mail addresses. Once their information has been submitted, customers will be taken to a different screen.

    Depending on the setup of your website, it is at this new page where customers will then be allowed to download an e-book or purchase whatever product they are interested in on your site. Your website's autoresponder will then kick in and the customer will be added to your newly created opt-in list. So, what's an autoresponder?

    The Autoresponder

    An opt-in list and an autoresponder go hand-in-hand. Whether we knew what it was at the time, we've all been added to an opt-in list and we've all had encounters with an autoresponder. Every time you shop online at a new website, whether it is a major department store or an online boutique, you're asked to "register" at the site first. Later on you're asked for your mailing address and billing information, so the site registration has nothing to do with that. Registering at the site adds your name and e-mail address to the business's opt-in list.

    After purchasing the item, most people check their e-mail address to make sure a receipt or billing reminder is sent to them. Along with the receipt is usually a "welcome" e-mail thanking you for registering at the site. Weeks later, even after you've received the item you purchased online, you will continue to get e-mails from the site informing you of upcoming sales, clearance items, or new products. That's the autoresponder.

    The autoresponder automatically sends e-mail messages to everyone on your opt-in list. It's similar to a newsletter, but usually only features sales information or new product updates. What your autoresponder sends out is entirely up to you; you can have it look like an actual newspaper or e-zine, it can be a series of coupons, it can be a simple straightforward e-mail, or it can include pictures of products that, once clicked on, lead back to the new products section on your site.

    Also, the business owner can choose how often they want the autoresponder to send these e-mails; it can be daily, weekly, or monthly. Sure, we've all had annoying encounters with autoresponders. Who hasn't received annoying, daily e-mails from the same business?

    Take advantage of the autoresponder feature, but don't take advantage of your customers. Why send out daily e-mails if there's no new information to sell? Use the service when your business has exciting news, new deals, products or an upcoming sale. It's your best chance at getting returning customers.

    It is a delicate balance. If you send out too many e-mails that aren't useful, you'll be added to a customer's spam list and your chance of really utilizing the free advertising is out the window, but if you use the service wisely, you can turn one-time customers into loyal customers by enticing them with deals and sales.

    Your own customer list is a very valuable commodity. Sure, you can always purchase a customer list, but it would be pretty pointless because those on the list have never seen your site, expressed interest in it, or purchased any of your goods. Your site's personal opt-in list will always be worth much, much more. After all, it's full of people who have previously expressed interest in your site. Now you just have to pique their attention once again with your autoresponder.

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