Frosting The Perfect Three-Layered Email Opt-In List

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Synopsis — The power of email continues to increase. A carefully constructed email message sent to a list of people who have indicated that they wish to receive news and product information from your business can be a strong driver online. With most email recipients having spam filters in place (either on their own or as part of their service provider’s setup), it is more important than every to ensure that any email messages you plan to send will be welcome and not filtered out as spam or relegated to junk folders by recipients who don’t want to hear from you.

Getting the opt-in — i.e., permission from those on your list to send them emails — is just one part of the equation. You first need to set the foundation, put it on auto-pilot, and then be prepared to supplement your list with additional emails as time goes on.

This article by Lyris, Inc. will help you with tips on all three layers of managing your email opt-in list, with a special free offer for a comprehensive email marketing resource guide included.

The complete article follows …

Frosting The Perfect Three-Layered Email Opt-In List

The most important factor in successful email marketing is the list. No matter how good your offer or creative, if you don’t email the right target, you just won’t get the response you want. The good news is that building a diversified and sustainable email opt-in list growth program can be as easy as 1-2-3.

Layer 1.  The Foundation

For email marketers, list attrition (or churn) is the biggest enemy. And with an average email list attrition rate of 25%-30%, the problem can be staggering. While some list churn is inevitable, marketers have many tactics at their disposal to minimize it, including the following three.

  • Ensure your list is opt-in, and honor the opt-in — Using an opt-in process will greatly reduce list churn and increase response, because your list is built from subscribers who have told you specifically that they want to receive your email. Honor the opt-in by sending them only the content they asked for, on the timing you promised.
  • Segment — To maximize response and minimize churn, segment your database and develop relevant content geared toward each segment’s particular needs and interests. Ideally, segment your list based on customer demographics and behavior.
  • Test, analyze, and optimize — Make it a habit to analyze each of your campaigns before executing future ones. This analysis will enable you to streamline your communication to provide more value for recipients and, therefore, less churn.

Layer 2.  The Auto-Pilot

The Auto-Pilot Layer gives you a big bang for your buck by providing a high-yield, low effort way to continuously add new subscribers. To get started, make sure that each of your highest traffic touch points provides an opt-in opportunity. Some online touch points where you can ask for an opt-in include:

  • Landing pages – Do your landing pages offer an opt-in for future communication in addition to a way to respond to the current campaign? Is this opt-in opportunity simple to take advantage of (like a checkbox)? Does this opt-in explain the benefits of subscribing?
  • Confirmation pages – Once recipients have confirmed their order or completed their download, provide them with a link on the confirmation page to subscribe to future communications.
  • Your website – Your website is the most straightforward source of auto-pilot growth potential. It sits there every day collecting and directing incoming visitors. Use your web analytics solution to identify the most trafficked areas of your site, so you can create opt-in opportunities where your visitors will see them most often.

Layer 3.  The Supplement

Sometimes you need to jump start your list growth with larger bursts of new subscribers, which is where the Supplemental Layer comes in handy. Some options for supplementing your opt-in list include:

  • Paid search engine marketing – Use this to buy your way onto a higher ranked search engine page than your organic (unpaid) search would otherwise provide. Your paid advertisements should promote a compelling offer not only related to your chosen search terms, but also one that drives opt-ins (e.g., a free item or coupon).
  • List rental –The most reputable and highest-performing lists are those that a list broker or list owner uses to send email messages on your behalf (commonly referred to as “blind mailings” or “dedicated email”). List rental works well when the list is specifically targeted to your ideal audience and is rented from a reputable provider who follows list maintenance and opt-in best practices.

About the Author:

Lyris, Inc. is a leading online marketing solution provider that integrates their award-winning email solution with diverse online marketing channels. This article is part of their comprehensive email marketing resource guide, Guru’s Guide 2011, available free at http://go.lyris.com/guru2011/.

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