Want to build your e-zine list? All the Here’s some quick tips on how:
1. Never send an e-mail without the permission of the recipient. Otherwise, you risk alienating customers, being labeled a spammer and having all your e-mail blocked by isps and corporate system administrators.
2. There are five levels of permission. Opt-out, where a person must choose not to receive future mailings from you. Negative opt-in, where you offer consumers an e-mail subscribe form, usually as part of an order form of some other kind, and place a pre-checked box for an agreement to receive e-mails that a person must uncheck in order not to receive the newsletter. Opt-in requires a subscriber to proactively check a box in order to receive your newsletter. Confirmed opt-in sends an e-mal message to new subscriber, confirming their subscriptions and offering them the option to unsubscribe immediately if the subscriptions as in any way a mistake. Double opt-n (sometimes referred to as verified opt-in) sends an e-mail message to new subscribers confirming their subscription and requiring them to respond to the e-mail in order to begin the subscription.
3. There are two general methods to build an e-mail list: Organic, which enables you to create your own list using free techniques, and Paid Acquisition, which consists of list rental, partnerships and advertising.
4. Once you have your list in place, put systems in place to maintain it to preserve its value and relevance.
5. Unsubscribe requests are a natural occurrence. Expect them and know how to handle them properly in order to maintain a positive image in the hopes of future dealings with unsubscribers. Make it easy to unsubscribe to your newsletter.
6. To reduce unsubscribes, try offering options such as different newsletters or reduced frequency of delivery.
7. Make sure your list stays clean and current by providing change-of-address forms, using a good list server, making sure all data is received correctly, using a good e-mail list hygiene system, using e-mail change-of-address companies, properly processing all of your bounces and watching out for malicious activity.
8. A stagnant list is a depreciating asset. Because people change e-mail addresses often, if you don’t send e-mail regularly, or at all, your list may very well be worthless.
Matt Blumberg and Michael Mayor are the driving forces behind Return Path, an e-mail performance company. Collaborating with them on this project are their colleagues, e-mail strategists Stephanie A. Miller and Tami Monahan Forman. This article was excerpted from their new book, “Sign Me Up! A Marketer’s Guide to Creating E-mail Newsletters That Build Relationships and Boost Sales (iUniverse Inc., 2005) © 2005 Return Path, Inc. All rights reserved.