Whether you’re publishing an ezine, sending an ecourse, posting to a blog, or building an email list of clients and customers in another format, there are a few things you need to know to make sure that you’re complying with the legal aspects of sending email as well as for making your list-building efforts that much more effective.
1. Only Use Permission-Based Email Marketing
Simply put, opt-in email (also called ‘permission-based’) is email sent to people who have given you permission to contact them via email. So if someone hasn’t directly requested information from you, they should not be on your opt-in list.
2. Single or Double Opt-in?
Depending on the email list service you’re using in your business, you may have a choice between single or double opt-in email. With single opt-in, someone gives you their email address once and they are added to your list. With double opt-in (also know as confirmation opt-in), someone gives you their email address, to which they then receive an automated response from your list service asking them to click a specific URL to confirm that they do in fact want to be added to your list. Only once they click that link are they then added to your list.
So, which should you use? It depends, but for your main email list, I want to encourage you to use the double opt-in process. It means that you will lose a certain percentage of those people who signed up for your list because they then don’t confirm their subscription, but it protects you from being labeled as a spammer – something you want to avoid at all costs.
4. Have a Clear Unsubscribe Link
In every email you send to your list, have a clear way for your reader to unsubscribe if they desire. Usually this is in the form of an unsubscribe URL at the bottom of the email. When someone clicks on the link, they should be taken to a page where they can remove their email address from your list. Just make sure your unsubscribe function works!
5. Multiple Lists
In the beginning, you’ll only be setting up one list, most likely for your ezine. But at some point you’ll want to have multiple lists, for different products or programs you offer, to more easily connect with specific people on your list.
For example, I have a list for my ezine subscribers, one for the members of my group coaching program, one for my live event, and several others that perform various functions for me.
When you’re choosing an email list service provider, this is something you want to keep in mind – the ability to create and manage multiple lists.
6. Q’em up
Being able to compose your email messages ahead of time and then queue them to be delivered on the date and/or interval of your choosing is another great benefit to using an email list service provider.
For example, you can set up an 30-lesson ecourse to be delivered once a day for 30 days. Or create 26 issues of your ezine and set them up to go out every two weeks. This is one of my favorite things about using an email list service – it’s the ‘set it and forget it’ kind of marketing – my favorite kind.
I use and highly recommend Aweber as your email list service provider.
7. What about my shopping cart?
Some shopping carts also act as an email list service, but I actually recommend you use both Aweber along with your shopping cart.
Here’s what I mean:
Use Aweber for your listbuilding, autoresponders, ezine (and ecourse) distribution, and any other mailings to your list. Let Aweber be your email list manager.
Use PayPal to process payments (it integrates with Aweber). THEN when you start consistently bringing in $500-$1000/month in income, sign up with a shopping cart That’s when the fees of using a merchant account and a shopping cart become a wash.
Use your shopping cart for selling downloadable products, payment processing (it also integrates with PayPal), subscription/recurring payments, running special offers, affiliate marketing, and housing your customer list (meaning those people who have bought from you).
Only use your shopping cart’s autoresponder system for confirmation emails when a customer buys something from you, and only use their broadcast system when you want to send an email (for a special offer, for example) to your customers.
With this method, your MAIN list of prospects (which will include both those people who have bought from you, assuming they’ve come to your offers via your communication to them via your list, and your potential clients and customers) are always kept at Aweber, so you never have to move (and lose) your list once you migrate from PayPal to your shopping cart.
I’d love to know your thoughts – please feel free to comment below – thanks!