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January 28, 2009

Newbies Hints and Tips : Building Your Opt-in List

The first and most important point to understand is whenever you sell, or give away any item online, you MUST get your customer’s name (first name will be fine) together with their email address.

So before you allow a new customer to download, for instance, a free e-book, they have to supply you with their name and email. It’s not an option to let them have the e-book first and ask them for their name and email later. This simply won’t do. It’s a bit like tipping money down the drain, and then trying to retrieve it later only to find it’s gone beyond the u-bend!

So what’s the best way to capture these names? When you create your website, one of the best ways to begin is by using what’s called an “opt-in” form for your customer to complete. All you need at this stage is their first name and their email address. Once they have submitted this information they will be taken to another page where they can click on a button that says something like: “Click here for your free e-book”, or if you are selling a product the button would say “Buy Now”, etc. Then your autoresponder will swing into action and bingo, the new customer is added to your list.

Your own customer list is a very valuable commodity. Yes, you can always buy a customer list, but none of these names would be “hot prospects” – until they have actually ordered a product from you. So your own opt-in list will always be worth much, much more – after all it’s full of hot prospects who know your site.

Once you have a growing List, you will need to keep in regular touch with them. A weekly or fortnightly newsletter should do the trick nicely. However, never bombard your customers with products to buy each time you post a newsletter – they will very soon get fed up, and leave! It’s very important to develop a good and friendly relationship. A good rule of thumb would be offering a new product once every two or three months. In the meantime your newsletters could offer FREE goodies, such as the occasional free e-book, or other useful information.

A simple way to gain the trust of a customer is to provide them with an escape route. Show them you are not there to trap them. Keep a clean List and always elaborate your email and newsletters by providing detailed information on how to unsubscribe from the list. Guarantee them that they may unsubscribe whenever they want to. Many people are wary that they might be stuck for life and would have to abandon their email accounts when they get pestered with spam.

You must never lose the trust of your customers. If you sell your List to others and they get spammed, you’ll end up losing many of your customers. A good clean private list will earn you a good reputation and drive in more traffic.

On the subject of spamming – many email providers are becoming very vigilant, and if they suspect you are spamming, your List you may get stopped altogether. Having what’s called a “Double Opt-in” system prevents this problem at the start.

This simply means that after your customer has supplied their name and email address, they receive a message from your autoresponder telling them an email has been sent to them. They need to open this email and simply click on the link provided, which in effect is confirming their permission to join your List and receive emails and promotions from you. Most people operate the Double Opt-in system these days.

Ron Woodham retired at 65 and set up his own Internet Business. He spent 9 months teaching himself how to create and build websites from scratch, and now shares his knowledge through his Building Blocks for Beginners.

Visit his website for the full story.