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How to Build your Opt-In Email List

Mattias Durnik

By Mattias Durnik
Global Marketing Analyst, L-Soft

"How do we get people to give us permission to send them email marketing messages?" is the most common question I hear from L-Soft's email marketing seminar attendees.

To get customers and prospects to sign up for your email advertising or newsletter deliveries, consider these five tips for a successful opt-in strategy:

Build trust – offer relevant, high-quality content
An organization has to earn its subscribers, and the first step toward building a successful opt-in email list is to create valuable and pertinent content with the target audience in mind. Low-quality content results in fewer subscriptions and more sign-offs. The wrong type of content increases the risk of attracting subscribers that are not interested in your products or services.

Be patient – opt-in email marketing is not a "get-rich-quick" scheme
Never forget that it is the subscriber who is in charge. Successful list building is all about convincing customers and prospects of the advantages of subscribing to your organization's email advertising or newsletter deliveries. It takes time to build the trust needed to get a customer to opt-in, but the payback manifests itself in terms of higher open-up, click-through and conversion rates.

View opt-in as a possibility, not a problem
View opt-in email marketing as an opportunity to stand out against the competition. Make all subscribers feel special by offering exclusive content or other rewards. Be generous to prospective subscribers, allowing them to sample parts of the content of your email newsletter. Let them experience the benefits of being a subscriber.

Set up a registration Web page
A prerequisite for an effective list-building strategy is a registration page that is clearly visible to your target audience. A registration page, in combination with email marketing software, automates the opt-in process and allows for full database connectivity. The registration page is your chance to sell the idea of subscribing to your organization's marketing messages. Use the registration page to convince your target audience to opt-in and offer a sneak preview of what they will receive when they do.

Promote the registration page
Make people aware of your registration page by actively promoting it, both on your Web site and by offline channels. Identify what Web pages your desired target audience visits the most and promote the registration page there. If your organization has other email lists, use them for cross-promotion. Offline seminars, tradeshows and direct mail campaigns are also excellent opportunities to promote the URL to the registration Web page.

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