Online marketing has developed at a massive rate these past few years, and with it has come the rise in businesses offering Internet Marketing Strategies to you for a fee.

These would normally be presented as: We will get you X number of clients for your business at $X cost.

This strategy can work very well for certain companies, mainly companies with access to a large advertising budget or have tight time constraints placed on them and are forced into using these methods. However, it often comes at a hidden cost:

  • Risk of Spam complaints.
  • Unresponsive subscribers.
  • High bounce rates.
  • High unsubscribe rates.
  • Lack of sales or direct actions.

The pitfalls to using these companies can often be higher than the cost of the initial purchase.
You could be left with both a damaged brand and have your domain name blacklisted if you receive to many spam complaints etc.

Spam Mail Box - Image

So how can we target legitimately this massive demand for our product or service?

There are many varied ways that you can spread the word about your product or service in a much more cost effective way. But today we are going to concentrate on just one of these namely permission marketing or more commonly known as Opt-in email marketing.

Opt-in marketing in it’s simplest form is a contract (granted a very simple contract).
The contract is formed on the understanding that the customer will receive item a (free gift) in exchange for taking action b (providing their name and/or email address).

Your customers/subscribers obligations are:

to give a valid email address in the expectation that their free gift will be delivered by you to that address.

Your obligations are:

to deliver the free gift to the email address provided.

At this point the initial contract has been fulfilled, and there is no obligation on either party to do anything else, so why does email marketing work so well?
Human nature…

People are lazy,
look in your inbox, how many lists and offers have you subscribed to?
How many emails do you delete without opening them?
When was the last time you hit the unsubscribe link in an email?
People love to receive offers of discounts, useful information and free gifts.
One final thing as long as there is a valid way for your subscriber to opt out of receiving your emails, then you cannot be accused of sending spam.

Email marketing still works if used correctly.

Effective opt-in list’s start with these 4 tips:

1. Put up a good web form on your site.

While some may say this is too soon for visitors to subscribe, try to remember that your homepage should provide a quick overview of what your site offers, and leave a good impression. If somehow, a website visitor finds something that he or she doesn’t like and turns them off, they may just forget about signing up. A good web form for subscribing to an opt-in list is not hard to do.
Just write a simple short statement about what they would like to see improved on your website, or offer a free subscription to your newsletter, offer a good free e-course or free e-book. (Must be relevant to the site or service offered). There should be an area where they could put in their name and e-mail address. This web form will automatically add the details to your Autoresponder and you should get a copy of the details submitted.

Two examples of opt in forms are provided for your reference:

Opt-in Form. Example 1.

Opt-in Form. Example 2.

2. Your website:
Make it capture your visitors attention instantly.
Make it easy to navigate, with a clear and easy to follow structure. 
Have a clear and well written description, with good quality articles and good graphics.  
Provide the information your visitor was looking for.
Your aim is to get your visitor to want to come back or leave their email address. 
Make it simple and clear. 
Remember not every-one is tech savvy. 
Make sure your homepage loads quickly (not every-one has super fast internet connections). 
Go for a look that borders between simplicity and sophisticated knowledge.

Two example sites – 1 good example – 1 poor example are outlined below:

The Kilted Highlander

Past and present memories

3. Provide a good service and desirable products.

Two ways this can help you build your list:

Remember the free gift,
You have links back to your product or website right?
Everything you offer for free, should have links pointing back to your opt-in form and website. Good quality Free stuff gets shared. People read the content, click on the links within the content, subscribe to your offer for more free stuff.

Your aim here is to have a satisfied customer’s, who are happy to buy from you again.  The ultimate aim is for this customer to recommend your product or service to their social group or friends and family. You are likely to make a sale on the back of this recommendation. On your thank you page have a subscription form offering free updates.

4. Keep a clean and private list.
Never lose the trust that your customers have entrusted to you. If you provide e-mails to others and they get spammed, many will probably unsubscribe to you. Remember, a good reputation will drive in more traffic and subscribers as well as strengthen the loyalty of your customers. Always have a privacy statement on your opt-in form. This will help increase your opt-in rate.

Many people who are just starting out think that building their lists takes a lot of time and hard work, and that the effort is just not worth it.  It is one of the jobs that when done well can be very worth it. As a rough guide, each person you have on your list is worth roughly $1 per month to you.

The Steps you need to take next are listed below:

1. Subscribe to an Autoresponder service. (see note below)
2. Build a simple splash page.
3. Insert your form.
4. Drive traffic to your opt-in form.
5. Collect those names & emails and grow your list.

You will be grateful when you look back in six months or a year that you made the effort today.

Note If you need an Autoresponder service you can try out either Aweber or Getresponse for 7 days for free. Note these are monthly subscription services and they increase your monthly costs as your lists grow.

If you prefer to pay a one time fee for an unlimited Autoresponder service you can join I-autoresponder.