Email is a great way to keep in touch with those visitors to your site who have given you permission to periodically contact them. The most common method is an opt-in for a newsletter or ezine. Visitors provide you with their name (for personalization) and email address and authorize you to email them information. This is generally a two-step opt-in process that requires them to confirm their subscription by answering an email sent to them by your autoresponder. Decide whether you want your autoresponder to reject opt-ins from free email services. , many of which are used as secondary addresses by people who wish to segregate (and maybe not read!) commercial email. By rejecting these sign-ups you can keep your list to a manageable size with primary addresses, but you may also alienate interested people who happen to have a free account, and don’t realize that they won’t receive your information. No method is best for everyone, and you’ll have to test the waters for your target group.
You also can set up your site to serve up a blank email, the way hitting “Contact Us” works, whenever a user clicks the subscribe button. This way you’ll get a blank email pre-populated with the user’s primary address. Be certain your process includes confirmation so there are no misunderstandings.
Once you’ve been through the process of offering information to site visitors, you need to be certain that you give them something of value each and every time you email them. It’s a two way street: you worked hard to convince them of the value of your information and you have their attention, as long as you produce. Make every issue special, even if they have to be pretty infrequent at first, or your hard work marketing yourself will not only be eliminated, but turned to a negative.
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