When you're starting your email campaign, you will find a lot of tools and resources, both free and paid, which claim they will help you boost your response rates and build your list. Unfortunately, many of these resources are not worth the time or money you spend. Even the free resources can be worth far less than you pay, in terms of the damage they can do to your reputation.
Free email list services are one of the most popular resources many cash-strapped publishers turn to. It sounds very tempting to have a free autoresponder and email list to send your newsletter. Unfortunately, if you're running a business, free services such as email lists and autoresponders make you look very unprofessional.
The fact is that professional autoresponders and email list services are very affordable, often costing under $20 a month, and most people will respond much more favorably to your mailing campaign if you use professional services, rather than free ones.
Article directories are a free service that can be very useful in building your publication by providing you with great content. However, many email publishers just grab a few new or popular articles, throw them in their newsletter, and hope for the best. This technique will not work. The newest articles are probably being used in many other newsletters, and the popular articles are definitely being used a lot. If you use article directories, take the time to search for the hidden gems.
You may find publications offering to let you put your name on their newsletter and send it to your list, free of charge. This is usually not very successful for you, because you do not control anything about the newsletter. It's not your content, it doesn't necessarily fit your message, and it doesn't have your ads in it-in fact, it is an income-producer for the real publisher. These arrangements almost never work for the list owner (in this case, you).
Any offer you find to “rent" an email list, or buy a list, is best avoided like the plague. The only way you will really get a good email list is the hard way-building an opt-in list on your own. The best thing that usually happens with a rented or purchased list is nothing-no sales and no readers for your publication. The worst thing that can happen is that your mailings to these lists will generate tons of spam complaints, causing you to lose your email account, your web site, and even your business. Renting or buying an email list is nothing short of a recipe for disaster.
Network marketing companies (also known as multi-level marketing or MLM) often offer to “build your list for you" and help you get started, and promise that you can use your list for anything you want once they've built it. These situations are usually much like the rented/bought list, in terms of spam complaints and the risk of losing everything.
While building your own list, using paid services, and doing your own work to build your mailing campaign does cost more and takes more effort it is well worth the money and effort to build a successful campaign.
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