Direct Email Marketing can be one of the most effective forms of advertising you can use to spread the word about your product or service. You need to properly plan and structure the tiers of your email marketing campaigns otherwise you can run into SPAM complaints, domain blacklisting, email blocking, and an overall bad reputation.
This article will explain a step by step procedure to take your list of single opt in (unconfirmed) prospects and filter them into a list of targeted double optin subscribers. This article assumes you have already acquired a list of single opt in subscribers (either by purchasing a list, using an existing subscriber database or by utilizing other lead capture techniques).
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Step 1 - Setup an Autoresponder An Autoresponder is a set of scripts that automatically sends timed email messages to a database of subscribers. You have two options available to you.
- Purchase and host your own Autoresponder scripts
- Sign up for an account with an Autoresponder service.
- Interspire SendStudio
- Ecom24 AutoResponder Plus
- Follow Up Xpert
You will be setting up two Autoresponder Subscriber Databases. The first database will store your raw single optin prospect list and send a one time promotional message. The second database will store your confirmed prospects and send them a timed follow up message sequence that you will configure in Step 3.
Begin by importing your raw optin list subscriber list into your first Autoresponder System. Make sure you include the user's first name, last name, email address, ip address, and date stamp fields. If you ever need to refute a SPAM complaint having all the proper optin information is a must have.
Any reputable Autoresponder service will require all of the listed information at a minimum before they will allow you to put your list in their system. Ensure any lists you purchase from optin list vendors have this information included as well, otherwise you are taking some big league chances with your reputation.
You should now have two databases set up to store your prospects. One will be empty, and the other will contain your uploaded optin list of raw unconfirmed prospects.
Step 3 - Configure Your Autoresponder Follow Up Messages
You will need to add a confirmation message and follow-up messages to your second Autoresponder system.
Typically a person needs to see a brand or product up to 7 times before they will buy it. Win your prospect's trust by providing them valuable information. A free ecourse or newsletter are great ways to enhance your credibility.
Do not bombard your subscribers with product advertisements. They will eventually get tired of you and remove themselves from your list. Your prospect may not want to buy today, but if they ever do want to buy, you want to be their brand. This requires maintaining regular contact with your prospects so that your name is fresh in their mind without having them tune you out because your information is of no use to them.
If you provide valuable content through your Autoresponder prospects will happily open your emails giving you the chance to turn them into customers. Better yet the system is Automated meaning you could be gaining customers while sitting on the beach in some tropical locale.
Email Writing Resources
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- Writing Effectively
- How To Write Autoresponder Messages
- Write Autoresponder Messages Subscribers Will Love To Read
You will be sending a one time CAN-SPAM compliant message to the list of raw prospects in your first Autoresponder System. This message will contain a mechanism to get your prospect subscribed to your second Autoresponder system which will be sending your follow up message sequence or newsletter.
When the prospect confirms their subscription they are added to the second Autoresponder database automatically and will begin to receive your Follow Up Message Sequence. Congratulations, you now have a targeted double optin subscriber.
Typical Autoresponder Subscription Methods
Lead Capture Page with Form - You can insert form code into a webpage that allows a user to subscribe to your second autoresponder system. You would then add a link to the page where you inserted this code into your one-time promotional message. If a user visits your webpage and fills out the form, they will get the confirmation message from your second Autoresponder system and subsequently your follow up messages or newsletter if they confirm their subscription.
Send a Blank Email to a Preconfigured Email Address - All autoresponder systems allow you to create an email address for remote subscription. You can insert this email address into your one-time message (do not make this your from address). When someone sends an message to this email address they are issued your confirmation message and follow up sequence once they confirm their subscription.
Insert Form Code in HTML Message - If you send your messages as HTML you have the option of inserting your signup form directly in your email message. Unfortunately, if your prospect does not have HTML messages enabled they will not be able to use your signup form.
Choose your preferred subscription method and make sure you add the necessary URL, email address or form code into your one-time message.
Items to Include in your Message:
- Proper return email address - (not an autoresponder subscription address). If a user chooses to “reply" to your message it has to be deliverable to a “resolvable" email address.
- Proper email header information - If you are using hosting that has been set up for you with your own domain you shouldn't have to worry about configuring header information. If you run your own servers you will have to ensure you set up the proper DNS records for your domain and mailing services. Do not spoof or forge your header information.
- Removal Mechanism - Insert a link to a webpage containing your unsubsribe form, or an email address they can send their “Unsubscribe" request to. This link must be valid for at least 30 days after you send your email message.
- Contact Information - Insert your name, contact email adress, and street address (or your company street address) information at the end of your message.
- Appropriate Subject Line - Don't bother trying to fool people with tricky subject lines like “open me" or “look here". They hurt your credibility and scream “I am an amateur".
- Your Promotional Message - Include a short benefit and feature filled message about your offer or service. Remember the goal is to get them into your automated follow up system, not close the sale.
- Prospect's Optin Details (Optional) - Reduce the risk of SPAM complaints by including the prospects optin details with your message. Sometimes people do not remember signing up for things and this gives you a level of credibility with the prospect right away.
Remember to adhere to the Policies and Terms of your Web Host at all times. Some will allow you to send to large lists, some will not. It is up to you to be responsible and find out what you are allowed to do prior to starting your email campaigns.
After you have completed preparing your one time message you will be ready to start your email campaign.
Step 5 - Send One-Time Message Use your Autoresponder System to send your one-time message to your unconfirmed subscriber database.
Make sure to include a couple of your own email addresses in the list so you can verify whether your messages are getting delivered.
Log in to your Autoresponder system regularly and start watching your Double Optin list grow.
You can keep adding users to the first database as you acquire more leads. As you get more advanced you can begin tracking your email campaigns through specialized Ad tracking URL's.
Congratulations, you now have a Fully Automated Follow Up and Contact Management System.
Michael Lawrence is the webmaster for SEO Web Guide offering search engine optimization resources and services.