When a potential customer makes a conscious decision to join your list, she has exercised an option, or 'opted-in' to your mailing list. She has also demonstrated a pre-determined interest in whatever it is that you are offering, making her a 'targeted' opt-in subscriber.
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Opt-In Basics - Just the Facts Ma'am

First of all, let's define this much misused and often loosely interpreted word 'opt-in.' When a potential customer makes a conscious decision to join your list, she has exercised an option, or 'opted-in' to your mailing list. She has also demonstrated a pre-determined interest in whatever it is that you are offering, making her a 'targeted' opt-in subscriber.

However, many common methods of collecting email addresses have nothing in common with a true opt-in process. In other words, a list of true opt-in subscribers is not...

- Gathered from postings to links directories, FFA pages, or online classified ad pages.

- Not other 'members' of a 'safe-list' you belong to.

- Not purchased from a 'hot email leads' mill.

A true opt-in relationship is a one-on-one situation, between you and the subscriber. She has made a conscious decision to hear more about your offer, and has granted permission for you to send future emails pertaining to the original topic of interest. With that ideal in mind, if your candle factory is the original topic of your subscriber's interest, it may be considered grossly out-of-bounds for you to arbitrarily begin sending her information about an online business venture.

Beginning From Scratch

First of all, you have to entice people to voluntarily opt-in to your list. It's likely that no one will subscribe to your list just to help you in your business endeavour, or just because she is a nice person. So, two factors become critical at this point.

Critical Factor Number 1

- There must be a clearly explained benefit or incentive; something the subscriber will gain in return for taking her time to opt-in and read your material.

In the information marketing business, the offered incentive commonly takes the form of a report delivered by autoresponder, or an electronic book download. When using this sort of an incentive for new subscribers, it is much more than important that you provide valid and useable information in a professional format. Anything less will harm your credibility from the start.

It is also recommended that you be as fresh and original as possible with your incentive offer. Even a truckload of outdated information and worn out ebooks will not generate much interest with potential subscribers.

Other types of business will find that the incentive can be derived directly from the business itself. A travel broker may successfully offer hotel discount coupons. A culinary artist may offer her newest original recipe, or designs for attractive table presentation.

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