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 Even a truckload of outdated information and worn out ebooks will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.