Direct Email Marketing List-Building Tips for Targeted Opt-In Solutions

One of the greatest challenges in direct email marketing is building your list. Your most valuable asset is a list of people who have given you their permission to email them periodically. The larger that list is, the better. Here are some proven ways to add opt-in subscribers to your email lists each day.

1. Offer two incentives.

You need to give your prospects and clients two incentives for subscribing to your email list. The first incentive is the one you offer in exchange for their email address. Offer a discount, white paper, special report, coupon or other attractive premium and you’ll see your sign-up rates climb.

The second incentive is your content. Describe the value that each email message delivers. If you publish an email newsletter, for example, describe the articles, feature stories, editorials, case studies and other valuable content that will motivate people to subscribe.

2. Make every email an invitation.

Every time you correspond with your clients, prospects, vendors and other key audiences by email, include a convenient way for them to opt-in to your list, giving you their permission to market to them more regularly.

3. Put a sign-up box on every webpage.

If you check your weblogs you’ll discover that many of your unique website visitors arrive at your site on a page other than your homepage. You need to capture these people regardless of the page they arrive on. So include an email opt-in box on every page, in a prominent place. Pay special attention to your product pages, and pages that visitors land on after clicking a link in a list of search engine results.

4. Embed opt-in links in body copy.

Figure out the webpages your visitors are most interested in, then find a way to embed a link to your email newsletter in the body copy on the page. A good example is this article you’re reading, where at least one mention of “our email newsletter” could be a link to your newsletter sign-up page. You’ll find mine at

5. Test your opt-in offers.

I met a man at my son’s soccer practice who said the three most popular sellers on the Internet are porn~, poker* and pills_. You need to discover what’s popular with your potential subscribers, what will motivate them to sign up for your email newsletters. The best way to do that is to rotate your opt-in incentives and the language you use to describe them, testing each one to see which incentives pull the highest number of opt-ins (and the lowest number of subsequent unsubscribes, since some incentives, if too attractive, attract too many incentive-collectors). 2006 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the “About the author” message).

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