Building your email list can be one of the most important things you do when starting your business. That list is your core followers and by giving you their email address they are giving you direct access to them. There is no other communication method out there, facebook and twitter included, that can interrupt someone at anytime of the day because their smart phone beeps with a new message.
Email marketing is a powerful tool but there are also rules to play by so you are not labeled as spam and so you actually grow your list and grow your credibility with your subscribers.
We recommend MailChimp if you are just starting out. It is free up to 1000 subscribers which is perfect if you don’t have a full plan for your email campaign just yet. There are other options like AWeber and Constant Contact but for most small businesses, MailChimp is your solution.
For larger lists we recommend AWeber which is a popular solution among many of the top bloggers and companies out there that use email marketing all the time.
E-mail Marketing FAQ
You own the list that you build. It is your most connected followers and customers. They gave you their email address because they want to be contacted by you which gives you the chance to market things to them. There is no reason not to grow you list especially when it is free to do so with a service like MailChimp.
What is an auto-responder?
An auto-responder is a number of emails you setup so that when a new subscirber signs-up they get them in the manner you want. For example many people might have a 5 day free guide that you will get if you sign-up. Each of those 5 emails is setup to send out over the period of 5 days from when each new subscriber signs-up. Some people have 1 or 2 emails in their auto-responder some of hundreds and some have none. It depends on your need and how you think your information is best delivered to your new subscribers.
What is an opt-in?
An opt-in is what you use to help convince someone to sign-up to your list. Many times you will see this has something like “sign-up and get our free 5 day guide to…” or ‘sign-up and get an exclusive discount on our services”. Whatever it is it is supposed to draw attention from your visitors because you are offering them a perk for signing up.
How often do I send an email?
Ideally about 1-3 times a week. Once a month and your subscribers will forget what they sign-up for and what your list is about. More and you risk annoying your subscribers by clogging their inbox which results in them unsubscribing. Now of course there are outliers like Groupon that send you an update everyday. The most important thing is that what you are sending out is truly valuable to your subscribers.
What should go in my email?
Information your subscribers will find valuable! It could be educational, discounts, announcements, giveaways, promotions, etc. It simply needs to help your subscribers. Don’t send them something that is out of left field or you will lose them. Keep the information consistent and valuable. Do promotions or give subscribers exclusive info. Keep it valuable and your email list will become one of your most important marketing tools.
Should I include an unsubscribe link?
Yes! It is actaully required for you to do so by law. Either way you don’t want to wait until someone has to report your email as spam so they can stop getting it. Some times desires change or people just stop being interested. Give them the chance to get out.
What is double opt-in?
Double opt-in is becoming the standard. It means that once someone signs-up to your list they then receive an email where they must confirm the subscription. By doing this twice it helps validate the email address and also ensures the user was the one entering the email address on your site.
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Category: Startup Advice