How to Manage your Email List Effectively
Building your list is going to require some effort on your part. You have to ensure that the process of adding new subscribers is easy and efficient. You also need to be able to administer your list easily. It is highly recommended that you use software for this and automate the process as much as possible. There are several steps you can take to keep your subscribers happy as well including:
• Acknowledge all requests that are sent by subscribers. Even if they want off of your list.
• Greet your new subscribers with a Thank You message. This helps to build confidence and trust.
• Offer various options to sign up. They should be able to sign up on your website or through email.
• Update your lists as often as possible. Try to keep bad addresses to a minimum.
• Provide excellent customer service and always be polite.
• Automate as many processes as possible.
It won’t take long to build a list, but once it is over 50 people there is no way that you can handle that kind of mass mailing with your own email account. This means that you will need to invest in a service to do this for you. The first place to start is with your hosting company. Many hosting companies offer some sort of list server and mail server that will allow you to easily send out your newsletters to your subscribers. This may be an additional fee that you pay with your hosting.
The next place to start is with a paid list server. Here are a few to check into:
• StickyStudio.com: Offers a variety of packages depending on the number of subscribers you have.
• SparkList: Set-up fee of $25 for a list less than 2,000. Minimum monthly fee of $50. $1 per 1,000 names.
• BigList: Set-up fee of $50. Monthly rates starting at $40 for less than 500 subscribers. $120 for a list between 5,000 and 10,000.
What About the Unsubscribers?
All newsletters will have to deal with these at one point or another. It is extremely important that you handle unsubscribe requests quickly. You must honor the request of a person to no longer be on your list; in fact it’s the law. It’s also a part of the time consuming aspect of being an ezine publisher. You should have several options available for those who want to unsubscribe.
• Website Option:
Visitors go to your website and click on a link that says “Unsubscribe from our newsletter.” Then you need to provide a box where they enter their email address or send you an email. It is a good idea to send an email confirming that they want to unsubscribe.
• Provide a Link in Your Footer:
This is one of the most common ways to allow people to unsubscribe because they can do it from their email box.
You can also provide an email address where the subscriber sends their unsubscribe request directly. It is suggested you have them type “unsubscribe” in the subject line so that is will go to the appropriate folder and it can be processed.
Bounced emails are those that cannot be delivered. They are one of the main concerns for an ezine publisher, but it’s a fact of life that someone is bound to put in the wrong email address. Sometimes an email will bounce simply because it is temporarily unavailable as well. These emails can be placed in one of two categories. There are soft bounce and hard bounce emails.
• Soft Bounce: This is when the email is not working temporarily. This can be due to a variety of reasons.
• Hard Bounce: This is when the email is wrong, inactive or closed.
The problem is that it is almost impossible to know which type of bounce you are receiving. The solution lies in using an automated software program that will automatically delete the hard bounce email addresses from your list. It is very hard to manually handle these emails and it would be impossible for you to determine the difference on every one of them.
Double Opt In
Ezines are an excellent way to build a customer base if you are also trying to sell products. The purpose of your ezine is to increase customers, so you want to be sure that you are very diligent in the design and administration of your ezines. You do not want people to unsubscribe because you are constantly changing things or trying to sell to them too hard.
Customers tend to be very unforgiving when it comes to poor design and administration. The subscription process is very crucial and you want to ensure that you have a safe service and one that is credible. You don’t want to make people angry because they accidentally signed up for your newsletter when they didn’t intend to. Because of this, you will want to go with the Double Opt-In subscription method. The Double Opt-In is a much more credible way for you to gain subscriptions. This may mean that they sign up with a click of a button, but then they have to go through a confirmation email or message. This ensures that only genuine subscribers are receiving your ezine.
There are a few critics on this, as some readers may not go through the confirmation email process. This means that you may end up losing prospective customers. However, you are better safe than sorry and should always use a double opt-in to ensure that you are not going to be accused of spam later down the road.
The main advantage of the double opt-in is that you have a better chance of targeting readers that are really interested in what you have to offer. This method can increase your profits because you have people on your list who are interested in your niche and they’re interested in buying products in your niche. Here are a few more reasons why you should use a double opt-in process:
• Increases the prospect of targeting receptive readers and customers.
• Increases your credibility and trustworthiness
• Portrays professionalism
• Ensures long term relationships
• Provides documented proof of subscriptions
• Eliminates false claims by readers.
• Saves yourself time and money handling complaints and legal claims
An ezine ISSN is similar to that of a book’s ISBN number. This stands for International Standard Serial Number and is an 8 digit unique number that is given to ezines. This number is very useful if you want to submit your ezine to libraries. The ISSN allows you to identify your ezine uniquely. There are, however, certain guidelines that a publisher must follow in order to apply and receive an ISSN for their ezine. The first is that you have to show an intention of continuing your ezine for an extended period of time. You may not receive an ISSN if your ezine is only going to be published for a short period of time.
An ezine must also be uniquely identified by a number in addition to the ISSN number. This number should be something like the month and the year. For example, if you published your issue in June of 2007, you would use 062007 to designate the issue for that month. Each ezine issue needs a unique designation.
There are several advantages of having an ISSN as well. The main advantage is that it makes you look very professional and credible. Also, because you only get an ISSN for a long term published ezine, you have time as a credibility factor as well. Another advantage is that you have more leverage in a copyright suit if you need to address copyright infringement on your ezine’s content and you can only do this if you have an ISSN.
Your Ezine’s Website
Most ezines are created with the intention of marketing some type of product. Because of this, you need to have a user friendly website to showcase your products on. Your website must also take a unique approach to show off and market your products. The site itself doesn’t have to be elaborate by design, but it should be designed for a successful sale. First and foremost, it’s important that your site functions properly. It should also have a separate page that houses all of your ezines along with their benefits and why someone should sign up to receive them.
Remember, every time your site works properly, your credibility rises. When your website doesn’t work properly, you lose credibility. Also, stay away from websites that are loaded with Flash and large graphics. These take too long to download and you can’t assume that everybody has high-speed Internet. Yes, there are people who are still on dial-up. I know your cringing and having flashbacks of long download times, but that’s reality.
On your website, you need to be sure that you know who your target market is and that your website is catering to their needs. You want the site to reflect the values of your customers. You also want to have a separate page for each ezine if you have more than one. Your site should be designed to the preferences of the people you will be marketing to.
A website also needs good content. This is the mark of a good product as well. If your copy conveys the message you want to get across then you will do very well. Relevant content is crucial for your website, especially because you want to show people that you have some expertise in an area. You also need to double-check your spelling and grammar on your website and all ezines that are sent out.
Your website should be optimized for the search engines as well. You will want to use keywords throughout your website that are associated with your content so that the search engines will pick up your site and index it. You can determine your keywords for free by signing up on a Google AdWords account. You don’t have to sign up a campaign or anything, but you can use their keyword tool. It’s very helpful in showing you which keywords are of a high demand and competitive.