12 Tips for Successful Opt-in Email Newsletters
By Raj Khera
Do you keep in touch with your current and previous
clients? Are you building an email list of your
potential customers? What about those prospects
that you've been meaning to contact... do you
feel a little awkward cold-calling them?
Having your own opt-in, permission based
electronic newsletter might be the answer.
It is one of the most effective marketing
tools you can use, because it is fast, personal
Many small businesses are using email newsletters
to introduce themselves to new customers and
to communicate with existing ones. By sending
useful information on a regular basis, you
maintain constant contact without being annoying.
In addition, an email newsletter can enhance
your credibility and increase sales.
Following is some advice to help you with
the basics of producing your own newsletter.
Creating an Email Newsletter
Producing your newsletter doesn't have to
be a monumental task. First, decide on the
frequency of publication. This is based on
how much time you have to do the work. Publishing
it monthly or quarterly is probably a comfortable
pace for both you and your readers.
Next, produce a graphic design for your layout.
Many email list management companies provide
online templates for their customers. You
simply type or paste in your information online,
and an HTML or text-based newsletter is automatically
created for you.
Now it's time for the content of your newsletter.
Concentrate on topics that your readers will
be interested in, not only the ones that only
you find fascinating. Try to use real-life
For example, you can describe past successes
and maybe even interview a customer or two.
This way, you tell your audience how you solved
a problem that relates to them and convey
that you are a results-oriented professional.
The 12 Tips
Here are some ideas for successful email
newsletters and campaigns:
1. Do not purchase, trade or borrow an email
Sending email to people who have not specifically
requested to receive your mailings (opting
in) is almost always regarded as spam.
2. Make signing up and unsubscribing easy
Add a sign-up form to your home page or link
to it and ask your customers whether they
would like to sign up when you speak with
them in person. You may want to ask subscribers
only for their email address, first and last
name, and one or two other questions such
as their interests. This will allow you to
target future mailings.
3. Use double opt-in registration
There are two standard methods for online
registration, single and double opt-in. Double
opt-in is the preferred method, because it
your list sign-up form. Your policy should
describe how you handle the information you
collect and how people can contact you in
case they have any concerns or questions.
5. Send a welcome message to each new subscriber
Once someone subscribes, send a welcome message
immediately. Include a description of what
they will receive and how frequently, and
how to unsubscribe.
6. Keep accurate sign-up records
Sometimes, you or your Internet service provider
(ISP) will get a spam complaint from someone
who forgot they subscribed to your list. Keep
accurate records that include the date and
Web address from which they signed up.
7. Ask your members to opt in again if you
are using an older list
If you have not sent a mailing for a while,
ask subscribers to indicate that they want
to stay on your list by sending you an email,
clicking a link or visiting a Web page.
8. Remind people that they subscribed
Include a standard heading each time you
send a message. A short note such as ?¡ãThank
you for subscribing to our newsletter, Mary,?¡À
will remind recipients that they requested
9. Avoid certain terms in your subject line
and message text
If your message contains words frequently
used by spammers, people will delete it and
possibly file a spam complaint. ISPs often
filter emails with suspicious subject lines;
also note that it is illegal to use deceptive
or misleading ones.
10. Include your physical address and phone
Put your phone number and postal mailing
address in your message. This allows readers
to contact you to place an order or inquire
about your services. In addition, new federal
legislation requires physical addresses on
commercial email messages.
11. Send your mailings regularly
Keep in touch with your subscribers frequently
so they don't forget they signed up to receive
your mailings. They will begin to anticipate
your messages if you adhere to a schedule.
12. Reply promptly to each inquiry or spam
When you receive an inquiry or a spam complaint,
respond to it as soon as possible. Always
include the subscriber's sign-up information
with your response.
Following these simple suggestions will help
you retain your subscriber base, which is
fundamental for a thriving permission-based
electronic newsletter or outreach campaign.