How Do I Get Started?

Merely inserting someplace where email addresses can
be gathered and collected is already a first step
towards building a list. In general, there are two
choices that you’ll be faced with when deciding
exactly how and where you’re going to be gathering
emails:

1. Creating an Opt-in Page

Amongst those who are honestly going all-out to build
up a list, this is the most commonly employed method,
simply because of its effectiveness. By creating a
separate opt-in page, all the attention on that page
can be focused completely on the singular goal of
getting a customer to subscribe to the list.

Essentially, the best opt-in pages are those that have
no ‘extras’ that may distract from the goal, and so
normal advertisements and other links (except at least
one leading back to the main website) are removed.

Really, it is sort of like plugging up all the ‘leaks’
so that everything just flows towards gathering up
emails.

Also, having a distinct opt-in page would allow
traffic to be channeled directly to it, maybe even
bypassing the main website entirely. By doing so, the
possibility that visitors will be distracted on the
way to the opt-in page is removed as well.

Thus, the opt-in page gives the customer a two-way
decision: to subscribe or not to subscribe (with
everything possible being done to ensure that the
former option is picked!).

Remember: With an opt-in page, your form should always
be ‘above the fold’ (so that visitors will not need to
scroll down to see it).

2. Adding an Opt-in Form to the Main Website

Definitely less effective under normal circumstances,
it is still an option that could be considered. In
more some websites, especially blogs, which may not
want to have their traffic leaving the main website
to go off to a separate opt-in page, having the form
as part of an easily located sidebar could even work
just as well.

Of course, doing so does not have the added benefits
of removing all other distractions from the equation,
but it is still better than nothing.

Regardless of which option is chosen in order to build
up a list, there’s one other key ingredient that
should not be overlooked:

Autoresponders

Firstly, it is actually possible to build and maintain
a list without using autoresponders at all. That said,
it would be monumentally difficult, inconveniencing,
and get close to being downright impossible when the
list reached a large size.

Today’s generation of top-of-the-line autoresponders
deal with a variety of functions. Not only do they
store email addresses, but they also have the ability
to send out scheduled automated emails.

Most autoresponders track a variety of statistics
based not only on sign-up rates, but also on the
click-through rates and open rates of emails. In short,
they can do pretty much everything that you’d ever
need done to help manage your list.

Just to get you started, here are the two best
autoresponder services that are currently available:

1. Aweber – By far the most established autoresponder;
it has a huge list of features, and also claims to be
able to avoid junk mail filters the best.

2. GetResponse – Aweber’s main rival, it is almost as
good in terms of the number of features on offer, and
a lot cheaper, especially for large lists.
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