One of most important keys to success in online marketing is building your own opt-in list of potential and prior customers. For those that are just starting out online, this process should start even before you start planning to publish your own ezine/newsletter.
As you launch your business you can begin to build your opt-in list in order to followup with these prospects and customers. It doesn't have to be a formal ezine initially, it can just be a once a month update on new products and services. When your list starts to increase to a good size then you can consider a formal ezine.
We started with 300+ email addresses of associates and customers who we did business with offline. Today our list has 15,000+ subscribers and is growing steadily.
So how do you capture addresses. Here are a few of standard ways that we capture them:
1. A Web Site Sign Up Form
Place a sign up form on every page of your website. Or at a minimum have a "subscribe" link on every page that goes to a separate subscription page. Make sure that you just don't put "subscribe to our ezine". That means nothing to me when I see it. Why should I sign up? Just a short description will greatly increase your subscription rate. For instance. using "Weekly Marketing Tips and Techniques emailed to you! Subscribe Today" would be better than "Subscribe to Our Ezine".
2. Free Information Giveaways
Give something away free like a free report with information that is geared to your site's content. Ensure that they have to request information so you capture their email address.
Use an autoresponder to deliver information automatically. There are lots of free autoresponder services out there. That way information is available around clock. With most good services you will receive a information copy as soon as someone requests information and it will have their email address in it.
But, and this is important, just don't send them free information. Make sure that at end of your autoresponder text that you send them, there is a short blurb about your website services/products and your ezine if you have one. But don't over do it. I like to just keep it to one or two little ads.
Another important item is that you SHOULD NOT just add person's email address to your opt-in list or ezine. This would make it easy for them to file a SPAM complaint since they didn't ask to be on your list. Offer them ability to get future mailings from you as indicated above in mailing itself. You want to create a true opt-in list.