The best tactic for growing and retaining a profitable email marketing list
Studies show that business-to-business (B2B) email marketers can lose approximately 30% of their email list every year largely due to unsubscribe or "opt-out" requests from recipients.
So how do you combat these significant losses from happening to your email list?
It starts with the tactics you use to grow the list.
For certain, the golden rule of building a responsive and profitable email list is to only use permission-based tactics. Your list building tactics should always require that the prospect or client explicitly -- and without doubt -- personally requests to be added (or opt-in) to your email list.
If you add people to your email list without their permission, or upload/import non-permission outside lists (no matter how you've got the lists -- or how good you think the lists are -- from business partners, trade shows, conferences, seminars, or mailing list brokers) you are on a sure path to get huge amounts of people requesting to unsubscribe.
Plus, non-permission tactics will eventually get you banned (or what they call "blacklisted") from your email service provider (ESP) and/or the internet service providers (ISPs) that deliver your emails.
But good email marketing doesn't stop at just getting permission.
There are two types of permission-based (or opt-in) email list-building tactics. And one far exceeds the other in reducing problems and increasing profitability.
1. Single opt-in
This is when the prospect or client only has to input their email address in the online submission form, and then ... "presto" ... they are on your list, and are able to receive your newsletter, special report, white paper, etc. that you offer.
The advantage to single opt-in is that it is easy for the recipient to sign-up, and it is simple for you to collect email addresses.
As a result, you are likely to see larger lists when you employee single opt-in.
But bigger isn't always better.
Usually the quality of list from single-opt-in is poor for a variety of reasons.
People make mistakes when they type in their address. Or they just type in random characters to get free special report. Even malicious folks can sign up unsuspecting others to your list, which can really get you into trouble.
Also, because there is very little effort for the recipient to sign-up, they often enter their email casually, and don't always later remember they signed up -- and/or don't value what you send them. This can result in them not recognizing who you are in future emails you send to them, which may cause them to flag you as a spammer. Remember: the perception that an email is "spam" is in the eyes of the beholder (the recipient). Only they can determine what they consider is unwanted email, even if you did get their permission.
Single opt-in lists usually have higher bounce rates and lower deliverability when messages are broadcasted. These bad statistics over time can flag your account with an ESP and/or ISP that you may not be using best practices to grow your list (or that you might even be a spammer).
2. Double opt-in (also known as "verified opt-in" or "confirmed opt-in")
Double opt-in tactics are the solution to ensuring quality control of the email addresses before they are added to your list.
When you employ double opt-in, the person signing up must provide you permission (or verification) from the confirmation email you send after they fill out the submission form.
You will normally need to use an email service provider that has double opt-in utilities built-in to their system (NOTE: we advise that you use an ESP anyway, as the dangers and snares of managing your own email lists are significant).
What does the confirmation email for double opt-in look like?
Here's an example of what a confirmation email might look like (from Aweber, which is a reputable and affordable email service provider):
Thank you for requesting our Special Report and weekly newsletter.
Before we begin sending you the information you
requested, we want to be certain we have your permission.
CONFIRM BY VISITING THE LINK BELOW:
Click the link above to give us permission to send you
information. It's fast and easy! If you cannot click the
full URL above, please copy and paste it into your web
If you do not want to subscribe, simply ignore this message.
ABC Business Services
In this email, the recipient must take another positive action to confirm that he or she wants to be on your list, and receive your offer.
While double opt-in tactics will usually produce a smaller email list, the recipients of the list will be of the highest quality (which will usually result in more profitable responses to your business offers), and you will also prevent spam complaints, malicious visitor requests, typos, and increase your compliance with the various anti-spam regulations. Recommended Resources to help you send manage your email marketing efforts including newsletters, ezines, and autoresponders
Aweber - get unlimited autoresponders & newsletters, plus templates designs and free support. They claim that 99.34% email is delivered.
1ShoppingCart.com - unlimited autoresponders, plus optional upgrades to a shopping cart and affiliate program manager.