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No-Sweat Techniques to Build Your E-mail Marketing Contact List

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By Melanie Attia

RISMEDIA, September 1, 2010—E-mail marketing lists are a necessity in any real estate market for industry professionals who are serious about getting their name and message in front of as many people as possible. While building an e-mail marketing contact list will take some time and dedication on your part, the following techniques provided by Melanie Attia, product marketing manager for Campaigner will help you create a list in no time.

Do’s

1. Leverage marketing programs you already have
No one can opt in if they don’t know you have valuable information to share, so don’t forget to:
- Include a line in your email that links to the sign-up page on your website whenever you purchase or rent an email list for a campaign.
- Lead back to your website from listings you have on partner or affiliate sites.
- Bring a computer to tradeshows and ask anyone who visits your booth to sign-up for your emails.
- Keep sign-up cards by your local store’s register.
- Refer listeners to your website in your radio ads.

2. Make it easy to opt in
Once people are on your site, make it as easy as possible to opt in by having a very visible link on the home page, or other webpage(s). Signing up should take as little time as possible, so don’t ask for too much information at this point.

3. Know your target audience
When someone opts in, ask only a few questions, like company name, industry, or location. You can also include a survey in your emails to gauge interest. Understand where people are coming from so you can make adjustments in future communications or promotions. One of the best resources for helping you expand your opt in list is your existing opt in list, so be sure to take advantage of it.

4. Consider the 4 C’s
Clear. Concise. Compelling. Customer-centric. When you write an email, put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask, “Why shouldn’t I hit the delete key right now?” Your readers are not opting in because they want to hear a sales pitch. They have a need—to save time, money, or effort, and of course to improve productivity and success. Your message must be compelling enough to convince people to sign up, valuable enough to keep them wanting more and useful enough to pass along.

5. Pass it on
“Word-of-mouth” works in the online world too, it’s called “viral marketing.” A good message will be passed along. Your next job is to make it easy to forward your email to others, who will forward it to others, and so on. If the people it’s forwarded to like what they see, they will opt in too, so include forward or subscribe instructions like a one-click “forward” link in every email you send.

Don’ts

1. Offer fabulous prizes for signing up
While this might seem like a good idea, you’ll end up with subscribers who want to win a prize, not learn useful information about your company and/or products. The prize should be the useful information you provide, so offer a newsletter, a free seminar, or more information about your products and services.

2. Deluge your subscribers with too many emails
How much is too much? It depends on your message, so set expectations. Let people know what they’re in for before they hit the ‘submit’ button. After they’ve had time to digest the information, ask a sample from your list what is the ‘right’ number of emails; they’ll let you know. Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way with an unsubscribe request.

3. Be everything to everyone
Your sign-up messaging, as well as the information in all of your emails should be focused and hit a nerve. Don’t be afraid to address audience’s needs one at a time. Hit the crucial ones first, and save the rest for later to keep them on your list and wanting more. If you’re too generic, in hopes of getting more people to opt in, you’ll end up being “nothing to everyone.”

4. Spend too much money acquiring names
An opt in list is a valuable asset and that means an investment on your part to build and maintain it. Be sure to budget appropriately and ahead of time, find the most cost-effective ways for reaching your target audience and know how much each name will cost. Keep in mind potential revenue, and lifetime value of each customer, and chose accordingly.

5. Live in a vacuum
Continually view, read and explore how other companies or organizations—from competitors and partners, to businesses in completely different industries—build their opt in lists. Most will use the same tried-and-true techniques, but you’ll spot an occasional guerilla tactic that will inspire you to try something new—it just might work for you too.

Melanie Attia is the product marketing manager for Campaigner.

For more information, visit www.campaigner.com.

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