Small Business Email Marketing With Double Opt-In

Nobody in their right mind should ever consider generating SPAM on the internet. You know, those unsolicited emails containing various offers, deals, promotions, etc from people that you have never heard of. Is that not aggravating? Here is how to do an effective job of small business email marketing without ever resorting to sending spam.

All email systems, from AOL to Yahoo to Outlook to Gmail all employ a feature called “white listing”. The people on this list have been cleared by you for their messages to appear in your main “Inbox”. In addition to names that you intentionally place on this list, the email provider will also add to the white list the names of anybody to whom you send messages. The theory is that, if you personally send them messages, you have an established dialogue with them by default.

Once an email address is on the white list of your email system, all incoming messages from that address will automatically make it to your Inbox.

If you simply buy a list of email addresses or use someone else’s list, your address will not be on the white list of the addressee as you have not yet established a dialogue with that person. To send out such unsolicited emails is, in fact, SPAMming! You are at risk of having your IP address shut down for good if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gets enough complaints.

The real and professional solution to this problem is to use a “Double Opt-In” methodology. In such a program, a visitor firsts requests to be on your list (first Opt-In) and then you send them a verification message to which they respond to verify the fact that they wish to be on your list (second Opt-In). After this dialogue takes place, you can be sure that your email address has been white listed on the visitor’s system. From then on, your messages will naturally make it to their inbox along with all other respected messages.

The best way to easily accomplish such a double opt-in program is to employ an autoresponder service from one of the many vendors on the Internet that provide this function. It is very inexpensive (usually $20 per month or less) and they are extremely effective.

When using an autoresponder for your small business email marketing, you first attract traffic to a “lead capture page” on the Internet wherein you ask visitors to provide you with their email address in order to receive something of value, such as a white paper on an interesting topic, a link to a mini-course on your topic, etc. Once they input their email address, the autoresponder system takes over, sending the visitor a verification email, receiving the verification prompt and activating their address on your double opt-in list.

Each new name added to you list will receive one or more email marketing messages that you had previously setup to be delivered in sequence and with a specified interval between messages. So, they might receive an introductory or thank you message right away followed by some sort of interesting tip or technique, followed by a special discount offer, etc, etc, etc. Of course, the visitor has the right to unsubscribe or “opt-out” at any time, so the burden is on you to keep your message stream interesting, informative and not too pushy.

By using such an approach, you can create a very effective small business email marketing program that will work for years to come!