Chapter 14: Improving Site Ranking and

Chapter 14: Improving Site Ranking and Managing 363 Secret #237: Use Opt-In E-mail Newsletters to Drive Traffic Despite the scourge of spam and viruses that have hit e-mail users in the past years, e-mail remains the killer application. E-mail newsletters are undeniably powerful tools to build audience and encourage real relationships between you and your site visitors and customers. The key to avoiding guerrilla tactics in e-mail advertising is to make all e-mail newsletters optional. You will have people opt in mostly via your Web site, which means they have to get to your Web site in the first place. Once visitors do opt in, you can begin building a personal mailing list, which in turn encourages return visits to your site. tip There are numerous directories to which you can post announcements about new e-mail lists. These directories can be helpful because they provide a means of getting interested readers and promoters together. Some of the important factors to consider when initiating opt-in e-mail newsletters are as follows: What are the specific results you want from the e-mail? (Sales? More eyes on your site?) Do you want to offer HTML e-mail? Many e-mail experts say that HTML e-mail is the only way to go, but HTML e-mail may be problematic or undesirable for certain audiences. What kind of content are you going to offer (such as articles, reviews of products, tips and tricks, interviews, and polls)? How long will your newsletter be? Most e-mail experts say that keeping content short and to the point wins the day. How often will you send the newsletter out to subscribers? note Most e-mail newsletter services offer reasonably priced assistance for managing HTML versus text e-mail, tracking e-mail responses, statistics, demographics, and additional helpful tools that you can use to increase your awareness of how well your e-mail campaign is working. Experts do suggest that you spend time creating a plan to start e-mail newsletters, and also build in a way to assess how effective your plan is working. This way, you can adjust to the needs of your audience as time goes on. tip Generally speaking, you should send your e-mails during the week. Some studies suggest that most people open newsletters between Tuesday and Thursday. While weekends are often considered bad times to send newsletters, it really will depend upon your audience. If you are selling sports products, movies, or other recreational products, the weekend might be the perfect time to grab some attention. I have an opt-in newsletter on my site, and I have several thousand people on that list. One of the things I do regularly is to focus special promotions and giveaways

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