Still on the topic of mailing list:
WHAT KIND OF MAILING LIST WILL YOU HAVE?
You need to decide if you're going to run and manage your mailing list on
your server or have it hosted by a list management system owner. I
recommend that you use a hosted solution and leave the management to
the experts. It's going to save you a lot of time. Besides, there are lots of
free third-party list management owners out there.
Now, there are three basic list types. The Tips List, the Newsletter and the
Ezine Format. If you have a blog, you could publish there and just give a
short text of each post in your email, including links to your website.
Tips List. This kind contains tips and is not date-sensitive unlike
newsletters and ezines. This is the easiest to manage of all three. If you
have an auto-responder, which we'II talk about later, you can load as
many tips as you could make in the system and have it sent to your
subscribers three or five tips per week and set the delivery schedule
whatever way you like. If you have 52 tips for example, you could set the
system to deliver one per week and the system will continue delivering
your tips uninterrupted for a whole year.
Newsletter and Ezine are both publication types, except the Ezine is
more in-depth and is longer.
Even though you might think you can handle sending
emails to your subscribers yourself, it is not wise to do so. Besides, that
would take a lot of your time and we want something that you can "set
then forget", don't we? With an auto-responder system, you can set the
frequency of your mails and with just one click of a button, you'II be able
to send mails to all the people in your list. Most auto-responders come
with a mailing list system.
But there's another reason why you need an auto-responder system.
Such a software allows subscribers to easily opt out and choose how
frequent they want to receive mails from you. This is important if you
want to avoid your email address being flagged as spam.
THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS
Something you need to understand about this mailing list business is that
it's a relationship, and like all kinds of relationships, you need to nurture it.
Once you have their email addresses, that's when the relationship starts.
When they sign up on your website, take that opportunity to thank them,
and yes, send them an email with a thank you token. For instance, if
you're offering services or products, you could offer gift certificates. If
you're in the business of giving opinions and reviews on why it's madness
to buy that new gadget, you could offer a free ticket to a trade fair or a
movie, or perhaps a gift certificate for a cup of coffee! It doesn't have to
be extravagant and your imagination is only your limit! Remember that for
taking their time out to sign up, they're showing that they are interested
enough to hear more from you and what you have to offer them
information-wise. Don't let the chance to nourish that relationship slip
through your hands!
You might want to read Part 1 and Part 2 also. Getting the most out of a mailing list and making your website work for you.