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Your list of email addresses is a key element of successful email marketing. Let's talk about how to create that list of email addresses. First, one common way to collect email addresses is to add a sign-up box on your web site. Most, perhaps all, email delivery services make it easy to use their code on your web site. Here we will look at iContact, which is one email delivery service. Once logged in to iContact, click the My Contacts tab. On the right, click Sign-up Forms.
We've created a sign-up form already. If you need to create a sign-up form, click the Create HTML Form button. In this case, we click the View HTML. This calls up a text area with all the code we need for the sign-up box. I'll highlight it, right-mouse-click, Copy, and then open Notepad++. Into a file that I've already created, I'll paste the code. I will save the code and go over to the web browser.
I have here this page that I called up in Notepad. Right-mouse-click, hit Reload. I now have the sign-up form. Typically, the sign up box will be somewhere on your web site, for example, on the right column or in the top right of your web page design. Let's add an email address. And we click the Submit button as if we were on your web site. iContact returns this confirmation page with information about how to stop receiving email and how to ensure email gets to you.
Another way to collect email addresses, perhaps the best way to collect email addresses, is in person. For example, a restaurant might have a small postcard that they tuck into their bill when they hand it to customers, or a flower shop might have postcards or a notebook by the register and then encourage people to sign up while they wait in line. In addition, it's also extremely important to practice good email hygiene. For example, if an email address bounces more than twice, remove it. Chances are that email address no longer works.
In addition, you might remove email addresses that don't open your email in the past three to six months. Chances are they are no longer interested. Finally, you might also consider removing email addresses that did not click a link in the past six months, whether or not they opened their email. The single most important fact about lists of email addresses has to do with reader interest. A list of 50 readers who email you back, blog your content, share your emails with friends, and buy your products, those 50 readers will beat 5,000 readers who will never open your email.
Numbers really don't matter. What matters is interest and activity generated by your emails. The final message on email addresses is to never buy a list from someone else. Many email delivery services won't let you send emails to those lists, and many of the addresses are no longer used, or the people are not interested to hear from you. Bottom line: be careful how you collect your email addresses and do what you can to keep your readers interested, opening your emails, clicking your links, and sharing your emails.
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