Building a list of email subscribers and providing value to them regularly is the most effective way to develop a successful online writing career. You can build such a list by persuading visitors to your website or blog to enter their names and email addresses in an opt in box on your homepage. Usually, the incentive is a free report, e-book, podcast or video that is likely to be useful to your potential subscribers.

In order to build an opt-in email list of subscribers, the first step is to sign up with an auto-responder.

Auto-responders (Email Mailing List Management Services)

Most mailing list providers offer a wide range of features such as:

  • Code for opt-in box
  • Double opt-in facility
  • Welcome message
  • Automatic follow-up messages,
  • Unlimited number of email messages,
  • HTML newsletter templates,
  • Online surveys,
  • Email analytics (detailed statistics about clicks and purchases), and
  • Comparison of performance of different email messages.

You can choose from several auto-responders. Initially, you may opt for Constant Contact and Your Mailing List Provider because they provide free service for an initial period. The most popular auto-responders are AWeber and GetResponse.

AWeber offers an introductory trial offer of $1 fee for the first month. Its monthly charges are:

  • $19 for first 500 subscribers.
  • $29 for 501 to 2,500 subscribers
  • $49 for 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers
  • $69 for 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers
  • $149 for 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers

GetResponse offers free service for less then 10 subscribers. Its monthly charges are:

  • $18 for 11 to 500 subscribers
  • $28 for 501 to 2,500 subscribers
  • $45 for 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers
  • $65 for 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers
  • $145 for 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers

Constant Contact offers a free six-month trial, though the number of subscribers should not exceed 100 subscribers.

After the six-month trial period, its monthly charges are:

  • $15 for 500 subscribers,
  • $30 for 501 to 2,500 subscribers,
  • $50 for 2,501-5,000 subscribers,
  • $75 every month for 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers.

Your Mailing List Provider offers three plans::

  • Free Plan provides free mailing service for up to 1,000 subscribers.
  • Professional Plan provides services for unlimited subscribers as well as data about open and click-through rate for a monthly charge starting from $3.75.
  • Professional Plus Plan provides the above services as well as activity records of every contact for a monthly charge starting from $5.

Benefits of an Opt-in Email Mailing List

The most important benefit of an opt-in list is that you can send email messages to their subscribers without the risk of being accused of spamming. This is because your subscribers have applied to join your email mailing list and there is proof that they have done so.

An opt-in list gives you the opportunity to inform their subscribers about your products and services regularly. Only a few buy on their first exposure to a sales pitch. Usually, you have to repeat a sales offer several times to your prospective clients.

You can also promote related products and services from others and include affiliate links in their e-zines.

Once you have an adequate number of subscribers, you can sell advertising space in your e-zines and arrange for reciprocal advertising in other e-zines.

The best way to develop a relationship with your subscribers is by regularly sending them useful information in newsletters, reports, e-books, audio clips, videos and webinars. If you take good care of your community of email subscribers, your subscribers will take good care of you!

21 March 2012

Rohi Shetty is a medical doctor, Vipassana meditator, writer, editor, translator and blogger. His short stories and articles have been published online and in print.

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