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Bill Platt of PathTrax.com, invites you to reprint this article in your print publication, ezine, or on your website. This is a Free-Reprint article. The only requirements for publishing this article are:

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  • How to Build Spam-Free Email Campaigns
    Copyright 2002, Bill Platt

    In the current Internet market, many people are confused as to 
    how they can use email to build their online businesses, while
    consumers are fighting off the evils of spam email. As a result, 
    we are tackling this most important issue today.
    
    The ideal way to use email to develop your business is by 
    creating a double opt-in list on either YahooGroups, Topica.com,
    SmartGroups.com or FreeLists.org. 
    
    I have dozens of these lists in existence myself. Basically
    each opt-in list provides a specific talking point or 
    advertising point that people are interested in. (Examples:
    I have a dozen lists for free-reprint articles, 2 lists for
    ezine ad swaps, 2 small lists talking about online business,
    one for computer help. I also have a couple for advertising
    ezines to the public. I have tried safe-lists but the hosting
    companies keep deleting those.)
    
    Additionally, I have at times past had up to 5 ezines, but 
    right now only one. Each of the five ezines were on various 
    topics --- including computer software, online marketing and 
    general entertainment --- and all were double opt-in.
    
    Each of the hosting companies allow you to place an ad in
    each mailing delivered to your group. With YahooGroups, you
    can only place one ad at the bottom of the email. With Topica, 
    you can place your ads top and bottom. I cannot tell you much 
    about FreeLists.org since I just learned about them this past
    weekend. 
    
    The trick to any opt-in list is providing something based on 
    a niche interest. Provided your list delivers something of 
    value to the subscribers, the people will sign up to receive 
    them. 
    
    With the ezine, you would try to provide some type of valuable 
    information of interest to your target market. By consistently 
    providing valuable information to your readers, you will be 
    building the relationships with people who will likely buy 
    from you in the future.
    
    Let me say one thing here. Do not let an ezine distract you 
    from your real purpose. Any ezine you develop is a tool to 
    help you grow your business. Don't fall into the common trap
    of starting an ezine to promote your business and then thinking
    later that your ezine is your business.
    
    There are in fact several large mailing companies out there
    with clean, double opt-in mailing lists for ads, but I must
    emphasize care when selecting one of these companies. If the
    mailing company cannot promise that their list is double 
    opt-in, leave them be. Be sure to also get references and 
    check those references. There are a lot of scammers out there
    sending spam to millions of harvested addresses and then trying 
    to convince you that their mailings are safe. Buyer beware.
    
    Double opt-in means that I as a subscriber request the mailing
    then I receive a verification email from the mailing list 
    telling me that I must follow certain steps to verify my 
    intentions to subscribe. Double opt-in is literally a method
    of getting someone to agree twice to receive future email. 
    
    Single opt-in lists can be and are often abused by their owners
    or the public-at-large. So avoid single opt-in lists at all 
    costs. Even the appearance of Unsolicited Commercial Email 
    (UCE/Spam) can be deadly for your business.
    
    Ezine advertising is a great method of building business, but
    this too is very risky depending on your type of business. 
    Knowing where to place your ads is always the greatest 
    challenge. Some ezines are great and some are dogs. Some are
    expensive and some are inexpensive. Determining the strength
    of your ad copy is tantamount to your success before spending
    a single dime on advertising in ezines. 
    
    There are ezines offering free ads, but they are not worth
    much to your advertising bottom line. Most of these ezines 
    don't have a solid buyers base to them at all. Rather, they 
    are mostly comprised of sellers who were searching for the 
    freebie advertisements. Just the same, you can use these to 
    test your ads before taking your money to the paid ezines. 
    This is just one of hundreds of ways to test your ads before 
    purchasing expensive ad space.
    
    Other ways to test your ads is to place them in classified 
    ad websites, in safe-lists, in general advertising or niche 
    mailing lists. You could run them in low-cost ezines. You 
    can also set them up as independent doorway pages which are 
    submitted to search engines. 
    
    There are also FFA pages that can be used for testing, but I 
    generally recommend against FFA pages because the return is 
    so very, vary low by the nature of how FFA pages are operated
    and used. In my mind, FFA pages simply are not worth the time
    or money that you invest in them.
    
    Sites like http://SubmitAds.net permit you to place your ads in
    their directory and then send your message to people who will 
    place their advertisements through your replicated SubmitAds 
    website. If you were adventurous, SubmitAds actually sports a 
    nice pay program to enable you to send email to everyone in 
    their network at the intervals you decide. You may even earn
    a few additional dollars by participating in their program.
    
    No matter what approach you take to place and test your 
    advertising and ad copy, you should be running some type of 
    tracking to determine the effectiveness of your advertising 
    in circulation. Without some method of tracking being 
    employed, your test results are based only upon guess work. 
    In the real world of business, guess work just does not cut 
    it. You need to know precisely what is working for you and 
    what is not working for you. 
    
    There is no better way to determine what works and what does 
    not than to employ some type of ad tracking software. There 
    are a few companies employing such services, each with their 
    own advantages and disadvantages, and each with very different 
    pricing structures. 
    
    Shop around and see which ad tracking software is best for you 
    and then use it to make a realistic determination as to what 
    is working and what is not. Test your ads and your advertising 
    mediums and track the results produced by each. And when the 
    day is done, move forward with what has proven successful and 
    then discard the rest.

    Bill Platt is co-owner of PathTrax.com. By providing their users the ability to measure and track results connected to a specific ad or advertising media, PathTrax is helping small businesses expand the profits in their bottom line. PathTrax delivers flexible tracking URL's to track Who, Where, When, How Many? All for only pennies per day. http://PathTrax.com/x.pl/BP121,14



    This article was originally written: April, 2002


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